The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time Book 1) → Robert Jordan

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Synopsis:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs–a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts–five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

Review:

If you are a fan of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings then you will probably enjoy this series. This is one of those high fantasy, super detailed world-building, types of books. When high fantasy titles are thrown out, I almost always hear this one mentioned. I’ve read the first two books in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed them. If you are someone who enjoys very LONG books then this series is definitely for you.

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad Book 1) → David Eddings

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Synopsis:

A fierce dispute among the Gods and the theft of a powerful Orb leaves the World divided into five kingdoms. Young Garion, with his “Aunt Pol” and an elderly man calling himself Wolf –a father and daughter granted near-immortality by one of the Gods — set out on a complex mission. In the process, as Garion grows into his early teens, he learns to defend himself, grapples with a wild boar, uncovers spies at a king’s palace, learns about sorcery and starts to gain a sense of what his own destiny may be.

Review:

I loved reading this series when I was in high school! For me these books were perfect as they got across the feeling of high fantasy without being overly long or drawn out. This series is a seriously fun and easy read. While the plot is great, I fell in love with the characters first and foremost. For anyone who likes high fantasy stories but can’t sit through a thousand page book, this series is for you!

Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic Book 1) → Tamora Pierce

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Synopsis:

In Book 1 of the Circle of Magic Quartet, gifted young weaver Sandry is brought to the Winding Circle community. There she meets Briar, a former thief with a way with plants; Daja, an outcast gifted at metalcraft; and Tris, whose connection with the weather unsettles everyone, including herself. The four misfits are taught how to use their magic, but when disaster strikes, it’s up to Sandry to weave together four different kinds of power to save herself, her friends, and Winding Circle.

Review:

Okay, so I had to sneak a Tamora Pierce novel in here somewhere. She is amazing and I cannot recommend her books enough. In this series she puts aside the medieval knights and instead focuses more on magical systems. Equally as exciting and action-packed as her other series, this series was one of my favorites when I was in middle school. Despite the fact that the book is written from four different perspectives (yes, you saw that right, FOUR!), each and every character is well-rounded and truly comes to life off the page. While these books are meant for a younger audience, they are timeless stories that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Poison Study (The Chronicles of Ixia Book 1) → Maria V. Snyder

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Synopsis:

Locked deep in the palace dungeon for killing her abuser, Yelena knows she’ll never be free again. The laws in Ixia are strict, and murderers must be executed, no matter the reason. But just as she’s resigned herself to her fate, she’s offered an extraordinary reprieve.

As the food taster, Yelena will eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace — and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. To make matters worse, the chief of security deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again, and in order to survive, she must unravel the secrets behind the past she’s been running from.

Review:

Another repeat author on this blog, because I cannot help myself. Maria V. Snyder is a must read author. Her books are well crafted and her characters and plots keep the reader saying “just one more chapter” until it’s 3am and somehow you’ve finished the entire book. Based in a medieval type world with a mixture of magic and medieval fighting, this series is an action-packed adventure.

The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy Book 1) → Sherry Thomas

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Synopsis:

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

Review:

This book satisfies all my fantasy cravings. The story is intriguing and the characters well-developed. If you are someone who is super nit-picky about grammar and loves a well-crafted novel then this is definitely for you. This book is seriously well written. As a writer myself, I always admire authors who can write so flawlessly.

The Way of the Kings (Book One of The Stormlight Archive) → Brandon Sanderson

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Synopsis:

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

Review:

Okay…so I haven’t actually read this series (I know what you’re thinking, how can you possibly recommend a book you haven’t read?!), but I have a very close friend who swears by this series. Seriously, every time I talk to her about books she recommends this series without fail. Brandon Sanderson is a well known fantasy author and this series has been on my TBR list forever. This is a must read book and one that I really “must read”.

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Series Book 1) → Danielle L. Jensen

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Synopsis:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain–time enough for their magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophecy has spoken of a union that will set the trolls free, and when Cécile is stolen away to fulfill it, she enters a world that is both magical and deadly.

