The best fantasy binge reads

Suzanne DeKeyzer James Author Of The Stone Harp
By Suzanne DeKeyzer James

Who am I?

I started writing romance stories when I was about 15 and it was terrible fan fiction with me as the main character interacting with the “romantic hero,” but after a while, I got tired of that, and then I discovered my author mentor, Anne McCaffery and I began to think about creating actual fantasy characters and having them interact with one another in different worlds. The Stone Harp also let me have somewhat of an extra role in the books. My background in art and graphic design also let me use those skills in designing covers and marketing materials as well as illustrations in The Stone Harp and in other projects currently in the works.   


I wrote...

The Stone Harp

By Suzanne DeKeyzer James,

Book cover of The Stone Harp

What is my book about?

Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Marsh, her brother, and teen friends are drawn into an impossible adventure filled with danger, mystery, and the utterly fantastic; when a box filled with odd artifacts and a leather-bound journal guides them to the guardian and protector of the Stone Harp. 

The books I picked & why

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The White Dragon

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of The White Dragon

Why this book?

The White Dragon was the very first book I read of hers. I think I was about 16 and from the first page to the last, I was hooked! I’ve read the entire Dragonriders of Pern series many times, and it’s like visiting an old friend each time I read the series. McCaffery’s world of Pern was what spurred me to continue writing in the Fantasy genre. Her world-building was superior and each character, whether human or dragon, became good friends. Every time I re-read McCaffery’s Dragon series, I am glad I discovered her when I just started to write and needed a writing mentor.  

The White Dragon

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The White Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never had there been as close a bonding as the one that existed between the young Lord Jaxom and his extraordinary white dragon, Ruth. Pure white and incredibly agile, Ruth possessed remarkable qualities. Not only could he communicate with the iridescent, fluttering fire lizards, but he could fly. Back in time to any WHEN with unfailing accuracy. Nearly everyone else on Pern thought Ruth was a runt who would never amount to anything, but Jaxom knew his dragon was special. In secret they trained to fight against the burning threads from the Red Planet, to fly Back in time as…


Camber of Culdi

By Katherine Kurtz,

Book cover of Camber of Culdi

Why this book?

This book is filled with a blend of magic, mages, and medieval mysticism! A complete fan of all things medieval, I found this book at the beginning of my jump into world-building. Kurtz’s character development is stellar and taught me to try even harder to develop characters a reader could love or hate. Throughout the entire “Dernyni” series you find many characters that you grow to care deeply about and some you cheer when they meet their demise!

Camber of Culdi

By Katherine Kurtz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Camber of Culdi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Magic and mysticism come alive in this magnificent historical fantasy from the New York Times–bestselling author of the Chronicles of the Deryni.

Long before Camber was revered as a saint, he was a Deryni noble, one of the most respected of the magical race whose arcane skills set them apart from ordinary humans in the medieval kingdom of Gwynedd.
 
For nearly a century, Camber’s family has had little choice but to loyally serve the ruling Festils, Deryni usurpers who employed dark magic to wrest the throne from the rightful Haldane liege.
 
Now, the land suffers under the tyranny of King…


Magician: Apprentice

By Raymond E. Feist,

Book cover of Magician: Apprentice

Why this book?

I find that I usually am drawn to women writers of fantasy. The exception is Raymond Feist. He is sword and sorcery but his character development, as well as his world-building, are for me at least, exceptional. The feel of his Midkemia is medieval and his Kelewan has the feel of feudal Japan – both worlds I completely love to read about over in the non-fiction side of the library! As I write these reviews I see a pattern emerging – world-building and character development. Even though the Fantasy genre requires you to suspend your knowledge of what you know to be reality and fall into the realm of the fantastic it’s the believability of characters and how they interact with each other and the connections you make as a reader to the world those characters are in is so very important.  

Magician: Apprentice

By Raymond E. Feist,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Magician as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the westernmost province of the Kingdom of the Isles, upon the world of Midkemia, an orphan kitchen boy named Pug was made apprentice to the magician Kulgan.

Here starts an adventure that will span lifetimes and worlds. Discover where the story begins.

The world had changed even before I discovered the foreign ship wrecked on the shore below Crydee Castle, but it was the harbinger of the chaos and death that was coming to our door.

War had come to the Kingdom of the Isles, and in the years that followed it would scatter my friends across the world.…


Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1

By Nora Roberts,

Book cover of Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1

Why this book?

I’d never read anything by Nora Roberts because I considered her to be a romantic fiction author. However, when I picked this book up I saw that it was most definitely in the Fantasy genre, and I gave it a try. Her characters were interesting and coming on the heels of COVID I found it very dark and gloomy but a good introduction to her Fantasy writing. I believe now it’s pretty evident that good character development is key to a great read. If you can find something to like about the characters – even if it’s not Fantasy you can enjoy entering their world and invest your time in finding out what happens at the end of the story. 

Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Year One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER (December 2017)

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts―Year One is an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed―and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been…


A Discovery of Witches

By Deborah Harkness,

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Why this book?

A Discovery of Witches was an interesting take on the “other” species, witches, vampires, and demons living with and among humans. There was in this trilogy quite a bit of ancient history woven in among the fantastical storylines of the characters of Harkness’ world. While I was expecting another “Twilight” trope and having to get on board with “Team Jacob” or “Team Edward” – this was nothing like Bella and Edward. This series was a great blending of real-world events intertwined with the invented worlds of the “others”. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and had my favorites. I did feel bogged down by the extra efforts of weaving the characters into history – but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure story across the historical timeline.  

A Discovery of Witches

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.


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