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Our favorite young adult fantasy series!
November 21, 2018
This time of the year is the perfect time to start a series—it’s cold outside, there are upcoming holidays and books make great presents! And I’ve got some great recommendations for you!
A lot of my recent (and not so recent) favorite books are part of a fantasy series. And while I could fill up a whole book case with what I think is awesome when it comes to fantasy, I also realized that there were probably fantasy series that I haven’t heard of, let alone read, yet. I reached out to my co-workers, and here is a small sampling of fantasy series that we think are fantastic. (No pun intended. Ok, maybe pun intended.)
Our list covers everything from urban fantasy/horror with Lili St. Crow’s “Strange Angels” to traditional fantasy with a spin, like Tamora Pierce’s “The Song of the Lioness.” I’ve included steampunk, because no one but someone who writes fantasy would include a giant airship that is genetically part whale in their story, like Scott Westerfeld does in his “Leviathan” trilogy. There are necromancers, Leopard People, fairies and vampires; psychics and people who live underground; djinn, wizards, time traveling pirates and chimera. So dip your toe into the wonderful worlds of fantasy!
Dru has always had what her grandma called “the touch.” Which comes in handy, when your dad hunts literal monsters for a living. One morning, her dad shows up at their house, dead, but still walking around. Dru does the only thing she can; she kills him. Now she’s looking for the monster that turned her dad into a zombie.
In a world where refusing to pledge your body, soul and heart to the Emperor will get you killed, Laia’s brother is arrested for treason. When Laia turns to the rebellion for help in rescuing him, they agree to help her, only if she will go undercover and spy from within the Emperor’s greatest military academy.
Karou is an art student in Prague, with blue hair and speaks a variety of languages. Raised by the Chimaera, Brimstone, she brings him teeth and he, in return, gives her wishes. One day she finds a strange black handprint on the door of a portal to Brimstone’s shop. Little does Karou know, but she’s about to be in the middle of a war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim.
Eighteen year old Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. After spending a year in the king’s prison, she is offered a choice: Compete with other thieves and assassins to become the king’s champion or die. If she wins, after four years, she’s allowed to go free.
On St. Mark’s Eve, Blue and her psychic mother wait in the cemetery to see the spirits of those who are destined to die the following year. Blue never sees the dead, and this year is no different. But from the gloom, a boy appears and speaks directly to Blue. He’s Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from Aglionby, a nearby private school. Blue is drawn to him, but she’s been warned that she will cause her true love to die.
Sparrowhawk starts life as a goat herder on Gont. When his aunt teaches him all the magic she knows, she sends him on to Ogion, the great mage. Ogion realizes that Sparrowhawk, now named Ged, could become a powerful mage and sends him the school for wizards on Roke. There Ged attempts magic that releases a terrible evil into the world, an evil that follows him wherever he goes.
Hidden under the streets of New York, the Avicen have managed to use magic to avoid being seen by every human, except one, Echo, a pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures. The Avicen are the only family Echo has known and when war threatens, Echo decides to find the firebird, a mythical being who could end the conflict once and for all.
It’s the beginning of World War I. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany have created “clunkers;” large steam driven engines of war, bristling with weapons. The British meanwhile have genetically engineered animals to serve them during the war, including Leviathan, a giant whale air ship. When a clunker boy meets a Darwinist girl, their paths lead them on an amazing around the world voyage aboard Leviathan.
Set in an alternative London where magic has changed the course of historic events, Nathaniel mistakenly summons a powerful djinn, Bartimaeus. Going behind his master’s back, Nathaniel begins to study advanced magic and attempts to control Bartimaeus. This results in Nathaniel and Bartimaeus being involved in magical espionage, murder, blackmail and revolt.
After returning to Nigeria with her parents, Sunny discovers that she is one of the Leopard People, with magic gifts. One of her first challenges is to track down a magical serial killer preying on children.
South of the wall, magic doesn’t exist at all. North of the wall, in the Old Kingdom, both Free Magic and Charter Magic exist. Necromancers raise dangerous dead creatures, and the Abhorsen’s job is to put those dead things to rest. When the current Abhorsen struggles against a dangerous new evil and loses, his daughter Sabriel must carry on in her father’s absence.
In 19th century London, Tessa Grey searches for her lost brother. Following clues leads her to the Shadowhunters, a group determined to keep the peace, no matter the cost. As she looks for her brother, Tessa is drawn deeper into a world she never knew existed.
Gemma is sent from India to the Spence Academy after her mother dies. She soon learns about the dark past of her school and her own heritage as a magic user. Gemma discovers how to enter “The Realms,” where everything can come true, but everything comes with a price.
Josh and his twin sister Sophie never imagined that they would meet anyone like Nick Flamel. When Dr. John Dee (yes, Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer) arrives and steals “The Book of Abraham the Mage,” Nick Flamel reveals that he is really the 12th century alchemist, who has discovered the secret to immortal life. Nicholas needs to retrieve the book, because without it, he and his wife will die.
If there is a map, Nix’s father can sail there. Traveling through time and across continents, Nix’s father has finally found the map that he has been searching for; the map back to the time before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. But what will happen to Nix, if her father manages to change her past?
One afternoon, Tucker’s dad climbed to the roof to fix a shingle. And disappeared. One month later he was back, looking older and bringing a girl with him. Now both of his parents are gone. Tucker keeps seeing shimmering discs in the air and believes that these are the key to reuniting his family.
Lyra Belacqua has lived at Jordan College for most of her life, hiding in closets, scaling the roofs and making friends with everyone. When Lord Asriel comes to the college, Lyra learns about Dust and its effect on people as they grow up. Intrigued, Lyra starts a quest to find out more, eventually leading her into different worlds in order to fulfill a prophecy.
Alanna longs to be a knight, but woman aren’t supposed to fight or go into battle. So Alanna trades places with her brother Thom. While Thom studies magic, Alanna secretly trains to be a knight. Will her hidden identity be revealed or can she continue her studies to become a knight?
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/butterfly-blue-forest-fantasy-2049567