As every year, I am surprised that the year is already half way over. I have had a pretty bad reading year so far but not doing this tag felt too sad.
Question 1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2021
By far the two best books I read were by authors whose previous books I also five-starred (I am sure there is a lesson here that I will, as always, forget as soon as I post this). Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain is near perfect: its structure is clever, his use of repetition makes it easy to follow without becoming boring, and his research is impeccable. The Sacklers are the worst though – it took me a while to settle on a least favourite Sackler but I think I got there in the end (It’s Richard). Piranesi by Susanna Clarke is just a perfect book, no word is wasted, no idea left unexplored. I so wish for it to win the Women’s Prize.
Question 2 – Your favorite sequel of the year
Huh. I have not read any sequels this year.
Therefore I will be counting the first in a spin-off series: Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews was as wonderful as I expected it to be. I am very excited to see where the series will go next.
Question 3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to
Oh so very many – I have been reading so little and so infrequently that I have given up all hope at ever catching up with my reading plans. I am most upset about two of my most anticipated SFF releases of the year: For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten which I have been reading for two months and really am enjoying a lot but it also needs a lot more brain power than I currently have and The Unbroken by C. L. Clark which by all accounts is brilliant but I have not been in the mood for heavy, colonialism inspired, dark fantasy. I do want to get to it though!
Question 4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
So many books that I will probably again not get to. But at the moment I am most excited for Kit Rocha’s The Devil You Know (Mercenary Librarians #2) because everything they have tweeted about this book makes it sound incredible. I love their brand of kickass women and snark, I thought the world building was really interesting, and I am always here for SFF romance.
Question 5 – Your biggest disappointment
My own reading pace.
The book I was most disappointed in was, you guessed it, a Women’s Prize longlisted book. I really need to stop trying to keep up with this prize. I thought No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood would be absolutely my kind of book but for vast stretches I hated it. I get what she was doing with the first half of the book and I understand why she chose to tell the story the way she did, I found it near impossible to read. It felt like endlessly scrolling through twitter which is something I do too much of anyways – with the bonus of it basically being a twitter only populated by (stupid) white people.
Question 6 – Biggest surprise of the year
Brood by Jackie Polzin which I basically only read because of Marija (seriously, the book has consumed her social media accounts). I am now part of a chaotic group chat with 18 people ostensibly as a buddy reading group where we talk about everything but this book. I did however, really really enjoy this book and the longer I sit with it, the more I appreciate it. I cannot recommend it enough!
Question 7 – Favourite new to you or debut author
I thought Hall Of Smoke by H. M. Long was great and something I very excited to read more of. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and the characters, even if the pacing was a bit off. I cannot wait to see where she takes the story next.
Question 8 – Your new fictional crush
I am just gonna skip this question.
Question 9 – New favourite character
Piranesi is a brilliant character with so many nuances and he feels like a real person in a way that I always appreciate. I also really appreciate that he is fundamentally a good person.
Question 10 – A book that made you cry
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe just floored me in places. There is a chapter close to the end where the impact Oxycontin has had on people becomes even clearer than before and it is as expertly done as you would expect. And wow, it killed me.
Question 11 – A book that made you happy
As always, reading books by Ilona Andrews makes me happy. I was very happy to be back in the Kate Daniels world for a full novel and I am very excited for the next one.
Question 12 – Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year
I have not seen any.
Question 13 – Favourite book post you’ve done this year
This was not a good year for blogging so far – and I doubt this will change.
Question 14 – The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year
I adore the cover for The Unbroken by C. L. Clark – much like the whole SFF blogging community. Touraine’s arms have become a running gag and, yes, I just adore this. The hardback edition of Piranesi is even more stunning than the preview indicates. It is just perfect.
Question 15 – What are some books you need to read by the end of the year
I will just settle for the hope that I read at least some books every month – I do not even care which ones.
How is your reading year? What has been your favourite book of the year? If you do this tag (as I know many people do this time of the year), please let me know because I have been the worst blogger and want to be better.