For day 4 of #blogtober I’m sharing my absolute favorite things that can be found in books! This post was originally a lot longer than this, but I realized that some of these items go together so I was able to condense this down! A lot of my favorite things have to do with fantasy books because duh. I’m sure that there are a bunch of things that I haven’t come across yet or things that I’m forgetting to mention, but I think I’ve covered all my bases. Keep in mind that because I read mostly fantasy my favorite things are mainly found in fantasy books!
If a character has an animal companion and they have a magical connection, I’m such a sucker for that! Ever since I was a little kid I used to wish that I had an animal companion that I could speak to and it could understand me. Now that I’m older I don’t wish for that in my real life (although it would be pretty cool) I wish for it in my books! I’m also including magical creatures in this section as well since they kind of go hand in hand, which means DRAGONS. The first examples of these that I fell in love with were Daine and her animals from The Immortals Quartet and Eragon and Saphira!
Basically, if a book has magic in it, I’m probably going to enjoy it. The more thought out the magic system the better, and there have been times when I don’t like the magic system, but for the most part I love when magic is involved! Elemental magic and shapeshifting are two of my favorite types of magic, which could be part of the reason I love Throne of Glass so much!
This one kinda goes along with the first two things I mentioned, but I love when a character has a magical connection to the land. The best example of this that I have come across is the Queens from The Queens of Renthia series. There are spirits that represent different parts of the world (trees, dirt, wind, water, etc) and the queen has a connection to those spirits and in turn, a connection with the land.
I know that this one ends up on a lot of people’s “least favorite tropes” lists, but honestly this is one of my favorite things ever, especially when it’s done right! And combine that with some of these other elements that I love and it would basically be a recipe for a 5 star read for me. I especially love this one combined with the reluctant hero! They don’t want to be the one person who can save the world, but they need to come to terms with it and usually by the end are who they were meant to be. I haven’t finished the series yet by a long shot, but I feel like this describes Rand from The Wheel of Time (no spoilers!!)
If a main character is just out to get revenge for something that was done to them or someone they care about, I’m so here for it! It doesn’t even have to be revenge for something serious, it can literally be the most petty thing ever and I would still love it. Again, this is one that if it’s combined with some of the other things that I love in books it’s just… *chef’s kiss*
If you were to take a look at my Goodreads shelves or any favorites lists, and you’ll find that a lot of the books that I love or think that I will love have one thing in common: they have a main character who is either an assassin, mercenary or thief! The Lies of Locke Lamora, Throne of Glass, Kings of the Wyld, Foundryside, etc. all fit in this category, along with a ton of books I have on my TBR that I haven’t read yet!
This is one that is on this list but ONLY when it’s done right. I find that if this is combined with other tropes that I like then I’ll probably really enjoy it or if the hero who is over powered doesn’t want to be/is humble about it, I’ll love it. I also really like when they also have some sort of weakness that is exploited and they need to fight back even without their strength (think Disney’s Hercules). I mentioned this in my things I don’t like in books because there’s a line between liking this and not liking this. If the character is given a good reason for becoming over powered or trains for a long time, it’s gold!
This is such a super specific element, but dear god I crack up every time I see this or read about it! When I was coming up with this list there was one specific scene that I had in my head, and that would be Fili from The Hobbit movies having his weapons taken away. I will always notice if a book has something like this, and I’ve definitely run into this in other books as well but of course I can’t think of any others off the top of my head.
This one is honestly the best when combined with the chosen one, because if the character is just this average person with no real talent in fighting or anything like that, then find out that they are meant to save the world or their town or whatever is fantastic. Especially if it comes with a training montage, showing them slowly improving until they’re unstoppable. The first book that comes to mind is a self published book called The Wolf of the North that had this exact thing!
Imagine this: you have a group of thieves or assassins that are running from the law and need a place to hole up, so they go to their amazing hidden hideout that no one could ever find or expect is a hideout. This tends to happen more often with thieves, especially in heist stories like Six of Crows, The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Gilded Wolves, Mistborn, etc.
