My 10 Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2021
Wow, it’s been a while since I made a list post like this one, but here I am, back to talk about the new book releases I’m excited to read this year! If you’re interested in reading other posts like this one, I also made a “most anticipated reads” list back in 2019, which you can read by clicking here.
Of course, these are not all the new books I’m hoping to get to this year, but I have a feeling this post is going to be pretty long even with just ten books on it, so I’m capping it there.
Ordered by approximate release date, here they are:
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 5, 2021
By the time this post goes up, this book will already be out, which is super exciting! Alexandra Bracken is the author of many different YA and middle-grade speculative fiction books, but her most popular is probably her Darkest Minds series. I’ve actually only ever read one other book by her, the first book in The Darkest Minds series, but I enjoyed it a lot and plan to eventually finish the series.
Anyway, when I found out her next book was a Greek mythology-inspired YA fantasy standalone, I knew I had to add it to my TBR right away. Honestly, pretty much anything inspired by Greek mythology is practically an instant add for me.
In case you might be interested in this book, here’s the description from the Storygraph:
Her name will be legend.
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths. Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods. The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
Release Date: January 19, 2021
I listened to the audiobook of one of this author’s novellas, Binti, last year, and I really enjoyed it, so I’m super excited to dive into another of her books.
One of the things I loved the most about Binti was how the author created such an immersive world with so few pages. That’s something that falls a little flat for me with novellas sometimes; it’s really hard to create an entirely new world and make it feel real, while simultaneously developing good, fleshed-out characters, but Binti did a good job of balancing that.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this author does with this new story. Plus, the concept is so intriguing.
Here’s the Storygraph description:
The new book by Nebula and Hugo Award-winner, Nnedi Okorafor.
“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From here on in she would be known as Sankofa–a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.
But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Release Date: January 26, 2021
Another Greek mythology tale, this one more in line with something like Madeline Miller’s Circe (which I still need to read—I know). This book retells the story of the fall of Troy and its aftermath from a feminist perspective, taking the women whose lives the war altered and bringing their stories to the forefront.
I don’t have that much to say about this book other than that, again, I love Greek mythology-inspired books, and I’m hoping to love this one too.
Here’s the Storygraph description:
“With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War.”—Madeline Miller, author of Circe
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences—for fans of Madeline Miller.
This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn . . .
This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . .
In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.
From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war.
A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Release Date: February 9, 2021
I heard about this book a long time ago, but now it’s finally coming next month. It’s set in a world where you’re discriminated against based on the color of your blood. When our main character discovers that she has golden blood, her village condemns her, and she decides to leave and join an army full of girls with golden blood, like hers.
Here’s the description:
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Historical fiction is something that I always think I’ll like, but never seem to actually pick up. Or when I do, I don’t finish it (*cough* All the Light We Cannot See—hopefully I’ll get back around to that one eventually).
I know why that is, of course. It’s because a lot of historical fiction—especially adult historical fiction—is sad and pretty slow-paced, and I’m the kind of person who tends to go for reads that are a little more lighthearted and faster. Or, at least, I prefer the books I read to have an element of fun that can distract me from the darker things happening in the story.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep trying to read books like this, and of the ones out there, this seems like a decent pick. After all, it’s about Paris and books, two of my favorite things. And as a lover of languages myself, I feel like I may really be able to relate to these characters.
Here’s the description from the Storygraph:
Paris, 1939. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books and the Dewey Decimal System, which makes order out of chaos. She soon has it all – a handsome police officer beau, an English best friend, a beloved twin, and a job at the American Library in Paris, a thriving community of students, writers, diplomats, and book lovers. Yet when war is declared, there’s also a war on words.
Montana, 1983. Widowed and alone, Odile suffers the solitary confinement of small-town life. Though most adults are cowed by her, the neighbor girl will not let her be. Lily, a lonely teenager yearning to break free of Froid is obsessed by the older French woman who lives next door and wants to know her secrets.
As the two become friends, Odile sees herself in Lily – the same love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. The Paris Library’s dual narratives explore the relationships that make us who we are – family and friends, first loves and favorite authors – in the fairy tale setting of the City of Light. It also explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of unspeakable betrayal, and what happens when the people we count on for understanding and protection fail us.
