Top 5 Wednesday: Gateway Books Into YA Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s theme is gateway books into our favorite genre! These are books that I feel are great to introduce readers into the world of YA Fantasy, which are just my own personal picks! YA Fantasy is hands down my favorite genre after all though I read many, many others as well. Hopefully some of these might interest you and get you into this genre too!

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5.) The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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While world building is definitely an essential part of every fantasy book and in “The Winner’s Curse” it is considerably light on that matter, I still consider it a great gateway book into Young Adult Fantasy.

It has a fantastic heroine, Kestrel, who isn’t a damsel or a warrior, she is in fact, a master strategist which is a breath of fresh air in a world where most YA heroines usually are either damsels or very gifted warriors. The politics that are so much fun in fantasy books make an appearance here as well with Kestrel using secrets ad information to gain the upper hand.

It’s such a fun book and definitely a recommendation from me!

Read my full review of “The Winner’s Curse” here.


4.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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While I had problems with Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy I had none with the first book in her new series The Dregs. What I found lacking in “Shadow and Bone” I found plenty of with “Six of Crows”, there was fantastic and unique world building and a top notch cast of characters. I could go on and on with this rant but just trust that you won’t be disappointed with this one and once you’re done you’ll be looking for more just like it which is why I consider this to be an excellent gateway book into YA Fantasy!

Read my full review of “Six of Crows” here.


3.) Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

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This is a book that I can only describe as a YA version of the A Song of Ice and Fire series complete with betrayals, revenge, and other really fucked up happenings that will make you want to throw your book down. It’s awesome. So if you want to get into fantasy books but just can’t gather the courage to read the whopper of a book that is “A Game of Thrones” then maybe go ahead and give “Half a King” a try because not only is it as good but it also has less pages……

Read my full review of “Half a King” here (and forgive me it was one of my very first reviews).


2.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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While some people may not consider this an actual YA book, I do. It has a young adult protagonist and there aren’t any elements that I would see as strictly “adult” or things that might fly over a young adult’s head. It has everything any fantasy book needs: great world building and mythology, great characters, and a great story these are also things every book needs period. “Stormdancer” is one of my favorite books of all time for sure!

See my full review of “Stormdancer” here.


1.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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This, I think, is a very popular series and for good reason it’s simply amazing. For those of you who like a little more swoony romance in your fantasy books it’s absolutely perfect and if you’re like me and don’t really want that….it’s still perfect. Fantastic world building and such a unique premise this book is worth all the hype and is one of the best books to introduce you into the world of YA Fantasy!

See my full review for “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” here.

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That wraps up this week’s Top 5 Wednesday I hope you all enjoyed it!

Are any of these books on your list this week?

Have you read any of these?

What books do you think are gateway books into YA Fantasy or other genres?

Feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Fantasy 101

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 (examples: feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101).

After some thought I’ve decided to “teach” Young Adult Fantasy 101. This is my syllabus:

1.) We shall start my class with the mother of all fantasy books:

 

Harry Potter! This counts as Young Adult Fantasy right? Of course it does because I’m the Professor and I said it does, so sit back down. I can’t possibly teach a class about YA Fantasy and NOT talk about the perfection that is Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling is a goddess of writing ya’ll. Do we have time to read all 7 in this syllabus? We will make time my dear pupils. The Harry Potter series cover one of the MAJOR fantasy necessities: magic. You don’t have to have magic to be in the fantasy genre but it is a big element and Harry Potter is all about that magic. It also has an imaginary world (Hogwarts) and magical creatures (Hippogriffs, etc.). With these books we can concentrate on the magical aspect of the YA Fantasy genre.

2.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:

Now if we can’t have YA Fantasy 101 without Harry Potter then surely, SURELY we absolutely cannot have it without anything by Tolkien!! Now you may be wondering why I picked “The Hobbit” over any of “The Lord of the Rings” books, and the reason is that “The Hobbit” quite simply is easier to follow and understand. If this was Fantasy 101 then we’d probably switch them out but this is YA Fantasy 101 and “The Hobbit” just fits better. With this book we have all the classic fantasy traits: different races (men, elves, dwarves, hobbits), magic, it’s 100% imaginary world setting, and the traditional good vs. evil. So that should be all the reason I need to include this into my syllabus.

