If you, like me, are still going through complete Sarah J Maas withdrawal, and can’t really stand to wait for her next books, check out the list below to tide you over! Each book has many of the things I adored about both ToG and ACOMAF: strong and interesting female characters, magic, deeply beautiful writing, love stories to cry about, and an all around sense of adventure. If you have any more recommendations to add, definitely let me know!
I just finished this series, and I am still amazed by how masterfully Anne Bishop weaves her stories. Welcome to the Dark Kingdom, a matriarchal realm ruled by strong queens and the males that support and serve them (Rowan and Aedion anyone?). There is a prophecy fortelling the rise of a Queen with more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself, which gives us a wonderful story full of scheming, war, adventure, and a badass court I would kill to be a part of. Prepare your heart!
Graceling is the best series for all you folks who couldn’t get enough of badass assassin Celaena. Katsa is an assassin Celaena would be proud of, due to her rare ability as a Graceling. She is Graced with a killing power, and has spent her life as the king’s tool in doling out his reign of terror. In waltzes Po, Graced with fighting, and here to shake everything Katsa knows about her world. Cashore definitely gives us a twist Sarah would most certainly support!
This book aligns more with the romance and court mystique that Sarah presents so wonderfully in ToG and ACOMAF. Kestrel is the daughter of a general who helped the emperor conquer territory after territory. As she is faced with a choice, marry or join the military, Kestrel finds a friend in one of the slaves from the conquered people, and so begins one of the most interesting political schemes I have read in awhile! I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, because I am out of the country and can’t get my hands on the final book, but I would highly recommend it.
Cue another really cool empire written by an author who isn’t afraid to be inventive or go beyond the normal realms of fantasy. Vin is another Celaena-esque character, as the abandoned street child who turned thief who struggles to stay alive. When a mentor takes her under his wing, she discovers that her luck on the streets might be more than she could ever explain. Magic, mystery, and of course, a few court balls thrown in make for a wonderful mix. Warning: the last book made me cry. Like really cry. But in a good, I’m-still-mad-at-you-but-I-understand-and-respect-your-story-line type of way.
Raisa is everything that I have ever wanted in a princess. She is intelligent, passionate, feisty, and super compassionate. So when a war arises between the clans and the wizards, you can bet she has goals to achieve and empires to shake up. Throw Han Alister into the mix, a street wise leader, and things get tricky and fireworks explode. One of my favorite love stories in a long time, because it isn’t a story about just romantic love, but also what the love of a princess for her country can do.
Yelena is set for execution for murder, but is given the choice to be the next food taster of the Commander of Ixia. As if the threat of having poison in her system wasn’t enough, she is also given a dose of Butterfly’s Dust, which she needs every day to stay alive, and can of course only get from the chief of security. Fighting for her life soon becomes more than just guessing the right poison, but also a game of magic, love, and all out war. Best kind of combo out there!
This is the only book in the list to be set in a dystopian universe as opposed to a kingdom, but with a prodigy like June, no one can make any complaints. After a war tore the country apart, the Western United States is under the martial rule of the Republic, and June is their perfectly groomed soldier golden child. Day, on the other hand, is a slums boy who has become the Republic’s most wanted criminal. What happens when their paths cross is enough to make any country tremble, and to keep me hanging on to every word!
Literally anything by Tamora Pierce!
Tamora Pierce has been my favorite author since I was a little girl. Each of her series is set in the same universe, based around the story of an interesting and kickass female character, from the first female warrior to a wild-mage. I first found these stories when my mother decided my sister and I didn’t have enough strong women in our literature and Tamora really rose to the occasion. Start with the first series, Song of the Lioness, and work your way from there! I have reread her books at least once every year since I was a little girl and they get better every time. I cannot recommend these books enough!
If you read or have read any of these books, feel free to shoot me a message; I am always ready to geek out over them.
Dear John (Green),
You wrote an entire essay online about how groundbreaking it is
for a teenage girl
to kiss a teenage boy in a tragic movie about being white and pretty and dying.
