If you’re like us, book hangovers are the worst! And waiting for the next installment of your favorite series (Cruel Prince, anyone?) is like waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve — BRUTAL. So here’s a list of some awesome hidden gems in the world of fantasy — books that are sure to cure that hangover while you wait for your next favorite book!
The adventures on which authors take us can have lasting impact. Nothing could be more true of the epic saga from the visionary mind of J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. Whether you’re an avid fan of the books or a binge watcher of the movies (or both), Tolkien’s world is as unforgettable as it is magical.
But sometimes, the authors themselves lived a life as adventurous as the worlds they created, and J. R. R. Tolkien is no exception.
It’s about what it means to love. And to be loved. About courage. It’s about a fellowship. ~Tolkien
The new film of his life, Tolkien, looks like it won’t disappoint — an epic love story, coupled with his experience in World War I, which inspired the juxtaposition of beauty and horror in his books the likes of The Shire and Mordor. We don’t know about you, but we will be waiting with bated breath for this film. Check out the brand new trailer and sound off in the comments — are you as excited as we are?
You know it’s true. You’ve all had one. And you know what we’re talking about… book boyfriends. And in fantasy and færytales, there is no shortage of swoon-worthy book boyfriends. So here’s a list of the best, most swoon-worthy, in our humble opinion. What do you think? Are we missing any?
A Court of Mist and Fury
Whether it’s his snarky comments, his incessant flirting, or those wings… Rhysand is at the top of the list for a reason. Of course, you’ll need to read the first book in the series to understand the full measure of Rhys’s appeal, but let’s just say… it’s worth at least fifty-five chapters.
There is only one word for Desmond: swagger. He’s as confident as he is doting, all with a healthy measure of snark. He’s the king of the night, after all. Yes, please.
We dare you to tell us this is not a færytale. After all, what’s more romantic that time-traveling through history to find your true love? And yes, we only read Outlander for the history. It’s definitely not for Jamie Fraser with his devil-may-care grin, his absurdly romantic streak, or his unyielding devotion to the woman from the future. It’s not for that kilt, either. No, it’s definitely just the history…
The Purloined Prophecy
We’ll be honest… this one surprised us. While Prince Ferryl is certainly deliciously romantic in book one, Michael is… well, Michael is just plain perfect in book two. His loyalty at odds with his heart makes for probably our favorite færytale love story of the year. (Can we take a moment to fangirl over that beach scene, please?) We’re absolutely dying to see where this one goes with book three.
You know how every now and then you run across someone about whom you say ‘wow, they’re just so full of LIFE’. That’s Dammerung: supremely confident, willing to do almost anything to protect his people but without losing sight of the bigger picture or the end goal. Bonus? He’s also a human/animal shifter.
The Pirate Princess
Will is your quintessential leading man. Tall, dark, and swoon-worthy handsome, his charm is made to melt when he bows over a hand, whispering “my lady.” But as much as he enjoys dashing to rescue his beloved damsel, his true character shines when he prefers to fight alongside her. Oh, and to add to it all, he just so happens to be a prince.
Maybe most humans would find him appalling, what with that bluish skin and those strange eyes, but we certainly don’t. And apparently neither does Ildiko. Where most of his kind are brash and cruel to humans, Brishen has a kindness in him that runs deep and true. And the way he loves Ildiko… let’s just say, it’s near perfect.
Legacy of Luck
Eamonn loves three things: Horses, gambling, and women, not necessarily in that order. He’s tall, blond, and flashes his engaging smile at every young lass that passes by. Until he meets Katie. *distant maniacal laughter*
Let’s be real: Brigandell wins just for his name alone. But it’s his understated, quiet nature that has us swooning. Where a lot of leading men in fantasies and færytales tend to be boisterous or swaggering, Brigan is a closed book and a deep well. But when he loves someone, he loves them fiercely and without restraint. So in that regard, we’re a little jealous of Fire…
The River Maiden
A Scot, a folklorist, a veteran, subject of a prophecy… Need we go on? A delicious tale of balancing duty with desire, Dermot hits the list for about a dozen different reasons.
Queen of Shadows
Yes, this is the fourth book in a series, so yes, this one is a sllloooowww burn. But there’s a reason this series was a New York Times Bestseller. And Rowan? Well, he’s just plain beautiful — in the most broody, grumpy, warrior-squalor way. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a shape-shifting, ancient Fae warrior with a penchant for vengeance, either. Sarah J. Maas may be the queen of fantasy, but she is quite possibly the queen of perfect tattoed Fae love interests, too.
