Book Tour and Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

My dear readers, this is probably the most excited I’ve been about a book in a long time.

I feel like a lot of books I read leave me feeling okay. I’m usually not too upset by them but I’m usually not jumping off the walls in excitement.

Knightmare Arcanist is the exception to that.

It took me no time at all to get through it, and I almost immediately bought the rest of the series, but managed to control myself…for now!.

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Title: Knightmare Archanist
Author: Shami Stovall
Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Buy it here

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma. 

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more. 

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma. 


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A Nice Take on Magic

Magic systems are an important part to telling a story. There are ways to explore a magic system while exploring the world at the same time, but too often an author does it wrong.

They rush in their storytelling and they get caught in one aspect or the other, forgetting to properly develop them at the same time.

Stovall finds a great balance for Knightmare Arcanist. We follow a young character just as they are exploring magic for the first times. As the story develops, so too does our character’s understanding of how magic works.

Stovall’s magic system is a nice change to the normal magic systems I read about. Usually the magic system is along the lines of controlling an element or using their willpower to do something amazing.

We see that in Knightmare Arcanist, but we get a new way of exploring that world.

Instead of just being automatically able to control your genre of magic, it is completely reliant on the type of magical creature you bond with.

It puts a limiter on each character, but allows them to explore themselves on a deeper level.

It adds some well-written character development as the story goes on, which was a lot more than I was expecting for a fast-paced YA novel.


Fun and Fast

I often find myself disappointed with YA novels. They’re too carefree and things happen too quickly.

Characters are too quick to trust, too quick to act, too quick to do. There is never any pause to the story. There’s never any time for the characters to have a moment of doubt.

This is why I can’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Though I loved so many aspects of it, it was too fast paced in a few aspects. Some characters were too quick to trust someone, and immediately my mind wandered to imagining what would happen to them if they trusted blindly.

This wasn’t the case for every character, but some key moments were built on an absolute trust that could very easily have caused them to be betrayed.


A Movie Series in the Making?

This might be me being too much of a fan of this book, but I could honestly see this series as a book series or TV show.

I think Stovall does a great job of not only keeping the story focused on one central plot, but also keeping the world open and vague enough that we know we are only scratching the surface.

I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but trust me I will soon. Thinking back on all the other YA series I have read, this one has been the most enjoyable. It has great character development, which is too often a rare feature in YA, a great magic system, and a cast of characters that remind me of being a kid again.


Final Thoughts

Knightmare Arcanist is an absolute blast to read. It’s short, fast-paced, and is a fantastic pre-cursor to a world I can’t wait to explore more.

I’m not a big YA reader, but I enjoy it now and then. Sometimes it is just a nice break from reading heavy fantasy books all the time.

Knightmare Arcanist is just scratching the surface of Stovall’s world, and I think that the more you continue with this series, the more engrossed in the world you will become.

It is definitely worth the read, and honestly I would be disappointed if you didn’t want to read it.


Book Review: The Way of Kings

Hello dear readers, I have technically reviewed this book before on my blog, but I did the entire series in one review.

Now that the fourth book in the series; Rhythm of War (order through the link), is coming out in the fall, I knew I had to give each book the proper review it deserved.

Because of that, it’s time to review the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. I hope you enjoy because this book series is in my top three of all time.

Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Buy: The Way of Kings
Pre-order: Rhythm of War

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed…

They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won.

Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.

On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight.

What happened deep in mankind’s past?

Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?


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Sanderson Magic System

It’s no surprise that Brandon Sanderson is my favourite author. I love the way he can craft such beautiful worlds based off of a simple thing like a magic system.

I would say that The Way of King’s is the best of his magic systems. Not only does it affect how some of the heroes fight, which magic systems are almost always used for, but it also affects the important details of the world; money, light sources, societal class, and scientific advancement.

I love a well developed magic system when all it does is allow characters to fight, but when it literally runs the way the world works, it becomes so much more interesting.

What’s the most beautiful about this magic system is that it is simple. Yes it can be built upon and developed the more we learn about the story, but the core principles of it are as simple as 1 + 1.


A Fraction of the World

I love exploring new worlds in books. It’s one of the reasons I love reading so much.

