My Favorite Books from 2021

 

Though I’ve already completed my End of the Year Book Tag for the year 2021, I thought it would be fun to take another look back on my year of reading and to select my favorite books from 2021. Looking back, it’s obvious I read a lot of really good books in 2021. I’m not including any rereads in this list, just books I read for the first time in 2021.

 

Starsight 

Starsight (Skyward, #2) by Brandon Sanderson
on November 26th 2019
Pages: 461
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four-stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, the Mistborn trilogy, and the Stormlight Archive comes the second book in an epic series about a girl with a secret in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future.
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.
Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.
But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to

 

From my review of Starsight:  Honestly, I enjoyed Starsight way more than its predecessor, SkywardIt felt more mature as a whole and was a pleasure to read, instead of something to force myself through in good faith of the author. I’ll definitely be reading the next entry is the series, Cytonic. 

 

 

Mask of Mirrors

Mask of Mirrors

The Mask of Mirrors (Rook & Rose, #1) by M.A. Carrick
Published by Orbit on January 19th 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 688
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four-stars

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick.
Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.
Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.
But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

 

From my review: I was absolutely enthralled by The Mask of Mirrors, which I learned was written by a duo author team, consisting of Marie Brennan (author of The Memoirs of Lady Trent)  and author Alyc Hems, under the name of M.A. Carrick. I was completely enchanted by the premise of the story, which involves main character Ren as she poses as a distant relation to a noble family in a quest to gain official entry to their family registrar, gaining her wealth, standing, and security in the process. Unfortunately, this long con is the hardest act she has ever put up, and Ren finds herself in a tangled web of politics reaching from the highest echelons of government in the city to the lowest of the Lower Bank, facing off with uprisings, magical terrorism, and more. And to make matters worse, Ren finds herself developing feelings for the very family she seeks to con, the Traementis family.

 

Blood of the Chosen

Blood of the Chosen

Blood of the Chosen (Burningblade & Silvereye, #2) by Django Wexler
Published by Orbit on October 5th 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
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four-half-stars
Source: Orbit Books

In the second book of Django Wexler’s epic fantasy trilogy about two siblings divided by magic and revolution, Gyre must travel across the Splinter Kingdoms to rally the rebels to his side, while his sister Maya uncovers the secrets of a powerful artifact that could change everything. Gyre finally sees a way to overthrow the all-powerful Twilight Order. But he’ll have to gain the alliance of both the ghouls and the human rebels to the south in order to even stand have a chance. And uniting them won’t be so simple.
His sister Maya is still a soldier of the Order. But after clashing with her brother, she isn’t so certain where her loyalties lie. Chasing the origins of a mysterious artifact to a long-lost library, she just might find the answers she’s looking for.

 

From my review: Blood of the Chosen is the scintillating follow-up to Ashes of the Sun. Some novels suffer from sequel syndrome, but I found Blood of the Chosen to be even better than its predecessor. With most of the world-building and foundations firmly laid in the first novel, Blood of the Chosen was freely able to focus on the action. Blood of the Chosen was so riveting that I had a lot of trouble putting this novel down to do anything else.

 

Scales and Sensibility

Scales and Sensibility (Regency Dragons, #1) by Stephanie Burgis
Published by Five Fathoms Press on October 4th 2021
Pages: 307
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four-half-stars

Sensible, practical Elinor Tregarth really did plan to be the model poor relation when she moved into Hathergill Hall. She certainly never meant to kidnap her awful cousin Penelope’s pet dragon. She never expected to fall in love with the shameless – but surprisingly sweet – fortune hunter who came to court Penelope. And she never dreamed that she would have to enter into an outrageous magical charade to save her younger sisters’ futures.
However, even the most brilliant scholars of 1817 England still haven’t ferreted out all the lurking secrets of rediscovered dragonkind…and even the most sensible of heroines can still make a reckless wish or two when she’s pushed. Now Elinor will have to find out just how rash and resourceful she can be when she sets aside all common sense. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll even be impractical enough to win her own true love and a happily ever after…with the unpredictable and dangerous “help” of the magical creature who has adopted her.
A frothy Regency rom-com full of pet dragons and magical misadventures, Scales and Sensibility is a full-length novel and the first in a new series of standalone romantic comedies.

 

From my review: Sometimes a novel manages to feel like it was written just for the readerticking off all the boxes of everything we could ever want to read. Scales and Sensibility was the case for me, and it very much felt like the author wrote it just for me, somehow knowing of my abiding love for both Jane Austen and dragons and then writing this purely fun and magical tale:

Jane Austen inspired? Check.

Dragons? Check.

Intelligent and resourceful female protagonist? Check.

Despicable familial relations? Check.

Dreamy male lead who loves the female protagonist for who she really is? Check.

 

Servant Mage

Servant Mage by Kate Elliott
Published by Tordotcom on January 18th 2022
Pages: 176
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Goodreads
four-stars

In Kate Elliott’s Servant Mage, a lowly fire mage finds herself entangled in an empire-spanning conspiracy on her way to discovering her true power.
They choose their laws to secure their power.
Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.
Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.
But Fellion has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…

 

From my review : I was really interested in the dark and interesting world that Servant Mage takes place in and lamented that this work was only a novella. I would happily read an entire series based on Servant Mage and can only hope that author Kate Elliot revisits this world in the future. In the meantime, I’ll definitely be looking into reading more of her novels. If they have half as interesting world-building as Servant Mage, I will be happy indeed.

 

The Will and the Wilds

The Will and the Wilds

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg
on January 21st 2020
Pages: 267
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four-stars

A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.
Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.
Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.
Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

 

From my review : Whenever I want to read a fun fantasy with unique magical systems and with romance, I turn to Charlie N. Holmberg. Though I was a bit disappointed with Holmberg’s most recent novel, SpellmakerI was positively delighted by The Will and the Wilds, which gave me the same sweet and magical feeling as novels like East and Ella Enchanted. I was quickly drawn into the main character Enna’s world, which is filled with a variety of mysterious and deadly creatures known as mystings, and even read the book in one sitting.

 

The Memory of Souls

The Memory of Souls

The Memory of Souls (A Chorus of Dragons, #3) by Jenn Lyons
on August 25th 2020
Pages: 624
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Goodreads
four-stars

WHAT IF YOU’RE THE ONE WHO HAS TO DIE?
Now that the city of Atrine has been destroyed and Relos Var’s plan to free the dark god Vol Karoth has been revealed—the end of the world is closer than ever.
To buy time for humanity, Kihrin, Janel, and Thurvishar must convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual that will strip the vané of their immortality—a ritual that certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the ones bringing the news.
Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to Vol Karoth is steadily growing in strength. How can Kihrin hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

 

From my review: The Memory of Souls is one of the stronger entries in the series A Chorus of Dragons. The pace was much faster, the stakes are higher, and many characters have grown up a lot since the beginning of the series. It honestly surprises me that a series that is, as a whole, incredibly puzzling and challenging, remains so enjoyable to me.

 

 

There you have it, these are my absolute favorite books of 2021. It was really hard to choose out of the many good books I read during the year, but I managed somehow. I think I’ll also do a post on my most disliked books of 2021, so look for that in the future!

 

What were some of your favorite reads of 2021?

 

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My Favorite Books from 2021 - Blogging with Dragons

Posted January 7, 2022 in Book Reviews

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