3.) Half a King by Joe Abercrombie:

This is a perfect example of a YA Fantasy book that blends many of the fantasy subgenres together. Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy, and so forth. Once again it shows traditional elements of magic and magical races (elves). But then it shows the grim atmosphere of Dark Fantasy with its royal politics and betrayals and such.

4.) Eragon by Christopher Paolini:

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1)

Dragons. This is included because there’s dragons…..I’m sorry doesn’t that count? Fine. “Eragon” demonstrates the fantasy element of magical creatures very well because obviously…dragons. But it also has the traditional races such as elves and men, and contains magic.

5.) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes:

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)

This is essentially the Young Adult version of “Game of Thrones”, and since that is definitely an adult fantasy book I’m including “Falling Kingdoms” as my replacement. You have your magic, royal politics, different POV’s, and so forth. I think the whole YA “Game of Thrones” is enough to convince you that it NEEDS to be included into the syllabus.

6.) Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas:

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

This series is HUGE in YA Fantasy. It’s set in an imaginary world, with royals, battles, all that good stuff. It needs to be included. It just does.

7.) Graceling by Kristin Cashore:

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

Same as with “Throne of Glass” I think it’s very hard to think about YA Fantasy and not include “Graceling” on the list. It is a staple of YA Fantasy in my opinion.

8.) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch:

A fairly recent addition to the YA Fantasy genre but a very, very good one. It’s fantasy because you have your basic sword and sorcery type stuff going on and it’s young adult because you get your love triangles and male eye candy! Ta-Da!

9.) Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan:

Again, I’m including the entire series….because I can. These books contain everything you need in a fantasy series: magical creatures (Pegasi), magic, different races (demigods, gods, cyclops, etc.). It’s awesome. The Percy Jackson series focuses on Greek mythology, and combining them with our modern day world. They will help us focus on the aspect of magical races and creatures in the YA Fantasy genre. (I know this is technically Middle Grade but I don’t care!)

10.) And finally, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

I think I’m putting this one in as a “What Not To Do If You Want A YA Fantasy”. There’s very light world building. There is magic though so there’s some points. I also don’t feel right doing a syllabus about YA Fantasy and not having this one here.

So what do you guys think? Would you want to take my YA Fantasy course?

The Sassy

Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

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description

Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…

review

 

“When you’re in hell, only a devil can point the way out.”

Do you like a story of betrayals and revenge? How about great world building and original mythology? Badass characters who you end up caring about a whole bunch? Plot twists? Lots of plot twists? Really great, unforeseeable plot twists? Who doesn’t love all of that in a fantasy right? Read this book. Now. Seriously.

Wow, That Was A Twisted Plot:

As mentioned before it’s jam packed with all the good stuff. You have your betrayals, your revenge,and your unbeatable odds. It’s definitely one of those books that will force you to start talking to yourself while reading. And by that I mean yelling, yelling in rage at all of the injustices done to our main character or just people in general. Plot twists. Oh the plot twists. I won’t tell you anything about those ,of course, but let me tell you that they are HUGE and there are quite a few of them.

Seriously, though you will be saying that throughout the entire book!

Joe Abercrombie also does a fantastic job building his world, it’s very creative and the mythology is fascinating. I found myself wanting to know more about the world’s mythology than the actual plot! I mean elves that broke God and disappeared ages ago? Tell me more!!!

These Were Some Badass Characters:

Yarvi is our main character, and his character develops so well. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from thinking a character was a little wuss to “Wow you’re a total badass” before. Not to mention the super badass supporting characters, especially the women, no damsels in distress here. No matter what moral compass these characters are following I found myself liking them regardless. I actually didn’t find myself disliking any characters, you either love them or love to hate them.

In Conclusion

“Half a King” is ultimately worth checking out, it’s one of the best fantasy books (or books period) that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and I will definitely be picking up the last two in the trilogy! 

Recommend?

Most definitely! Especially for any fans of the fantasy genre or if you loved any books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series!

 Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy