The other day, my friend Kendal said she wanted to try out the fantasy genre and asked me for book recommendations. I promptly started freaking out as I listed dozens of my favorites from the past six years. However, I promised her that I would take a few days and make an actual list rather than just me spewing out random taglines and quotes – so this is me fulfilling that promise 🙂
So without further ado, this are some of my top recommendations for YA fantasy books!
Graceling – Kristin Cashore
This book has the most amazing female character Katsa who is a Graceling – meaning that she was born with an extreme gift. In this case, she is graced with killing and becomes the king’s assassin. She meets a prince from another land who is graced with his own deadly skill and the two embark on an epic journey to stop kidnappers.
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
City of Bones is the first urban fantasy novel in the popular series The Mortal Instruments which follows Clary, a normal teenage girl, who’s thrown into the world of Shadowhunters, demons, and vampires.
You may recognize the name – there has been both a movie and a current Freeform television show based on these books.
Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
This is one of my all time favorite fantasy series to this day! I will reread scenes when I’m feeling down or wanting some writing inspiration. Rose Hathaway is a dhampir which is a half-vampire half-human with great strength who are tasked with defending the royal vampires. Rose goes to school to learn to protect her friend Princess Lissa. But as threats against Lisa grow and Rose starts to fall for her mentor, this story takes the reader on a whirlwind.
Also, this series contains one of my favorite OTPs! ❤
Side note…as with most books, don’t discard a book solely because of what you thought of the movie.
The Summoning – Kelley Armstrong
Full disclosure, I accidentally started this series Darkest Powers with the second book. However, I went back and read this when I realized how much I loved it. This book follows Chloe who is just trying to survive her teenage years when she gets labeled as mentally insane and gets sent to a group home with some interesting characters – whose problems are far from being crazy, but rather being supernatural.(as with many series, I find the second book to be far superior to the first)
The Naming – Alison Croggon
This is a true YA fantasy set in a different world where we meet Maerad, a struggling slave. She is discovered by Cadvan, a powerful bard, who realizes that she also has a magical gift. As he helps her escape her unfortunate circumstances, he discovers that she may be the only known survivor of a magic school called Pellinor and that she may be the key to stopping dark forces that threaten the realm.
Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Grave Mercy takes place in a fictional fifteenth-century Brittany where the peasant Ismae is forced into an arranged marriage. However, her future husband discovers a death mark on her and she is forced to escape by joining a convent where she learns that her mark means she is an assassin of the God of Death, Mortain. As his assassin, Ismae goes undercover to protect the duchess of Brittany. Her task gets even more daunting when she starts to fall for the duchess’s half-brother Gavriel.
Can you tell I like YA fantasies with strong female leads and inappropriate romances? Because yes, yes I do. In fact, as I’m writing this post, I suddenly have the urge to reread all of these books so there goes the rest of my week 🙂
I hope you enjoy my choices and please share some of your own! I’m always looking for new stories to try!