Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are talking about our Top Ten Favorite Books in a Genre of our choice, and I pick fantasy. This list will be a mix of adult and YA books. It will also probably lean toward books I’ve read more recently because if I didn’t review it on Goodreads, I might as well never have read it.
Top 10 All Time Favorite Fantasy Books
1. The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – This is the beginning of a series of a bunch of interrelated trilogies, but it’s the first one that really grabbed my heart. Fitz is one of my favorite characters in all of fantasy. If you like communicating animals, dragons, a great underdog tale, and court intrigue, you will love this one.
2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I feel like this is a popular one, but if you haven’t read it, I think it’s a great entry point into epic fantasy. This book follows a guy named Kvothe telling his life story over the course of three days, and each book in the trilogy represents a day of the story. It’s so great and an excellent entry point into epic fantasy, even though it’s a chunker.
3. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This is taking a little bit of a risk because only the first book in the trilogy is out, but I instantly fell in love with this book as soon as I read it. It is slightly reminiscent of The Name of the Wind in that it is a scribe telling the story of a guy known as The Hope Killer, but in many ways I actually loved this book even more. Shocking, I know, but you REALLY need to try this one if you like fantasy at all.
4. The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavirel Kay – This is actually just a placeholder for all of Guy Gavriel Kay’s stuff (except, oddly enough, the Fionavar trilogy, which I personally didn’t like). But this one, A Song for Arbonne, Sailing to Sarantium, or Tigana… basically the list goes on and on. His writing is this gorgeous historical, magical prose with characters that you just must love. Lions is one of the only books that I have ever read, closed, and then immediately re-opened because I wasn’t ready to let go.
5. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – This is kind of also a Marilliet placeholder because I totally love her works, but also this is such an excellent entry point to fairy tale retellings and fantasy. This is a retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale, but it completely stands on its own. The romance is pitch-perfect, Sorcha is an amazing female protagonist, and man I just love love love this book.
6. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson – This is definitely a Sanderson placeholder. I am an absolute Fanderson – he basically can do no wrong in my eyes. I absolutely adore the Mistborn trilogy, I love Warbreaker, I love Way of Kings, I love Steelheart, and you KNOW I love The Emperor’s Soul…. ugh, I just love them all. I think this one is probably the best entry point to Sanderson. That said, The Emperor’s Soul would also be a great starting place since it’s a short story that I feel like gives a really good test to see if you like his writing style.
7. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – This is where the YA fantasy recommendations start. I love Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and I actually think it would be a great cross over into adult fantasy. The world-building is just freaking amazing, the realistic writing of Prague makes you feel like you are right there, and it’s one of my absolute favorite story that incorporates angels.
8. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – This is just so different than anything else I’ve ever read. The language is so fantastical, the world is immersive, and the characters just stick right with you. I get totally transported to this world when I read these books, and I highly recommend them.
9. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – This is a freaking amazing series that focuses on Eugenidies, who (as you might guess) is a thief. He gets caught in a nearby kingdom and ends up being asked to go on a journey in order to help the king. Gen is one of my favorite male protagonists for sure. And for those of you who like The Winner’s Curse, the author of that said in a recent Twitter chat that this series was one of her inspirations.
10. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – This is a throwback recommendation – it was a Newberry honor winner in 1983! It follows the story of Harry Crewe, an orphan girl, who has just moved to a border town that basically is the last defense against a tribe of people known as the Hillfolk. For reasons that are not immediately apparent, Harry is kidnapped by the Hillfolk King and ends up learning a lot about herself. The book was so enjoyable and I highly recommend it.
11. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This is a bonus choice and is really representative of one of my favorite sub-genres in fantasy, which is urban fantasy. I love the Dresden File series (though for me they get great starting at around book 4), and I also love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. These are great reading slump busters for me because they are characters I love in realistic settings with excellent magic and supernatural characters. They also generally read as standalones, even though they are all related in one big series. Just excellent.
So how about you? Do you like fantasy as much as I do? What are some of your favorites? I had to leave off SO MANY that I really love, and chose to lean a bit more toward adult stuff since I think the YA stuff gets pretty good coverage in the blogosphere (at least the corner I hang out in). Are any of these on your TBR?