The 25 Best Novels of the 21st Century: Read Before You Die

Best Novels of the 21st Century

If we talk about the best novels of the 21st century, some novels that come to our fingers count as A Little Life, Broken Glass, etc. But do you know the best novels of this century?

“The novel is the one bright book of life. Books are not life. They are only tremulations on the ether. But the novel as a tremulation can make the whole man alive tremble.”

D. H. Lawrence, English writer and poet

A novel is long narrative prose that’s mean to entertain and tell a story. Our great authors have exposed their special talent in the field of Novels to the world.

The novel has been a fun topic for readers since the beginning. In the 21st century, much of the novel is dominated. The attention of the people came to this when it was being honored at the International Stages for its different story and its practicality. People liked its style which inspired the writers to expand the novel more.

So, It’s time to tell you what are the top novels of the 21st century.

Are you ready?

Let’s start-

Best Novels of the 21st Century

In this article, we have broken down the best 21st-century novels into four categories that are as follows-

  • Best Fantasy Novels of the 21st century
  • Best Historical Novels of 21st century
  • Award-winning Novels of the 21st century
  • Best Overall Novels of the 21st Century

Best Fantasy Novels of the 21st Century

The Emperor’s Soul

AuthorBrandon Sanderson
Publication2015
Rating4.6 out of 5

Emperor’s Soul” is Brandon’s best work in the shorter format that is one of the best fantasy novels of the 21st century. The book is full of emotion, feelings, and tension making it very uncommon. Through this book, the author did his best in crafting completely original and surprising worlds. This is a fully realized world with awesome characters that will attract you spontaneously. Moreover, each character in this story has a captivating role that stands out at the right time and presents itself to the readers in a very interesting way.



The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel

AuthorBrandon Sanderson
Publication2001
Rating4.6 out of 5

There will be very few bibliophilic in this world who are not familiar with the Mistborn series. If you are not familiar with it, for your information I am telling you that this series is a heist story based on political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action that is very popular among readers around the world. Now come to “The Alloy of Law” which is a 4th book from the Mistborn series, it is also the best fantasy book of the 21st century. In this book, the author has designed every character very naturally as well as portrayed action scenes largely clean and obvious. 



The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor

AuthorAlison Croggon
Publication2005
Rating4.6 out of 5

The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor” is also an excellent fantasy novel that is very popular especially among young adults because of its compatibility with them. With many twists and turns, this novel tells an adventurous story that is very interesting and wonderfully imagined. Every character of this novel is written so well that seems very realistic. The author has done his best to make it detailed as well as thoughtful fantasy. Furthermore, after reading it, you will definitely appreciate the author’s ability to create distinctive cultures and societies.



Who Fears Death

AuthorNnedi Okorafor
Publication2018
Rating4.6 out of 5

If you are looking for black or African American literary fiction-based fantasy novels, you should choose this one. “Who Fears Death” is one of the best works of Nnedi Okorafor’s entire life, for which she has received numerous awards. Along with creating a very captivating storyline, she has created a magical world full of emotion through this book. The best part of this book is that it also talks about feminism, social justice, women empowerment, and the inner beauty of human beings.



Range of Ghosts

AuthorElizabeth Bear
Publication2013
Rating4.3 out of 5

If you have the taste of military fantasy, add “Range of Ghosts” to your reading list. It is the first book from “The Eternal Sky” series which tells an amazing and fresh world and gripping story. By her high imaginative power and experience, the author has created this novel which has an amazing plot and great storyline with incredible world-building due to the writer’s choice of language. Apart from this, due to word selection and phrases used, this novel is a grammar-rich creation.



Best Historical Novels of 21st Century

Silence: A Novel

AuthorShusaku Endo
Publication2016
Rating4.5 out of 5

Silence: A Novel” is an excellent novel by Shusaku Endo based on religious historical fiction that gives a glimpse of Japanese literature. The novel is literate, intelligent, and ultimately subtly persuasive in its apparent argument that truth (religious truth) is to a great extent, a social construct. Through this novel, the author has also portrayed the culture, livelihood, religious beliefs of Japanese as well as Portuguese Jesuits residing in Japan by which you will get ideas about their history. Apart from this, you will get many answers in the context of religion and human conundra like why is God silent and many more.



