Popular fantasy novels I plan to read

A dozen popular fantasy novels that I plan to read and my rationale for deciding to read them. Sometimes I had good reasons, sometimes not so much.

Last post I promised to talk about the popular fantasy novels that are next on my to-be-read list.

I’m setting out read a string of fantasy novels (perhaps venturing into sci-fi) that have been very popular, because who doesn’t want to read great books. Oh, and hopefully to learn stuff.

Few fantasy novels have as many reviews as the mega-popular general novels I’ve read recently–I was aiming at books with over 10,000 reviews on Amazon–so this time I’m going for books with over 500 reviews.

Okay, Harry Potter and the ASoIaF books (Game of Thrones and its sequels) have a lot more reviews, but I already read those (give or take).

I created a wish list on Amazon and started adding books. It turns out I found a lot, so I probably won’t list them all.

As I searched, I noticed a few interesting things.

Medieval Europe is out. Sure, it will never be dead, but it’s a lot less common than it used to be. This gave me a quiver of concern about my WIP, which is set in a medieval-Europe-type world, but what are you going to do? I’m crossing my fingers that my book will have enough other things going for it.

Young adult is in. It’s hard to avoid accidentally filling your list with young adult books. I did try. I failed.

Nearly every book is part of a series. I’m okay with that–I’ll know something really appealed if I feel compelled to buy the sequel.

I also tried to avoid urban fantasy, which tends not to be my thing.

Okay, so here’s my list and why I chose each book.

Year One by Nora Roberts

An apocalypse book in which some of the people who don’t die develop magical powers? Why not? I tend to like books about rebuilding the world after everything falls apart–they make me feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

I finished this book already… and realise I made a mistake.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The multi-species crew of a spaceship is building a hyperspace tunnel–and finding more challenges with each other than with the rest of the universe.

I picked this book for two bad reasons and one good one: I love the title, I love the cover, and I’m curious about a sci-fi book that’s largely about the relationships between the characters.

To be fair, it was mostly the title.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

I can’t tell what the book’s about from the blurb. People travel somewhere. It’s misty.

But a friend on Twitter recommended it to me. Isn’t that reason enough?

Angelfall by Susan Ee

The world has ended. Angels kidnap a girl and her sister has to rescue her.

I’ve happened across this book more than once in the past and the beginning didn’t grab me, but it has 3,438 reviews so I’m going to grit my teeth and try to figure out why.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Future Atlanta where magic and technology compete, with shapechangers, necromancers, and vampires. A girl with a sword must pursue her guardian’s killer.

I was dubious, but I started to read the first page. Paragraph 4:

“Urgent bulletin!” Margaret Chang announced. “The Attorney General advises all citizens that any attempt at summoning or other activities resulting in the appearance of a supernaturally powerful being can be hazardous to yourself and to other citizens.”

I need to read this.

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

A dystopian society where second children are the property of the government. At least one secondborn seems to have a problem with that.

I don’t know why this book is on my list. Maybe because it got great reviews? I have to say, the cover is hideous.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A world of witches, daemons, and vampires.

A highly uninformative blurb.

Love is involved.

But they’re making it into a TV series and it has 5,430 reviews.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

A reimagining of A Thousand and One Nights. A boy-king takes a new bride every night and has her executed at dawn.

I avoid retellings of classic stories, but I read the first few pages and was hooked. The boy-king seems to be as much a victim as his dead brides.

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

A story about the friendship between a golem and a djinni and the “fateful choice” they must make.

I added this to the list partly because a Twitter friend recommended it, but mostly because the cover is a pretty colour.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Four parallel Londons, some magical, some rather ominous sounding. No hint of a plot in the blurb.

This is one of those books you keep hearing about and avoid reading, but it made the criteria for my list so I’m going to give it a go.

Fantasy ice man

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Epic scope, way too much plot for a two-sentence summary. Soldiers and spies and bringing down an empire.

Putting it on my list had nothing to do with the fact they’re making it into a movie.

I swear.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

A girl lives half in Prague and half in a world of monsters called Elsewhere. Then the doors between the worlds begin to close and she has to decide where to live and figure out wth is going on.

You’ve probably heard of this book. I have. And Patrick Rothfuss was impressed by it. Hey, I’ll give it a go.


That’s a bit less than half my list, but it will do for today. You’re probably sick of listening to me fabricate summaries of books I haven’t read.

Btw, I take no blame if my summaries are entirely misleading. As I say, I haven’t read the books yet.

Any suggestions of books I should add to my list? Any idea why so many of these are young adult?

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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

4 thoughts on “Popular fantasy novels I plan to read”

  1. EEEEEEP!!!
    1. Angelfall! Your reader self will get carried away with this one! It’s crazy inventive and well paced and fun!
    2. The Golem and the Jinni! This one is fascinating. It’s a huge world and very well interwoven story. I somehow loved it. Also, has some beautiful lines in it and amazing cultural depictions!
    3. A Darker Shade of Magic!! It’s on my TBR and will probably stay there for a bit longer bc so many books to read even though I’m really excited about it. (Did you love that stream of consciousness? :P)
    4. An Ember in the Ashes!!! I hope to read that one next month and am VERY excited about it!!
    WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO all the books!!!!

  2. I liked Angelfall, although I’d forgotten about it. I love the Magic Bites series! Have read all of them. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is really good. I read Discovery if Witches and liked it but couldn’t get into the sequel for some reason. Might give it another go. Great list!

  3. I do so appreciate your doing the legwork on parsing TBR books for me 😉 I am currently entirely under the spell of “The Buried Giant” as I think I’ve already mentioned in a previous comment. It’s not what you expect, whatever you might be expecting. And I have to finish it today so I can go on with my life. It’s that kind of book. Eager to know what you think of it!

  4. Oh, it’s been a while since I read anything written by Nora Roberts. I see it’s time I start reading her new books!
    A Discovery of witches is most definitely worth it! I’ve read all three of the All Soul’s Trilogy (of which ADOW is the first) and I LOVE them! I can’t wait to see the tv series which features Teresa Palmer, Alex Kingston and many others!

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