Salvatore’s sweeping epic fantasy focusing on a renegade drow elf ranger is the one fantasy series outside of Harry Potter that has stuck with me and become such a part of my life and who I am–for about 14 years.
I’ve grown so much with Drizzt to the point that his struggles were my struggles, his triumphs were mine, and his sacrifices mine. This character became me in many ways in the notion that I relate to and see myself in a character like I never have with any other. These books have gotten me through so much, and I wouldn’t be who I am without them. They are some of the deepest, well-written, and fully immersive books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend them.
Everyone knows this series as the “atheist’s answer to Narnia” but it’s so much more than that. This series follows a young girl, Lyra, as she confronts some of the most corrupt people around her who use their power to ruin the lives of others in the most emotional and personal of ways, and she does so with a strength beyond her years. She will have to confront friends, her parents, and she finds out that her destiny is far greater than she could ever imagine in having to bring down a great celestial enemy. I love this series to pieces. It’s amazingly plotted, and it is very well-written. The character’s are fully realized and really make this series impossible to put down.
Collen Oakes has quickly become one of my top five authors, and she is kick ass at storytelling and world-building for this series alone. Before Heartless and other Alice in Wonderland retellings, there was Colleen Oakes’s Queen of Hearts series. This series looks at the girl who is destined to become the infamous and terrible Queen of Hearts as she struggles to regain her throne and become the Queen of Wonderland after being usurped of her rightful place. Oakes’s novels are lush, enthralling, and completely immersive. You can see a previous review I did on the second in this series (the SparkPress version before it was picked up by HarperCollins) here. Oakes’s skill with description is amazing, and her characterization and world-building make her one of my favorite authors that I auto-buy. I can’t recommend this series enough. I also recommend her other fantasy retelling series: Wendy Darling, which explores the darker, more sinister side of Peter Pan.