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I Ranked Every YA Fantasy I Read in 2020 (Part I - #24-13)

24. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (rated 2 ⭐️)

This novel is Twilight from Edward's perspective. Twilight is an insanely popular 2005 novel which is about the love that blossoms between a human girl (Bella Swan) and an immortal vampire (Edward Cullen). This novel is far too long and depicts what I now recognize is a toxic relationship. However, the novel did have some small improvements from its sister novel which saved it from a single star rating.

Read when: You're feeling nostalgic for your Twi-hard days.

23. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (rated 2.5 ⭐️)

This novel is about a witch (Lou) and a witch hunter (Reid) who are forced to wed to avoid a scandal. It is an enemies to lovers romance. I enjoyed the world/magic of the novel and the story line about Lou fleeing from her coven. However, I didn't like either main character and felt the pacing was off (the novel is longer than is warranted). I know this is a novel many people rated highly, but it wasn't for me.

Read if: You love sassy witches.

22. The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning (rated 2.75 ⭐️)

Inspired by The Princess Bride, this novel truly squandered its potential. The novel follows Princess Amarande whose stable boy love Luca has been kidnapped in a plot to force her into a marriage contract. It had some positive attributes such as solid world building and story. It fell flat with its inconsistent main character, awkward pacing, strange narrative style, and forgettable secondary antagonists.

Read if: You like The Princess Bride but Buttercup irks you.

21. The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae (3 ⭐️)

This novel takes place in a world where the heirs to the throne must compete in the Crossing; a race across the desert at the end of which a human life must be sacrificed. The sacrifice chosen is Zahru, who has the power to communicate with animals. This novel had a really intriguing but repetitive plot and its most interesting characters were everyone EXCEPT the protagonist.

Read if: You long to be swept off your feet by a prince.

20. Don't Call the Wolf by Aleksandra Ross (rated 3 ⭐️)

Young wolf-lord Lukasz is a dragon slayer searching for his lost brother. Meanwhile, a wild queen from the forest (Ren) who is part human and part lynx seeks out Lukasz to help her slay a dragon that terrorizes her home. The story and world are inspired by a Polish fairy tale which, as a woman of Polish descent who loves fairy tales, excited me. The world was engrossing but overwhelming. The characters were likable but their relationships were underdeveloped. This is a classic case of a novel that had so much potential but ultimately disappointed me.

Read if: You wish Disney princesses were a little wilder.

19. Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Roberston (3.5 ⭐️)

A warrior princess, a scholar prince, a legendary Loresmith (blacksmith), and a thief journey together to restore their conquered kingdom. I had very mixed feelings in regards to this novel. While world building is essential in fantasy, here there was an overabundance which slowed down the plot. While the cast of characters was solid at times their choices made little sense and seemed to exist solely for plot convenience.

Read if: You know the best adventures are the ones you take with friends.

18. The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo (rated 3.5 ⭐️)

This short book details the stories of the fictitious saints from Bardugo's GrishaVerse. The stories are full of magic and read like traditional fairy tales only with calls to GrishaVerse locations and figures. While it has its standouts the stories are ultimately too formulaic and brief to make a huge impact. It's a book for only the biggest Bardugo fans.

Read if: You're afraid of commitment (to a full length novel)

17. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faisal (rated 3.75 ⭐️)

This novel is inspired by Ancient Arabia and follows a huntress (Zafira) and an assassin prince (Nasir) who journey to a dangerous island to restore magic to their land. Despite its slow start, once this novel gets going it's an enjoyable adventure. I liked both of the main characters. Zafira is brave while Nasir is for those fond of morally grey characters.

Read if: You know good things come to those who wait.

16. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (rated 4 ⭐️)

This book is the sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire which is a Malaysian inspired story with a LGBT+ romance. If you're looking for an Asian inspired fantasy with a rich, unique world or a book with strong, fierce, resilient main female characters then you'll love this series. Please be aware the first book contains a scene of sexual assault. This novel did have some random alternate perspective chapters and comic relief characters that interrupted the flow and felt out of place.

Read if: You're a survivor (but read Girls of Paper and Fire first!)

15. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller (4 ⭐️)

This novel is about Alessandra who woos the Shadow King in the hopes of killing him and taking his kingdom for herself. This was such a fun book and the two main characters, both of questionable morals, are well matched. If you like lighthearted reads then Levenseller is the author for you. The one downside to this novel is the confusing and ambiguous world building.

Read if: You're an ambitious woman.

14. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy (rated 4 ⭐️)

This North African inspired novel is about sisters who must face off against each other in a fight to the death for the crown. My favorite part of this novel was Eva, the main protagonist. She is sweet and has a quiet strength to her. The world is interesting and well developed. If you like books that are (relatively) fast paced you'll enjoy this one. The sister relationship was underdeveloped, especially given the plot.

Read if: You grew up with a sibling.

13. Enchantée by Gita Trelease (rated 4 ⭐️)

Camille is an orphan living 1789 Paris, France. A magician, she is forced to use her magic to trick her way into Versailles where she cheats at cards to provide for herself and her sister. This atmospheric novel (at times gritty and desperate and at others glamorous) seamlessly weaves fantasy with historical fiction and has a unique magic system. The awkward pacing was the only thing lacking magic.

Read if: You dream of traveling to Paris.

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