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Engaging or Entertaining Fantasy

jaded99
The list author says: "I always have a hard time finding good fantasy. I'm hoping this list will save someone the time of combing through hundreds of reviews trying to find one book they might like. Some of these books are engaging, while others are merely entertaining, but I like all of them. You'll see I've included all works for some authors I really admire, but for other others I have only included some books. I am only including the books that I have read and liked by those authors, to save you from reading a mediocre book. Hope this helps!"
Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1)
Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1)
"A fantastic novel from my favorite writer of all time. This is the first book in what was originally a trilogy, and has since been expanded to 5 books and counting. This book is still one by which I measure all fantasy I read. Recommended for ages 16+"
Son of the Shadows (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 2)
Son of the Shadows (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 2)
"Second in the Sevenwaters Trilogy. The hero/heroine pair in this one are extremely strong, although perhaps almost unrealistically so. 15+"
Child of the Prophecy (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 3)
Child of the Prophecy (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 3)
"The third book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy. The heroine here is flawed and relatable, although the hero is forgettable. 15+"
Wolfskin (The Light Isles)
Wolfskin (The Light Isles)
"1st of the Children of the Light Isle duology. This one takes awhile to get going, but is worth it in the end. It meshes history and fantasy seamlessly. Book 2 is Foxmask, which I also recommend, but ListMania told me I had too many books on my list ;)"
The Dark Mirror (Bridei Chronicles, Book 1)
The Dark Mirror (Bridei Chronicles, Book 1)
"This is the first book in the most historically inspired of all of Juliet Marillier's. There are notes included describing the actual historical figure that inspired the book, although the surrounding characters are pure fantasy. A very good read, despite slow beginnings."
Blade of Fortriu: Book Two of The Bridei Chronicles
Blade of Fortriu: Book Two of The Bridei Chronicles
"This book focuses mostly on Faolan and Anna from the Dark Mirror. Another stunning book from my favorite author, although I think the third in this series is the strongest."
The Well of Shades (Bridei Chronicles)
The Well of Shades (Bridei Chronicles)
"The best so far of the Bridei Chronicles in my opinion. The characters are realistic, flawed, relatable, and highly engaging. The setting is inspired by historical events."
Heart's Blood
Heart's Blood
"Another of Juliet Marillier's inspired fantasy tales, involving personal loss and triumph, and reward and ultimately redemption. You can guess at the romantic pairing from the beginning, but the journey of how they get there is worth reading."
Wildwood Dancing
Wildwood Dancing
"The first of two (so far) books by JM for Young Adult readers. The sexual aspect of the romantic relationships is pared down even further than in her other works. An engaging, folklore-inspired fairy tale appropriate for teens and adults alike."
Cybele's Secret
Cybele's Secret
"Companion to Wildwood Dancing. Like Seer of Sevenwaters, this story focuses more on the scholarly strengths of its protagonist, instead of a bold, take-charge character. Appropriate for teens and adults alike."
Bitten (Otherworld)
Bitten (Otherworld)
"Although this is technically an urban fantasy, I think all fantasy readers will enjoy it. I am not really a fan of much urban fantasy (mainly because the majority of what's out there right now is poorly written and formulaic) but I thoroughly enjoyed Bitten. It turns out to be first in a series, but this one is the best by far and works as a standalone."
Stolen (Women of the Otherworld)
Stolen (Women of the Otherworld)
"Traditonal fantasy fans might want to stop with Bitten. Stolen moves the series steadily into the urban fantasy genre, and I enjoyed the whole series, some more than others. This is a good one if you really like Elena from Bitten, because she narrates this one, too. However, it introduces the idea of a whole slew of other supernaturals, so if you want to stick to werewolves only, stop at Bitten."
Haunted (Women of the Otherworld)
Haunted (Women of the Otherworld)
"Book 5 of the Otherworld series. This one centers around Eve, the deceased mother of Paige's ward Savannah. It's told from the afterlife, and is an interesting story, not least of all because of Eve's feisty wit. I liked this one a lot more than the other witch-centric ones in the series."
Broken
Broken
"Back to Elena and her werewolf pack for this one. It comes off as just slightly far-fetched, what with were-pregnancy and the amazing amount of heroics Elena can still perform even while expecting. Still, it amounts to a fun, fast-paced adventure that urban fantasy readers are sure to like."
No Humans Involved (Women of the Otherworld)
No Humans Involved (Women of the Otherworld)
"This Otherworld book centers on celebrity necromancer Jaime Vegas. She's funny, fresh, and overall an entertaining narrator. If you're like me, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by her romantic developments!"
Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld)
Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld)
"Centering on chaos half-demon Hope, this Otherworld book has a darker narrator than the rest. A good installment in the world of urban fantasy."
Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld)
Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld)
"This Otherworld book is different in that it centers around a human character. Also featured are a new-to-the-series necromancer, Hope Adams, and Karl Marsten. It reads more like a thriller than anythign else, but it was enjoyable."
Frostbitten (Women of the Otherworld)
Frostbitten (Women of the Otherworld)
"A return to Elena's wolfpack. Her children have been born, and she struggles to balance her family life with her role in the Pack. Introduces a new supernatural race that's interesting and partially based on Alaskan folklore."
