Friday, 11 December 2015

Emma's Top 2015 reads: Fantasy

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library was one of those rare books that ticks all the boxes for me. A magical library, alternative realities, adventure and magic. The protagonist works as an undercover spy for a secret library that collects fiction from different realities. It really is as awesome as it sounds.

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The Copper Promise (The Copper Promise, #1)

This series is so much fun! The Copper Promise is an engaging fantasy adventure with sympathetic lead characters. The settings and the fearsome creatures which populate them are wonderfully inventive. I particularly loved the Werkens, creatures of living rock which form close bonds with the people who live in the mountains. I love the characters in this series. Wydrin, Frith and Sebastian are all engaging and three-dimensional and even the most sinister villains have well-considered motivations.

The action is constant and the pace never lags. What starts as a simple quest soon becomes a problem on an epic scale, and I was riveted through the whole ride. Very highly recommended to fantasy lovers!

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

While the premise of Red Queen initially seemed familiar--I've read a lot of YA fantasy and dystopia with similar premises--I actually really enjoyed it. In Mare Barrow's world, the poverty-stricken lower-class Reds serve in the war while the ruling Silvers live in luxury. But when a Mare unexpectedly demonstrates powers usually gifted only to Silvers, she is forced to adopt a false identity and leave her family for the deadly world of the Silver court.

This is a compelling, intense read. I loved the concept of division by blood, and the fight scenes and superpowers were very creative. Mare is a strong protagonist and the side characters are all fully developed, keeping me guessing as to who had ulterior motives. A very strong start to a new YA fantasy trilogy--I can't wait for Glass Sword!

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Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)


I was really excited to read Snow Like Ashes because I'd heard a lot of good things about it - and look at that gorgeous cover! It's easily one of the best YA fantasies I've read this year, with fantastic worldbuilding, and a kickass female lead character.

I was drawn into this book by the great cover, and I . There are still some familiar tropes (unique orphan from a conquered kingdom, a love triangle), but enough magic and
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A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)


I'm a huge fan of all Victoria Schwab's work, and I knew I needed to get my hands on this (though I admit I waited until after my own London-based alternative-universe story was published before reading it). Parallel Londons and magic and cross-dressing thieves? Hell, yes!
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The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)

I've been meaning to read Locke Lamora for a while, and I'm glad I did! It's a dark, gritty and totally gripping epic fantasy with an engaging anti-hero. Recommended!
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The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)



So I've managed to get sucked into another series where I'll probably have to wait years for the next book (just as I was getting over GoT...). It's the kind of book where you walk around doing everything one-handed because you can't stop reading it. If you love fantasy of any kind, I'd highly recommend The Name of the Wind.

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An Ember in the Ashes

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book, but it's definitely well-deserved. I was completely sucked into the compelling, brutal world of the story. The characters are all fleshed-out and have their own motivations. The pace is pulse-pounding, and the plot grabbed me and didn't let go until the final page. It's rare I'm so completely swept away by a book, but I need a sequel!


Oh, wow. I'm always wary of hype, because it can make expectations unfairly high and ruin the reading experience. But I can see why An Ember in the Ashes caught so much attention. I was totally drawn into compelling world of the story. When Laia's brother's captured, she's forced to ally with rebels against the vicious Martial Empire to get him back, even if it means being a slave and a spy within the elite military academy. There, the brutal Trials to determine the next Emperor are taking place, but all the Commandant's son Elias wants is to get out. When he meets Laia, everything changes.

I absolutely loved this book. All the characters are fleshed-out and have their own motivations. The pace is pulse-pounding, and the plot grabbed me and didn't let go until the final page. It's rare I'm so completely swept away by a book, but I need a sequel!

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Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)



Stolen Songbird was one of my top YA fantasy reads last year, and I was really excited to read the sequel. In Hidden Huntress, Cecile has returned from Trollus with the goal of tracking and killing the witch who cursed the trolls to spend eternity trapped inside the mountain, while also pursuing her singing career under the watchful eye of her estranged mother. She and Tristan are separated, but we also get Tristan's viewpoint as he is held captive by his own father and tries to fix the injustices towards half-bloods in Trollus. The tension is high throughout and there are plenty of twists, though I did guess the identity of the villain. I really like the magic system in this series, as well as the reimagining of trolls and legends. I liked the plot of Stolen Songbird more, but the world inside and outside Trollus is as complex and compelling as ever.
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Uprooted


I've been seeing a lot of hype around Uprooted by Naomi Novik, whose first Temeraire book I read a while ago and enjoyed. Uprooted is fabulous -- like a cross between Howl's Moving Castle and a fairy tale with clever, complex characters and a page-turning plot.
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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

Queen of Shadows is one I've been looking forward to for a long time, and as I predicted, it swept me away from the first page. This series has developed so much from the world shown in Throne of Glass, and I was so invested in the characters, I barely paused while reading this 600-page book. Despite the book's length, the pacing is great, with every character getting their chance in the spotlight. While I predicted early on how the love interest-subplot was going to develop, it's handled maturely and doesn't detract from the thrilling, action-packed plot. There were so many heart-stopping action sequences, badass characters and thrilling twists. My only criticism is that I thought things wrapped up a little too neatly for Book 4 of a 6-book series--but given Maas's exceptional writing skills, I've no doubt she has great plans for the last two books!


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3 comments:

  1. Wow! They all sound amazing! Thanks for the heads up!

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  2. Wow! They all sound amazing! Thanks for the heads up!

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  3. I don't usually read Fantasy, but I really liked the covers for Copper Promise and Red Queen. Thanks for the book features and your opinions. Have a great weekend! :)

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