Best Books List, Fantasy
The Best YA Fantasy Books of 2012 and 2013

There are so many YA fantasy books out there that it’s pretty hard to whittle them down to the best ones! And while we’ve made a best YA fantasy books before, so many titles were not included in that list – mainly because of the sheer number of excellent YA fantasy books available out there! So here are some of the best YA fantasy books from 2012 and 2013 to help expand your reading list and to help you stockpile on more amazing YA reads!

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

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Percy and Annabeth have fallen into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. Meanwhile, the other five demigods have decided to follow Percy’s instructions and find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. Percy and Annabeth need to survive the house of Hades so that the Seven can seal the Doors from both sides and prevent Gaea’s rise. But the sealing of doors might also mean something drastic for Percy and Annabeth – that they won’t be able to escape.

What do the readers say?
“This book was filled with key character growth. The imagery bombarded my mind relentlessly and kept me fully engaged. I loved it and can’t wait to start the last book right now!”Carolina, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Teardrop by Lauren Kate

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Eureka Boudreaux’s mother has passed away, and Eureka is being followed by pale blond Ander, a boy who knows too much and who tells Eureka that she’s in grave danger. Eureka’s situation is making her want to cry – despite being told by her mother over and over again that she shouldn’t. But the mysterious Ander doesn’t know everything – that ever since her mother’s death, Eureka has ceased to want to live, caring about very little except her friend Brooks, and a locket, a letter, a stone, and an ancient book. The book tells a tale about a girl whose heart had been broken, and who had drowned an entire continent with her tears. Eureka is about to find out that it’s just not a story, and that Ander might actually be telling the truth.

What do the readers say?
“I loved this book! This book has been amazing, and I have been reading it for three days before I finished and I loved it the whole time. There were some words that I had to look up because I had no idea what they were,, but I like that i’m not just reading a fantasy or fiction story, but I am learning some things. I am pretty sure this was on my older brother’s(who’s going into high school) reading list for the summer, and I’m reading it! I just enjoyed it the whole time. I recommend this to middle schoolers and up. Thank you Lauren Kate, for your amazing book, I can’t wait to read more.”mjc, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

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A sixteen-year-old pupil called Archer Fairfax returns to Eton College in April 1883, after being absent for three months due to a fractured femur. But these are all lies – Archer did not have a fractured femur, had never been to Eton before, and is not even who he claims he is. Because the one they believe to be Archur Fairfax is actually a girl, who fools the entire country, and who actually has the power to challenge the greatest tyrant on the face of the earth.

What do the readers say?
“This book was such delicious YA fantasy awesomeness and I really enjoyed it. It didn’t hurt that it utilized some of my favorite devices: girl disguised as a boy, boarding school setting, and a romance that was subtle and believable (NO insta-love). The prologue set the stage nicely and once I started this book, I had a hard time putting it down. The pacing is good and the story is told in a way that makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next until suddenly you reach a point where you NEED to know what happens next and then there’s no going back after that. The story is heavily driven by prophecies and seeing how everything plays out is thrilling and intriguing.” BookY, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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David Charleston is determined to exact revenge on Steelheart, but the path to fulfill his quest is far from easy. David needs the help of Reckoners, a rebel group that wants to mete out justice. Little does David know, the Reckoners need him, too.

What do the readers say?
“Awesome new fantasy series. I hadn’t heard anything about this when I first came across it so I had no expectations, no spoilers, no warning. But as someone who loves fantasy, loves comic books, loves dystopian settings, this book was AWESOME. The author takes a whole new spin (at least in my eyes) on comic book heroes, and his spin not only makes sense but is absolutely entertaining. Love the main protagonist, who has a back story that is so well written. I would highly recommend this book.”DHC90024, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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Charlotte Branwell, head of the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, is desperate to get to Mortmain before he uses his Infernal Devices – pitiless automatons – to destroy the Shadowhunters. The only thing he needs is Tessa Gray, whom he abducts. And the boys who love Tessa, Will and Jem, will do anything and everything it takes to save her. But Tessa knows that the only one who can save her is herself.

