I can’t do spooky. Or creepy. Or scary. Or, pretty much, anything that is vaguely related to Halloween. Any book that advertises itself as being a Halloween read normally has me running for the hills. Last year, however, I had quite good fun deciding what I’d watch that had Halloween themes, but weren’t technically that genre. So, I thought I’d do it with books… here’s 5 fantasy series to read this Halloween if you don’t do traditional ghouls and ghosts.
This was supposed to be a general list, but it turned into fantasy through no fault of my own! Okay, the fault is mine, it’s mainly what I read but hey, you should know that by now.
5 Fantasy Series To Read This Halloween
Godblind by Anna Stephens
For someone who just said they don’t do creepy, I feel like this undermines it? It’s one of my favourite types of dark fantasy and certainly will give you the chills at various times. There are some dark themes in this trilogy that perfectly tie in to the darker evenings. Fantastic characters; a gripping plot; and some whacked-up Gods who change all the rules!
Plot: The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.
Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbours deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.
Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?
My review –>
Plot: The Wolves lie dead beside Rilpor’s soldiers, slaughtered at the hands of the Mireces and their fanatical army.
The veil that once kept the Red Gods at bay has been left in tatters as the Dark Lady’s plans for the world come to fruition. Where the gods walk, blood is spilled on the earth.
All that stands between the Mireces army and complete control of the Kingdom of Rilpor are the walls of its capital, Rilporin, and those besieged inside.
But hope might yet bloom in the unlikeliest of places: in the heart of a former slave, in the mind of a soldier with the eyes of a fox, and in the hands of a general destined to be king.
My review –>
Plot: In this epic grimdark conclusion to the Godblind Trilogy, heroes, armies, and gods both good and evil will battle one last time, with the fate of the world itself at stake. . . .
The great city of Rilpor has fallen. Its walls have crumbled under the siege by the savage Mireces; its defenders have scattered, fleeing for their lives; its new rulers plot to revive the evil Red Gods using the city’s captured, soon-to-be-sacrificed citizens.
Now, with the Fox God leading the shattered remnants of the Rilporian defence and the Mireces consolidating their claim on the rest of the country, it’s up to Crys, Tara, Mace, Dom and the rest to end the Red Gods’ scourge once and for all.
While the Rilporians plan and prepare for one final, cataclysmic battle to defeat their enemies, the Blessed One and the king of the Mireces have plans of their own: dark plans that will see gods resurrected and the annihilation of the Dancer for all time. Key to their plan is Rillirin, King Corvus’s sister, and the baby–the Bloodchild–she carries. As both sides face their destinies and their gods, only one thing is clear: death waits for them all.
My review –>
The All Souls Series by Deborah Harkness
Okay, slight confession: I still haven’t read these. I’ve had them on my bookshelf for about two years now, and they’re nearing the top of the pile. Given the supernatural elements to them though, I feel like these would make a perfect addition to my reading list this Autumn. Hmm, maybe I am about to become a seasonal reader after all…
Plot: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Plot: Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.
Plot: Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
There’s definitely going to be a fantasy theme in my version of ‘spooky’ reads. I’ve read Kingdom of Souls and am about to start the second (Reaper of Souls). The first was one of my top books for 2020 and I’m excited to see how the series unfolds.
Plot: Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.
Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.
There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.
She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.
My review –>
Plot: After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is.
Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal lands to search for help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the Demon King’s shadow looms closer than she thinks. And as Arrah struggles to unravel her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem more and more impossible—if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all.
Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.
Plot: A king with a score to settle. A demon driven to rebel. A girl who holds the power of the Gods.
Arrah has paid many prices in her battle against the Demon King. Now, she must decipher the legacy of her past and weave an uneasy alliance between her beloved Rudjek, the Demon King, and the remaining orishas, hoping to restore peace to all their worlds. But as Arrah’s half-demon sister regains her strength and resumes her quest for destruction, peace may require the ultimate sacrifice.
Shadow Sword by S.J Hartland
I tried so hard to find one that wasn’t fantasy. But everything I thought of wasn’t a series, which broke my post. This is another where I’ve read the first book and about to embark on a re-read so I can then continue the series (picked up the theme that I’m seriously behind these days?). This one includes zombie-like creatures though – how could it not make the list?