A lot, if not all, stories have a sliver of our world in them. That might be an inspiration of a name, a location, or even an event.

There’s plenty of that in The Way of Kings, and that’s why I love it. There’s class issues, slavery, issues related to the death and punishment, women’s place in the world, and plenty more.

The fact that a story can deal with issues like that while telling an epic tale amazes me.

What’s even more wonderful is that we are only discovering a fraction of the world. We get MAYBE a tenth of the entire story, and so much is left as a mystery to us.


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Mental Health is Important

Maybe I read a very narrow scope of books that don’t talk about mental health issues (other than books specifically about it).

It’s not an issue that is common in the books I read, but The Way of Kings touched it in a nice subtle way. It doesn’t outright state that one of the main characters has any mental health issues, but you see it in the way he interacts with the world and how his mind sees everything he does.

I don’t think there’s a perfect way to tell those stories, because it is a different experience for everyone. What is important is getting the idea out there, so that other people know that it is normal, even if it isn’t the same experience that they have.


Final Thoughts

The only thing I didn’t like about The Way of Kings was that I had a bit of a hard time following along at first. It had moments later on where I literally jumped out of my seat when I was reading, but it took me a while to understand the story.

Because of that, it took me a while to really commit myself to reading it, but when I did I was hooked.


What did you think of The Way of Kings?? If you love epic fantasy it needs to be on your TBR radar. The series just continues to get better. Make sure to follow me on social media for more book reviews!
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Manga Review: Akame Ga Kill

Hello my dear manga readers, I feel sadness in my heart when I think back on this manga and anime.

I will be honest and admit that I did watch the anime of Akame Ga Kill before I read the manga, but I like them both for different reasons.

Akame Ga Kill is not a long manga at all, only 78 chapters long. That might seem long to some, but when I’m used to reading One Piece and Naruto that is in the hundreds, 78 is relatively short.

If you’ve read Akame Ga Kill, or have any suggestions for a manga I should read, let me know in the comments or send me a message on social media.
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Title: Akame Ga Kill
Author: Takahiro
Rating: ★★★★☆

The story focuses on Tatsumi, a young villager who travels to the Capital to raise money for his home only to discover strong corruption in the area. The assassin group known as Night Raid recruits the young man to help them in their fight against the corrupt Empire.


World-building is Key

I’m a sucker for a well-developed world that you can immerse yourself in. A lot of my favourite series are ones that build an entire world around the reading experience.

Akame Ga Kill does not do a lot of world-building, but it creates a wonderful world around it. We get an understanding of the way the world works in a narrow lens of it all. There is almost no mention of what goes on outside of our characters’ lives yet we know how the world works and the atrocities in it.

Our main focus is on a group of assassins trying to make this world a better place by killing the corrupt men and women of the capital.

We get a bit of history and lore as we discover new characters and new areas, but its shallow and only enough for the next little arc to make sense.

And that’s all we need. The story isn’t world focused, its character focused, and they drive the plot forward with their actions.


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Characters Make the Story

When a story is driven forward by its characters, there is a lot more emotional investment in what happens next. If we don’t fall in love with the characters, then we don’t get the emotional attachment to their actions and any potential conflicts they might need to face.

Akame Ga Kill does a brilliant job of making me fall in love with a group of characters, each so unique and lovable in their own way.

It doesn’t take long for you to love each of the main characters, and people all have a different favourite. No matter who their favourite is, it doesn’t take you long to feel like one of the team.

I wouldn’t say I have one favourite character, because it is often their interactions with others that make me like them so much. If I had to choose, I think I would pick Akame. There is a lot more to her than we get to see outright in the story. If we don’t pick up on subtle cues here and there, her character is a lot different.


Hits you in the Feels

I never thought I would be so emotionally involved in such a short time. You read the first few chapters, and before you know it, you’re already 10-15 chapters in and the story is really rolling. We get connected to these recent strangers with a brilliant plot of assassinating threats to a free world.

Since we mainly follow a new recruit named Tatsumi, we get to interact with each member of the team as they teach Tatsumi something new.

When each character has their important moments, you feel like you’re connected with them on a deeper level since you just went on a mission with them.

