I don’t know about you but I get very attached to books very easily. Not even necessarily the characters but sometimes the writing or world building or just generally the book as a whole. My heart does not discriminate there. Since I read some truly amazing books this past year, I wanted to show you my absolute favourites of 2021.
While I get attached easily, not many books have the ability to make me wail on the floor. That kind of attachment is reserved for just a few books per year…
Please do tell me about yours, I’d love to hear about them too!
1. The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season #4
Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.
The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.
As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…
I mean, I was 100% attached to the series before, but this one really made me fall in love all over again. The way this book shredded my heart into a million tiny pieces that are still scattered everywhere. Just ask my boyfriend for how long I’ve been talking about this and about the breakdown I had at the end of it. The Mask Falling really got to me and I’m thankful for it. Thank you, Samantha Shannon, for putting this out there in the world for me to read and cry over. (Review)
2. The Dragon Republic & The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War 2&3
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
Listen. The Poppy War trilogy is a MASTERPIECE. It’s fantastic. Good. Amazing. Emotionally wrecking. Just… SO GOOD! The world building, the writing, the characters. Everything fits so well together and makes for one of my all time favourite series! The Dragon Republic was the book that really made me attached, The Burning God was what undid me and had me sobbing on the floor of my room. If you haven’t read the series yet, do yourself a favour and do so immediately! It’s one of the best fantasy series out there and my heart is full with love for it but also full of grief and rage and so many emotions I can’t name. Just thinking about these books makes me want to burst.
3. Jade City & Jade War by Fonda Lee
The Green Bone Saga 1 & 2
The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.
The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.
When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.
I did not wail on the floor but I did lie down because I am in AWE. Same as before, in this book everything is mixed to the PERFECT blend. By this I mean the writing and world building and plot and characters come together to form these absolutely fantastic books. The descriptions had my imagination running wild, everything was described so well and realistically I could just believe this wasn’t a book but something I heard on the radio. It feels like watching a film, a fantastic film with gangsters where you most definitely want to sympathise with them. Oh dear, The Green Bone Saga has become on of my favourites and I haven’t even read the last instalment yet. It’s so, so good and I am in absolute horror and awe of Fonda Lee’s abilities as a writer. Truly. Stunning.
4. Fence by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad (+ the novels by Sarah Rees Brennan)
Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…
I got the first two volumes on a whim when I was at the bookstore and felt like reading a graphic novel. And boom! The newest obsession was born. I was not wailing on the floor but laughing and groaning and getting second hand embarassment on my chair. I flew threw the four graphic novels and two novels within a few days and wanted more. Craved more. I’m still not over how I have to wait MONTHS until I get more Fence content. These stupid boys got me really attached. It’s such a fun series, at most times utterly ridiculous but it’s the best kind of ridiculous and I’m loving every page of it. AH! (Reasons why you should read Fence)
5. We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
Sands of Arawiya #2
The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.
As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.
Yes, yes, I was attached to these characters already. Verily so. This series has one of my favourite worlds and such an amazing cast of characters that had me SUFFER SO MUCH. Why make me cry and ache like that? Why at the same time make me happy and smiling like a madman and texting friends who already read the book? The noises I made while reading were… weird? Not exactly human-sounding? This is such a wonderful follow up to We Hunt the Flame, probably even better than the first which I fell wholly and absolutely in love with. Oh and something I should definitely mention is the writing. It’s one of the prettiest, most gorgeous writing styles I ever had the joy to read. And this was a book that definitely had me wailing on the floor at the end. (We Free the Stars review)
Which books had you crying and/or wailing in 2021? Which books did you get emotionally attached to?
Until next time,
Okay wow, you made me VERY eager to read We Hunt the Flame and its sequel ahah. I’ve been wanting to read that one for so long and I can’t wait to meet this cast of characters now! 🙂
I’m so glad I did!! It’s one of my all time favourite series and I really hope you’ll love it!! <3