Let it be known this list is NOT complete (it’ll never be!). There will always be new book series that I love as I continue reading and discovering new series. I will admit, I usually am on top of reading the latest book in a series or latest trending YA novel, but my job has recently been slightly taking over my life! Reading is my favorite way to de-stress and relax, but it’s also so much more. If the author makes the characters easy to relate to (but also with a magical twist), it’s like a movie playing out in my head. So let’s check out some series that I believe do this, create a movie in your head. I love recommending books to people and feel free to comment your favorites below! I will also add a link under each series to the first book in it’s series if I did my job in peaking your interest.
11. The Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes
“In this Game of Thrones-esque high fantasy, Rhodes has created a world that’s raging with war, deceit, spoiled royals, and a populous needing little to spark a revolution.” —NPR/WAMC’s The Roundtable
“Witches, if found, are put to death, and Watchers, immortal beings who take the shape of hawks to visit the human world, have been almost entirely forgotten. A vicious power struggle quickly escalates to war, and these four young people collide against each other and the rise of elementia, the magic that can topple kingdoms and crown a ruler in the same day.” -Amazon.com
Love the characters as well as the world Rhodes creates! Her branch-off series is equally amazing but unfortunately the third book has been put on hold for the near future. Check out the first book in the Falling Kingdoms series and read the full description here.
10. The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
“five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls.” -Amazon.com
Image this, in Night At The Museum fashion all of the Disney rides secretly come to life at night. Disney characters are real people and the villains are over the happy place they are forced to call home. Finn and his friends are asked to join forces with varies Disney characters throughout the series and put an end to the Disney Villain’s wrongdoings before things get out of hand. A really cool series that I grew up reading. They start out in 7th grade and by the end of the spin-off series all of the characters are college bound. Super cool to see each book dive into a different piece of Disney property and share some cool Disney secrets along the way! Check out the first book for yourself here.
9. Witch & Wizard by James Patterson
“Everything is about to change. The government has seized control of every aspect of society, and this is the astonishing story of Wisty and Whit Allgood, a sister and brother who were torn from their family in the middle of the night, slammed into prison, and accused of being a witch and a wizard. Thousands of young people have been kidnapped; some have been accused; many others remain missing. Their fate is unknown, and the worst is feared-for the ruling regime will stop at nothing to suppress life and liberty, music and books, art and magic . . . and the pursuit of being a normal teenager.” -Amazon.com
Loved the characters in this one, another series I’d say I grew up reading. The twists, turns, deception, and magic are great. Check out the first in this lesser known James Patterson series here.
8. The Midnight Thief Duology by Livia Blackburne
“Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he is persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.” -Amazon.com
Totally not the type of duology I was expecting, but honestly I loved it! I feel like it ended with a few unanswered questions as if she could have made a third book but still amazing all the same. Very dark and mysterious too. Check out the first of two here.
7. The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
“On a continent ruled by three empires, everyone is born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries long war is about to end, the balance of power-and the failing health of all magic-will fall on the shoulders of a mythical pair called the Cahr Awen.” -Amazon.com
LOVE the two strong female main characters of this series and all of the others on top of that really. I also love how each novel explores a different character backstory but while also incorporating all of the other leads. Check out Truthwitch, the first of this series, here.
6. The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima
This is the first series I ever read that got me hooked on the YA Fantasy trend. The reader gets whisked away into a secret world of magic living right under our noses among today’s life. Learn about the four kinds of magical being types and their hierarchy that has long been in place surrounding them. For the first novel in the series, check it out here.
5. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
“When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. But when the truth about Ruby’s abilities—the truth she’s hidden from everyone, even the camp authorities—comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run, she joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp… But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. While they journey to find the one safe haven left for kids like them—East River—they must evade their determined pursuers, including an organization that will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government.” -Amazon.com
SO GOOOOOD. I went to a book signing for this one because I loved it so much! I will admit though I have yet to watch the movie in fear it might ruin the images of the characters I have in my head. Overall a super cool dystopian concept where powers are split into five categories by color. Check out the first book in the series here.
4. The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
“Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells…wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her–plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.
The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima.” -Amazon.com
My heart.This series is another one that tops my pride and joy list. Wow so many sleepless nights reading these books and obsessing over their characters. Chima has an amazing way of drawing readers in through her characters. I will admit though as much as I love the branch-off series (which I have also shown in the picture above), damn, it hurt me. IT HURTS BEFORE IT GETS BETTER PEOPLE. Check out The Demon King, the first in the series here.
3. The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo
“Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold―a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite―and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.” -Amazon.com
This is the first book’s description in the Grisha series, that then branches into the Six of Crows Duology, and now into the King of Scars Duology. All of the separate series are set in the same Grishaverse and have intertwining characters. AMAZING. At first, I will admit it was a little tough to fully understand all of Bardugo’s terminology, but you catch on super quickly! Then you get sucked in and can’t stop until you’ve read every good and are begging for more. Check out the first book that takes place in the Grishaverse here.
2. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson
“In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.” -Amazon.com
ITS SO GOOD. WOW. UGH. WHO’S THE ASSASSIN AND WHO’S THE PRINCE!? I’m not telling! That’s for you to find out! Then you dive righttttt into the twists and turns. Utterly amazing. Lia is great and so is every other character Pearson has created for this series. Check out the first book (that only get better from there) here.
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.” -Amazon.com
Now picking a top series was honestly so hard because in my opinion, the last five series I just mentioned all tie for the top spot because they’re all so amazing in such unique ways. This series is breath-taking in terms of story, but mainly in terms of character development. Maas goes into such amazing detail that I felt as if I personally knew each character by the end of the novels. You can relate to them yet they still live in this magical realm. So good. Please, please, PLEASE, do yourself a favor and read this series! Also her other series, Throne of Glass, is also amazing but I haven’t finished it completely yet so it’ll probably end up on my next edition of this post. Check out the first one (takes a few chapters to get into because there is some background to cover) here!