Hidden Gems In My Favorite Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
There's no denying that YA Fantasy is a common genre read among book lovers.
Many books in this genre have become powerhouses of attention. No wonder why it’s so difficult to get to all of these books because there are just so many! While there are books that have and hold the spotlight, there are many in this genre that never really get a chance in the limelight. It truly is a shame, because there are some wonderful books out there that just never get the love that they deserve! This is what we will discuss today! Here are my top five favorite hidden gems of YA fantasy! (I’ve compiled a few series, as well as individual reads in no particular order.)
The Fairy Queen series by Amber Argyle
I like my fantasy with a healthy dose of reality. Certainly, a major benefit about fantasy is the escapist mentality that consumes our minds while reading them. However, throughout my years of reading, I’ve discovered that I appreciate fantasy books more that still contain an essence of reality and “likelihood” in them. I like my fantasy to be tangible. This is exactly what Amber Argyle offers the reader in the Fairy Queen series.
These books took me by surprise, and by storm. Honestly, I think I did them a disservice the first time around when reviewing them, as I know now that I didn’t understand how much potential they have. (Don’t worry, I plan to re-read them this year and give more thorough reviews!)
This series unveils a long-withstanding battle between the Winter and Summer fairy queens. Revered by some human clans, yet despised by others, the realm of fairies and humans collide, and often blur the lines completely. Taking place over a relatively expansive timeline, the series follows specific stories of humans that have a key role in their interaction with the fairies. Primitive, harsh, yet with lots of depth, this series has so much to offer the reader. Keep in mind that this series does cover some heavy topics like slavery, sex-slavery, oppression, and the like. But these topics are handled with care and redemption.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
There are three books in this series, but I'm only including the first because it's the only one that I've actually read! Anyways, if you like steampunk, fairies, and kick-butt female protagonists, this is a book that you must check out!
Set in Victorian Edinburgh, Lady Aileana Kameron is a lady by day, but faerie hunter by night. After witnessing her mother's murder by a faerie, she hopes to one day get revenge. But that is not the only reason why she hunts faeries--she's a falconer, and the last of her kind. With such a heavy burden placed upon her, she must protect mankind from the threats of the evil faeries no matter what it takes.
The Avalonia Chronicles by Farah Oomerbhoy
This was a series that took me by surprise. While I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed by the first book, The Last of the Firedrakes, I loved the sequel The Rise of the Dawnstar. This series includes bits of the best from fantasy. I loved the way the author interwove so many twists into her plot in creative, and unsuspecting ways.
The Wildwood Dancing series by Juliet Marillier
While this has been the only series I’ve read by Juliet Marillier, I know from her writing that I will love anything that she writes. Her Wildwood Dancing series is truly magical. Retelling fairy tales with diverse settings, Marillier paints beautiful portraits of young women who discover their true essences amidst challenge.
Wildwood Dancing takes place in Romania, and is a retelling of the frog prince in combination with the twelve dancing princesses. Cybele’s Secret originates in Romania, then shifts to Istanbul. It resembles more of a historical fiction rather than fairy tale retelling, as it surrounds an ancient pagan, Cybele.
The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
This may not be as obscure as some of these other reads, but I still think it should be mentioned. I've seen some people pick up this read, but not many.
As a debut novel for this author, I thought this story was fantastic on so many levels! With a little bit of creepy, and a whole lot of creativity, van Arsdale spins an enticing tale about a strange little girl who lives in superstitious, and dark times.