A Guide to Short Fantasy Books for a Level 3 N00b

So you’ve graduated both my Noob’s guide to fantasy and Noob’s guide to high fantasy? You’re ready for more you say? You’re ready for the next level. But you take a look at all those chunky fantasy books and those 7 book long series and you feel overwhelmed? It’s okay. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m here to save you with some nice, short fantasy books. So have a seat. Relax. I got you.


Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

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This is such a beloved story. Studio Ghibli made it even more so. You’ve probably seen the anime. If you haven’t I do recommend it. But we’re here to talk about books. Whether or not you’ve seen the anime, I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a sweet, fun, charming story. And it’s short. Barely over 300 pages. If you’re a bit intimidated by fantasy, this just what the doctor ordered.

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

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This one’s for all you historical fiction lovers out there. This is a series that takes place during the Napoleonic wars. With the notable difference of dragons. This first book is amazing, it’s so sweet and funny and full of action. Again, pretty short. Under 400 pages, so it’s fast paced, easy to read and not too heavy on the fantasy. I feel like this is a perfect entry book for historical fiction lovers into fantasy and for fantasy lovers into historical fiction. And if you’re new to both, then even better. This book will broaden your horizons.

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

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Speaking of dragons and of broadening horizons, this one is for you contemporary lovers. Imagine a fun, not too angsty, but still angsty, charmingly written contemporary. Take all the beloved elements of that: cute romance, some great friendships, some school drama, some family drama. Then add some dragons to it and you’ll get an idea of what this book is like. I admit, I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. So I was expecting not to love this when I picked it up. But I ended up loving it. It’s just so much fun to read. It’s very fast paced and also barely over 300 pages, so it’s super quick to read.

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

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If you want something short (less than 300 pages!) and satirical. Full of whimsy, imagination and lots of action (and giant turtles of unknown sex). Then this is the book for you.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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If you’ve been reading this post and thinking to yourself “Pfft, I may be new to fantasy, but I’m not that new to it. I’m ready for more. I’m ready for something a bit heftier, a bit more complex.” Or maybe you’ve been thinking “But Romana, I’ve already read all of those! What do I do now?!” I got you. Don’t worry. Try Uprooted. It’s a bit longer, about 450 pages. But it’s a standalone. The magic is a bit more complex. There’s more fantasy elements. But it’s such a beautiful story with a rich, fairy-tale atmosphere that’ll suck you right in.

November-December 2018 Wrap Up

The end of 2018 was pretty tough for me. I had a lot of work and also a lot of personal things going on. So I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked. I still managed to finish 8 books in the final two months of the year, which is not too bad.


Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

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This is the sequel to The Blade Itself which I read earlier in the year and still haven’t reviewed. I’ve been comparatively good with continuing with series this year. And I’m hoping to carry that into 2019. I’m actually currently reading the next book in this series and thoroughly enjoying it. Anyway, to talk about Before They Are Hanged, it was not as good as the first book in my opinion. It was still really good, but I did find it had a bit of a second book slump. Still, so much happened in this book. The world was expanded on, we met some new and fascinating characters and got to explore some old ones. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am now a Joe Abercrombie fan. I gave this book 4/5 stars. 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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In the spirit of continuing with series, I finished listening to this on audio. Once again, it was not as good as the first book. I still really enjoyed the characters and the narration. However, I did have a little issue with it because it was set in my homeland of Transylvania and liberties were taken with folklore and the language and stuff like that. Still, it was enjoyable and I do look forward to continue with this series. 3/5 stars.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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This is by far my last favourite Schwab book. It’s probably because it’s middle grade. I don’t feel like Victoria can do middle grade as well as she does YA or adult. It had an interesting concept and it was entertaining, I liked the characters and the setting. But I just wanted more from it. 3/5 stars.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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I finally finished listening to this. It was a good book, but sadly not really my kind of book. I’m just not so much into these stories of middle class drama. It was really well written and set in Amsterdam, which was really cool to read about. But I tend to like my stakes higher in my books. This is not an epic story. It did have an interesting mystery and as I said, it’s really well written. Just not my cup of tea. I ended up giving it 3.5/5 stars, because I just had to appreciate the skill that went into writing the book.

The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

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I’d heard a lot about this graphic novel series and was intrigued so I picked up the first volume. I was not as wowed by it as I was expecting to be. I really enjoyed the art in it. It’s absolutely stunning and the concept is really cool. But the execution left something to be desired in my opinion. It was just confusing. And I usually don’t mind being dropped into the middle of a story. But the way that things happened didn’t seem to flow to me. It was kind of fragmented in a way. Like we were missing chunks in the story. Characters showed up out of nowhere. And I think it was intentional and this sort of storytelling can be very gripping. But there was just something missing. It didn’t feel smoothly done in my opinion. I’m still interested in continuing with the series though. 3.5/5 stars. 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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I finally, FINALLY finished this book. It took me over a year to read. It was good, except that chaol was in it. If it had been someone other than Chaol, this would have been like a 4 or 4.5 star read. But because I hate Chaol so much, it was a 2/5 stars.

