“The room was a shabby one to collect the intellectual brilliance of England.”First line A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan
It’s finally time to share my favorite books of 2021! I’m doing it through Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and as per usual with my favorite books of the year list, it is ordered. I really like to have a definite top ten to look back on, and while I love all of these books, I definitely don’t love them the same amount, so it makes sense for me to put them in order. And it actually wasn’t that hard this year. I haven’t had that many 5-star reads this year, so there are actually a couple on this list that I didn’t rate a full 5 stars. But anyway, before I get started, I’ll say that if I’ve read multiple books within a series, only my favorite gets a spot on the list to avoid me repeating myself (one author is on here twice though, and that’s allowed). Here they are!
The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith
A splendid continuation of The Library of the Unwritten that explored new worlds and areas of magic. The character relationships, however, were my favorite part of this book. They provided some lovely character development that was rooted in complex emotions, and it only made me love the characters more.
Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker
Words cannot describe the pain I felt while reading this book. It was brutal in a way I couldn’t possibly have foreseen and I loved every second of it. Barker just writes the kind of characters you’d die for in an instant and they are ones that are going to stay with me for sure. Add some mind-blowing plot twists and this book secured itself a spot on my top ten of the year.
A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan
The third book in this fascinating quartet ended up being my favorite. It was political but not as dry as its predecessor, and even included something as cool as faerie science. Brennan also has the ability to make me love all the new characters she keeps introducing, so it didn’t really matter that old characters were missing in this installment. It’s an underrated series that I’m going to keep shouting about.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Say hello to the first ever non-fiction book in my top ten of the year. It’s a book that did a lot for me personally as it helped me understand myself better, but it’s also just a book that anyone should read. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the introvert/extrovert-spectrum because it just helps everyone understand each other better.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
I love a book that is just one long “WTF”-moment, and that is the best way I can describe Piranesi. The mystery kept me hooked all the way through, and it added a lot of my favorite literary tools as well, although I can’t tell you about those because this book is so easy to spoil.
The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
I was a bit skeptical after the first book in this trilogy but The Mad Ship completely turned it around for me. The plot was given more direction and the characters made me feel all of the emotions very strongly. Things were almost thrown across the room when I read this and that just proves how amazing the writing is.
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell
Okay, so this final book about Simon Snow is pure fan-service, but I’m a fan and I like to be serviced so I have absolutely no complaints about that. It’s still fantasy with a contemporary vibe because Rowell is so amazing at writing interactions between her characters. Most of this book is just people talking, but I was reading it while holding my breath for most of it and generally being unaware of my surroundings.
The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty
This second book in the Daevabad trilogy is just perfection. The perfect mix of political intrigue and what is probably the best character development I’ve read this year. I had my favorite characters of course, but everyone had a lot of depth to them so I couldn’t help but be invested. And the book also included a lot of suffering which is a great way to make me love it.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The book that started my obsession with Robin Hobb and I can’t believe I ever considered not reading it. It’s political and emotional in just the right ways as we follow a struggling boy trying to find his place in the world. It’s beautiful and heartwrenching, and I wasn’t bored for one second of it.
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
As much as I loved The Binding by Collins, this is still quite unexpected. I didn’t know what this book was before I started but its mystery and complex morally gray characters soon occupied every moment of my day. There was so much to analyze and figure out, and I just love a book that allows its reader to think for themselves. I’ve seen few examples of that as good as The Betrayals.
Those were the best books I read in 2021! I might not have loved very many books this year but a lot of these are still some of the best books I’ve ever read and I’m so grateful for finding them. If you’ve read any of these or plan to, I’d love to discuss them in the comments! What has been your favorite book of the year?