The issue with not being a native English speaker is that if you make jokes like the one in the title, people assume it’s because you don’t speak English correctly. Which I might not do, but it’s still frustrating.
I know you can’t technically disinherit yourself. You can’t inherit the money you leave when you’re not walking this Earth anymore. But it’s high sarcasm.
Wow, sorry for the weird start. I promise the post gets better.
A while ago, I wrote a post on 5 books I have been too afraid to read. I started it by saying: “I was thinking about my TBR today and about how it keeps growing while some books keep slipping towards the shadows because I haven’t picked them up yet.”
And while that post put forward some of the books I’m not sure I’ll open yet, this one is meant to be my go-to reminder of the books and series I want to read this year.
They’re numbered because the title of the post uses a number, but honestly, they’re in no particular order!
Without further ado, let’s revel in the sigh of beautiful books.
1. The Broken Earth Series ~ N.K. Jemisin
SynopsisThis is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
Someone please explain how I still haven’t read a series with a Goodreads rating of over 4 stars on all its books. And it’s fantasy/sci-fi. I am ashamed of myself.
I mean, the series seems to have so many things I like to find in books, including female protagonists, diversity, gorgeous covers, and genres I enjoy. But what attracts me the most is how difficult the premise would have been to execute well and how it sounds like Jemisin has nailed it (based on the opinion of at least 80k reviewers).
I see myself reading these in summer, when uni will be over and I’ll be able to dedicate a full week to the story.
2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz
SynopsisA lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
I’m not even angry at myself anymore for not have read this one yet. I’m just deeply, deeply upset. But to tell the truth, I’m also very intimidated.
The story sounds so amazing, I want to love it. I want to be in the best mental place, the best moment, the best season to read it to make sure I can 101% enjoy it. I’m that selfish.
3. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin ~ Roseanne A. Brown
SynopsisFor Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
The first in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
Excuse me, sorry, hello, hi. Do you have five hours to hear me fangirl about those covers?
I was very excited to pick up ASoWaR as well, but I rationally had to hold back. Thing is, I am 101% unable to hold myself together when reading ongoing series because I have like -10 patience.
But as A Psalm of Storms and Silence comes out in August 2021, guess who’ll finally read Roseanne A. Brown’s books?
I’m beyond excited for this in big part because of this bit of interview from Frolic:
When my family immigrated to the US from Ghana when I was around three years old, all I could speak was Twi, our native language. I struggled to pick up English for years, until one day I picked up a copy of a little known book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only was that the book that pushed me to really master the English language, it also began my lifelong love affair with the fantasy genre.Roseanne A. Brown
Which I can relate to on so many levels. So, example unlocked.
Disclaimer: JK Rowling is trash, please do not support her. Buy her books secondhand.
4. They Both Die at the End ~ Adam Silvera
SynopsisAdam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
My heart’s breaking in advance. I’ve been stacking packs of tissues for when I’ll read this one. That’s it, that’s all I have to say.
5. The Poppy Wars ~ R.F. Kuang
SynopsisWhen Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll manage to read the whole series this year. It’s just not possible because… over 1.8k pages. But I really want to get started with it, at least.
I follow R.F. Kuang on pretty much all social media and I really like her personality, so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy the series a lot.
6. The Hate U Give ~ Angie Thomas
SynopsisSixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
I’ve been having a staring contest with the movie since 2018. I will not cave before I’ve read the book. Which is why it’s already waiting on my bedside table, judging me for being slow to finish the work I’m procrastinating on.
7. The Gilded Wolves ~ Roshani Chokshi
SynopsisIt’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
This has to be the most powerful combination of book covers on this planet. Whoever designed them, marry me? I promise I’ll bake you cookies.
I’m so ready for the heist, the cast of misfits (how can this not be everyone’s favourite type of fictional group?), the historical setting, and the adrenaline. I’ve saved to get all three of them as soon as The Bronzed Beasts comes out.
8. The Priory of the Orange Tree ~ Samantha Shannon
SynopsisA world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
Massive, this book is massive. I’ve added it to my BookDepository cart about ten times in the past ten days, and deleted it immediately because there’s no way I’ll ever have time to read it this semester.
But we all know I’m going to get to it anyway. Probably the day before I have to hand in my end-of-year essays.
Which of these have you already read? Which should I read first? Let me know in the comments! I’d really love to read about your experience 🙂