Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! Today, I’m excited to reveal my favorite fantasy reads of the year. I’ve read some fantastic books this year, many by new-to-me authors! Fantasy and romance are my favorite genres, and most of the books included in this list are a combination of the two. Let’s check them out!
10. Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard
This is a really unique story with richly developed characters and a great love story! Plus, the fantasy elements are awesome!
Synopsis: Once upon a time, there was something called the sun… In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light–or she will lose everything trying.
Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.
Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria’s need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city–the very center of the darkness–for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel’s court.
But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.
9. Subversive by Colleen Cowley
Subversive has a September 27th publication date, but I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy from the author. The first book in the Clandestine Magic Trilogy, this story is fantastic! Great main characters, a unique world, and an interesting romance.
Synopsis: In an America controlled by wizards, Beatrix Harper counts herself among the resistance—the Women’s League for the Prohibition of Magic. Then Peter Blackwell, the only wizard her town has ever produced, unexpectedly returns home and presses her into service as his assistant.
Beatrix fears he wants to undermine the League. His real purpose is far more dangerous for them both.
8. The Jabberwocky Princess by Cece Louise
I love The Jabberwocky Princess! This was my first book by Cece Louise, and, as soon as I finished it, I went back to get the other book in the series! I also interviewed the author (my first author interview), which was super exciting!
Synopsis: Beware the Jabberwock . . . The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Kitchen maid Kainda is the daughter of a disgraced monster-hunter. She longs to learn more about strange beasts and use the hunting skills her father taught her, but kitchen maids don’t get to have adventures—especially not a girl everyone thinks is crazy.
That is until devil-may-care Prince Ander enlists her help in defeating a monster troubling a nearby kingdom. With her misfit knight best friend by her side, Kainda thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She gets adventure and financial freedom, while Prince Ander gets to marry the princess of Fernshire.
Until the beast proves more troublesome than anyone imagined, and secrets from her father’s past raise the question: What is more dangerous—myth or reality?
A standalone read perfect for fans of sweet romance, suspense, and fairy tales!
7. Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders
On top of the fact that I love the cover, the story is fantastic too. Great themes, interesting characters, excellent world-building, and some unique powers make Shielded a really immersive read. Plus, there’s the romance!
Synopsis: For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.
The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.
As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.
Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.
6. Elements of the Crown by Kay L. Moody
Elements of the Crown is actually books 1-4 in the Elements of Kamdaria series, and it is fantastic! Talise is one of my favorite protagonists, and her story is gripping.
Synopsis: Talise has a gift that could save her life. In an empire divided into three rings, seventeen-year-old Talise is from the outer ring. This dangerous and crime-laden land has one constant… death. Her only chance for escape is to become Master Shaper—an honored position in the palace court and military. Each year, the emperor chooses one student to receive the title.
After ten years of training at an elite academy, Talise clearly has a gift for manipulating the elements of water, air, earth, and fire. But Aaden, a handsome student from the privileged inner ring, is poised to steal the title away from her.
When they come before the emperor, he is impressed with the great skill both Talise and Aaden possess. He presents them with a set of trials, and she knows this is the chance she needs to prove herself. As long as Aaden doesn’t ruin everything.
But secrets hide in every corner of the palace, masking a conflict far more dangerous than her previous home in the outer ring. Now, she must play along with the emperor’s lies and games, or else she will lose her life to an enemy she never expected.
5. Poison and Honey by Kristen Brand
This is the first book in the Dark and Otherworldly series, and I couldn’t put it down! It’s a captivating story with excellent characters and fantasy elements. This is another one with an awesome enemies-to-lovers romance!!
Synopsis: Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.
Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.
Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her–and who’s not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can’t screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she’s falling for has her executed for her betrayal…
4. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for Cinderella is Dead. This book reignited my interest in fairy tale retellings. Definitely one of my faves of the year!
Synopsis: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
3. Fable by Adrienne Young
I was so excited to receive and ARC of Fable! This book is everything I want in a high-seas adventure! This was the first book I read by Adrienne Young, but when I finished, I bought her other two.
Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.
But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
2. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Basherdoust
I adored this beautifully written story! It’s one of those stories that you think about long after you finish it. There are many powerful and poignant messages, and the protagonist is fabulous. Girl, Serpent, Thorn quickly became one of my favorites!
Synopsis: There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
1. Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen
This is my favorite book of the year! I loved the immersive world, the beautifully developed characters, the poignant themes, and, of course, the romance. It’s positively swoon-worthy! The second book should be released soon, and I can’t wait!!
Synopsis: After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
Well, there you have it – my top 10 fantasy reads of the year. I feel very fortunate to have read so many wonderful stories! Have you read any of these? What would make your top 10? Comment below!!