Favorite Fantasy Novels Read in the Last Year

This year I’m joining in the fun at Wyrd & Wonder, a month long celebration of all things fantasy. Part of this event is that every Sunday, the hosts at There’s Always Room For One More, A Dance With Books , Dear Geek Place, The Book Nook, and Jorie Loves A Story post a Fantastic Five list.

This week’s list is favorite forest fantasies, but since I couldn’t think of any beyond The Bear and the Nightingale and the book I’m currently reading, I decided to post about last week’s topic instead: five favorite fantasies since last year’s Wyrd & Wonder. Since I didn’t participate in this event last year, here are five of my favorite fantasy novels read since last May. None of these are traditional fantasy, but all have fantastic elements.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking: T. Kingfisher’s funny, clever writing and an entire bread-themed battle (including a giant baked golem) — what’s not to love?

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant: I highly recommend listening to this on audio. Great characters, highly atmospheric and terrifying. I loved the idea of killer mermaids and how the characters constantly underestimated their fierceness.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: This blend of urban fantasy and crime noir is set in Mexico City in an alternate reality where vampires have been living among humans for years. Atl is a vampire on the run when she meets Domingo, a young man who lives in a subway tunnel under the city. The two work together to find a way to get out of town and escape her pursuers.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune: Klune has reimagined the concept of what happens when we die. Instead of heaven or hell or purgatory, the dead are escorted by a Reaper to a little tea shop in the middle of nowhere. Not as cute as The House in the Cerulean Sea, Klune’s focus here is on death itself, what it means to live a good life before it’s too late, and what we leave behind. 

A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy: This is historical mystery with paranormal elements, which I absolutely loved (as well as its sequel).  Taking place in 1890’s New York, Amelia suffers a head injury and becomes able to understand ghosts.  When she becomes inhabited by one, she winds up in an asylum for poor women, and has to sleuth her way out of it. 

And an honorable mention to Black Water Sister by Zen Cho: After graduating college, Jess moves back to Malaysia with her family, where she becomes inhabited by the ghost of her estranged grandmother.  Jess has to battle gods, ghosts, and gang bosses in order to resolve her family issues, gain her freedom, and all the while she has to figure out how to come out to her parents. An original and exciting story. 

Other good ones were Nettle & Bone which I just reviewed, and A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow. And I really wanted to mention Black Sun but I read that before last May. Those are some of my favorite fantasy novels read in the last year. What were some of your favorites?

  6 comments for “Favorite Fantasy Novels Read in the Last Year

  1. May 8, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    I loved The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking too! I really liked the worldbuilding in Certain Dark Things. Different types of vampires from different regions worked for me. I haven’t read Black Water Sister yet, it sounds interesting.

  2. May 8, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    I just read Into the Drowning Deep! It’s pretty great, isn’t it – very addictive.

  3. May 8, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    Certain Dark Things was really good. I loved her take on vampires!

  4. May 17, 2022 at 8:50 am

    The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking sounds like a lot of fun!

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