It’s that time of year when people scramble to meet their GoodRead’s challenge. I’m sad to say, I didn’t quite hit my target of 33 books, and for that, I should be publicly shamed. But before you dig out the bells and march me down the street, I want to do what everyone else is doing and list five of my favourite YA fantasy books that were released this year.
A Reaper at the Gates
I devoured all three An Ember in the Ashes books within the space of a week, including the latest release A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir this year. Whilst I absolutely loved the first two books and the addition of Helene as a point-of-view character in the second, the third book acted like a finale in a lot of ways. It culminated with an epic battle I would expect of a series end whilst bringing together characters and ending other ones. A lot of secrets were revealed here, a lot of loose ends tied off, but the ending also left a lot of questions, especially regarding the fate of our male hero, Elias. I’m excited to see exactly where the story will go next and how it could possibly beat the explosive action of Reaper!
I was recommended Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian due to its interesting main character, a young princess who is forced to wear a crown of ash whilst living with her people’s exterminators. Our princess, Theo, isn’t your usual YA fantasy heroine. The story begins with Theo choosing to break free of the mental shackles which have held her captive to the family who butchered her people, and launches into a rebellious fire which must be stoked from within. Theo isn’t a warrior, nor some weak girl, however she plays the part to fool and manipulative those around her. Whilst it does have some of the usual YA fantasy tropes (of which I am guilty of too), I enjoyed the friendship between Theo and her best friend Crescentia as Theo began to question her captivity and her friend’s true loyalty. I need to know what happens next!
Children of Blood and Bone
I read the entirety of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi during a holiday in France, and for that reason I’m going to forever associate it with the beautifully hot weather. Children of Blood and Bone has a fantastic and unique setting inspired by Nigerian culture. I loved the fast paced action, magic system, and the two female lead characters of Zelie and Amari who come from completely different worlds but who develop their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, and become firm friends by the end. If you’re a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, you’ll enjoy the character dynamics here, and I’d also recommend it for fans of diverse YA.
Hero at the Fall
I’m a big fan of the Rebel of the Sands books by Alwyn Hamilton (I have signed copies of the first two!) and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the end. It didn’t disappoint! The second book, Traitor to the Throne, ended on a cliff-hanger and set some pretty high stakes. The third and final book in the series, Hero at the Fall, places the entire hopes of a rebellion in our reluctant hero Amani’s hands. The series ends with a bang and has one of the best written epilogues to any fantasy book I’ve ever read. And, I may be incredibly biased, but I absolutely love the gorgeous cover of the UK edition.
Kingdom of Ash
The long awaited end to the Throne of Glass series, I managed to read through all 900+ pages in less than a week so I could attend a fan event and avoid spoilers! Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Mass is a triumphant end to Aelin’s journey. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of war and bloodshed as all my favourite characters come together for the finale. You can read my spoiler-free review of Kingdom of Ash here.
I must also give a special mention to Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce which was released this year, but I haven’t had chance to read it yet! Let the shaming commence.
Well, these are just my favourites this year, but what were your favourite reads that came out in 2018, YA fantasy or not? Send me your recommendations!