Meanwhile, the only times I see girls like me
getting kissed on screen is when they’re being felt up by some old man in a tragic movie about being
colored and poor and abused.
Brown teenage girls do not get love stories like the movies,
even though we are taught straight from the womb that
we are no more than curves and wild fight that still shines in our eyes after the white boy kisses us in secret,
after the white boy does not want to be seen with us in front of his friends.
Because we’ll always bring drama and bitterness,
with our loud voices
until we are finally broken
on the night something is slipped into our drinks,
or we’re evicted from our house,
or we lose the basketball game,
or a family member climbs on top of us,
and wraps the silver screen around our bodies like butcher’s paper
for the meat
that we have been portrayed as
No, we do not get Shakespeare quoted to us,
instead we become the bitter narrative,
the comfort to the suburban parent,
thank goodness their little girl is the one with the “nice young man,”
and not the one getting her teeth knocked out by the “thug”,
and why does Hollywood only
find colored girls palatable when they are hardened by the world,
to the point where we see them as grown women?
You want groundbreaking story telling?
Write about a girl with brown skin
who is so filled with joy,
each one of her breaths is like tasting cinnamon,
and she lightens even the darkest moments.
Write about a hijabi girl,
who is so empowered,
that she can convince a generation of young women of every shade
that we don’t need to kiss a boy first
to feel in charge of ourselves.
Write about a Latina girl,
who is so in love with life that she tiptoes on the heads of her problems.
Portray colored girls as soft,
as teenage girls in love,
because we deserve a narrative as sweet
and as powerful
as we are.
Dear John Green, or, How Hollywood Told My Me I Would Never Find Love Like the Movies
Usually I’m like “Oh I don’t read much sci fi. It’s not really my thing.” AND THEN I LOOO AT THIS PILE OF GLORIOUS BOOKS AND REALISE I LIE. Because these are freakishly fantastic. (Although I forgot to put Illuminae in this photo and now I’m sad.)
1) I just read #TheDiabolicand my review will be on my blog tonight! Least to say: totally epic. 2) #RedRising: only one of my favourite books OF ALL TIME. Omg it is so bloody and stabtastic and epic and afjsklajdh. 3) #TheStarboundChronicles: Which are sassy AND spacey and the covers slay me. 4) #TheGhostsOfHeaven: okay this was a bucketful of weird…but yet beautifully done?!!
“Take what you can and leave me to the wolves.” - I know it’s not related but Seether just keeps playing in my head.
So I finished reading “Morning Star”. The trilogy’s blown my mind (don’t know how many nerve cells it cost me) and now there’s this strange state of tranquility. The books are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G - haven’t been captivated like this for quite a while.
For now I think I’ll refrain from reading smth new as I seriously need to catch up on different things.
Dark-skinned girls need more representation in books. More specifically *ahem* ya books. Because me being a teenager and not seeing the representation I need as a lighter skinned black girl kind of sucks. The only girl I can gravitate to is Winter from the Lunar Chronicles as of right now and probably for eternity, who I shall love and cherish so much.
Asian girls and guys need more representation in books (and not all of them have to be Korean, Chinese, or Japanese).
Indian girls and guys need more representation in books. The only book with an Indian guy in it that I’ve seen is Gat from “We were Liars” (aka amazing book).
Latinos need more representation in books. The only latino main character I’ve read in a book was called “Thanks for the Trouble,” which was also a good book.
People with disabilities, mental illnesses, and disabled people need more representation in books. I don’t see too many of those. I’ve seen mental illness *ahem, All the Bright Places, one of my favorite books* and some other books, but what about teenagers with autism? With Down syndrome? Handicapped? Missing a limb? The struggles they face? I have a younger brother who’s autistic, and I’d like more representation for disabled people and people with disabilities.
Anyone apart of the LGBT+ community needs more representation in books. I’m starting to see some books that show LGBGT+ people (one of my favs, “Everyday” by David Levithan) but there’s still room for more improvement. Although I might not support the LGBT+ community, it’s still important for those people apart of that community to see themselves better represented or just represented at all.
I’m sure there’s plenty, plenty more down the list. But these are my concerns from the top of my head.