The Young Adult Fantasy genre is expansive—from wizarding schools to wyvern-riding to kingdoms of the undead, literally anything is possible! Despite the vast differences between one fantasy book and the next, however, they all seem to have one thing in common: Magic. Be it meticulously-crafted magic systems or simply the magical, lingering feeling one feels when turning over that last page, there’s no denying its great presence.
Without further ado, here are the Featured Four!
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Sabriel is a necromancer. As a child, she was taught the ways of navigating through the other-dimensional river that led to Death’s deepest clutches. However, during her time spent well protected behind thick city walls, the creatures of the Old Kingdom have been gaining strength and power. They wreak havoc on the magical systems and bring chaos unto Death itself. But it is only with the disappearance of the Abhorsen, Sabriel’s father, that the heroic journey into the lawless Old Kingdom begins.
Sabriel is a classic novel of epic worldbuilding and amazing intricacy. Although it may take time familiarize yourself with the sheer complexity of the magic and politics of this universe, this masterpiece is definitely worth it in the end.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The city of Ketterdam is a place full of economic prosperity, higher education, and cultural enlightenment. It also has a darker side of it, and it’s full of gangs, brothels, and cutthroats. At the helm of it is Kaz Brekker, a young man infamous for being willing to do anything—no matter how low, how dirty, how immoral—as long as the price is right. However, with the introduction of a frightening new drug, the world is at the brink of war, and it is Kaz Brekker that the Council turns to for help. The deal: Kidnap the man with the knowledge of how to destroy the world from an impenetrable fortress, and he would be rewarded with enough gold to drown in. The odds are against success, but death is almost guaranteed. Nevertheless, there’s no stopping Kaz Brekker and his gang from treading across oceans and continents in lust for good money.
Six of Crows is uncompromisingly gritty, but also beautifully written. The elaborate weave of three-dimensional characters along with a dangerous heist and mile-high stakes makes this book a sure favorite for many. It is definitely one of my personal all-time favorites.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
At the mere age of eighteen, Celaena Sardothien became one of the most feared assassins in all of Adarlan. She wielded her beauty as well as she did her knives, and she killed without any fragment of remorse. Now slaving away in the salt mines of Endovier, however, she is hardly of the glory she once held. But when the Crown Prince himself offers her a deal for freedom, she knows there is hope for her yet. All she must do is compete with the most ruthless killers and convicts of the kingdom and come out alive as the King’s Champion.
Throne of Glass is the perfect first installment for its series. It lays a solid foundation for the multilayered, inter-dimensional and world-spanning plot that’s to develop into a greater and greater form with every book that follows. Expect blood, romance, and characters worthy of remembrance in years to come.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Fairies have been living on Earth for thousands of years. Known as The People, they are the creatures of myths and superstitions: trolls, centaurs, elves, dwarves, and even LEPrecons. As a result of a war with the humans long ago, they are forced to live belowground, thriving with incredible technology and mesmerizing magical abilities, out of sight from man’s eyes. It is only with the arrival of a twelve-year-old human boy named Artemis Fowl that the millennia of secrecy comes halting to a stop. For Artemis Fowl isn’t a regular boy with an obsession with fairies—no, he is a millionaire prodigy, a criminal mastermind of a boy who will stop at nothing to quench his obsession of robbing every piece of gold from the fairies.
Artemis Fowl is a book aimed more at the younger teen audience, but a jewel of literature nonetheless. It keeps readers at the edge of their seats as Artemis and his butler wage war against fairies armed with nothing short of lasers and time-stopping technology.
Although I may like them for very different reasons, all four books are ones I can highly recommend to just about anyone. If none appeal to you, however, no worries! There are plenty of other books just waiting to be checked out in the shelves of Reston Regional Library. Hope you enjoy!