November 28, 2014

A Book for Every {Fantasy} Reader


I can't believe that Fall Into Fantasy is ending today! I've had the most wonderful time co-hosting this event with Alexa, and it's been so much being able to spread the love for fantasy. Three years ago, I never would have imagined I'd spend three weeks celebrating this genre. But I'm so glad my tastes have changed and that I've grown to love fantasy. I hope that our personal posts, reviews and reflections on fantasy staples has reminded you of what you love about this genre - or given you the push needed to finally give it a shot!

While I've loved every post we've done the last few weeks, we did save the most epic post for last: our fantasy favorites! If you're looking for some recommendations, we've got you covered. We want to share our favorite fantasy reads so that you can either fangirl with us over own love for them or possibly discover the book that's right for you. While I still have a long way to go in my fantasy reading journey, I've definitely discovered some incredible books during the last few years. So, let's discuss!
POWER PLAYERS

I'll Follow You to Whatever End | Celaena from The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
I absolutely adore Celaena Sardothien. In my review of Heir of Fire, I called her "a mess of contradictions." I didn't mean that she seemed inconsistent, but that she seemed real to me. She is arrogant, stubborn, afraid, hurt, strong, damaged, heartbroken, angry... I read about her, and I feel like I know her. She's so well-developed and dimensional, which is why she's my favorite fantasy heroine. | My Reviews

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire | King Leck from The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore
Oh, King Leck. I still haven't read Bitterblue (I know, I know), but one of the only things I remember about the first two books in this series is the awfulness of the villain. While I'm sure there are worse villains out there, he's one who first comes to mind for me. He's evil, power-hungry and feels no remorse for the terrible things he does and the lies he spreads. It makes him such a fascinating (but disturbing) character. | My Review

I Haven't Jumped Ship, But Be My Sidekick | Rowan from Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
ROWAN WHITETHORN. I'm not sure how Maas keeps writing the best male characters ever, but with each new book I find another guy to love! I was a little unsure of Rowan at first, but I was echoing Celaena by the end of the book: "I claim you, Rowan Whitethorn. I don't care what you say and how much you protest. I claim you as my friend." YES. He's a loyal badass, which makes him the best sidekick ever. | My Review

RELATIONSHIP STATUS

We'll Break This Curse Together | The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
There is a lot to love about The Lumatere Chronicles, but I'll always remember the series for its characters. Individually, they are compelling and intriguing. But as a group, they are a force to be reckoned with. There is so much character development in these books, and you're able to see the truth power of the bonds of family and friendship. When everything is taken away, those still remain. | My Reviews

Be My Rabid Fairy? | Karou & Zuzana from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor
This series is one of my all-time favorites, but one of the most memorable aspects of it is the friendship between Karou and Zuzana. I love the way these two women support one another and provide such warmth, humor and love. From their chats at the Poison Kitchen to Zuzana's daring search for Karou, they remind me that anything is possible with a best friend by your side. | My Review

The Most Painful Kind of Hope | Hector & Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson
The love story in The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series is one of my absolute favorites! The first of this series is good, but the second just takes the series to a whole different level. There's a slow burn relationship here built on mutual respect and friendship... so when that spark finally ignites, it's everything you've been waiting for and more. This is one of the best romances in any series, not just fantasy. Read it and swoon! | My Review

THE PLOT THICKENS

Until the Very End | The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
If you're giving an award for overall plot arc, it's got to go to The Harry Potter Series. There are so many reasons that this series is so beloved, but I truly believe that one of the biggest is that Rowling had a vision for her series from the beginning to the very end. There's no sense of the story being dragged out or things being left unsaid. The pacing and development of this story is so deserving of all the praise it receives!

This Oath I Pledge | The His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers
I really love this series, particularly because it blends history and fantasy. In these books, you'll meet assassin nuns who serve Death. There's so much to discover - real historical figures, political machinations, long-held secrets and dangerous missions. Each book follows a different heroine, so each adventure is a little bit different while still contributing to the overall arc of the series. I love that aspect of it! | My Review

Weaving a Wonderful Tale | "The Six Swans" in Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Originally, I'd chosen a different book for this category, but I knew it was unseated the minute I finished Daughter of the Forest. This retelling of "The Six Swans" is absolutely enchanting! The writing is gorgeous, the characters are unforgettable, the romance is so memorable, the world is magical... I could go on and on about this book! I love the whole series, but the first two books are definitely my favorites. | My Review

IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS

It Arrives Without Warning | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I had completely forgotten about this gem until I was browsing through my Goodreads shelves. This is a great example of a fantasy read that will appeal to a variety of readers! It's not as intimidating as a lot of fantasy, but it still contains magical elements. I was enchanted by the circus in this story - the various tents and the ways magic manifested itself inside them. It's a slower read, but totally worth it. | My Review