A seasoned fey warrior, master of understated snark, and solidly dependable (sometimes infuriatingly so) anchor, he can wrangle irritable wyslings, bratty bakers, and excitable protégés with a calm many a mother would want to steal. Did I mention that he can shift into a cat? I mean, what’s not to love about him?
Finn is handsome, wealthy, and, oh yeah… heartless. But his cruelty hides deep wounds. And when those wounds are exposed? Well that’s when his true beauty shines through.
Shadows of Lela
Prince Teryn doesn’t seem a likely love interest at first. In fact, at the beginning of Shadows of Lela he’s downright naive and highly misguided in his romantic pursuits. But when he meets Cora, he learns the true meaning of lasting love and that it starts with friendship.
Some of the most gorgeous book covers out there are in the fantasy and færytale genre, and we at Epic Færytales thought it was high time to pay tribute to some of the artists that make these beauties. We highly recommend checking out the artists who poured their talents into these incredible covers. They’re Insta-candy waiting to happen. And know what else is cool? Some of the books in this list were designed and illustrated by the authors themselves! Check it out!
L R W Lee
Cover illustrated by Charlie Bowater.
An Heir in Shadow
Cover illustrated by Anna Shoemaker.
An Enchantment of Ravens
Cover illustrated by Charlie Bowater.
Cover illustrated by Jason Chan.
Uncommon World Series
Cover illustrated by Merilliza Chan
Asunder: A Vatan Chronicle
Cover illustrated by L. Steinworth.
Shadows of Lela
Cover illustrated by Merilliza Chan.
The Promised One
Morgan G Farris
Cover illustrated by Morgan G Farris.
So I wrote this novel… and I didn’t know where to stick it in the canon of my fantasy series, The Chalam Færytales. Why? Because it’s a companion story. It’s parallel. Going on at the same time as the main story. But it’s not the main characters.
It’s delightfully feisty and…tiny (this is a pun. Read the novel and you’ll see why. But I digress…). And those who have read it say it’s their favorite in the series so far.
So I did something insane.
I’m releasing the novel a chapter at a time over on Patreon. Unedited. Raw. In the buff. You get it. I’m releasing it to the world in all its unpolished glory. A sort of peek-behind-the-curtain, if you will. In fact, if you join my Patreon at the $5 level, you’ll get access to this novel today (not to mention support the curation of all manner of færytale artisans: authors, musicians, artists and more — the people who bring a bit of magic to the world.)
But for now, I thought I’d share the first chapter with you. A little taste test. I hope you love it as much as my Patrons do. And I hope you’ll join Patreon so that you can keep reading!
Also, just FYI, there is some language ahead. You’ve been warned.
The Chalam Færytales, Lost Novel by Morgan G Farris
© 2019 Morgan G Farris. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. In other words, don’t share this without permission. I have hunting dogs. We will find you.
The attacks—they always happened in the open air—the wind in her face, the skies clear and cool, and she a target, a beacon. A fool. She banked hard left, dodging a branch as she made for the cover under the canopy.
The attacks always happen in open air, she scolded to herself. This one would be no exception.
She flew as hard as her wings could carry her, not daring to risk the time it might cost her just to look over her shoulder, to see how close they were. The forest stretched before her—a maze of shadow and moonlight, flora and rot. She could not fly hard enough, her own breath shards of ice in her lungs.
She didn’t need to look to know how close they were. She could practically taste the foul air around them as she sped through the night, cutting through the air, around trees like a human weapon—a blade, honed for killing. Four. There were four of them this time, damn it!
Maybe they were the murderers, but she was no blade. And she was certainly no human.
But tonight… maybe tonight she was a shooting star, outrunning the darkness that chased her.
The darkness that had chased her for as long as she could remember.
She picked up speed, a streak of lightning through the damning darkness.
“Holy Eloah, Meren, you look like shit!”
“Thanks, Ash,” she said, brushing past her friend. She plopped down on her dandelion fluff cushion, helping herself to a huge cup of water before so much as taking a breath.
Asher stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, furrowing his brow. No, not furrowing his brow. His brow was in a constant state of furrowed. Because he was always miffed with her for one reason or another. Like the brother she never had. Or wanted. She rolled her eyes, keeping her attention on her glorious cup of water, kissed with just the perfect amount of honeysuckle nectar, ignoring the ache in her back.
Fast. She had had to fly fast this time. Too fast. Her wings seemed to scream in protest.
