Tuesday Top Ten-Best YA High Fantasy Series

I was browsing around Tumblr this morning, medical like I do (because how do you start a day without spending some time on Tumblr) and I saw a post talking about YA high fantasy and it had SO many of my favorites. I was trying to think of something to write for the Tuesday Top Ten today and it just presented itself to me so easily.

I must admit, thumb as I wrote this list, I discovered TWO things: One, I really need to read more high fantasy (recommend some, please!) and two, I am majorly biased on one particular author…but that’s okay.

10. The Beka Cooper Trilogy 

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Books: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff

Beka Cooper is the ancestor of George Cooper (who is massively important in Pierce’s first series, which, duh, is on the list), and she joins the Provost Dogs, which is basically like a police force. As the books go on, she becomes one of the most prominent and well trusted of the Dogs, solving crimes and taking down criminals. The story is told in diary form, which was a new thing for Tamora Pierce.

Its awesome. Anything Tammy does is basically magic, but what I love about this is you know how history plays out after this already. Her first four Tortall series all take place years after this so you know the direction its going in, but its still so fun. I think that Tamora Pierce has a wonderful way of writing fantastically strong characters but sometimes we convince ourselves that Daine and Kel and Aly are only able to have their stories because of all the things Alanna accomplished in the first series. But telling Beka’s story really tells us that women had a lot more power, and possibility in the past until obviously something went wrong. Plus these stories are so different than the others. Beka has to prove herself, not really as a capable woman, like the others, but just a capable person in general. And the crimes she solves, the mysteries that unravel are all so fun.

9. The Immortals Quartet 

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Books: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, The Realms of the Gods

Daine is trying to escape her home country of Galla, where she was treated as a pariah, an abomination for the “sickness” she believes is inside her. When she is brought on as an assistant horse handler on the way to Tortall, she discovers that she’s not crazy, but she has a rare bit of magic in here called wild magic, which gives her the ability to communicate with animals, heal them and even shape shift. Under the tutelage of the realms most powerful mage, Numair, she learns to control her magic and when her new home in Tortall is threatened by immortal creatures, she must learn to use her powers to help save her home and her friends.

I mean, can you really go wrong with this book? There’s magic and animals and cute boys and kissing and battles and its a GREAT series. Tammy blew my MIND with this one. I love Daine because before Daine, we had Alanna, who was great but didn’t get to be a girl as often because she was pretending to be a boy, so Daine was awesome. I loved when she was able to give up her dresses for breeches, and when she discovered she could heal animals. I love that we see old characters from Alanna’s series and I love the whole idea of these immortal creatures like spidrens and centaurs and stormwings. Daine’s story is absolutely fantastic.

8. The Protector of the Small Quartet 

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Books: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight

In Kel’s book, the law has been changed and girls can go out for their knighthood, instead of hiding their sex the way Alanna does in her series. This is the moment that Kel has been waiting for but its tainted when the king grants her permission to come to the palace to try, under the condition that she have a probationary year, something no boy has. Not only does Kel have to prove herself as a knight, but that she belongs there amongst the boys.

What I love about Kel’s story is that it seems like it could be a repeat of Alanna’s story but it most definitely is not. Kel has a whole new adventure to go through. Alanna had to prove herself, yes, but everyone thought she was a boy. Kel is a girl, and on probation and has to work even harder than all the boys do. On top of that, her page master treats her differently and her fellow pages tease her, and play jokes on her, all to try and get her kicked out. I think Kel’s story is sometimes easier to relate to than Alanna’s. I like how it starts off with Kel being bullied and being angry that she and others are getting bullied and turns into a larger story when Scanra comes chopping at the Tortall borders. Kel always wants to take down the bullies, no matter how big or small, and I love her story.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy 

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Books: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom

Elisa was born with a godstone in her belly button, marking her as a chosen one, to do amazing things in the world. However, Elisa feels so much less than a chosen one. She’s massively overweight, not pretty, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister. When she is married off to a neighboring kingdom’s king, who is devastatingly handsome, she doubts she’ll ever reach her supposed amazing potential. Then she is kidnapped, by revolutionaries, and she suddenly sees how much more she is capable of and what she really could accomplish.

