Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can already tell from the title, today I’m sharing my favourite fantasy standalones. So many fantasy books are part of series, but sometimes you just don’t want to commit to yourself to one. If that’s the case, then I’ve got you covered. I have 7 standalone books to recommend to you guys, so let’s get started.
Fudoki / Kij Johnson
One of my all time favourite books, this book is set in 12th century Japan. It follows the story of Harueme, an ageing princess, and Kagya-hime, a warrior cat-woman. It is a fantastic mix of fantasy and historical fiction with well written characters and a compelling plot. I haven’t seen it talked about a lot here in the bookish community but it is well worth a read. Check out my full review here.
The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi
Originally written in Japanese, this edition is translated by Cathy Hirano and was published in 2018 by Pushkin Press. This was one of my favourite books of 2018 and I will recommend it at every opportunity. It follows a young girl called Elin, who’s life is turned upside down when her mother is killed. I have a full review, which you can check out here
The Sword of Kaigen / M. L. Wang
This is a self published high fantasy standalone, influenced by Japanese folklore. I read this earlier this year and it is now one of my all time favourite books. It is a companion prequel to her Theonite series, so it is set in the same world but can be read separately. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster though. Check out my full review here.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld / Patricia A. McKillip
Originally published in 1974, this book has a distinct mythical feel to the story. Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a fantasy standalone that follows Sybel, a sixteen year old girl who has grown up alone on Eld Mountain. Her only companions are mythical beasts, until a man brings a baby for her to raise. Having had little to do with humans for most of her life, the baby begins to awaken feelings in her that she’s never known before.
Never Die / Rob J. Hayes
This is a self published fantasy standalone influenced by Japanese folklore. The first chapter of this book really gets you hooked in and it won’t let you go until the last page. The plot is a little formulaic but I still found it so enjoyable to read. We follow multiple characters and each of them is well written. This was my first book by this author but it won’t be my last. Check out my full review here.
The Crystal Ribbon / Celeste Lim
This is a historical fantasy book set in Ancient China. It follows 12 year old, Ji-Ling, who must adapt to a new life after being sold as a bride to the Koh family. The author has done a fantastic job at weaving fantasy/folklore into the historical background. The characters are well written, the writing is good and the story is compelling throughout. I really enjoyed this book – it is aimed towards younger readers but I think it can be enjoyed by a range of ages.
Hearts’ Blood / Juliet Marillier
I think this is Marillier’s only standalone book. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. As always with this author, the writing is fantastic and you’ll be drawn into the world and story from very early on. The characters are all well written and I really liked Caitrin as a protagonist.