What do the readers say?
“Clare has a gift with writing strong characters that you connect with. No matter how minor, you feel like you personally know every character mentioned. The plot has so many unexpected twists and turns that had me guessing and on the edge of my seat until the very last page of Clockwork Princess.”Rachael, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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Celaena Sardothien is now the king’s royal assassin, after having spent a year in the Salt Mines of Endovier. But Celaena isn’t loyal to the crown, and she has to keep up this charade and pretend to do the king’s bidding. And given tasks that might endanger all that she cares for. Meanwhile, dark forces gather on the horizon, threatening to destroy her entire world. Celaena is now faced with a choice – one that will test her loyalty, and one that will make her face the question of who she’s truly willing to fight for.

What do the readers say?
“I am rambling, I know but I told you – I cannot stop gushing about this book. I love it to bits and pieces and I love Sarah J. Maas for just being so brilliant (and not to mention so damn awesome). Read this book if you love fantasy, assassins, a good romance and a book filled with humor.”Step Into Fiction, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Alina is hunted across the True Sea and haunted by the lives she took on the Fold. Now she must live with Mal in an unfamiliar land and keep her identity as the Sun Summoner under wraps. But her fate chases her, as the Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold, more powerful and dangerous than ever. Unable to ignore the threat, Alina returns to the country she had abandoned, to fight the forces against Ravka. But the more her power grows, the deeper Alina slides into the Darkling’s game, and the further away she is taken from Mal. Torn between love, country, and her power, Alina has to make tough decisions – decisions that might risk her losing everything.

What do the readers say?
“This book is even better than the first in the trilogy. I started this review with tears in my eyes–partly because I have so long to wait for the third book, but mostly because I am so sad. Alina has gone through so much and Ms. Bardugo is going to put her and Mal and Ravka through so much more. Which makes for great fiction, fiction that moves the heart and stimulates the mind.”Diane B. Wilkes, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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Seraphina is a gifted musician and a new member of the royal court in the kingdom of Goredd, a place where dragons and humans live and work together. Seraphina has a secret she’s always kept to herself, however – a secret that gets in danger of being revealed when she is drawn into an investigation involving the murder of a member of the royal family. With the help of the handsome and perceptive Prince Lucien, the two proceed to find out what truly happened. But their investigations turn up something sinister – a plot to destroy the tenuous peace holding Goredd together. Now Seraphina has to struggle between keeping her secret hidden and saving the kingdom.

What do the readers say?
“To be honest, I don’t think there’s a single thing I didn’t enjoy about this book. It’s a gorgeous and compelling piece of literature and I definitely recommend checking it out. It’s true that it took me a while (nearly one-third of the book) to really get into the story, but when I did, I didn’t want to stop reading. I am absolutely in love with Rachel Hartman’s writing style and can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!”Evie Seo, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

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Sydney Sage is an Alchemist who just wants to go to college. But fate leads her to a boarding school in Palm Springs – where she has to protect Jill Dragomir, a Moroi princess, from assassins who are bent on throwing the Moroi court into chaos. Sydney gets a chance to redeem herself from an earlier disgraceful act, and is now seen as a model Alchemist. But as she grows closer to Jill and friends Eddie and Adrian, she starts questioning Alchemist beliefs – beliefs she has held dear for the longest time. What Sydney learns may change the world, as she finds that she may just have the key to prevent becoming the deadly Strigoi. And not only that – she starts falling into a romance with Brayden, a boy she’s forbidden to love.

What do the readers say?
“Overall, The Golden Lily was a great installment in the Bloodlines series, making me hopeful for the upcoming books. Romance, action & witty comebacks are on the menu, everything to please adults and young adults alike.”Tynga’s Reviews, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

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Ronan is one of the Raven Boys, a group of friends looking for a king named Glendower. They believe Glendower is found somewhere in the hills near their school, Aglionby Academy. And the path to where Glendower is, which has long been kept hidden, is now rising to the surface, and changing everything.

What do the readers say?
“I love a lot of books. And yeah, no surprise, I adore this one. But mostly? I’m jealous as S*** of Maggie Stiefvater for having written this. Because this is the kind of fiction you don’t just adore with your heart: if you’re like me, you pour over it for hours, trying to understand the evil brilliance behind each uniquely flawless turn of phrase, each effortless plot twist, the knot at the end appearing out of nowhere, perfectly tied.”Michelle Hazen, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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In Tana’s world, there are walled cities known as Coldtowns, where quarantined monsters and humans live togeether as predator and prey. And once you enter Coldtowns, you can’t ever leave. And it’s where Tana’s troubles start, as she wakes up one day surrouned by corpses, after an ordinary party. The only other survivors are her infected ex-boyfriend and a mysterious boy with a dark secret. Determined to save the three of them, Tana resolves to go straight to the heart of Coldtown herself.

