Hello hello! I hope you’ve been having a magical day so far 😀
This week, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite young adult fantasy novels. To be honest, fantasy hasn’t been my go-to genre for a while now, but I’ve definitely read quite a few amazing examples of it in the last nineteen years of my existence, and when I find a good fantasy series, I usually become pretty invested in and attached to it (as you’ll see below). So, without further ado, here are my top five favorite pieces of YA fantasy, along with a few honorable mentions:
1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes is one of the best YA fantasies I’ve read in the last couple of years. It follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a high-ranked soldier for the Martial Empire, after Laia decides to become a spy for a rebellion against the empire by becoming a slave inside the military stronghold. It’s based on a significantly complex world, but Tahir somehow found a way to not make the world-building feel overwhelming. The characters were so easy to become attached to, and the complex moral crises faced by many of them felt refreshingly realistic.
2. There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
There Will Come a Darkness is THE best YA fantasy I’ve read in a long time. This book only just came out, but it’s gotten a lot of well-deserved critical acclaim. I recently did a full ARC review of it, which you can check out here, but in short, it’s about a doomsday prophecy and follows five protagonists who play a role in its arrival. The book was so beautifully crafted, and it managed to bring something new to the table of fantasy books based on prophecies. It had so many twists and turns, and although the five POVs were quite intimidating at first, they were spectacularly interwoven to simultaneously pave way for the exhilaration of the building suspense and the shocking plot twists. I would honestly recommend this book to anyone reading this, because it was just THAT good.
3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Most of you have probably heard of Cassandra Clare and The Mortal Instruments, but this series holds a special place in my heart, primarily because it introduced me to my beloved William Herondale (if you go way back to my 2017 posts you can find some rants/playlists about how much I love him). TMI follows Tessa Gray, a New Yorker who finds herself in London and tangled up in the Shadow World (a world normal humans, or mundanes, can’t see) and its Shadowhunters (demon hunters), as a result of her pursuit to find her missing brother. I love that it takes place in Victorian London (my favorite time period to read about). I would still say it’s more urban fantasy than historical fiction (which is why it’s on this list) though because it doesn’t have a strong emphasis on historical elements, but the setting makes it a more unique fantasy series. Its main strength, in my opinion, is the character development–Clare does an amazing job of delving into each primary character, and many of the character arcs serve as all-too important reminders to not immediately judge books–or people–by their covers.
4. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
I read this book a while ago, but it’s stayed with me because I remember absolutely loving it and re-reading it twice immediately after reading it the first time. If you’re looking for something with some Rick Riordan vibes (it’s based on Egyptian mythology) that’s more YA, this is the book for you. It follows Isadora, the daughter of Isis and Osiris, and her first time living in the human world (in California). A lot of her internal struggles have to do with her relationship with her family, which is something I feel not a lot of YA books focus on but is equally as important in the teenage experience as first love (which this book also has, by the way–complete with a love interest named after my FAVORITE CONSTELLATION ORION!!!). (Sorry I’m very into astronomy, if you didn’t already know- the title is the only reason I picked up the book in the first place). The plot is exciting and different, and it’s a rare fantasy standalone, so you don’t have to invest a million hours into it!
5. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you haven’t read Harry Potter, GO READ IT!!! This is so cliché, but I couldn’t NOT include the YA fantasy that changed the course of YA literature and so many lives. I’ve read the series over twenty times (although not all the way through since middle school at this point–I need to change that), and am probably a bit too obsessed with it, but I think it’s worth reading at least once to see what all the fuss is about, don’t you? Plus, think of all of the pop culture references you’ll be able to understand if you do! And all of the life-changing memories you’ll make while reading it! And…you get the point! Accio The Philosopher’s Stone (…you’ll get that once you read it)!
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Let me know down below if you’ve read any of these books or have any other YA Fantasy books you’d like to recommend; I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks so much for reading!