In a wonderful world of so many words, pages and novels, I find myself drifting toward a specific genre of books at the moment. They all mostly filter under ‘YA’ and ‘New Adult’, but that is probably as specific as I’ll be. This is a list of my favourites of the year so far, expect a fantasy book or two.
I base my judgement of a favourite book on a criteria. If and when a book falls under this category, its solidified in my mind as an exemplary addition to my shelves. A favourite book makes me feel giddy and excited, it makes me want to shout and scream at the characters because the angst and drama is incredible. A good novel will immerse you in the story so much so, you feel transported into the world of fiction.
Chain of Iron
Here we have the sequel to Chain of Gold, continuing the story of Cordelia Carstairs as she tries to navigate society as a lady and a Shadowhunter. After the fiasco that happened in that cliff-hanger, Cordelia is yet again put in a difficult position with romance, lies and misunderstandings ahead. Along with the drama exists the continuing nefarious plots by an unknown source. The Merry Thieves and friends must work together to resolve the issue. That is literally all I can say without spoiling the first book.
If you enjoy Jane Austen and romance, or you love The Infernal Devices (TID), you must read The Last Hours Trilogy. The third book is set to publish March 2022, so you have enough time to read the second instalment. This series is a sequel trilogy to TID, following the children of the characters. It takes place in London with walks through Regent’s Park, balls and dancing, not to mention, the fashion and aesthetic of the era is marvellous.
I cannot simply mention Chain of Gold or Chain of Iron without regarding the *perfection* that is Matthew Fairchild. What is not to like? He’s well-dressed and handsome. Matthew is polite and well-mannered, as well as , sarcastic and witty which is a plus. He’s also a loyal friend and trustworthy. You ever need to tell someone your secret, Math is your man. This book makes me especially angsty about him because its a very long-winded way of hurting me vicariously through him (*cries). While I am beyond excited for the last book, I can’t but imagine that its going to ruin me emotionally and mentally.
“Love is not always a lightning bolt. Sometimes it is a creeping vine. It grows slowly until suddenly it is all that there is in the world.”
Rule of Wolves
Leigh (*sigh). I’ll always love you because of the amazing books you write. The Six of Crows duology exists on another scale of favourite books. Its locked away in my heart because its just that perfect. I re-read that series at least twice a year. Nikolai was by far, one of my all-time stand-out characters from the Shadow and Bone Trilogy and I was so excited to hear we got a duology dedicated to exploring more of his character. King of Scars was hilarious, touching and exciting as we explored the damage of the Darkling’s power on the King of Ravka. Zoyalai drama was also expected and received! I love my white man x brown woman ships (they’re appearing more often than I would have first thought, but I am here for it. Kaz Brekker, James Herondale, I’m looking at you.)
Rule of Wolves explores more of Zoya’s character and background. We got to see more of Nina as she grows with her grief and resolutions to the war plaguing the world of Grisha, more specifically the war on Ravka from the incoming frosty Fjerdans. What I enjoyed most about this book were the characters and there were a couple stand-out moments for me…none that I can mention without getting SPOILERY. I will say, one moment brought me to tears because I was not prepared at all. Nikolai and Zoya are such a cute ship and they’re a boss power couple. They exist on another plane amongst power couples.
“This is what love does. In the stories, love healed your wounds, fixed what was broken, allowed you to go on. But love wasn’t a spell, some kind of benediction to be whispered, a balm or a cure-all. It was a single, fragile thread, which grew stronger through connection, through shared hardship and trust.”
A Sky Beyond the Storm
An Ember in the Ashes was life-changing. I’d never read a Pakistani author’s writing before and then I found Sabaa Tahir’s book and fell in love. Not only did we get an empowering brown female lead, but an enemies to lovers brown couple. YES! Did I almost forget to mention, enemies to lovers?
Elias Verturius and Laia of Serra quickly become memorable characters for their heroism, determination and dialogue. I adored how we saw their progressions from book one to book four. A Sky Beyond the Storm follows the heart-breaking cliff-hanger we were left with in A Reaper at the Gates. Originally, I thought the series was a trilogy because I’d never read a quartet but to my relief Sabaa was going to continue it. This book had so many great fight scenes, angsty romance and Sabaa did not hold back with the character deaths. Its true when they say authors love to torture their readers. Personally, I love it when an author can make me so attached to a story that it gets that response. As an aspiring writer myself, I notice these choices and I’m all here for it.
Overall, I’m just glad we finally got a resolution to the story and I was satisfied with the ending, of which, I can’t say I have experienced with a lot of books. This series is up there with my top recommended fantasy series to read. I definitely need to see this series referred more often, because my feed is oversaturated with the same books over and over.