The first thing that caught me about this book is that Elisa is fat. Straight up, Elisa is fat. I love that. Do you know how often we get YA heroines who are fat, especially in novels like this? We just don’t. Even though Elisa loses weight through out the series, she remains a bigger girl and I think that’s important. Elisa is a strong, strong, incredible female character but its more than a physical strength. She’s incredibly smart, clever and she figures out exactly what she needs to do, with bumps all the way. Its all about coming into yourself, and coming into what people expect of you, and just doing the best that you can with what you are given and its just incredible. I dragged my dad, boyfriend and brother four hours to Las Vegas just so I could meet Rae Carson.

6. The Throne of Glass Series 

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Books (so far): Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire 

Celaena is a former deadly assassin, sent into the dark work prisons. She is caught trying to escape and is chosen by a stranger to be a contestant, part of a tournament to choose the next King’s Champion. If she succeeds in winning, she will have to work for the King, whom she hates, for a period of time and then she can earn her freedom. She agrees and comes to the palace to compete but then people start disappearing, dying, being sabotaged in the contest and Celaena fears that she could be next. Add in the handsome and charming prince Dorian and the equally handsome and strong captain of the guard, Chaol, and you have a recipe for trouble.

 Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with this series. I had seen it all over the place for so long and I finally purchased it and was so incredibly glad when I did. The one thing that really jumps out at me of this series is the incredible world building of it. It is deep and complex and has a whole history to it, which is beautiful. A really good high fantasy novel will have that, and this book definitely accomplishes that. Add in the fact that there’s Dorian and Chaol and its so hard to figure out which one you like more, because they’re both so different…and you’re just so addicted to the story. But the kicker of the series is Celaena, who is a fantastic main character. I love that she can kill a person easily, almost in her sleep, but also loves to curl up with a good book and is so incredibly loving and caring.

5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet 

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Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, are unhappy with their futures. Thom is all set to go to the palace to train as a knight, when he wants to go and learn to hone his magical Gift and become a powerful sorcerer. Alanna is to be sent to the convent, to be trained as a lady, to return home and find a husband, when she wants to become a knight. They switch places, and Alanna heads to the palace as Alan, disguised as a boy in order to earn her shield. Alanna has to work hard, doing all that she can to earn her shield, while trying to hide the fact that she is a girl.

This book series is incredible and what truly blows my mind about it is that it was written back in the 1980s. People think that the idea of a strong female character is a new phenomenon because of Hermione and Katniss and Tris but the original strong YA female character is definitely Alanna. She disguises herself as a boy for YEARS. Do you know how hard that would be? Not only does she have to work hard to become a knight, which is a trial all in itself, but she has to do it pretending to be a boy. She has to pretend that she doesn’t get her period, or breasts, and that she doesn’t having feelings for boys. She can’t undress herself in front of them. Its all so hard. But she fights hard and earns everything that she gains and its just SUCH a great series. Its a must, an absolute must for any lover of YA.

4. The Grisha Trilogy 

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Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is an orphan, earning her way through life, and struggling to find where she fits in. She’s working as a mapmaker, getting by and trying to ignore that her best friend, Mal, is handsome, popular with the ladies, and an incredibly good tracker. One day, as their crossing the Fold, a desolate bit of land, she saves Mal’s life, by using a power that she never knew she had. She has been labeled the Sun Summoner, a rare Grisha classification, able to produce light from within her. Suddenly, she is whisked away by The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, and her power becomes the center of her existence.

The first I met Leigh Bardugo was at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. She was on a panel and the moderator said something about strong female characters not existing when the authors were younger and Leigh immediately says “Uh, duh, Alanna?” and I knew immediately that I needed to read her book. I bought Shadow and Bone that day and I’ve been massively in love with the Grisha trilogy since then. I just read the last one a few weeks ago when it was released and I’m just so in love. Leigh is an incredible writer and a beautiful storyteller. She has magic, and power, and politics and romance and humor and so much all in one series and its just brilliant. I really haven’t read a series like this before and I doubt I will ever read one like it again.

