Young adult fantasy books dominate the genre so you may have trouble even just sifting through the ones only published in 2018. To make that choice easier, I’ve picked three Young Adult Fantasy novels to read this Spring.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
“I’m going to write a story that’s so good and so black that everyone’s going to have to read it even if you’re racist,” is what Adeyemi said in 2011 when she began her project. Now, at 24, she’s a best-selling author of a fantasy novel with its immediate success already being compared to the Harry Potter franchise. But what is this newly famed book about?
Children of Blood and Bone follows Zélie, a girl living in the land of Orïsha, once filled with people called maji, those with dark skin and bright white hair that possessed magical abilities such as seeing through time, controlling the elements, even the power of healing. But since they’ve been eradicated by a nonmagic king, many children such as Zélie survived without one or even both parents. Now under a strict, magic-less regime, Zélie, one of the few maji left, learns she too has powers that she must learn to control if she ever wants to go up against the oppressive forces of Orïsha. Children of Blood and Bone may well be one of the number one young adult books of the year so make sure you get the chance to read it!
Why read it? This breakout novel will be one everyone is talking about–for good reason–and you won’t want to miss being immersed in this fantasy story that has been called an allegory for the modern black experience.
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
After Leigh Chen Sanders’s mother takes her own life, Leigh is convinced her mother turned into a bird that flew back to her home country of Taiwan. In pursuit of the bird, Leigh embarks on a journey to the home of her maternal grandparents where she digs up her family’s past and learns how to live in a new world without her mother. This debut novel set against the beautiful backdrop of Taiwan is full of art, family history, and, of course, color. While this book may border on the magical realism side of fantasy, it definitely makes this list for one of the top 3 new fantasy novels of 2018.
Why read it? This book not only includes stunningly beautiful descriptions, but it captures an intriguing story about coping with sudden loss and ultimately finding one’s roots.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Ireland takes historical fiction to a new level in Dread Nation, an alternate universe where a strange, new war interrupts the War Between the States. In this war, however, America won’t be fighting each other, but the army of the dead–yes this is a Civil War zombie book, but stay with me. I know we’ve all read or heard of the many zombie books out there, but this one is a must-read. It’s about a girl named Jane McKeene born just before the dead rose. She and many others, under the order of the Native and Negro Reeducation Act, must attend a combat school to protect the country against the dead. Originally, Jane just wants to return home to Kentucky after her graduation, but soon that changes when entire families disappear. Soon, Jane is up against a force even more destructive than the dead soldiers.
Why read it? This novel is about so much more than fighting zombies. Just like our own post Civil War history when those in power found new ways to oppress ex-slaves, Jane is conscripted to the service of white Americans. The novel becomes much more than just the action-packed thriller it appears to be.
Hope you enjoy!