What do the readers say?
“A good vampire story is always hard to write. You could end up with something fluffy like Twilight — or something dark and almost horrible like Carmilla. Holly Black finds the ultimate balance between the two — writing a world where vampires are looked upon as gods by some, but everything is not as it seems. The story is a rich tapestry of blood, decadence, disgrace, and awesomeness. If you like a decent vampire story, I suggest reading THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN immediately.”Jennzah, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

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Seventeen-year-old sorcerer queen Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have taken the man she loves, and she has to journey into the darkness to save Hector. With the help of her friends, Elisa goes on a dangerous journey, where she’ll have to face deadly challenges, and find out secrets about her self – secrets that could change the course of history.

What do the readers say?
“This book blew me away. All expectations I had were blown out of the water completely. Rae Carson is a force to be reckoned with, no questions asked. While I’m sad to see this series go, I can honestly say that I am completely satisfied with the extensive and amazing journey Carson took me on.”Lili’s Reflections, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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The pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji are bound by a curse, and their quest to break it finds them stranded on an enchanted island somewhere in the north, armed with nothing but swords, wits, and the knoweldge of how to break the curse: completing three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani, and another unusual ally, both make their way to the south to seek what seems to be beyond their reach. But Naji has made enemies from the Mists, and Ananna meanwhile has to face the consequences of going up agaisnt the Pirate Confederation. Ananna and Naji both have to deal with the curse and their personal affairs – and understand the feelings they’re starting to develop for each other.

What do the readers say?
“Overall I really enjoyed The Pirate’s Wish and the series as a whole. There was a ton of action and fights along with pirates battling it out on their ships. There was actually a part where there were talking sharks it took a little getting used to since it was so unexpected. If you haven’t picked up this series which is a duology I highly recommend it.”Book Flame, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

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Queen Bitterblue was only a child when she ascended to the throne of Monsea, and given her youth, her advisers had to run the kingdom for her. But their decisions aren’t all agreeable, especially with how they handle her father Leck’s legacy, who ruled with the help of his mind-altering talent Grace, and his penchant for darkness and violence. Taking things into her own hands in order to discover the real past of Monsea, she disguises herself and travels through the streets of Monsea alone, where she meets two thieves who hold the truth to Leck’s reign. And one of them holds a key to Bitterblue’s heart.

What do the readers say?
“Overall, Cashore is an author of incredible dexterity. Her work reminds me of Tamora Pierce’s writing in many ways (an author she herself claims as a source of great inspiration), and I anticipate only great things from her in the future, whatever characters and universes she chooses to bring to life.”Caitie, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

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Aurora and the narrator have grown up the best of friends, but their unbreakable bond gets challenged with the gifted musician, Jack, comes into their lives. Both have to deal with a heavy decision and decide what matters more: love or friendship. But the already complicated issue doesn’t stop there, as Jack’s music has managed to awaken an ancient evil – and that there might be more worlds than the one the girls are accustomed to.

What do the readers say?
“If this book is any indication of the quality of future books, the METAMORPHOSES Trilogy is one to definitely keep your eye on. Clocking in around 240 pages, it a quick read but leaves the reader with a dark and ominous feeling. The story line wraps up satisfactorily without leaving the reader hanging, but still eager to see where the story goes from here. Though this is billed as a YA novel, I would strongly suggest it only be given to mature YA readers. I think it worked well as an adult story actually; the only thing that felt truly YA about it were the characters’ ages. Highly recommended for those readers looking for something a little darker, something a little out of the ordinary.”Christal, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

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Isadora’s family is unusual, to say the least. She’s the human daughter of the Egyptian gods, Isis and Osiris. Her relatives are immortal and steeped in ancient mythological drama, and Isadora’s just getting tired of it. So when she and her brother get the chance to move to California, she immediately jumps on it. But escaping her mythological family doesn’t mean her life would be simple upon arriving at California, as she learns that she has to deal with her own dangerous complications – and that there’s no such thing as a break from her family.

