Top 5 Tuesday #4: Addictive Fantasy Books

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm.

This week’s topic:

top 5 “unputdownable” reads

Since it’s #WyrdandWonder month — i.e. a month-long celebration of all things fantasy, — I’m making this a fantasy-themed post so all novels mentioned will be from the fantasy genre.

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale is the second novel in Hartman’s Seraphina duology, a YA fantasy story set in a world where dragons can take on human form. The protagonist, Seraphina, is a half dragon who must use her connection to other half dragons to save her kingdom and maintain the tenuous alliance between humans and dragons.

Shadow Scale was one of the first books to come to mind when I read this week’s prompt. I was hooked when I read it back in 2015 and hardly put it down. I wanted to know what would become of Seraphina and her friends and unravel the mystery surrounding the saints in the story. I enjoyed reading it but ultimately gave it an average rating on Goodreads because I think the end was rushed. Of the two books, I enjoyed Seraphina more because it’s more character-focused while Shadow Scale is plot-driven.

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

The Shape of Water is one of the best books I read last year and I consider it a favorite. It’s a historical fiction, romance novel set in early 1960s Baltimore about a mute woman who falls in love with an amphibious man. It’s the same story as the movie, but the book gives us further backstory on the characters thus giving the story more depth.

I was hooked on this book when I read it because I love the writing and the imagery and the story itself. I also appreciate the depth given to certain side characters, such as Strickland’s wife, and that we experience more of the story from Strickland’s point of view in the book to fully understand what motivates him and how he became such a monster. I consider it light fantasy that hints at magical realism in some areas.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

The first novel in a fantasy series, The Curse of Chalion is about a veteran who returns to his homeland seeking a peaceful life but instead becomes a tutor to a princess and caught up in political intrigue with divine interference…. That’s the best I can do to summarize the story in one sentence.

I love this story and consider it a favorite. I was hooked on it as soon as I started reading because of the character’s voice. It was refreshing to read a fantasy story that’s told from an older, mature point of view and to have a protagonist who has already had crazy adventures and REALLY doesn’t want any more. It made some scenes and situations a bit hilarious, especially when the character spoke of the gods to devout followers. I’d like to continue with the series and hopefully start the second book this year.

Gilded Cage by Vic James

The first in a YA fantasy series that’s set in modern Britain in which the ruling class has magical abilities that they use to subjugate the lower class.

Although I had issues with the story, was deeply annoyed by the characters, especially the protagonist, and gave it a low rating, I was hooked the entire time I read; so that’s why I included it on this list. The premise is interesting and I was intrigued by its first chapter and one of the characters — Silyen, —  but I didn’t like the execution, so I didn’t bother to continue with the series. However, I do like how the author writes, so I’d like to try other stories by her.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I describe Garden Spells as magical realism. It’s about the Waverley sisters, Claire and Sydney, who have been estranged from each other for some years and how they reconnect when Sydney moves back home. The Waverleys live in a small Southern town with quirky neighbors and live in a beautiful house with a queer garden in which an apple tree grows whose fruit can foretell one’s future when eaten.

I blazed through this book when I read it and managed to complete it in a day. I was so hooked and so in love with the writing and the characters that I could hardly break from the story. I just needed to read it all as quickly as I could. Of course, I consider it a favorite and would like to try more of the author’s work.

So, have you read any of these books?
What book did you recently read and was unable to put down?


Wyrd and Wonder is a month-long celebration in May of all things fantasy. To celebrate, I’ll only publish fantasy-related posts, like this one! 😊 I’m also hosting a GIVEAWAY for W&W. Click here to enter.

19 thoughts on “Top 5 Tuesday #4: Addictive Fantasy Books

    1. Gilded Cage was engrossing but I couldn’t continue with the story. Some of the world building threw me off.
      Seraphina books: totally agree. I want more, but I didn’t like Tess of the Road much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The story is interesting and I like the world it’s set in. It’s worth trying. Seraphina is more character-focused and is a bit slow-paced because of it.


  1. The Shape of Water and Garden Spells are two books that have been on my TBR for a long time. Thanks for reminding me I need to read them😁


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