January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read YA Fantasy


This fabulous meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week's topic is books we'd recommend to someone who doesn't read "X". I picked YA fantasy — probably not a big surprise to those of you who know my reading tastes! :) Many of these books may look familiar, since they have all popped up on Top Ten lists in the past, LOL.


So, here we go...



1.) The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce — I absolutely cannot write this list without giving a nod to the author who sparked my love of YA fantasy. Before I read the first couple Alanna books, I was not a big fantasy fan. I kept to my "realistic fiction" and I couldn't seem to get into fantasy books like the Narnia series (I never got into those, really, although I have read a few of them.) Then along came Alanna: the First Adventure and I was hooked. Big thanks to my sister for bringing it along on that summer trip years ago, when I finished my own books and wanted something else to read!


2.) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine — all right, all right, it's more MG than YA. But it's absolutely phenomenal so that shouldn't matter a bit! I've read this so many times over that my copy is showing the worse for wear for it. This was my favourite book around Grade 7/8 and it still claims a place amongst my other favourites in my bookcase.


3.) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale — Shannon Hale really has a wonderful ear for the way words fit together and the beat of a line. The characters are well-sketched and the system of magic is simple but effective.

4.) The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede — if you like to laugh, you will LOVE this series. It's light-hearted, comedic fantasy at its finest, full of entertaining characters that sparkle with personality, and rollicking adventures.


5.) The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander —speaking of humour... this series has it in spades! But it's balanced well with a good deal of drama, and the cast of characters is fantastic. Epic good vs. evil battle FTW! This one's also more MG, at least in the first few books, but the characters grow up along the way.



6.) Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer — if historical fiction is more your cup of tea, then pick up this one. It's composed entirely of letters between two cousins, is set in Regency England, and is chock-full of secrets, magic, and a splash of romance.


7.) Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith — I would be remiss if I didn't put this one on the list! When I was younger I re-read this one countless times. It features a gutsy heroine, a villainous king, a secret admirer, and a whole lot of adventure.


8.) Archangel by Sharon Shinn —technically this is actually an adult sci-fi/fantasy, but I think it would be suitable for older teens. Sharon Shinn wrote this long before the paranormal angel trend, and it shows. This is no jumping-on-the-bandwagon kind of novel, but rather a carefully crafted world in which angels are considered the highest of the social strata, and the Archangel the very highest of them all. When it's his time to marry, he seeks out the bride he is told is his destiny, Rachel — and is shocked to discover she is a slave. For those of you who enjoy hate-turned-to-love romances: this one's for you.


9.) Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones— my favourite of all the Diana Wynne Jones I've read. The characters are so lively and Diana Wynne Jones is a real fount of creativity. (Be warned: if you've seen the movie, the book is really nothing like it. I happen to prefer the book, but then I did read it first.)


10.) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman —and now for something completely different... this one's more "urban fantasy" than traditional. It's kind of dark and gritty, but the protagonist Richard is so very likeable and his journey is so very strange that it makes for a really interesting read.


17 comments:

  1. Oh my the first five are all favorites for me! We are on the same page, girl! Now that I fully trust your judgment, I am going to have to look up the last five. :)

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    1. Yay! I hope they don't disappoint :)

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  2. I just discovered your via twitter :)

    I haven't read any of your suggestions but I am not a huge lover of fantasy, I'll add some to my to-read list!

    Mands

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    1. Awesome! I hope you find some you enjoy :) I'm vegetarian, by the way!

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  3. I wasn't a huge fantasy fan until I read Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series. I also love Ella Enchanted and Howl's Moving Castle (and the movie of it was awesome too). I've read all of those books a couple of times.

    I've still got to read The Goose Girl and Wrede's books and there are a couple I haven't heard about so they're going on my wishlist. Love the list, Danya! I need more good fantasy books to read.

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    1. You're a Song of the Lioness fantasy convert too, eh? ;) If you need more fantasy recommendations I will gladly push some books on you :D This could have been a much longer list!

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  4. Ya know, I'm a big fan of fantasy when it comes to movies, but haven't read too many fantasy books. It's a genre that I'd like to delve deeper into. I've heard a lot about Tamora Pierce lately, and that has encouraged me to look into her books. The problem is, there are so many, and I don't know where to even begin! I'm glad I found this post. I'm going to look into the Song of the Lioness series.

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    1. There *are* a lot of Tamora Pierce books! Personally I'd recommend starting with the Song of the Lioness series, and if you like those try the Immortals series. They're my two favourite series of hers :)

      Also, what sorts of fantasy movies do you like?

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  5. Oh, I loved Howl's Moving Castle! It's a great introduction to Diana Wynne Jones's books. I wanted to cry when I saw the movie version, though. Ugh.

    I've heard of all of these (except for Archangel), but I haven't read many of them (with the exception of Howl and Ella Enchanted... and a couple of the Lloyd Alexander books). I have read Sherwood Smith's Wren to the Rescue; I loved it when I was younger, but I think it's more MG than YA.

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    1. Oh, I know, the movie version strays so far from the book! I like some aspects of it but really there's no competition, the book wins hands-down.

      I think if you enjoyed Wren to the Rescue you'll probably like Crown Duel, which is a bit more YA in tone :)

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  6. New follower here! Loved Ella Enchanted!Here is my list if you'd like to follow back: http://theonceandfuturelibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/01/top-10-tuesday-10-books-i-would.html

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    1. Thanks for following! Ella Enchanted really is such a wonderful read :)

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  7. This year I'm determined to read the Alanna series by Tamora Pearce. I can't believe I never read anything by her! *Facepalm* I really liked the movie Ella Enchanted (ok, so Hugh Dancy was a huge part of that ;D )but I've heard the book is completely different. I would love to read it though. Sorcery and Cecelia also seems like my kind of book. Ok, so I decided to write down all of these titles. LOL!

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    1. Oh yes, definitely read the Alanna series, Rummanah! Keep in mind that they were written a few decades ago so a lot of things that are cliches now in the fantasy genre weren't back then. Tamora Pierce was a trailblazer, really!

      And I cannot recommend Ella Enchanted highly enough. It is *nothing* like the movie but I happen to think it is so much better, LOL. Of course, I read and loved the book first and I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to movie adaptations, so the movie version makes me cringe. I think you would enjoy the book, though!

      Sorcery and Cecelia is one of my all-time comfort reads. I can't say enough good things about it :)

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  8. I haven't heard of most of these, but I did read Ella Enchanted a few years back and I really liked it! Good list!
    Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Ella Enchanted seems to be one of the most popular books on this list (and for good reason!) It's such a charming retelling :)

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  9. I agree - I adore Ella Enchanted. It's probably due for a reread.

    I'm currently reading The Book of Three with a group of fourth graders. I love the characters, especially Eilonwy. She reminds me of a young Leia.

    I keep meaning to pick up some Tamora Pierce. I really need to move those to the top of my list. I'm currently doing a Newbery Challenge, though, so that's taking up a lot of my time :)

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