Review: 2021 Book Bingo Retrospective

I made it*!

My original goal was to finish all 25 books on the Book Bingo card, every one of them on hardmode. With two exceptions, I made it (see below). You can click any book to read my review:

2021 Book Bingo

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

(Hard Mode)


5 SFF Short Stories (Hard: An entire anthology or collection)

The Poppy War

(Hard Mode)


Set in Asia (Hard: by an Asian author)

The Changeling

(Hard Mode)


r/Fantasy A to Z Genre Guide (Hard: by a BIPOC author)

The House in the Cerulean Sea

(Hard Mode)


Found Family (Hard: featuring an LGBTQ+ character)

The Scorpio Races

(Hard Mode)


First person POV (Hard: Multiple)

The Wyrmling Horde

r/Fantasy Book Club (Hard: with participation)

Replaced with: Sequel: Not the First Book in the Series (2017)

The Borrowers Afield

(Hard Mode)


New to you author (Hard: haven’t heard much about)

Mexican Gothic

(Hard Mode)


Gothic Fantasy (Hard: not in the Book Riot article)

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street

(Hard Mode)


Backlist book (Hard: published before 2000)

Red Sister

(Hard Mode)


Revenge-seeking character (Hard: revenge as the major book plot)

Six Wakes

(Hard Mode)


Mystery plot (Hard: not primary world urban fantasy)

Wild Sign

(Hard Mode)


Comfort read (Hard: that isn’t a reread)

Tales of Nezura: Book 1: The Zevolra

(Hard Mode)


Debut novel (Hard: published in 2021)

Hellblazer, Vol. 1: Original Sins

(Hard Mode)


Cat squasher (500+ pages; Hard: 800+ pages)

Daemon Voices

(Hard Mode)


SFF-related nonfiction (Hard: published in the last 5 years)

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

(Hard Mode)


Latinx or Latin American author (Hard: with fewer than 1000 Goodreads ratings)

Black Rain and Paper Cranes

(Hard Mode)


Self published (Hard: with fewer than 50 Goodreads ratings)

Annihilation

(Hard Mode)


Forest setting (Hard: for the entire book)

Gideon the Ninth

(Hard Mode)


Genre mashup (Hard: of three or more genres)

The Midnight Library

(Hard Mode)


Has chapter titles of more than one word (Hard: for every chapter)

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

(Hard Mode)


___ of ___ (Hard: and ___)

Project Hail Mary

(Hard Mode)


First contact (Hard: that doesn’t lead to war)

Black Sun

Trans or Nonbinary (Hard: protagonist)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

(Hard Mode)


Debut author (Hard: with an AMA)

A Great and Terrible Beauty

(Hard Mode)


Witches (Hard: as the main protagonist)

The two exceptions:

  • Per the rules, you can replace one square. I never quite did the book club thing, so I replaced ‘r/Fantasy Book Club (Hard: with participation)’ with a previous square: ‘Sequel: Not the First Book in the Series (2017)’.
  • Black Sun meets ‘Trans or Nonbinary’, but I misread the recommendation thread before I started: xe is not a protagonist. It’s still a wonderful book and I’m glad to have read it, but I didn’t have time to read another book for this square. I’ll try to catch one next time around.

Also:

  • I used graphic novels for three squares. Normally, they’d count as novellas, but in each case I read the entire (or almost entire in Hellblazer’s case) series, which was 10+ books in each case. I think that certainly brings it up and over the page / time requirements for a novel.
  • I ended up reading four books in two days to finish off. Maybe I’ll make sure to finish a bit earlier next year… (maybe)

I don’t think there was a single book on the list that I hated; instead, here are some that I particularly loved and can wholeheartedly recommend you read!

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea - A delightful found family / coming of age story that really tugs on your emotions
  • Mexican Gothic - Slow burn collision of worlds between Mexican young woman and English gentleman turns super creepy
  • Six Wakes - Closed room murder mystery IN SPACE–and the best part: with cloning, they all very well COULD HAVE DONE IT
  • Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls - A quick read with Coyote myths, Latin American beasties, and a young girl that’s very well going to save the day
  • Annihilation - Slice of life meets cosmic horror; exploring a weird tear without* going mad–much better than the sequels
  • Gideon the Ninth - ‘Lesbian Necromancers in Space’–but really, it’s an excellent blending of necromancy and spaceships with some excellent super snarky humor
  • An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors - a wonderfully weird steampunk world full of airships, crazy magic, and delightful characters
  • Project Hail Mary - scientific/engineering problem solving mixed with humor as Andy Weird does best
  • Black Sun - dark and beautiful pre-colonial Middle America based worldbuilding with a lot of interesting dichotomies
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - a slice of life deep in space chock full of fascinating alien feeling aliens and relationships