Though I didn’t cry at any point, I think a lot of readers will. My emotions were all over the place when I was reading this, so prepare yourself of you’re prone to tears.



Final Thoughts

If you enjoy action-based manga, Akame Ga Kill is a must read for you. It’s short, has some of the best manga fight scenes I have seen, and is character driven, giving the reader a real emotional connection as the story progresses.

Honestly the only reason that it didn’t get a 5 out of 5 star rating was because it did feel a bit repetitive at times, and the writer had a hard time coming up with ways to advance the plot forward smoothly.


What did you think of Akame Ga Kill, and who was your favourite character? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on social media.
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Book Review: Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Rating: ★★★★.5☆

Buy it here.


Hello dear readers, I am excited about today’s review. I had bought Priory a few years ago after it was blowing up all over Twitter, but I kind of forgot about it for a while.

I never really knew anything about it. I knew it had dragons and magic, but that was it.

I am angry at myself for not getting to this book sooner, because it is one of my favourite standalone books of all time!

I’m a sucker for a book series, but its not often that I find a book on its own that I love this much.

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The Worldbuilding

I will admit right off the hop the only reason this book did not receive a 5 out of 5 is because the world building left me quite confused at times.

I think Shannon did a brilliant job of creating a diverse world, with so many cultures, peoples, and customs. Some of my favourite characters in fiction come from this book, but I found it a bit tough to follow at the beginning because of it all.

There was so much history, so many character names, so many stories that I found it hard to get a grasp of it all.

Once I put the pieces of the puzzle together and started remembering the names, the relationships, and the stories, it all started coming together.

I thought Shannon built a beautiful and diverse world in Priory, and it was just the surface. We get to see several places where there is nothing but a mere chapter of information.

The world of the Priory is definitely one I would want to dive into again.


The Romance

There isn’t much romance in the beginning of the book. There is marriage and rumors of a love affair, but it doesn’t come across as romance to me.

The romance comes in the second half of the book, in two same-sex relationships.

I will admit that this is the first book I have read where there were same-sex relationships, and I think I picked a good place to start.

The romance doesn’t happen in an instant. It doesn’t even happen after a few chapters. The romance happens over chapters and chapters, between characters that I didn’t think would fall in love.

It felt so natural though. Shannon does a perfect job of taking two characters and making them fall in love. First with the small moments in life, until bigger and bigger moments occur.

It is a true fantasy love story and the realest romance of any book couples that come to mind.


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The Characters’ Change

Almost every single one of the main characters are tested throughout Priory. Whether its their beliefs, their physical capabilities, or their wits, they are tested again and again.

Too often characters from books stay the same. They don’t change throughout their stories, or they change in ways that don’t make sense. Priory is different than that.

Priory allows the characters to grow from their experiences. Shannon writes characters that adapt based off of their circumstance, and turn into smarter, better, stronger people.

They change in believable ways, whether in an instant, or more slowly.

Shannon does a lot well with Priory, but this was one of the best aspects of the story.


The Magic

Magic is both important and hidden in the background in this story. It is a secret art that is looked down upon.

Though dragons are real, and the bonds between them are common, the use of magic itself is very limited.

Even when it is used, we don’t get much of an explanation of it. There are no hard set rules, but it is explained well enough that we understand what can be done.


The Final Thoughts

I love The Priory of the Orange Tree. I love the world, the characters, and I love Shannon’s writing style.

I don’t often come across books that seem to capture the human essence so well, and because of it I have gotten a hold of the rest of the books by Shannon.


What did you think of The Priory of the Orange Tree? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media.

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Book Review – Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Hello dear readers, I hope you are all doing well. Today I bring you the final book in The Reckoners’ Trilogy. If you haven’t yet, check out my review for the first two books; Steelheart and Firefight.

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When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when the Reckoners’ leader struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. . . . 

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Title: Calamity
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: ★★★★.5☆

Buy it here.


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Good Guy Gone Bad

The main storyline in this book has what’s left of the Reckoners fighting against Prof and Calamity (the epic that started it all). Prof has obviously been a good guy since the beginning, but we knew he was hiding something. There was always something mysterious about him, but Calamity finally gives us a chance to explore it more.

