Once upon a time fantasy was my absolute go-to genre but like middle grade I just haven’t been reading as much of it as I did in previous years. This list has a couple of new to me authors but it is mostly made up of books from series which I have been carrying on but nonetheless each of them were really fantastic reads.
5. Girls Of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I’m all for more queer fantasy publishing and 2019 really came through for me, it’s even better when the queer characters just also happen to be POC which is what we have here. Girls of Paper and Fire follows Lei who is a Paper caste, the lowest ranking class in her world who is taken to serve the king and only the king. But, once Lei arrives at the palace she does the worst thing imaginable. She falls in love with someone else…
I met Natasha at YALC and she said I looked cute in my dungarees so she gets bonus points too!
4. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
I absolutely adore the Grishaverse, I’ve read every book in the multiple series’, but I usually just don’t like the books very much, more just the ideas and world building. That was until I read this one and it is by far my favourite Grisha offering to date. It follows everyone’s favourite Nikolai in the aftermath of the other series as he is trying to rebuild Ravka. It is hard enough in itself but Nikolai is also having to deal with the dark magic inside him that just keeps getting stronger. This one took all my favourite bits and characters from the previous books to make this beauty.
3. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
I already blogged about this book earlier in the year but it is one of the books I am most thankful for. It brought me back vampires (and maybe more ) which I’d been missing from YA for quite a few years now. Renee Ahdieh didn’t even just rehash old tropes but completely reinvented vampires in 1872 New Orleans with a super gutsy bi-racial main character that puts Bella Swan to shame. Full of dark twists and turns and a whole cast of really morally grey characters, this is one everyone should put on their reading list.
2. The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black
In all fairness, this spot could have been any book in this series as I read the whole thing this year but I went with The Queen of Nothing because it was the one that tidied the series up. I adored every book, each was so well crafted and full of both great character development and world building with the first two books having some of the most frustrating cliff hangers I’ve encountered. If you haven’t come across this series it follows a human named Jude who is taken to live with Faeries after her parents are murdered by a Faerie general. It’s full of romance, politics and blood and I just love it.
1. Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
It is no surprise to me whatsoever that this book has topped my list of my favourite fantasy reads of 2019. The new Three Dark Crowns book to be published every year always features amongst my top reads and this was no exception. This final installment was an emotional roller coaster that had me crying more than once. If you want to know who ultimately claims the Fenbirnn crown then you’ll just have to read it, you’ll find no spoilers here.