3. The Seven Realms Series

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Books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Raisa is the princess of her queendom, being bred every day to be the queen. She is royal by blood on her mother’s side, and has tribal blood from her father’s side and after spending time with her father and his people, she returns to the castle, restless and ready to do more. Her mother, on the other hand, has been taken in by the High Wizard, in a world where wizards are not to be trusted, and Raisa begins to fear what her mother will do. She starts sneaking out of the palace, getting to know her queendom, hoping to become the best queen that she can be. Han is a former thief, turning away from his criminal ways, in order to support his mother and younger sister. When he steals a wizard’s amulet one day, trouble begins to follow him and leads him into finding the truth about where he came from and what sort of powers he holds in himself.

THIS SERIES. I picked it up on a whim, really, just out of nowhere, and coincidentally, a few days before the final book was released. I literally read the four of them in a period of about five or six days and I have no regrets. Cinda Chima is absolutely brilliant. She reminds of Tamora Pierce a bit, and she just builds a great world. The Seven Realms is just so incredibly real and I love both the main characters so much and I couldn’t wait until the two of them met up together. Raisa is fun, and brave, and sassy, and strong and Han is sarcastic and fearless and reckless and caring and I just love the both of them so much. There’s mystery and intrigue and magic and you can never really figure out who the bad guy is and the books are full of surprises until the very end. There’s action one moment and then steamy makeout scenes the next and I seriously canNOT get enough of these books.

2. The Daughter of the Lioness Duology 

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Books: Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen

Aly has lived in the shadow of her parents for her entire life. Her father is the King’s spymaster and her mother is King’s champion, and the first female knight in over a century. Her godparents are the king and queen, the wildmage and the realm’s most powerful mage, the captain of the King’s Guard and more. Her brother is studying to be a sorcerer and her twin has gone for his knighthood. What Aly wants more than anything is to be a spy,  but her parents do not approve. She is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles, to the Balitang family. There she discovers a rebellion brewing, the dark skinned raka wanting to take their country back from the light skinned luarin. Before she knows it, she’s wrapped up in it, doing everything she can to protect the Balitang girls, who could become the countries’ future rulers.

I’m rare in liking this series by Tammy the most but I must admit that I am quite biased. This is the first series that I actually read by Tammy. I picked it up when I was about 15 years old because it mentioned pirates and I was obsessed with pirates at the time. Obviously pirates were NOT essential to the story but I legitimately found one of my favorite books of all time. Aly is incredible and so different than Alanna, Daine and Kel. She doesn’t have magical powers like Daine, though she has the Sight. She isn’t a fighter like Alanna and Kel, though she can fight. Instead she’s absolutely clever. She knows the way of politics and the underground spy world. She knows the minds of people and how to trick them and how to get them to do the things she wants them to. Plus I loved the rebellion of it, of the people rising up. Its…easily my favorite book (tied with Goblet of Fire).

1. The Harry Potter Series 

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Books: You know

I’m not going to do a summary for this one because, duh. I’m pretty sure most people know what this is about and if you don’t…have you been living under a rock for all these years? Seriously?

I know this one is weird on this list because its kind of…is it full fantasy? Its kind of contemporary at the same time? I consider it high fantasy though. Also, is it YA? I’ve always sort of considered it YA but a lot of people say it’s children. SO that’s weird. But either way, its my favorite of all time. I do not have five HP tattoos, a personalized HP license plate and much more for nothing. This series is one of the most incredible series to ever be written and there is literally no other book that can make me feel the way these do. They have everything I could possibly need. They provide escape. They have taught me so many lessons of life. They make me laugh and cry. They make me question everything. They have brought me friends. They have an incredible world built and the story is beautiful and complex and exciting from the first page to the last.

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Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

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Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, share in the comments!

Cinda Williams Chima: An Author You Should Be Reading!

I am surrounded by book lovers. Seriously. Most of my friends, cost my acquaintances, ampoule and you, my followers, are book lovers. It makes me incredibly happy to be around so many people who love books because its just awesome. I am able to talk about them all day long, and I have people available whenever to recommend me books :) Fantastic.

But in all this time, all these people that I’ve met, all these book lovers in my life, and I have not met anyone who has read the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (or her Heir Chronicles as well).

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And this seriously disappoints me!

Because she is an absolutely amazing author. I’ve only just discovered her books back in October of 2012, not even a year ago, but I am fully addicted to them.

About Her Books

Cinda Williams Chima writes two different series of books, The Heir Chronicles and The Seven Realms series.