I like Prof’s character. I think we get a good glimpse into his descent to the dark side.

This isn’t a trope that I usually come across, but I would argue it is one of my favourite ones, when it is done well.

Sanderson does it well in this case, making Prof go bad over three books instead of just one. His turn makes readers hurt that much more. The turn becomes more painful to his allies and the reader is right alongside them with their anxieties.


Megan and David Romance

Their romance actually seems to have a bit of ground in this book. The last two books seemed like David chasing after Megan like a lost puppy dog, and she was leading him on with a piece of steak tied to a string.

In Calamity, Megan gives David a chance, and we get to explore what the relationship is like, and it actually seems like it might work.

Their romance doesn’t seem out of place. It’s natural, and helps drive the story forward.


More Superpowers

Sanderson does a fantastic job of creating new Epics. Calamity doesn’t shy away from creating new Epics this late in the story, and giving us more depth to some Epics that we already knew about.

We also get the mother of all Epics: Calamity. We learn about Calamity and how the Epics were created. We learn the truth to what creates Epics, and how they can overcome their fears and weaknesses.

I think Sanderson does a great job of exploring this new power system in such a short amount of time.


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Ties in with other works

Sanderson has confirmed that all of his books are related; they’re all a part of the same universe or something. Personally I don’t catch the small moments where the connections are made, but reading people’s thoughts, it is truly magnificent that Sanderson is able to create such a beautiful book universe.


Final Thoughts

I love the Reckoners series, it is a great YA read, and you can finish it really quickly if you’re as hooked as I was into it.

Honestly the only thing that stopped me from giving this book five stars was the David Metaphor storyline. It had its moments, but at times it was annoying and eye-roll inducing.


What did you think of Calamity? If you were in that world, what type of Power would you like to have? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media!
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Book Review: Heir of Ashes

Hello dear readers, I want to share a surprisingly fun read that came across my proverbial bookshelf a few weeks ago.

I was contacted by the author or Heir of Ashes about a month ago and I was asked I was interested in reading the book.

After reading the synopsis, I quickly said yes and added the book to my then small list of upcoming reads.

After I finished a few other books I was obligated to read, I opened up my Kindle App and quickly hacked away at Heir of ashes, and I am glad I did.

If you like this review, make sure to follow me on social media for more!
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Title: Heir of Ashes (The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 1)
Author: Jina S. Bazzar
Rating: ★★★.5☆☆

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp. 
By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted. 
As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers. 
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom.


Heir of Ashes (The Roxanne Fosch Files Book 1) by [Jina S. Bazzar, Elle W. Silver]

Magical Elements

I love a good magic system. Magic systems can make or break a fantasy book. They are important in creating a world that follows different rules than the ones we understand. Without the magic system, we are left with big holes in our understanding.

Heir of Ashes takes some very typical magical creatures; vampires, werewolves, faeiries, etc. and gives them a unique twist.

Though we don’t get to dive too deeply into the different creatures, we do get to a little bit, and I like the direction that Bazzar is taking it.


Setting Up a Series

Heir of Ashes is obviously the first book in the Roxanne Foshe series, and there are a lot of holes in the story. There are so many questions I have and plot lines that don’t get finished.

It doesn’t feel wrong, it feels natural. Bazzar doesn’t leave loose ends open just for the sake of a sequel, she leaves them open because it makes sense to.

There’s no time to tie up all the loose ends because of the way it is written. Bazzar does a great job of making sure the story flows nicely, allowing sequels to feel more natural and not forced.


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Non-stop Action

If I had to give Heir of Ashes credit on only one thing, it would be its intensity. There are plenty of things that I enjoy in Heir of Ashes, but I was not ready for the non-stop action.

It never lets up. There are two main parts of the story, the first is the parts where there is direct action, the second is when the action is being built up to.

The action will leave you on the edge of your seat, wracking your brain to figure out how the protagonist could possibly survive threat after threat after threat.

Jina S. Bazzar

Even when the action takes a back seat, you are bombarded with setting up the next plot line, solving any remaining issues, or giving readers tension by introducing potential threats.


