The holiday season is coming up meaning bookworms are having extra time to dive into a fantasy series that are longer than a trilogy. Below are my top three fantasy series picks.
Warning minor spoilers alerts for Throne of glass, Vampire Academy and Guild Hunter series below
Throne of glass series by Sarah J. Maas
When I picked up the first book (Throne of Glass) I had heard mixed reviews. The positive ones lauded Sarah J. Maas’s world building, while the negatives ones focused on the main character, Celaena Sardothien, as being unlikeable and unconvincing. Personally I fell in love with Celaena, but only after getting through two-thirds of the book.
In the beginning, Celaena is permitted to leave a slave camp and become the prince’s champion. Instead of being grateful she treats the prince, Dorian, in a rude and arrogant manner. She comes across as smug, childish, sulky and very self-involved. It is only when she is put into a fight where all odds are staked against her that my heart clenched for her as a reader. As I continued with the series I understood Celaena better and her behavior became justified.
While I did enjoy Throne of Glass, this is one of those series that gets better with each book. Crown of Midnight (book 2) has a lot of romance and character development, while Heir of Fire (book 3) provides a broader look at the overall story, the multiple dangers Celaena faces and the supernatural powers she possesses. In the fourth installment, Queen of Shadows, multiple plot lines are tied up and several evils are conquered. I am excited to read the 5th book Empire of storms and hope the trend continues!
For all those readers that love backstory the Throne of Glass series comes with a prequel—The Assassin’s Blade.
If you like kickass female characters, mystery & intrigue, magic, dragons and intense YA (the sex and violence scenes are more explicit compared to many other YA books) then I would definitely recommend that you check out this series.
It’s so tremendously popular that it is currently being made into a TV show.
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
You might have already reached your quota of vampires but if you want a fresh take on them I would recommend the Vampire Academy series. Why? First, because it avoids the dreaded powerful male, helpless female cliché. Vampire Academy does not center around a relationship between a vampire and a human. Instead the main plot is about good vampires, Moroi and their guardians dhampirs (half Moroi, half human) fighting soulless vampires, Strigoi.
Second, contrary to many YA books where love is pivotal to the story, such as the heroine giving everything up for her love, Vampire Academy is different. The protagonist, Rose, does have a love interest but she is also faithful to herself and her best friend Lissa, who Rose as a dhampir is supposed to guard after graduation.
It’s nice to see a YA protagonist, whose life goals are not overshadowed by hormones.
Furthermore, Vampire Academy gets more intense with each book. In book 3 Rose’s lover is turned Strigoi, which makes him lose his soul and become more powerful. Despite the unlikelihood of being able to defeat him Rose sets out in book 4 to hunt him down.
Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh
This is a paranormal romance series. Thus, it features more explicit sex and violence scenes than the two YA series above.
What I love about the Guilt Hunter series the most is that we get to follow one couple over the course of many books and see their relationship grow. While traditional romance books give about 300 pages for the male and female to meet, have issues that keep them from being together, work those out and get married (or at least engaged in the prologue), Nalini is in no rush. The relationship between the protagonists – Rafael and Elena – never feels forced and issues are resolved in a slow and more realistic manner.
Since the readers get a dual POV he/she also gets to watch the two main characters grow and develop.
Finally, the tension keeps increasing with each book. As the series progresses we meet an array of Archangel villains. The first is a bloodthirsty Archangel, the second can raise the dead, and finally Raphael’s mother, an Archangel who has slept for centuries and does not approve of Elena (talk about some wife-mother in law tension).
In conclusion, the three series above are my top picks for fantasy series longer than a trilogy. All three have excellent world building, strong and interesting male and female characters and keep getting better with each book.
Happy holiday reading!