Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems in Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Hello fellow book lovers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Hidden Gems in whichever genre you’d like to pick! Of course I adore hidden gem recommendations and I have more than a few to give but fantasy is my most read genre so that’s the genre I went with. Some of these may be a little more iffy as far as having them be considered fantasy but there are fantasy elements none the less and most of them are 100% pure fantasy. Some of my choices also might be a little more popular than others and some of you may not consider them a “hidden” gem but they still aren’t super popular so I’d like to recommend them!

I will link up each title to my full review as well if you’d like to be convinced some more to add these to your TBR! Also these aren’t in any particular order!

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10.) Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry

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This is more of a horror book than anything but it still counts as fantasy in my mind especially since it’s a dark retelling of “Alice in Wonderland”. This book isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s truly terrifying, graphic, brutal, and violent and yet it’s still an addictive story. I highly recommend reading it if you’re looking for a unique retelling!

You can read my full review of “Alice” here.


9.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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A collection of three short fairy tale-esque stories all revolving around a kiss but trust me when I say it’s not the gushy romance fest you think it would be! Laini Taylor’s writing is gorgeous and she weaves together such creative tales with mythology of her own making, these stories are fantastic. Plus the illustrations are gorgeous as well!

You can read my full review of “Lips Touch: Three Times” here.


8.) The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

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This is such an underrated fantasy novel it isn’t even fair! The magic system is one of the best I’ve come across with both fire and ice users but the magic doesn’t come without it’s costs. The Valtia is the queen of the land who is the only wielder of both ice and fire magic and when she dies it passes on to the next but when the magic doesn’t enter Elli she is forced to flee. Great characters and great world building, go give this book some more love!

You can read my full review of “The Impostor Queen” here.


7.) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This book is a little more well known but still not enough in my eyes! It’s an Aladdin retelling where the genie is female and they have a relationship, it’s got some great world building, badass female characters, and gorgeous writing! What more could you want?

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


6.) Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cordova

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Not only does this book have a gorgeous cover and diverse characters but it’s also filled with magic and a very Wonderland-esque adventure. Alex is a bruja (a witch) and wants to rid herself of her powers but when she tries her whole family vanishes into thin air.

You can read my full review of “Labyrinth Lost” here.


5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I recommend this book ALL the time and it’s probably the book on here I feel is the most underrated. It has a great story, world building, and characters plus on top of all of that it has four retellings weaved into the plot which include: Sleep Beauty, Cinderella, Hua Mulan, and Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s a fantastic story!

You can read my full review of “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” here.


4.) The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco

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This is a dark fantasy featuring a witch with the gift of necromancy who goes to train under another bone witch. She must control her powers if she is going to aid her fellow witches with the war that is brewing in the kingdoms. I really loved how dark and sometimes creepy this book got especially with the necromancy, great world building too!

You can read my full review of “The Bone Witch” here.


3.) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Once again this one is a little more popular so it may not be considered a true hidden gem but it’s not a book I see tons of people talking about all of the time either. This is a Peter Pan retelling revolving around the character Tiger Lily, her backstory, and her relationship with Peter. It’s a darker version of Neverland and you’ll definitely be heart broken by the end.

You can read my full review of “Tiger Lily” here.


2.) The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1) by Emily R. King

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A girl raised by the Sisterhood is chosen to be the Rajah’s 100th wife and she must fight in gladiator style battles against his other 99 wives in order to secure her place. This book is full of magic and some badass females, it may not be the best written book ever but it was highly addictive and entertaining!

You can read my full review of “The Hundredth Queen” here.


1.) Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1) by Linsey Miller

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This book is pretty hyped up at the moment but still isn’t receiving as much hype as it should. This is everything I wanted and expected “Throne of Glass” to be with the brutal competition to be the Queen’s assassin, plus we get a genderfluid main character!

You can read my full review of “Mask of Shadows” here.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some of your hidden gems in YA fantasy?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Book Review: The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

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Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

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**** I apologize for the extreme tardiness of this review (almost a year!) but better late than never! As a result this will be a little shorter than usual.****


6 Reasons You Should Read “The Impostor Queen”


1.) The Magic System

This book contains one of the most fascinating and well executed magic systems I’ve ever read about, it’s simple and yet intricate all at the same time. In this world magic wielders can control either fire or ice and the only one that can control both is the Valtia (the queen) who uses it to serve the Kupari people. The thing about the Valtia’s magic is that while it makes her the most powerful magic wielder it also consumes her, the magic is so strong it can only be contained within its vessel for so long ultimately killing it.

I just really enjoyed how unique it was and also that instead of having all elements represented it’s only fire and ice and how the magic isn’t all-powerful and can sometimes be dangerous and uncontrollable.


2.) The Story

While it starts out a little slow (and slows down quite a bit in the middle) the story in this book is so suspenseful and addicting that it’s just un-put-downable. Not to mention how unique it is! We essentially start out with Elli who is going to be the next Valtia and is prophesied to be the most powerful one the Kupari have ever had. Basically the “Chosen One” trope we see a lot in YA Fantasy books but boy oh boy did Sarah Fine throw us for a loop. Turns out Elli is not who everyone thought she was because the magic does not enter her body and she isn’t going to be the next Valtia. The thirst for answers to these questions will have you turning pages until you finish, trust me!

The story also gets pretty gritty and brutal, which I loved (I’m not weird, okay?). Sarah Fine puts our heroine through hell and back and it was painful to read about sometimes but also very important and I understood why it was happening. It added a bit of shock value that I think fits in with this genre (and this book) really well.

Really my only complaint about this book is, as mentioned, the occasional slow pacing.


3.) The World-Building

Usually when reading YA Fantasy I always find the world-building to be way too lite and lacking depth, this was definitely not the case with “The Impostor Queen”. This is how world-building should be done, there’s enough information provided so you know what’s going on and so you feel completely immersed in the world without ever info-dumping.


4.) Elli, The Main Character

Elli is a fantastic, likable, flawed heroine and what she goes through in this book it’s easy to root for her the entire time. While she isn’t what I would call a badass female protagonist she’s admirable nonetheless with her courage and selflessness. I also liked the addition of Elli’s bisexuality and while it didn’t take it center stage I thought it was a nice touch and one that we rarely see in YA Fantasy.


5.) The Secondary  Characters

If there’s one thing I love in a book it’s well-developed secondary characters, which this book has! As the story unfolded I grew quite attached to a lot of them especially Sig and Oskar, the little darlings.


6.) The Romance

As I mentioned earlier there is a bit of LGTB romance in this story but it isn’t the main romance it’s more of a crush. The main romance between Elli and Oskar is adorable, sweet, and never actually took precedence over the plot. I also just ship them really hard because they’re just so sweet and both characters could use some happiness.

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 Overall this is a great book and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you enjoy YA Fantasy books!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy