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: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.


“He will not stop me from washing away the ashes of this kingdom’s past and filling our lives with the glorious icy peace of snow.”

Well this book is a YA Fantasy so therefore I was bound to love it, however, there’s a love triangle and whiff of insta-love. Which I’m not fond of. BUT “Snow Like Ashes” managed to make me enjoy it regardless of some of my personal preferences.

So let’s do a good old fashions Pros/Cons!

Pros of Reading “Snow Like Ashes”

  • You’ll love the world building. Seriously. Sara Raasch whips up a very interesting world state, perfect for fantasy lovers (like me). The book is set in Primoria, which is a land (Continent? Country? Who Knows?) divided in to eight different kingdoms: The Rhythms and The Seasons. Cool right? Yes it is cool. The Rhythms cycle through all four seasons and The Seasons don’t change seasons at all. So Winter is set in an eternal winter, Spring in an eternal spring, and so on. Each kingdom has a monarch who controls that kingdom’s conduit. The royal conduits are the only sources of magic in Primoria and can only be used by the ruling monarchs. Four conduits are male blooded and four conduits are female blooded. IT’S COOL. Have I convinced you that the world building is cool yet?

Yes, thank you Mr. Stark for agreeing with me.

  • It’s VERY fast paced and action packed. Sure the book and I disagreed on some points (like the romance) but it made up for it by being “unputdownable”. The action just kept rolling, you’re constantly being swept up into one event after the other, it’s super exciting. There’s plenty of fighting scenes if you’re the kind of person who revels in awesome sword swinging, chakram throwing, knife wielding action…like I do.
  • ALL of the characters are complete badasses. Well, except Alysson (Sir’s wife), her entire existence revolves around staying at camp while everyone else goes out and kicks ass. She’s kind of pointless really , but that’s just my opinion. But our MC, Meira, is a total badass (I really like saying badass) she doesn’t want to sit around at camp she wants to get out into the world and help regain her kingdom. Her weapon of choice? A chakram. Those of you who don’t know what a chakram is (you obviously haven’t played “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Which is awesome by the way) here is a lovely picture of one:

Look at that awesome flying saucer of death. She isn’t a wimp at all, she whips that chakram around like a boss. Then there’s Sir and Mather, Sir was a former general to the kingdom of Winter and he’s the MOST badass character. There isn’t anyone more badass than Sir. I can’t even describe how awesome he is, he can kill three men in 0.5 seconds. You could unleash Sir onto the battlefield and have him obliterate an entire army. Ok maybe not but I hope I made my point. He basically leads the other 7 free Winterians in the effort to reclaim their kingdom. And Mather. Mather is the future king of Winter, so he’s pretty important, and he’s been trained his whole life to be a death machine (by Sir) so he’s awesome, and beautiful. Mather is also a potential love interest so of course he’s gorgeous.

Cons of Reading “Snow Like Ashes”

  • As mentioned waaay earlier in this review, there is a love triangle and a little bit of insta-love. The love triangle isn’t super annoying though so I managed to choke it down and keep reading, which is a bonus. I would say if you hate or loath love triangle to still give this book a shot, because it’s pretty easy to look past it. Then there’s the insta-love which is almost always annoying as a rule, but like with the love triangle you can look past it because the story, the world building, the characters, are interesting enough to keep you reading.
  • You can figure out some of the plot twists whilst reading this book. Although I didn’t figure one of them out till a chapter or so before it was revealed, so it’s not so predictable that you don’t enjoy them or the rest of the book for that matter.

Overall, “Snow Like Ashes” is a very entertaining book and I do highly recommend it, even though I had some very minor issues with it. I will definitely be continuing this series, and by that I mean impatiently waiting for the next installment “Ice Like Fire”.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Top 5 Books That Made Me Cry

Top Ten Tuesday(3)

(…….yeah these made me cry….nothing wrong with it…..)

thehobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

That’s right, I read this book with a continuous stream of tears gently rolling down my cheeks, which then turned into hysterical sobbing. Ok, maybe not the entire time but definitely that last bit. Battle of the Five Armies, anyone? Yep everyone you love dies. So tell me….have you read “The Hobbit”? Did you cry? If not please, PLEASE tell me how you managed.


Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

This book really, REALLY tugs at the heartstrings. I was attempting to do my hair while reading this and then I just wound up sitting and sobbing over the book instead of finishing my hair. Yeah. That happened. A lot of shit goes down during zombie apocalypses ( I assume…) and this book depicts that very well. Children getting left behind, losing your loved ones, seeing your loved ones as zombies, you name it. Doesn’t all that sound depressing? Because it is.

snowlikeashesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

While this book isn’t technically supposed to make you cry, it does have it’s moments. This story revolves around the people of the kingdom of Winter trying to reclaim their homeland, there’s only a small group of refugees that aren’t enslaved. Therefore the enslaved Winterians are the part that really got to me. I won’t really say anymore about it in case of spoilers, just know that there’s one or two parts that might get to you… they got to me. Oooooh ominous.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I believe I don’t even need to explain this one. If you read Harry Potter then you cried. Period. End of Story. Moving on. Next book!


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Also this is another book that I feel doesn’t need a whole lot of explaining. If you read the Hunger Games series then you cried. But also the fact that this book DID make me cry really says something about how attached I got to the characters, it takes a lot to make me tear up but at the same time….it doesn’t. I’m weird like that.

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Have any of these books made you cry?

Any others that have made you cry?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy