8 Elements I Love to See in YA Fantasy // Ruffles & Grace Blog Party!


*waves* Hello, my dear minions of darkness and chocolate muffins Dragons! Today, I'm participating in something REALLY, super cool -- a Ruffles & Grace summer blog party!

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For those of you who haven't heard of Ruffles & Grace, it's a fashion/bookish blog run by Victoria Lynn, author of London in the Dark. It's super cute and a ton of fun; click here to check it out! Victoria is also running a few pretty sweet giveaways right now, so be absolutely certain to stop by! (Spoiler: a copy of London in the Dark is one of the prizes!) 😉

The prompt for those of us participating in Bookish Day (today!) was, well, bookishness. 😀 And because YA fantasy is my passion and I adore books, I decided that today I would show off the nine, sparkly elements I looooove to see in young adult fantasy!



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1. WORLDBUILDING

Worldbuilding is my obsession. It always has been, and likely always will. Because who doesn't like diving into another dimension through the power of words?

When I read a book, I want to feel the world come alive around me. And not through globs and globs of description heaved onto the pages. I want to hear that waterwheel clicking and creaking as it turns; I want to smell the underground river hidden in the castle dungeons.

BOOKS WITH AMAZING WORLDS
  • The Companions Quartet series by Julia Golding
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
  • The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
  • Sun & Moon by Desiree Williams
  • The Kinsman Chronicles series by Jill Williamson
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis
  • The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis
  • Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

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2. AN ARRAY OF CHARACTERS

Cliché characters are one of my least favorite things in the universe, right up there with almond extract and bad grades. I want to see characters who grow and change. And no, not the bad-boy-who-might-actually-have-a-good-heart, or the innocent-and-unknowingly-gorgeous-girl-who-always-needs-a-man-to-save-her, or little-miss-feisty-pants. I want to see characters who are original and new. Not only that, but I want to see them interact with one another -- I want to observe the relationship dynamics. Think Downton Abbey, but fantasy.

BOOKS WITH FANTASTIC CHARACTERS & CHARACTER DYNAMICS
  • The Firethorn Chronicles series by Lea Doué
  • The Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • The Latter Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • Dragon Lyric by Bethany A. Jennings
  • The Ilyon Chronicles series by Jaye L. Knight
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink
  • Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Five Enchanted Roses collection from Rooglewood Press
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Sun & Moon by Desiree Williams
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis
  • The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis
  • Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

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3. A FAITH-CENTERED MESSAGE

I don't like preachy books. But I do like books that speak of the Bible, that inspire me to be a better person, to live for God, to shape my life into something more. To remind me that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.


BOOKS WITH STRONG, CHRISTIAN THEMES
  • The Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes
  • Dragon Lyric by Bethany A. Jennings
  • The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight
  • The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink
  • Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke
  • Left to Die by Ivy Rose
  • The Long Lake Legacy series by Ivy Rose
  • Sun & Moon by Desiree Williams
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis

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4. PURE, PLATONIC ROMANCE

I have very high standards for fictional romance. (a) If they're busy saving the world, then why are they kissing? And, (b) true love does not equate to being obsessed with one another's physical features. Also, -- because this clearly needs to be stated yet again -- (c) WE DON'T NEED THREE PEEPS TOTAL (in other words, no love triangles!). PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE THESE POOR CHARACTERS. They're already confused enough!

BOOKS WITH LOVELY ROMANCES
  • The Firethorn Chronicles series by Lea Doué
  • A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill
  • Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke
  • The Five Enchanted Roses collection from Rooglewood Press
  • The Long Lake Legacy series by Ivy Rose
  • The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo
  • Sun & Moon by Desiree Williams
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis
  • Poison by Bridget Zinn

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5. PERIL & LOSS

I like stories that involve risks and consequences. Such is life: we lose loved ones, we grieve, but we make it through. A story without danger is a plot without reason.


BOOKS WITH RISKS & CONSEQUENCES
  • The Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes
  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan
  • The Gliding Lands series by Deanna Fugett
  • The Companions Quartet series by Julia Golding
  • The Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • The Latter Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • Dragon Lyric by Bethany A. Jennings
  • The Ilyon Chronicles series by Jaye L. Knight
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles by Amy Brock McNew
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink
  • The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Long Lake Legacy series by Ivy Rose
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Valiant Hearts series by Dina L. Sleiman
  • Behold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland
  • Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland
  • The Kinsman Chronicles series by Jill Williamson
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis
  • Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

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6. CAPTIVATING DICTION

An author's writing voice should be like a vortex that inhales its readers without a chance for them to even scream. Of course, each writer's voice is different (I wrote a post on that just last month; check it out!). But through plenty of practice and experience, even the writer with the dullest style can transform it into a sharp, beautiful weapon.


