Top 5 Wednesday #15: Catching Up

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

Like the Top Ten Tuesday meme, I haven’t done one of these in a long time. I’ve decided to return to it for now because they are helpful in providing blogging topics when one is in a blogging slump, which is how I feel at the moment. It’s hard to find the time and energy to think and write.

I don’t plan to do all the topics I missed because that would take forever. Instead, I’ll start with last week’s topic. I enjoyed reading and watching people’s response to it. In honor of the Booktube SFF Awards, last week’s topic was:

Favorite science fiction & fantasy books

Of course, it’s hard to minimize my favorites to just 5 books; so instead, I’ll mention 5 great fantasy books that immediately came to mind when I saw the topic. I won’t include the Harry Potter books because we all already know how awesome they are.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Jonathan from My Tsundoku is to be blamed for this one. A friend from college recommended this book to me a while back, but it wasn’t until I read Jonathan’s review that I decided to read the book and now I’m hooked on Bujold. The Curse of Chalion is a fantasy novel about a land whose ruling house is cursed. Our protagonist, Cazaril, returns from his adventures weary and broken and wanting nothing more than safe, comfortable place live out his days, but instead he gets swept up in the politics of Chalion and becomes a key player in breaking its curse.

Why it’s a favorite: Because of the world building; the religion, actually. The religion seems complex and I like that it’s connected to the magic system.

Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb

Booktuber Sam from Sam’s Nonsense introduced me (and a bunch of other people) to Robin Hobb. The Farseer trilogy, which includes Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest, is a fantasy story about a boy who’s the bastard child of a prince. Fitz is an outcast at court, but he becomes an apprentice to the king’s assassin and later a key player in restoring the throne when the king’s youngest son seizes power.

Why it’s a favorite: Several readers prefer Hobbs’s other books rather than the Farseer ones, which could be consider YA, but I love them because I like the character development in them. The trilogy is a Bildungsroman. Fitz is a boy when he appears in Assassin’s Apprentice. We see him learn, try, fail, and try again as he survives the rigors of his life.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

I often mention this manga on here because I love it so much. I discovered it when searching for something that could satiate my need for more Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fullmetal Alchemist was a great substitute that quickly became a favorite. I categorize it as science fiction because the “magic” system relies heavily on science, or rather alchemy. It’s a wonderful story about the Elric brothers who go on a series of adventures to restore their bodies, which was altered when they tried to revive their dead mother.

Why it’s a favorite: Because it’s great. I love the plot, character development, world building, and the silliness of the characters. It’s a fun, well illustrated and written story that middle graders, young adults, and adults can all enjoy. It’s both a manga and anime, so you can try the anime to see if you like it.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series is very popular now because of the HBO TV show. I haven’t watched much of it, but the hype around it is what drew me to the books. Many already know what it’s about: a fantasy story about several rich people vying for control of Westeros, the imaginary land where the majority of this story is set. I enjoy the series, though some of the later books have some dull spots that bored me. A Game of Thrones is the only one where I was hooked from beginning to end.

Why it’s a favorite: Because of the characters. No one is perfect and everyone has a bad side. Also the dialogue, especially when Tyrion is in a scene. I think its world is interesting and I’d love to know more about it.

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

I could include any Robin McKinley book. She’s here to represent those YA fantasy books I enjoyed reading before the weird switch (Twilight?) that caused all YA fantasy books to become so infused with romance that they stink of cheese. I’ve read almost all of McKinley’s books and enjoyed them all. My favorites are the Damar books — The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, — but I include Spindle’s End here because it’s a fairytale retelling of Sleeping Beauty and includes a charming magic system I love.

Why it’s a favorite: Because of the world building. Magic is infused in everything in this novel. And I also love how McKinley writes. She’s very descriptive.

I didn’t intend for this post to be so long. Oh well. Here’s this week’s topic:

Books you felt betrayed by

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage is a recently published YA fantasy novel set in present day where part of the population has magic abilities and enslaves those without it. I didn’t like it.

Why I felt betrayed: Because the story has potential to be awesome, but the weak world building and character development prevented it from being so. I was hooked on the story while reading, so I’d like to try something else by the author.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

A recently published YA fantasy novel about a girl who visits a magic carnival to rescue her sister. I didn’t like it.

Why I felt betrayed: Because it’s nothing like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Yes, I know it’s unfair to compare it to the awesomeness of The Night Circus, but it was marketed as being like The Night Circus so I read it expecting that. I was so upset with this book.

The Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle is a YA fantasy series set in Virginia about a bunch of teenagers searching for the grave of a Welsh king so he can grant them a wish. I enjoyed this series.

Why I felt betrayed: Because I think it could have been a trilogy instead and everything could have been revealed in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The last book, Raven King, was big for no reason and the extra character introduced in it seemed unnecessary. But regardless of all that, I liked the last book.

Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

These are the first and second books in Mass’s Throne of Glass series, a YA fantasy series about a female assassin. I didn’t like them.

Why I felt betrayed: Because Celaena is a wack-ass assassin. I’m surprised she made it that far.

The High King by Lloyd Alexander

The last book in Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series, a middle-grade fantasy series about an orphan boy who works as an assistant pig-keeper. Loved the series but didn’t like this book.

Why I felt betrayed: Because everything was easily and conveniently resolved. And the final battle and defeat of the evil dude was too damn easy. I still get upset when I think about it.

All done. 🙂
Btw, if you have any fantasy book recommendations, especially those that mix magic with religion, please share them below.

10 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday #15: Catching Up

    • True that. I’m supposed to be rereading them.
      I’m just curious to know how he’ll end it all. I highly suspect that he’s written himself into a corner maybe. The story is too big with too many important pieces, probably.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved Curse of Chalion as well! I haven’t picked up the sequel yet, but love Bujold’s writing. The Assassin’s Apprentice has been on my tbr for a few years now, but I’m hoping to get to it this spring!

    If you haven’t read it yet, C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy (starts with Black Sun Rising) is an interesting read that mixes magic and religion (the protagonist is a priest).


    • Chelsea yo! Thank you so much for the recommendation 😊. And I hope you’ll enjoy Assassin’s Apprentice. Some readers don’t like the Farseer books and opt to start with the Liveship Traders series instead, which are okay to begin with as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more about Celaena! Martin’s writing bored me to death and I was never able to finish the first book. I was utterly disappointed in the second book in the Raven Cycle series but I’m hoping to enjoy the last one!


    • Martin’s writing is quite descriptive so it can get boring (and it did for me in the other books).
      I didn’t like the second Raven Cycle book either and didn’t think the third was much of an improvement, but I enjoyed the fourth so you might too.


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