The Twentieth Wife: A Novel

AuthorIndu Sundaresan
Publication2003
Rating4.4 out of 5

You will definitely be familiar with the Mughal, am I right? “The Twentieth Wife: A Novel” is one of the best historical novels which is a fascinating story based on the history of India’s Mughal Empire. The novel’s protagonist is Mehrunnisa, Empress Nur Jahan who was the twentieth (and last) wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The author delves deeply into the life of Nur Jahan and narrates how she along with her husband led the entire Mughal Empire and how she eventually became one of the most powerful women in India. In addition, the novel is enjoyable and well-written.



The Mirror & the Light: A Novel

AuthorHilary Mantel
Publication2020
Rating4.5 out of 5

The Mirror & the Light: A Novel” is the third book from Wolf Hall Trilogy that is based on Renaissance historical fiction. This novel is one of the best examples of British & Irish literature that represent its art of writing. The author has introduced every character by name and detailed background information. With its excellent plotting and riveting dialogue, this novel captures the atmosphere of the times and brings to life the important players. Apart from this, it is well-written and the language of it is very well and easy to understand.



Alex & Eliza

AuthorMelissa de la Cruz
Publication2020
Rating4.7 out of 5

If you are a teen or a young adult, you should definitely include Melissa’s historical novel “Alex & Eliza” on your reading list. The novel discusses the colonial and revolutionary periods of the United States. Along with it, the book addresses a romance and page-turning intrigue before readers through this novel that makes it very engaging. The author did well to blend historical information, plot settlement, character development, and plenty of humor into her story. If you are a fan of Hamilton or a lover of history or like to read the romance genre, this book is read-worthy for you.



Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

AuthorLisa See
Publication2009
Rating4.6 out of 5

What will you do if you get a novel that not only introduces historical fiction but also psychological fiction and literary fiction? “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel” is such a type of novel in which these genres are involved. It was written by a New York Times bestselling author, Lisa See in 2009. It is an achingly beautiful, understated, historical, and absorbing story of love that tells a very poignancy story. Furthermore, this marvelous narrative encourages women empowerment, friendship, and relationship, etc.



Award-Winning Novels of the 21st Century

Parable of the Talents

AuthorOctavia E. Butler
Publication2019
Rating4.7 out of 5

Award- Hugo & Nebula Awards

Parable of the Talents” is one of the best award-winning novels of the 21st century by bestselling and award-winning author Octavia E. Butler. It is an African-American science fiction novel that presents a serious note on racism, sexism, poverty, and ignorance which was flourishing in society. By giving a personal touch to the story, Mrs. Butler has presented a very engaging masterpiece before us. It is mainly enthralling, compelling, and truly original however the author has also given a fictional form to it. So, if you want to read a serious novel, it needs your attention.



The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

AuthorJeanne Birdsall
Publication2007
Rating4.7 out of 5

Award- National Book Award

Through his novel “The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy“, Jeanne Birdsall tells a beautiful and simple story that is heartwarming and endearing. It is the best read, especially for children and teens. There are few teens who go for their vacation at a holiday cottage on a large estate and explore many things there. They solve a lot of mysteries, make new friends, and enjoy nature. It is thoroughly entertaining and full of fun, laughter, surprises, and adventure that will give you an excellent experience.



Life of Pi

AuthorYann Martel
Publication2003
Rating4.4 out of 5

Award- Booker Prize

If you say that you have not heard the name of this novel before today, then I will be surprised. “Life of Pi” is a very popular book and even a movie with the same name was released in 2012. It is a novel that is full of adventure, relationships, and psychology. The author has portrayed the thrilling story of a boy and a tiger who get stuck on a boat in the sea. They battle the weather, storms, and dangerous sea creatures and eventually manage to survive. But does the author only tell the story of their struggle for existence? Not at all, the author also focuses on building relationships, understanding nature, and the psychology of animals. Apart from this, you will get to learn a lot from here.



