There’s been a distinct line between YA readers about which genre is the best for a long time, and each comes with their own great qualities. But fantasy (in my opinion) has everything that is desired in a good book: captivating plots, funny characters, ~romance~. Need I say more? Actually, I should, which is why you might as well continue reading. :)
Fantasy holds the most creative possibility. As a writer, I can do what I want with my work because there are no limitations. I’m not stuck with facts and evidence. It’s my world, and I love being able to do what I want with it.
It also makes reading fantasy really, really fun, especially considering that the YA fantasy industry has exploded since the mania following Harry Potter. Industry favorites like Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, and Red Queen changed the fantasy realm because they became very popular very quickly. The success of these books inspired hundreds more to be published as series like Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) and Cinder began and continued into great success.
The characters are complex. I’ve found that the most in-depth and fun characters are from fantasy series because we get to see both the character and the author develop and form over the course of the books. The characters that are criticized (*cough, cough* Bella and Edward from Twilight) are the characters that have traits that subtly represent what every reader dislikes—unconnected, arrogant, abusive, and selfish. The more realistic characters struggle with ethics and decision-making, especially with problems that will affect the very world they live in. The characters I love the most are the witty, whip-smart ones who also happen to make completely questionable decisions regarding the fate of their world.
Creative stories mark the best authors. The more creative the writer is, the better they are at developing a truly interesting and captivating story. As the series continue, the authors get more experimental with their writing. They give you plot twists. They give you cliffhangers. They leave you in a shock at the end of the book when your favorite character has her ankle caught in a spider’s web and her one true love will never leave her and they quite literally fall into Greek Hell. Uncle Rick, I have my eye on you.
It's an escape. Fantasy books take you into a world with completely different problems than the world we live in. It’s fun to dive into a world where there’s a thrill every twenty pages, and oh shoot, he was not who I thought he was. The worlds of fantasy have truly changed the game that the characters play. I've been so enveloped in a story that I've finished the entire book in an insanely short amount of time.
If what you just read didn’t convince you, maybe these 4 fantasy books will!
1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies are hunting her. A determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her the most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.
2. Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But much to his dismay, he needs help:
A convict with a revenge mentality
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past and a shocking skill
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
3. Soundless by Richelle Mead
For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make is impossible to leave the village, so her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.
Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Suddenly, sound is her weapon.
She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. The embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their life forever.
4. Firstlife by Gena Showalter
Tenley Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live. That is, where she’ll live after she’s died.
There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.
In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between two realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she loves? She’ll have to make a decision…if she lives to make it.
If these books don’t turn you to the YA Fantasy side, then nothing, unfortunately, ever will.
Happy reading! There are so many (fantasy!) worlds to explore if only you take the time to do so.