Fantasy Recommendations

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Fantasy is one of the most popular genres when it comes to reading and even if it’s not your favourite, you can guarantee that you have read a fantasy novel at some point. Whether it be the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, along with other Tolkien works such as the Silmarillion, the collection of notes for the world of Lord of the Rings, or maybe you were a bigger fan of the Harry Potter series, having grown up alongside the characters. Whichever you prefer, this collection of recommendations may help with getting you into more fantasy series and growing your knowledge of fantasy worlds and will possibly help with waiting on the last Song of Ice and Fire book.

City of Brass (the Daevabad Trilogy #1) By S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri has never believed in magic, but that doesn’t stop her from using it to her advantage. Nahri makes a living by working as a con woman on the 18th century streets of Cairo. She knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by – palm readings, scriptures, healings – are full of tricks, perfect for swindling the Ottoman Nobles.
During one of her scams, Nahri accidentally summons and equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side. After this, she is forced to accept that the magical world, the one she thought only existed in childhood stories, are real. For the warrior tells her a new tale. Across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad; the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. When Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. Based on middle eastern mythology, this unique fantasy series is a must read for those looking for something new to make your heart race.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The world is divided, a queendom remains without an heir, and ancient enemies are awakening.
The house of Berethnet has ruled the queendom of Inys for a thousand years. However, Queen Sabran the Ninth still remains unwed, and she must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction, but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. While she may have risen to the position of being a lady-in-waiting, her loyalties lie for a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting the queen with her own forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, since she was a child, Tané has been training to be a dragon-rider but is now forced to make a choice that could cause her life to unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West are refusing to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
This standalone fantasy novel is perfect for fans of both the Game of Thrones TV series and books, and provides a new twist for the fantasy genre, but still has everything that makes you love the genre.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab
average goodreads score: 4.09/5
Kell is one of the last Antari-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and once upon a time, Black.
Originally raised in Arnes – Red London – Kell officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent, bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George the 3rd in the dullest of Londons, the one that has lost its magic.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see; an act of defiance that could result with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing first-hand.
After an exchange goes wrong, Kell escapes grey London and runs into Delilah Bard; a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. First robbing him then saving him from a deadly enemy finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now dangerous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
This series is perfect for those who love a good fantasy adventure with sci-fi elements and great characters that you will fall in love with.

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) By R.F. Kuang
average goodreads score: 3.98/5
Rin aced the Keju – the empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the academies – shocking everyone from the war officials who couldn’t believe a war orphan could pass without cheating, to Rin’s guardians who thought they could marry her off and further their criminal enterprise, and even Rin herself. She realizes she is now free of the servitude and despair that made up her daily existence. She has now gotten into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – which has surprised her even more. However, surprises are not always good.
Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her colour, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power; an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Rin begins to explore the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances. Rin learns that the Gods, long thought to be dead, are still very much alive and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
While the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across the Narrow Sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s Shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the God that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and it may already be too late.
The Poppy War series is a historical military fantasy rooted in the bloody history of China’s 20th century. It is perfect for those who prefer fantasy that is inspired by the real history of our own world.

Discovery of Witches. (All souls Trilogy #1)
average goodreads score: 4.00/5
This Urban fantasy novel takes us to a world where witches, daemons and vampires secretly walk among us. When historian Diana Bishop, opens up an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian library, it causes an unwelcome intrusion of magic back into her carefully ordered life. While Diana may be a witch with an impeccable lineage, after the violent death of her parents when she was still a child, she became convinced human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has now unwittingly exposed herself to the world she has avoided for years; one full of power witches, creative daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the discovery, these creatures are all drawn to Oxford to find the manuscript, including the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. After meeting, Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew, and ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they start to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…
If you prefer fantasy stories that are more closely tied to the real world, the All Souls series is a great choice for you, with this fantasy series you get to explore places that you may have visited yourself, but with a magical element.

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Niamh O'Connell

Books Editor | 19-20

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