I Can Read You Like a Book | Sir Bird from Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
While this is a bit of "light" fantasy, I read it at the perfect time. I loved the characters, but I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed the creature in this book! Sir Bird was an unexpected delight, and I couldn't believe that White made me care so much about him. While he's not necessarily the most creative or shocking creature, he's still the one that stole my heart! | My Review

A Rocky Crag Jutting From the Sea | Thisby from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
There are so many wonderful things I could say about The Scorpio Races, but one of the things I loved most about this book was the setting. It comes to life through Stiefvater's words, and it stayed in my mind for weeks after I finished reading this book. The setting is like another character to this story - a living, breathing thing with a will that drives much of the conflict and action in the story. | My Review

THE WRITE WAY

Woo You With Words | The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor
This series is characterized by evocative writing, a richly imagined world and epic characters. I absolutely fell in love with Laini Taylor's writing in these books, and I can't say enough about her talent! I'd been so hesitant to read these books because they sounded just a little too weird, but Taylor won me over within a few pages. I love everything about this series, but it all goes back to the writing for me. | My Review

I Solemnly Swear I'm Crying | ???? in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
{Spoiler} I very rarely cry in books, but there was one death in this one that just did me in. The Weasley twins had always been two of my favorite characters, so I was heartbroken by the loss of Fred in this final book. I have a brother and sister who are twins, and I think that's one of the reasons I was so saddened by his death. I kept imagining if the twins didn't have one another, and then.... *sobs*

Love is a Battlefield | The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
There are a lot of books with more intensely romantic moments, but this was one of the most memorable for me! It's definitely a slow-burn relationship, but there's so much tension simmering under the surface here. I love when characters have this kind of relationship dynamic - from enemies into something more. Eeek! And there's a hair-braiding moment in this one that's just so swooooon. My Review

DESIGN APPEAL

Afraid of Your Own Shadow | The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland... by Catherynne M. Valente
While I'm not crazy about the book titles for this series (they're too dang long!), I do love the covers. The illustrations throughout the books are so charming, and that's even more true on the covers. I think they're so eye-catching and perfectly capture the whimsy of the story inside. I think of all three of them, the second book's cover is my favorite! It's also my favorite book of the series, too. | My Review

All About Alliteration | Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I know that I read Ella Enchanted when I was younger, but I forgot how much I loved it until I re-read it recently. This is a wonderful retelling of Cinderella, and I love that the titles hints at the story's origins. There are lots of titles that are more "showy" than this one, but there's something I love about the alliteration and simplicity of this title. And the story inside is even lovelier! It's a creative and clever twist on a well-known tale. 

A Rift in Ravka | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I binge read this series this year, and I could see why it had so much hype! While I'm not as passionate about them, I enjoyed immersing myself in this world. Each book has a gorgeous map in the front, and I think this one of probably my favorite of them all. Ravka was such a fascinating setting, and I loved how Bardugo brought it to life in her books. The map helped me visualize everything, which I loved. | My Review

TIME WILL TELL

Oldie But a Goodie | The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
While I recently admitted that I've only read this book in the Narnia series, I do hope to remedy that within the next year or so. Either way, this is one of the few fantasy books I remember reading when I was younger. It's a classic for a reason! The idea that you can step through something ordinary into another world captured my mind as a child, and I want to one day read these books to my future children.

New Kid on the Block | The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I was so surprised by my love for this book! While I had a few minor issues with the world, I found myself rooting for this character and invested in her journey. I loved the social and political aspects of the story: slavery, prostitution, wealth, power, magic, control... There are so many layers to uncover, and I look forward to finding out where the story takes Kelsea next! | My Review

Coming Soon | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This book sounds like a combination of everything amazing about fantasy PLUS it's written by Sarah J. Maas. What more could you want?! If you're wondering how I can "recommend" a book that I haven't even read, then you clearly haven't read anything by Maas yet. I have no doubt that this series will blow me away, and I cannot wait to fall head over heels in love with it.

READY TO READ

Sabriel by Garth Nix
When I realized that I was officially a fantasy reader, I went to the bookstore and bought this book. I know so many people who love it and consider it a staple of the genre, so I'm excited to discover it for myself.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
This is another book that I added to my TBR because I heard my friends talking about it. I think this one focuses more on the romance than on some of the fantasy elements, but I have a feeling I'll still enjoy this read.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
I bought this book recently after a few friends RAVED about it. I've heard the first book is good, but the second is even better. And it sounds like the romance is epic, which is why I'm dying to read it. I'm ready for swoon!

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
I've never read anything by Tamora Pierce, and I feel like this is the series I hear about most often. I'm hoping to read them soon because I'd love to fill in some of the "holes" in my fantasy shelves!

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
This recent release caught my eye while I was browsing on Goodreads recently, and it sounds like it would be something I'd enjoy! I have a few friends who read and enjoyed it, too, so that's another point in its favor.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I've never read anything by Tolkien, and I think this might be the best place to start. I'm kind of intimidated by his books, particularly the Lord of the Rings series. This is considered a classic, so I feel like I should give it a shot.

