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If you’re a fan of magic, mythical creatures, and epic adventures, then you’re probably a fan of young adult (YA) fantasy books. The genre has exploded in popularity in recent years, with countless new series, authors, and characters capturing the hearts of readers around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the genre or a newcomer looking to dive in, there’s never been a better time to explore the world of YA fantasy.
Defining YA Fantasy can be a bit tricky, as it encompasses a wide range of sub-genres and themes. At its core, however, YA fantasy is a genre of fiction that typically features young adult protagonists in fantastical settings. These settings can range from magical kingdoms to dystopian futures, and the stories often include elements of magic, mythology, and otherworldly creatures. While the genre is often associated with teenagers, many adults also enjoy reading YA fantasy books for their fast-paced action, imaginative worlds, and relatable characters.
- YA Fantasy is a popular genre of fiction that features young adult protagonists in fantastical settings.
- The genre includes a wide range of sub-genres and themes, but typically includes elements of magic, mythology, and otherworldly creatures.
- Many adults also enjoy reading YA fantasy books for their fast-paced action, imaginative worlds, and relatable characters.
Defining YA Fantasy
YA fantasy, or young adult fantasy, is a subgenre of fantasy fiction that is targeted towards teenage readers. It typically features protagonists who are also teenagers and explores themes that are relevant to that age group, such as coming of age, self-discovery, and identity.
The best YA fantasy books for teens are those that balance a compelling story with relatable characters and meaningful themes. They often incorporate elements of magic, myth, and folklore, and may take place in a fictional world or a fantastical version of our own.
One of the defining characteristics of YA fantasy novels is their ability to transport readers to other worlds and allow them to explore new possibilities. These books can be a great way for young readers to develop their imaginations and expand their horizons.
Some of the most popular YA fantasy series include Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. However, there are many other great YA fantasy books out there that are worth exploring.
Whether you’re a fan of young adult fantasy novels or just looking for a new genre to try, there are plenty of great options to choose from. So why not pick up a book and let your imagination take flight?
Popular YA Fantasy Series
If you’re looking for a series to dive into, there are plenty of popular YA fantasy series to choose from. Here are a few that you may want to check out:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: This duology is set in the same world as Bardugo’s Grishaverse series and follows a group of six outcasts as they attempt a dangerous heist. The series is known for its complex characters and fast-paced plot.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: This West African-inspired trilogy follows a young girl named Zélie as she fights to restore magic to her kingdom. The series has been praised for its world-building and diverse cast of characters.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: This seven-book series follows an assassin named Celaena Sardothien as she navigates political intrigue and magical threats. The series is known for its strong female characters and epic battles.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: This dystopian trilogy follows Katniss Everdeen as she competes in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. The series is known for its commentary on politics and media.
The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo: This series includes the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, and the King of Scars duology. The series is set in a world inspired by Russian folklore and features a diverse cast of characters with magical abilities.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: This classic seven-book series follows a group of children as they explore the magical world of Narnia. The series is known for its Christian themes and imaginative world-building.
Redwall by Brian Jacques: This 22-book series follows the adventures of anthropomorphic animals as they defend their abbey from various threats. The series is known for its detailed descriptions of food and its themes of friendship and loyalty.
Fallen by Lauren Kate: This four-book series follows a teenage girl named Luce as she falls in love with a fallen angel named Daniel. The series is known for its romantic plot and supernatural elements.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This four-book series is set in a world inspired by Beauty and the Beast and follows a young woman named Feyre as she navigates a dangerous faerie court. The series is known for its steamy romance and intricate world-building.
The Reader by Traci Chee: This trilogy follows a young girl named Sefia as she discovers a book that may hold the key to saving her world. The series is known for its unique storytelling style and themes of literacy and power.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber: This trilogy follows two sisters as they participate in a magical game called Caraval. The series is known for its vivid descriptions and twisty plot.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: This seven-book series follows a young boy named Harry Potter as he discovers he is a wizard and attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The series is known for its imaginative world-building and themes of friendship and bravery.
These are just a few of the many popular YA fantasy series out there. Whether you’re looking for romance, action, or adventure, there’s sure to be a series out there that will capture your imagination.
Key Themes in YA Fantasy
YA Fantasy is a genre full of magic, adventure, and imagination that has captured the hearts of many readers. It often explores themes that are relevant to young adults, such as identity, love, and the search for purpose. In this section, we will explore some of the key themes that are commonly found in YA Fantasy.
