Favourite Fantasy Books – Top 10 Tuesday

I haven’t done a Top 10 Tuesday in AGES. But this week’s topic is top 10 books in your favourite genre and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to talk about my fantasy babies. If you don’t know, Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, though originally it was created by The Broke and the Bookish. So here, we go, ten of my favourite fantasy books! Well… series, for the most part. Because I can’t just recommend one book in the series.


The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been here for any length of time. I talk about this all the time. You can read my review of it for more details, but it’s basically a series about magical assassin nuns.

The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin

Again, I never shut up about this. It’s amazing, you should read it. It’s about the end of the world and people who can control earthquakes.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I don’t talk about this one quite as much as the other two, but it probably still doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson. I’m so thankful to whoever it was who introduced me to him (I can’t remember who it was). I’m currently reading The Way of Kings and it might dethrone Mistborn as my favourite Sanderson series, but we’ll see. In case you didn’t know, Mistborn is about a bunch of people trying to steal something and they live in a world where certain metals give people certain abilities.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

One of my all time favourites. Please, please, PLEASE give us book 3 before I die. Please. This is one of the most difficult series to summarise in my opinion, because it sounds so boring when you try to summarise it. This is a frame story following a guy who’s basically a legend and it’s just the story of his life as told by himself after his kind of… fall from grace and presumed death. If that sounds boring… well it isn’t. give it a try. I have reviews of the first two books (Book 1 | Book 2), so check those out if you want to get more of an idea about the series.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I’ve only read the first two books in the series, but there is talk of the fourth one being released soon-ish. So I’m hoping to read the third one soon. This is a series about a band of con-artists. And it’s basically them planning and executing heists and getting themselves into trouble. I love heist stories. They’re so much fun and this is one of the best heist stories I’ve ever encountered. I have reviewed both of the books I’ve read, if you’d like to know more (Book 1 | Book 2).

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I talk about this one a lot less, but I love this duology so much. It’s another heist story. This time it’s YA, but it does remind me a lot of The Lies of Locke Lamora. In vibe, more than anything else. The world, story and characters are very different, but they both have a vibe that I adore. I’ve also reviewed both the books in this series so check those out for more details (Book 1 | Book 2).

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Another one I don’t talk about as much, mainly because it’s not as recent in my mind since it’s been 2 years since the last book came out. But I absolutely love it and I’m so excited to read the conclusion this autumn! This is also about assassins and very much reminds me of The Book of the Ancestor. Again, in vibe, rather than anything else. Reviews of the first two books: Book 1 | Book 2.

The Knots Duology by Amy McCulloch

This is a series that is so tragically underrated and I wish people talked about it more. I read it quite a while ago and I’ve been meaning to re-read it, but it’s such a cool desert fantasy. It has an interesting magic system and as far as I remember, doesn’t actually have a romance. Which in YA is a rarity and I love it. More people just need to read this series cause it’s great. It follows a guy who gets banished into the desert because he breaks a promise he doesn’t even remember making. In this world, each promise is tied with a magical knot and if broken, the knot burns and scars the oathbreaker and they become haunted by a shadow and become outcasts. Sadly, I read this series before I started my blog, so I don’t have a review, but if I re-read them, I will review them.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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A stand alone fantasy fairy-tale retelling influenced by Russian folklore. I think at least. I’ve read this twice, it’s one of those books that I think I will never tire of re-reading. It’s magical and beautiful. I love the atmosphere, I love the characters, I even love the romance which almost never happens. It’s amazing. It’s about a girl who lives on the edge of a magical forest which kills people and she gets taken away by the wizard who protects their area from the forest for unknown purposes. The wizard takes a girl every 10 years and then lets her go, but the girls are never the same afterwards and nobody really knows why he takes them.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Inter-dimensional travel between different versions of London. Need I say more?

The Mass Effect Book Tag

I recently started playing Mass Effect, so when I saw this, I decided to do it. I found it on here.


1. Commander Shepard 
Paragon: A main character that puts the needs of everyone else before their own

Nona Grey from The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence. She always puts her friends first and I love her for it.