She picked broken leaves from her thatch of curly hair. One of these days, those bastards were going to catch up with her.
“What happened?” Asher scowled, his legs spread shoulder-width apart, his face set in a determined grimace.
“You know what happened, Ash,” she said, not bothering to look at him. But that midnight hair of his, that skin rich and dark, those thick arms peeking out from under his sleeveless oak leaf tunic—he was hard to ignore for long. There weren’t any of the legendary warrior færies left—all of them either murdered or tortured decades ago. But Asher with his human-like weapons he had fashioned himself out of bone and stone, Asher with his short temper and feral need to prove himself—he was as close as it came. One of those weapons—a bone blade so jagged she doubted it left much that was recognizable when he was done with it—hung menacingly from his belt.
“Tell me anyway,” he said, glaring at her from across the odd-shaped room.
She picked at the vines growing around her cushion, silently reminding herself to prune soon lest her little nook in the chalam tree become overrun with the nuisance growth, still not bothering to meet his pointed stare, uninterested in another one of his lectures. When he let the silence grow long and damning between them, she finally sighed through her nose, taking another long drink before she said, “I don’t know how they always find me.”
“Here it comes,” she said, but he ignored her, pushing off of the jamb.
“You’re too brazen, Meren. You take too many risks.” He crossed the room, one step at a time. Asher always opted to walk instead of fly when he was frustrated. She lifted her gaze to his, but showed no remorse, no apology. “It’s not safe for you out there.”
“We can’t hole ourselves up in this coven forever, Asher. Jotham is wrong. We can’t keep pretending like nothing is going on. There are more of us, I know it.”
“We’re not pretending like nothing is going on.” Another step. Another. Closing the gap between them. Towering over her like he was…
“Stop acting like you’re my father, Ash.”
That comment—he didn’t like that comment one bit. He knelt before her, gripping her chin a little too firmly, his face—his entire countenance shifting to something… Something she wasn’t sure she liked.
“I’m not your father,” he said, his tone menacing, reprimanding. “But you’ll forgive me if you scare the shit out of me too often.”
She breathed a laugh, unable to move her face for his fingers still firm on her chin. But the way he was looking at her…
“Stop,” she said, jerking her chin from his grip.
She could feel his searing gaze on her for a long moment before he finally sighed, pushing on his knees as he stood again.
“You can’t keep hoping you’ll be fast enough to outfly them, Mer,” he said, taking to her hearth, stoking the flames to life.
“I’ve outflown them every time,” she said, watching him as he gathered a loaf of bread that was probably too hard to eat.
His back was still to her as he said, “That is beside the point.”
“I’m faster than you, Asher. And I’m faster than they are. They’re not going to catch me.”
He turned to face her, the knife in his hand like an extension of his arm. “And what happens when they do?”
It was the concern in his eyes—sincere and suffocating—that kept her from exploding into a fit of frustration. It had been that genuine concern that had kept her from killing him most of the time.
She stood to her feet and padded across the shiny wooden floor, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Friends, that’s what they were. What they had always been. What they would always be.
“I’ll be all right, Ash,” she said as kindly as she could.
To her surprise, he seized the moment to close the remaining distance between them, to set down the knife he was using to slice the stony loaf and put his warm hands on either side of her face. “I worry about you, Mer.”
“I know,” she said, brushing him off. “It’s annoying.”
He breathed a laugh through his nose, the small gesture changing his whole demeanor. “When are you going to let me take care of you?”
She nodded to the loaf of bread. “What do you call that?”
“Sustenance,” he said. “You seem incapable of so much as boiling water.”
“I am not,” she protested.
He laughed and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a bone-crushing hug. His fiery wings flickered softly—a cat swishing its tail as it lazed in the sun.
She absently watched those wings over his shoulder before she pushed out of his arms, pressing a smacking kiss to his cheek and then trodding to her bed, plopping down on the fluffy feathered mattress.
He turned back to bread and set about buttering a slice.
“I’ll be much more impressed when you learn to make me toadstool soup,” she quipped.
He kept his back to her. “That will never happen.”
“Why?” she protested.
He looked over his shoulder, a sly grin on his mouth. “Because it’s disgusting.”
“It is not!” she barked, incensed. It was, in fact, her favorite. And had been since she was a youngling.
“You have terrible taste, Mer,” he said, still buttering the slices. She stuck out her tongue at his back and those formidable amber wings of his, lined in black, sliced with patterns of gold and crimson.
