Fantastic Fantasy for November Nights!

I don’t know about you, but as the nights get colder and the days get drearier, I start to feel a bit more like grabbing the nearest dragon and taking flight into some bookish fantasy worlds… which is why today I’ve got some excellent escapism for us all, with a fun fantasy list:

(NB Yes, you can always just reread Harry Potter, but you don’t need me to tell you that, do you? 😉)

wizard heir

Wizard Heir– of course, if you need something with one foot still in this world, then I cannot recommend the Heir series enough! There is a book that takes place before this, but I tend to pick this one as my favourite because *my goodness* this book hit me in the *feels*. On the subject of faves…

mort nice edition

Discworld DEATH series– where would I be without this series? I started my Pratchett journey with the Death books and I couldn’t have fallen more deeply in love with the humour, quirkiness and sheer wit of this series. If you’re searching for funny fantasy, with a darker twist, then look no further!

Neverwhere

Neverwhere– I feel like Gaiman and Pratchett always go together in my mind. If you don’t feel like travelling as far as the Discworld, however, this reimagining of London is the *perfect* book for this time of year: dark, unique and layered.

a darker shade of magic

A Darker Shade of Magic– speaking of a fresh take on London, Schwab’s *magical* series will certainly win over fantasy fans (that is, if you haven’t already read it 😉)

raven boys

Raven Boys– more or less still in the real world, this atmospheric series plays with fantasy in innovative ways and will win you over with its complex characters (also ahhh so glad Rowan is getting more books!)

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– let’s take a trip somewhere a little different. And my goodness, this book is different! If you like luxuriously written and gloriously imaginative stories, then this gothic blend of fantasy and fairy tales will sweep you off your feet.

hollyblack-thedarkestpartoftheforest

Darkest Part of the Forest– are you hyped up for Queen of Nothing coming out soon? Well, why wait! You can always check out some of Black’s other *fantastic* fairy stories. This one even gets a shoutout in Folk of the Air!

through the woods

Through the Woods– this sort-of fairy tale retelling has a spectacularly spooky feel and really works if you’re still looking for some Halloween vibes!

Blackwing2

Blackwing– if you’re craving even more darkness, then why not try this vivid and distinctive grimdark series? It’s the kind of book that takes you far from the family and lingers with you long after you finish.

king of scars

King of Scars– to be fair, I could’ve picked any one of the books in Bardugo’s grishaverse. I chose this partly because I read it recently, but mostly because really evokes a darker Russian setting that suits the approaching wintry mood. I feel like it really embraces the coming darkness- which reminds me of…

sabriel

Sabriel– by far one of my favourite fantasy series, this classic necromancy tale is the book that showed me how deliciously dark fantasy can get.

And that’s all for now! Which fantasy lands do you like to escape to at this time of the year? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Mythical Creatures

 

orangutan list

From Tolkien’s elves to Pullman’s daemons, mythical creatures are often the backbone of fantasy. I’ve talked quite a bit about how they can pull me into a story, but I’ve never said which are my *absolute faves*- though never fear, that day is here!

The-HobbitDragons– let’s just get the obvious one out of the way, shall we? 😉 These fire-breathing, war machines are easily my favourites. I will admit that when it comes to dragons, I am biased- for me, the perfect dragon is very Smaug-like. Clever, greedy, possibly evil… but completely badass!

 

girl in the towerGhosts– even though I’m totally afraid of scary stories, I can’t help but be drawn to ghosts in stories (a bit like how I’m scared of heights, but love rollercoasters). I can’t say that I have a definite favourite here, but I did realllly like the version in The Girl in the Tower, possibly because the Russian atmosphere gave me the chills in more ways than one.

 

crown of feathersPhoenix– I mean, it’s another creature that is fiery and can fly. Plus, it’s got powers often linked to resurrection- I think it’s fairly obvious looking at this list why I like them. Now for a lot of people, the first phoenix that will come to mind is the rather lovely Fawkes from Harry Potter, but recently I’ve discovered an even MORE EXCITING representation of this mythical creature… say hello the phoenix riders in Crown of Feathers! This definitely goes above and beyond any other depiction I’ve seen before!

shadow of the foxKitsune– when I first heard about these mythical creatures, I was falling straight down the rabbithole/foxhole of research, because they are so fascinating! Cunning and magical, they easily crept onto the list. And when it comes to the best version I’ve seen- well, that’s obviously Shadow of the Fox.

 

hollyblack-thedarkestpartoftheforestFae/Faeries/Fey– this one is quite on vogue lately- and I am living for it! I had so many options here for examples I could go with- I loved the evil Phaeries in Wooding’s Poison and I was tempted again by Kagawa’s portrayal in Iron Fey. Ultimately though, I decided to go with Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest, for an atmospheric take that falls somewhere in between the two styles. 

And the last one that feels like a bit of a cheat…

circeWitches and wizards– I’m not sure I even count these as magical creatures- especially because their conception is so vast. And yet it would feel remiss not to mention them. Best by far that I’ve seen lately is Madeline Miller’s Circe– she takes the idea of talent and hard work, then melds them together in the most interesting version I’ve come across in recent history.

 

And that’s all I’ve got for now! What do you think of these creatures? And what are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!