In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.
This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Fantasy. The RIGHT KIND of fantasy.
I always used to think I didn’t like reading fantasy. With the exception of Harry Potter (because come on… It’s Harry Potter), I was convinced it was just a genre I wasn’t ever going to LOVE. I tried reading LORD OF THE RINGS and it just never caught me. Everyone loved Julie Kagawa’s THE IRON KING but it just wasn’t for me. I had basically given up on fantasy unless it had involved wizards.
When I started blogging and reading YA, I gave fantasy a few more tries. THE IRON KING was one of them and I got more and more settled in my ways. But then I picked up GRACELING by Kristen Cashore thanks to some suggestions from my fellow bloggers and I LOVED it. SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo convinced me that I was not giving fantasy a fair shot — I mean, amazing world building AND magic galore. This was totally what I loved! I just hadn’t figured out which types of fantasy I should be going after and which were not quite for me. I finally started figuring out the type of fantasy that I enjoyed and it’s somewhat specific: I enjoy mostly high fantasy with a medieval-type feel. Books that helped me realize this? GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers, RIFT by Andrea Cremer (I had not read any other part of the Nightshade series), and then finally, picking up George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series for #SOIFRA.
I’ve figured out I don’t like a lot of fantasy that deals with different kinds of “creatures”, especially in modern times. For some reason, all of my fantasy needs to feel somewhat historical. I guess I don’t believe that it would happen in present day? I’m not totally sure how my brain even works… But my fantasy has to be somewhat… believable, despite the fact that it’s fantasy. I can wrap my brain around magic, spells, and some creatures like dragons but when it comes to fairies, elves, and hobbits, somehow I’m just not buying it.
I also love fairy tale retellings. THE LOOKING GLASS WARS by Frank Beddor was one of the first fairy tale retellings I read, followed by CINDER by Marissa Meyer and TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I already have the basis for those stories in my head since these are the stories (and Disney movies) I grew up with. If things start to get a little fantastical there, I basically already have a general idea and concept that the book may stretch my imagination a bit more than I’m used to.
The one exception to ALL of these rules was DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. Chimaera? In present day? Totally not my thing… But Laini Taylor did such a great job with this book that I really ended up loving everything about it! I was really transported into this world and somehow it all felt totally real to me. I guess sometimes I just have to throw my rules out and trust some recommendations!
33 thoughts on “My Latest Bookish Addiction  – Fantasy. The RIGHT kind of fantasy.”
Some great recommendations here! I could not get into Throne of Glass myself. Also didn’t care for the Grisha series but LOVE Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Also agree on Rae Carson’s books, Poison Studies, Crown Duel, The Thief (LOVE Margaret Whalen Turner). Would add V. E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic books, Stiefvater’s Scorpio Races, and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. (Gaimain’s Stardust might also be a good fit.) I’ve long found that my genre preferences tend towards YA fantasy, adult mystery, and non-technical sci fi.
So fairy tale retellings? Definitely check out The Princess Series by Jim C. Hines!
Yesssss!!!! You know I’m a huge fantasy nut, so this post makes me oh so happy!!! I’m thrilled that you’ve found your fantasy niche and are giving it more of a try!
I always find it really interesting to hear what people mean when they say that they like “Fantasy”. It is such a wide-ranging genre, and I think it must be very rare to find somebody who enjoys all the different subgenres! Personally, I can’t stand high-fantasy… and prefer the modern-day fantasy novels that you don’t, generally, enjoy! I promised a friend that I would give A Game of Thrones a try, and am supposed to be reading The Lord of the Rings for my Masters degree… both of which fill me with angst! I tried to read The Hobbit on multiple occasions and have failed miserably every time! I’ve owned A Game of Thrones for about six years now, and still can’t bring myself to read it. But given how popular it is, I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised!
I do LOVE LOVE LOVE Fairy Tale Retellings though!! Have you read anything by Robin McKinley? She has written a few retellings of popular fairytales, as well as of stories that you wouldn’t necessarily be aware of otherwise. They can be quite dark though…
Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve always known I like fantasy, but then certain things (like all the creatures you talked about) really turned me off. I have extremely similar taste to yours, and now I understand myself a little bit better! 😀
Greek mythology might not count (or maybe it does, I don’t know) but the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini is fantastic!
I also ADORE the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray! Magical realms amidst the glitz (and the grime) of Victorian England? Yes please!
And one of my only favorites that carried over from middle school is The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine. It’s a little bit “creature-y” but I love the adventure and the characters enough that I don’t even think about it.
Happy reading! 😀
Thanks for the suggestions, Kayla! I do still need to read the Gemma Doyle books. I actually have book one and two but I haven’t read them yet! Good to know!
Good question – I’m not sure if mythology would be fantasy! Probably, right? I do like mythology books!! I still need to read Starcrossed too.
Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂
As someone whose favorite genre is fantasy, I’m glad that you didn’t give up on fantasy and were able to find a subgenre that worked for you! I love high fantasy/epic fantasy the most myself, but I do consider books like Lord of the Rings to be a part of that subgenre. High fantasy usually has a sprawling/sweeping story in a psuedo-medieval world, but that does count places like Middle-earth as well as Westeros. Historical fantasy is a genre – maybe you need to try more of those? Within that genre is usually steampunk and gaslamp.
Hmm in terms of recommendations: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta,The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (this has dragons but I promise it’s fantastic).
