There are a lot of ‘Back to School’ type posts floating around at the moment and normally I’d be doing a Top Ten Tuesday post today but the “criteria” for it just didn’t fit anything I was interested in posting. So here I am with a post whose title I feel is sloppy on my part but I didn’t know how to get my point across, but it’s basically some fantasy book recommendations! I never liked the term “required reading” because let’s face it: being forced to read a book isn’t always fun and I feel it drives a lot of potential readers away when it’s required of them. So instead of that I just have a “reading list” of books I feel are amazing in the fantasy genre and would be staples in my “classroom”.
These are in no particular order and I will provide links to my full review if it’s available. Enjoy!
I know this might sound old by now but….I cannot gush about “Circe” enough! It’s perfection, I’m serious. Not only is it beautifully written but it also weaves in so many different Greek myths that it’s such a joy to read for everyone but especially fans of Greek mythology. It’s such a moving and emotional book that while reading you won’t be able to help but fall in love with Circe and her story like I did!
This is one of those hyped books that’s 100% worthy of all the hype. This world and plot is so interesting and brutal that you won’t be able to put the book down because you can’t wait to find out more or what’s going to happen next. The characters are also so endearing that you’ll want to root for them the entire way too.
While this was originally a standalone it now has a companion novel coming out this year and I am beyond excited! The world West created is so intriguing and magical and it also weaves in four separate retellings: Hua Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Jane Austen’s Emma. I thought each of the retellings was well done as well and honestly this book is so vastly underrated I would love if more people checked it out!
I can’t recommend Kristoff’s books enough, period. However, “Nevernight” is just such an amazing darker fantasy about a young woman seeking revenge and attends a school for assassin’s in order to train. Basically it’s like Hogwarts but for murder and with a lot more violence and stabby stab stab. The world building is phenomenal and the writing is absolutely beautiful, though those of you who don’t enjoy purple prose may want to stay away.
Another book that’s pretty hyped that I feel lives up to it! Laini Taylor is honestly the master of unique world building and gorgeous writing, I could sit here and gush forever. It’s about a young art student who gets caught up in an otherworldly war and discovers some secrets about herself that will alter her reality completely. I really don’t want to say much else because there are so many possible spoilers. Just know when you read this book you’ll definitely be able to say you’ve never read anything else like it!
This one actually reminds me a lot of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” with the forbidden love, fantastic world building, and lyrical writing style. This also happens to be an Aladdin retelling and it’s just so, so amazing! It’s actually not about Aladdin as much as it’s about the genie who is female in this retelling, I don’t want to say much else since I don’t want to spoil anything but it also happens to be a very feminist book too!
This is the last Kristoff book on this list I promise! I actually enjoyed this one more than “Nevernight”, it’s about a young woman who has the ability to communicate with animals and finds one of the elusive arashitora (thunder tigers). Seriously though the arashitora is the only reason you need to read this book because he’s hilariously sarcastic! Also they’re just plain badass and want to exact both revenge and free the empire of tyranny and pollution.
I’m sure a lot of you have either already heard of this one or read it but it needs to be included because of its sheer amazing-ness. It’s about a home for children that came back or got kicked out of their magical lands, magical lands that they happened across in various ways. Very similar to the way Alice found Wonderland or the Pevensie children discovering Narnia. It was so interesting reading about the different worlds each child visited and on top of that the cast of characters is very, very diverse too!
This book is easily one of the best Fae books I’ve read, although I really do need to read more of them! The writing is beautiful, it’s a standalone, and the forbidden love romance is amazing and so swoon-worthy! The characters are very endearing and I loved all of the world building I thought it was very well developed for such a short stand alone.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
How could I make a fantasy reading list and not include at least one Schwab book? Everything about this book is so wonderful from the well developed characters to the unique world building. There’s loads of magic and you can’t really go wrong with a book featuring parallel versions of London, can you?
Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?
What are some fantasy books you would “require” people to read?
Let me know in the comments!