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Books Worth the Hype

A few weeks ago I posted an article listing some of the book series I don’t plan on continuing with. Life is all about balance so to counteract a bit of that negative vibe, here’s a positive article focusing on books that, in my opinion, are so worth the hype they get. If any are still on your TBR I highly suggest bumping them up in the stack! 

In no particular order, here we go:

The Priory of the Orange Tree book coverThe Priory of the Orange Tree

Written by Samantha Shannon

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

The one book I get asked the most – is it worth it? I get it. This book is intimidatingly large at well over 800 pages. But it is so well done and to me it reads like a duology. I can see where the story could have split into two novels but I’m really grateful that we got the whole story at once. Full of strong female characters, multi-character perspectives, expansive fantasy setting, inclusivity, talking dragons, battles, political maneuverings, friendships, love stories, magic … you’ll find it all within these pages. An incredibly approachable fantasy and would have great YA crossover appeal.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Black Sun book coverBlack Sun

Written by Rebecca Roanhorse

Published by Gallery / Saga Press

This book deserves even more love and popularity and a quick look at Goodreads reviews, you’ll see it is very beloved. Another multi-perspective fantasy, this story is set in the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas, rather than the typical Caucasian semi-European settings seen in most fantasy. Roanhorse brings such rich, cultural detail to this vivid story for fans who enjoy fantasy with a great dose of mythology. This perfectly paced (and I don’t say that often) story grabs you from the beginning and ticks along steadily, breathtakingly, until that explosive cliffhanger ending. For those who like less romance in their fantasy, this is a great pick.

Full review HERE. Monthly Pick HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Strange the Dreamer book coverStrange the Dreamer

Written by Laini Taylor

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

One of my most favourite YA fantasies, Laini has created such a unique world here full of the right amount of intriguing detail and complexity to complete a fully realized world without info dumping, pacing issues, extraneous details or a dragging plot. The characters are sparkling and vivid, it is a fantasy novel to get swept along with. Don’t be intimidated by the page count, it flies by!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Where the Crawdads Sing book coverWhere the Crawdads Sing

Written by Delia Owens

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Taking a pause from the fantasy recommendations, we land here with probably the most hyped book on this list. I’ll admit I thought there was NO WAY this story could live up to the massive push it gets … but it does. I mean, you have to be a fan of fiction/historical fiction, and slowly built, character driven stories. Delia creates such a sense of place through her own mastery of subject matter – the ecological conversation of our precious marshlands … which they themselves become a character in their own right. Special and sweet and heartbreaking and tender, I’d love to know your take on this one (especially that ending) if you do pick it up. Read it before the upcoming movie in 2022!

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Vanishing HalfThe Vanishing Half

Written by Brit Bennett

Published by Riverhead Books

Quite possibly the biggest book to come out of 2020, or at least tied with The Midnight Library, this book really delivers. It took me a bit to warm up to as the backstory was built, but once I fell for these characters (and you will), it was hard to put down. How expertly Brit weaves together multiple plot points and storylines and perspectives, how she makes us think about powerful topics including racism, gender identity, inclusivity, belonging, family relationships, and never comes across preaching, is masterfully wrote.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Circe book coverCirce

Written by Madeline Miller

Published by Little Brown and Company

If you’re going to read only one of Madeline’s highly acclaimed novels, let it be Circe and let yourself take some time with it. I DNF’d this at first and I am so glad I came back to it! Madeline is unparalleled in her ability to write a cohesive, interesting story by connecting the itty bitty disparate stories of mythology. Most mythology are really just little anecdotal stories or lessons of a moral, but the canon is bottomless. Taking all those pieces of information and concocting a page turning reading experience – all the while knowing where the story will end – is simply brilliant.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale

Written by Katherine Arden

Published by Del Rey Books

This one could be divisive, so I will talk to the reader who is fine giving up pacing for an absorbing, transporting, character driven story that rides the line between fairytale and fantasy and history. Calling for you to read in the cold dead of winter, this Russian tale weaves a magical spell that lingers well after the last page.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The City of Brass book coverThe City of Brass

Written by S.A. Chakraborty

Published by Harper Voyager

My love for this series is infinite. I’m not a major series reader/completer, and if I do I very rarely enjoy every book in the entire series, like I did with the The Daevabad Series. While it is a slow building story and takes some work to get through – don’t pick this up when you need a fast read! – it is so very worth it. Brimming with magic, a vivid Muslim based fantasy world, a likeable main character who is flawed and imperfect (my favourite kind – who needs annoyingly perfect?) this series has become the benchmark that I compare all my fantasy reads to.

Full review HERE. Monthly Pick HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Night CircusThe Night Circus

Written by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Doubleday Books

One of the books that brought me back to reading, I couldn’t love this one more. It’s why I recommend it over and over and over. Magicians, a magical circus, a doomed Romeo-Juliet style romance that adds to the story without taking over the story (my biggest pet peeve of romance in fantasy right now), and lush descriptions of scent, taste, sight without falling into overly drawn out purple prose. There’s a reason this is one of the few books I continue to reread!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

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