Top 5 Fantasy Book Series I Read In 2017
a few months ago i mentioned my deeply intensifying adoration for fantasy literature, and that i set myself a reading challenge of 50 new books to read in 2017. i recently surpassed that number (*quick pat on the back*) and i thought i’d make a few recommendations from my faves.
most of these have some type of romantic element to them, although i did not read romance-fantasies exclusively at all this year. they somehow just end up being the most memorable for me. for next year, i plan to include a wider variety of sub-genres to mix things up a bit, but in the meantime, here are some of my favorite fantasy reads of 2017.
A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas
genres: high fantasy, romance, new adult
i read the first two books from the ACOTAR trilogy in 2016, and re-read them again in time for the third book’s release in may 2017. the books are utterly captivating, leaving you gasping for breath and laughing out loud and, if you’re anything like me, curled up in a corner choking on free-flowing tears. sarah maas is a great storyteller and her other book series, Throne of Glass, is fantastic as well (i just happen to favor ACOTAR a bit more).
the A Court Of Thorns And Roses trilogy follows the story of 19-year-old, human-turned-fae feyre archeron, who finds herself smack in the middle of a brewing war in the faerie lands of prythian. the books focus heavily on romance, but there is plenty of action and intrigue that truly captivates — so much so that i read the third book for 13 hours straight, hardly breathing.
The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
genres: high fantasy, adventure fiction, kind-of-dystopian-but-actually-not
this was an entirely different story for me to get into and i was apprehensive to even start on page one, but i’m glad i did. The Broken Empire trilogy centers around royal-child-turned-leader-of-brigands jorg ancrath and his quest to regain his throne, exact revenge on those who wronged him, and bring unity and peace to their broken lands. these books are dark and gritty — evidently too dark and gritty for some — but i managed just fine and felt fascinated by jorg’s unlikeable-but-likeable, anti-hero persona.
things to note: the stories are told in multiple perspectives and i found the first book to be the most jarring between such shifts, but the other two were easier to follow. the treatment of women in the books is also pretty appalling; there are definite misogynistic tones in all three books that was sometimes hard to digest, and i know will bother some readers.
Tairen Soul by C.L. Wilson
genres: epic fantasy, romance, adult
do not let the wildly cringe-y book covers fool you (they almost stopped me from even reading the synopsis); these books are brilliant. they may in fact be my favorite romance-fantasy books of all time, and that’s saying a lot. the Tairen Soul series tells the love story of main protagonists ellysetta baristani and fae king rain tairen soul. as they go through their journey to complete their truemate bond, they must also fight an old evil that threatens the lives of fae and humans alike.
i am not one to gush over insta-love stories or ones that venture into the soulmate realm, but i couldn’t help it with this one. the characters are charming and endlessly likeable, and the world-building truly ensnares. even though there are already five books in this series, the fangirl in me will always, always wish for more.
Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
genres: high fantasy, adventure fiction, romance, young adult
out of all the books i read this year, this trilogy is by far the most surprising of all. i thought it would be a middle-of-the-road story for me to pass the time during the day or lull me to sleep at night, but it turned out to be an absolute joy to read and now a new favorite. the Lumatere Chronicles is the journey of its main characters — notably Finnikin, Isaboe, Froi and Quintana — to lift years-long curses plaguing their lands, and ultimately find peace among kingdoms. the writing is beautiful and witty and paced perfectly, immersing the reader in an exciting, fantastical world that is both stunning and devastating. i can already see myself re-reading these books in the near future; i just love them.
Dreamblood by N.K. Jemisin
genre: fantasy, romance
the Dreamblood duology is part-adventure, part-mystery fantasy set in an enchanting land reminiscent of ancient egypt. the pace is relatively slow as it builds story and setting, but i did not mind it one bit. i found myself being immersed completely in the books, as i read pages that spoke of goddesses and kingdoms, of priests and tribes and the magic of dreams. romance was more of an afterthought in the series (it is more pronounced in the second book, but still not the main theme), which i found refreshing after having plowed through lovey-dovey books one after another.
N.K. Jemisin writes exquisitely and memorably, and she has become an immediate favorite. i am currently in the middle of her other book series called The Broken Earth, which is just as wonderful — if not better — than Dreamblood. i highly recommend both.