These are books that I think haven’t got much recognition but I feel deserve more. I’ve rated all of these books 4+ stars (or at least in my head I have). I originally tried to be as diverse as possible, genre-wise, but I only just started trying reading outside my favorite genres, so I didn’t succeed. But then again, I only know about these books because I read so much fantasy, so this list wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t like fantasy as a genre so much, haha.
Here’s a short summary (or key words) of each book and then longer summaries, along with some short personal thoughts about each book, if any catch your interest.
- Nice Dragons Finish Last: Dragon Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Mages, Spirits
- The Legend of Eli Monpress: Wizards, Thieves, Swordsman, Demons, Goddesses
- Deadly Class: Assassins, Assassin High School, 1980s, San Francisco, Graphic Novel
- Brave Story: For RPG/Manga Fans, Adventure, Quest
One: Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – Urban Fantasy
As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn’t fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.
Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ–a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit–Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.
He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons…
Although I categorized this book as urban fantasy, I was tempted to categorize it as young adult, just because Julius is a younger heroine. What I liked about this book, apart from the dragons, was the fact that Julius had to solve his problems without his “oh-so-mighty” dragon powers. You also see a gradual, believable growth in Julius as a character. I used to only read books with characters that I liked but have now moved onto books that I think have believable characters.
They can be absolutely horrible people but they have to be believable horrible people.
Two: The Legend of Eli Monpress (#1-#3) by Rachel Aaron – Fantasy
Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.
But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.
The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.
Like a king.
One of the things I like about Rachel Aaron books is that they aren’t too heavy. They’re light reads but despite not containing heavy topics, they’re still really fun to read. I generally like any book with thieves in them, and this one isn’t an exception. Except Eli Monpress is a wizard thief. The combination of the two intrigued me and so I picked the book up, discovering that I surprisingly liked it.
If you happen to like books about thieves, I also recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora.
Three: Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth – Graphic Novel
It’s 1987. Marcus Lopez hates school. His grades suck. The jocks are hassling his friends. He can’t focus in class. But the jocks are the children of Joseph Stalin’s top assassin, the teachers are members of an ancient league of assassins, the class he’s failing is “Dismemberment 101,” and his crush has a double-digit body count. Welcome to the most brutal high school on earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained. Murder is an art. Killing is a craft. At Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts, the dagger in your back isn’t always metaphorical.
Collecting the first arc of the most critically acclaimed new series of 2014, by writer RICK REMENDER (BLACK SCIENCE, Fear Agent) and rising star artist WESLEY CRAIG (Batman). Experience the 1980s underground through the eyes of the world’s most damaged and dangerous teenagers.
*Gasp* This book isn’t fantasy! I know I’m surprised too. Deadly Class was actually a hard book to categorize but I felt the book deserved a spot on this list because the content was so dark and gritty. Overall amazing. The art had a bold quality to it and the characterization is amazing.
Four: Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe – Fantasy
Young Wataru Mitani’s life is a mess. His family has problems they never told him about, a new student at school upsets everything he knows about the world, and a girl’s voice rings in his mind all hours of the night. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life; a way to alter his fate.
To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. And to complicate matters, he must outwit a merciless rival from the real world.
Wataru’s ultimate destination is the Tower of Destiny where a Goddess of fate awaits. Only when he has finished his journey and collected five elusive gemstones will he possess the Demon’s Bane; the key that will unlock his future.
Charity, bravery, faith, grace and the power of darkness and light: these are the provinces of each gemstone. Brought together, they have the immeasurable power to change Wataru’s life.
I’m pretty positive I wrote about this book but I can’t seem to find the post. So maybe I wrote the post before I got my domain? Anyways, Brave Story reads like a manga/RPG. So if you like reading big books and enjoy reading manga or playing RPGs, I would highly recommend this book! This is also one of those books where I want to categorize it into children’s book because I feel like it is so versatile.
I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful and insightful comments on my last post. I think a great aspect of reflection posts is that they always generate some type of discussion. Even though I didn’t reply to every comment, I enjoyed reading about everyone’s personal experiences and thoughts on prejudices.
As always, thanks for reading!