Renegade: A main character that chooses to do bad things for “the greater good”

Rhys form ACOTAR. He’s done some pretty bad things to protect those he loves. I feel like there is actually a better character for this that’s nagging at the back of my mind, but I can’t think who right now.

2. Eden Primethe book/book series that got you into reading

This question pops up often in tags and I don’t really have an answer for it. I’ve been into reading for as long as I can remember.

3. Liara T’Sonia book that taught you something new 

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The Martian by Andy Weir. It taught me how to survive on Mars.

4. Garrus Vakariana character that brought joy/life to an otherwise sad/too serious book

Sand dan Glokta from The First law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. This isn’t so much sad or serious, as it’s just grim. But I always enjoyed Glokta so much. His narrative is so dry and witty, I couldn’t help but laugh.

5. Virmire 
Kaidan Alenkoa book that was boring in the beginning but ended up becoming good

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about this book besides that I really enjoyed it and that it started up slow. i might have to re-read it.

Ashley Williams: a book/book series that no matter how many times you’ve tried you just can’t get into it

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It pains me to say this, but The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. It’s just so dense and not really a cohesive book. I really want to know all of the things it talks about, but so far, I have tried reading it at least 6 times. And I never get very far into it. It’s just so hard to keep track of all the characters and places and timelines. I invariably end up confused and give up like 200 pages in. I have read the first part of the book so many times and I still don’t remember who all the characters are.

6. Jokera book that made you laugh

Any Jonas Jonasson book.

7. Tali’Zorah vas Normandya character that grew throughout the book and ended up becoming an amazing character

I don’t want to use the same character again, but I have to mention Nona again. She was always an awesome character, but she grew so much throughout the series.

Also, Nassun from The Broken Earth

8. Mordin Solus and Thane Kriosa character that had a tragic death that you wish you could bring back to life

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Lady from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Stop killing animals, please. Thank you.

9. Reapersa villain that you love

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Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (art by Cassandra Jean).

10. The Ending 
Destroy: a book/book series you wish you could make disappear

I don’t know. There are some books that I’d want to make disappear from my brain, but I don’t necessarily think they’re harmful and should stop existing. Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey. Although I haven’t read that. But if it’s even half as toxic and awful as I’ve heard it made out to be, then I’d want it to stop existing.

Control: an author you wish you could control in order to change something about their book/book series

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Patrick Rothfuss. I would make him WRITE BOOK 3 FASTER!!!

Synthesize: two authors you wish would co-write a book

I don’t really know for this one. :/

 

SFF BFFs – Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme. Check out the Goodreads group for more details. This week’s topic is favourite best friends in science fiction and fantasy, and this is also a Booktube SFF Awards topic.

Friendship is one of my favourite dynamics to read about. I adore good friendships, so I actually struggled to pick just 5, which is why I  have some honourable mentions.


First the honourable mentions

Will and Jem from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

I still love them to bits.

The Night Court from A Court of mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Squad goals, really.

Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

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They just had to be mentioned.

And now on to the actual top 5.

5. Artemis and Butler from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this series is so underrated. I love the relationship of Butler and Artemis, because there’s such a huge age difference between them. Butler is both a father figure and a friend and a cool uncle all in one. There are some other great relationships in this series. Seriously, more people need to read it.

4. Mia Corvere and Mr. Kindly from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Mr. Kindly is such a sassy lil shadow demon thing and I love him. I think Mia’s interactions with him are some of my favourites. I also love the relationship of Mr. Kindly and Eclipse in the second book. I’ve reviewed both Nevernight and Godsgrave.

3. Spensa and M-Bot from Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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I’ve always loved robot/AI type characters. I always enjoy reading about the relationships that they form and M-Bot is just a joy. I love how him and Spensa play off one another and learn from one another and come to genuinely care for each other.

2. The Gentlemen Bastards from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Their friendship and loyalty is everything. They’re a little fierce band of misfits who will kill for one another. Especially Jean and Locke, but the entire group are just everything.