This is another thing that quite a few fantasy books have! I love when a book has this big, complex world that you can really sink your teeth into and spend hours just learning about the locations and looking at maps! A few books that do this really well are A Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings, I could spend hours just falling down a rabbit hole of history of the world, who ruled what location, which places were destroyed in wars, fan art, and of course maps! I’m such a sucker for a good map, and if a fantasy book doesn’t have a map you can guarantee I’m really disappointed about it. Of course, a book having a smaller setting like a city is still great and I still enjoy them, but wide open worlds are still my favorite.
It’s no shock to anyone that I love books with multiple point of views, but I REALLY love it when there are multiple, seemingly unrelated point of views that slowly start to come together and then by the end of the book or series you realize that the POVs were related all along. A non fantasy book that does this really well is The Lies We Told. As for fantasy books that do this, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a great one! I know I’m forgetting a ton of books that have this, but there are a ton out there!
This is a tricky one, because if done incorrectly it’s one of my least favorite things in books. For me for love triangles to be done right I consider it to be more of a love arrow. Character A is in love with character B, who in turn loves character C is a good one for me, OR if the main character is trying to decide between two other characters I feel like it needs more explanation as to why it’s such a struggle, and not just stringing along someone when they know it won’t really work out, if that makes sense. I just hate when it’s super clear they’re meant to be with one particular person and there’s this other character introduced to add tension and conflict just because.
I combined these two into one because a lot of the time they go together. Give me all the sarcastic, morally gray characters because I love them so much! I’m honestly really glad that this has become a common thing especially in YA fantasy because for a lot of the books I’ve been reading, it’s the thing that ends up making me really enjoy the book! I love that fantasy has started to move away from everyone being black and white, good or bad and is giving these characters a middle ground, where they aren’t 100% one or the other, but somewhere in between. They do bad things for good reasons, or vice versa.
If you know where this scene comes from, you’re my new best friend (which of course you would recognize it because I included a gif). I absolutely love witty banter between characters! If there’s some witty back and forth banter I’m that much more likely to love that book. I love duos like Legolas and Gimli and Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings, Royce and Hadrian from The Riyria Revelations, and so many more! Even when we go from witty banter between friends to witty banter between romantic partners, that’s even better! The first one that comes to mind is the romances in both Serpent & Dove and The Merciful Crow.
Imagine our main characters are facing improbable odds and will most likely not survive the next few hours, and then suddenly someone that you completely forgot about comes in to save the day! My favorite examples of this come from Kings of the Wyld, Game of Thrones (in the TV show when Sansa shows up with the knights of the Vale), and Lord of the Rings!
What can I say? I have a pretty inappropriate sense of humor that doesn’t often come across in my blog posts and I especially love seeing it in books, particularly when it’s fantasy! If you think a joke in a book (especially fantasy) is tasteless, sarcastic, or crude, I’ll probably still find it funny.
This is something extremely specific that I’ve realized lately that I love in books! I love when something that shouldn’t have thoughts and feelings does, from spaceships (AIDEN from Illuminae and M-bot from Skyward) to keys (Clef from Foundryside). I even love it when it’s a person who has the ability to “hear” an objects thoughts or history like Sancia from Foundryside or Laila from The Gilded Wolves. It’s such a fun twist and I’ve loved it every time I’ve come across it!
It may not be actual medieval Europe, but I love books that have that same feeling! This one is something that a TON of fantasy has, from books like Lord of the Rings to A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s pretty common in a lot of the sub genres of fantasy that I read, and I fall for it every time! Don’t get me wrong, I do also like settings that are different than this (especially desert set fantasies, but I haven’t read too many of those) but this one has a special place in my heart.
The bad guy(s) were defeated and locked away years ago, but turns out they ‘ve escaped. Oops. Now it’s up to our heroes to defeat them once and for all! This is another trope that’s common in a lot of fantasy that I read (hello Lord of the Rings!) and it’s one that I love no matter how many times it’s been done. We also see this with Throne of Glass, The Wheel of Time, even A Song of Ice and Fire!