When I saw that favorite fantasy books was this week’s Top Five Wednesday, I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick just five. So I’ve kind of just made this a separate post with some of my all-time and current favorite young adult fantasy books. Some of these are popular and you’ll definitely know them and some might be books you haven’t heard of.
I kind of recommend two ways, the first seven or so recommendations are series recommendations, where I’ve read more than one book in that series and can recommend the series as a whole. The last couple books are definitely part of series but are instead individual recommendations, as the rest of the series isn’t or I’ve only read the first book Does that make sense?
Also, there might be some books that you’re like ‘why aren’t they on here, they’re awesome.’ And if I’ve read them I probably agree, but I might just group them with some other genre instead like dystopian or sci-fi. I’ve done a dystopian list and am thinking about doing a sci-fi list in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for me recommending those books. Anyway, let me know your favorite fantasy reads and any recommendations in the comments!
This series I think will forever be one of my all time favorites. The first book is a bit of a novelty—but still really good—in the fact that it follows a princess who has run away from her arranged marriage, but also includes the point of view of the prince she was supposed to marry who’s followed her as well as an assassin after her and you don’t know which is which. It’s definitely a good first book, but I feel like the series gets even better in book two and three. You can read my review for book one, The Kiss of Deception, here.
The Graceling series is a classic fantasy series for me. I think it was actually the series that got me into the young adult fantasy genre. Those you who haven’t read it, what are you waiting for go read it like now. Basically Katsa is Graced, meaning she has some innate ability. For some people, their Grace is baking, maybe sword fighting, or climbing. Katsa’s Grace is killing, and for years she has been used as her uncle the king’s thug. And then she meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, and her life takes a whole different turn. Ugh such a good series, I don’t know why but Kristin Cashore hasn’t come out with more and it breaks my heart.
A lot of you have probably already heard of this series, it’s a pretty hyped one as of late. Victoria even just came out with the third book King’s Cage. I’ve only read the first two, but I believe it is supposed to be a quartet. It can be a little trope-y, but I still really love and enjoy it. I just loved spending time with Mare, Cal, and Maven and the world. Essentially, the world is divided into Reds and Silvers—where Reds are commoners and the Silvers are elite and posses powers. That is until Mare, a Red teenager from the Stilts, displays a deadly power she’s never known about in front of a room of Silvers. You can read my review here. I also included this book in my intro to dystopian post, I feel like it kind of fits or crosses over into both genres.
Okay so first book is ‘eh,’ anyone who is reading or has read just the first book and is like ‘eh,’ KEEP READING. The second book is everything. Essentially, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills what she thinks is a wolf in the woods one day her whole life is changed. Turns out the wolf was a powerful immortal faerie, and his Lord comes to her demanding retribution—for her to live forever in the magical fae land. Note of warning though, it does skew a little bit more new adult with some steamy scenes. You can read my review for the first book here, or if you’ve already read the first book read me rave about the second book here.
I think this counts as fantasy, right? I don’t really know what to categorize it as besides fantasy? Urban something? Either way, Percy Jackson is another one of those classics and if you haven’t read it read it now. It falls into the middle grade genre, and is really the only middle grade book/series I like reading as a twenty-something. For those who don’t know, Percy Jackson is a demigod. And not just a demigod, but the son of Poseidon. Sent to Camp Half Blood, probably the only place free of monsters and safe for him, Percy soon finds himself in more trouble and on a quest that might just get him killed.
I was a little slow getting into this series, and I know a lot of people don’t like love it love it but I just think the world with the Grisha is beyond interesting. And I know we go back there for Six of Crows—which I still haven’t read, oops. You can read my review of the first book here.
The writing, the world, the characters, everything in this book is absolutely beautiful. It’s a duology too, which I like because I feel like we don’t see a lot of duologies and then we get slow middle books. It’s inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, where eighteen-year-old Khalid rules as Caliph of Khorasan and each night takes a bride only to kill her. Shanzi volunteers to wed him, seeking justice for her best friend. Night after night, she weaves the boy-king stories to ensure her survival to the next morn. But it turns out not all is what it seems with the young caliph.
This book just came out recently, and honestly I picked it up because it sounded kind of like Red Queen and as you know from this list I like Red Queen here. But honestly, this book is so much more and very unique that I think we should try pigeon holding to like it’s like this other book. Essentially, the Frostblood King has taken over and is bent on exterminating all Firebloods—they have the powers you’d think they have, Frostbloods over cold/ice and Firebloods over fire. Seventeen-year-old Ruby might even be the last Fireblood left. To have any hope of destroying the king that ruined her life, Ruby must pair with a force of rebel Frostbloods. But honestly, so good, the characters are literal opposites so obviously there’s some good tension and such. You can read my review.
This is a pretty recent book, I hadn’t heard a lot of hype or anything about it but I did read a review by someone and it got me pretty intrigued. You can read my review here. Emelina’s home country has been ravaged by war, her parents have been killed and her sister kidnapped, and lacking the powers of her fellow Ruined she’s seen as useless. With nothing too lose, Em hatches a plot to marry the enemy kingdom’s prince and murder the whole royal family.
This book. These characters. Roshani’s writing. All of it amazing and beautiful. Pitched as a Hades and Persephone retelling, this story follows Maya the cursed princess. Everyone in her father’s kingdom fears and scorns her. But Maya is fine to spend her life alone and as an outside, she has more scholarly ambitions. This is all torn apart when her father marries her off for a political alliance and she becomes queen of Akaran and wife to Amar. But both her new country and new husband are keeping secrets. A truly powerful story, now is the time to read it as the companion novel is coming out later this month. You can read my review for it here.
I know book two is out for this series, but I’ve only read Ember. I got this book before I really got into the whole book blogging community so I really had now clue about it going in. The world Sabaa creates is just amazing, and the characters—like I just love Elias and Laia. After Laia’s brother is arrested for treason she makes a bargain with the rebels to rescue him. Her end means spying and working as a slave in the nation’s greatest military academy. There she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier but also the most unwilling. Read my review here.
I feel like this is super underrated, and I’ve heard very little to no hype about it. I loved this book. It has a very dark and serious feel too it, but at the same time had me smiling and blushing for the characters. And the second book in the duology just came out so you can binge it! A strange beast is attacking her kingdom, and although Princess Aerity always wanted to marry for love she knows she has a duty to her people. Her hand will be offered to whomever kills the creature. She’s quite miserable about it, that is until she spots a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt. But Paxton has no interest in marriage and is harboring secrets beyond what the princess could imagine.
This book was a little predictable and tropey—you can read my review here—but the way it ended has left me more than intrigued for the next book in the series. Britta spends her days in the woods tracking with her father, a legendary bounty hunter. That is, until he’s murdered. Now she has no one, nothing. So, when she’s caught poaching and instead of facing the noose is offered a deal—catching her father’s killer for her freedom— she can’t turn in down, even if the suspected killer is Cohen Mckay, her father’s former apprentice and her only friend.