The House of the Scorpion

AuthorNancy Farmer
Publication2004
Rating4.6 out of 5

Award- National Book Award

We (especially youth) are very interested in our future, so if any futuristic masterpiece we get, it would be great, right? “The House of the Scorpion” is this kind of book based that is very futuristic. It is an enlightening, ultimately hopeful story that draws on the moral, socio-political and scientific issues of today and paints a compelling picture of what the future may bring. If it is your habit to think about the future of yourself, your nation, and the world, this novel would be a great read for you.



The Road

AuthorCormac McCarthy
Publication2006
Rating4.4 out of 5

Award- Pulitzer Prize

Do you have a taste for contemporary literature? If yes, then you should add Cormac McCarthy’s excellent work, “The Road” to your reading list. It is a post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive that tells a very poignant story. The author has tried to tied people with his writing skills that show his brilliance. For this novel, the author has received Pulitzer Prize, which is a very big thing in itself. Apart from this, it is well written, simple yet mysterious, and easy to read.



Best Overall Novels of the 21st Century

A Little Life

AuthorHanya Yanagihara
Publication2005
Rating4.4 out of 5

Another genre-

  • Domestic Fiction
  • Bildungsroman

About-

It is the first book on our list of best novels of the 21st century that tells us the story of four friends who are living together since college. The name of them is Jude, Malcolm, JB, and Willem. The story focuses, particularly on Jude. He was a lawyer by occupation. He is not happy with his life because he had not good health. Jude walks with a limp. Malcolm is a struggling architect. JB is a painter of Haitian descent and Willem is an ambitious actor. All of them are struggling with their life. The author put an engaging story through this book before us.



The Bonesetter’s Daughter

AuthorAmy Tan
PublicationFebruary 19, 2001
Rating4.5 out of 5

Another Genre-

  • Domestic Fiction

About-

It is a story of a self-sufficient woman named Ruth. She is a ghostwriter and writes self-help books. She lives with her boyfriend, Art Kamen. Kamen has already two teenage daughters, Dory and Fia. Ruth takes care of them as a stepmother.

Lu Ling is Ruth’s mother who is gradually becoming more and more demented. She losses her memory. Ruth takes care of her mother. Her mother also was a writer in the past. She wrote her life story in Chinese. Ruth translated and learns the truth about her mother’s life. It provides two different life stories in different time phases. The author made it incredible by her creativity.



The Book of Strange New Things

AuthorMichel Faber
PublicationJune 10, 2014
Rating3.8 out of 5

Another Genre-

  • Science Fiction
  • Christian Fiction

About-

The Book of Strange New Things is the story of Peter Leigh who is an English pastor. He decides to leave his wife in order to be a missionary. Finally, he left his wife and goes for a missionary.

He starts to preach to the population of a distant planet called Oasis. But when he meets the population, he finds hostility amongst each other. He tries to spread love and brotherhood to that place. In this book, you will find how much suffer Peter, and how he was raised from this situation. It is considered the best novel ever written.



Broken Glass

AuthorAlain Mabanckou
PublicationJanuary 7, 2005
Rating3.9 out of 5

Another Genre-

  • Fiction
  • Politics
  • Arts

About-

Broken Glass is a story about a middle-class teacher who lives his life by working at a bar in Africa. He is narrated by Broken Glass. His boss told him to maintain all records about the bar and maintain the story of the bar and its patrons.

After some time, Broken Glass feels that he is not happy with his work. He deserves something better than it. He is a much ambitious man and always lives with positivity. The author described here how Broken Glass challenged his fortune and make his life better with self-belief.