By no means a cook, Asher was, at least, somewhat aware of her needs. She was starving, after all. Which was why, she supposed, that she let him come in here, let him act like this was his home, his things. Let him feed her like she was a helpless færyling.
Just as he had always treated her like a helpless færyling.
She rolled her eyes and flopped onto her belly, turning the giant page of a book she had found on one of her ventures—a mortal story. Of prophecies, and kings, and wars, and epic love.
“I still can’t believe you made me lug that stupid thing in here,” he said over his shoulder.
It was true. The book was not færy-sized. No, it was a human book she had found. Found and then sweet-talked Asher into helping her heave it up the side of the tree and into her little home. Which, consequently, was hardly large enough for the book. She had turned it into a platform, a dais of sorts, on which she sat as she read it. Asher had suggested she throw a cushion on top and call it a bed. She had merely rolled her eyes and set about reading it.
And it had fascinated her. Page by page, she hadn’t been able to put it down.
“Why do the humans call these stories færytales?” she asked absently as Asher drizzled honey from the comb on a slice of the crusty bread. “They don’t even believe in færies anymore. They think we’re butterflies or moths or something.”
“Eloah knows,” he said. “Humans are strange.”
Strange, perhaps. But intriguing. And as Meren read more of her book, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to meet a human. To help them as the færies once had.
To be a true færy of the Light.
He turned to face her at last, bringing her a slice of honeyed bread, biting into one of his own. “Jotham wants us to meet tomorrow,” he said around the unnecessarily large bite in his mouth.
She ignored the sight of him chewing the food and took a bite of her own. She swallowed before she said, “Why? So that he can tell us to keep hiding? Keep pretending like they won’t find us as long as we stick together?” She savagely ripped another bite, frustration mounting as she chewed on the tough bread. The butter and honey did little to hide the fact that it was as hard as a rock.
“It’s a good plan, Mer.”
“It’s a coward’s plan,” she quipped.
“I suppose you have a better one,” he said, but she didn’t answer. “That’s why you went out there tonight, isn’t it?” When she still didn’t answer, he sighed. “Meren, what is it that you think you’re going to find?”
“More of us, Ash. I know there are more of us.”
“There aren’t,” he said, standing to his feet. “They’re all dead. Just like you will be if you keep going out there.”
“So this is it?” she barked, standing to her feet. “This is our life forever? Hiding here, hoping we won’t be found?”
“It’s better than dying, isn’t it?” he yelled.
“Ash, I’m tired of this! I’m tired of hiding away like a coward. I’m going to do something. I have to do something!”
He crossed the space between them, gripping her shoulders in his calloused hands. “You are one færy, Meren. One. What exactly do you think you will do?”
“Whatever it takes,” she said, and pushed out of his grip.
What’s the best thing about a faerytale? It’s deeply romantic, full of magic, and chock full of dark, mysterious villians. Check out this list of some of our favorite faerytales out there! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Comment and tell us about it!
The Princess Bride
The Enchanted Swans
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Beauty and the Beast
The Hazel Wood
The Purloined Prophecy
My Lady Jane
Trial By Song
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
The Sleeping Beauty
A Dream of Ebony and White
Lost In A Book
The Court of the Faerie Queen
All Hail the Magic Horse!
If you’re like me, you love a good story with a magic horse. Whether they fly, talk, or just have some sort of otherworldly power, horses are some of the most majestic creatures in fantasy. Check out these 15 fantasies and faerytales, all of which either feature magic horses, or weave the creatures into the story!
Unicorns of Balinor: The Road to Balinor
The Horse and His Boy
Goddess Games (The Demi Chronicles Book 1)
Shadows of Lela
Death’s Dark Horse
Girls Can’t Be Knights
The Promised One
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Black Unicorn
The Heavenly Horse From The Outermost West
The Gatekeeper’s Sons
Wind Rider: Tales of a New World
It’ll Cure What Ails Ya
With the Throne of Glass series wrapping up recently with the epic conclusion, Kingdom of Ash, we’re all in a bit of a book hangover. So here are 15 Fantasy series to get you out of your Maas hangover. Full of action, adventure, magic, and of course romance, these picks are sure to cure what ails ya!
The Lunar Chronicles
The Tainted Accords
The Seven Realms
A Tale of Snow Series
The Ashen Touch Trilogy
The Tidal Kiss Trilogy
The Shattering Darkness Series
The Frostblood Saga
The Chalam Færytales
The Kingkiller Chronicles
The Bargainer Series
The Sand Maiden Series