Happy Wednesday and welcome to my first post for Top 5 Wednesday which I plan to participate in weekly from now on! Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by GingerReadsLainey and is now hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. For more information on the weekly topics and if you are interested in participating please visit the Goodreads page: Top 5 Wednesday on Goodreads
This week’s topic is: Gateway Books to my Favorite Genre.
My absolute favorite genre to read since I was a kid was Fantasy. I am most at home with my nose in a big ol’ fantasy book. I love all types of fantasy whether it is Epic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Middle Grade…as long as it is fantasy, I am so there for it. With that in mind this list may contain a mix of the sub genres present within the umbrella of the fantasy genre.
Fantasy can be an intimidating genre, especially when we start talking Epic Fantasy like Tolkien or George R.R. Martin where the writing is really dense, the world huge in scope and the page numbers well above the eight hundreds and sometimes into the thousands. I love fantasy for many different reasons but mostly for it’s ability to transport me to a world unlike the one in which we live, where the possibilities seem endless. Because of fantasy novels I have fought epic battles, befriended dragons, and cast a few thousand spells.
There are so many WONDERFUL fantasy books that it’s hard to choose only five gateway books to this genre but nonetheless I have and I hope you enjoy this list and if you have read any of these, feel free to leave your thoughts on them OR if you plan to read any let me know if you’re excited to delve into the magic that is a fantasy novel. (Note: These are no particular order)
1) A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
I read this book when I was pretty young and have reread it quite a bit and it was definitely one of the very first fantasy books I ever read. It is definitely one my most favorite of all time. Ursula K. Le Guin is definitely one of the greats and this may just catapult you towards her other books AND towards more fantasy! I actually think I am due for a reread soon!
2) The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman
Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title.
I got this book for Christmas about eight years ago. I was already an adult when I read this book, I wish I had read it when I was younger. I don’t know if it was the time in which I read it (almost promptly after receiving it) but I just find reading this book during the winter really ideal and comforting. To me, this was book was just wonderful and although fraught with peril, I thought it was pretty magical and I think a really good starting point to fantasy.
3) Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting.
Magic – it can get a guy killed.
This one is definitely more Urban/Paranormal fantasy but I think deserves to be on this list nonetheless. I had TREMENDOUS fun reading this book and the others that I have read so far in the series (which is a pretty extensive series). This book does have magical elements as well as paranormal type elements. It’s a fast read because the pacing is pretty fast and it literally makes you want to just keep reading. The main character Dresden, reminded me somewhat of a maverick sherlock holmes type, which I think is a strange combo but one that totally works. Give it a try!
4) Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.
With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.
Lastly, we have Abhorsen, which is the first in a wonderful fantasy series. It has been years and years, probably about 15-18 at this point since I read the Abhorsen series but I remember just devouring them. I was still in the early days of my fantasy reading life when I read these (in many ways I still consider myself in that stage) but this book had me grasping at literally any fantasy book I could get my hands on. It is a darker sort of fantasy but is full of magic, spells and ghouls. So so so freaking good! I need to reread these as well and now they come in a really nice bind-up that I saw at B&N!
5) The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.
Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”
Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.
I thought I should include at least one pretty recent book as a good starting off point and I think that The Queen of the Tearling is definitely it. I absolutely loved this book and flew threw it. Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous on pretty much all of the editions I have seen, the story itself is pretty freaking awesome. Princess Kelsea is pretty much a badass and I love to see a female main character that is awesome that way. Without quite reaching the height of epic fantasy, I do think that this book has some really wonderful aspects of a great fantasy read. Definitely check this one out!
Anyway sorry that this post was so long but I LOVE FANTASY!! I hope this helps at least one person out there to find a new fantasy book that they may love. I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!