Top 5 Picks: Fae in YA

Continuing my new posts on my favorites, I have one of my favorite fantasy groups since stumbling into them in Cassandra Clare’s books; Faerie.  Otherwise known as the Fae, they can be cruelly beautiful or downright terrifying in appearance, always scheming and filled with dangerous magic.  I’ll be honest, when they were first introduced in Clare’s novels it wasn’t in a great light, and they were one of many species among the downworlders.  That was in Mortal Instruments, and Infernal Devices.  When we got to the Dark Artifices they were given a much greater spotlight, hence why that is on the list and not her earlier novels.  The real Queen of the Fae though, is Holly Black.  If you haven’t picked up one of her novels yet, and are interested in this tricky group, her books are a definite must.  Be it, her original trilogy the Modern Faerie Tales, her standalone, The Darkest Part of the Forest, or her newest trilogy, The Cruel Prince, all her books are well written and teeming with stories of this group and their world.


1- The Cruel Prince / Wicked King (Holly Black)

There isn’t a list of Fae books without Holly Black, she not only brought this group to life but has continued to keep them going with all of her books, Wicked King marks the sixth book she’s written on the Fae, and I really hope she doesn’t stop with this trilogy.  Somehow when she moves to a new series she brings something new each time.  Cruel Prince brings us Jude, who while not wanting to be a Faerie, wants to be one of their knights, no matter what her guardian says. In the first book of this trilogy she somehow finds herself going toe to toe with a Faerie Prince, Cardan, who wants nothing more than to send her packing, or even better, face down in the mud.  But as always in the world of the Fae, there is also something far greater than their feud at work.


2-The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)

This was Black’s fourth book with the Fae, but my first.  I still can’t tell you what made me gravitate to this book, but when I saw it I knew I had to have it.  Cut to years later, and I’ve become addicted to her writing and worlds.  This one is a standalone, maybe what drew me to it, and a great chance to test out your love of the Fae, if you want an easy starting point.  This one follows two siblings as they find a strange boy in a glass coffin with horns on his head.  From there things change for them both as they get wrapped up in his world and the overlap with their own.  It’s not a particularly long book, but I do recall inhaling this and knowing there was a new addiction stemming from this read.


3-Lady Midnight / Dark Artifices Trilogy (Cassandra Clare)

Cassandra Clare has had a lot of books, from her Mortal Instruments series to the newest, the Dark Artifices, she has brought her Shadowhunters world almost to life with the depth, and extensive amount of characters.  My favorite of course is the Infernal Devices, shown by my earlier post with Will Herondale, but in terms of the Fae, the Dark Artifices feels like the series where she really delved into the Fae.  Before then they play mostly a villain role, working with the enemies of the Shadowhunters, but in this trilogy through Mark and Kieran we are given an opportunity to really get to know them and understand them, from the evil parts to the nature vs nurture question, at least when it pertains to Faerie.


4-An Enchantment of Ravens (Margaret Rogerson)

I recently posted a review on the second book Rogerson has written, though I feel a little sad we went from the Fae to Sorcery.  An Enchantment of Ravens still feels like it came out of nowhere, I think I was also late picking it up since it came out in 2017, and I only read it in 2018, sounds like me.  I can’t even begin to say how excited I was finding this book after my addiction to the Holly Black novels started.  I was going crazy trying to find other books about the Fae, and struggling.  There are likely a lot more out there, but while I got into Julie Kagawa’s books in high school, this was the first book I had seen outside Clare and Black’s writing.  Rogerson brought something new with her spin, the Fae are still tricksters and can’t lie, but Rogerson introduces art as an aspect of how they end up interacting with humans.  In this novel, the main character is a painter, who does portraits of the Fae, and is known for capturing human elements in them.  She is rising up in the world, and about to be set for life, until a Faerie prince sits for a portrait, and she captures something that puts them both in danger.  Trying to salvage his reputation, the prince demands she go with him to his court to pay for what she has done, but other events have been set into motion, forcing the two to work together.


5-A Court of Thorns and Roses / Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas)

This pick is a little different than the rest, I tried to think of another book/series that focuses on Fae, in the sense of what Holly Black introduced, but like I’ve said before, there are not a lot of popular reads in the market right now.  Maas introduces us to another version, which is spelled as Fey, instead of the other version we’ve seen in this list, Fae.  In both her series, they aren’t looked at as being forced to tell the truth, tricksters, or beings that live off of nature.  Instead, they are magical creatures with long life, magic, and pointy ears.  Very different from Black or Clare’s versions, but if you look it up it’s usually the same thing, just different spellings.  Who knew?  I put both her series on here, but I feel like A Court of Thorns and Roses, probably delves into the Fey more from beginning to end.  If you are looking for Fey, Thone of Glass does have them, but it isn’t a big component until several books in.  Magic on the other hand, lots of that.  When talking about YA this series pops up a lot, but I would say this is more new adult with the pg-13 to R rated tendencies, I still love it, but good lord do things escalate in both her series.  So, here’s the big question, would you count this book on a list of the Fae, barring the spelling difference, or would you say the physical differences in the groups is too great to include?? Let me know in the comments below, and tell me your favorite Fae reads, maybe there are some I need to check out pronto!

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 Picks: Fae in YA

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  1. You always recommend such good books that I want to read! I read a tiny bit of “The Darkest Part of the Forest” a few years ago and it didn’t immediately grab me but I do want to read it fully, at some point. Also Margaret Rogerson – I want to read both her books now! They both seem so interesting and original. I need to get my hands on them soon.

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