The best fantasy books featuring drama and danger

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was that scrawny redhead who could never figure out how to fit in. Books were my escape, and even better, they showed me that if you didn’t fit in, it was because you were born to stand out. The more exciting the book, the more determined the character, the better the escape. I know that there are plenty of kids in the world today that desperately need the same message that helped me as a kid, that they matter, that they don’t have to fit in because they are born to stand out. It’s my hope that my books do just that.

I wrote...

Stonebearer's Betrayal

By Jodi L. Milner,

Book cover of Stonebearer's Betrayal

What is my book about?

Forbidden magic compelled Katira to live a lie, but learning the truth is far more dangerous than she ever dreamed.

When an innocent hunting trip turns into an attack, Katira’s world fractures. Her humble parents are actually legendary Stonebearers – immortal, powerful beings tasked with protecting the human world from creatures of the mirror realm. Those cracks widen and shatter apart when the Archdemoness, Wrothe, escapes from her timeless prison and snatches Katira away, intending to use her as bait to destroy not only her family line, but the entire Stonebearer Society. If Katira is to be made whole again, she must learn to trust the young stranger who’s trying to save her while finding the strength to accept not only her parents' power, but her own.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Eragon

Jodi L. Milner Why did I love this book?

I’ve always had a soft spot for books with dragons. Eragon not only has dragons, but also the right blend of drama and danger that makes it the kind of story that is hard to put down. One of the things I specifically like about Eragon is that the main character gets to learn how to use magic and struggles with it because it’s difficult, which is a nice change from many books where the main character tends to be naturally good at things. 

By Christopher Paolini,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Eragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first book in The Inheritance Series

When poor farm boy Eragon finds a polished stone in the forest, he thinks it's a lucky discovery. Perhaps, he will be able to buy his family food for the winter.

But, when a baby dragon hatches out of the stone, Eragon realises he's stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

His simple life is shattered, and he's thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic and power. To navigate this dark terrain, and survive his cruel king's evil ways, he must take up the mantle of the…

Book cover of Elantris

Jodi L. Milner Why did I love this book?

I, like many, started reading Brandon Sanderson when he finished the last few books of the Wheel of Time fantasy epic. I already liked his style, so it was a no-brainer to pick up Elantris, his first published book. As a fledgling author at the time, it was amazing to see how creative his ideas were and how he fearlessly pushed them as far as they could go. Also, the magic system in this story and how it affects the climax is a special kind of awesome.

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Arriving in the kingdom of Arelon to enter a marriage of state, princess Sarene discovers that her intended has died and that she is considered his widow, circumstances that render her a lone force against the imperial ambitions of a religious fanatic. A first novel. Reprint.

Book cover of The Cruel Prince

Jodi L. Milner Why did I love this book?

The Cruel Prince has that perfect blend of drama, danger, and destruction that tends to grab my attention. Not only is there the inherent danger of being part of a family that is protecting an heir to the throne, but there is no end to all the scheming by all parties to put themselves on the throne at any cost. Add to that a richly developed setting and culture in the faerie world with powerful beings who seem to delight in violence, and I’m sold. 

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Cruel Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book . . . intoxicating" - Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three…

Book cover of The Eye of the World

Jodi L. Milner Why did I love this book?

For most fantasy readers, this one is a no-brainer. It’s considered the series that everyone reads alongside Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. But, for many, the length is, well, daunting. For me, this series entered my life when I needed some serious escape from the stresses of the real world so having a massive world with a massive cast to fall into was perfect. All the different plots that weave themselves around the different characters create some pretty intense immersive reading.

By Robert Jordan,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Eye of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master's enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al'Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light .

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel…

Book cover of The Hero and the Crown

Jodi L. Milner Why did I love this book?

I like this book for a far more personal reason, you see, as an awkward young teen with red hair who was also adopted, I related to the main character of Aerin who had many of the same struggles. Throughout the story, Aerin carries a deep-seated desire to prove herself, not with the magic that she was supposed to have, but by using her knowledge and willpower instead. I learned from her strength of character that those who keep trying are the ones who earn the greatest rewards.

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hero and the Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Medal Winner

Although she is the daughter of Damar's king, Aerin has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of the royal court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman, who was said to have enspelled the king into marrying her to get an heir to rule Damar-then died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son. But none of them, not even Aerin herself, can predict her future-for she is to be the true hero who will wield the power of the Blue Sword...

“[The Hero…

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Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

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