“You are broken. But it is broken things that are the sharpest. The deadliest. It is broken things that are the most unexpected, and the most underestimated”
Sing Me Forgotten
Sing Me Forgotten is a Phantom of the Opera retelling with a fantastical twist to it. Isda has the power to control memories through her power of song. She can manipulate voices and absorb their memories in the form of energy. Hidden away from the world as an outcast due to her physical and powerful being, Isda longs to be a part of the world that has shunned her kind, living away in an opera theatre with the man who took her in. Introduce magic, romance and heroics, Sing Me Forgotten is a stunning debut novel about willpower, trust and vanity. Strongly urge you to read it as its underhyped. This stand-alone also reminds me of House of Memories by Panic. There’s an epic story here and even greater action sequences you weren’t prepared for. Its such a quick read as well so tuck in and set your Spotify playlists to classical.
“He gives me a devil’s grin. “So should I call you ‘mademoiselle,’ or have you got a name tucked somewhere behind that mask of yours?”
The Well of Ascension
Where do I even begin?
It took me almost a year to get to the Mistborn Trilogy. It sat on my shelf for that long! Once I dived back into The Final Empire, I was hooked by the crew of misfits we were given. Vin is an outstanding protagonist and the elevation in her character as you move through each instalment is phenomenal. What I love more than the setting is the magic system. Through the absorption of metals, we have allomantic powers and Vin, who is a Mistborn, able to control and use all metals to her advantage. They’re rare and far few, Mistborn, but each of them are the powerhouse of an army.
Everything I adored about the first book came back in the second – we had great political drama, mysteries to solve, action sequences and the subtle hints of romance. This book hit different because of the angst and anticipation near the end. I strongly believe this trilogy is one of the best fantasy series out there.
“Good men don’t become legends,” he said quietly.
“Good men don’t need to become legends.” She opened her eyes, looking up at him. “They just do what’s right anyway.”
We Hunt the Flame
After it appeared on my FYP and feed more times than I could count, I knew it was time that I picked up a copy. We Hunt the Flame is a fantasy set in Ancient Arabia following Huntress Zafira and her quest to save her homeland from the creeping dark forest which threatens to condemn their land to darkness. Meet the Prince of Death, Nasir, and you’ve got a tantilizing and tension-swamped story of enemies to lovers romance that you’ve been dying for. Remember the animated Sinbad film? Well combine that with Aladdin vibes and you’ve got this. I’m glad we’re finally seeing some great POC books out here from brown POC, especially as growing up, the only stories I read were white narratives. Whilst reading, I picked up the Arabic words spruced throughout the narration and dialogue – it made the story so much more immersive and real! I’m waiting on my copy of We Free The Stars to arrive!!!
“If I told you my name, would you bow?” His voice was soft. A melancholy caress. He lifted his chin when understanding dawned on her face. “Or would you flee?”
Before the Devil Breaks You
Before the Devil Breaks You is the third book in the Diviners series by Libba Bray and it is exquisite. The story takes us to 1920s New York following psychics and talented individuals as their story progresses. Our Diviners become the central focus and take us on a journey into the unknown of ghosts and the occult. BTDBY takes more a mystery and sleuth avenue as the crew explore their powers and try to investigate the origins of their powers and the shading organisations behind it. I adored the subtle hints of my favourite characters I got. For some reason, I got Captain America the First Avenger and Agent Carter vibes from some of the shady organisations and aesthetics of New York; if that makes any sense. The second half of the book was exceptional!
“All the times I say, ‘Don’t see me’? With you, I wish I had an opposite power: See me. See me, Evie. See all of me. There’s a fella who loves you right here. I’m not perfect. I’m a handful. But you know what? So are you. There. Not sugar coating it.”
Kingdom of the Wicked
Kingdom of the Wicked is a spin of witchcraft, the Seven Deadly Sins and delectable descriptions of Italian food set in 1800s Italy. After Emilia discovers the desiccated body of her twin sister, Vittoria, she is kind of forced to enlist the help of a Prince of Hell to get her vengeance. My most recent read, Kingdom of the Wicked could not have come at a better time. Such a quick read and a great paced book! The descriptions were so very visceral! It took me less than eight hours to consume this book! The protagonists have great chemistry and banter…and its dubbed an enemies to lovers, which is a recurring theme across this list.
“My world is broken down into one simple principle: I believe I’m powerful, therefore I am.”
With a final remark, I will most definitely have more favourites to come before the end of the year but these were the stand outs from the new books I read. Although, I am confident at least half of the books I did read were re-reads (and there isn’t anything wrong with that 🙂
A Wandering Reader