Best Fantasy Books of 2017

Good morning, dear Reader! Today, I am excited to give you my run-down of the best fantasy books I read in 2017. Now, technically, this was supposed to be a “TOP TEN” list… but as you will see… I… erm… cheated rather a lot!

I read quite a few new-to-me books in 2017, and many of them were *gasp* fantasy novels. I know, that’s a shocker, right? And while I reviewed many of them, I thought it would be a fun exercise to go through my list and determine which ones were worth a special mention… it looks like 25 of the books I read were new-to-me fantasy novels. So which ones were in my top ten? Read on to find out…. if I reviewed the book in question, I will include a link to the review… (quick clarification: these are all books that I READ in 2017, that doesn’t mean they were released in 2017…)

10. The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens – While the first book was good enough that I wanted to read the next one… the second book was much better, and really pulled me into the story. I highly enjoyed the siblings element, as well as the magical books and the twisty-timey-wimey stuff. I also liked that the energy and “oh no! what’s going to happen next!?” element got turned up a few notches in this book.

9. Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke – This was such an adorable story set in an extremely intriguing world. I loved the world, the magic system, the characters, and the friendship between the two MCs. The only down-side is that there are currently no more stories to read in this world, and the author has said she doesn’t currently have any plans to revisit it. But the world is so interesting, and I could have happily stayed there for many more books… so it was like being promised that you’d get to lick the beater when your mom is making chocolate cake… and then discovering that she used the spatula to clean off practically every last drop before handing it over…

8. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – This story was simply lovely. It was like a long, satisfied sigh as you slip into bed after a day working hard. It was packed to the brim with magic, amazing characters, a dragon, high stakes, twists and turns, growing up, love, hate, sorrow, evil villains, heroic heroes worth rooting for… all the things that make a story a winner. I plan to do a more thorough review of this one soon!

7. The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue – This beautiful, gripping, intriguing retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses (one of my favorite fairy tales ever) had me hooked till the last page. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

6. Number six has to be a bit of a tie. The Half Upon a Time Series and The Story Thieves series (both by James Riley) – Half Upon a Time is a clever jaunt through the lands of your favorite fairy tales with Jack (the son of Jack and the Beanstalk). It’s clever and witty and unique and familiar all at the same time. Story Thieves is about a boy who is perfectly ordinary and completely bored by it. But things get exciting when he meets a girl who can jump INTO books, and their adventures within the realms of the written word take them all sorts of exciting places. These series are both clever and filled with laughter, I can’t choose between them. If I had to, I might say that Half Upon a Time edges out a bit in front, but simply because that series is finished, while Story Thieves is still in the midst of being written… but then, there’s the up-side of having more stories to look forward to… so… I really couldn’t say.

5. Halayda by Sarah Delena White – Fairy tales are marvelous, but I also fall easily for stories that take deal with the darker, more chaotic, realm of Faery tales. What I would call “High Faery” this is the sort of story that deals with fairy-folk the like of Queen Titania and King Oberon… a much more ancient and higher stakes tale than the other kind, where there is an invisible line separating the real world from the fairy world… and it exists to keep us safe! This book captured my heart, and I anxiously await book #2!

4. The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz – Oh my goodness! Magical detectives (not what you think it is), fairy tale retellings with multiple twists, cleverness, witty humor, fun characters… this book has it all! When I finished this one, I handed it to my husband (who is slightly pickier than I am) and when he finished it he asked, “Are there any more of these? Do you have them?” High praise, indeed!

3. Dragonfriend by Marc Seccchia – Epic, dragons, good vs. evil, air battles, magic, fantastical realms with amazing world-building…. this book settles easily into the top three fantasy books I read last year. It was good enough that I enjoyed it in spite of reading it on my iPad… and I got the paperback for Christmas and am looking forward to re-reading this and getting the rest of the series at some point in the near future!

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – Okay… so that’s probably cheating in a big way, as there are five books in this series… but they were THAT GOOD. Of all of them, I probably enjoyed Cress the most, with Cinder being a close second, followed by Winter, and then Fairest, with Scarlet and Stars Above at the end of the list… but they were all good. Fairy-tale retellings with fantastical elements set in a futuristic sci-fi earth full of space ships and cyborgs and cities on the moon filled with people who are born with magical powers? Yes, please! I have been meaning to do a full review of these since I read them, and I still plan to get to that… when things calm down a bit…

1. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – By far my favorite book I read all year. Fantasy and steampunk and pirates and airships and cats that talk and have their own culture… along with truly spine-tingling villains and incredible, heroic characters (who aren’t always the people you’d expect to be fearless in the face of danger)… this book had everything I love. And it was a good, clean read, which surprised me (as his Dresden Files has some adult content and swearing that makes it a series I can’t recommend). But this book I can recommend without reservation.

So, there you have it. My top 10 (or thereabouts) fantasy reads of 2017.

Do any of these look interesting to you? Have you read any of these? What were YOUR favorite books of 2017? Please let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you, dear Reader!

~ jenelle

7 Comments

DJ Edwardson

Thank you so much for this list. I love fantasy, but struggle to find good titles worth reading and often end up reading other genres.

I love that you have so many indie titles here. It goes to show how many great books are flying under the radar.

I haven’t read any of these, but I will definitely be putting them on my list, starting with the Aeronaut’s Windlass.

Reply
jenelle

Always happy to pass along book recommendations! :) Especially fantasy, which is where I prefer to stay with my reading… :)

Aeronaut’s Windlass was really good. I love Butcher’s writing style, and really enjoyed this foray of his into more classic fantasy (Dresden Files is more Urban Fantasy). If you read it, let me know what you thought! (I do think you’ll enjoy it more than Dealing with Dragons… as you probably fall more into Windlass’s target audience than that of DwD) :-D

I have really enjoyed participating in the Fellowship of Fantasy Indie Book Club and getting to read some more Indie Authors. I think I managed to get in on about half the books last year, and every single one of them was a winner.

Reply
Sarahtps

ASLFJGFLLKJ THE LUNAR CHRONICLES! I love those books! Also, I’m rather curious to hear your thoughts on Fairest? Most Christians I’ve talked to haven’t liked it. And I love THE BEAST OF TALESEND and BEGGAR MAGIC as well. (And 100% agree that there should be more books!)

Several of these I haven’t read, though. Story Thieves and Half Upon a Time are joining The Aeronaut’s Windlass and Halayda on my TBR shelf; hopefully I can get to them over the summer. And I think I have Dragon Friend on my Kindle? But I’ll have to check. Thanks for the recommendations!

Reply
jenelle

I really liked Fairest. It was creepy, and even though I sort of knew how it ended because I read Winter first… I was still on the edge of my seat worried about what was going to happen to Winter, and everyone else. I liked that it made no apologies for Levana… and even though it followed her as the MC, I didn’t end up feeling like, “Oh, the poor dear, she didn’t MEAN to be evil… she was mistreated and so it’s everyone ELSE’S fault.” It was obvious that there was something very wrong in her head. (Now, maybe some of that could be attributed to her older sister’s manipulations of her at a young age, which was sort of hinted at, but it was such a subtle implication that I felt like the story still left Levana accountable for Levana’s own actions and decisions). So often, stories from the villains’ perspectives attempt to vindicate or justify them (one reason I absolutely hated the movie Maleficent), but this one didn’t. I appreciated that.

Reply

I love hearing from you, dear Reader!