Magic and Supernatural Beings
Magic is a common theme in YA Fantasy, and it often plays a significant role in the plot. This can include magical creatures such as dragons, faeries, and demons, or supernatural powers possessed by the characters. The lore and mythology of magical worlds are often explored in YA Fantasy, providing a rich and immersive reading experience.
Romance and Friendship
Romance and friendship are also common themes in YA Fantasy. These relationships are often portrayed in a way that is relatable to young adults, exploring the challenges of finding love and maintaining friendships in a world full of danger and uncertainty. Many YA Fantasy books also feature diverse characters and relationships, providing representation for underrepresented groups.
Death and Survival
Death and survival are themes that are often explored in YA Fantasy. Characters are frequently faced with life-threatening situations, and the consequences of their actions can be severe. These themes provide a sense of urgency and danger that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
Competition and Challenges
Competition and challenges are also common themes in YA Fantasy. This can include competitions that determine the fate of the characters or challenges that they must overcome to achieve their goals. Dystopian worlds, such as in “The Hunger Games,” often feature competitions that pit characters against each other in a fight for survival.
In conclusion, YA Fantasy is a genre that explores a wide range of themes that are relevant to young adults. From magic and supernatural beings to romance and friendship, these themes provide a rich and immersive reading experience that keeps readers coming back for more.
Prominent YA Fantasy Authors
YA fantasy is a genre that has seen some of the most talented writers of our time. Here are some of the most prominent YA fantasy authors who have made a significant impact on the genre:
Leigh Bardugo is a bestselling author known for her Grishaverse series, which includes the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Her books are known for their intricate world-building, diverse characters, and gripping plotlines.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American author who burst onto the scene with her debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone. The book is set in a West African-inspired world and features magic, political intrigue, and a richly drawn cast of characters.
J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series, which has become a cultural phenomenon. The series follows the adventures of a young wizard named Harry Potter and his friends as they attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas is the author of the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Her books are known for their strong female characters, intricate world-building, and romantic subplots.
Laini Taylor is the author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and the Strange the Dreamer duology. Her books are known for their lush prose, imaginative world-building, and complex characters.
Sabaa Tahir is the author of the An Ember in the Ashes series, which is set in a brutal world inspired by ancient Rome. Her books are known for their fast-paced action, complex characters, and themes of resistance and revolution.
Victoria Aveyard is the author of the Red Queen series, which is set in a world divided by blood – those with red blood are commoners, while those with silver blood have superhuman abilities and rule over them. Her books are known for their political intrigue, plot twists, and strong female characters.
Kristin Cashore is the author of the Graceling Realm series, which follows characters with special abilities in a world where these abilities are both feared and coveted. Her books are known for their strong female characters, intricate world-building, and themes of power and control.
Naomi Novik is the author of the Temeraire series, which is set during the Napoleonic Wars but with an alternate history where dragons are used as weapons of war. Her books are known for their blend of historical fiction and fantasy, as well as their exploration of themes such as friendship and loyalty.
Ransom Riggs is the author of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, which follows a group of children with supernatural abilities. His books are known for their use of vintage photographs, which add a unique visual element to the storytelling.
Suzanne Collins is the author of the Hunger Games trilogy, which is set in a dystopian world where teenagers are forced to fight to the death in an annual event called the Hunger Games. Her books are known for their exploration of themes such as power, oppression, and rebellion.
J.R.R. Tolkien is the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is set in a richly detailed fantasy world and follows a group of characters on a quest to destroy a powerful ring. His books are known for their intricate world-building, complex characters, and exploration of themes such as good vs. evil.
Brian Jacques is the author of the Redwall series, which is set in a world of anthropomorphic animals and follows the adventures of a group of mice and other woodland creatures. His books are known for their charming characters, exciting adventures, and themes of friendship and loyalty.
Tamora Pierce is the author of the Tortall series, which follows a group of characters in a world of knights, magic, and political intrigue. Her books are known for their strong female characters, intricate world-building, and exploration of themes such as gender roles and identity.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of the Earthsea series, which is set in a world of magic and follows the adventures of a young wizard named Ged. Her books are known for their lyrical prose, exploration of themes such as power and identity, and subversion of traditional fantasy tropes.
Robin McKinley is the author of several beloved YA fantasy novels, including Beauty, The Blue Sword, and The Hero and the Crown. Her books are known for their strong female characters, imaginative world-building, and exploration of themes such as identity and self-discovery.
