A little late, but there were so many amazing books that I read last year that I just had to write this post, late or not! Trying to whittle down the 100+ books that I read last year down to a list of my five favourites was incredibly difficult so there may be a part two to this post, but then I will probably want to do parts three, four, five… So, let’s dive in! Just a heads up, these novels aren’t in any particular order!
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
I have been loving all of the mythology retellings which have been emerging in the past couple of years. Gornichec’s exploration into the Norse tale of Angrboda is not only one of the best books I read last year but it is one of my all-time favourites. The depth of the characters and the story was fascinating and Gornichec expertly captured the humour and the brutality of the Norse myths, which left me heartbroken by the end.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
This will not be a surprise to most of you after this was also one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and it completely blew my expectations out of the water! I love Ishiguro’s sensitive writing, I especially love when it is combined with sci-fi elements and tackling hard-hitting questions on what it means to be human and what lengths people will go to in order to survive, or ensure their loved ones survive. Ishiguro took the AI narrative to a unique and refreshing level and it’s one that I’m still thinking about now.
The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies
Within the first few pages, I was immediately hooked by the world and the characters. Even though we only got to experience a small amount of the huge world that Skies has crafted for the series, what we got to see was captivating. Not only was the world very well fleshed out, but so were the quirky characters and the politics of the world, which is something I love when it comes to fantasy novels. This book was incredibly difficult to put down for any length of time and even when I did manage it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it or wait to get back to the characters!
XX by Rian Hughes
When this novel landed on my doorstep I was incredibly excited and slightly overwhelmed at its 900+ pages, however, the fact it is on this list just shows how much I adored this novel and how the 900+ pages were a complete delight. XX is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long time, perhaps ever, with Hughes bringing the idea of the ‘novel graphic’ to the forefront. Not only was the presentation of the ideas, characters, and narrative so interesting but the story itself and the characters introduced were as well and this novel is one I often recommend!
The Coward by Stephen Aryan
This refreshing take on the typical hero in the fantasy novel was exactly what I needed to pull me out of my reading slump and get back on track! I loved the variety of characters we were introduced to over the course of this novel, I loved seeing how they all developed and I thoroughly enjoyed the critique of how so many fantasy worlds become dependent on one or a small group of people. I cannot wait for the sequel! Also, this novel has a beautiful map which is always a bonus.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What were your favourite books of 2021?