The Black Jewels: Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood / Heir to the Shadows / Queen of the Darkness
The Black Jewels: Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood / Heir to the Shadows / Queen of the Darkness
"Anne Bishop has a gift for creating new fantasy realms that are rich in depth and detail. That said, some of the plot points and characters are predictable, overwrought, and often melodramatic. Still, the series is entertaining. Warning, though: Contains graphic scenes of sex and violence. Not for anyone under 18."
Dreams Made Flesh (Black Jewels, Book 5)
Dreams Made Flesh (Black Jewels, Book 5)
"Four novellas set in the Black Jewels world. Contain Lucivar's finding a mate and more. If you like other works by Bishop, give these a try - also a good tool to decide if you do like her."
Tangled Webs: A Black Jewels Novel
Tangled Webs: A Black Jewels Novel
"The protagonist in this book is Surreal, the callgirl-turned-assassin. Reads like some urban fantasy heroines, though set in the Black Jewels world. Overall, not Bishop's best but still worth reading if you like the series."
Shalador's Lady: A Black Jewels Novel
Shalador's Lady: A Black Jewels Novel
"This installment moves beyond Jaenelle's epic story, although she still figures as a character. Tells of the struggle to rebuild Shalador after the Purge. Readers might find plain, unassuming Lady Cassidy a good heroine after the powerful and bold Jaenelle. Cassidy is certainly more relatable, and the sexual violence drops off significantly."
The Shadow Queen (Black Jewels, Book 7)
The Shadow Queen (Black Jewels, Book 7)
"Continues the story of the rebuilding of Shalador and of Lady Cassidy's rule."
The Pillars of the World (Tir Alainn Trilogy)
The Pillars of the World (Tir Alainn Trilogy)
"First book in the Tir Alainn trilogy. This is set in a world where the fae and humans exist on separate but connected plains. It's a pretty good trilogy, all-in-all. Not life-changing, but entertaining in its right."
Shadows and Light
Shadows and Light
"Second in the Tir Alainn trilogy. I honestly don't remember exactly what happens in each book - just that I found the whole trilogy entertaining."
The House of Gaian (Tir Alainn Trilogy)
The House of Gaian (Tir Alainn Trilogy)
"Third and final in the Tir Alainn trilogy. I honestly don't remember exactly what happens in each book - just that I found the whole trilogy entertaining."
Sebastian (Ephemera)
Sebastian (Ephemera)
"The Ephemera duology is my favorite of Anne Bishop's books. An interesting fantasy realm in which places only exist if they've been created and maintained. Definitely for adults, engaging and dark."
Belladonna (Ephemera, Book 2)
Belladonna (Ephemera, Book 2)
"Second in the Ephemera Duology. An original, dark fantasy landscape for adults. Overall my favorite of Anne Bishop's books."
A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)
A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)
"A fantastic historical fantasy/mystery set in Victorian England. These books were engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining. A great read for YA or adults."
Rebel Angels  (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
"Sequel to A Great and Terible Beauty. A fantastic historical fantasy/mystery set in Victorian England. These books were engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining. A great read for YA or adults."
The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)
The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)
"Sequel to A Great and Terible Beauty and Rebel Angels. A fantastic historical fantasy/mystery set in Victorian England. These books were engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining. A great read for YA or adults."
Poison Study (A Soulfinders Novel)
Poison Study (A Soulfinders Novel)
"Reading the back of this book made it sound contrived and clichéd. Instead, it's a fast-paced, intriguing adventure with a strong female character. Unfortunately, almost all of her other books do walk the line between good fantasy adventure and overworked rubbish. Read the first one, and if you like it continue with the rest - just prepare to be disappointed, because the others don't live up."
The White Mare (Dalriada, Book 1)
The White Mare (Dalriada, Book 1)
"This book was historically inspired, engaging, and overall a good fantasy read. However, it can drag in parts, and some parts do seem so dramatic as to be a bit silly. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but I haven't read the others in the series yet."
Ever
Ever
"Appropriate for all ages. A fun story based on folk legend and some original fantasy aspects. Gail Carson Levine falls into what I would call the category of fast, fun reads, but they are fun, so this, like most of hers, is perfect for light reading or for teens."
The Enchanted Collection Box Set: Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Fairest
The Enchanted Collection Box Set: Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Fairest
"All three books are true Gail Carson Levine: fun, entertaining, based on folktales or fairy tales, and a breezy, light read for adults. They are intended for children and YA audiences, and so are appropriate for all ages."
Graceling
Graceling
"An engaging coming-of-age novel intended for YA audiences but good for adults, too. The author creates a unique fantasy world that draws the reader in, and the characters have original voices."
Fire (Graceling)
Fire (Graceling)
"Sequel to Graceling, although it comes first chronologically. Overall, it's a little more predictable than Graceling, but with greater character depth."
Quatrain
Quatrain
"This book is great because it contains four novellas, each one set in a different world that Sharon Shinn writes about. It's a good sample to figure out which of her series you are interested in trying. Personally, I like all of them but the Archangel series, which got too sci-fi for me, although the novella in here is good."
Summers at Castle Auburn
Summers at Castle Auburn
"In some ways, a typical fantasy novel, it is entertaining and not predictable right from the start. Relationships cultivated in the book occur believably and naturally."
Hexwood
Hexwood
"Technically science-fiction, and YA at that, but it is based on some myths and historical fairy tales (although tyhis is all introduced abruptly and at the end of the book). Still, it's very engaging and fast-paced, and even if the ending is lacking, it's overall a great book."