Best of 2021

Hi everyone! Today’s blog post is a big one, it’s my favorite reads of 2021! I had kind of a tough time narrowing this down and making some decisions on some books, but I finally have my top 10 books to share with you. For the most part, these are in no particular order except for the first three, which are essentially all tied for my favorite book of 2021.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

I still think about this book quite a lot, and the sequel is coming out this year which I’m EXTREMELY excited about! This had everything I wanted out of a Beauty and the Beast/Red Riding Hood retelling with a dash of some body horror added. Red and Eammon were such interesting characters and I loved how they dealt with their situation and instead of trying to escape it, they made the best of what they had. I loved the writing, and I highlighted so many quotes in my ARC version, more so than most other books I’ve read with the exception of one (later on this list). The atmosphere was incredible as well, the eerie forest vibes were perfect! I’m both excited and a little nervous about what will happen to these characters in the next book, but if it’s anything like this one, I have a feeling that Hannah Whitten will be an auto-buy author for me.

Related: For the Wolf Review

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

It’s not often that I love a book so much that I gush about it to my dad, but I definitely did with this one! I don’t have anything negative to say about this book at all, I loved it from cover to cover! This one is a multiple POV Norse inspired fantasy where the gods are coming back to life, but that doesn’t capture how brilliant this book was, I truly felt like I could picture everything that was happening, and honestly this should be adapted into a movie or TV show because I think it would be amazingly well. In fact, now that I’m writing this post it’s making me hyped up about this book all over again!

Related: The Shadow of the Gods Review

The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart

This is the second book in the Drowning Empire series, so I don’t want to spoil anything that happens in book one here. This picks up right after the first book ends and has the same writing style with two perspectives being told in first person, and the other perspectives being told in third person. Each perspective flows so seamlessly into the next that you can hardly tell that they are written differently. I loved the magic and how everything is really starting to expand with this world, and I really liked how things were revealed over time in a way that really kept the suspense up. The one downside to this one was the romance, which I didn’t really feel any chemistry between Lin and Jovis but who knows where things will go in the next book?

Related: The Bone Shard Daughter Review | The Bone Shard Emperor Review

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This is one of the books that I loved most because of the writing and the messages it had. (It’s also one of the few on this list that I never wrote a full review for). The main reason this made my best of 2021 list is because of the way it made me feel while I was reading it and how beautiful the writing was. It was almost like a self help book but written as fiction, and there were so many quotes that I had tabbed up, making this my most tabbed book of the year. The way this book discusses topics like suicide and living life to the fullest was both inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking about this book.

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire

Where the Drowned Girls Go is book 7 in the Wayward Children series, and it was definitely my favorite of them all so far. I read this one just last month so it’s still really fresh in my mind. I loved seeing Cora and Sumi again and the new characters were really interesting and I hope we see more of them in the next books. For me this one dealt with some pretty heavy topics like fatphobia, depression, suicide, etc. but as always, Seanan McGuire handled it all beautifully and in a way that makes you feel seen. This entire series is so incredibly diverse and has so much going for it! And with this book, the overarching plot that binds all the books together is really starting to take shape and I cannot wait to see where the next installments go with this series.

Related: Where the Drowned Girls Go Review

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas

I can’t deny that I love Sarah J Maas’ characters and how she makes me cry at every single book, which is why A Court of Silver Flames is making it to my best of 2021 list. It was definitely an emotional read for me and I loved the character growth that Nesta went through and her friendship with Emerie and Gwyn. For me, this one was all about finding your power and actually living your life instead of just going through the motions and it really hit home for me. I also liked how this one gave us a different, less positive view of Feyre and Rhys, because even though I love them it’s nice to see them not be so perfect. Does this book have flaws? Absolutely. However because of what this series means to me, it deserves a spot on this list.

Related: A Court of Silver Flames Review

Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer

This was a book that I just picked up on a whim and ended up reading through it so quickly, I didn’t even realize it was almost 1,000 pages until I marked it as read on Goodreads. I loved how this took the classic epic fantasy and made it something fresh while also staying true to the genre. This was an incredibly written coming of age story with dragons and magic, and a boy whose been shunned his whole life for being different who finds his place in the world and his people. While the world and the magic were incredible, the real standout for this book was the characters. I loved Aram and Markus and how they will do anything for each other, and the fact that they get dragons is just icing on the cake. This was supposed to have the sequel released January 4th, but there was no cover or description added and now it just says 2022 for expected publication, but I hope it’s coming soon because I want to dive back into this world and these characters again!

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Practical Magic meets Twister is a good way to describe this book! It’s a great combination of witches mixed with environmentalism and I loved how unique this book used magic to bring climate change as an issue into fantasy. I especially loved the message that the witches (scientists) can’t protect the earth by themselves, it requires non-witches (everyday people) to help out. In this world witches are usually tied to one season and when their season is over their power dwindles which was a great take on elemental magic. I also loved how personalities were different depending on the season, especially for Clara who had the magic for all 4 seasons and so she was like a completely different person based on the magic she had at the time. Definitely worth a read!

Related: The Nature of Witches Review

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

For this book to have gone from not even on my radar to a favorite of 2021 you know it has to be good! I got this in my second ever Illumicrate box, and I’m so glad that I did because I’m not sure if I would’ve picked it up on my own. I’ve been screaming about this book on my instagram and I just want everyone to give it a shot! It’s like Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale, with a polyamourous relationship, a revenge plot, and a young woman trying to take down the patriarchy almost single handedly. I loved that Zetian wasn’t forced to choose between her love interests and how set she was on challenging gender roles, almost to the point where I wanted to throttle her for going almost so far as to ‘all men are terrible’ territory. I was screaming at the ending, and I cannot wait for the next book!

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

I knew it was a good idea to hold off on writing my best of 2021 list until I finished my final book of December, because surprise! It made my best of list! The more I thought about it, the more this book deserved a spot on this list for the beautiful writing and the characters that I fell in love with. It doesn’t hurt that I’m very much rooting for a main character/’villain’ love story in the second book! I loved Xingyin, Liwei and Wenzhi, and the worldbuilding was amazing! I feel like I could really see what was going on in my mind and what everything looked like. It was very action packed and the magic was so interesting. Plus, there are dragons which is automatically an A+ in my book. Now just to wait for my copy to come in so I can see it in person after reading the ARC!

Related: Daughter of the Moon Goddess Review

What were your best books of 2021? Any in common, or do you plan to read any of these? Let’s chat!

7 Comments on “Best of 2021

  1. Great list! So many of these are high on my TBR! Especially Where the Drowned Girls Go, it will be my next read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really need to read The Midnight Library, because I’ve seen it everywhere now, and have yet to start. It’s next on my list, after I’m done with House Of Suns. My best book for 2021 has to be Project Hail Mary. Anyway, thanks for this share, Katie!


  3. Pingback: 2021 Stats & Wrap Up – Melting Pages

  4. Pingback: September 2022 TBR – Melting Pages

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