Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2021”! I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting about, but in a glance at my to-read list and things I can remember off the top of my head, here are ten books I’m looking forward to that are coming out in the latter half of 2021. I can’t believe the year’s halfway gone already!! It’s been such a busy year, but I have a good feeling that the rest of this year is going to be amazing.
Well, This is Exhausting: Essays by Sophia Benoit– I’ve followed Sophia on Twitter for so long and have loved her presence on social media, so I’m excited to read her essays!
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling – I love the vibes of this cover?? It’s a witchy romance out just in time for the spooky season.
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen – I have not read her duology yet even though I own them, but this has all of the fairy tale vibes I’m here for.
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow – I really enjoyed her debut novel, and this retelling and reworking of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is calling my name.
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – I thoroughly enjoyed Starling’s debut, and this looks like the gothic horror I’ve been wanting (especially after reading Mexican Gothic).
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood – This is a Jane Eyre retelling, and I love seeing what writers do with that story.
Gilded by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t read the superhero trilogy of hers yet, but I’ve enjoyed everything else Meyer writes. The cover of this looks so good too.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – After reading Mexican Gothic (and I’m in the middle of The Beautiful Ones now), I’ll read anything Silvia writes!!
The Penguin Book of Dragons by edited by Scott G. Bruce – Penguin puts out such great collections, and after their mermaid book a while back, I’m excited to see one come out about dragons!
Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter – Having just read The Helm of Midnight by the same author, I’m looking forward to reading more of their work! This is recommended for those who like Martha Wells’ Murderbot series, and anything to do with robots/A.I./first contact is everything I enjoy.
What new releases are you looking forward to reading in 2021??
I first read this book as an e-copy while studying in England, and I plowed through it in a day. I couldn’t bring myself to do much else. I love Rapunzel as a fairy tale. Cress embodies that role perfectly – innocent, yet intelligent and intuitive. She grows throughout the entire book in a way that I never found forced or false. Her budding relationship with Thorne is perfect too. They’re probably my favorite relationship in the series because Thorne (the charming scoundrel) learns to love Cress without being able to see her (and it’s a nice reference to the fairy tale itself with him being blinded after a fall).
One of the things I am really liking about this series is the way Marissa Meyer can add new characters to the plot and not have it feel like those additions are too much or too confusing. Each character adds their own flavor to the story and round it out nicely. On some occasions it does tend to drag out a little bit, which may be the only downside to multiple POVs, and that makes it for a weaker novel if you’re looking at it from a standalone perspective. I honestly cannot wait to see how everything is resolved in the last book!
As I’m rereading The Lunar Chronicles in preparation for Winter, I’m taking a closer look at each of the books. I studied fairy tales in college, and I’ve always been interested in reinterpretations and retellings of the stories. I love that this series has a lot of science fiction elements woven in with the traditional magic elements often found in fairy tales.
This second one rates just a slight bit higher than the first because there’s more action, there’s a bit more world development, and a lot more character development. I won’t write out many spoilers, so I’ll touch on things I liked and didn’t like. Out of the new characters introduced, I really like Thorne. He reminds me of a younger, more rash Han Solo. Scarlet is the sort of heroine I want to see more of in books marketed toward younger readers because she’s quite open-minded about a lot of things, especially with regards to Wolf. Something that I found a little unbelievable was everyone’s utter blindness to Cinder’s true identity. The obliviousness left in that blind wake made for sort of clunky storytelling, so if anything could be remedied about this series would to either make a bigger deal of Cinder’s identity or withhold it until a more climactic reveal. Because honestly, why else would Levana be so adamant about killing Cinder?
Meyer’s writing and characterizations are stronger in this second novel of the series, and it ends with a great lead-in to Cress.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
I love love love fairy tales. I especially love imaginative retellings of fairy tales. Some of my favorite books of all time are retellings, and they are often the titles I recommend to people first. I couldn’t honestly tell you what got me into retellings initially. I grew up on Disney movies, and some of my favorite movies are Ever After (a Cinderella “history”) and The Princess Bride (which plays on fairy tale tropes). The first retelling I vividly remember reading was Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. I think that one might have been the tipping point. After reading it, I sought out every other retelling I could possibly find (and this was in the early stages of internet searching, so it was a difficult and arduous task!). My searches led me to Robin McKinley, Donna Jo Napoli, Cameron Dokey, and many others. I’ve got an entire overflowing shelf filled specifically with retellings.
When a few friends told me about Cinder, I had to read it. When I read it for the first time back in Feburary 2013, I devoured it in a single day. It wasn’t until I finished it and had some more conversations with friends about it that I found out about Meyer writing Sailor Moon fanfiction and everything fell into place. It’s the perfect mix of fairy tales and Sailor Moon. While I worked in a bookstore, I would recommend it based on that alone. Love fairy tales and anime? You’ll love this series.
I love how Meyer weaves in several fairy tales in one overarching narrative. It’s not an entirely new concept (and admittedly I’m using a similar one for a series of novels I’m planning), but the little science fiction twist to it is something I like most about this series. Most fairy tale retellings I’ve come across have a very high-fantasy/historical twist to them, but this adds space and science to the mix. I didn’t know how much I wanted to see princesses in space and cyborg princesses until I came across The Lunar Chronicles.
Cinder follows the traditional Cinderella storyline. Cinder is a ward who was adopted by her now-dead father. She is raised by her step-mother, and she has two step-sisters. There’s a handsome prince, a cute android sidekick, a ball, a terrible queen, and mild drama sprinkled between. It’s a perfect setup for a series. The events leading up to the ball bring everything together and set the stage for the rest of the series. The only thing I really wanted more out of Cinder is more about New Beijing, the culture of a future world in which China is the leading world entity, and the day-to-day details of that culture. Why China? What happened? I can’t remember if much of it is touched on in the later books as its been a while since I’ve read the second and the third, so hopefully this reread will be a bit more revealing!
I’m trying a sort of new format with my posts! I love the images other book bloggers use, so I’m trying out some new styles from Canva! I feel like my blog needs a few more graphic elements, so this is a good place to start.