Books to provide you with the sweetest escape and some much-needed license to dream beyond the ordinary.
I’ve always loved reading fiction more than non-fiction.
Fiction lets me escape into an imaginary world and find friends with the most unexpected characters.
It helps me lead lives I’d never have otherwise known and shows me unique and varied perspectives from people all over the planet.
Reading is the gateway into another person’s (the writer’s) mind and an incredible way of gifting myself new experiences from the comfort of my room.
And that’s why, to introduce you to some amazing books, I’ve put together the five best fiction novels I read among all the 46 books I read so far in 2021. Read on, dear friend, for you’re about to meet some truly impactful, life-changing works of fiction for you to pick, read, and cherish.
To those of you wondering how I read 46 books so far, here’s an article for you:
(Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase the books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. Malice by John Gwynne
Genre: High fantasy.
I’d heard so many amazing reviews of Malice, but every time I started the book, I just couldn’t muster enough determination to keep reading.
This time when I started it again for what might have been the fifth time, I also had the audiobook playing on in my headphones. That helped a lot (I know how to pronounce the character names, yay!). And boy, I’m so glad I completed it because this is one of the finest first books in a series I’ve read in a long time.
The story centers around two Gods from ancient times who choose two mortal avatars to fight it out in their God war. The whole realm is torn by war, as kings and barons battle among themselves. These are wars of pride, greed, and the desire to be the single greatest ruler of all time.
As mortals and immortals clash, the balance of the world tips, threatening to destroy everything man has known.
I loved the book. It quenched my thirst for epic fantasy. The characters were pretty bland and one-dimensional when the book began, but as their character arcs progressed throughout the plot, many really grew into their own, definitely leaving their mark and making me want to delve into the second book in the series immediately.
If you’re a fan of adult fantasy, there’s no way you can miss this book. It takes time to grow on you, but when it does, the magic and the epic proportions of the plot will leave you spellbound.
2. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Genre: Romance. Urban fantasy.
This book is truly a sensory overload — for all the senses.
On every page, you can see the delicate care with which the author has crafted each sentence, each word. The book makes you feel like delving into a storm of indulgence, of temptation, of tasting true freedom, and a thorough pampering of all the senses.
At its heart, Chocolat is the story of Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk — how they have only known change all their lives, moving from town to town, city to city in search of a place to call home. When they arrive at the village of Lansquenet, Vianne is travel-worn and weary of heart. She longs to finally stop moving and settle down, to give her daughter the gift of carefree childhood. Luckily for her, she opens a small chocolate shop and the village folk seems to love it.
But there are other forces at play: the people who see Vianne as a threat to what Lansquenet stands for. They consider her an evil force out here to uproot their belief systems and leave them in ruins. Vianne can barely grasp the reality of it all, but her chocolate shop has managed to ruffle some very powerful feathers — of people who will stop at nothing to make her dreams come crashing down.
Will Vianne be able to survive the ruthlessness of another village, another community? Or will she crumble under pressure and her little chocolate shop will go up in flames in front of her eyes?
Read on to know more, for Chocolat isn’t a book that you read. It’s a book you try, test, then taste.
3. Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Genre: Technical thriller.
Looking at some of the reviews, I was worried if this book might be too difficult for me to understand. But once I started, the addictive narrative didn’t let me stop even for a while.
Here’s the premise in brief: Matt Soble is a billionaire game developer who dies of brain cancer. Soble was always interested in how society functions and mimicked the hierarchy in his games.
With time, he had developed a cult following among the community of gamers. After his diagnosis, Soble wrote a daemon — an AI computer program that executes on the day of his death — to recruit people who support his end vision and eliminate the ones who don’t.
It sounds far-fetched, but the execution is amazing. I’m not a programmer or a hacker, but I understood most of what was happening. The scope of the book is mind-boggling, and the number of characters sometimes might require you to take notes to remember who’s who.
But the effort spent on reading is worth it. The finale is amazing — the final twist is not something you’d expect. The author lays the ground for a sequel, and I’m going to pick that up pretty soon. However, even if you don’t feel like investing in a series, the ending for this book is satisfying enough and you can treat it as a stellar, standalone thriller.
4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Genre: Murder mystery. Contemporary fiction.
A 24-year-old single mother with unconditional love for her son, Ziggy.
A 40-year-old lady looking for a second chance at life with her new family and a 14-year-old daughter from a broken marriage.
A beautiful 30-year-old married to one of the richest and most handsome men in the country — living her life that’s perfect on paper, but carrying her own dark secret.
Their worlds collide when they send their children to the same school, and one of the five-year-old girls points at Ziggy when asked who’s been secretly bullying her.
Thus begins a wild journey of lies and half-truths, secret intentions and forbidden desires, and a connection between all three women that goes deeper than what meets the eye.
Yes, this is a murder mystery — easily one of the best I’ve read in recent times. But what makes this book stand out is its exploration of the human psyche. Each of the women in this book has different character traits, and each shines bright in her character arc. It’s a brilliant idea executed to perfection by the writer’s authentic prose.
If you’re on the lookout for a book that will make you fall in love with it, pick this one. It’s a little hard to keep track of all the characters and how who’s related to whom, but once you get the hang of it, you’re gonna call this one of your favorite reads.
5. Broken by Nicola Haken
Genre: Romance (Trigger warning: Self-harm, suicide, depression)
I started reading this book at 1 AM one night and finished it within 24 hours. The story flows so easily and the characters are so well-written, I had no option but to continue reading until I knew what happens in the end.
This is a love story, yes, but it has layers that run much deeper. It is about how to love a person with mental illness, someone who is bipolar and suicidal and believes he is broken since birth.
There are parts in the story that are almost too painful to read, but they are also important. In today’s world when every person feeling slightly down starts calling themselves depressed, we need more books like this that break the stigma around mental health without being patronizing or condescending.
I loved this book. Nicola Haken has done a brilliant job of bringing these beautiful, flawed characters to life. If you can handle the trigger warnings of depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation, I would recommend you to read this book.
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