Long time no see, eh? TBH, I haven’t really felt like reviewing anything I’ve read recently (though if you’re interested in the things I’ve been reading but not reviewing here, come find me on Goodreads). But I’m breaking my silence to talk about my two favorite YA fantasy series. I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently, partly because I’ve been getting a hankering to re-read them, and partly because I’ve been reading a new series and I can’t help thinking about how it stacks up to my favorites. So here we go:
The Lumatere Chronicles, by Melina Marchetta (1. Finnikin of the Rock, 2. Froi of the Exiles, 2.5 Ferragost, 3. Quintana of Charyn)
Oh, the characters in this series. I love them all so dang much. Marchetta knows how to make her characters seem real and how to get you to see their flaws but care about them anyway. For pete’s sake, she manages to take one of the least likable characters from the first book and make him into the hero of the second two. That’s some skill, right there. And it’s not just the main characters that pull you in. The secondary characters make you care about them just as much, especially in the second two books. Seriously, the relationship dynamics between various family and friends and lovers in those last two books are outstanding. Marchetta also does a fantastic job exploring the gray areas and difficult topics. Nothing is ever easy for her characters, but the strength they gain from their experiences makes you love them all the more.
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, by Laini Taylor (1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, 2. Days of Blood and Starlight, 3. Dreams of Gods and Monsters)
After finishing the first book in this series, I would never have guessed that these books would become some of my favorites. The first book, while it has its strong points, pales in comparison to the second two. It’s actually a bit hard for me to believe that the first book is even in the same series, because that book is all angels! monsters! insta-love! But the story and characters really come into their own in books 2 and 3. It was quite an amazing save, I thought. And this series is pretty epic in scope. I mean, we’re talking about things like the genocide of races and the destruction of worlds, and there are A LOT of plot lines to follow. But Laini Taylor always manages to stay in control of the story—admittedly, sometimes she only manages it by the skin of her teeth, but she always does somehow manage it. Like the Lumatere Chronicles, this series has fantastic characters that worm their way into your heart, but the thing that always stands out to me is the humor. Laini Taylor is just so skilled at working wit and humor into scenes that are otherwise pretty depressing.
Ak. These books. I can’t even. I just love them so much. If you haven’t read them yet, I obviously highly recommend them.