September is here! And holy cow, is this a good month for fans of fantasy and paranormal young adult fiction. Over the next four weeks, four exciting trilogies are concluding and they’re sure to be awesome. And how wonderful is it to start a series knowing you won’t have to wait a year or more for the next installment to be published? So here you go, four brand new young adult trilogy closers to conclude your summer reading.
Heir of Fire, Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight)
Release date: September 2
Teenaged Celaena Sardothien was once Erilea’s most infamous assassin before she was betrayed and imprisoned in the horrific salt mines of Endovier. When offered freedom in exchange for becoming the king’s own personal enforcer, she unwillingly becomes entangled in the politics of a corrupt court. She manages to stay alive with her own ingenuity and the help of new friends and would be lovers (hello, love triangle!), but her shocking hidden ancestry is about to be revealed and she’s in more danger than ever.
This trilogy is full of overblown drama and convoluted high fantasy tropes – but ultimately I mean that as a compliment, because these books are so much fun to read. Fast paced, funny, and with a writing style that straddles a compelling line between taking itself way too seriously and just plain awesomeness.
UPDATE (and mea culpa): Yeah, well. I just finished Heir of Fire and guess what? THIS SERIES IS NOT A TRILOGY. There are more books to come. I was alarmed by the level of disappointment I felt when, at 98% complete on my Kindle, I finally allowed myself to realize what was happening. The book was pretty great, though.
The Caller, Juliet Marillier
Series: Shadowfell (Shadowfell, Raven’s Flight)
Release date: September 9
The Shadowfell trilogy’s fantasy land of Alban is reminiscent of old timey Celtic Britain, but in this world fey-like Good Folk and the “canny” humans who have magical abilities relating to them are hunted down and culled by a crazy king.
Main character and narrator Neryn finds out she’s the canniest of them all, but she manages to hook up with a secret rebel faction before the king can either eliminate her or use her power to further terrorize his people.
If you prefer that your YA fantasy serve up more nuance and maturity than balls to the wall action, this is the perfect trilogy for you. Juliet Marillier writes with a distinct style of beautiful prose that is never flowery, lovely world building influenced by Celtic myth, and characters who are put through the emotional wringer but remain empathetic instead of pitiable.
Kami Glass is your average aspiring journalist teenager trying to chase down all the scoops in her boring, sleepy little English town. Well, she’s average except for that voice in her head, present for as long as she can remember, of a boy named Jared who has become her secret best friend. But when a mysterious family moves to town and starts implementing their ancestors’ sorcerous old traditions (human sacrifice is on the top of the list, egads), things start to get really weird.
Props to Jessi for recommending these books last year, because I absolutely love what author Sarah Rees Brennan has created – a series with realistic and complex characters, a variety of unique and affecting relationships, hilarious dialog, and a fascinatingly dysfunctional family of crazy sorcerors.
The Queen of Zombie Hearts, Gena Showalter
Series: The White Rabbit Chronicles (Alice in Zombieland, Through the Zombie Glass)
Release date: September 30
Genre: Paranormal romance
Alice Bell always thought her father was an obnoxious lunatic for raving about monsters who walk the night, until the day she comes face to face with actual mother lovin’ zombies. Like her father, she has the rare ability to see these “spirit” zombies and fear attack from them. Unlike her father, she discovers the resources to fight back, and at the start of her junior year of high school she finds herself joining a badass gang of zombie slayers. Cue the teenage drama and angst!
This trilogy is the perfect way to end your month of young adult fantasy/paranormal binge reading. Gena Showalter normally writes adult paranormal romances, and that genre’s influence and style are heavily apparent in her first young adult series. This might be offputting for some readers, but I love her writing even when it’s leaning more toward romancelandia than my typical YA reads. With this trilogy expect plenty of delightful secondary characters, drama, action, zombie mayhem, and a ton of make out scenes. It’s glorious.