young adult fantasy book series
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10 Best Young Adult Fantasy Book Series

As you approach adulthood, you’ll be preoccupied with creating your identity, developing relationships, and broadening your perspective.

Therefore, you need to read books that can give you useful ideas on how to go about this and that talk about these issues. This kind of literature is normally found in young adult (YA) fantasy books. In this article, you’ll find the ten best young adult fantasy book series.

What Is a Young Adult Fantasy Book?

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A YA book is any literature that has common themes about social issues like religion, politics, sexuality, death, economics, etc. These books are meant for young adults who are just starting to understand themselves and their surroundings. For instance, they talk about how to relate with other people, establish personal identity, acquire new perspectives about life, and so on.

This literature is a subcategory of fantasy-fiction targeting teenagers and adults. So, it includes stories about fictional worlds, legendary creatures, and fairy-tale. Although a fantasy book doesn’t have to have all these elements, it should have mythical creatures and theories that only exist in made-up worlds.

The age of the characters in a YA fantasy book also matters a lot because it has to resonate with the target readers. Also, these books are identified by their characters and the issues they deal with. Therefore, you’ll find most characters in YA fantasy books aged between 13 and 18.

Some of the main YA fantasy themes include transitioning from childhood to adulthood, school, training, love, romance, dysfunctional families, independence, mental health, adventure, etc. Whilst, this genre primarily targets teenagers and young adults, fantasy, in general, isn’t just for young people. Many adults love to read fantasy books, especially those that tackle general themes like independence, change, and romance.

How to Spot a Good Young Adult Fantasy Book

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No matter your age, you shouldn’t be ashamed of walking into the library or bookstore and ordering a good young adult fantasy book, especially if you love the genre. These books are readily available in bookshops and libraries around the world. The only challenge that you might experience is picking the best YA books from the wide range of YA fantasy novels and authors.

So, you have to certain factors when you are choosing your favorite YA fantasy books. For instance, you need to understand that YA fantasy is a broad genre covering numerous themes that appeal to different readers.

So, if you love reading about overcoming adversity or self-discovery, you should focus on books that tackle these subjects. Here are some of the other factors that determine the suitability of a YA fantasy book.

  • The Humanity of the Protagonist

A protagonist in a YA fantasy book needs to have relatable humanity to make the book interesting and relevant to the reader. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the protagonist has to be human or relatable. Rather, they should have an element of humanity that makes the reader relate to them.

Remember that humans relate with other humans because they lead similar lives. Everybody needs food, shelter, clothing, love, etc. We also want to have independence and talent and feel joy and sadness. A good protagonist in a YA fantasy book should demonstrate these traits because they define the basics of humanity.

  • Step-By-Step Engagement

Most fantasy books tell stories about make-believe worlds with all kinds of characters. As a reader, you are supposed to be slowly immersed in the fantasy world so that you can appreciate the situation that the main characters find themselves in. Sometimes you may find yourself feeling the same pain or joy that the main character is feeling.

You’ll also get to understand how each character or creature in the story behaves as the story develops. This kind of immersion is supposed to be gradual, with twists and turns. Like any other story, a YA fantasy story should end on a high.

  • Believability

Although most fantasy stories are fictional, they should be believable. So, if the story is set in a make-believe world that’s invisible to ordinary people, it should be believable. For instance, it should have a set of governed and natural laws. This means that if a character can fly, there should be limitations on how far or long they can fly.

Also, if the story talks about creatures like dinosaurs, dragons, or sphinxes that don’t exist in the real world, they should have characteristics known to the reader from mythology and folklore. A good YA fantasy book doesn’t have to shock you or overload your brain with unbelievable stories.

  • Doesn’t Stereotype

Many authors of YA fantasy books tend to create storylines that are stereotypical to capture the attention of the reader. So, they end up including characters that are whiny, fearful, and self-centered. But this isn’t what a good YA fantasy book should do.

A good YA fantasy book should create characters that face the same issues as the reader. For instance, if the book portrays a character as fearful, it should also make them ambitious so that they can be well-balanced.

