• Terrie

TBR Explosion!! (part 2: Fantasy)



The year-end reading wrap-ups are deadly! My TBR list is exploding!!! I'm sure most readers find themselves in the same boat - so many good recommendations out there from podcasts, bookstagram, book blogs and booktubers. And when you find a book reviewer that you trust and generally has a similar taste, there's a sense of confidence in accepting those recommendations.


I decided to break the list into genres so that it might be easier for people to find something they'd like to read. Here's the next installment of my TBR explosion: 10 Fantasy books. These just sound amazing and I want to read them all next. If you prefer general fiction, check out my earlier TBR Explosion: General Fiction.


Being a relatively new reader of fantasy, I'm still looking for my favorite authors. I've discovered a few: V.E. Schwab, Jim Butcher, and N.K. Jemisin. However, thanks to a few podcasts and BookTubers, I've found ten new (to me) fantasy books that sound fascinating.




The Poppy War #1 by R. F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2018, 531 pages


Added because: a YouTuber recommendation

Synopsis: an award winning first of a trilogy, the epic story is set in a historical military school with a Chinese / Japanese vibe. A peasant girl wins a place at the exclusive school and discovers her magical powers.








She Who Became the Sun #1 by Shelley Parker-Chan

Genre: Fantasy

Published July 2021, 416 pages


Added because: on a "best of" Bookbub list

Synopsis: a young Chinese girl pretends to be her brother after his death and enters a monastery where she rises within politics; a lyrical, queer, reimagining of the Ming Dynasty.






The Atlas Six #1 by Olivie Blake

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2020, 383 pages


Added because: read about this one on a book blog and then saw it on YouTuber Haley's channel

Synopsis: another dark academia book with smart (but easy to understand) magic as young people compete to be the best magicians so they can work in the magical library.





These Violent Delights #1 by Chloe Gong

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2020, 429 pages


Added because: YouTuber Regan recommendation

Synopsis: a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in 1926 Shanghai where the two young leaders of violent rival gangs have to agree to a truce or destroy the city






Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Genre: Fantasy

Published March 2021, 308 pages


Added because: strongly recommended by YouTuber Jack in the Books (Jack Edwards)

Synopsis: a retelling of the Greek myth of Ariadne, sister of Minotaur featuring the women of the myth rather than focusing on Minotaur.







A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2019, 368 pages


Added because: info from another YouTuber (clearly I discovered some bookish YouTube channels!)

Synopsis: the story of the Trojan War from the female goddesses perspective - even though it starts a little slowly, keep reading was the advice.






All of us Villains #1 by Amanda Foody and Christine Herman

Genre: Fantasy

Published November 2021, 400 pages


Added because: a 2021 fave of YouTuber Katie

Synopsis: a bit of Harry Potter and a bit of Hunger Games; every generation 7 families choose a warrior to battle to the death to win the highest/strongest magic.








A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Genre: Fantasy

Published January 2021, 248 pages


Added because: another top fave of YouTuber Katie

Synopsis: though bloody and violent, the writing is beautiful in this queer retelling of Dracula by one of his brides.







Jade City #1 by Fonda Lee

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2017, 560 pages


Added because: heard about it on a podcast

Synopsis: an epic trilogy: two rival families clash over control the production of magical jade on a small Asian island - the jade gives superhuman powers. A story about family, loyalty, power, and survival.







The Witches of New York #1 by Ami McKay

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2016, 545 pages


Added because: showed up on a Facebook list and I like witches stories

Synopsis: 3 witches in 1880 New York City, one of which is an apprentice who can talk to sprits. As the other witches argue over how best to help her, she disappears.







And, there you have it - 10 intriguing fantasy tales that I can't wait to dive into. Do you enjoy fantasy of any kind? Do any of these retellings or other fantasies ring your bell? Pique your interest? Float your boat? Let me know if you've recently added a fantasy book or two to your TBR...........



Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.

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