At its core, the series is closer to high and epic fantasy. It has a slow pace, a nuanced world, and steady character development.
A School for Dragons (The Cavernis Trilogy, #1) by Amy Wolf
Brown tells the story of sixteen-year-old Darrow, a miner on Mars who is at the very bottom of society's rungs. His only hope of a pleasant life is to win a 'laurel' from his overlords, providing goods and luxuries for his group. Thankfully, he's no ordinary person, possessed with reflexes and abilities that put him above the average miner. Throughout the course of the series, Darrow works his way to the upper echelons of society in a world far more brutal than others in its genre. In his quest, he must face the realization that everything he knew was a lie and risk his life in a twisted and bloody contest.
In the words of the author:. Gaiman is one of the biggest names in modern fantasy, and for good reason. His ability to craft fairytale-like, lyrical stories is almost unparalleled. With The Graveyard Book, he goes a little outside of that norm, presenting us with a slightly darker story. Despite being for children, the novel starts with a very macabre tone.
Following a triple homicide, Nobody Owens seeks a new family in his local graveyard. Adopted by ghosts, vampires and other creatures, he makes his home among the tombstones. In a blend of creepy and sweet, the author manages to appeal to a whole spectrum of ages. Along the way, Nobody learns to use magic, the history of the ghosts, and the truth about his parents killer. More importantly, though, he struggles to gain the skill to return to the world of the living. Gaiman's book draws parallels with the same challenges children face today, raising questions about traditional upbringings and if you can truly be prepared for adulthood.
Entwined in that is a brilliant exploration of death and living in spite of loss. It's impossible to even gauge the impact Tolkien had on the genre when he created The Hobbit. It's the grandfather of coming of age fantasy, inspiring generations of authors to create. It was written as a simple story for his children, but its brilliance gave it international acclaim. Now, Bilbo is not the age you'd expect for such a story.
At the start of the novel, he's 50 years old. Not ancient by hobbit standards, but not young either. Still, it's hard to deny that the book fits into this list. It's a story of dragons, magic, and great evil. It details elves, trolls, orcs, and more.
But the underlying theme is Bilbo's growth into his true self. At the start of The Hobbit, he's shy, complacent, happy to live a simple life. By the time the journey ends, he is an adventurer, a legend, and much more confident. The events in the novel serve primarily as a catalyst for Bilbo's change, forcing him to rely on his own strengths.
Top 50 Best Coming of Age Fantasy Books
It's this aspect that makes the tale so relatable, reaching across age brackets to bring joy to both adults and children. Tolkien's unmatched world-building, lyrical prose, and standout characters only enhance this, creating a must-read for any fantasy fan. It's an incredible accomplishment for Polish video game studio CDProjekt, but much of that success comes from the work of one man, Andrzej Sapkowski.
Though his stories are popular domestically, Sapkowski didn't hit it quite as big outside of eastern Europe.
The Dragon War: The Complete Trilogy
Thankfully, that's not due to any lack of quality. More than anything, The Witcher series promises a unique experience. There's nothing that quite matches the brooding, creature-infested world and its incredible depth. The story follows Geralt, a mutated monster-hunter or 'Witcher', and his protege, Ciri.
It's in her that we see the main transformation. Born with elven blood, she will soon come into incredible power. Eager to protect her, Geralt and the other Witchers teach her to slay monsters, use a sword, and figure out her magical abilities. Throughout, Sapkowski manages to expertly juggle emotional scenes, action sequences, and politics to create a series that is an easy equal to its sister games. The Wheel of Time sits next to Tolkien's series as some of the most distinguished fantasy series of all time.
That's not an accident, it's an incredible epic that starts with a strong but familiar coming of age story. Rand starts in a small farming community and makes his way into legend.
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The premise has been done hundreds of times before, though admittedly Jordan got in pretty early. However, this book transcends those simply by its incredible attention to detail in world building and character. Every person in this series is a living, breathing human, and none more so than Rand. Jordan follows the classic 'chosen one' trope, quickly establishing Rand as the dragon reborn.
Joined by Mat and Perrin, he avoids the dark creatures that hunt him. The journey is offset by intense personal battles. Rand has to accept his destiny, Perrin has to face his fears, and Mat struggles with an evil influence. Everything unfolds so organically that you find yourself completely lost in Jordan's world, carried along by culture, growth, and perfect pacing.
- Early History;
- Jonathan Maberry.
- World War II.
- The Pit Dragon Trilogy - Wikipedia;
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His Dark Materials. Pullman's multi award-winning series is as inventive as it is emotional. It sits in a parallel to our world, with references to Oxford college yet beautifully crafted fantastical elements. It starts with Lyra, a young orphan, who, like everyone else, has a daemon. It takes the form of various animals, mirroring the soul of the human and settling into a final form with adulthood. In that single element, Pullman manages to weave a coming of age into the heart of his story.
There's a layered plot of other worlds, child thieves, and polar bears, tied together through the perspective of Lyra. It's far from predictable, forcing the reader and protagonist to confront their views as she's thrust into dangerous situations.
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With sparse prose, it describes the growth from a disobedient child to a strong young woman. It's hard to say what makes this series so special, but there's no question that it is just that. It has all the elements of a generic fantasy story an orphan, thieving, an island city. Yet Lynch manages to tell a story so compelling and fresh that it makes you evaluate your bias for those tropes. Some of that is thanks to the brilliance that is Locke Lamora.
The character builds an instant and likable connection with the reader. He's not a particularly nice person; in fact, he's a thief and a liar. Even so, his humor, energy, and loyalty leaving you pining for his next word and wondering what heist he will pull next. Locke's development isn't an easy one, nor is it thrown in your face. It's a slow build, a realization that things need to change, a need to adapt to circumstances. He struggles his way into legend, building an empire bit by bit through pure resilience.
He gets angry, he gets jubilant, and he learns the importance of both. A clever, turning plot runs through those themes, pairing with memorable characters to build an incredible yet unfinished series.