Do you have a lot of free time that you would like to spend thinking about dragons? Is the weather too unbearable to do anything but stay inside all day reading about orphaned teenage heroes? Do you just like books with maps in the front? If so, you might like these fantasy books, because they are some our favorites.
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
It takes a skilled writer, or perhaps some kind of wizard, to write a book the size of the Yellow Pages that still leaves the reader wanting more, but Patrick Rothfuss did just that. (Look at this face and tell me he's not a wizard.) The Kingkiller Chronicles tell the story of Kvothe, an orphaned genius studying magic (it's called "sympathy" in the books) who is trying to track down the Chandrian, a posse of evil creatures that killed his parents. He plays the lute in his spare time. The Name Of The Wind, the first book in the series, is so densely packed with characters and backstory and plot that it's hard to follow at times, but that just means that you can read it over again! The second book, The Wise Man's Fear, presumably has lots of good stuff too, but we haven't read it yet SO NO SPOILERS, OKAY?
The Chanters Of Tremaris series, by Kate Constable
Who likes fluffy fantasy books from the early 00s written by obscure Australian authors? You do! (Shut up, yes you do.) If the Kingkiller Chronicles are the T-bone steaks of fantasy books, then the Chanters of Tremaris series is like a parfait; many layered, easy to swallow, and served in a glass with a long spoon and raspberries on top. The first book The Singer of all Songs clocks in at only about 200 pages, but manages to set up a whimsical and wonderful world filled with magic ("chantment"), music, love, death, suspense, and a cast of plucky characters (including not one but three orphaned teenage geniuses) who happen to be on a boat most of the time. It's great fun.
The Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn
The Tales of the Otori are set in mythological Japan; that is, a place that is based on Japan but not actually called Japan, which was a smart move on the part of the author, as she has a whole world of history to draw on but can get away with wild historical inaccuracy. Takeo is the (orphaned, teenage) hero with magic ninja powers and royal heritage, who is forced to choose between these two sides of his nature whilst fighting off a few warlords and jealous uncles out to kill him. The Tales of the Otori series has mythology, spirituality, and a secret tribe of ass-kicking ninjas—what more do you want in your five-book trilogy?
Various things by Scott Westerfeld
There's a fine line between sci-fi and fantasy—with robots on one side making rude gestures at the dragons on the other side, and the vampires gossiping about the aliens, and the wizards forming a covert pact with the mad scientists to get newts on the cheap—and Scott Westerfeld has set up a deck chair and umbrella right on the line, and is just chilling out with a Pepsi like, "Guys, can't we all be friends?" (and the dwarves are like, "Not 'til the mutants give us back our helmets!" and the mutants are like, "Oh go braid your beards, losers.") Anyway, Scott Westerfeld is a good writer in both genres. His newest work, the Leviathan series, is so steampunk we can't even handle it. Like Lian Hearn, he has taken a historical setting (World War One) and hand-picked his favorite parts, then added huge walking machines and genetically engineered hybrid animals which are nightmarish and adorable all at once. In addition to teenage orphan heroes and a map in the front, it also has a flying whale-blimp, so you should definitely read it.
What's your favorite fantasy book?