BOOKS WITH ENCHANTING WORDS
  • The Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes
  • The Unblemished series by Sara Ella
  • The Gliding Lands series by Deanna Fugett
  • Dragon Lyric by Bethany A. Jennings
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink
  • Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Long Lake Legacy by Ivy Rose
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis
  • The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis
  • Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

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7. HISTORY

I like a story that mentions the world's history. Whether the historical references be to a famed, fictional king or an epic battle, it shows off the author's worldbuilding, and oftentimes serves as a method of foreshadowing.


BOOKS WITH FICTIONAL, HISTORICAL REFERENCES
  • The Firethorn Chronicles series by Lea Doué
  • The Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • The Latter Annals of Lystra series by Robin Hardy
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Two Princesses of Bamarre series by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
  • The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
  • The Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson

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8. MYTHICAL CREATURES

Who doesn't love snuggles with a cuddly creature? That's all, folks.


BOOKS WITH PLENTY OF MAGICAL, ANIMAL FRIENDS
  • The Firethorn Chronicles by Lea Doué
  • The Companions Quartet series by Julia Golding
  • The Ilyon Chronicles series by Jaye L. Knight
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis
  • Poison by Bridget Zinn

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Don't forget to go enter the giveaways on Ruffles & Grace!

What are your favorite story elements? Are there any more books you think should be added to these lists?

❤,

Post banner background image
recovered from Pixabay.
Other blog party images
provided by Victoria Lynn.

Comments

  1. All of this is the best. Just yes to Goldstone Wood and Cinder and Ella, right? *heart eyes*

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  2. Numbers 3 and 4 are probably my top favorites of your list. And I really enjoy "Left to Die" and "The Long Lake Legacy." Ivy Rose did a wonderful job writing those books.

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    1. Oh yes, faith and romance in books is always a lovely mix! :)

      I love Ivy's books! <3 Even though they're not technically fantasy, I just HAD to add them to the list. Because, well... it's Ivy Rose. ;)

      Thanks for commenting, Rebekah!

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  3. That's all so true! I admit I don't read a ton of YA fantasy (actually, I haven't read any in forever ... I read way too few genres, I'm afraid), but I remember loving all those things and being annoyed when they were missing. Especially love triangles. And silly romance. :P

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    1. Uhg, love triangles are the worst, aren't they? But yes, I feel like almost any good book should have these elements! ^_^

      Thanks for commenting, Kellyn!

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  4. OOoooo!!!!! I LOVE your points! And I will be coming back to your list of books!

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  5. Yes yes yes to this post! YA Fantasy is my absolute favourite, and I am a sucker for amazing world-building. I really want to read Dragon Lyric now! I've heard wonderful things about it, but I still need to pick up a copy. Great post! :D

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    1. Thank you, Melissa! :)

      Also, YOU MUST READ DRAGON LYRIC. IT'S SERIOUSLY AMAAAAAZZING. ❤.❤

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  6. Great list, Liv! YA fantasy is one of my tippity-top favorite genres! And of course my inner fangirl was cheering at every mention of Tales of Goldstone Wood and the Lunar Chronicles. <3 You also mentioned some books/series that I'm really looking forward to reading, like Out of Time. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Tracey! :)

      ALL THE YES. Tales of Goldstone Wood is AH-MAZING!! AND I SO NEED TO FINISH THE LUNAR CHRONICLES, TOO. o.O

      YOU MUST READ THE OUT OF TIME SERIES!!!! I've yet to read books two and three, but book one, though... Nadine Brandes's themes have honestly changed my life. Her books are totally worth the read!! <3

      Thanks for commenting, Tracey!

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  7. I recently read Exiles by Jaye L. Knight and that was FULFILLING. I’ve waited so long for that book, to read it was… oh so amazing. 🙂I love YA novels so much... AGH.

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    1. I NEED TO READ EXILES. o.O Have you read Tyra, yet? It's so lovely!

      And yes to YA novels!!

      Thanks for commenting, Jasmine! :)

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  8. I love this giveaway! I <3 the picture at the top of this post! So pretty!

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    1. Thank you, Lilly! :) And thanks for reading my post and entering the giveaway! <3

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  9. ACK yes to alllll of these!! :D Worldbuilding is also my obsession. It just makes the story all the more REAL and awesome! And lots of characters!! I love huge casts of characters! <3 And who doesn't love mythical creatures? ;)

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    1. YESSS, WORLDBUILDING. AND LARGE CASTS AND MYTHICAL CREATURES AND rnero;rbrorefrpeg!!!!

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  10. I love your list, Liv, and I agree so much! So many great books you mentioned!

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  11. I love so many of the books you mentioned! And all the points you made were great. I really love a good romance in books, and good characters, and... All of it really. :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Zane! And thank you for commenting, too! :)

      Delete

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