Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the second day of the Five Fall Favorites blog party!
You can find all of the information about the Five Fall Favorites blog party by seeing my first post from yesterday, or by going to the lovely host (Kate Willis Hoppman)’s site, but for a quick recap, each day this week, a group of bloggers is each sharing their five favorite books in a particular genre – the goal being for us all to find some great new reads!
There is also a grand giveaway at the end of all this, with some of the prizes featured below in the images below. You can enter that giveaway by just following this link.
And if that wasn’t enough, every day there’s also a Kindle deal going on, where you can snag the featured ebook free on Amazon. These are great stories written by many of the authors participating in this blog party, and I encourage you to check them out!
Today’s featured deal is The Night Archers by Kate Willis (yes, the host of this event)! You can find it by clicking that link, or the image below.
And now, onto today’s topic!
My Top 5 Fantasy Books
If I had to pick a favorite overall genre, it would be fantasy. I absolutely love the imagination and freedom that stories in the fantasy genre bring. And while fantasy is often narrowed down, I’m going to include the sub-genre of dystopian in this round-up, since it’s technically still fantasy – and because I think I read more dystopian than straight fantasy.
With their unique worlds, creative characters, and intricate plot lines, there are few stories that suck me in faster than fantasy ones. Here are a few that I especially enjoy!
The Chronicles of Narnia (the series)
Author: C. S. Lewis
Target Audience: Middle grade (but enjoyed by all ages)
What Stuck Out To Me: What fantasy favorites list would be complete without The Chronicles of Narnia? I’m very fond of these stories.
Admittedly, I always had some trouble getting into the writing style when I was younger. But once I decided to stick it out, knowing that I already liked the stories from the movies, I couldn’t stop reading! Of course, Aslan is my favorite part, and I admire how C. S. Lewis created such a vivid set of stories that both stand on their own, and lead readers back to the greatest (true!) story of all time. From beginning to end, these books are so rich.
Tricky Content: Violence, references about other gods that are worshipped by some of Narnia’s inhabitants, a historically-accurate but now touchy word for donkey used, and intense events due to the allegorical nature of the books (the last one in particular).
I’d Recommend It To: Middle-grade readers and up that enjoy deep fantasy reads.
The Out of Time Series
Author: Nadine Brandes
Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)
What Stuck Out To Me: First of all, the premise! The whole idea of knowing exactly when you’re going to die – or, in the protagonist’s case, knowing when someone will – is fascinating.
As always, Nadine’s writing style is beautiful, clear, and gripping, and I have really enjoyed watching her characters struggle and learn throughout the intense plotline. Her weaving of faith into the story is also well-done. Now I’ll admit that I still have the last book and a half to read of this series, so I can’t review all of it, but so far, it’s been well worth the read!
Tricky Content: Some scary and intense situations, (non-graphic) violence, and clean romantic attraction.
I’d Recommend It To: Teens and up that enjoy twisting, adventurous dystopian stories.
The Hunger Games (the series)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)
What Stuck Out To Me: I’d heard that these books weren’t nearly as good as the movies, but I was very pleasantly surprised by them! I enjoyed them all, and stayed very interested.
The premise and Hunger Games themselves were fascinating and gripping, I thought the characters felt very realistic and acted like many of us would in the same situations, and the writing style itself was a good balance of description and action. I read the first two books in one day, they were so good! Personally, the last book wasn’t quite as interesting (it slowed down to focus more on PTSD and mental health), but it was still a good conclusion.
It’s also worth noting that I appreciated the exploration of governmental roles in these books. So many situations occurred where I had to stop and think, “what would I do in this instance?” I thought Collins handled those morally and ethically troublesome scenes fairly.
Tricky Content: Frequent violence – often graphic, but not gratuitous, intense and scary scenes, a love triangle with light physicality (kissing, huddling together for warmth), shown alcoholism, and exploration of PTSD.
I’d Recommend It To: Mature teens and up looking for a fast-paced and intense read with deep themes.
Author: Cornelia Funke
Target Audience: Middle Grade (MG)
What Stuck Out To Me: I’d watched the movie several times growing up, but for some reason, never read the book until recently. What a fun book!
I found it a very charming and whimsical story. The main character and her father were sweet, and I loved the colorful variety of characters.
The sheer amount of pages did take quite a while to get through, and I think the story could have been condensed, especially as it’s geared toward a younger audience. However, the length seems to go with the older, ‘quaint’ writing style, and I didn’t mind much. Once the main plotline got started, I was very interested, and enjoyed the adventure!
Tricky Content: Some mild language and taking the Lord’s name in vain several times, characters with superstitious beliefs, a magic system, threats of violence from the villains.
I’d Recommend It To: Middle grade readers and up, that enjoy lengthy, imaginative fantasy stories.
The Thirst Duology
Author: Jill Williamson
Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)
What Stuck Out to Me: As is usually the case with dystopians, the initial premise! A global pandemic (written before 2020, believe it or not)? No safe water? Count me in!
This series is a duology, and written from two main points of view. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters, watching them navigate their crazy, changed world. I also definitely liked the ones I was supposed to like and hated the ones I was supposed to hate. There were very well-done themes of loss, family, fellowship, survival, and faith, and the action was steady and intriguing, with mysterious plot twists, and a constant sense of urgency.
These books are actually prequels to Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series, which I haven’t read yet, but I found that didn’t keep me from enjoying and understanding these at all. And considering that they’re prequels, I felt they ended well. I even got my sister hooked too!
Tricky Content: Some touchy romance, a few disturbing descriptions of illness/death, intense survival scenes, and occasional mild language.
I’d Recommend It To: Teens and up, looking for an intriguing survival story in an apocalyptic earth.
What’s this? We’ve reached the end of day two of the Five Fall Favorites blog party! What are some of your favorite fantasy reads? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!
Again, check out Kate’s host post here, for a full list of other bloggers participating and so that you can find even more book recommendations! Don’t forget to join the giveaway here, and pick up the daily Kindle deal (The Night Archers by Kate Willis), here!
See you tomorrow for some more bookish fun!