Hey all, Dani here.
The last two weeks I have posted up recommendations posts, first for Banned Books and then for LGBTQIAP+. Today I’m back to recommend some of my favorite fantasy reads (of the past couple years). In the future I might have to do a fantasy recommendations post where I talk about some of my faves of all time, but I’m trying to keep these posts limited to just books I’ve read pretty much since I’ve started this blog (so 2016-present).
I’ll also just go ahead and state the obvious, in that fantasy is a rather large genre, and it can cover urban fantasy, epic fantasy, adventure fantasy, etc. etc. So for the post today I am just doing a broad fantasy genre, but if anyone would like a more selective fantasy list, then let me know your preferences in the comments and I’ll make more specific fantasy recommendations in the future.
Let’s get started with this list of fantastic fantasy reads.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger is a book I discovered this year, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with it as an urban fantasy read. I loved all the history that was created for the magical alcoholic beverages, and including the recipes for them as well was just a fun bonus. I would gladly read more books in this setting.
First Watch by Dale Lucas. This book definitely had an interesting feel to it, because it was like watching a fantasy buddy cop show. But this book is straight up fantasy, not really urban fantasy per se. Yes, technically urban fantasy is a fantasy story set in an urban setting–either real or fictional, but I tend to think of urban fantasy as something like the last book I talked about, which was set in Chicago. The Fifth Ward series is set in a fantasy realm and follows members of the city watch. Regardless it was just a fun adventure and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a fantastic fantasy heist adventure following an incredible cast of characters, and I could talk on and on about how great they are and how diverse and all of that, but I’ll just stop now and suggest that you go pick it up for yourself. It does not matter if you have already read the Grisha trilogy or if this is your first Bardugo book. I think you’ll enjoy it regardless.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco was a book I was lucky to get early thanks to NetGalley, and it blew me away. I loved the story with in a story aspect, and the world and culture were described so well. I was intrigued by the characters and got so wrapped up in everything that the ending came too soon. Now I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the sequel.
Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. Okay, this is a book I have wanted to reread since the moment I finished it toward the beginning of the year. This is a re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice if dragons and wyverns and hobgoblins existed in the same world. It was the book I didn’t know I needed in my life until I became hopelessly obsessed with reading it. I sincerely hope that White writes more in this world because it was so interesting to me. Of course, whatever she writes next, I already know that I will be getting a copy.
The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova. For months all over Bookstagram I saw so many people talking about Elise Kova and how wonderful her books were, so I decided to give her a try, and thankfully I was approved on NetGalley to read this book early. I must say that I was impressed with the worldbuilding and the characters. The pages flew by so quickly and I very much enjoyed the experience. (I only made it a couple chapters into the sequel so far–I feel like a bad reader).
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I enjoyed the bond Safiya and Iseult had in this book, though I wished that there was a lot more time with them together, and sadly they stay parted in the sequel as well. But the Witchlands intrigue me, and I like learning about the different witcheries and the political issues in the world as well.
Borderline by Mishell Baker. I read this book during my first Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and it was absolutely amazing. I loved the complexity of the characters and the diversity. Having the main character Millie be a double amputee and have borderline personality issues made her look at things differently. Then toss in some of the fair folk and other supernatural beings, and a government organization to monitor their presence in our world and it was just an entertaining adventure.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. Around the time this one came out I heard a lot of people saying it was sort of like a YA answer to Game of Thrones, and I can understand why they would say that. The politics, intrigue, violence, and story have that similar vicious feel to them. And much like with GoT, be careful about getting attached to characters because they may die soon. But I loved this great epic style fantasy read at a YA level. I’m going to be sad that the series is ending this year.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Kell is a traveler who can traverse between the parallel Londons–Red London: full of magic, Grey London: non-magical and similar to our 1800s era London, White London: where magic went wrong and is draining the land, and Black London: well, people just don’t talk about it. Things get complicated when Kell smuggles something from one London to the next, and it starts to cause issues. He also teams up with Lila Bard, a young woman from Grey London who dreams of having her own ship. I don’t want to say much more about it, but I do highly recommend that you give this series a try.
Well, I think that’s it for now. Next week I believe my recommendation will be for paranormal reads. Let me know what you’d like to see next down in the comments: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Romance, Historical, Poetry, Memoir, Classics, Diverse Reads, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade,….
Oh, and I just got this in the mail today and it is BEAUTIFUL!! I really can’t wait to read it because I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this fantastical tale.