Summer Book Recomendations: Five Fantasy Summer ReadsWatch
Fantasy is probably my all-time favourite genre, and I’ve read a lot of fantasy books! In this rec list I’ve tried to focus on some less well-known fantasy authors and possibly less traditional swords and sorcery type books! So, whilst this perhaps isn’t my ultimate top 5, there’s hopefully something on here you haven’t heard of that can give you a good read over the summer!
1. Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey
Available to buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005AV95...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
Why I love this book: Phedre is one of my favourite characters of all time and this book charts her journey from courtesan-spy to saviour of the realm. The pseudo-renaissance setting is so richly imagined, and whilst the magical elements aren’t strong at first, this book features everything from visions of the future to a fallen angle’s curse. Phedre is very different from most fantasy heroines, in that she’s very feminine and also very explicitly bisexual. All the characters feel like real people, their motivations are explored, and no-one is two dimensional, and there’s enough plot just in the first book to fill a trilogy all on its own!
Great for: People who want lots of LGB representation and a strong non-traditional female lead.
Warnings: The main character is a sex worker, and the sex in these books is very explicit with a lot of BDSM elements- for that reason they’re probably not suitable for readers under the age of 16. Some of the sex is non-consensual and there’s also a torture scene.
2. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Available to buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-His...s%2C178&sr=8-1
Why I love it: Every fantasy lover loves dragons, right? This book explores a world where dragons are imagined like real animals, with real biology to be discovered. The setting is rich in Victoriana and steam-punk elements, and the heroine feels very real and very relatable. As the series goes on, a huge range of imagined cultures are explored, and the plots are fast moving and entertaining. These books are so well written and very different from most traditional fantasy.
Great for: Anyone who’s ever wished that dragons were real!
Warnings: None that I can think of!
3. Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaicovsky
Available to buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guns-Dawn-A...gateway&sr=8-1
Why I love it: As you may have gathered by now, I like fantasy with strong female leads and non-traditional settings. Whilst this book has the most out and out magic of any book so far, it also has guns, so that’s fun! In a country ravaged by war, women are being conscripted for the front lines, including our heroine, Emily Marshwic. This book gives us a great soldier’s eye view of a magical war, as well as exploring war and politics in a way that feels very relevant to the real world.
Great for: Anyone who thinks fantasy novels need more guns.
Warnings: Setting typical violence, I guess? It’s not too bad, but if you’re not into reading about that sort of thing, this book probably isn’t for you?
4. Uprooted by Naoimi Novik
Available to buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Uprooted-Na...s%2C231&sr=8-2
Why I love it: This is probably the most traditional “fantasy” book on the list, and in some ways reads very much like a fairy tale, but the twists and turns in the story keep it interesting, and I love the magical elements. As is apparently also a theme of this list, it features a strong female lead, and there’s lots of lovely whimsical elements, as well as a final magical battle.
Great for: People who want to read a grown up and richly imagined fairy tale this summer.
Warnings: I guess there are some horror type elements, but nothing really springs to mind?
5. Rivers of London by Ben Aaranovich
Available to buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rivers-London-novel/dp/0575097582/ref=sr_1_1?crid=A5CIFS730B4H&keywords=rivers+of+london&qid=1563881213&s=gateway&sprefix=rivers+of+%2Caps%2C191&sr=8-
Why I love it: I’m not such a fan of urban fantasy, but this series is amazing. The setting and characters are so well described, and the magical events feel almost plausible. This is probably the book on the list I’d recommend to people who aren’t fantasy fans. The plots are great and really tight, with the right balance of fantasy and police procedural. The main characters are very well written.
Great for: Fans of urban fantasy and mystery novels (and fans of London).
Warnings: Some horror elements and some semi-realistic violence.