10 fantasy books I never hear about

✨Top Ten Tuesday! ✨

Hey guys! Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is a genre freebie, so I decided to do Ten books that I never hear people talk about. Hope you enjoy!

  1. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

“Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.”

5/5 😄 13+

2. Oathbound by Victoria McCombs

Beware the waters. The dangerous deep brings ruin to all.

Emme has spent her life avoiding anything to do with pirates. But the fates are cruel, and now a hidden sickness leads her to partner with pirates for the one thing that can save her—a cure on an island none are certain exists.

The pirate captain’s secrets are darker than the deep and threaten to kill them all. His obligations are tinged with betrayal, for his oathbind must be fulfilled. To ignore it is to invite peril of unimaginable destruction.

As the adventure unfolds, the sea takes more than she expects and the sea gives more than he wants.

5/5😄 13+

3. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

“Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.”

5/5 😄 16+

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

“It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.”

5/5 😄 14+

5. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

“Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.”

4/5 😄 13+

6. An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

“With Lizzie’s father fighting in World War II, her mother takes on the job of a zoo keeper to provide for her family. Lizzie, her mother, and her eight-year-old brother Karli have become especially attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene. The bombing of Dresden is imminent and soon, so the zoo director explains that as a precautionary measure all the animals must be destroyed so that they’re not running wild through the city. Lizzie’s mother persuades the director to allow Marlene, the elephant, to come stay in the family’s garden.

As predicted, Dresden is bombed, and the family, including Marlene, is forced from the city. Lizzie and her family aren’t alone. Thousands of Dresden residents are fleeing to find somewhere safe to stay. Lizzie’s mother has to find a different route out of the city to keep the elephant and the children safe from harm. Once they reach the abandoned home of their relatives, they come across Peter, a Canadian navigator who, by putting himself at risk of capture to save the family, gains their trust.

This unlikely grouping of family, elephant, and enemy turned ally come together beautifully to illustrate the importance of love, resolve, and hope.”

4/5 😄 11+

7. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

“In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.”

4/5 😄 13+

8. The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham

“On the night before his twelfth birthday, Ash learns that he was born on the same day as Prince Khufu, which makes him eligible to compete to be the prince’s shadow, a coveted position as the friend and bodyguard of the boy destined to be pharaoh of all of Egypt. At first, Ash can’t believe it, but when a floating royal barge takes Ash and his mentor to the bustling, magical, solar-powered capital, things get real.

What awaits Ash and the candidates is deadly–five days of dangerous tests filled with demon fighting, monster slaying, and magical spells–each overseen by a different Egyptian god. Ash finds two friends willing to fight by his side–the first friends he’s ever made. But there are candidates who will lie, cheat, and even harm others to win. Not all will survive, and only one can become the prince’s shadow.

To make matters worse, Ash is up against Lord Set, the devious god of chaos, who is secretly working to make the candidates fail. But if they do, the very survival of the kingdom is in peril. Can Ash and his new friends save Egypt? And will any of them survive to become the shadow prince?”

4/5 😄 8+

9. Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

“While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.”

4/5 😄 13+

10. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

“Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.”

4/5 😄 11+

What are some fantasy books you don’t hear a lot about? Have you heard about any of these?

Have a great day and happy reading!

8 responses to “10 fantasy books I never hear about”

  1. I love Wild Magic! Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These sound like great books. I’ve heard of a few of them before, but have yet to read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Girls of Paper and Fire sounded really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard of many of these! I did read Girls of Paper and Fire though!

    My Top Ten!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this topic idea because the same books are always talked about so it’s nice to highlight some different ones. I’ve read a lot by Martha Wells but not the one you mention, so I’ll check that one out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have The Left Handed Booksellers on my TBR. I think the title is what drew me in as a left-handed book lover.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
    https://readbakecreate.com/favorite-historical-fiction-the-1920s-1930s/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like Tamora Pierce’s books. She writes some good strong female characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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