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Whew! How's that for some fantasy recommendations? Many of these books could have fit within multiple categories, but I did my best to offer a wide range of recommendations. I didn't want to just talk about the same five books over and over. If you're looking for a specific recommendation, feel free to tweet or email me - I'd be happy to help. Be sure to also check out Alexa's recommendations!

For your reference, here's a list of all of the Fall Into Fantasy posts:

SO OBSESSED WITH

9 comments:

  1. Seeing all the books listed out in one place makes me realize how many of them I've been wanting to read! Of course there are a few I read growing up (The Harry Potter Series, Narnia, and Alanna), and I did read The Night Circus fairly recently, but the rest I haven't made it to yet. Although I do remember my younger brother reading Sabriel in middle school or so and absolutely loving it.

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  2. I really enjoyed all the post you ladies did for this feature. It was a great feminder of books I love and some I need to acquire. thank for doing such an awesome job with this. I loved every bit of it since i adore fantasy. ❤️
    📚Britt T

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  3. I'm so happy to see that you included the Lumatere Chronicles here. Those books don't get enough attention, and they are positively riveting. The first book (Finnikin of the Rock) is a good fantasy; but books two and three (Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn) blew me away--couldn't put them down, didn't want them to end, was stunned by their emotional power.

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  4. Ooh this is an awesome list of recs! There's quite a few that I'm going to add to my TBR now:)

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  5. This chart reminds me of great books I've already read and so many more I want to read! The world of fantasy is one I never thought I would love so much, but in the end some of my very favorite books are fantasy :)

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  6. This series was so awesome and this chart is just EPIC. You've given me many, many new books to check out.

    AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE READ TAMORA PIERCE ALREADY! ;) Although... I kiiiiinda really don't like the Alanna series... so promise to keep trying her other stuff if you don't like this one, OK?

    I'm also really excited to get to Sabriel, especially since I've seen Sarah J. Maas recommend it so many times and I love her.

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  7. This chart is amazing!!!! Power Players is perfect; I don't remember much about King Leck except that he was one of the creepiest, most sadistic villains I've read (especially in YA).

    Relationship Status: the only one I've read is Girl of Fire and Thorns and OH MY GOD HECTOR AND ELISA! Crown of Embers was aaaamazingly swoony. Worth my slog through Book 1, which I didn't enjoy as much ;)

    The Plot Thickens: Harry Potter, forever and ever and ever <3 The other two series are on my radar, as you know!!!

    It's All in the Details: Illusions of Fate sounds so fun and cute, I'll have to pull it off my shelf soon! Sometimes a fun creature can make everything better. Have you read The Falconer? I love the little fairy Derrick. And since I'm obsessed with the Raven Cycle, I need to read the Scorpio Races. Heard it's amazing!

    The Write Way: Deathly Hallows- there were so many places to cry, but I started losing it after Harry went in the Pensieve and realized he had to walk through the forest. So heartbreaking. Yesss love the tension and slow burn of Arin and Kestrel!!!

    Design Appeal: Ella Enchanted was my favorite book in 7th grade, one that I reread often, and I still love it! It's so much better than the movie, the story is wonderful. And the title IS perfect :)

    Only Time Will Tell: I read the whole Narnia series in middle school but couldn't tell you much about it haha. Def a classic though. I really want to read Queen of the Tearling and you KNOW I want ACOTAR! Ahhhhh!!!!

    Ready to Read: The Burning Sky is really good!!! Def a swoony romance and just lots of fun magical details and dialogue. It's confusing at first so power through and you'll be rewarded :D Everything else you listed is either on my list or on my shelf. I need to get back to reading fantasy :) Thanks for the amazing chart and recommendations!!

    One I would add to your list is Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen. It was one of my favorites of the year, a fantasy with lots of action, slow burn romance, and interesting characters! Plus a unique take on trolls; I wasn't sold on the premise but the cover was beautiful and the story inside was amazing!!! So glad I read it :D

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  8. TO WHATEVER END.

    I need to go and lie down.

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  9. I just want to hug this post and all of the books in it! You've seriously mentioned a ton of favorites for me, and the only ones I haven't yet read? Illusions of Fate, The Night Circus and Ella Enchanted. I should probably remedy that since you saw fit to mention them here!

    I also think it's imperative you read all the books in your Ready to Read section. Why? Because I've read them all and enjoyed them all tremendously. Seriously, please go and read them. Right now. One of those books is seriously a favorite (The Hobbit), two are novels I revisit often (Sabriel and Alanna), one is the start to an awesome series (The Burning Sky), one is a new favorite (Snow Like Ashes) and one impressed me after I'd nearly given up on it (Kiss of Deception). Read them all and tell me all your feels!

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