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The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir

The Enchanter Heir hits bookstores in early October :) 

I’ll talk about the Heir Chronicles first. I adore these books but not nearly as much as the Seven Realms series so I’ll talk about these first. These are a contemporary fantasy, a fantastical idea set in a world that we are familiar with. There are different classifications of people who have special gifts: wizards, sorcerers, enchanters, warriors, and soothsayers. For years, the wizards have held control over everyone else. The different wizard families, the Roses, hold a tournament, pitting different warriors against each other til the death. Enter Jack Swift, a normal every day boy in Ohio who skips his medicine one day and is suddenly super fast, super strong, and feeling better than ever. He soon learns that he is part of this society, that he has both magic and warrior skills, due to some circumstances that occurred when he was born. The Roses are looking for warriors for their tournament, and warriors are running out. Jack’s life soon becomes a danger, as he is hunted by those who would use him. Of course he is also dealing with being a normal teen boy as well, like homework and soccer and choosing between Ellen, the new girl, or Leesha, his ex-girlfriend.

The Seven Realms Series

The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Cinda’s other series, the Seven Realms series, is more pure fantasy than the Heir Chronicles. We meet two different characters. First, there is the Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir to the Fells, with her mother Marianna as queen and her sister Mellony. Her father is a trader of the Clans. Raisa is concerned about the strength and well-being of her country, and she is worried that her mother is focusing on all the wrong things. She is spending too much time with the High Wizard, and wizards are highly regulated and not to be messed with lightly. Raisa is both trying to have fun as a young princess heir, flirting with the cute boys and wearing pretty clothes, but also trying to be intelligent, and aware of her queendom and how she can be a good queen. Enter Han Alister, who is living a VERY different life than Raisa. A former crime lord, he is trying his best to find good, honest work in order to provide a decent enough life for his mother and his sister. This is proving hard to do when he steals an amulet from a young wizard and all sorts of bad things start to happen to him. Soon, Raisa and Han’s lives start to intertwine and they both begin to learn that there is more going on in the queendom than they were initially aware of.

How I Discovered These Books

In all honestly, it was all happenstance.

My boyfriend and I were…in Long Beach area for some reason. I can’t remember exactly why, but we were. And we were thinking of things to do and decided to go to Barnes and Noble because I can spend way TOO MUCH time in a bookstore (Hey, we ended up going to a record store later, where my boyfriend spent a whole ton of time). And Jon offered to buy me a book, so I took a REALLY long time to find one haha. I had to make sure that it was good.

Eventually I decided to get The Demon King. I really liked the cover, and its what caught my eye. I love that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” when it comes to people but when it comes to books, I totally judge by the cover, always. And I thought the cover was pretty badass. Then I read the book synopsis and it sounded really good and I took it home. I finished the book within the next day or two, and then preceded to bust a move between the next three of the series.

Luckily enough for me, I discovered the Seven Realms series right before the conclusion, The Crimson Crown, came out…like literally the week of release. I love it when that happens. I literally consumed this series.

Then for Christmas, my dad bought me the box set of The Heir Chronicles, which I read the week after all the holidays died down :)

Why You Should Be Reading Them!

Honestly, and I mean this in the….nicest way possible, but if you haven’t read these books and have NO plans of reading them in the future, then you’re stupid.

Yeah, I went there, I said it. You are SO stupid.

Haha.

These books are AMAZING. I literally felt completely blown away by the amazingness that is the Seven Realms series. I have been impressed by books time and time again, but these books just simply blew my mind with how amazing they are.

I mean, it has everything that I could possibly want in a book. It has adventure, and magic, and a fantasy fictional world and princesses and hot guys and romance and battles and kissing and everything. Its everything packed into four absolutely amazing books.

Reasons You Should Be Reading Cinda Williams Chima 

1. She creates a brilliant, believable fantasy world. In the Heir Chronicles, its set in our world and yet you believe in the magic, and you believe in the world created with warriors and wizards and enchanters in Ohio because she makes it so easy to believe. They weave regular lives with their fantasy lives. One minute, Jack is at soccer practice, hanging out with his friends, and the next, he is learning spells and how to wield a sword. In the Seven Realms, she creates an entirely fictional world with a queendom (yes, a country ruled by women, I love it!) And again, its absolutely believable. You believe every single bit of it, and you want to live there.