Noteworthy YA Fantasy Characters
YA fantasy books are known for their memorable and well-developed characters. Here are a few noteworthy characters from some of the best YA fantasy books:
Lei from “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan is a strong and determined protagonist who fights against a corrupt system. Her bravery and resilience make her a memorable character that readers will root for until the very end.
Harry Potter from the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling is a classic YA fantasy character that has captured the hearts of readers for generations. His journey from an orphaned boy to a powerful wizard is filled with adventure, friendship, and self-discovery.
The Assassin from the “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas is a skilled and deadly character who is also dealing with a traumatic past. Her journey towards redemption and self-acceptance makes her a complex and intriguing character.
Cinder from “The Lunar Chronicles” series by Marissa Meyer is a cyborg mechanic who becomes embroiled in a political conspiracy. Her wit and resourcefulness make her a refreshing and unique protagonist in the YA fantasy genre.
Bilbo Baggins from “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien is a reluctant hero who is thrown into an unexpected adventure. His humor and courage make him a beloved character that readers of all ages can relate to.
Prince Rhen from “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer is a cursed prince who must find true love to break the curse. His vulnerability and determination make him a compelling character that readers will root for.
Alanna from “Alanna: The First Adventure” by Tamora Pierce is a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to become a knight. Her determination and courage make her a trailblazing character that paved the way for strong female protagonists in YA fantasy.
These are just a few of the many noteworthy characters in YA fantasy books. Each of them brings their own unique strengths and weaknesses to the story, making them unforgettable to readers.
YA Fantasy Adaptations
YA fantasy books have been a popular choice for adaptations in recent years. From Netflix to major motion picture studios, there have been several adaptations that have brought beloved YA fantasy stories to life on the big and small screens.
One of the most popular adaptations in recent years has been Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series, based on the Grishaverse novels by Leigh Bardugo. The series has been praised for its stunning visuals, diverse cast, and faithful adaptation of the source material. It has also introduced many viewers to the world of YA fantasy for the first time.
Another popular adaptation is “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. The book has been adapted into a film, which is currently in development. Fans of the book are eagerly anticipating the film’s release and hoping that it does justice to the complex characters and intricate world-building of the book.
“Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard is another YA fantasy book that has been adapted for the screen. The book has been optioned for a film adaptation, but there have been no updates on the project in recent years.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs was adapted into a film by Tim Burton in 2016. The film received mixed reviews, with some praising its visuals and others criticizing its pacing and changes from the source material.
“Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan is another book that has been optioned for adaptation. The film is currently in development, and fans of the book are excited to see how it will be brought to life on screen.
Even classic fantasy books like “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien have been adapted for the screen in recent years. The film adaptations of “The Hobbit” have been praised for their stunning visuals and faithful adaptation of the source material.
Overall, YA fantasy adaptations have become a popular choice for studios looking to appeal to a younger audience. While not all adaptations have been successful, many have introduced viewers to the world of YA fantasy and brought beloved stories to life on screen.
YA Fantasy Book Recommendations
If you’re a fan of young adult fantasy books, you’re in luck! There are plenty of great options out there to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a classic tale or a modern retelling, there’s something for everyone. Here are some recommendations to get you started:
“Graceling” by Kristin Cashore: This novel follows Katsa, a young woman with a unique gift that makes her a deadly weapon. When she meets Prince Po, she begins to question everything she knows about herself and her world. This book is a great choice for fans of strong female characters and action-packed adventure.
“Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor: This imaginative novel tells the story of Lazlo Strange, a junior librarian with an insatiable appetite for stories. When he learns about the lost city of Weep, he sets out on a journey to uncover its secrets. This book is perfect for readers who love lush, descriptive prose and intricate world-building.
“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik: This novel is a twist on classic fairy tales, following a young woman named Agnieszka as she is chosen to serve the Dragon, a powerful wizard who protects their village from the malevolent Wood. As she learns more about the magic of the world around her, she begins to question the Dragon’s motives. This book is a great choice for fans of fairy tale retellings and complex, morally ambiguous characters.
“Riders” by Veronica Rossi: This fast-paced novel follows Gideon Blake, a young man who is recruited to join the Riders, a group of four horsemen with supernatural abilities. As he learns more about his powers and the mission of the Riders, he begins to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the entire world. This book is perfect for readers who love action-packed adventure and supernatural powers.
“Paper Castles” by Erin Watt: This novel tells the story of Ella Harper, a young woman who is forced to live with her cruel stepfamily after her mother’s death. When she meets Reed Royal, the leader of a group of wealthy and powerful brothers, she begins to question everything she knows about her past and her future. This book is a great choice for fans of contemporary romance and complex family dynamics.
