Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. Today, I have 21 Favorite Sci-Fi & Fantasy reads of 2021. So many amazing books were released in 2021, and I was lucky to read several dozen that I enjoyed. Some are brand new series and first-time authors, and others are continuations of series that I love. All are memorable reads! Let’s take a look at some of my faves!
1. After Darkness III by J.F. Johns
Series: After Darkness (#3)
Publication Date: Sept. 8, 2021
Synopsis: THE FINAL INSTALMENT TO THE AFTER DARKNESS TRILOGY
It’s the year 2160.
The Nation is divided between humans and cyborgs.
War has finally arrived.
If you want to survive, follow these simple rules.
Don’t go out by yourself.
Don’t get caught by Watchers.
If you break these rules, you’ll die.
Welcome to the New Nation
2. Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep
Series: A Gargoyle Queen – Book 1
Page Length: 464
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Synopsis: Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy.
Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.
Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.
The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…
3. Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift
Series: Wickery (Book 1)
Page Length: 448
Publication Date: Jan. 19, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
4. The Code of Us by Liv Evans
Page Length: 174
Publication Date: July 11, 2021
Synopsis: “Some things are worth breaking for…”
When Mia and Arden Drew are in a horrific car accident, the dreams they shared for their future balance on a precipice. As a talented neuropsychologist working for one of the world’s foremost experimental human research facilities, Mia uses the resources at her fingertips to save her husband’s life.
Mia’s grief-fuelled decision catapults her into the depths of a messy court case where her actions are subjected to intense public scrutiny. Her intentions, relationships, and career are put to the ultimate test as the people around her question how far she should have gone to save her husband, and whether he is still the man she fell in love with. Now, she must face the truth of what she’s done and try to piece together the shards of her shattered dreams, or risk losing her husband once and for all.
5. The Court of Secrets by Rebecca L. Garcia
Series: The Fate of Crowns #3
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
Synopsis: Darkness can only survive in the hearts of the wicked.
I was brought back from the edge of death by Morgana so I could reign. But whilst there, something had latched onto me, and it had no plans on leaving. With each passing day, I feel my heart growing darker and it becoming stronger. Struggling to suppress the beast within, I lose myself in the scandals and politics of my kingdom. Caught between the high priest-Vahaga-and the lords of the land, being in power has never seemed more difficult.
The threats of war with Berovia looming on the horizon means I need to remain strong for my people. My coronation nears, but with the mystery surrounding my father’s death coming under scrutiny, being back at court has never been so dangerous. Especially for a queen.
The Court of Secrets is Book 3 in The Fate of Crowns Series.
6. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Page Length: 757
Publication Date: Feb. 16, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Synopsis: Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.
7. Faye and the World’s End by Nicole Bailey
Series: Faye and the Ether #3
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Synopsis: There is no escape from the storm that’s coming.
After last summer’s battle, Faye resents the reverence shown to her and wishes to blend in. Yet, to the Ether, she’s a beacon of hope.
As the heavy clouds of war roll in, that hope is needed more than ever.
When Typhon’s forces unexpectedly wipe out an entire race, the stakes rise higher than ever before. It falls to Daron and Faye to form necessary alliances and prevent their world from being crushed under the lashing fury of mayhem.
The drums of war have sounded. Death will show no mercy as it claims the fallen. To save the Ether, a sacrifice must be made. Can Faye protect all she holds dear? Or will she pay the ultimate price for leading her world into a battle it can’t win?
The adventure continues in Faye and the World’s End, the highly anticipated third installment of the Faye and the Ether Series. Author Nicole Bailey blends fairy tale magic with jaw-dropping young-adult fantasy in this masterpiece sure to leave readers gasping for more!
8. For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
Series: Wilderwood #1
Page Length: 448
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Synopsis: The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.
For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.
9. Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: Dark Shores (Book 3)
Page Length: 576
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: From bestselling author Danielle L. Jensen comes a thrilling new novel in the Dark Shores world, a series that Sarah J. Maas called “everything I look for in a fantasy novel.”
THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY
Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.
His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.
BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN
Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.
Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.
10. The Girl Who Belonged to the Sea by Katherine Quinn
Series: The Azantian Trilogy #1
Publication Date: Sept. 28, 2021
Publisher: City Owl Press
Synopsis: 𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐞𝐚. 𝐀 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐛𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐛𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐚𝐥𝐥.
