Best Books of 2014 Part Two: Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Paranormal

Welcome to the second installment of my Best Books of 2014 posts.

  If you missed my first post, on my favorite YA Contemporaries of 2014, you can read it here.

Today, I'm looking at non-contemporaries -- fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal. 

I'm a pickier reader in this department, so I'll tell you what makes a book in this category for me. 

I look for just the right amount of world building (not too little, not too much) and I want it integrated into the story. 

For me to stick with books like these, I need a compelling plot and characters I can care about.

The Winner's Curse
by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar Straus Giroux, March 2014)

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (Delacorte, December 2014)

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury, September 2014)**

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, October 2014)

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt, July 2014)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Balzer + Bray, January 2014)

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Feiwel and Friends, September 2014)

**If you remember my review of Heir of Fire, you might be surprised that I included this one. Even though I was a little sad that this series has moved from light fantasy to high fantasy, I also thought Heir of Fire featured some of the most amazing plotting and writing I've read in YA this year and a huge emotional punch at the end. I couldn't not include it on a "best of" list!

Quick test: Which book is for you?

Do you love retellings? Try Cruel Beauty (Beauty and the Beast) or Princess of Thorns (fairy tale mashup including Sleeping Beauty)

Are you fascinated by alternate universes and/or paranormal puzzles? Try Trial by Fire or Blue, Lily Lily Blue

Want books with twists that keep you guessing? Try The Kiss of Deception,  Heir of Fire, or Trial by Fire

Want to feel ALL the feels? Definitely Heir of Fire or Princess of Thorns. Blue Lily was a little less feely for me than the other books, but that next book is going to be a sobfest, I think

Do you prefer OTL (One True Love) over triangles? Princess of Thorns is the only one of these that I think is completely free of any triangle-y type situations.

What's that? Swoony book boys? Princess of Thorns (give Niklass a chance, he has great character growth) Kiss of Deception (though slightly trianglish). Blue Lily, Lily Blue has multiple boys to swoon over....

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you think!


  1. According to your quiz, Princess of Thrones is necessary for me to read! Which works out well for me, because I was thinking that it would be my next audible purchase! <3

    And I'm so happy for all of the Cruel Beauty love! That book haunted me well after I read it!

  2. I loved Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver series. I need to read her other stuff now.

  3. I own almost all of these but I just realized I've only read The Kiss of Deception....I fail... Hopefully I'll be able to read more during winter break :D

  4. Yeah. I didn't realise that the newest installment of the Raven Boys was out. Def. on my Xmas list!

  5. I really need to try Princess of Thorns! I have an ARC of that but haven't really read it yet despite the release date having passed already '-' whoopsies! Have you gotten an ARC of Crimson Bound by Hodge? :) It has almost the same cover as Cruel Beauty and I thought it was a pretty good retelling too! And of course, Heir of Fire!! So much love for that series!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  6. I have not read any of them yet. Heir of Fire is on my list for this Christmas break! I LOVE that series! Great books!!!

  7. I just finished Princess of Thorns yesterday and it was awesome, loved it!

  8. Argh. I can't keep up. Ever feel like putting your head in a hole so you can't find out about any new books until you have finished with the ones on your TBR pile? That is me right now.

  9. The Winner's Curse looks so good! I really want to read it :)

  10. I've only read Heir of Fire and Cruel Beauty, and yes, I loved both too! :) Same here, the high fantasy was kinda shocking and was kinda overwhelming at first, but the book turned out GREAT!

  11. Blue Lily, Lily Blue was such an incredible read! I loved every second of it. All of the other books are on my to-read shelf. I actually just received books I ordered including The Winner's Curse and Heir of Fire and I can't wait to get to them!

  12. Just like with your contemp list I have sadly only read one book from this list and that was Cruel Beauty which I also loved. I actually couldn't even get through the first Sarah J. Maas book. That series was just not for me. I really want to read The Raven Boys, Trial by Fire and The Winner's Curse.

  13. Awesome picks! The Winner's Curse and The Kiss of Deception (your review made me want to read it) are on my Christmas wish list :)


  14. Also loved Heir of Fire and Winner's cure

  15. Great list! ^_^ I loved Cruel beauty but want to read kiss of deception and winners curse too. I have them both - oh and trial by fire :)

  16. Oh my gosh YES to KOD, Heir of Fire, and TWC :) Great picks!! <33

  17. I LOVED The Winner's Curse-I was nervous because of all the hype but it so lived up to it for me! Excited for the next one.

  18. What a fantastic list Jen! Cruel Beauty was completely excellent and I loved Heir of Fire and The Winner's Curse too. I actually had forgotten about Trial By Fire until you mentioned it again, I really, really enjoyed that one!

  19. Out of those I loved BL,LB the best (read the first three books for the first time this year and WOW), but I also really enjoyed The Winner's Curse (terrified to read the sequel) and Princess of Thorns. Fantasy scares me because of how pervasive love triangles are in them. :/

  20. The Winner's Curse was another one I received for Christmas so I am looking forward to when I can delve into that one as well. I have heard amazing things about Heir of Fire and Trial By Fire so I want to try them both eventually! Kiss of Deception looks promising as well. You have some great pickings here ^^


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