Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. What have you been reading lately? At the moment I’m reading books for the 2021 Asian Readathon so I’m making my way through my TBR for that. Most recently I’ve finished reading Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza, which is a lovely middle-grade novel with three main stories based off of Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I would definitely recommend reading it!
Today I’ve decided to talk about some Fantasy standalone novels. I realised it’s been a while since I last did a recommendation post and I thought that it would be nice to talk about some standalones.
I feel like Fantasy standalone novels often get overshadowed by Fantasy series. Perhaps it’s because it’s become a bit of a standard assumption that any book that’s Fantasy is going to be a series. I personally don’t see that many Fantasy standalones getting recommended or talked about as much as Fantasy series. Although some of the five books that I’m going to talk about today are pretty well known.
Sometimes all you want is a standalone fantasy story but sadly they’re not always easy to find!
I do have more Fantasy standalone recommendations in this post Book Recommendations: Fantasy Standalones if you want to find some more!
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Alessandra wants power. To never be overlooked. To never be locked away. To always be in control. And she has a plan to do just that.
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
Not that it’s going to be easy. But where would the fun be if it was? The King doesn’t let anyone near him but that’s not going to stop her from getting what she wants. And she always gets what she wants in the end.
The Shadows Between Us is a Young Adult standalone by the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology. This is an excellent book is you’re looking for a villain to anti-hero protagonist. Be warned that this is a book about two very morally grey characters. Firstly Alessandra wants to kill the King and take over the Kingdom. And secondly the King himself is just as power hungry and unremorseful.
Honestly it’s a really fun book to read and you can tell that the author had a lot of fun writing it. I would say that this is a good book to read when you want something that isn’t too complicated and has a happy ending.
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
One mistake changed her life forever.
Ignoring the advice of her mentor Rachelle forced her down a path more dangerous than she could ever imagine. Instead of defeating the evil she has been trained against she is bound to it. Fleeing from her home she gives her life to serving the realm. Fighting deadly creatures to try to atone for her mistake three years ago. But perhaps with the help of an unlikely ally she can discover the truth and stop the darkness once and for all.
Crimson Bound is a Young Adult Red Riding Hood retelling set in a fantasy world. This is a very easy to read standalone story. It’s set in a well thought out fantasy world with some very interesting characters.
The Red Riding Hood elements aren’t very in your face like some fairy tale retellings can be. For instance the “wolf” in this story is more of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” type character. There are a few twists and turns in this story that keep you on your toes.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Many, many years ago English magicians lost their ability to cast any magic. Now they spend there time writing long, dull papers on the theory of magic without ever actually being able to use any of it.
But in Yorkshire the first magician in centuries has arrived. The reclusive Mr Norrell. Who has a vast collection of magical texts long since forgotten from England’s magical past. He goes to London, raises a girl from the dead, and aids in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte.
He’s making a successful career out of it as the only magician in England until a rival appears; Jonathan Strange. The man is the very opposite to Mr Norrell. Handsome, charming and talkative. He’s by far more willing to use his magic on the battlefields and march with Wellington’s army instead of staying in England and conjuring ships to spook the French.
When they cross paths Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil, but it soon becomes clear that they have opposing ideas of what English magic should be. Soon Strange becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King and the prophecy that comes along with it. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a alternative history fantasy set around the time of the Napoleonic wars. There is a lot of history, politics and magic in this story. Not only are there magicians but faeries as well.
It is a really good book. I will warn you that it is very long and some parts are very slow. But it is really enjoyable and a very creative story.
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
Living in a house with chicken legs can be fun. They’ll play with you and make sure that you’re happy. You get to see the world, wake up in a new place, and help to guide souls onto the next place. It can be fun but also very lonely. Marinka is 12 and wants a friend. To be able to stay in one place long enough that she can make a friend. Sure she has the house, her Baba and her crow but it’s not the same. So when Marinka stumbles across she breaks all the rules… with devastating consequences.
The House with Chicken Legs is a middle-grade story with elements based on Baba Yaga and Slavic culture/mythology. And is a great standalone story about a young girl that is beginning to grow up and is looking for her own path. She’s beginning to think about life outside of being a Yaga, a guardian that guides souls, which she is being trained for by her Grandmother.
Marinka deals with a lot in this book. Her making friends, losing friends, losing loved ones and moving past that grief, forging her own path and beginning to figure out what will make her happy. This is a beautifully written book that is both sad and uplifting. I would highly recommend reading this book.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Addie made a deal with a devil centuries ago and now no one knows her name. No one remembers her and she has stayed the same. Never aging, no injury leaves a mark, she stays the same no matter what. The moment she made that desperate deal for freedom she has been alone. No friends. No family. None that remember her anyway. Not that that matters now, they’re all dead.
But one day she meets a young man that does remember. It should be impossible but he remembers. He remembers her.
This standalone novel is by renowned author VE Schwab, of the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy and the Vicious duology. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue follows a woman over the centuries, flitting between modern day America, to important moments in her life in past centuries. Addie made a deal with a dark god that leaves her forgotten by everyone she’s ever known and to never be remembered by the people she meets.
This is a really nice standalone to read. It’s beautifully written and a joy to read. I would recommend reading it is you want something that’s melancholy, about making the best of a situation and finding love.
What are some of you’re favourite fantasy standalones?
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