Forced to marry the wealthy Count Casbian by her power-hungry father, Margrete turns to the gods, praying for a life free from the men who wish to rule her. Across the sea, a ruthless immortal answers…
Planning to use Margrete to reclaim a powerful relic stolen from his people, Bash, a devilishly handsome king, kidnaps Margrete on the day of her nuptials. Bringing her to his home, the mystical island of Azantian, it isn’t long before a devastating secret is revealed—one that ties Margrete to the gods themselves.
Drawn to the spirited woman he’s sworn to hate, Bash cannot stay away from Margrete and the passion she ignites within him. When the lines begin to blur, Margrete must make a choice between a fiery love, and saving the realm from the dangerous magic awakening inside of her soul.
11. Gleam by Raven Kennedy
RELEASE DATE: May 31st, 2021
SYNOPSIS: “I don’t choose him. Not anymore. I’m choosing me.”
King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.
The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out… Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.
I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.
But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.
He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.
Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.
Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap… I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.
12. Heart of a Witch by Rebecca L. Garcia
Series: Embracing Darkness
Publication Date: Dec. 14, 2021
Synopsis: A vengeful fantasy standalone romance perfect for fans of The Bridge Kingdom and A Touch of Darkness.
I’d never particularly liked humans, but I’d never wanted to kill one. Until now.
Hidden in a kingdom that hates witches, I’m forced to hide what I am. With my sister working in a secret dark magic club, and our family’s shop gaining unwanted attention, things couldn’t be worse when the notorious witch hunter, Damian Shaw, comes to town.
When my sister shows up dead, and my family’s name is called into question, we’re forced to adopt new aliases and leave the home we cherished. As I watch my life fall apart, I vow to destroy the hunter responsible, but his punishment would not be swift. Death was too easy.
Redforest is a quaint town, with a church, pretty shops, and like any good town, a dark past. When my family and I move in, I set my sights on the Shaw family, quickly learning everything I can about them. Damian’s son, Elijah, is the hunter’s greatest pride. His heir. His confidante. The only family he trusts.
I come up with a plan. I am going to shatter every good thing in Damian’s life, ending with his son. My goal: make Elijah Shaw fall in love with me, twist him into the very thing his father hates, then kill him.
With my heart challenged, the attraction growing, I find myself trapped in a deadly game. In a twist of fate, Elijah might just end up being the death of me.
13. The High Mountain Court by A.K. Mulford
Series: The Five Crowns of Okrith #1
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2021
Synopsis: Gripping and action-packed, The High Mountain Court is an adrenaline-filled, high fantasy with fae courts, powerful witches, and a diverse cast of characters, perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Holly Black.
Thirteen years fleeing witch hunters and the looming threat of death. Nineteen-year-old Remy knows she is possibly the last red witch alive, and she is determined to stay that way. The Northern Court King has slaughtered her home court and placed a bounty on red witch heads.
When four fae warriors enter her tavern refuge, Remy tries to flee, but her magic isn’t strong enough to stop a fae prince on a mission. The handsome Prince Hale of the Eastern Kingdom wants to stop a war with the Northern Court before his kingdom befalls the same fate as Remy’s. He needs a red witch and Remy may be the only person alive who can help him. Can she really trust Prince Hale? Can her fallen court be resurrected from the evil clutches of the Northern Court King? For the chance to save herself, her people, and help defeat the Northern King, Remy must put her faith in Hale and his companions on a dangerous quest to find lost relics.
The High Mountain Court is the first book in the thrilling fantasy saga, The Five Crowns of Okrith. Expect danger, intrigue, and thrilling passion as Remy journeys to save the kingdom she holds most dear.
14. A Legacy of Darkness by J.M. Wallace
Series: A Legacy of Darkness #1
Publication Date: Oct. 10, 2021
Synopsis: A reluctant King haunted by his father’s actions.
A Druid girl haunted by her bloody childhood.
And an impossible quest to save their country…
Darkness spreads through the kingdom of Asterion. Shaye Wistari witnesses it with her own eyes as she returns home from across the sea. Fearful of the monsters lurking in the waters to the East, she must revisit the bloody memories of her childhood.
When the newly crowned King tracks her down to enlist her help, she learns only she, the last of the Druid line, can save the country she has tried to leave behind. Paired with the son of the man who slaughtered her people and stole her magic, she sets off on an impossible quest to save the innocent citizens of Asterion.
