Top Ten Tuesday | Wintry fantasy

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is a seasonable freebie, so today I thought I’d share some fantasy books that make for ideal winter reading!

I actually struggled a bit with my list this week, and it’s because I noticed something: I am not a summer person, I hate being hot and I love the autumn and winter, but I am much more drawn to desert fantasy novels than polar fantasy novels. I’d never really noticed that about my reading before, but it turns out I don’t actually read that much fantasy set in cold climates…

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: I can never pass up a chance to mention my all-time favourite novel. Weirdly I associate this novel with the summer because I first read it in August 2015, but it is set over winter and is such a cosy novel to curl up by the fire with.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: This historical fantasy set in medieval Russia has one of the most immersive settings I have ever encountered. If you’re in the mood for a wintry book, this is the one you need!

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: This is another one of my all-time favourite novels and it’s snowy, wintry backdrop makes it the perfect winter read. Uprooted seems to be the general favourite of Novik’s fairy tale retellings, but I think this novel is a masterpiece.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: The Realm of the Elderlings is a land with all four seasons, but I remember there being a lot of snow and crackling fires in this particular novel.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: To be honest the only book in this trilogy I really liked was Grey Sister, but this series has a very snowy setting and I’d recommend the audiobooks if you want something to listen to on a winter walk.

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher: This f/f retelling of The Snow Queen is such an excellently tongue-in-cheek little novel that completely tramples internalised misogyny.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan: This is one of my favourite series, although it did take me a little while to get into this first book, and this particular story sees heroine Isabella travel to a rather cold country with snowy mountains and freezing rivers galore. The audiobooks for this series are so good!

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend: This is a very recent favourite of mine and there are a few scenes set over Christmas that make this Middle Grade novel such a comforting read for the festive season.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: Bardugo’s Grishaverse in general is rather wintry considering it’s Russian-inspired fantasy, but the scenes in Fjerda make this book a particularly wintry one for me.

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang: There’s quite a bit of ice magic in this Japanese-inspired military fantasy; I read it last winter, at the beginning of this year, and it was the perfect time to read it.

Which books made your list this week?

69 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Wintry fantasy

  1. Leslie says:

    I am really hoping to read Assassin’s Apprentice next year!! I have it on my challenge to kind of force me to do it. haha. Omg… Sword of Kaigen is one of my top books of the year. It was so brilliant!! Great list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I really like your twist on this week’s TTT. One of my all-time favorite books is The Goblin Emperor, too! We read it for a book club and I was the only person who actually *loved* it. Everyone else was wrong, obviously. They have no taste. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I was recently recommended A Natural History of Dragons. I’m glad to hear you enjoy the audiobooks, as that’s the format I’m likely to absorb them in. Such great recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pagesandtea says:

    Great list. I loved Spinning Silver and the Winternight trilogy. I think I might have to give The Goblin Emperor another chance, I picked it up earlier this year but didn’t get far. I’d really like to start the Lady Trent series too, it sounds so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. onceuponanelderberry says:

    Great list! That’s really interesting about History of Dragons because I DNFd it but maybe its just a slow grower… thinking I should give it another chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Greg says:

    Yes so true about Assassin’s! Lots of crackling fires haha! Loved that series. and you got me thinking about how I don’t read a lot of cold- themed books either, but I do tend to enjoy them…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rabeeah says:

    I never considered โ€˜winter fantasyโ€™ as a particular fiction category but it definitely seems so! Thereโ€™s a few books on this list I need to read, but Spinning Silver is at the top as I love Naomi Novikโ€™s writing. A snowy setting seems to make it suitable for reading rn!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jaime says:

    I really need to read a Bear and the Nightingale! It’s been on my list far too long and now the whole trilogy is out!

    I love Leigh Bardugo’s books and I totally agree that Fjerda definitely has that perfect wintry setting.

    This is such a fun list for this week’s freebie prompt! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dinipandareads says:

    Fab list, Jess! Couldn’t agree more with the wintery setting for TBATN! It was so wonderfully and chillingly atmospheric and perfect for a winter read. I really need to read Sword of Kaigen too coz I’ve heard so many good things about it ๐Ÿ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lulu says:

    The Bear and the Nightingale has such a beautiful cover! I love historical fantasy, and medieval Russia is such an interesting setting. I can’t wait to read it!!

    The Grishaverse books are so fun to read in wintertime; I might have to revisit King of Scars soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nikki @The Night is Dark and Full of Books says:

    I already really wanted to give Nevermoor a try, but now knowing it has some wintery scenes?! Totally bumped up on the TBR haha. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Helen says:

    The Bear and the Nightingale came to mind as soon as I saw the title of your post! I haven’t read Spinning Silver yet, but I enjoyed Uprooted so I’m looking forward to reading that one too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Annemieke says:

    I can honestly say that for a change I’ve actually read 8 out of 10 books on your list (and pretty much loved them all) and I really want to read A Natural History of Dragons sometime! I am more drawn towards winter type of novels I think. I just love to read stories about the cold and wintery powers ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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