This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/wZY-JG9HUgQ
Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2021)
It’s that time of the year again, y’all. 2021 is ending in a week. This year, I managed to read 130 books. This number includes 72 traditionally published books, 21 self-published/indie books, 37 manga volumes (I’ve read so many more manga volumes but I’ve decided to only include 37 here.)
In comparison to the previous years, whether it’s by pages count or the number of books, this is my lowest reading performance so far. There are details behind this reason, but really when it comes down to it, it’s because this is the first full year I became a Booktuber. In addition to reading and writing reviews, now I also record, edit, and upload videos to my YouTube Channel. My reading “performance” definitely suffers because of it, but not going to lie, I’m happy to make that sacrifice. As for the quality of the books I read, this is another incredible reading year, so let’s get to it immediately. As usual, I will be applying a few rules into this list:
Please read this first. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.
- Rereads aren’t included.
- One book per author.
- The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2021 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.
Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2021! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page
20. The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, #1) by Christopher Buehlman
Publisher: Tor Books (US) & Gollancz (UK).
“The Blacktongue Thief is fated to steal a lot of reader’s hearts with its charm, humor, intensity, and unrelenting fun; I look forward to seeing future readers enjoying this novel. ”
19. War Lord (The Last Kingdom, #13) by Bernard Cornwell
Publisher: Harper Collins. First Published in: October 2020
“War Lord is a satisfying conclusion to The Last Kingdom series. Uthred, you’ll be missed.”
18. Dark Sea’s End (Beyond Ash and Sand, #1) by Richard Nell
“Dark Sea’s End is a heart-pounding return to the world of Ash and Sand, and I’m sure the future of it will be as brilliant.“
17. Priest of Gallows (War for the Rose Throne, #3) by Peter McLean
Publisher: Jo Fletcher
“Priest of Gallows is another thrilling work by Peter McLean. In addition to constructing the most thought-provoking narrative of the series so far, Priest of Gallows has also set the stage for a memorable climactic finale. “
16. She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan
Publisher: Tor Books (US) & Mantle (UK).
“Parker-Chan has an immensely desirable writing style that displays her proficiency for storytelling in practically every scene of the book.”
15. The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1) by Marina Lostetter
Publisher: Tor Books
“This is an incredible book. Character-driven and bloody thrilling; The Helm of Midnight has pretty much confirmed its spot in one of my favorite books of 2021 list.”
14. The Spider’s War (The Dagger and the Coin, #5) by Daniel Abraham
Publisher: Orbit. First published in: March 2016
“The best of the series; The Spider’s War is an unconventional and incredibly satisfying conclusion to an underrated fantasy series.”
13. The Justice of Kings (Empire of the Wolf, #1) by Richard Swan
Publisher: Orbit. First published in: February 2022
“The Justice of Kings was totally addictive. A truly riveting tale about law, war, morality, and justice.”
12. The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child, #3) by R. J. Barker
“And on that note, The Bone Ship’s Wake is a grandiose naval adventure that concludes The Tide Child trilogy with a bang.”
11. The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher: Riyria Enterprises (Self-published). First published in: October 2015
“Imbued with the precise balance of danger, revelations, humor, friendship, loss, love, and hope, The Death of Dulgath is another engrossing feel-good fantasy novel.“
10. Spirits of Vengeance (Mortal Techniques, #3) by Rob J. Hayes
“Equally explosive, emotional, and pulse-pounding. Successfully delivered an exceptional narrative brimming with staggering impact.”
9. Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) by Matthew Woodring Stover
Publisher: Del Rey (US) & Orbit (UK). First published in: January 1998
“It’s unbelievable that this insanely terrific story is hidden behind this horrific cover art. Heroes Die was absolutely bloody and glorious.”
8. Servant of the Empire (Riftwar: Empire, #2) by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts
Publisher: Spectra (US) & Harper Voyager (UK). First published in: 1990
“Servant of the Empire is an incredible, political, and massive sequel to the excellent Daughter of the Empire.”
7. The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne
“Reading The Shadow of the Gods is equivalent to witnessing a new brilliant legendary Norse-inspired epic fantasy series in the making.”
6. The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern, #1) by J.T. Greathouse
“Hands down the best debut of the year. Scratch that; this is one of the best debuts I’ve ever read.”
5. Reaper (Cradle, #10) by Will Wight
Publisher: Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie.)
“Will Wight, I’m so tired of saying this statement on so many books in Cradle, but once again, Reaper is the new best book of the series so far.”
4. Dreams of the Dying (Enderal, #1) by Nicolas Lietzau
Publisher: Self-published. First published in: December 2020
“I have nothing but praise for Dreams of the Dying. It’s simply a masterpiece.”
3. The Empire’s Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley
Publisher: Tor Books (US) & Tor (UK).
“A scintillating explosive epic fantasy with multiple legendary scenes that rivaled The Way of Kings.”
2. The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness, #3) by Joe Abercrombie
Publisher: Orbit (US) & Gollancz (UK).
“Joe Abercrombie is a genius storyteller. The Wisdom of Crowds is one of the best books of the year, a masterfully crafted conclusion to The Age of Madness trilogy… Bravo, Joe Abercrombie; the bar for grimdark fantasy has been raised again. And you, Lord Grimdark, remain absolute as one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time”
1. Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee
“Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Jade Legacy is an all-around masterpiece that certified The Green Bone Saga as my top favorite completed trilogy of all time.”
What I said the past three years is, of course, still applicable this year. Allow me to repeat them once again.
To every author, whether your book is on this list or not, I want to say—from the bottom of my heart—thank you for writing. The stories you wrote transported me into another world, circumstances, and time; that’s something irreplaceable to me. The insane harshness of reality became saner due to your imagination. I can only hope that the honest reviews and words I spread around help bring more readers to pick up your book; even if you get just one additional reader as a result, I’m satisfied.
To traditional publishers—especially Orbit (Nazia, Angie), Gollancz (Will O’Mullane) and Tor UK (Jamie-Lee Nardone)—and self-published/indie authors, this year I managed to read 39 ARC/review requests thanks to all of you! As an international reader, it means a lot to me that you took some time and money to send me books (both physical and ebooks) to read and review. Please know that I will treasure them with all my heart! None of the books you sent will be wasted! :’)
Lastly, to fellow readers, reviewers, and viewers! I receive a lot of messages—on Goodreads, Twitter, and YouTube—from you saying thank you for all the reviews and recommendations I’ve posted; some have mentioned that the reviews I wrote have led them to books that sparked their love for reading again, some have sent me books, and some have asked and even support me monetarily. All of you have no idea how much this means to me, seriously. Next year, I will still read, review books, and post videos on my channel as best as I can.
That’s all from me this year. Thank you very much, everyone! Keep on writing and reading! See any of your favorite reads of the year on this list? What’s yours?
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