Top 5 Tuesday: A TBR to Close Out 2021

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly book discussion with a new topic every Tuesday hosted by Meeghan of Meeghan Reads. It’s each blogger’s job to pick five book-related things (though you’re welcome to pick things from other media, if necessary) that fit the topic.

This week’s topic is books you still need to read by the end of 2021. Way back in January, I made the colossal mistake of creating a list of 21 backlist books I planned to read in 2021. I haven’t even made it through half the list. I guess January Me was a little too optimistic.

This list, however, does not feature any books from that list (with one important exception) because I have officially given up. I am and always have been a mood reader and these are the books I’m currently in the mood for. That mood is subject to change at any point before December ends. I’ve accepted this about myself, so you should too.

Anyway, enough gab. Here are the books I most want to read as of the day I wrote this post (coincidentally, all five books are by Asian authors).

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Summary: The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion— but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

My Impression: I have been meaning to start this series for approximately 12,000 years. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things. The final book just came out, so I’m especially itching to finally dive into this surely incredible story.

Fullmetal Alchemist: A New Beginning by Makoto Inoue & illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa

Summary: Winry, childhood friend of the Elric brothers, is ecstatic to advance her training as an automail mechanic in Rush Valley. Her passion and skills are tested when she crosses paths with a boy who lost a leg and can’t get back on his feet. Meanwhile, Edward and Alphonse Elric just can’t seem to stay out of trouble, even when they’re trying to get noticed for doing good deeds!

My Impression: I was so excited when I saw they were finally translating the final FMA light novel into English after fourteen years, especially since it’s Winry-centric. It’ll be nice to see her life in Rush Valley and read from her perspective.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Summary: In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

My Impression: This was one of my most anticipated books of 2021, and yet I still haven’t so much as cracked it open. Why? I don’t know. But I absolutely will before the year ends. It sounds amazing.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Summary: Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters— but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

My Impression: Suri, you had me at F/F romance in a fantasy setting. Plus, I’ve only heard fantastic things about it. 

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Summary: The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer—

as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

My Impression: I heard someone describe this as a book about unhinged lesbians and it immediately shot up my TBR. That is exactly my jam.

What are some books you want to read by the end of 2021?

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