Hello lovely readers! Can you believe that it’s almost November? I don’t know about you, but October practically flew by for me. With all that this year has brought(and there has been a lot), I am both more than ready for 2020 to be over, and still a bit surprised to find that there are only two months left.
This week I want to talk about some BIG fantasy novels. I often find myself drawn to longer fantasy novels this time of year. I’m not always successful in reading the books in November, but I find myself thinking about them all the same. Perhaps it’s because the days are getting shorter and the nights longer so there’s seemingly more time to cozy up and read.
Whatever the reason, as my thoughts have turned to the longer books, I thought I would share some long fantasy recommendations. This list is in no way intended to be exhaustive, or definitive. I have picked 5 long novels that I enjoy and then an additional 5 that I have not yet read but that are on my TBR to possibly read at some point. There are a couple that I hope to pick up in the next month, and I’ll note those below.
Note: The one condition that I have tried to stick to is that the length should be 500 pages or more, though I have made a couple exceptions to that rule, as you will soon see.
Books I’ve Read or am Reading
1. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
I only read the third book in this series earlier this year, but I have read the first two books twice. I find this series to be wonderfully atmospheric, and I am currently trying to convince myself not to pick it up for a re-read this month. An important thing to note is that this is a Vampire series, and though it plays with the tropes, it also embraces them. If you don’t like vampire tropes, then as much as I love this series, it’s not going to be for you. I love the combination of magic, vampires, and history. And I love that our main character is a historian. I think I might satisfy my craving for this series by reading the companion novel soon.
2. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
I discovered this middle grade series just over a year ago, and it fast became a favourite. We follow a young girl who discovers early on that she is not a human, as she has previously believed, but an elf with magical abilities. She is whisked away to a new world and a new family and sent to a new school where she can learn about and refine her abilities. I love the world building, and the characters. The friendships are well developed and I love that, in contrast to many other middle grade series, there is a strong emphasis on family. I have read the first three books, and hope to pick the next book up soon. Book 1 is just under the 500 page mark, but as the later books are much chunkier, I decided it still fits.
3. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This book is unique on this list in that it is the only stand alone. In my experience most long fantasies are part of series, so it is rare to find a stand alone. This book is almost 900 pages long and I for one, loved pretty much every minute of it. The cast of characters is deep and well developed, as is the world building. In a world deeply divided by religion, this book is full of political intrigue, friendship, romance, and dragons. Be prepared to have a lot of information dropped on you at the beginning, but if you can push by that, it is well worth the read. And there’s only one book to commit to if you’re not ready for another long fantasy series.
4. Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy) by Robert Jackson Bennett
One of my favourite things about this series so far is the magic system. Practitioners use coded commands to imbue inanimate objects with sentience. The magic is complex and its use creates deep class divisions in the world. Thrown into this mix is our main character who has a unique talent. She is able to hear, or feel, the codes in the world and this ability allows her to get past security systems… making her an excellent thief. When she steals an artifact of immeasurable value, she soon finds her life in danger as others try to take it from her. I have had book two, Shorefall, on my TBR since it came out earlier this year.
5. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
I found this book while browsing my library a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Because it’s been so long since I read the first book, I’m worried that I don’t remember enough of it to continue, so a re-read is definitely in order. This is a time travel fantasy series set in New York, with a main character whose ability to manipulate time allows her to travel to the past to steal artifacts that are important in the present. The only problem is, Old New York is a dangerous place filled with more magic than the current day and our main character has to make choices to protect herself in the past while also ensuring she still has a future.
Books I haven’t Read
1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
I don’t want to admit how long I have been “in progress” reading this book. And it’s not because I’m not enjoying it. I have heard great things about Brandon Sanderson’s writing, and I am determined to get into his books. I don’t know much about the series, other than that it is the very definition of epic fantasy. One of these days I will succeed in making it all the way through.
2. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard series) by Scott Lynch
This series has been out for some time now, though I only heard about it earlier this year. This book follows a main character who is, once again, a thief. He eventually becomes the infamous leader of a band of thieves and when he is faced with a coup, he is forced to either defeat his enemy or die trying. I honestly don’t know too much more about the story than that, but I have heard enough praise for this series that it is one I would really like to try out. I’m not sure if I’ll get to this one this year, but it is on the horizon.
3. The Black Prism (Lightbringer Series) by Brent Weeks
Once again, I don’t know much about this series, other than that it has a unique magic system. Even the description doesn’t give too much information. I have heard just enough about this series to be intrigued, but not enough to know whether I would enjoy it. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments!
4. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle series) by Patrick Rothfuss
I’m not going to lie… I have intentionally avoided this series because it has almost been 10 years since book two came out and there is still no reliable release date for Book three… I don’t know if I want to commit to a series that may never get finished. So why does it still appear on this list? Because I have heard such good things about it that I can’t help but want to read it. So I sit here, trying to decide if now is the time to pick up this series in the hopes that 2021 is the year when the final book in the trilogy is released. If you have any advice as to whether I should dive in or not, I would love to hear it!
5. Assassin’s Apprentice (Realm of the Elderlings/The Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb
This book also doesn’t fulfill the requirement of being 500 or more pages, but the series itself is long, and many of the later books meet the criteria, so I decided to sneak it in. I’ve had this series on my TBR for years, and then recently I have heard many positive comments about the series so I decided to put it higher up on the list. I picked up the e-book at a good deal earlier this year, so I am hoping to pick it up soon – if not this year, then next year.
I know, I know. I can hear you all now telling me that your favourite series or book is not on this list. No need to shout, as I mentioned in the introduction, this list is not meant to be complete or “definitive”. To list all of the books in this category that I’ve read or would like to read would make a post way too long for anyone to actually want to read. So I limited myself to 10 books total. The 10 I’ve included here doesn’t even necessarily reflect my “favourites” (for me such a list would at least include The Lord of the Rings).
I hope that you have found something here that you haven’t read to add to your TBR. If your favourite isn’t on this list, I would love to hear it in the comments so that I can check it out if I haven’t already!
Until Next Time,
4 thoughts on “Big Fantasy Reads for November”
Ooh thank you for all the recs! I have a love-hate relationship with long books haha, on one hand, they are intimidating, and on the other, they are so immersive and neverending… I’ve only read Keeper of the Lost Cities – same here, I love the focus on the theme of family, Grady and Edaline never fail to warm my heart.
I know exactly what you mean! I love reading big books once I’m into them, especially for fantasy books, because I love the deep dive into the world. But actually picking them up in the first place can be daunting!