we stand upon the precipice of change. the world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. watch for that moment - and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. it
is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.
I’m bored, home alone, and packing all my books. So here, have a list of book recommendations from yours truly!
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
A young girl meets a family that gained eternal life after drinking from an enchanted spring, and is left to wonder whether living forever is a blessing or a curse. It’s a fantastic book that hurts your heart in 139 pages.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six morally horrible people plan an impossible heist for selfish motivations. But the romances between the morally horrible people are somehow still very pure and wonderful. The plot also keeps you on the edge of your seat because you never have all of the information until the last possible second. And if you love fantasy worlds that include POC main characters and LGBTQ representation, this is the duology for you!
The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Bertin
Human/dragon shapeshifter romance with political intrigue. And really fun worldbuilding, too.
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
One of my favorite series. The overarching plot is wonderful, you genuinely care about all the characters, and this is one of those stories where “strong female characters” means both “well-rounded, well-developed females with agency” AND “kicks some serious ass”.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The protagonist is the villain. I wrote that correctly. Artemis Fowl is the villain. The entire series is about his personal journey from villain to hero, with all the beautiful and human mistakes throughout.
Also, it’s got fairies. With guns.
Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher
A super fun (and quick-read) series about people smuggling dragons to safety in a world that is determined to destroy them. Also, lots of baby dragons. And dragons being dragons, and neither morally good nor evil. It’s wonderful.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The funniest fucking book I’ve ever read. God’s starting the apocalypse, but they’ve somehow managed to misplace the AntiChrist. And it just gets more insane.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
One of my favorite books of all time. It has a fascinating new take on dragons, genuinely fun political intrigue, romances you root for but aren’t the focus of the plot, and a half-dragon heroine that you absolutely fall in love with. And, if you make it to the second book, Shadow Scales, there is massive LGBTQ representation. I’m talking gay and bi characters, I’m talking trans characters, I’m talking people asking “How may I pronoun you?” and strongly-implied polyamorous relationships. And dragons. And plot twists.
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
When the Flying Dutchman was cursed to roam the sea forever, a boy and his dog who were on board are spared from the curse due to their pure hearts, are washed ashore and granted eternal life and youth. Now they roam the world helping people and getting into adventures. Don’t let the fun fool you, though, it’s fucking heartbreaking. They really don’t skimp on the “we’re immortal so everyone we love dies” angle, and the “wow, this kid looks like he’s seen some shit”. Also the first book feels much more YA than the other two.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I know it’s pretty much only known as middle-school assigned reading, but this book is clever, insightful, and absolutely fantastic. I definitely stood in line to get this book autographed in high school. A boy with no imagination is sent to a crazy world of unique perspectives and interesting insights to rescue Rhyme and Reason.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
That book they made us all read in 5th grade that is actually all it’s cracked up to be. It’s absolutely trippy fantasy with a sci-fi edge to it, and the characters are so utterly endearing. Personally, my favorite is A Wind in the Door, but that’s book 2.
The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint
Contemporary fantasy at its absolute best. It’s modern urban fantasy that puts the fantastic in our world in such a wonderful and beautiful way. The best part is it’s also a story about dealing with physical disabilities, trauma, past abuse, self-healing, the complexity of forging and rekindling relationships with others when one is hurting, etc. Honestly, it’s just fucking awesome.
Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
A book of short stories (all contemporary urban fantasy), and the best way to be introduced to Charles de Lint’s writing. So, if you want to read The Onion Girl but aren’t sure you’re ready for it yet. This is the first book I ever took a highlighter to.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Do you want to crush your heart and destroy your soul and cry like a baby in 128 pages? You’ll be happy you did.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
This is a standalone novel, and the best way to be introduced to Sanderson’s work. This book has phenomenal and complex worldbuilding, three-dimensional characters with agency you will fall in love with, and a book-long mystery that just blows you away when you figure out the answer. If you enjoy this book, you have to read Mistborn next.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Elantris on steroids. This is, without a doubt, the most fascinating worldbuilding I have ever encountered in literature. It’s so complicated, but completely logical, and the plot is so bewitching. And Sanderson can leave you as many clues as he wants - he will still blow your fucking mind when all the pieces come together at the end. The book takes a while to pick up the pace, but I swear to you it’s worth it.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A princess gets bored, and decides to volunteer to be a dragon’s captive. Then she gets into a ton of adventures and ends up discovering a plot to overthrow the dragon government. It’s a lighthearted, quick and fun read, and Cimorene is my fucking hero.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Oh God, read Pride and Prejudice. It’s my absolute favorite book.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
If you can, read the abridged copy. It’s kind of hard to find, so look for the one that was translated by Charles Wilbour and abridged by Paul Bénichou. It’s all the meat of the story and barely a third of the size.
Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
I mostly like it because it’s written from the rather limiting perspective of Raoul, which means you’re in the dark about the goings-on of the book until someone bothers to tell Raoul what’s happening. It’s actually a lot of fun.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
A grim mystery wrapped up like a romance, where the second Mrs. de Winter is trying to discover what truly happened to her husband’s first wife. It’s by the woman who wrote The Birds (which you may know as the famous Hitchcock movie), if that clues you in to the vibe of the book.
Dragonship and hammership (Jim Holloway, from “Awash in Phlogiston” by Jeff Grubb, Dragon 153, TSR, January 1990)
DM tip: If your world includes flying ships, magic carpets, flying brooms, rings of flying, levitation potions, and NPCs mounted on pegasi, griffons, and dragons, then the PCs’ first impression of a big city will be focused on all the activity in the air above. The most important government, business, religious, and magical locales may be hubs for this traffic. Also take a tip from Terry Pratchett – unless the magic college is completely invisible, it may be the most noticeable building as flames occasionally belch out of the windows and lightning arcs from the rooftops, and if you watch long enough the tallest tower randomly vanishes and reappears.
can we just take a fucking second to imagine the pure fear of seeing a massive Dothraki horde coming at you, full speed, and a goddamn dragon flying overhead, breathing fire on everything in its wake? like holy shit