Thank you, Amanda!!! I will definitely check out those suggestions 🙂 True, I do think LotR is high fantasy too, but that one just didn’t quite do it for me… Looks like I’m even picky within high fantasy! haha
Based on the books you’ve pointed out here, I think you would really love the Seven Realms books by Cinda Williams Chima. It’s a medieval/historical-ish type setting, no strange mythical creatures, and has some really cool political undertones. It doesn’t help that I’ve have never been attracted so much to a fictional character in my entire life as I have been to Han Allister. He’s such a bad boy. I love it. Definitely check out the first one, The Demon King. Hope you love! Throne of Glass is pretty good (I just finished it a week ago), as well as Poison Study (just reading over some of the other recommendations), but I’m still going to recommend The Demon King over all of them haha!
Yes!!! Someone else recommended that too. Looks like I really need to look into it 🙂 🙂
I’m with you Brittany. Fantasy can be very touch and go with me. I loved Grave Mercy! And gosh I can’t even tell you how many times I borrowed Graceling from the e-library, but never got to it! But I’m glad you really loved it, because someday soon I am determined to read it! And I start Shadow and Bone next week which is really exciting. And now I really want to read Tiger Lily! If I had to go with a favorite fantasy series, I’d probably have to say Rae Carson’s books. I absolutely loved her Fire and Thorns series. And I really enjoyed Sarah Maas’s Throne of Glass also.
Ooooh I’m excited for you to read Tiger Lily and Shadow and Bone!!! Both were definitely five-star reads for me 😀
I still have to read Shadow and Bone, at first I didn’t think it would be the kind of read I was looking for, but everybody has given it such good reviews that I am going to read it. I am one of those as well that has to have the right kind of fantasy. I have a hard time getting into the medieval stuff for some reason even though I LOVE medieval movies. I don’t get it, but I am not going to give up. I do love me some mermaid fantasy however! 🙂
LOVE this post, Brittany! I’m so glad you were able to figure out which kind of fantasy books work for you. I can understand why you want them to have a historical feel — they seem much more *fantasy* that way, at least to me. Although I have to argue that the Harry Potter series is set in modern times AND it has magical creatures in it! But I guess there’s always an exception, isn’t there? 😉
Thanks, Kelley! Argue away, because you are so right haha! 🙂 It’s just HARRY POTTER. It lies outside of any box I try to put it in 😀
I’m glad you understand the historical thing. I didn’t know it myself until I started to analyze what was working and what wasn’t 🙂
I’m going to 4th Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire & Thorn!!!!
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (audio was fab)
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Thanks, Amy!!! Gosh darnit, Poison Study has been on my list forever and I STILL haven’t’ read it! I do want to though! Rae Carson and Seraphina… I have The Near Witch too! And Incarnate! I just need more time to read 🙂 Haha!
Get on Poison Study. It sat on my shelf forever too. It reminds me the most of a lot of the reasons of why I love Graceling. I’m kicking myself for not having the rest of the series.
I adore pretty much ALL fantasy, although I’m a bit tired of some of the more typical paranormal creatures. Vampires/werewolves aren’t really my thing anymore, although I do still have a fondness for fairies.
But I’m definitely feeling the more high fantasy books of late. I loved Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, and the Grisha books are SO good, too. I definitely can’t argue with you about how amazing those series are. 🙂
Yes!! I’m totally loving the high fantasy! I never thought I would like a Russian setting but Leigh Bardugo is just plain awesome and totally captivated me!
Thinking of it, I do seem to prefer my fantasy books set in somewhat historical settings. Thanks for pointing it out! For instance, Harry Potter was set in modern times, but it had that historical feel to it. I have not read any retellings, but the ones I was interested in seem to have had bad reception (ie. Strands of Bronze & Gold). 🙁
I never realized about the historical thing until I started really analyzing which fantasy books I was enjoying… I guess the setting makes a difference for me!
I haven’t read Strands of Bronze and Gold but I heard a lot of not-so-hot reviews for that one too 🙁
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!!!!!!!
I definitely need to pick that one back up again! I ran out of time with my library copy last time!
I’m very selective of my Fantasy as well – I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing and I adored Graceling
I’d definitely recommend Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – it’s amazing but one that comes out in September that I fell in love with was The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. I thought it was so well done.
The one I’m looking forward to is The Winner’s Curse – but that doesn’t come out until March!!
jaime @Fic Fare
Ooooh I have a copy of The Burning Sky! I really want to get to that one soon! I also need to get back at Throne of Glass. I started it a long time ago, but ran out of time with my library copy and just haven’t gotten back to it yet.
Thanks so much for the recommendations! 🙂
Rachel’s suggestions are the same ones I was going to suggest! I have a big love especially for Rae Carson’s work. Like a HUMONGOUS love for it.
Haha great minds 🙂 I really need to start Rae Carson’s books! I’ve heard so many good things!! At least now that I’m figuring out fantasy, I can approve them for my list and not be so afraid 🙂
I am a huge fan of fantasy! You already mentioned a lot of great ones in your post but I’d also suggest: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Hope you check them out 🙂
Thanks, Rachel! Those are ALL high up on my list of fantasy to read! I started reading Throne of Glass a loooong time ago but had to return it to the library because of holds haha. I do want to try it again soon though! 🙂
I want to suggest one of my favorite high fantasy authors: Cinda Williams Chima. Her Seven Realms series was awesome! One of my faves! And she has a new book coming out for her Heir series. Love!
Thanks, Debbi! I’ll have to check out her books 🙂 🙂