Unique Take on Magic

I like a magic system that is different from others that I have read. Usually authors do a pretty good job, in my opinion, of differentiating their magic systems, but some do rely on old established principles.

Bazzar takes the older than time classics; vampires, werewolves, and what have you, and gives them a unique twist. They have hybrids, they have new magical creatures, but they had one aspect that I really liked.

Instead of giving characters the obvious designation of magical creature by showing them changed or showing certain traits, Bazzar added a nice touch that differentiated each magical creature.

She came up with the idea that each living thing had an aura. That way, she didn’t have to have out of place scenes where people were shifting or using magical powerful. Instead she can do it subtly, and focus more on character development.


Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed Heir of Ashes. It was a much faster read than I thought it was going to be, but I would say that was because of the non-stop action, and I didn’t want to wait to see what was going to happen.

If you like spy action thrillers mixed with magical creatures this is definitely a book for you.

If you have read Heir of Ashes, what did you think of it? Let’s chat in the comments, or tag me in something on social media.
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10 Reasons I Love High Fantasy Books

Hello dear readers, welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday put on by the Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is 10 Reasons I Love [Insert Topic]. Right away I knew what I wanted to talk about; High Fantasy. It is by far my favourite genre, and there are definitely more than 10 reasons why I love it.

If you have any reasons why you love High Fantasy Books, please add them to the list. I always like reading other peoples’ reasons for loving fantasy.
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Travel to Impossible Worlds

With high fantasy, we aren’t limited to our world, or some near identical variant of it. We go to Middle Earth, Westeros, or wherever the words take us. We get to escape the reality that is our lives because there is so little in common with our lives and the lives of those trying to destroy their enemies using magic.


The Stakes are High

High Fantasy gives us impossible odds. We aren’t trying to take down a gang member, escape this monster, or fall in love with the girl next door. With High Fantasy the goal is often to destroy a near god like figure. Something that powerful can only be defeated with great sacrifice and risk, and we go along for the ride.


Magic Systems

What is High Fantasy without world destroying magic? It’s part of the experience. We often get to explore the magic system alongside one of our main characters. What makes the magic system even more amazing is that they are so unique. Each high fantasy series has an aspect to it that makes it different from the rest and stand out.


Worldbuilding

This is my favourite aspect of High Fantasy. It’s like taking a history lesson of the book series. We get events that happened years before the books take place, we get character backstories, we get future books explaining the entire world.

The possibilities are near endless, and when an author does a good job at creating a world, magical things can happen.


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Spans over Several Books

When I read a book, there are too many times when I want more. I want to follow the characters more, I want to watch them grow. That’s only possible to do (properly) over several books. I want to dedicate days and weeks to one series. I want to immerse myself in the world over and over, not just over one book.

25 of the Best Fantasy Books You Should Read Next - James T Kelly ...

We Learn Who the Characters Are

High Fantasy often brings readers a lot of different character. They all have different backstories, different experiences and different goals. When we get to step into their mind and explore their thoughts and fears. It helps me connect to the characters and put myself into the story.


The Stories stick with you

When you follow a story or a character for several books, you can’t help but keep it with you. It becomes a part of who you are and what stories you like. It influences the way you feel about other books and how you connect with them.


“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” ― Albert Camus

A quote that becomes more and more true the more High Fantasy I read. With High Fantasy, we get to explore fantasy worlds that have no similarities with our own world. Despite that, we can explore human issues in a different light. We can explore and learn about things from the perspective of the victims and the accusers and hopefully come to a better understanding of the issue in our own lives.

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Recommend a high fantasy book

I want the happy ending

It’s not guaranteed, but more often than not, we get the heroes defeating the villain. It often comes with losses and hardship along the way, but the after books and books of struggling, the moment the heroes finally succeed feels amazing. It makes the struggle more than worth it.


Possibility for awesome memorabilia

I think the memorabilia world is bombarded with only a few fantasy series, mainly Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, and it sucks because there are so many opportunities for amazing TV shows, t shirts, and dozens of other things.


If you have any reasons why you love High Fantasy Books, please add them to the list. I always like reading other peoples’ reasons for loving fantasy.
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