The wit, empathy, and deep research that brings The Paris Library to life also brings to light a cast of lively historical characters and a little-known chapter of World War II history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Book Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
Release Date: March 23, 2021
This is a new book by the same author who wrote Cemetery Boys, a book that took the entire bookish community by storm last year but which I, predictably, have not yet read. I’m really excited to get to this one, though (obviously, since it’s on this list).
Here’s the synopsis:
When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
Release Date: June 15, 2021
First of all, this book has a gorgeous cover—I mean, a lot of these books do, but wow. Purple is my favorite color, so maybe it’s superficial, but I just love books that have this much of it on their covers.
That’s not why I want to read it, though. It’s got magic, it’s set in Canada, and it’s got a girl who has to kill her first love in order to unlock her powers and save her family. What more could you want, really?
Here’s the description from Storygraph:
After failing to come into her powers, 16-year-old Voya—a Black witch living in near-future Toronto—is forced to choose between losing her family’s magic forever, a heritage steeped in centuries of blood and survival, or murdering her first love, a boy who is supposedly her genetic match.
Witchshadow by Susan Dennard
Release Date: June 22, 2021
I started reading the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard way back in 2019 (doesn’t it seem so long ago now?), after falling in love with the Choose Your Own Adventure thread she was running on Twitter at the time. I still, unfortunately, haven’t gotten around to reading Bloodwitch, the most recent installment in the series, but Witchshadow comes out in June, so I’ve got some time to catch up. I’m hoping to maybe reread the entire series in preparation for the release, but as long as I get to Bloodwitch before the next book comes out, I’ll be happy.
So far so good, though. I can’t really say much about this book, as it’s the fourth book in a series (or technically fifth, since Susan Dennard has said that you need to read Sightwitch before Bloodwitch or you’ll miss a whole bunch of things).
I’m also not going to put the online synopsis for Witchshadow here, because spoilers (I haven’t even read it yet, since, you know, I haven’t read the book that comes before it and all), but here’s the synopsis for the first book, Truthwitch:
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Release Date: July 6, 2021
The synopsis for this one sounds super cool. It’s got forbidden magic, a (possible?) enemies to lovers romance, and a princess determined to save her kingdom.
After the princess Shiori’anma accidentally unleashes her forbidden magic at her betrothal ceremony, her stepmother banishes her and turns each of her brothers into cranes. Shiori must speak of this to no one, for each word she speaks will mean the death of one of her brothers.
Here’s the full synopsis from Storygraph:
A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse… Drawing from ‘The Wild Swans’ and East Asian folklore, this breathtakingly original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.
Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to forswear–no matter what the cost.
Skyward book three by Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: November or December 2021
This is the only book on this list that doesn’t have an official release date yet—or even title or cover. In his update posts, Brandon Sanderson mentioned that it’s tentatively titled Nowhere, but it may or may not end up being called that.
Nevertheless, Brandon Sanderson is a writing machine, so I feel comfortable putting this book on the list. Barring any unforeseen events (which I’m very well aware could still happen—2020 definitely proved that), it’ll almost definitely come out this year. And if it does, then it absolutely deserves to be on this list.
If you know me, then you know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors, and I read pretty much everything he writes as soon as it’s published.
However, because this is the third book in a series and there’s not a lot of info available about it yet, I can’t say much about it other than that it’s young adult sci-fi, and I don’t have a description to give you.
I can tell you about the first book, Skyward. That book takes place on Detritus, an inhospitable planet where humans have created towns and cities in underground caverns to survive. We follow Spensa, a young girl whose late father left his family in disgrace when he abandoned his flight during a crucial battle years before the story begins. Spensa signs up for flight school, determined to redeem her father’s name. Through the course of the novel, she navigates brutal training, makes friends and enemies, and discovers a sentient spaceship that’s really obsessed with mushrooms.
It’s good, and if you haven’t read it, you should.
That’s all I’ve got today! My 10 most anticipated releases for 2021.
What new releases are you looking forward to this year? Are any of them the same as mine? I’m always looking to add more books to my TBR, so let me know down in the comments!
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.
Thousand Ships sounds like something I would love! I really adored Circe and I am always looking out for other books containing Greek mythology!