Written by Cori Reed
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
If you smashed together beloved fantasy books Mistborn: The Final Empire and The Lies of Locke Lamora, you’d have an idea of what Six of Crows is like. A multi-perspective, high fantasy heist story with characters you love and love to hate. This book starts with a bang and definitely ends with one as well. Hired by the rich merchant council to break a high-influence prisoner out of what is thought to be an impenetrable fortress, Kaz Brekker and his crew, the Dregs, embark on a job that will likely end in death. Leigh Bardugo’s way with words will have you reaching for book two within seconds.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This is a contemporary fantasy that is still deeply magical. In it we follow Blue, the only non-clairvoyant in a family of psychics. When observing St. Mark’s Eve, during which her family speaks to the spirits of those who will die in the coming year, she sees her first ever apparition. The only reason a non-seer should see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve is if they are your true love, or will kill them. Queue music. If that sounds a bit cheesy, don’t be fooled. This series of books has some of the best friendships I’ve come across in fantasy.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
If there is one word for Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, it would be “unique”. Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown, a town that a) is void of women and b) you can hear the thoughts of everyone around you. There is constant Noise that you can’t escape. One day Todd and his dog discover a pocket of silence, setting off a chain of events that leaves Todd running for his life. It’s fast paced and will leave you guessing at every turn.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This is the only book on my list that isn’t technically YA, but it’s so gosh darn good I had to include it. Kell Maresh is an Antari, a magician with the ability to travel between parallel worlds, and more specifically parallel London’s. He lives to serve the Royal Family of Red London by delivering messages, and only messages, between the cities. Taking through anything else is strictly forbidden. Kell delights in part time smuggling though, and finds himself on the run in Grey London, and promptly bested by wanted thief, Delilah Bard. Powerful magic, magic that shouldn’t exist, sends Kell and Lila on a whirlwind adventure through places they ought not to be. This book is a killer, and the third and final book in the trilogy is coming out in February!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is probably the most innovative fairytale retelling I’ve ever got my mitts on. This story follows a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing, and the quest to find a cure for a terrible plague while simultaneously achieving peace between earth and the Lunar society that resides on the moon. This book contains all of the elements of Cinderella you’d expect, but does so in a sci-fi setting in ways you certainly wouldn’t anticipate.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Another Victoria (V.E.) Schwab book! This woman can write a fantasy story like no other. This Savage Song follows two teens in a city divided between humans, and the monsters created by their acts of violence. Kate Harker wants nothing more than to be ruthless and monster-like, and August is a monster who craves being human. August Flynn is sent to infiltrate a local human high school, but when Kate discovers his true identity they end up fleeing for their lives. This one will have you on the edge of your seat, and if you’re not into any romance, Victoria has promised this duology is going to be romance free!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
What kind of YA fantasy fan would I be if I didn’t say I love all things Harry Potter? I think, like many people, Harry Potter was really the catalyst to a deeper love of reading. It’s now been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published (how!?), and I love it just as much now as I did back then.