Monthly Recommendation: Fantastic Fantasy
A few weeks ago I was doing a late night internet browse to find some more fabulous fantasy fiction to read. However, I found out that it was surprisingly tough to find good lists of fantasy recommendations. Mostly I found separate reviews – which are awesome – but sometimes you don’t feel like browsing through endless reviews in hopes of finding a good one. We’re book bloggers, we recommend books. Yet we seem to spend very little time actually sharing recommendations? That’s why I’m tentatively starting a new monthly feature in which I give you a nice comprehensive list of topical book recommendations for your browsing enjoyment. This month’s topic: fantastic fantasy!
Fantasy is one of my all-time favourite genres. Fantasy comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes: middle grade, young adult, adult; epic, sword & sorcery, urban, paranormal, light… For this post I’m going to concentrate on young adult fantasy, because that is a genre close to my heart, but collecting a bunch of sub-genres.
YA Fantasy… going old-school (and dragons!!!)
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
There are a few fantasy series that are being read again and again, but I feel like Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series has dropped from the radar. It combines all of the classic fantasy tropes such as sad orphan boy turns special snowflake and goes on a quest with elves and dwarves and dragons, and creates a comfortingly familiar story. Though I never adored the series, especially since it went a bit downhill after a while, throughout the years it has grown on me. If you haven’t read Eragon, I recommend it.
YA Fantasy… with some Mean Girls thrown in for good measure
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Okay, so House of Ivy and Sorrow doesn’t actually have a lot to do with Mean Girls, but it did have this kind of high school clique-y thing going on. You know how in high school movies they always break out the ouija board? Imagine something like that, only add some more disgusting rituals and legit magic, and you have this book. I had a blast reading it.
YA Fantasy… with a dash of old-fashioned
The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
In my review I wrote that The Midnight Queen is like Harry Potter mashed up with Jane Austen. On one hand it has a college of magicians, but it also has a fantastic nineteenth century setting and is much more concerned with characters than flashy magic tricks. If you’re more into a slow and thoughtful kind of read, The Midnight Queen might be for you. Recently a sequel was released, Lady of Magick, but I haven’t given that one a whirl yet.
YA Fantasy… with a dash of post-apocalyptic science fiction
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
I’m honestly not sure whether I would actually categorise this book as fantasy… but to be honest it’s just so cool, I’ll add it to this list anyway. For Darkness Shows the Stars is a Persuasion (Jane Austen) retelling, but then in a post-apocalyptic setting. It has action and adventure and an adorable romance everything I ever wanted in a young adult novel. It was one of the best books I read in 2012. While you’re at it, also read Peterfreund’s Rampant – it has killer unicorns.
YA Fantasy… meets historical fiction
The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
I’ve noticed that a few people have been discovering this trilogy lately. It’s absolutely fantastic, and even though I generally have a heart of stone, the last book give me a major case of the feels. It features a cast of lovely kickass ladies, a mysterious Gypsy boy, a finishing school where said ladies learn manners, and magical realms that can be accessed by Gemma. There is magic, there are disturbing visions, and as many petticoats as any novel can ever feature. If that isn’t enough to convince you to give this trilogy a try, the covers are gorgeous as well.