1. Nona and Kettle from The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

All of Nona’s friendships, really. She’s so loyal and values friendship so much. I relate so much with Nona in that way, because I love my friends and I would move mountains for them. She never gives up on her friends, not ever. No matter what. She is loyal to a fault and I love her for it. But I think out of all the friendships, I love Nona and Kettle most. I couldn’t tell you why. I think I just like Kettle more than I like any of the others.

Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence – Series Review

Series rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, grimdark

Author: Mark Lawrence

Synopsis: At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive


I just finished Holy Sister  today and this is hands down one of the best series I have ever read. There is not one thing that I didn’t love about this. Straight up, 5/5 stars for each book on the series. Also, for those of you who like audiobooks, the narration for this series is top notch. I audiobooked all of them and it was just a great experience.

I’m going to try to insert some structure into this review so, first I’ll talk about the writing style. The whole series is kind of a frame story. Each book gives a glimpse into the present, or rather to the climax that the entire series is leading to as a prologue and epilogue. And then the rest of the book fills in some of the details. And that progresses with each book, with a little more making sense. I hope that makes sense. Each book then in turn is usually told in two different timelines. It sounds confusing when I try to explain it, but it’s actually very well done. It creates this suspenseful atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. The writing is also very evocative and this is just all around such a well written series.

The world is really cool. The books are fairly short and heavily plot and character oriented, so the world is not very thoroughly explored. At the end of the series, there are still things that I have no explanation for. But it’s done well. We learn progressively about the world as the characters learn about it and that serves as much to drive the plot and characters forward as it does to flesh out the world. It’s just masterfully written. It might be a bit frustrating if you like very clearly defined magic systems such as Brandon Sanderson’s. This series definitely has a soft magic system, though it’s not as vague as say, A Song of Ice and Fire. I personally like both soft and hard magic systems and I really loved the magic in this series. There are multiple branches or aspects of the magic and I thought they’re all really cool. I thought the world was really cool.

I read Prince of Thorns by Lawrence as well and I didn’t like it as much for one main reason. Both this series and the Broken Empire series are set in a past-apocalyptic world where the people have kind of reverted to medieval-ish levels of technology, but they live in a world that used to be inhabited by technologically advanced people and there are vestiges of that. Which is a trope seen in many fantasies and one that I really enjoy, with one caveat. I don’t like it when that world is made out to be a future of Earth. At least not if there’s magic involved. It’s for some reason very jarring for me when that happens and it takes me out of the story and I just don’t enjoy it as much. And that’s what The Broken Empire series did, and I am so glad that this series was just set on some planet called Abeth. It’s all I needed for it to not be ruined for me. Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent.

The characters in this series are the best and Nona Grey is the best of the best. I don’t remember the last time I loved a main character as much as I love Nona. She is the most precious murderous nun in the world. She’s just so loyal and values friendship, which are two things I value so much and I feel like they’re so under-explored in books. So this story was just a balm for my soul. It’s so great to see Nona grow and the relationships that she forms and how those shape her and how she shapes others and ugh! It’s really hard to talk about the characters without spoiling anything, but just… amazing! Every single character is so amazing.

The story itself is fast paced and as I said before, keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s dark. I mean it gets super dark sometimes, but it’s also ultimately such a hopeful story. And those are my favourites. I classed it as a grimdark fantasy, but I’d say it fits better with the more recently coined subgenre of ‘hopepunk’. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can google it. But just to give you a feel of what I mean, you know that scene in The Two Towers, where Sam and Frodo were captured by Faramir and on their way to Gondor, but the Nazgul attacked and Frodo almost put on the ring and then almost killed Sam when he tried to help? And then Sam talks about “the great stories of old” and what made them stick with you? And Faramir hears and Gollum hears and Frodo hears and they’re all in the middle of a battle terrified and hopeless, but Sam somehow gives them hope and it’s a super powerful scene? Yeah, it’s that feeling. That’s hopepunk. And that’s exactly what this whole series feels like.

That’s all I can really say without any spoilers, so I will close by saying that I wholeheartedly recommend this series.