5. The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger
This hilarious series is set in Victorian London and features a crazy cast of vampires and werewolves, steampunk machines, tea-drinking (and, horrors, the occasional American). It had me at the first paragraph, in which the Author describes the Grand Collapse of a foppish vampire who has the bad manners to attempt to suck the smart, headstrong heroine's blood in the middle of a library, during a ball, of all things. (She stabs him with her hairpin.) While reading the five books in the series, I could often be found craving a nice Assam and laughing out loud. I wrote more about the series here.
4. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
This dystopian fantasy series definitely caught my attention for its well-imagined world, authentic-feeling characters, and because there were so darn many similarities to my own Brilliant Darkness series. My series, which stands at two novels (The Scourge and The Defiance, plus a novella, The Keeper) with two more novels to come, is about a blind girl who must face a ravaging horde of flesh-eating creatures on her own while learning to trust a boy from a neighboring community that everyone says can't be trusted. UTNS is about a sheltered girl who must learn to navigate the hostile environment of the outside world with the help of a "savage" boy.
Both dystopian fantasy? Check.
Both have fearless heroines, and heroes named Peregrine (called Perry in hers and Peree in mine) who wield bows and are (if I do say so myself) pretty captivating? Check. Both have similar themes, and even several of the same character names (Sable, Willow, Bear, among others)? Check. I wonder if Veronica Rossi and I tapped into the same creative flow when we wrote our debut novels (which were even released the same month.) For all their similarities, our series are still distinctly different works in voice, setting, plot and lots of other ways (including that hers was a NYT bestseller : ) But I think it's safe to say if you like one, you'll like the other.
As an Indie author, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few of my favorite series from other Indies. I'm going to cheat, and tell you about three series I love instead of one. I defy you not to take to A.R. Ivanovich's War of the Princes series. It is very well-written fantasy with steampunk elements that just keeps getting better with each book released. Set in the West, the dystopian The Breeders series by Katie French is dark and gritty, fascinating and disturbing in the same stroke. Finally, there's S.K. Falls and her broody, lyrical Glimpsing Stars series. These are Indies at their best and deserve a read. Also check out the author collective I belong to, Infinite Ink, for more.
2. His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers
Young assassin nuns in medieval France. Need I say more? Just in case I do: twisted politics, concealed knives, high court intrigue, throwing stars, forbidden love, poison. Not to mention intricately plotted, hard to put down, and oh-so-well-written. A few of the many reasons why this series (2/3 books released as of now) is outstanding and compelling.
1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
This might be my favorite YA book of all time. While Katsa is another tough, butt-kicking MC with the special talent of killing, she's also much less in touch with her feelings than most YA heroines. I loved watching her confront her fears (mainly that she is only good at, and capable of, killing) while also learning to love herself and others. Po, the male protag, is as good an example of a non-alpha male main character who is still confident and supportive as I've read. The setting is engrossing and the writing is tight. But it's Katsa's journey to become who she doesn't think she can be that made this a book of my heart.
There you have it! As I look over my list, it's pretty easy to see that I love me some fantasy, adventure, and romance in YA. So it's not all that hard to tell why my Brilliant Darkness series includes all three elements. I hope you'll pick up one of these books and let me know how you like them.