Looking for a new book to read? Magic, romance, quests, and more! These are some of the best YA fantasy books that you need to read right now!
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The Best YA Fantasy Books You Need To Read
I may be a 30-something-year-old mom, but I still love a good YA fantasy book. I don’t think you ever really grow out of YA books. If you like them, then you like them! There are good ones, younger ones, older ones, and bad ones.
Ya fantasy is not a monolith, and everyone has different tastes. But if you want to pick up some magical, romantic, fun-to-read best ya fantasy books, then these ones here are an excellent place to start.
Fireborne by Rosario Munda
Probably one of my personal favorite YA fantasy books! Fireborne by Rosario Munda is the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy. This series has dragons… Need you to know more? Okay, I guess you do!
Fireborne not only has dragons, but it also has a violent revolution where the ruling class has been overthrown and a new government has been set up. Though, that new government may be just as bad as the old one depending on who you are and how you look at it.
This is best pitched as a gender-flipped Anastasia retelling! Lee should have died in the bloody revolution, but he was secretly spared. Annie lost her family before the overthrow and has to grow up in an orphanage. The two grow up as best friends, possibly lovers, and are now dragon-riders trying to become the best they can be to lead the new dragon-rider military fleet.
This book does seem to lean toward the slightly older side of YA, which I personally really enjoy. There is romance, but it isn’t a central part of the plot and is very much in the background of this story. Book 2 is already out and the third and final book should be out later in 2022!
The Prison Healer by Lynette Nonni
Another first book in a series, the Prison Healer is quite a fun and unexpected book. Staying pretty firmly in the “typical YA” feeling age range, this book is anything but typical.
We follow Kiva, a seventeen-year-old girl who is a prisoner in a death prison. She has been there for years and is now the lead healer in the prison. Basically, she does medical checks on all of the new incoming prisoners. Then she makes sure they get their prison mark on their hand and releases them into the general population. This is a brutal prison, think Russian lockdown.
One day, the rebel queen comes into the prison on her deathbed. Kiva receives a mysterious note telling her she needs to keep her alive at all costs. So Kiva ends up doing everything she can, including taking on a tournament-style trial on behalf of the queen just to make sure she survives so she can be freed.
This book has it all, rebels, rebellion, found family, romance, and magic! It is a ya fantasy that I think a lot of people will really enjoy. You can see a full spoiler-free fantasy book review of this book over on my channel here!
This Savage Song by VE Schwab
VE Schwab is quite a well-known author. She’s penned some fantasy favorites such as Addie LaRue and a Darker Shade of Magic. One of her lesser talked about series though is The Monsters of Verity duology.
The first book in this series is This Savage Song. A darker YA fantasy that explores what it truly means to be a monster. In this world, monsters are formed through acts of violence. Different acts create different kinds of monsters, and now these monsters are taking over.
We follow Kate and August. Kate is the daughter of a corrupt city lord, basically a kingpin gangster, and August is the son of a rebel leader who wants to overthrow the corrupt government in their monster-filled town.
The two, of course, cross paths and end up becoming friends. Even though they are technically spying on one another.
I love that this story explores friendship with no romance! We also get to see what makes a monster in a world with monsters. Honestly, are humans the real monsters, and can monsters be human?
See my rave review about this series in a spoiler-free video here!
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes is book one in a political fantasy series that I highly recommend. We follow Laila, a girl from a family of scholars living under colonial rule. When her brother is arrested under suspicion of working with rebels who want to overthrow the corrupt government, she takes it upon herself to join up with the rebels in an attempt to free him.
She ends up undercover as a slave in an infamous military school. There she meets Elias, a member of the ruling class who is a student at this school. He isn’t what you would expect though. Elias does not want to rule, and actually wants to run away, but the universe has different plans. These two are thrown together in a violent political plot that will change the world.
This series has enemies to lovers romance, a violent revolution, and a whole load of political intrigue. If you somehow haven’t managed to pick this one up yet, then now is the time to get it since book 4 came out recently and you can binge read the entire series.
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
If you are looking for a book that is an amazing bridge between YA fantasy and adult fantasy, then the Crown of Feathers series is perfect for you.
This is a large YA fantasy story with multiple points of view. The multi PoV format is pretty uncommon with most YA fantasy books, but very common with adult fantasy books. That makes this great for YA readers to get used to the format of most adult fantasy stories.
In this book our main character is Veonyka, she is what they call an animage, someone who can speak with animals. She and her sister are in hiding, as magic users in this world are outlawed. If they are found, they will be forced into slavery. Veronyka wants nothing more than to be a phoenix rider, but there is no more known to this world. When she and her sister have a falling out, she takes off on her own. Finding other hidden phoenix riders, she disguises herself as a boy to get into their camp and become a rider herself.
We also follow an animage solder in hiding, a slave, and another phoenix rider/love interest for the main character.
This is a really solid series and one that I think most fantasy readers will end up enjoying.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
A whimsical fairytale retelling, Six Crimson Cranes is a fun YA fantasy book that most readers will enjoy.
In this world, magic is gone. It has been outlawed and we aren’t really sure why to start. We follow Shiori, the daughter of a king who is to be married off to a lord from another kingdom. One night, she accidentally exposes that she has forbidden magic to her stepmother. The stepmother then promptly turns her six brothers into cranes and suppresses Shiori’s magic by permanently attaching a wooden bowl to her head.
Shiori is now on the run, trying to break the curse, but if she speaks then her brothers will die. One death for every word she utters. She ends up a servant in a high house in another kingdom and struggles to figure out how to break this curse. Oh, and did I mention there is a tiny dragon?
This book has light romance and a very “Disney magic” feel to it! You can see my Six Crimson Cranes spoiler-free review here.
The Best YA Sci-Fi Books
So I know this is a best YA fantasy books blog post, but I have two YA sci-fi books that I would like to talk about as well. YA sci-fi has really been fun lately and once I read some more, I may make a full list, but at this time I only have two to discuss.
The Disasters by MK England
If you want a super fun space romp with a diverse cast of characters, then The Disasters is one you need to read! It is such an underrated book and honestly, I don’t know why because it is so much fun.
The best way I have seen it described is “The Breakfast Club in Space”. We are following a group of people who are being kicked out of a prestigious school on the moon. They are all on a shuttle ready to be sent home when the school is attacked. Everyone is killed and our misfits barely get away.
They are not on the run and have to figure out how to work together, survive, and possibly save the universe!
We have so many great things in this book! Found family, casually queer characters, and just a fun time in this sci-fi standalone!
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
We follow Spensa, an angry teen girl who wants nothing more than to be a pilot. No one will give her a chance though since her father was once a pilot who famously defected and turned on his wingmates. As the daughter of a traitor, she is an outcast. Until one day, she somehow manages to get herself into pilot class, but she has to struggle and fight for her place and learn to make friends with the people she is now flying with.
This is such a fun series. It has a lot of fun elements and some really great twists and turns!
Hopefully, this list of YA books helps you grow your TBR with some amazing books! I would love to hear what you think of these books and what books you think should have been on this list!