I’ve always admired those booktubers/bloggers that had a ton of books to recommend every month regardless of genre. Romance? No problem. Fantasy? No biggie. Non-fiction? Bring it on. Not only were they voracious readers, but they are also willing to try out enough books from various genres to have a shortlisted pool of books that they could deem as love-its or hate-its.
Now I know for sure I’m not as well read as them, but I’m gonna work on it (hurry up, reading speed!). In the meantime, I’m presenting to you my list of fantasy recommendations because god knows this is one of my most read genres (apart from crime and sci-fi). Let the rambling begin.
The Odyssey by Homer
Probably one of the first, if not the first, fantasy books I have ever read. My chancing upon The Odyssey was quite… peculiar. I remember stumbling upon a brightly illustrated book that was shaped and decorated like a box. You guessed it, it was Pandora’s Box. And like Pandora, I was curious and dived into the world of greek mythology with child-like wonder and probably reverence (’em greek gods seemed so… godly to a child who didn’t knew any better). That book lead me to discover the rest of the greek mythology books by that author (the trademark was box shaped books) and eventually, Homer’s Odyssey.
All these might not sound very “peculiar” to you, but the thing is that I’d never found that book again after I returned it to the library. Nor the other books in the series. Fast forward 10 odd years later and even with the aid of goodreads, I still couldn’t find it. Strange isn’t it?
The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The father of modern fantasy. The magic and genius of Tolkien was that he was able to extract elements and characters that commonly existed in folklore and legends, each with an already preconceived idea of who and what they are, and gave them new and distinct personalities and characteristics that morphed into our modern definition of folklore. Plus the invention of a totally new language. The man’s a legend I tell ya. Must read for all those who haven’t.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis
This was actually a hipster read back in the confines of my primary school. Everyone was devouring the Harry Potter series, what is it about Narnia? What is that anyway? Is it even half as good?
Believe me, I got that from nearly all my classmates. Which was probably why I developed a bias against Harry Potter when I actually began reading it since I expected it to be heads and shoulders above Narnia (which wasn’t the case, in my humble, honest opinion).
I digress. Lewis’s prose can be difficult to get into, especially as the series progresses (I actually gave up at Book 4 but all things aside, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a fun read) but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is strangely a very easy read. A classic good vs evil story with a lovely setting, even when reading it in the hot summer.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Don’t let the title fool you, the book isn’t really about Dracula. It’s more about fear and how quickly it can spread without any means of justification for the object that is feared. We see Dracula’s victims and many a puncture wounds but rarely do we see the Count himself until the finale. Dracula might not seem like much at the first reading; he’s not super powerful, bulletproof, nor Edward-Cullen-speedy, but the fear, loathing, and doubtfulness he inflicts on the community is monstrous and will gradually eat away at you. Definitely a classic gothic read.
Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) by Eoin Colfer
Probably the first and best ‘blockbuster’-ish book I’ve read as a child. This doesn’t mean to say that adults won’t like it, because the brilliance and genius of Artemis will surely captivate anyone.
A kid villain? Check. A kid villain who’s a genius? Check. Leprechauns, fairies and other amazing magical creatures who might not actually be so amazing? Check. Artemis Fowl breathes a new perspective into traditional folklore (much like Tolkien) and gives children a hell of a time imagining them to be just as smart and badass as Artemis (I mean, who doesn’t secretly wanna be a villain right?). Codes and symbols that are littered across the pages for the puzzle piece waiting to be solved at the end of the book just screams ‘FUN’ to me and seriously, nobody can solve it as quick as Artemis, which is also part of the fun because then we can watch him kick ass! (Kinda like a sidekick really, a cool sidekick.) Pick this up if you haven’t already because one, the cover is shiny and foiled and beautiful, two, just pick it up already!
And that’s all!
What are your fantasy recommendations? Have you read any of these, and if so how was it for you? Let me know.