How many books will I read in 2021? Let me rephrase the question: how many books coming in 2021 will I get to read in 2021? I ask this question because I’m still going through all of the books I didn’t get to read last year—including all of the books that came out in 2020. Yet, I can’t help myself because I’m so excited for all of the books coming out in 2021! These are just some of the numerous books I hope I get to read this year. Will I get to read them all in 2021? Probably not, but I’m going to aim to read these books at some point!
#1: Wayward Children #6: Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire –> January 12th
This next book in this fantasy series follows a girl who travels to a world where every horse creature resides. However, what happens there and whether or not the Visitor wishes to stay or leave has to wait until the book is released. Note: We’re getting 4 more books in this series!
#2: The Black Iron Legacy #3: The Broken God by Gareth Hanrahan –> May 20th
It seems like we’re going to follow Carillon Thay’s adventures outside of Guerdon, which is probably for the best given what happened during the events in The Shadow Saint. Speaking of what’s going to happen to the city after all of the political and the divine betrayals? Looks like the world needs to be saved, again.
#3: Bethel #2: The Dawn of the Coven by Alexis Henderson –> August 31st
I was surprised and excited when I learned there would be a sequel to The Year of the Witching. I believe the story will focus on the aftermath of the events which occurred at the end of the first book. However, this is a dark fantasy series about witches and priests, so anyone can become powerful or die at any time.
#4: A Chorus of Dragons #4: The House of Always by Jenn Lyons –> May 11th
The way The Memory of Souls ended makes readers wonder how the author will continue her saga. What will the “heroes” do next to thwart the plans of the “threat”? And, is the House a place or an individual?
#5: Magic of the Lost #1: The Unbroken by C.L. Clark –> March 23rd
This is the first book in a new trilogy and it focuses on two young women. One is a soldier who was stolen from her home as a child. When her company has been sent back to her home to stop a rebellion, she doesn’t know which side she should be on. The other is a princess whose uncle has taken the throne which was meant for her. She needs a turncoat who is willing to balance treason and orders for what she sees as peace. All is fair in love and war.
#6: Deathless #1: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna –> February 9th
This debut novel—which I believe was delayed due to the pandemic—follows 16-year-old Deka, who is about to be tested. If her blood runs red—normalcy—then she can carry on with her life. If her blood runs gold—impurity—then she faces a consequence worse than death. When Deka’s blood runs gold, she is given a choice: stay in her village to die, or leave and join the emperor’s army of girls—alaki, near immortals with rare gifts—like her to fight. Knowing she can find acceptance by serving the emperor, Deka leaves her home for the capital, where she learns that nothing is what it seems. Sounds like a great combination of Red Queen and The Old Guard.
#7: Burning Kingdoms #1: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri –> June 8th
I LOVED the Books of Ambha Duology, so it should come as no surprise that I’m looking forward to reading Tasha Suri’s next book in her new series. A princess who is imprisoned by her dictator brother befriends one of the maidservants. When the princess discovers her maidservant’s secret, they join forces to get what they want—the former the throne and the latter her family.
#8: Star Eater by Kerstin Hall –> June 22nd
For several months, the author of The Border Keeper has been teasing her upcoming debut novel, and it cannot come soon enough. This book follows a female whose power must be preserved as ordered by her order. However, in order to preserve the magical bloodline, these women must give birth to the next generation, and the pregnancy kills these women. The protagonist is desperate for an escape, and she is granted the opportunity. All she has to do is spy on the highest ranks of her Order and learn their secrets. It shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
#9: The Radiant Emperor #1: She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan –> July 20th
This debut novel is described as “Mulan meets The Song of Achilles…(the) reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.” That description alone should be enough to grasp the attention of any fan of historical fiction and fantasy. The year is 1345, China is under the rule of the Mongols. The story follows the second daughter in a Chinese family, who was given the fate of nothingness, while one of her brothers—Zhu— was given the fate of greatness. After Zhu dies, the daughter decides to use her brother’s identity to escape her fate and enters a monastery as a young male novice. After the monastery is destroyed by Mongolian forces, Zhu decides to claim the future that was meant for her brother. This is story is going to be EPIC!!!
#10: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff –> September 14th (in the U.S.)
This upcoming series by the Australian author combines vampires with the legend of the Holy Grail. The protagonist is imprisoned not only for murdering the Vampiric King, but also for unknowingly destroying the holy order—The Silversaints—he served. Recounting his life and the events which led him to his current predicament, readers will learn first and foremost that the Holy Grail was a person, a teenager. Please Note: This series is NOT YA!!!
#11: The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner –> April 13th
This historical fantasy is a retelling of Rabbi Isaac and his family, particularly his three gifted daughters. After an accusation of witchcraft forces the Rabbi and his family into exile, they learn of a dark force making its way across Europe. The sisters must choose whether or not to face the threat. This book is the author’s follow up to The Sisters of the Winter Wood, and fans of Alix E. Harrow, Katherine Arden and Constance Sayers will enjoy this book the most.
