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Fantasy is a huge genre. The books that are classified as such are as diverse as the number of possible options at the Starbucks in Columbia Mall‘s Barnes and Noble (Sugar-free? Half-caf? With whip? A pump of what? Sprinkles of coconut? …What was I saying?).
What I mean is this: When there’s so much to choose from, there are bound to be some duds. And, believe me, there are. But despite those, there are some fantasy books that are beautifully crafted — I mean, hello? Harry Potter is about as fantastical as you get! But by scholars and cool kids alike, the genre still
gets the brush-off many a time.
But books can also be expensive, you say? You don’t want to blow your hard earned cash on something so hit or miss? Funny you should say that, hypothetical reader, because I’ve got four picks for you that are all under $10 (from Barnes and Noble’s website, tax not included) and each represents a different kind of fantasy read.
And these are just the tip of the iceberg, friend. Four titles don’t even scratch the fantasy surface.
What happens when the most beautiful woman in the world is kidnapped, then won from her kidnappers, then traded to a prince all in a realm of danger and miracles?
Abridged by William Goldman, this is all of the best of the classic tale by S. Morgenstern and it’s inconceivably hilarious. I don’t know if any book has made me laugh out loud more. And Goldman doesn’t act as a silent partner, either. Rather, he adds explanations of his cuts in equally-side-splitting italics. But I can just watch the movie, you say? Person, please. Do movies ever stack up to the books they were based on? No.
The Princess Bride is a fantastic choice for someone who wants a funny, lighthearted read that has a little adventure, a little romance and any character that has been played by Billy Crystal.
A dark contrast to the previous title, Sabriel’s father has tried to keep her safe from his dangerous job as Mage Abhorson, through which he has dealt with the dead that won’t stay that way. But when he goes missing, Sabriel has to take up the family legacy to find him and step through the gates of death.
This is no zombie thriller. Rather, it is the first book in a trilogy about ethics, sacrifice and the ends to which a person would go to save what they love.
Author Garth Nix creates a world foreign to our own, which he immediately thrusts upon readers rather than easing them into it. This can seem confusing initially, but all is explained quickly if you stick with it. Plus, this method of understand-as-you-go writing eliminates the slow beginning that is sometimes caused by lengthy explanation.
One ring, a single circular piece of metal, could destroy the evil empire of Sauron, but it can only be destroyed in the very place it was made. And one does not simply walk into Mordor.
This classic trilogy (plus a prequel) proves that not all fantasy is simple, Young Adult reading. I won’t lie, when I read this series by J.R.R. Tolkien I would sometimes lose my bearings and I only got back on track because I remembered scenes from the movie — I didn’t devote quite enough attention to all of the detail that Tolkien weaves into the story (but I’d like to try again someday).
These books are definitely for a more serious reader, but that doesn’t mean the content is dry. It is suspenseful and sometimes delightful — after all, there’s a reason it’s a classic (and a major movie franchise).
Set in medieval Japan, Tomasu’s life changes forever after his family is massacred but he is spared. He learns to fight after he is taken in by Lord Otori, but, of course, things aren’t always what they seem — especially in politics.
In this series, Lian Hearn uses both subtlety and action to entice readers into a world filled with hidden alliances, blood and fighting abilities that don’t just border on supernatural (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
Another bonus: You can buy the series compiled in one book, or you can purchase it in episodes, which means if you are on the fence about it then you can buy a sample of the whole.
Now that you’ve got some options, happy reading!
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