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.
So here’s the truth—I love you. I love everything about you—the way you stick up for people even when it costs you. The way you keep trying to do the right thing even when you’re not exactly sure what the right thing is. I love how you put words together. You’re as skilled with words as any knife fighter with a blade. You can put an enemy down on his back, or you can raise people up so they find what’s best in themselves. You’ve changed my life. You’ve given me the words I need to become whatever I want.
I love how you talk to lytlings. You don’t talk down to them. You respect them, and anybody can tell you’re actually interested in what they have to say.
I love the way you ride a horse—how you stick there like an upland thistle, whooping like a Demonai. I love the way you throw back your head and stomp your feet when you dance. I love how you go after what you want—whether it’s kisses or a queendom.
I love your skin, like copper dusted over with gold. And your eyes—they’re the color of a forest lake shaded by evergreens. One of the secret places that only the Demonai know about.
I love the scent of you—when you’ve been out in the fresh air, and that perfume you put behind your ears sometimes.
Believe it or not, I even love your road smell—of sweat and horses and leather and wool.
I want to breathe you in for the rest of my life.
Han Alister in Cinda Williams Chima’s The Crimson Crown
Sometime I wish the Seven Realms fandom was bigger because then I’d have more people (any people) to fangirl with. But other times I’m just like: MINE YOU NO TOUCH and I thank the book gods that nobody (as of yet) wants to fight me over Hanson Alister.
“Haven’t you heard about me?“ he said, with a tight smile. “I’m really a very dangerous person.” And he did look dangerous until he said, “Look, could you watch Dog for me while I’m gone? I can’t take him where I’m going.”
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed - Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.
Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana'Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she’s falling in love.
Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?
A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
Nimue and Merlin’s story happened a thousand years ago, so the connection is easy to see. Then the love story in the now reads like Swan Queen. Regina suddenly has to step up and be the leader to protect everyone against Emma who she’s falling in love with.
Emma knows the truth about a thousand-year-old lie. She may know something about the true nature of the Light and the Dark.
Just thought I’d share. Did anyone read this series?