2. All of her books have these incredible characters. They’re all such strong and so well developed characters. Raisa, Jack, Ellen, Seph, Han, Jason, Madison, Micah, Fire Dancer. I love them all. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses and they have their struggles and they fight so hard to overcome them. I love that, even when characters are so different, personality wise or in the circumstances of their lives, and yet they have such similar problems, and can relate to one another. Raisa is a princess, terrified of ruling her queendom as a good queen, of taking her place in her realm, while Han, a former streetlord, is struggling to leave his past behind and step into a more responsible, adult role. So different and yet SO insanely similar. All of these characters are ones that I become attached to, that I wish were my friends, or my family, my lovers, my brothers and sisters. They are such REAL, raw characters. And not only does she have these kickass, strong female characters but she has these super awesome male characters as well. I love me some awesome females, but let’s not forget about the guys too.

3. There is SO much fun going on. There’s so much action in these books, whether through traditional fighting styles, with swords and daggers and all that, or with magical powers. I mean, who doesn’t like sword fights and magic? Crazy people, that’s who. Its a wild ride from start to finish in both of her series, and you find yourself pushing yourself through one more chapter, one more chapter, one more chapter because you’re just dying to find out what happens next. She doesn’t mess around; she puts her characters in danger, she makes you believe that things are going to go wrong, that things won’t end up the way they should, and then she does just that. She takes these teenagers and puts them in these impossible situations with heavy burdens on their shoulders and you’re just glued to the pages as you watch them go through their journey. You’re just addicted to it the entire time. I was dying for that fourth Seven Realms book to find out what happened to Raisa and Han and the rest of the Fells.

4. There are some HOT guys in these books. I love me some crush-worthy fictional characters. You know its a good book when it doesn’t take long for me to fall in love with the characters, not just as characters but as boys that you just wish existed in real life. Like, I have a HUGE ginormous crush on Han Alister from the Seven Realms series. He’s a bad boy, a former crime lord turned wizard who is just so sexy, and captures my heart in approximately three chapters. He’s so snarky and charming and smart and he’ll do pretty much anything to make the absolutely impossible relationship between him and Raisa work. Sigh. I also have a major crush on Seph McCauley from The Heir Chronicles. Ditto on the snarky, sexiness.

5. She’s a seriously talented writer. You could have all the things above but just fail miserably because you’re just a terrible writer, and believe me, I’ve seen this happen! Its like so close, almost there, but no trophy. But Cinda Williams Chima captures all of the above in a beautiful writing style. And the best part is that…she has a beautiful writing style, and tells an amazing story but she doesn’t feel the need to make her language more sophisticated than it needs to be. She writes for the audience, and weaves a beautiful story that you can’t help but fall right into. She reminded me SO much of Tamora Pierce, and because of that, she soon became one of my absolute favorite authors. I also learned just recently that she is a huge influence for Leigh Bardugo as well, and I can see why. All three of these ladies are power forces in the fantasy genre.

6. No love triangles. Need I say more? There’s enough romance to keep me swooning but it doesn’t deter from the story. I love romance and kissing and butterflies in my stomach and shipping different characters and all that, but I love when this is happening for a reason, or it is part of the story. I hate romance just for the sake of romance. I don’t judge those who read pure romance books, or those paranormal romances that focus more on the romance than then paranormal, but it’s not for me. This book has SERIOUSLY steamy scenes one minute and then epic battles the next. Perfectly balanced :)

What Are You Still Doing Here?

Seriously? There are about a hundred more reasons why you should be reading these books. If I haven’t gotten you convinced by now…well I just don’t know what to do with you, except maybe hit you in the face with a wet fish a couple times.

But thats a bit cruel isn’t it?

I’m serious though! Get out there, read these books! You’ll be missing out SO MUCH if you never pick up one of these books; you’ll be missing out on a serious gem in the YA fantasy genre.

So please, check out her books, folks. You’re here on WhatANerdGirlSays, which means that you enjoy what I write, and you probably enjoy the books that I read as well…so trust me, when I say you will be crazy to not pick these up.

And check out an exclusive interview with Cinda coming TOMORROW!