What do the readers say?
“This book is the perfect blend of plot, humor, and suspense! I also loved that it was very short. Just over 250 pages long and is a stand alone. I hope to read more stories from this world of gods in our time!”Crossroad Reviews, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

World After by Susan Ee

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Few people have managed to survive the angel apocalypse, and they’re all trying to get back on their feet and pick up the pieces of what’s left in the modern world. But for Penryn, getting back isn’t simple, as a group of people have captured her sister Paige, believing that Paige is a monster. Their mother is heartbroken, and Penryn goes out to look for Paige – only to find that the streets are empty and that the survivors are gone. She finds out that the angels might have a secret plan – and that they’re willing to go to the extremes to fulfill what they really want to do.

What do the readers say?
“Penryn has got to be one of my favorite YA heroines of all time. She’s bold, courageous, stubborn, selfless, smart and so strong yet despite all the hardship she has been through she’s still very empathetic to others. Even when she does stupid things she’s smart enough to realize this is a bad idea but her conscience won’t allow her to just walk away. The brief moments she gets to expose her vulnerability and insecurity are so touching. It is a nice reminder that beneath her strength and bravado this is still a young, inexperienced girl. Her stammering during the few romantic scenes made me laugh out loud and cringe for her at the same time.”ThisisNotaCliffhanger, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

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Ethan Chase just wants to get back to a normal life, after journeying into the lands of the fey. But a normal life isn’t in the books for him, as he can see faeries every day, and as he’s forbidden to even see his girlfriend, Kenzie. More than that, his sister is one of the most powerful faeries in Nevernever – and she needs his help. Her son Keirran is missing, and he might do something reckless that could fracture both worlds human and faery. It is up to Ethan to save Keirran, and to prevent him from slipping further into darkness.

What do the readers say?
“The Iron Traitor was a captivating read and I was turning the pages quickly because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The world that Julie builds is spectacular and I love indulging myself in it. This book in particular is frustrating as it has been left on one amazing cliffhanger. I cannot believe I have to wait a whole year to see what happens next! But the whole build up to it was exciting!! I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be on the edge of my seat waiting for more!!”Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Place, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

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Karou is an art student and a monster’s apprentice, who has just recently discovered who and what she really is. But with this knowledge of her true identity comes with yet another truth: that she had fallen in love with her enemy, who ultimately betrayed her. And the world had to pay for her failed love. As Karou builds an army with the help of her allies, Akiva wages a war – a different sort: a battle for redemption and hope.

What do the readers say?
“Taylor’s gift is, yes, the imaginative worlds she has woven with her series, but it is hardly her only talent. Words and worlds collide between her pages. Loves are lost and won. Hopes are forgotten and renewed, all made real and vivid. Throughout her novels, Taylor conjures the mystical, the surreal natures of impossible creatures who breathe full gasps of hope and promise. Their struggles become ours, their triumphs and tragedies are felt in our hearts.”TS Tate, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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Evie O’Neill has been shipped ot to New York City, a place filled with pickpockets, Ziegfield girls, and speakeasies. And she has to live with her uncle Will, who is absolutely obsessed with occult matters. Evie’s scared that he might find out about her darkest secret: that she has a supernatural power, which has only caused trouble for her so far. But Evie finds that her power might actually be helpful when the police find a murdered girl with a cryptic symbol branded on her. Aiding her uncle Will, Evie jumps headfirst into a dangerous mission – and all the while, something dark has awakened.

What do the readers say?
“At nearly 600-pages-long, this behemoth of a novel offers an insightful, compelling narrative, a meticulously researched historical and cultural background, a completely mind-blowing world-and-character building, and a disturbing story line that is sure to send chills down your spine. Could this book have been shorter? Perhaps. Would I want it to be shorter? Absolutely no. I loved every detail, every little nuance that Libba Bray weaved into the plot.”Evie Seo, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

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Avry has done what few girls would dream of ever doing – fighting and surviving the plague, and defeating King Tohon. But she faces yet another challenge in her life: her heart-mate Kerrick is nowhere to be found, and Avry is afraid that he might be gone for good. Meanwhile, another threat surfaces. The Skeleton King is determined to claim the Fifteen Realms for himself, and with realms’ armies in disarray, the Skeleton King’s threat is more pressing than ever. The world needs Avry’s healing powers, but she has to decide carefully – whether or not she goes with love, or loyalty. And the fate of the world rests on her decision.

What do the readers say?
“I was very surprised by this series. I have never read anything even close to the storyline which was great and refreshing. I am [an] avid reader and highly recommend this for anyone looking for something new.”Velma, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

And that’s it for some of the best YA fantasy books from 2012 and 2013! Do you have your favorite YA fantasy books from 2012 and 2013? If so, let us know!

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