This Top 5 series started back in October 2018 and it has grown really big! This is a series of books that all have a common theme. I post the schedule for the next month the last week of the prior month. You can talk about books you want to read or books you have read and all prompts are open for interpretation! Feel free to get as creative as you want with the prompts.
December 19th, 2020 — Famous Authors
December 26th, 2020 — 2021 Releases
January 2nd, 2021 — Books You Meant to Read Last Year
January 9th, 2021 — Multiple Points of View
January 16th, 2021 — Metal in the Title (Gold, Silver, Brass, Steel, etc.)
January 23rd, 2021 — Book about Competition (Tournament, race, sibling rivalry, etc.)
January 30th, 2021 — Weapons on the Cover
February 6th, 2021 — Royalty in the Title (King, Queen, Princess, Prince, etc.)
February 13th, 2021 — Book with Unique Format (Diary entries, verse, documents, podcast, blog, etc.)
Books about Competition
When I think of this topic I think of books like Rule and Three Dark Crowns, where multiple people are competing for a throne. But there are so many different competitive books out there. There are books with races or tournaments and then there are books where there is sibling rivalry where characters are competing against one another. Competition is a really interesting conflict that can be explored in so many different ways. I’ve read many great books that focused on competition and there are so many more that I want to read. Some favorites of mine are: House of Dragons, Star Daughter, Race the Sands, The Inheritance Games, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts and To Best the Boys. When looking for books for this post I was really shocked by how many books have some sort of competition as a part of the plot. It was really hard to narrow this down to only 5 books, but somehow I managed. Below are listed the top five books on my TBR that are about competition!
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
Where Dreams Descend has received a ton of hype lately. There is a magical competition to join The Conquering Circus. I love a good circus setting and this magical competition sounds really interesting. This sounds like a fun and magical read and I feel like everyone I know has already read it and loved it.
The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae
Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.
Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.
All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.
With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
I wanted an ARC of this book so badly, but I didn’t get one. I love a good desert setting and this book has a competition between three heirs and the winner gets the throne. The main character can also communicate with animals, which sounds super interesting. I’ve been really excited for this book ever since I first heard about it, so it’s probably time that I get my hands on a copy of my own!
Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.
But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.
From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
The plot of this book just sounds so intriguing. The only reason I haven’t read this yet is because the mixed reviews made me worry that I might not enjoy it, but after rereading the blurb I know that I really should give this book a shot. I love the idea of a deadly race that gives the competitors a chance at a better life. This sounds like a fast paced and exciting book that am glad has come back across my radar because I think it deserves a chance.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Lore is about a competition called Agon where descendants of the gods are trying to kill the gods and steal their immortality and powers. It’s a bit of a different concept for a competition, but it sounds super interesting and unique. I’ve always loved mythology and I haven’t read many books inspired by Greek mythology lately, so I’m excited for this one. Plus it’s written by Alexandra Bracken, so I already know I will enjoy the writing.
The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
New York Times –bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.
New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.
To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.
When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.
The Mary Shelley Club is the only non-fantasy book that made my list, but even though it’s not my favorite genre, I am really excited about this one. The competition at the center of this book is coming up with the scariest prank. This looks like it has some horror vibes and promises to be a thrilling book. It’s definitely a bit out of my normal wheelhouse, but I love a dark book that will keep me on the edge of my seat.
Tagged! Join this week or next week!
Becky & Lauren @ Northern Plunder
Lisa @ Lisa’s Books Gems and Tarot
Kat @ The Lily Cafe
Nicole @ Thoughts Stained with Ink
Stacy, Justin & Nikole @ A Court of Coffee and Books
Max @ Maxxesbooktopia
Check out other book blogger’s Top 5 picks!
What do you like about books that are about competitions? What are some of your favorite books about competition? Have you read any of the books I listed above? What did you think? Which book on this list do you think I should read first? Make sure to comment below so we can chat about books about competitions!
Ooh I did not know Lore had a competition, makes me more interested!
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It sounds really unique for a book about greek mythology!!
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Great choices! I really enjoyed Crown of Oblivion & cannot wait to get my hands on Lore… Greek Gods & Mythology… sign me up 😂
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So glad to hear that about Crown of oblivion! I feel like I don’t know anyone who has actually read it. I have like mixed feelings about lore. Like part of me expects it to be amazing and the other part of me expects it to disappoint. But that’s how I’ve felt about most ya fantasy lately so 🤷♀️
Ooh, I still have to read Where Dreams Descend and forgot that has a competition in it! I had no idea Lore did as well. I read The Kinder Poison last year and really loved it and can’t wait to see where the story goes next 😃 Great list, Mandy!
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Ahhh I’m dying to get my hands on The Kinder Poison!!!! Lore is one that I’m a little nervous about. I feel like it has potential but I’m worried it might disappoint. But Where Dreams Descend seems like a really fun read! Definitely has like Caraval vibes!