  • Substance

A YA fantasy story should offer substance. For instance, if it’s about romance, it should talk about true love that’s worth fighting for. Although fantasy is fictional, it shouldn’t appear to be too superficial. The romance shouldn’t overshadow the bigger issues.

10 Young Adult Fantasy Book Series

If you love reading some exciting fantasy stories, here are some of the best young adult fantasy book series to go for.

1. Throne of Glass (2012 – 2018)

Throne of Glass

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This YA fantasy book series by the famous American author Sarah J. Maas is perhaps the most read YA fantasy book series today. It features a very strong female protagonist, Celaena Sardothien, and many incredible creatures. The book series tells the story of Sardothien, a female teenage killer in a wicked kingdom with an oppressive ruler, the King of Adarlan.

2. The Cruel Prince (2018-2019)

Cruel Prince

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Written by Holly Black, a popular American writer, and editor, this book series follows the story of a mortal teenage girl, Jude, in a faerie world. She and her sister were kidnapped by the fey who murdered their parents. But in a twist of events, Jude becomes so much interested in the faerie world that she doesn’t want to leave, despite her mortality.

3. Shadow and Bone (2012)

Shadow and Bone

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Authored by an upcoming Israeli-American writer, Leigh Bardugo, the Shadow and Bone is a popular YA fantasy adventure and debut novel that follows the story of a female teenage orphan, Alina Starkov, who grows up in Ravka, a Russian-inspired land.

Suddenly, she discovers that she possesses powers she never thought she had. She has to use this power to save her friend, putting herself in the line of fire.

4. Six of Crows (2015)

Six of Crows

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This is a YA fantasy book series authored by the Israeli-American writer, Leigh Bardugo. It tells the story of a thieving crew in the city of Ketterdam, a Dutch-inspired land. The story is narrated from the third-person point of view of six characters. The heist makes this book series fantastic to read.

5. The Fae of Bitter Thorn (2020)

Bitter Thorn

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This YA fantasy book series was authored by Kay L Moody, and it’s set in an opulent, Faerie world. The book follows the story of a young girl, Elora, who finds herself under the spell of a fae prince and stuck in the faerie world far away from her sisters who depend on her survival. The royal intrigues, magic, and sisterly devotion make this book one of the best fantasy stories.

6. Caraval (2017)

Caraval

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Written by Stephanie Garber, this YA fantasy book series talks about the legendary rivalry, mesmerizing romance, and unbreakable connection between two sisters, Dragna and Tella. The two sisters live with their cruel dad on a tiny island.

When their dad arranges Dragna’s marriage, they find help from a mysterious sailor who whisks Dragna away to Caraval – an annual performance that happens far away from the island.

7. Chronicles of Ixia (2005-2017)

Ixia

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This seven-book YA fantasy series was authored by Maria V. Snyder. It tells the story of a young girl destined for hanging after killing her abuser. The strict law in her village stipulates that all murderers must be hanged, no matter the cause. But as she waits for her execution, she gets an unexpected reprieve. But she must test the king’s food for poison.

8. The Remnant Chronicles (2015-2018)

Chronicles

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Written by Maria V. Snyder, The Remnant Chronicles is an interesting YA fantasy book series that talks about a darkly hypnotizing world of controlling magic and treacherous actions. It follows young magicians Yelena Zaltana and Opal Cowan on their dark and treacherous journey.

9. Mistborn (2006 to date)

Mistborn

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Authored by Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn is a book series of epic YA fantasy. The story takes place on the Scadrial planet that’s ruled by two opposing gods: Preservation and Ruin. The two are described as Shards of Adonalsium (fragments of the power of creation).

After opposing each other for so long, the two gods agreed after realizing that the only way they can realize their individual goals is to work together. But they also understand that they can’t get complete final gratification.

10. The Inheritance Cycle (2001 – 2011)

Cycle

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The Inheritance Cycle is an epic YA fantasy book series authored by a popular American writer, Christopher Paolini. It’s set in the alternate world of Alagaesia and it follows the story of an adventurous teenage boy, Eragon. Together with his dragon, Saphira, they fight tirelessly to overthrow the evil king, Galbatorix.

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