A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

AuthorEimear McBride
Publication2013
Rating3.5 out of 5

Other Genres-

  • Psychological Fiction
  • Bildungsroman
  • Domestic Fiction
  • Stream of consciousness

About-

It is a very insightful and well-written book by Eimear McBride. The story moves around an unnamed narrator and her unnamed brother. At an early age, the narrator is forced to bear many odd conditions of life. Her brother is suffering from cancer and she has not enough money for his treatment.

When she grows up, she becomes the victim of sexual harassment. She doesn’t tell anyone and silently bears it. Gradually she becomes mentally weak. When her mother comes to know about this matter, she insults the narrator. This is very shameful for the narrator. She decides to commit suicide and she does so.



The Blazing World: A Novel

AuthorSiri Hustvedt
PublicationMarch 11, 2014
Rating3.9 out of 5

Other Genres-

  • Mystery
  • Psychological Fiction
  • Domestic Fiction

About-

It is the story of Harriet Burden also known as Harry, and her husband Felix. When she married Felix, she was twenty-six while Felix was forty-eight. Harry is an artist and Felix is a great dealer to the stars in the art world. It is deeply emotional and full of intellectuality. It is perfect for theory-heads who still have a heart and it also comes on the list of most popular novels of all time.



Normal People

AuthorSally Rooney
PublicationAugust 28, 2018
Rating4.2 out of 5

Other Genres-

  • Psychological Fiction
  • Arts

About-

Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan are the two main characters of this beautiful story. Connell is a middle-class background boy while Marianne belongs to a wealthy family.

They met each other in their school and soon became a friend. Connell is a handsome, popular, and much intelligent boy while Marianne is not as popular as Connell. Connell and Marianne both started dating each other. But they didn’t accept their relationship publicly. It is a complete story of their early life, college life, and also love life. This best-selling novel won the Best Novel at the 2018 Costa Book Awards.



Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

AuthorMychal Denzel Smith
PublicationJune 14, 2016
Rating4.7 out of 5

Other Genres-

  • Autobiography
  • Psychological fiction

About-

As it is an autobiography, its hero will be the author. A writer is a black man. He is the most ambitious man. He considers Barack Obama to be his role model. In this novel, it is well shown what kind of problems a black person has to face all over the world. Although the writer has to face many insults from others he didn’t regret it. And he fights for his rights.



The Night Circus  

AuthorErin Morgenstern
PublicationSeptember 13, 2011
Rating4.4 out of 5

Other Genres-

About-

It is basically a phantasmagorical fairy tale by Erin Morgenstern. There is a magical circus that opens only from sunset to sunrise. The circus has many mysterious characters.nOn the circus stage, two incredible magicians Prospero the Enchanter, and Mr. A.H. Groom try to show themselves better than others. They perform strange magic like they make a flower into ice. They fly etc. The author made it a very enjoyable book. If you have less interest in reading, still you will not be able to stop yourself from reading it.



Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley

AuthorJohn Carreyrou
PublicationMay 21, 2018
Rating4.7 out of 5

Other Genres-

  • True Crime
  • Psychological Fiction
  • Mystery

About-

It is the story of the rise and fall of Theranos which was a silicon-valley startup that proved to be a miracle in the medical tech world. It contains a full description of fear, malice, intimidation, deception, and selfishness.

As has been said that injustice is only a guest for a few days, it is exposed after a few days. Similarly, Theranos’ pot was filled and its truth was revealed to everyone. An investigator named the Wall Street Journal brought the black truth of the industry to everyone and brought down Holmes and her $10 billion empires.

This story is best for the entrepreneur mindset. It’s not mean that except for entrepreneurs no one can read this. Anyone having an interest in reading books can read it.



FAQ



Conclusion

Hope you have known which are the best novels of the 21st century. These novels are well-written and well-structured, easy to read, and easy to understand. So, your next step should be to read these books. I’m pretty sure that you will be stunned to see their style and story. Also, it is possible that you may find yourself addicted to these books after reading these novels.

Let me know one thing, has this novel been helpful for you? If yes, then share it with your friends and if not, let me in the comment section where you are facing the problem?

Other Books that you may be interested in-

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