#12: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec –> February 9th
2021 continues the Norse-inspired books fantasy fans get to experience. This debut novel is a reimagination of Loki’s children as told by the woman who bore them and loved Loki—the witch, Angrboda. The story begins with Angrboda being burned by Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future—which Odin gains another way. After escaping and fleeing to the end of the world(s), Angrboda encounters Loki and fall for each other. Anyone who is familiar with Norse mythology recalls the role Loki’s children play in Ragnarök. Will Angrboda allow fate to happen, or attempt to change the future?
#13: Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace –> May 4th
I learned about this book from author C.S.E. Cooney, and she had nothing but positive things to say about it. After reading the synopsis, I’m excited to read this book, too! The best way to describe this book is part 1984, part War Girls,and part Ready Player One. If you’re interest isn’t piqued after reading that, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
#14: First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara –> April 6th
I didn’t get to read Docile in 2020 (but, I will this year!), but I’m just as excited for the author’s second novel. The plot of this book sounds like it was supposed to start off as an RPG, but the quest ended before it could start. I’m curious to read what happens to the characters in this book.
#15: The First Argentines Series by Jeff Wheeler –> Book 1: Knight’s Ransom release on January 26th
I got to read an eARC of Knight’s Ransom (click here to watch my first livestream Q&A panel with the author) and it’s an amazing beginning to a new series. Set about 400 years before the events in The Queen’s Poisoner, readers learn about the struggles the Argentine Family had when they first became the rulers of Kingfountain. The story is told from the perspective of one of the knights, Ransom, who witnessed many political and familial feuds as the Argentines commit to gain control over the entire realm, and survive.
#16: Rook and Rose #1: The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick –> January 21
This debut novel—written by a duo—presents a story of a con artist who hopes to secure a fortune and a future—for herself and her sister—by robbing a noble house. However, as this woman gets more involved with the family, she learns more about the aristocratic society, and the games they like to play. Soon, the protagonist has to choose between saving herself or saving an entire city.
#17: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune –> September 21st
After reading the beautiful book that is The House in the Cerulean Sea—I hope to read The Extraordinaries this year—I had to find out what the author’s next book is going to be. This book takes a page from Greek mythology as the subplot of the story. The plot is about a recently deceased man who isn’t ready to cross over to the afterlife, so he resides with the ferryman at his tea shop for 7 days. Question: who is the artist of the cover art? I know it’s the same one who did the cover for The House in the Cerulean Sea.
#18: The Legacy of the Mercenary Kings #2: The Two-Faced Queen by Nick Martell –> March 23rd
This sequel to the author’s debut novel will focus on the aftermath of the events that occurred in The Kingdom of Liars. I curious to learn whether or not the queen really is two-faced. And, does she know what really happened to her father and her brother?
#19: Wings of Ebony by J. Elle –> January 26th
I won a copy of this book in a giveaway—which, will arrive on the book’s release day (an early birthday present for me!)—and I’m looking forward to reading it. This book focuses on a teenaged girl who is separated from her sister after their mother’s death to live on an island with her father and to learn about the heritage she never knew about. To me, this book sounds like a combination of Legendborn, Empire of Sand, and Percy Jackson, and I’m not complaining at all.
#20: Wilderwood #1: For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten –> June 15th
This retelling of the tales of Little Red Riding Hood and (Norse? or Greek?) mythology is the author’s debut novel. Red is the first Second Daughter born in centuries. This isn’t an issue for her family because while her older sister will get the Throne, Red is destined to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood so he’ll return the world’s captured gods. Unfortunately, legends are not what they seem. The Wolf isn’t a monster, he is a man; and, Red isn’t a damsel, she has magic that she has to learn how to control in order to save her world.
Additional Books to Lookout For:
The Murderbot Diaries #6: Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells –> April 27th
The Tide Child #3: The Bone Ship’s Wake by R.J. Barker –> September 28th
The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers –> March 23rd
The Up-and-Under #2: Across the Saltwise Sea by A. Deborah Baker –> October 12th
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell –> February 2nd
The Bloodsworn Trilogy #1: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne –> May 4th
Ashes of the Unhewn Throne #1: The Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley –> July 6th
The Desert Prince by Peter V. Brett –> August 3rd
The Protectorate #3: Catalyst Gate by Megan E. O’Keefe –> July 13th
Small Spaces #3: Dark Waters by Katherine Arden –> August 3rd
As I mentioned earlier, this is some of the several books being released in 2021. Which books did I miss? What are you excited to read the most in 2021? Any debuts and/or new series others and I should look out for? Let me know! Happy New Year!
6 thoughts on “Why You Need to Read…My Most Anticipated Speculative Fiction Books of 2021”
So many of these are on my list too! I can hardly wait to get started on 2021 books😁
It looks like you had a head start! I read 1 before 2021!
Regarding the cover artist for #17, Under the Whispering Door. The artist is Red Nose Studio. Their stuff is amazing.
Yes, it is! Thank you for answering my question.
I don’t buy many books but I have preordered Across the Green Grass Fields – I think Wayward Children books can always be counted on for a good read! The other book on this list I’m most excited about is Stareater. The premise fascinates me. Also For the Wolf, The Mask of Mirrors, The Witch’s Heart… looks like lots of good fantasy ahead. Happy New Year!
I believe there is no going wrong with preordering the next book in the Wayward Children series. As for other upcoming books, I just learned about The Blacktongue Thief, and I’m praying for an ARC of it!