As an avid reader, I'm always on the hunt for those books that seem to pass by everyone's radar. Some books that others find so fascinating are ones that I never really found myself invested in..."Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games" are two major examples. Not that I didn't find their premises interesting or thought the writing was bad but it seemed as those two garnered so much hype that, by the time I heard about them, I had inadvertently known the entire plot or had been introduced to the movies at an age when I didn't realize the books would be so much better.
Finding other original stories that created such vivid landscapes and utilized so much imagination is what I seem to devote most of my pastime to. Here are six fantasy novels that you should read before they get the hype they deserve.
1. "Everless" by Sara Holland
This novel just came out in January and is already one of my favorite books of all time. The premise sounds vaguely like the Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried 2011 flick, "In Time," but the concept of time being money is more fantastical than the sci-fi tone the film set up. The book weaves political drama, romance, magic, and an underlying tension of unraveling secrets so seamlessly, making me anxious for its sequel, "Evermore," expected to come out this December.
2. "Hunted" by Meagan Spooner
This "Beauty and the Beast" retelling is one that left me teary-eyed at its conclusion. We follow Yeva, a young girl who ends up in the clutches of a creature of the forest, not unlike the original. However, this beauty knows not only the importance of sacrifice but in fighting physically and emotionally for what you want. Not only do we see a strong female character, but deep connections between her and the other characters around her, all encapsulated in a novel that beautifully builds a magical, entrancing world.
3. "Stolen Songbird" by Danielle L. Jensen
This gem of a book, the first of a trilogy, is a wonderful example of an author taking the idea of trolls, a magical being depicted or written as "ugly," and more recently as the adorable troll doll-like appearance in "Trolls," transforming them into beings of genuine emotions and characteristics, not just throwaway creatures or childlike beings. Cécile, a human, is taken beneath a mountain to the land of the trolls where she deals with a prophecy that isn't all it seems.
4. "Storm Siren" by Mary Weber
Another first in a trilogy (the next two books will be as well), "Storm Siren" is an introduction to mind-blowing powers and a fantastical setting. But that doesn't mean we are left wanting for more action. The book starts off with a bang, with the main character, Nym, demonstrating powers that overwhelm her with their intensity. We see how much she struggles to be a good person and in control and are offered flashbacks into moments where she was powerless. This novel explores not only Nym reclaiming her power but how others want to wield her as well.
5. "The Pledge" by Kimberly Derting
"The Pledge" straddles the line between dystopian and fantasy, definitely leaning towards the former. But with the main character who can somehow understand any language without any training and the transferring of the Queen's "Essence," the book definitely has magic embedded in it. The story is about throwing off the oppressor but it's also about the bond between sisters, as the main character, Charlie, and her sister, Angelina, do whatever it takes to remain by each other's sides, reminiscent of the bond between Katniss and Prim in "The Hunger Games," especially because of the desperate situations they find themselves in.
6. "Relentless" by Karen Lynch
A book laden with supernatural beings and what would be overwhelming jargon and world-building is something that not many authors could pull off; Lynch does it with such beautiful language and imagery that it seriously feels like you've entered another world. And the plot revolving around Sara, someone who knows about the paranormal but choosing to engage with it rather than backing down from the truth, is quite inspiring.