Greetings! While this may be coming a little late, I did want to touch on some of my favorite books of 2021 before taking this site into the new year. This was a huge year for me in terms of reading, and while several of my reviews have made it onto this blog, I thought I’d do an overarching look at a few select recommendations.
To start off, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Martin’s famous first novel in the series A Song of Ice and Fire contains a great deal of medieval spirit and thought-provoking dialogue. Martin’s characters are complex, and their stories masterfully told. This book instantly transports you into another world—that of Westeros, where the capacities of magic are uncertain, allowing more mundane sources of conflict to take a grip on the plot. While not my all-time favorite book I read this year, A Game of Thrones is certainly worth a mention. I wrote a review of the book on goodreads awhile back.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
It’s little secret that I love just about anything by Brandon Sanderson, but I feel that this novel deserves a special mention. The intricacies and descriptions in worldbuilding, the early developments of character for the larger series, and the artwork within the pages come together to form an amazing beginning to the Stormlight Archive sequence. The emotional payoff at the end is fantastic, with one great story coming to a close, leaving a door open to the next. I love intricate magic systems, and Sanderson never fails to please; this is one of his best yet. Sanderson’s The Way of Kings is a fabulous entry into the larger series—a series I can’t recommend enough. Here’s my full review of The Way of Kings.
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I’m not usually a historical fiction enthusiast, however this book really captured my attention. Set in France in the midst of World War II, it tells the story of two young children as they battle through lives affected by the war. Eventually the two plot lines combine, and the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion that takes us through a modern-day perspective on technology. Doerr’s novel is a masterful, vibrant work, and one I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in the humanities.
La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
The first two books of a planned trilogy, Pullman’s new additions to the universe of His Dark Materials are just as masterfully crafted as their predecessors. I haven’t spoken much on His Dark Materials on this site, however I plan to mend that next year. Truly, the original trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.
Pullman takes an interesting approach with these new additions. The first of them, La Belle Sauvage, takes place ten years before the original trilogy starts. It introduces us to a whole new cast of characters, and—in my humble opinion—gives us Pullman’s best villain yet. It is not until we pick up The Secret Commonwealth—which takes place ten years after the trilogy—that we start making connections. La Belle Sauvage develops characters we were casually introduced to in The Golden Compass. The intricate details and subtle connections are beyond masterful—I’d highly recommend these additions. Of course, the original trilogy is a must-read as well. The second trilogy assumes you are aware of the important events that transpired in the first.
That’s all for now, and all for 2021! Thanks for bearing with me this year—let’s approach the next one with optimism. Expect another post on Monday, the subject of which I’ll leave a secret for now.
Nai aurelya nauva mára!