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

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Sara Raasch Has cool concepts but her books always fall short for me. They’re just meh. And this one was no exception. The characters were stereotypical, the plot was predictable. It was just… meh. 2/5 stars

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

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I finished the year with a bang. I am so glad I chose this as my final read of 2018. I’ve been putting off reading Terry Pratchett for some time now, but I shouldn’t have because it was just as brilliant as everyone told me it would be. I had a blast with this book and I can’t wait to continue with the Discworld books. 5/5 stars

My TBR Shelf

I’ve never had a designated TBR shelf before. I usually kept read and unread books together. But I recently moved to a new flat and I have this little shelf right next to my bed, so I decided to put my unread books on it. These aren’t all of my unread owned books, because they wouldn’t all fit, so I kept my unread non-fiction books separately.

A great photographer, I am not, but this is what the shelf looks like at the moment.


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The books on here aren’t actually sorted in any particular way except that the hardbacks are at one end and I kind of grouped the white books, but other than that I just shoved them on in whatever order. The little shelf at the top holds the books that I’ve already started but have yet to finish.

In case you are for whatever reason curious as to what books are on my TBR shelf, they are as follows:

Top shelf (started but not yet finished)

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas – I’ve legit been reading this for a year now. Since it came out last year. I’m just really not enjoying it, mainly because I cannot stand Chaol. I just want to get through it so I can get to Kingdom of Ash. I’m almost halfway through it (I know, I hate Chaol that much).

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – This is another one that I just couldn’t really get into. I was actually expecting to enjoy this book and series as I’ve heard great things about it from people I trust. And I am intrigued by the plot and the world, but again, I dislike the main character and it just puts me off reading it. Every time I pick it up, I read a few pages and I put it back down. I’m 135 pages into this one.

Looking for Alaska by John Green – I started reading this at the start of September, but then I just really haven’t been in a contemp kind of mood, so I haven’t been picking it up much.

The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis – This is the non-fiction that I’m currently reading and as usual with Lewis’ books, I’m really enjoying it. Though I have to say at least so far, this one is my least favourite of his books that I have read.

What If? Serious Scientific Answersto Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe – This is another non-fiction that I’m reading, though not as actively as The Four Loves. Because of the nature of this book, this is what I pick up when I have only 5 minutes and want a quick pick me up as each chapter is very entertaining and usually quite short.

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch – You can’t actually see the spine of this one, but it’s the one with green pages. This is my meh book of the moment. Am I the only one who has a book that’s just kind of mediocre that you read when you’re too tired for anything that requires more than a quarter of a brain and you don’t want to read a book you love because you won’t be able to focus, but you want to read? Or when you just finished an awesome book and you know you won’t be able to focus on a new one, but you also want to keep reading? No? Just me? Anyway, this is my second Sara Raasch book and I didn’t really like the first one either.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo – Final book on the little shelf. I’ve been reading this book even longer than ToD. I’m debating just admitting that I’m never going to finish it. But… it was recommended to me by someone special and I just really wanted to like it.

Bottom shelf

I haven’t actually read any of these, so I don’t have much to say about each one. I’ll just list them, from left to right:

Hardbacks

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas | Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton | Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett | State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury | Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Paperbacks

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund | Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pincola Estes | Elantris by Brandon Sanderson |A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by G. R. R. Martin | Origin by Dan Brown | Down River by John Hart

Wild Embers by Nikita Gill | The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab | The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu | Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen | A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas | Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel | American Gods by Neil Gaiman

A Huge Book Haul

I haven’t actually made a haul post since April. That’s 6 months of acquiring books. So… I don’t even know how many books there are going to be. A lot.


Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton | These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch | Angry White Pyjamas by Robert Twigger | Catwoman Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas | Origin by Dan Brown

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett | The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie | Elantris by Brandon Sanderson | A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab | Vengeful by V. E. Schwab | The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson | Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Down River by John Hart

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel | Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel | Lifelike by Jay Kristoff | Wild Embrace by Nikita Gill | The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin

That’s it, unless I’m forgetting something. Which is entirely likely. Actually not as many as I was expecting. I was on a book buying ban for a couple of months though, so that’s probably why the total only comes up to 20. And some of these, I didn’t even buy myself!