“The Belles” by Dhonielle Clayton: This novel is set in a world where beauty is a commodity that can be bought and sold. When Camellia Beauregard is chosen to be the next Belle, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to use her powers to make people beautiful. But as she learns more about the dark side of her world, she begins to question whether beauty is worth the cost. This book is perfect for readers who love lush, descriptive prose and complex moral dilemmas.
“Within These Wicked Walls” by Lauren Blackwood: This novel is a retelling of “Jane Eyre,” set in modern-day Ethiopia. When Tavia gets a job as a maid in a mysterious mansion, she begins to uncover dark secrets about her employer and the history of the house. This book is perfect for readers who love classic literature and spooky, atmospheric settings.
“The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman: This classic novel is set in a world where every person has a daemon, a physical manifestation of their soul. When Lyra’s friend is kidnapped by mysterious forces, she sets out on a journey to rescue him and uncover the truth about her own destiny. This book is a great choice for fans of imaginative world-building and complex moral dilemmas.
“A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. Le Guin: This classic novel follows Ged, a young wizard who must confront his own demons in order to become the greatest sorcerer in the world. This book is perfect for readers who love classic fantasy and coming-of-age stories.
“The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley: This novel follows Harry Crewe, a young woman who is sent to live in a remote outpost in the desert. When she discovers a magical sword that gives her incredible powers, she sets out on a journey to save her new home from an invading army. This book is a great choice for fans of strong female characters and imaginative world-building.
No matter what kind of young adult fantasy book you’re looking for, these recommendations are sure to provide plenty of adventure, magic, and excitement. Happy reading!
YA Fantasy in Different Cultures
YA fantasy is a genre that has been influenced by different cultures. In this section, we will explore some of the cultural influences that have shaped the genre. We will look at Greek influences and historical fantasy.
Greek mythology has had a significant impact on YA fantasy. Many authors have drawn inspiration from Greek myths and legends to create their own worlds and characters. For example, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is set in a world where Greek gods and monsters are real. The books are filled with references to Greek mythology, and the characters are based on Greek gods and heroes.
Another example is Madeline Miller’s Circe, a retelling of the story of the Greek goddess Circe. The book brings the character to life in a new way, exploring her motivations and experiences. Miller’s writing is rich with Greek mythology, making it a must-read for fans of the genre.
Historical fantasy is another subgenre of YA fantasy that has been influenced by different cultures. These books are set in a historical period but have fantastical elements. They often explore themes of power, love, and war.
One example of historical fantasy is Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn. The book is a retelling of the story of Scheherazade, the storyteller who saved her own life by telling stories to a king. Ahdieh’s book is set in a fantastical version of the Middle East and explores themes of love, power, and revenge.
Another example is Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. The book is set in a world inspired by ancient Rome and explores themes of oppression, rebellion, and freedom. Tahir’s writing is powerful and emotive, making it a must-read for fans of historical fantasy.
In conclusion, YA fantasy is a genre that has been influenced by different cultures. Greek mythology and historical periods are just two examples of the rich cultural tapestry that has shaped the genre. Whether you are looking for a retelling of a classic story or a new world to explore, there is a YA fantasy book out there for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some popular YA fantasy series?
There are many popular YA fantasy series, some of which have been adapted into successful movies and TV shows. Here are a few examples:
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
- Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
- Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
What are some standalone YA fantasy books?
If you’re looking for a great standalone YA fantasy book, here are a few options:
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
What are the best fantasy books for 13 year olds?
There are many great fantasy books for 13 year olds. Here are some options:
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
What are some good fantasy books for adults?
While many YA fantasy books can also be enjoyed by adults, there are also plenty of great fantasy books written specifically for an adult audience. Here are some examples:
- A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
- The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
What are some cozy fantasy books to read?
If you’re looking for some cozy fantasy books to curl up with, here are some options:
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Who are some of the most popular YA authors currently?
There are many talented YA authors currently writing in the fantasy genre. Here are a few popular ones:
- Sarah J. Maas
- Leigh Bardugo
- Rick Riordan
- Cassandra Clare
- Holly Black
- Sabaa Tahir
- Tomi Adeyemi
- Victoria Schwab
Victoria Cornell helps women adopt a positive mindset even when the struggles of motherhood feel overwhelming. On her sites, Motherhood Life Balance, Neon Moon and Bookworm Era she writes about ways to reduce stress with mindset, manifesting, goal planning, productivity, and more.