Cécile has only one goal after being bonded to the prince of the trolls: escape. Except while awaiting the perfect opportunity, she discovers there is more to the mysterious crown prince than anyone realizes.

As rebellion brews and the political games escalate, Cécile becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes the hope of a people–someone who has the power to change Trollus forever.

Review:

This is a very unique book and one that I enjoyed immensely. With the abundance of werewolf, vampire, and fae books nowadays (and don’t get me wrong I love all those too), this book felt like a breath of fresh air. With the focus on trolls and witches this book created an interesting world that I was instantly in love with. With strong romantic elements and complex characters, this book was definitely a page turner.

Bound (Bound Trilogy Book 1) → Kate Sparkes

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Synopsis:

Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin and fairy tales are contraband.

Taking an interest in magic is dangerous for any Darmish citizen, but doubly so for the daughter of a magistrate responsible for sending magic-users to the gallows. Rowan Greenwood knows her curiosity can only get her into trouble, but it’s an itch she can’t stop scratching—even when a potentially life-changing proposal arrives from a wealthy and powerful magic hunter.

Rowan believes she has no choice but to follow the path laid out for her, until the day she accidentally saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies—a Sorcerer prince from the magical land of Tyrea who’s convinced Rowan is far more than she seems. Her act of compassion rips her from the sheltered life she’s known and draws her into a world of magic that’s more seductive and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined… and that leads her to question everything she thought she knew about her home, her family, and herself.

Review:

I love when authors can create new, yet somewhat familiar, magical worlds for the reader to explore. Kate Sparkes definitely knows how to spin a tale and she had my attention from the very first page until the last. This was another one of those books that had a good plot, but where it really caught the reader’s attention was through its characters and their relationships. I love a strong, complex, female lead and Rowan definitely ticked that box.

A Court of Thorns and Roses → Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.

At least, he’s not a beast all the time.

As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

Review:

This is somewhat of a controversial series. A lot of people either love or hate these books. Seeing as I’m recommending it I was clearly on the side of, “I loved it!”. While the first book is a little slow, it is a necessary setup of the world and characters. The second book is where I truly fell in love with this series. While this doesn’t carry into the actual quality of the book, I have to say I truly love Sarah J. Maas’ ability to find unique and interesting names for her characters. Feyre, Rhysand, and Azriel are such interesting names and I may just steal them for my own writing!

Robin: Lady of Legend → R.M. ArceJaeger

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Synopsis:

Bold archer. Popular defender. Heroic scoundrel. Cunning outlaw. The daughter of a nobleman, Robin of Locksley never imagines these terms will apply to her. She still can’t imagine it, even after she flees her home to escape a cruel fate. With only her archery skills to sustain her, Robin resigns herself to a life of exile. But she is not the only fugitive hiding in Sherwood Forest. When the other outlaws begin robbing from the local poor after a cruel winter, Robin knows she has to find a way to make it stop. After all, these are her people, even if they don’t know it. Even if she doesn’t realize herself just what claiming them will mean.

For the people of Nottinghamshire, honor and purpose are something that belongs to nobles, not to the commoners who till their lands. But Robin teaches them a different lesson, and as wrongs are righted and lives are reclaimed, a new legend is born in the process.

But the Sheriff of Nottingham will stop at nothing to halt the valiant young outlaw harassing his domain. As traps close in around her and assassins seek to bring her down, Robin must risk losing love, leadership, and life if she is to save her people and fulfill her destiny as one of history’s greatest heroes.

Review:

I always love when authors retell a classic story in new and interesting ways. This book takes the classic Robin Hood story and brings the story into modern times with a female Robin! The book is well written and has a soft romance that I absolutely loved. R.M. ArceJaeger did a really great job of taking select pieces from the old story and combining it with new elements to make a story that felt both familiar and entirely new. While this book isn’t necessarily fantasy, it meshed so well with the other books on this list that I just had to include it.

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