Plot: His duty is to die young, but fate has something far more lethal in mind
If Kaell breaks, the kingdom breaks with him. And prophecy says the 19th Bladesman will break …
The Bonded Warrior …
Kill. Die young. That’s what a swordsman bonded to the ancient gods does. Without expecting praise from the man who trained him to survive this centuries-old, malignant war against the inhuman followers of an invincible lord. But Kaell wants more. More of Val Arques’ attention, his approval. Just more.
The fire dancer …
Ice lord, spy, Heath never loses a fire dance. Yet he longs to know that thrill of danger down his spine as he kills for his god, to fight a warrior who might, just might be better than him.
The broken …
Val Arques is a bladesman of formidable power entrusted not only with Kaell’s life but with the truth that will destroy him. Banished to a grim outpost of this doomed kingdom of sorcery, poetry and treachery, he cannot afford to care about the young warrior. For love means loss. And Val Arques has a shameful secret …
A kingdom on the edge of chaos …
As a vengeful god escapes his ancient prison and Kaell is drawn into his web of deception, even Val Arques can’t protect him from the dark prophecy awaiting him. Because you can’t flee fate unless you’re willing to do the unthinkable.
My review –>
Plot: A rich tapestry of dark magic, obsession, dangerous prophecy, and the forgiveness found through friendship.
An ancient king returns…
For centuries, Roaran sought redemption. Now he can vanquish a tyrant and save a realm in chaos. But only if he cuts his last ties to humanity. Only if he returns to the one place that he swore he’d never dare go again…
A leader arises…
Slaver, raider, and warlord, Dannon wants to believe in something beyond killing. His yearning will take him on a deadly path to his destiny… that he’s fated to put aside all he believes in and fight a war he can’t win.
A warrior in chains…
A prisoner in the Icelands, about to be auctioned to the highest bidder, Val Arques has just one chance to escape and find Kaell before it’s too late—win at his captor’s dangerous psychological and sexual game or reveal the secret that will destroy him.
A prophecy unfolds…
As for Kaell… fate isn’t quite done with him yet.
For the darkness taking over the kingdom can’t be defeated by the sword, only with the heart.
Plot: The compelling third book in the Shadow Sword series viciously ramps up the stakes in a darkly psychological, brutal, and heartbreaking story of jealousy, treachery, and courage in the face of loss.
The Seer King is helpless
Betrayed by the man who should have been his fiercest ally, Roaran is Archanin’s prisoner. The fallen god shackles his prize in a desolate castle hidden by magic – a solitary possession to be tortured and humiliated. But there’s something dangerous his captor wants from Roaran, and if he breaks, the dark legacy of his fall will change the fate of kingdoms.
Save him or kill him
As city after city is seduced by Archanin, Dannon struggles to hold the Sword Brotherhood of ancient warriors together. He wants to save Roaran. But if he can’t, he’ll have to kill him.
The secret keeper
The brotherhood’s only hope of defeating Archanin is a young woman trapped in the past. Warrior, sorceress, Genya knows keeping secrets is how you survive. Now she must decide between duty or power. But when the brotherhood makes its final desperate stand against a tyrant and deceiver, what if the chosen one chooses evil?
A breathtaking, heart-pounding journey into darkness and the redemptive power of friendship.
The Great Devil’s War by Kenneth B. Anderson
This is far more light-hearted. Aimed at a younger audience, I decided to include this one because it pretty much includes every character you’d want to dress up as Halloween. It’s a fun, coming-of-age series that happens to be set in Hell. Entertaining and light, but with strong messages for younger readers.
Plot: Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?
My review –>
Plot: Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.
But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.
Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.
My review –>
Plot: An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.
My review –>
Plot: Nothing will ever be the same. Satina is gone, kidnapped by the enemy. Disobeying Lucifer, Philip heads out to find her, journeying into the deep darkness of Outer Reach. But nothing can prepare Philip for the horror that awaits—or the demons he will face.
My review –>
Plot: It’s been almost two years since Philip left Hell and returned to life—this time for good.
But things have changed and so has Philip. He’s haunted by terrifying nightmares and has never felt so lonely. Lonely and angry.
Then one day the impossible happens and Philip is brought back to Hell. Not by the Devil, but by the Almighty himself.
Although the Great Devil War ended a long time ago, the battle is far from over—and the worst is yet to come.
My review –>
There we have it, my 5 fantasy series to read this Halloween if you’re looking for something new.
What are you reading this Halloween? Any of these series make it onto your TBR list?
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