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Yes, Awesome Standalone Fantasy Books do Exist

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There’s no denying that the fantasy genre often has a reputation as being chockful of huge books in long-running, never-ending series. And, while I do love getting wrapped up in a trilogy or twelve volume series, there’s something to be said for a story that you know has a conclusion (and one you won’t need to wait half a decade to read).

Here are some of my favourite standalone fantasy novels.

 

 

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange TreeA world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep

 

 

Stain by A.G. Howard

Stain

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain.

Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight—for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown.

To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

 

 

Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars, #0.5)Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she’ll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina’s family.

Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself.

Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

 

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor, #1)The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.

 

 

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of ThornsAll sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

 

 

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden WishShe is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

 

 

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

Under the Pendulum SunVictorian missionaries travel into the heart of the newly discovered lands of the Fae, in a stunningly different fantasy that mixes Crimson Peak with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels.

 

 

 

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival – both from 123RF.com
IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival – both from 123RF.com

 

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Yes, Awesome Standalone Fantasy Books do Exist”

  1. I’m terrible at finishing series and I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy lately, so this list will definitely come in handy! Whether I follow the books from the beginning or have them all ready to read once the series is completed it always takes me a long time to read them, so I definitely want to try more standalones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same problem. Long, finished series are intimidating and ones still in progress I often forget to go back to or lose interest in while waiting for the next instalment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wait, wait, wait. I did not know Stain and The Priory of the Orange Tree were standalones!!! Ohh that’s awesome!! I was terrified to read Priory of the Orange Tree cause I thought there were going to be multiple big books xD I wish there were more single standalone 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Complete standalones! XD Although I think the author has mention perhaps returning to the Priory world at some point, the novel is completely self-contained. And both it and Stain are great! 🙂

      Like

  3. I haven’t read any of these, but Under the Pendulum Sun looks really good. I loved Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley (secondary world fantasy but also a Sleeping Beauty retelling and fairies).

    Last year for Wyrd & Wonder I read Declare by Tim Powers (historical fantasy and a World Fantasy Award winner) – I think most of his books are standalones but I haven’t read anything else yet, this one is set during the Cold War and sort of noir-inspired.

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  4. What do you mean standalone fantasy exists?! Surely not! 😉 I love a good series as much as the next person, but I must admit it’s always quite exciting to come across a new fantasy book – especially high fantasy – that is a standalone.

    So happy to see The Goblin Emperor here – I love it so much – and I really need to cross The Priory of the Orange Tree off my TBR. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do love knowing I dont need to say goodbye as soon with a series (and I’ll still butch about wanting sequels for any I’ve loved) but I enjoy having a story rounded and well finished.
      The Goblin Emperor is one of my very most favourite books! ❤

      Like

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