Usually I have this post go up sometime in December but, well. Better later than never, eh? Despite everything, I did read a lot of books I really loved last year. So here I’ll be listing my favorites. These aren’t all published in 2021 but I read them in 2021.
Hands down my absolute favorite read in 2021 was The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick. It was adventurous, it had wit, it had a sudden tonal shift near the middle, it had a sort of found family, it had complex characters, it had lots and lots of secrets, it had amazing world building. Honestly this book had everything and I loved every moment of reading it.
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. I have loved everything I’ve read by Chambers and this last book in the Wayfarers series was no exception. I love the slice of life aspect to her stories and the character work that she does as an author. Her books just make me feel hopeful about the future, and these days that’s nothing to take for granted. Also on this list – A Psalm for the Wild-Built – for the same reasons listed above.
The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis. This book! What a wild ride. It’s another book with secrets and amazing world building. But also you can really see some of the influences here in the work and it’s something I love about this new generation of writers–because I see my own interests reflected back at me.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. I really loved this book. I dare you to read this and not fall in love with the characters. I mean, I won’t say the story isn’t predictable, because it sorta is for the most part, but it has so much heart to it and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This was another one of those books that I just fell in love with. The whole idea of these Arthurian powers being passed down through generations is pretty interesting. But then you have the whole ‘who gets a say’ in things. There are so many layers to this story and I’m really interested to see where it goes!
A Summoning of Demons by Cate Glass. Honestly have loved all of these Cate Glass books. Found family! Scooby gang! Solving mysteries and uncovering hidden lore! The characters are all fantastic and I love how you learn more about them each book. I don’t know if they’ll be anymore of these or if this was the last but a girl can hope.
Network Effect by Martha Wells. It’s just a given that Murderbot is going to be listed among my favorites, I think that should go without saying. Everything I loved about the novellas is here but we’re given more time to explore the characters here and their relationships and I just loved it.
All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter. If you’re looking for a gothic fantasy than look no further. This is the perfect gothic and it has everything I love about the genre perfectly combined with a fantasy tale. It’s a bit scary at times and feels haunting always. Pretty much was a perfect read.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. This is a great sci-fi romance. I love the way the sci-fi aspect is handled. At first I was a bit turned off by how precocious the writing is in the beginning but after a while I fell in love with the characters and it didn’t bother me anymore. The characters in this are everything. But there’s lots of other great stuff too.
The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff. What a hidden gem! Where has this book been all my life? On its surface it’s a pretty generic fantasy adventure but Huff is so great at writing characters and their relationships and that’s what really shines here. I loved this book and I’m only mad that I took so long to read it.
King of the Faeries by A.J. Lancaster. This is the fourth and final in the Stariel series and what a fitting conclusion. It’s a fantasy of manners with the Fae. Once again the characters here will make you fall in love with them and you’ll never want to leave this world. I’ll admit that I was a little sad to say good-bye.
Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. I can’t believe how long I had this in my digital pile and didn’t read it because it’s sooooooooo good. Fantasy romance with some horror thrown in to boot because who doesn’t like to deal with a serial killer while you’re finding love? T. Kingfisher is one of a kind and I highly recommend her books. The humor alone will be worth it for you.
There were a lot of other really great books that I read last year but these were my absolute favorites. Did you read any of these? What did you think? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!