My Favourite Books of 2021

Hey everyone!

2021 is nearly done, so here’s my annual best books of the year post. These posts are a bit of a tradition for me as I’ve done them every single year I’ve been running Jack’s Bedtime Reading. Not that that’s very long really, but still. There always pretty challenging posts to do because narrowing down my years reading to five books can be really hard, but they’re also some of the most enjoyable. I like looking back over the year and kind of reviewing my year in reading and thinking about what has really stuck with me.

Overall, I pretty much base this on gut feeling about the books, but there is one quick rule. I can only pick one book per author/series. This stops me just having a list of books from my favourite authors if I have read a lot from them in a particular year.

Anyway, to avoid much more rambling, here are the five books that I loved reading the most this year!


A Fool’s Hope by Mike Shackle

War takes everything.

From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give everything she has left to keep Zorique safe.

It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – now must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.

For the enemy intends to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back. And if Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.

This was the first book I finished in 2021, and what a start to the year! Mike Shackle’s The Last War series is phenomenal ‘grimdark’ fantasy that everyone who likes that style of fantasy needs to read. Honesty. Fast-paced. Hard hitting. Great characters. It’s got it all!

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us…

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies… while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together…

We all knew this was gonna be on here, right? I’m pretty vocal about my love of Joe Abercrombie’s writing and this book is no exception. Finishing off his Age of Madness trilogy, this book felt like it had everything Mr Abercrombie does well but turned up to 11. You know how people speak about book hangovers? This gave me possibly the biggest one I have ever had… and the ending! The ENDING!

Requiem Infernal by Peter Fehervari

The Adepta Sororitas of the Last Candle have stood vigil over their sanctuary world for centuries, striving to decipher their founder’s tormented visions. Outsiders are unwelcome… yet still they come.

Decimated by an encounter with a lethal xenos entity, the survivors of an elite Astra Militarum company have journeyed to the Candleworld in search of healing, escorted by a woman who is no stranger there – Sister Hospitaller Asenath Hyades, who turned her back on the order decades ago.

As the seekers near the sect’s bastion, malign forces begin to stir among the planet’s storm-wracked spires, but the most insidious shadows lie in their own souls.

Peter Fehervari was a new author to me this year and, oh boy, am I glad I picked this one up. He’s possibly my favourite Warhammer author right now and I love the gothic horror atmosphere that oozes through everything in this book, and all his other works. Just so atmospheric! If you like horror and you like Warhammer, then go pick this up.

Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn

From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.

What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a decision that will determine the fate of everyone he loves—and impact the lives of every person in Shine Territory.

The daughter of an infamous saboteur and outlaw, Cassandra has her own dangerous secrets to protect. When the lives of those she loves are threatened, she realizes that she is uniquely placed to change the balance of power in Shine Territory once and for all.

Secrets breed more secrets. Somehow, Arlen and Cassandra must find their own truths in the middle of a garden of lies.

You want a book to hit you right in the feels? And then just keep hitting you? Then read Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn, or any of her other books too. Sarah clearly has a talent for making her readers feel something for the characters in her story that entranced me, while her Wild West-themed fantasy world feels very fresh and real.

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!

Murderbot strikes onto one of my best books of he year lists again! We all love this sarcastic android, don’t we? Fugitive Telemetry saw Murderbot return to the novella format and it has everything great about Murderbot: fast-paced, action-packed, a bit of mystery, and so much sarcasm and sass!


So, there you have it. The five best books I read this year. That wasn’t an easy list to make as I feel like I;ve had a great year of reading in general, so here are a few ‘honourable mentions’ that just missed out, for whatever reason. You’ll notice my no repeats of authors/series doesn’t count here!

Hellmouth by Giles Kristian

In Shadows We Fall by Devin Madson

Fire Caste by Peter Fehervari

The Gatewatch by Joshua Gillingham

The Broken God by Gareth Hanrahan

Warhawk by John French

Anyway, hope you all have a Merry Christmas wherever you are and a Happy New Year! Stay safe out there and see you all in 2022!

Jack

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