Kat+Bunny Present: Top 10 Books For DIVERSITY IN FANTASY & Top 10 For Best *NON* High Fantasy Titles!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

Hey Bookworms!

Today, you get a DOUBLE DOSE of 10s because Kat and I are BOTH taking part!

Bunny and Kat's friend Casey made this fab banner
(Because he's AWESOME like that...even if he doesn't have a real-life animal nickname like us!)
and Bunny's friend W. Memes colored it, while Bunny made the fun typography!
(And she's so awesome that she's done guest posts for both FTF and Splash this past year!)
Great teamwork!
We'll be using it when we want to do posts together in the future!

This week's topic:
Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like...!

Kat and I are both huge fans of fantasy, and we both had very different ideas for what titles to choose!

I wanted to focus on Diversity in Fantasy (and narrowed it down to main characters in a series), and Kat wanted to focus on fantasy genres OTHER than High Fantasy.

So if you like fantasy, you're in the right place today!!!

Kat's Top 10:

~Great Fantasy for when you DON'T want High Fantasy!~

Here are some titles for when you're tired of high fantasy...
...but don't want to stray too far from home. It happens. Sometimes you're just not in the mood for crooked kings, evil queens, witches, quests for a lost throne, complicated lands and maps, or even dreamy knights. You want something different, but still within the vast realm of fantasy without, y'know, the usual fantasy stories. 
Without further ado, I present a fantastical list of not high fantasy!

1) NewSoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
These fun books have all of the familiar beasties without the familiar background. No knights, queens, princesses, or thrones in sight. What you get instead is a more modern society trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of reincarnation, and the mystery that comes with someone new. For generations, the same people have mysteriously been reborn over and over again... until Ana. Ana faces the full spectrum (good and bad) of attitudes while just trying to live life and learn, when she stumbles on a deadly and permanent secret that changes everything forever.

2) His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers

All of the cut-throat politics of high fantasy, but not the usual players. Set in France in the late 1400's, these books twist history with fantasy for a clever and thrilling walk with death. Seriously. The leading ladies Ismae, Sybella, and Annith serve the old God of Death and are smack in the middle of battling for Brittany's independence from France, while learning in the process about what kind of woman they individually want to be. Each are remarkably engaging, witty, and fierce in their own ways. Oh, and there are dreamy guys, but not dreamy knights.

3) Born of Illusion Series by Teri Brown
If you want magic and all that jazz, pick this little darling up for a good time. Set in the jazz age of New York, Anna Van Housen ( rumored to be the daughter of Houdini!) will mystify you with her magic acts with her mother, then amaze you when she uses her actual powers, which she keeps secret. For good reasons: her mother is the star of their little show. No exceptions. Yet Anna's powers keep giving her visions of her mother's death. How can she help her if she can't tell her anything about it? There's a lot going on that Anna finds out, but has to keep quiet, or else. Charming and quick-to-read, this one will keep you guessing.

4) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
 If you haven't read them yet, that is, do it! Here we might have a princess on a quest for her lost throne and an evil queen, but that's where the usual-suspects stop. These books might have their roots in being fairy-tale retellings, but they are sci-fi to the core. No magic or dragons or arrogant wizards here. Technology, space ships, and computers everywhere! Character perspectives vary from book-to-book, but it all starts with Cinder, who discovers she is not just a cyborg and second-class citizen. The Lunar Chronicles will take you up, up, and away with Cinder as she fights for her life and the life of both the citizens of Earth and the Moon.


Another sci-fi retelling, but this one is a good stand-alone. Essie just wants a quiet life. Hers is cold and gritty on a mining colony, but she likes it. All of a sudden, a young man crash lands onto her planet and into her life and reveals her true identity and plans to rip her quiet little life away. She is thrust right back into the world she fought so hard to leave. Will she stay this time, or run away again? Also very quick to read, and very much its own fun story. (I'll admit I was worried this would be too much like the Lunar Chronicles, but it wasn't!)

Bunny's Top 10:

 ~Diversity in Fantasy~
(Feat. MC in a series!)

1) Kingdom of Xia Series by Cindy Pon
These books take place in Xia, a fictional world very reminiscent of Ancient China. And the Chinese mythology woven into the series is beautiful!

2) Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of of Orovalle is married off to King Alejandro de Vega of Joya d'Arena. The books are peppered with Spanish and, I'm not really sure if the world is supposed to more closely resemble Spain and the Tabernas Desert or the Sonoran or Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. This would change Elisa's ethnicity, but in my head, she's Hispanic, so...! This is one of the most unique YA fantasy series in recent years, about an overweight princess with a Godstone in her belly who has a special destiny. She also goes from being a weak creature that's easy to dislike to someone fierce and amazing that I love as a character!

3) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Did you know that CINDER is set in Beijing, SCARLET in France, CRESS in the Sahara Desert, and WINTER on the Lunar Moon? There are multiple countries and cultures and ethnicities at play in these books, which makes them even more awesome. If you like fairy tales or sci-fi books that explore concepts such as space and cyborgs, you'll adore this series!

4) The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck

This series is set in India, with an ancient curse. It has some interesting mythology and bespelled princes. My manager has been asking me to read this series forever, and I still have to get around to it. It's one of her all-time favorite YA series!

5) The Name of the Blade Trilogy by Zoƫ Marriott

This takes place in London, but it's about a girl named Mia Yamato who, upon sneaking her family's ancient Katana from its resting place in the attic, unleashes magic and mayhem. Um, and there's a kitsune demon fox spirit. WIN!

6) Darkess Rising Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

This trilogy features a Native American girl named Maya and shape-shifting mountain lions. I haven't read this series or even had it on my radar because I thought it was about vampires or werewolves or something. But now that I know it has Native American folklore, I want to find out more about this series!

7) The Dragon Chronicles by Ellen Oh
I've been waiting to read this series forever. I didn't have time to read it until the second book was out...and then decided to wait one more year and read them all back-to-back despite my supreme WANT of this series. The end of my waiting arrives this month! Kira lives in Hansong and is the sole female in the king's army. She's also the prince's personal bodyguard. Yes, this series will be amazing! I love all the mythical creatures on each book, especially the Kitsune (or, as they say in Korean, the  kumiho!) on the cover of the second book, WARRIOR!

8) The Bhinian Empire Series by Miriam Forster
Nisa lives in the Bhinian Empire, a blend of historical South Asian and east Asian countries, especially China, India, and Japan. The series blends original fantasy with court politics and Asian mythology. At the moment, this series is a duology with two companion novels, but I could see a third book tying it all together!

9) The Magic Under Duology by Alison Goodman
Nimira is from the Far East that resembles China and India, but is an alternative Earth.and dances for a living, barely eeking by. Eventually, she moves up in the world, but after stumbling upon a forgotten curse, danger drops by to shake things up! Jackie has a beautiful, fairy tale-esque quality to her writing...and she's an awesome human being to boot!

10) The Killer Unicorns Series by Diana Peterfreund

The main character's boyfriend Giovanni is half-Italian and half African-American, which is a pretty cool mix if you ask me! The series features several POC and nationality, which is pretty awesome. PLUS there are killer unicorns. Mythology, romance, magic, adventure...this series has a bit of everything! It's also set in Rome, which is just really cool and intriguing and different.

11) Eon Duology by Jaclyn Dolamore
(I'm cheating...I somehow wound up with an extra!)
This duology is drenched in East Asian history and folklore. Girls are restricted from many things in life. There are DRAGONS. The fantasy and mythology in this series are beautiful, especially if you like court politics mixed in with magic!

Which books would you recommend in these genres?


  1. This is a great list! I can't wait to start reading the Lunar Chronicles. I've heard so many great things about it

  2. I'm just getting into reading fantasy, so it's good to have some recommendations from those that love it! Great list! My TTT

  3. I should have mentioned Ellen Oh! Her books read like action/adventure comics because her descriptions are so cool!

  4. I LOVED the Lunar Chronicles so much! I'm planning on reading Incarnate, Eon, and the Girl of Fire and Thorns, and a couple others! I'll have to check the others out! Great list!

    Lizzie @ lizziethesarcasticblonde.blogspot.com

  5. It seems like fantasy is such a common and well-loved genre. I've never gotten into it myself, but some day, maybe... When I see lists like these I feel like I might be missing out on something. ;)

    Aidyl @ Noveltea

  6. What a fun list! I have just read some of the Lunar Chronicles, so I will have to check out some of these other titles!

  7. The His Fair Assassin Trilogy is a good one!! Nice list of books for this week's TTT post!! Here's a link to my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-tuesday-ten-books-for-readers.html

  8. Great list! I've read a few of these but I' going to have to look up the others.

  9. I love these topic ideas, girls! So many of these fantasy reads are favorites of mine, tho I'll always consider myself a contemporary girl first and foremost. :D
    The Lunar Chronicles, Fire and Thorns, Stitching Snow, Incarnate, His Fair Assassins... LOVE!

  10. I loved Diana Peeterfreund's unicorn series, and the books on your list I've liked. But I was thrown by your Darkness Rising mention, as I initially thought it was The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper (which I don't think had much diversity in it). I've found many more contemporary supernatural books with ethnic diversity than fantasy, so great list! Now I'd just like to see fantasy with sexual diversity (gender issues, as well as preference). :)


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