Top 10: Reads of 2021

Happy almost 2022! It’s been another tough year for many people, but I hope you’re able to spend the holidays with loved ones and some lovely books.

Last year I restricted my top 10 books of the year post to new releases, but since I’ve had more time to work through some backlist titles recently, I’ve gone through all of my reads of 2021! And since my top 10 posts are secretly top 15 posts, I’ve included 5 honourable mentions at the end.

#10

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository  

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publish Date: 13 October 2020

Page Count: 260 pages

White Trash Warlock is the gay, Southern American response to ‘traditional’ real-world fantasy books. There’s no cupboard under the stairs, magical school, or fated (probably straight) romance. Instead, Adam lives in a trailer park, spent his teenage years in a psych ward, and the closest he’s had to a love interest is a handsome elf who disappeared without explanation.” – Full review


#9

The Last Watch by J. S. Dewes

Goodreads | Bookshop.org (UK) | Hive

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Publish Date: 20 April 2021

Page Count: 480 pages

“Being compared to A Game of Thrones might be a rite of passage for new release fantasy books, but I was somewhat surprised to see J. S. Dewes’ *sci-fi* debut receive the same treatment. Ironically it’s fairly spot-on, with The Last Watch being something like the Night’s Watch in space, with the fate of the whole universe at stake. The result is a high-octane space adventure that had me tearing through the pages!” – Full review


#8

We Men of Ash and Shadow by HL Tinsley

Goodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-published

Publish Date: 01 October 2020

Page Count: 204 pages

We Men of Ash and Shadow has the themes and moody atmosphere that earn it a grimdark membership card, but Tinsley’s novel feels fresh and intelligent. It’s less about bad people doing bad things (and winning), and more about normal people doing morally questionable things to survive. ” – Full review


#7

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Waterstones

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publish Date: 04 March 2021

Page Count: 416 pages

“Being a YA fantasy with a healthy dash of romance, Spin the Dawn might not be for everyone, but for me, it was like reliving the magic of reading my first Tamora Pierce books in my early teens. I tore through this almost 400-page novel in a day, something I don’t think I’ve ever done before.Full review


#6

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Publisher: Tor UK

Publish Date: 29 November 2016

Page Count: 400 pages

The Masquerade series is deeply immersive and darkly addictive. It’s a reading journey that is difficult to describe. The series demands a lot from the reader; the political machinations are complex, the characters are vast, and the history and setting of the story is ever-expanding. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little lost on occasion, but the payoff is always worthwhile.” – Full review


#5

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Hive | Waterstones

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Publish Date: 07 September 2021

Page Count: 736 pages (hardcover)

“Due to this Kristoff hype over the last few years, I went into Empire of the Vampire quite critically, anticipating disappointment. But I have to say this is a damn well-executed book, and I smashed through it in a week or so. The characters, the story, the language and the tone are watertight. ” – Full review


#4

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Waterstones

Publisher: Del Rey

Publish Date: 20 July 2021

Page Count: 544 pages

“The Book of Accidents is creepy as hell, with disturbingly visceral scenes that made me squirm even as I couldn’t wait to keep reading. There’s a lot going on between the strange flashback scenes of brutal murders and trying to figure out the connection to whatever strangeness plagues Nate, Maddie and Oliver.” – Full review


#3

In Deeper Waters by F. T. Lukens

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Waterstones

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publish Date: 10 June 2021

Page Count: 303 pages (hardcover)

“In Deeper Waters is a thrilling fantasy romance that would make an excellent gateway into epic fantasy for young readers, with the bonus of having a queernorm setting.” – Full review


#2

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Waterstones

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publish Date: 02 February 2021

Page Count: 420 pages

“The overall story of Winter’s Orbit is so freakin’ good, and it’s orchestrated perfectly. Maxwell has offered a fantastic entry in a subgenre of science fiction that I’m going to dub ‘bureaucratic sci-fi’” – Full review


#1

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org (UK) | Book Depository | Waterstones

Publisher: Tor UK

Publish Date: 20 August 2020

Page Count: 734 pages

“Dickinson’s worldbuilding is uniquely abstract, full of pseudoscience, technological anachronisms, invented philosophical frameworks and reimagined gender roles. Many fantasy worlds can be defined broadly as European-inspired or Asian-inspired, etc. This one simply is.” – Full review


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8 thoughts on “Top 10: Reads of 2021

  1. Wow, I’ve successfully read none of these! It’s just more material for my TBR for next year, I suppose 😅 Plus you somehow limited it to 10! I tried to limit mine to 12 and still failed

    Liked by 1 person

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