Alongside a group of unlikely allies, Shaye embarks on a desperate journey to reclaim her power and face the ghosts of her past. She must confront her own demons, or the darkness will overtake her, leaving Asterion vulnerable to destruction.
A Legacy of Darkness is the first book in this exciting fantasy trilogy. From it, you can expect danger, political intrigue, and thrilling passion, as Shaye and King Sorin fight the darkness closing in on them.
15. Mazarine by Cece Louise
Series: The Forest Tales #3
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
Synopsis: She’s cursed. He’s dead. How far will they go to change their fates?
Princess Marilee is cursed. A mermaid by day and a human by night, she made a fateful decision that has left her trapped between two worlds.
Disgraced Prince Darius is dead. At least, that’s what he wants everyone to think when he’s thrown overboard from a prison ship.
When Marilee and Darius meet, they reluctantly make a deal—Darius will help Marilee return to her family in exchange for enough money so he can disappear forever.
A doomed girl and a condemned man. Can they find redemption, or will they be lost to an unforgiving sea?
16. Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
Page Length: 416
Publication Date: Sept. 28, 2021
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Synopsis: A new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.
Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…
17. The Queen Will Betray You by Sarah Henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: July 6, 2022
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: The breathtaking sequel to The Princess Will Save You in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky duology — a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride
To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love…
18. Shadow of Light by Molly E. Lee
Series: Ember of Night #2
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: Nov. 30, 2021
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Brigid Kemmerer and Tracy Wolff, the second novel in Molly E. Lee’s angels-and-demons YA series will keep readers turning pages until the very end.
Hell is no trip to Disneyland, but even Harley isn’t prepared for what she meets in each new circle.
With Draven’s twin brother at her side, she takes each new horror face on. Fear isn’t new to her, but the things that slither in this darkness may just ruin her in the end.
The clock is ticking as they try to locate the ancient artifact that will strengthen her powers and help her vanquish the Twelve Greater Demons now wreaking havoc on the world above. The ones she let free in order to save Draven’s life. Now he’s somewhere in this Hell, and if she doesn’t find him or the artifact, she’ll have succeeded in being the best Antichrist ever—and the world will pay for her choices.
With each new obstacle, she and Raiden grow closer, her soul torn in two as they search for his brother.
Each step gained feels like two steps back in this hell-hole, but the deeper they go, the more she feels her powers grow. The world above is at stake, but down here? Nothing is as it seems.
With Raiden at her side, Draven in her heart, and an artifact that will decide her fate, Harley will have to face every dark piece of her soul in order to get them all out of there alive.
19. Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer
Series: Crownchasers #2
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Oct. 12, 2021
Publisher: Harper Teen
Synopsis: Alyssa Farshot never wanted to rule the empire. But to honor her uncle’s dying wish, she participated in the crownchase, a race across the empire’s 1,001 planets to find the royal seal and win the throne. Alyssa tried to help her friend, Coy, win the crownchase, but just as victory was within their grasp, Edgar Voles killed Coy—and claimed the seal for himself.
Broken-hearted over her friend’s death, Alyssa is hell-bent on revenge. But Edgar is well protected in the kingship. Alyssa will have to rally rivals, friends, and foes from across the empire to take him down and change the course of the galaxy.
20. Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Sept. 21, 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Synopsis: Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.
21. Untethered by Kaylynn Flanders
Series: Shielded #2
Page Length: 464
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: Although King Atháren’s sister, Jennesara, saved Hálendi from the Gray Mage, the reprieve came at a steep price–the life of their father. Now Ren rules over a divided kingdom, with some who want him dead, and a Medallion that warns of worse trouble brewing in the south.
As second born, Princess Chiara is the perfect Turian royal–perfectly invisible. She longs to help restore peace on the Plateau, but with no magic and no fighting skills, she doesn’t stand a chance against a mage. So when a member of the Turian royal family goes missing and Chiara finds a clue about the rumored resting place of the mages’ long-lost artifacts, she decides it’s time to be seen.
As Ren’s and Chiara’s paths cross, they find the depth of the mages’ hold on the Plateau is more powerful than anyone suspected, and that they must learn to trust themselves, and each other, before the mages retrieve their artifacts and become too powerful to ever defeat.
Were any of these your favorite? What are some of your favorite sci-fi or fantasy books of 2021? Comment below!