Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top Ten Books To Read If You're In the Mood For Fun Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Dare I use the term 'noblebright'? Because, you see, I looked up 'the opposite of grimdark' on google, and this is the term that popped up. Honestly, I don't usually care for 'grimdark' and I'm not entirely sure I'd like 'noblebright'. I think my favorite is somewhere halfway between - ergo, fun fantasy.

So, here's some of my suggestions if you want to have a bit of fun in your fantasy read instead of everything being 'gloom, depression then everyone dies.' :)

Theft of Swords
Book #1 of The Riyria Revelations series
By Michael J. Sullivan
There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the murder of the king. 
Notes: For me, this series captures what I love in my fantasy book almost exactly. I adore the two guys, love seeing them develop over the series and the fact that this is a buddy fantasy certainly doesn't hurt it either!

The Emperor's Edge
Book #1 of The Emperor's Edge series
By Lindsay Buroker
Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt down Sicarius, the empire's most notorious assassin. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills... or someone wants her dead.
Notes: Even though this book sounded awesome, I passed on it for a very long time because of that cover. (Does it no justice!) However, this series is one of my favorites and it's a lot of fun.

By Bridget Zinn
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.
Notes: I totally need to re-read this book because, besides it being fun and me loving it, I remember nothing about it. Nothing! But I do recall loving it.

Guards! Guards!
Book #8 in the Discworld series
By Terry Pratchett
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .).
Notes: This was my first Discworld book and I still think it's my favorite. (Though Hogfather is coming in a pretty close second.) This is definitely more humorous than the others I list - and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny - but it's a series that also touches on some interesting thoughts.

The Spirit Thief
Book #1 in The Legend of Eli Monpress series
By Rachel Aaron
Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief.
But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And he's going to put his plan into effect. The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.

Like a king.
Notes: I've not actually finished this series yet, but we're off to a bang up start. It's got some great action and characters and worldbuilding and - you guessed it - it's fun.

The Child Prince
Book #1 of The Artifactor series
By Honor Raconteur
Sevana Warran, reigning prodigy Artifactor of the age, has absolutely no desire to selflessly serve her fellow man. But her efforts in avoiding other people prove to be in vain. The sole hope of avoiding the evil machinations of the Council is the Prince of Windamere - a twenty-one year old cursed into the body of a perpetual eight year old.

Sevana, after a judicious review of the situation, decides that she cannot let things continue. If she did, she’d never be left alone and would instead be buried in paperwork if the Council has anything to say about it. So she kidnaps the prince from where he was locked away in the palace and sets about breaking his curse.

Notes: This book wasn't at all what I thought it would be - but it was so much fun. I loved Sevana and all the other characters were soo great too.

The Wizard Hunters
Book #1 of The Fall of Ile-Rien series
By Martha Wells
Once a fertile and prosperous land, Ile-Rien is under attack by the Gardier, a mysterious army whose storm-black airships appear from nowhere to strike without warning. Every weapon in the arsenal of Ile-Rien's revered wizards has proven useless.

And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child's plaything.
Notes: While this book isn't particularly 'funny' - it is fun and has an awesome cast of characters. (Just be willing to give it about 50 pages to get going, because it starts of slowly.)

The Palace Job
Book #1 of The Rogues of the Republic
By Patrick Weeks
The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven's Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family's treasure.

It'd be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches.
Notes: I love a good crook story and this one was a total blast. Especially considering the amazingly unique cast of characters we've got!

The Stepsister Scheme
Book #1 of Princess series
By Jim C. Hines
Cinderella - whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. 

That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course).

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?
Notes: This series seems to be able to perfectly balance wonderful characters, lighthearted fantasy moments and more serious gritty moments. Which means I pretty much love it!

Air Awakens
Book #1 of Air Awakens series
By Elise Kova
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
Notes: While I've only read the first book - which is fun but not a majorly light read - the series does show signs of getting more gritty over the course of the story. But the first book was just a lot of fun!

There we go, a often forgotten subdivision of fantasy that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope I've managed to catch you interest with one of more of these books - and if you have any suggestions for non-grimdark fantasy, please feel free to leave them!