I realized that I’ve never done a themed recommendation post before and what better way to start than with my favorite genre? High fantasy. High fantasy (also known as epic fantasy) is a subgenre or fantasy, that is usually defined by its setting in an imaginary world rather than the real one. Note that high fantasy is not the same as dystopian fantasy (although the two can merge) and it’s usually set in a world that is a stack in a previous era. Some typical characteristics of high fantasy include fantastical elements such as elves, fairies, dwarves, ogres, goblins, giants, dragons, demons, magic or sorcery, wizards or magicians, some type of monarchy, constructed languages, quests, coming-of-age themes and multiple point of views, and it’s protagonists can be typically called epic heroes.
What I most love about high fantasy books is that each one gives readers the opportunity to enter a world completely different from their own. Speaking as a fantasy writer myself, the world building has always been one of my favorite parts of writing a story and I can deeply appreciate the beauty of a complexly crafted fictional world. High fantasy has risen in popularity quite a lot recently but the earliest – and most famous – example of the genre I can think of is probably Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien is undoubtedly the master of high fantasy and his Middle Earth is an exquisite example of how far imagination can go and one that all fantasy writers and readers should admire. Another popular high fantasy series that quickly comes to mind is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. And while none of the books I’m going to mention here are as complex as the above two examples, they’re all fine represations of the high fantasy subgenre, which I totally loved.
To make things easier I’m gonna split the books into three different categories. So let’s get started!
My favorites in high fantasy
Throne of Glass
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Shelf it on Goodreads
My thoughts: Throne of Glass is one of my absolute favorite fantasy series, if not the favorite. What else is left to say about this one? I enjoyed the first book a lot but it was the next three books in the series that made me fall in love with Sarah’s world and writing. Queen of Shadows was absolute brilliance and I seriously can’t wait for the fifth book in the series, the title for which was recently revealed and is Empire of Storms! Such an awesome title, isn’t? If you haven’t read these books yet, what are you waiting for? Go pick them up now!