I’m always looking for book recommendations, so I thought to give a couple of them if any of you are looking for your next favorite read! This post is going to focus on fantasy standalones, but I’ll definitely do more if you seem to be interested! I’ve included a small excerpt of the Goodreads descriptions as well, to give you a better summary of what the book is like. I’ve edited them in order to cut them a little shorter, so please note that they are not the full descriptions.
YA Fantasy – Standalone
1. Want a YA fantasy with a growing romance filled with banter, a loyal friendship, sorcery, and living books? Try Sorcery of Thorns!
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy.
2. Want an eerie Brother’s Grimm retelling where a girl discovers the cause of her four sisters’ deaths? Try House of Salt and Sorrows!
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts.
3. Want an queer Inception meets The Magicians debut where beautiful fantasy worlds materialize out of nowhere? Try Reverie!
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now.
As Kane pieces together clues, he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
4. Want a cozy, slow-burn story with witchy women in a winter-like woods setting? Try Winterwood!
Nora Walker and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.
But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place.
5. Want a Chinese-inspired fantasy with a mix of steampunk/magic and a strong female heroine in a quest to retrieve an enchanted jewel? Try Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon!
Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the sacred, enchanted River Pearl for himself.
Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.
6. Want a The Little Mermaid retelling where a siren must kill a prince before she remains human forever? Try To Kill a Kingdom!
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
When Elian rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her?
7. Want a Chinese-inspired fantasy where magic is outlawed and a girl tries to discover who killed her father? Try Descendant of the Crane!
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
8. Want a thrilling, ancient Greek setting featuring the tight bond between sisters and a secret mission? Try Sisters of Sword and Song!
After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.
Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.
9. Want a queer high-stakes heist in a world where magic is a rare commodity? Try Spellhacker!
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive. Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
10. Want a fantasy fairy-tale about a girl’s cursed lethal touch inspired by Persian mythology? Try Girl, Serpent, Thorn!
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
And that’s it! Let me know if any of these were or are now on your TBR! Feel free to also give me your recommendations, because I’m always looking for new books. I hope this list helped you as well!
Happy TBR finding (or searching? I don’t know haha)!