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.

Emerald Book Covers – Top 5 Wednesday

Trying to come up with these, I realised that I own/have read very few books with green covers, let alone emerald ones. These are in no particular order, some of my favourite covers (that I am aware  of) that are green, and more specifically, an intense green. Which is the closest I can get to emerald, unfortunately.


Gilded Wolved by Roshani Chokshi

I haven’t read this, but I love this cover and I am looking forward to getting my hands on it. I know everyone loves the story, which is great, but honestly just for that cover, I’d be tempted to get it.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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I really love this edition of the book. I’m not sure you can call that green emerald, but I just love the cover so much, I wanted to include it.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

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I adore the UK editions of Brandon Sanderson’s books and I think this one is actually my favourite. The green is not even predominant here, but I’m struggling. And I love this cover.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Probably the only one on the list that is actually emerald. I love the covers for this series. They’re absolutely gorgeous. I tried reading the first book about 3 times and I could never get into it. The concept was really cool, but it was so tropey and not well written. So yeah, I’m not going to read this series. Which is a shame, because those covers man! I want to buy them just for the covers. But I’m not going to do that.

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

I still need to read this, but I read one chapter of it and was intrigued and I love this cover. It looks so cool. I love the geometry of it, it’s so satisfying and there’s just something about dark, leafy green that really appeals to me.

 

Characters I’d Cosplay – Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group for more information.

This is such a badass topic! Once again, these are in no particular order.


Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Specifically, I’m thinking of the anime version of him, when he kinda grows the feathers and wings, but is still more or less human shaped.

That would be an awesome cosplay. Not one I’m talented or wealthy enough to actually get, but that’s what imagination is for.

Anyone from Naomi Novik’s Fairy Tales

I don’t even know who to pick. One of the Staryk in Spinning Silver?

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I couldn’t find any nice art, but one of the tree people from Uprooted? Or if you want something more gruesome, one of the corrupted people?

Ugh, these stories are just full of things that would make for stunning cosplay if someone had the talent to make the costumes properly.

Fae/fair folk

This isn’t so much a specific character or even from a specific book, but fairies. So many different varieties to choose from and they’d all make for such cool cosplays.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Either Tessa in a splendid Victorian ball gown, cause I love that aesthetic. Or maybe Cecily Herondale, cause I want some runes. I actually absolutely adore Tessa’s look on the cover of Clockwork Princess.

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Malchai from Monsters of Verity by V. E. Schwab

Finally, one that’s more creepy and more in keeping with Halloween, the Malchai from the Monsters of Verity series. They’re basically vampires… let’s be honest. But somehow I imagine them to be creepier than regular vampires.

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July 2018 Wrap Up

Somehow August has arrived. I always am taken by surprise by the end of the month. I read 6 books this month and I loved most of them.


In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken

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I finally finished this series. I wish I hadn’t taken so long with it because I have certainly outgrown the series a little and I know I would have enjoyed it much more had I read all of it 3 years ago when I first picked it up. That isn’t to say I didn’t like the book. There was more unnecessary, teenagey angst than I strictly speaking look for in my books these days, but all in all, it was a solid 3/5 stars.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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This was my audiobook for July and it is a fantastic book and a fantastic audiobook. It’s narrated by Richard Armitage! It’s a true story and it’s both heartbreaking and fascinating. I love World War II stories. I think they’re fascinating and also important. So much went on during that time that we still don’t know and I think that it’s important as more and more stories come out, for people to hear them. 5/5 stars

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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Listen, I don’t know how to explain to you my love for this book. I really enjoyed the anime, so I had this on my amazon wish-list and my friend got it for me and I love him for it because it is beautiful. It made me happy. It’s just the kind of story that is the right combination of whimsy and magic and absurdity. It makes me happy. 5/5 stars

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

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I was wary of this book. I was interested, but I was also a little bit unsure for some reason. I was wrong. It was awesome. The characters are so freaking good that nothing else matters to me. Not that the story and the world aren’t good, they are, but I wouldn’t say they’re mind-blowing. At least not in this first one. There’s not actually as much going on in this one besides introducing us to the characters and setting up the story. You can tell there’s a storm brewing, but it doesn’t actually break out into it in this book. But it’s done so well and the characters are so great, I don’t care. 5/5 stars

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

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This one was just meh. It was tropey and cliche. The characters were boring. The story was boring and predictable. It just fell flat in every way possible. I appreciate the gender equality, feminist message it’s trying to convey. But it’s done poorly. And as with any kind of ‘diverse’ books, diversity and a good message is not enough to make it a good book. 2/5 stars

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

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As with every C. S. Lewis book I’ve ever read, I loved this. So simple and yet so thought provoking. It just pokes holes in the illusion of “Oh, I’m a pretty good person.” and it points out all the ways in which we suck on a day to day basis. All the little hypocrisies and absurd behaviours that if we’re honest, we’re all guilty of. Wonderful satire. 5/5 stars

Book Haul

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin | Wonderwoman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wyne Jones | The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Looking for Alaska by John Green | The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot  | The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie | Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake | Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks | Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman | Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart | The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas