It is that time where I am going to be sharing with you the best books I read in 2021. I read a total of 110 in 2021 which was a decent number. So I can totally give you 21 best books. And gosh was it hard choosing sometimes. So lets just get into this. These are in no specific order.
Short Stories and Novella’s
The Witness for the Dead might not technically be a novella with its 240 pages but it certainly doesn’t make it a chonker either which is why I added it in this category of sharing my favorite reads with you. It is set in the same world as Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor and follows one of its side characters. We got a bit of Thara Celehar in that book but it was absolutely nothing compared to what we got in this book. I fell for this character right away, but even more so after he fed some homeless cats who clearly have gotten so attached to him. This is a beautiful character driven book.
Another character driven book is the Psalm for the Wild-Built. If someone knows how to write characters it is Becky Chambers. And she proves it yet again in this great novella that shares the meeting of the monk and the robot. In introspective book set in a world that has had a robot revolution.
The shortest on this list is The Cybernetic Tea Shop. Steampunk Scifi setting with the beatiful idea of a teashop run by autonomous robot. You can only imagine how incredibly wholesome that was in places.
I shared 10 of my favorite 2021 debuts at the end of 2021 for Top Ten Tuesday but these four made my absolute favorite reads of 2021.
Winter’s Orbit was a fun scifi romance that centered two very interesting characters. Their coming together created a very compelling read.
The Conductors on the other hand is a historical fantasy, set after the ending of the slavery. It plays with the historical fact that there were conductors that saved slaves. Our main character was such a conductor. But now she lives a life as a seamstress that secretly solves (magical) mysteries with her husband Benjamin. The magic combined with the historical setting and our very strong Hetty Rhodes created a very compelling read for me. You might have noticed. I shouted a lot about this book in the first half of the year.
On the other end of the spectrum of these debuts is Bad Witch Burning that is a modern and very emotional grabbing read. A young girl who can talk to the dead suddenly can raise them. She thinks it will be the way to earning her way out of her abusive home but things never do end up that simple. There was so much real and raw emotion in this book, it is heart breaking.
Military fantasy is not usually my cup of tea but The Unbroken is a real and raw story about slave soldiers who were taken from their lands to fight with their oppressors. Colonizing is a big topic in this story. It is a heavy and heartfelt read.
Two very different graphic novels. Heartstopper is a contemporary and volume 4 is a very heavy mental health read. Where as Monstress is an amazing fantasy story that is dark and bloody. Both are excellent and stand-out.
Of course there were many sequels in 2021 but these three were my favorites. There had to be a Terry Pratchett book on this list, didn’t there. I didn’t read as much Discworld as I wanted to but Men At Arms, the second Night Watch arc book was of course a favorite. The focus on this crazy bunch and then the mystery they are trying to solve was a lot of fun.
I read a lot of Patricia Briggs books and pretty much all of them were sequels. Especially Night Broken stood out to me as this is the book we get Adam’s ex wife in Mercy’s face. And it was entertaining while I was about read to kill her for Mercy. Who didn’t haha.
And a lovely German middle grade fantasy series I’ve been reading. The Duftapotheke books are being translated to Dutch but unfortunately not to English. This year I got to read part 4 as we continue learning more about the magical perfumes.
I started a whole lot of series in 2021 but only a few really stood out to me.
I never quite knew if John Gwynne was going to be an author for me but when The Shadow of the Gods came by I had to give it a try. Look at that dragon on the cover. I fell in love with all the different characters and storylines we followed that weaved together in small or big ways. I cant wait to see how it continues.
Payback’s a Witch is a very different kind of story about a young witch returning back to her magical community. The strength of this book laid with the characters and setting. Strong females who were getting back at a guy. The next book is more a companion book with the focus on different characters but I think that is very fitting for the world this series set in.
Of course with a new Jonathan Stroud book coming out you all knew it was going to appear on this list. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is a fun dystopian world that reminds one of the world of the wild west. But then in England. What Stroud does best. The character dynamic between the jaded Scarlett and the innocent Browne was what made this book so good.
Crime and Poetry is the only book in this category that isn’t a 2021 release. It is such a fun book (and series) about a magical book shop that helps their owners to figure out mysteries and murders. They are easy and fun reads.
Little Thieves is a goose girl retelling that focuses on the thief instead of the one whose life gets stolen. It gave us such an interesting look on the other end and created a 3 dimensional story.
When I first started reading The Tide Child trilogy I wasn’t quite so taken by the first book as others were. Still I was taken enough to read the sequel that I liked. But The Bone Ship’s Wake was something so very different. It was an epic final and now I am just sad to have to say goodbye to this world.
The City We Became was such a pure gem of great ideas and characters. The idea that there were avatars for each city and an enemy with white tendrils trying to take them over. There was just so much to discover in this book and I hope that we will get more from this world in the future.
Another pure gem for its ideas was A Master of Djinn. I’ve read some of the short stories and was already so very taken by this historical Cairo that has angels and djinn roaming its streets. But A Master of Djinn continues to delve into the intricacies of the world and deepen out our characters. It was a great read.
And we are wrapping up this list with Under the Whispering Door. This book that takes the ferryman and reapers as a very different concept was funny, heart warming and heart breaking.