Writers are Readers - Chandler - August 2020
Fantasy is by far my favorite genre. Time and again, I find myself searching the fantasy section of book stores or browsing on Amazon. What I love about it is the outright escapism that I can experience while reading it. I love the magic, the new worlds. I love the glimpse into someone else’s imagination, and the characters that live there. I love how it’s completely different from real life. I’m an immersive reader. When I read, I fully dive into the book and the rest of the world falls away. I put myself in the place of the character and live that story vicariously through the words on the page. I can see the mountains and the forests, feel what the characters feel. It’s why I love elaborate high fantasy, but also why I love fantasy in general.
So. Having said all that, I’m going to show you three of my favorite books/series. Each one is a varying degree of fantasy. Let’s dive in!
The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
This is your classic High/Epic Fantasy. A world entirely different from our own with mystical (pun intended) creatures, magic systems, good vs evil, a huge cast of characters, and a grand quest. The Misborn series follows a girl named Vin, a street urchin who later discovers she’s a Mistborn, someone who has the magic ability to burn metals in her stomach and achieve superhuman feats of strength and power. She is taken in by a crew who’s ultimate goal is to destroy the Lord Ruler, the God-like man who has ruled the world for hundreds of years and perpetuated the division between the Nobles and the Ska. Their society is one filled with slavery and oppression, and the only way this crew knows to help the Ska is to defeat the Lord Ruler.
This is a fantastic series for those of you who enjoy high fantasy like Lord of the Rings. It’s complex social system and unique magic systems on top of Sandersons excellent writing really make this world come alive. 10/10 would recommend!
2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This is a story about a young man named Lazlo Strange. As a little boy, Lazlo is orphaned and taken in by monks. He listened to stories from one old monk in particular about a land across the vast desert with magical creatures and fierce warriors. He would play at being one of these warriors late at night in the garden, but one night, something happened and the real name of the city was stolen. In its place, the city was called Weep. All evidence of its existence seems to be wiped from the earth, and Lazlo spends his next years gathering as much information as he can and learning bits of the language. It all pays off when the warriors of Weep appear in the city where Lazlo lives. This is a tragic love story with a big cliffhanger!
Laini Taylor is one of my favorite authors because of her lyrical writing style! The world that Taylor creates is beautiful and awful. I wouldn’t say this is your typical high fantasy, but maybe somewhere in between high and low fantasy. A mid fantasy perhaps. There is magic here, and Gods. It’s one of my absolute favorite books, and I would recommend listening to it on Audible even if you don’t typically listen to books. The narrator is amazing. Another 10/10 for me!
3. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater
The Raven Cycle is a four book series that I think is best explained by the synopsis:
“Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.”
This series is what I would consider “low” fantasy and YA. Set in modern day Virginia, the characters in this story learn that magic does exist in this world. They just have to find it. There are a lot of twists and turns, and I love Steifvater’s wit and lyrical writing style. Plus, the cover art for these books is STUNNING. I got to listen to Maggie Steifvater give a craft talk and then got to meet her at a book festival a few years ago. She’s hilarious and very kind, so it was super exciting to get to talk to her for a second while she signed my book! You guessed it, another 10/10 on this series!
I think I could talk forever about this genre! I'd love to hear some book suggestions from you too! Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page; what's your favorite fantasy book?