[Top Ten Tuesday] Adult SFF Books

Hey there guys, gals, and enby pals! Bringing to you today a list that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time!

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme created The Broke and The Bookish in 2010 and moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in 2018. This Tuesday’s theme is your top ten books in your favorite genre, and I decided to take the opportunity to rep my absolute most favorite genre ever: SFF. Particularly, I decided to talk about adult SFF, since this is a subset of fiction that I think is woefully underrated. (Not to mention, a ton of the titles in this list are often miscategorized as YA—both because lofty-minded chauvinistic assholes look down on YA and on the female authors that write SFF. I said what I said.)

So let’s get to it!

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☕ Jade City by Fonda Lee – I think I’ve screamed a ton on Twitter about how much I freaking looooooooooove this book. This adult urban fantasy with touches of sci-fi reminds me so much of Asian gangster films and was beautifully executed. Fonda is also a master of world-building, crafting a rich, detailed universe that’s expanded on by just the right sprinkling of short info dump-ish chapters. If you haven’t read this yet, you’re definitely missing half your life.

☕ Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – I absolutely adore when the worlds of romance and fantasy collide, and Empire of Sand is a perfect example. The magic system an utterly unique one (based off of the bharatanatyam form of dancing!), the cultural aspects of the story are lovingly and vividly described, and the romance between Amun and Mehr is both the slowest of the slow burns and utterly, devastatingly hot! (Read my review here.)

☕ A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab“Wait, Tita,” you ask. “Isn’t this a trilogy? Why haven’t you named all of the books?” Well, to be honest, A Gathering of Shadows is my favorite of the Shades of Magic trilogy! Why? First, the tension between Lila and Kell is intensely palpable in this one—it’s the perfect cusp between them realizing their feelings for each other and finally doing something about it! And second, the Essen Tasch, or Element Games, is such an interesting concept!

☕ The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang – The reason both this 2018 military fantasy debut and its sequel are on this list is because I couldn’t possibly choose just one! The Poppy War is the story of an orphan girl named Rin getting the chance to go to the most prestigious military academy in the kingdom, and eventually discovering her aptitude for fire magic. And in The Dragon Republic, Rin’s abilities are put to use in a grand civil war that will change the face of the world forever. (Read my review of The Poppy War here.)

☕ City of Brass by S.K. Chakraborty – I read this last year on my flight from San Francisco to D.C. and loved every single moment. Set in Egypt, City of Brass is, at it’s heart a bodyguard romance story! Con artist Nahri is used to swindling people by conducting fake summoning rituals, but then she actually accidentally summons a djinn and finds herself at the center of a centuries-old magical conflict, with the contrary djinn sworn to her service as her guard.

☕ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I know that opinions on this book are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum, but honestly I loved this! It’s lush and fantastic and magical; just the exact sort of whimsical and imaginative read a budding fantasy fan needs. I first read this back in 2011 when I was 18 years old and it was one of the first books that really captured my mind as an adult reader!

☕ Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse – Native American mythology plus monsters equals this riveting apocalyptic urban fantasy! If you like your SFF a little darker, then this book is definitely for you. Featuring creatures outside of your everyday ordinary vampires and werewolves, a spirited heroine with an understandably bitter outlook on life, and so many quotable quotes about the nature of mankind, this book is a must have for any adult SFF fan.

Circe by Madeline Miller – If there’s one thing I love more than anything else in the literary world, it’s myths and legends re-imagined from a feminist perspective! And boy, does this book fit the bill. This is the story of Circe, the famous witch from Greek mythology who turned men into pigs and fell in love with Odysseus. Her journey is a painful one filled with blood and pain, interspersed with some moments of happiness, and despite the elements of magic, it’s one that most people walking the path of femininity can relate to.

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+3 Adult SFF Books I’d Love to Read:

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What did you think?

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them?
What are your favorite adult SFF books?
Did you do this Top Ten Tuesday? Leave me your links in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] Adult SFF Books

  1. I really want to read everything on this list! V.E. Schwab’s books are really high priority on my TBR so hopefully I’ll get to some of her books soon. I also really want to get on with… well everything :L I don’t know what to say I’d pick first. I do love that you mentioned Trail Of Lightning though as I added it to my TBR a while ago but haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere since.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually really loved Uprooted when I read it a few years ago. There’s a very lyrical quality to the writing that I loved. And I recently read Empire Of Sand and LOVED IT. These other ones are on my TBR and I hope to get my hands on them. Thanks for the list, Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Empire of Sand has been on my list for some time. I’m really interested in the first 5 you mentioned. I’ve been reading a lot of hit-and-miss YA fantasy this year so I want to read something substantial. Think I’ll try The Poppy War & Jade City next. Thanks for the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read both Jade City & The Poppy War, and loved them both SO MUCH ♥ I can’t wait for The Dragon Republic even though I know I’m in no way emotionally ready for this novel. I’m sure it’ll be incredible, and I’m ready for it to be a 5-star read lije The Poppy War. I also really want to read The City of Brass (I actually had no idea it was Adult) because I’ve heard so much about it and it sounds like a novel I’d love. Empire of Sand is on my TBR as well, and I hope to get to both these last books this summer! And I’ve just added Trail of Lightning to my goodreads thanks to your review. That was a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was blessed with an ARC of The Dragon Republic from Edelweiss and let me confirm that NO ONE IN THE HISTORY OF ANYTHING is emotionally ready for it.

      I hope you get to read City of Brass, Empire of Sand, and Trail of Lightning soon! These are some of my absolute most fave books!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Personally I really enjoyed The Night Circus too, it was just fun and whimsical and I really liked the non linear narrative.

    I adored Uprooted and if you get around to reading it I hope you do too. I think that’s another one which garners viewpoints from either end of the spectrum though but I am very much in love with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh yes the non-linear narrative of The Night Circus was one of my favorite things about it!

      Honestly I need to read Naomi Novik’s stuff soon so many people I know whose taste in books I trust say they LOVE her.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading! Hope you get to check these books out soon, they’re greeeat!

      Let me know if you’ve gotten around to reading Binti, I still haven’t gotten myself a copy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting list! I know only a couple. I have Night Circus on my tbr but I will definitely add some of the others. I have read the Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. It was such joy to read some thorough fantasy that took its time to build the story and the world. I love YA fantasy as well but sometimes it just gets too action packed and not enough time is left for the characters and their story. I still have to read the last book in the series but studying have taken up way to much of my time unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

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