21 Best Pirate Fantasy Books

Perhaps nowhere does storytelling so totally reverse reality as when it deals with pirates. It’s difficult not to like swashbuckling rogues tweaking the noses of the uptight British ninnies as they ply their brave way across the wild, lusty seas.

Of course, actual pirates were about as romantic as the tortures they would inflict on prisoners, including holding lighted matches to the victim’s eyes or keel-hauling, where a sailor had a rope tied to each arm and thrown off the bow of a ship. The unfortunate was then dragged along the length of ship, scraping against the sharp barnacles and possibly drowning.

Fun fact: “Avast!” means “Stop!” or “Stand still!” not “Hello, fellow pirate!”

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Regular Guy Book Review: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

I’m seeing a trend in fantasy stories with extensive world-building. While many of them reveal the world through the usual quest for the Magical Thingamajig, the more recent trend is to reveal this strange world via the investigation of a murder. A detective must visit a number of dangerous places and confront strange characters (just like the folks on a quest).

I love this trend, and City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett is the best example I’ve come across.

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25 Best Vampire Books

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Detail from the cover of A Clutch of Vampires by Raymond T. McNally, drawn by Edward Gorey

Vampires have gone from being seen as unfortunate creatures operating under a dread curse (Nosferatu) to pretty, brooding superheroes (Twilight). They’re the ultimate bad boys: tall, dark, and handsome taken to a feral, gothic extreme.

There are all sorts of vampires in the list below: angry, scared, young, old, terrifying, hilarious, confused, weak, strong, monstrous, and human.

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29 Best Fantasy Series

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Fantasy has more book series than any other genre. Science fiction is in second place with hundreds of series, but fantasy is at the top. Once we fantasy readers find a world and characters we like, we seem to want to go back again and again.

The longest fantasy series out there is Conan, with almost eighty books. Second is (my personal favorite) Terry Pratchett’s Discworld with forty-five books.

Discovering a new book series is a fantastic feeling. Here’s hoping you find something new below.

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Review: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener is great and reads like a classic that’s been around for 50 years. I was shocked to find out it was published in 2014. It feels like the kind of book that’s been on shelves forever, next to A Wrinkle in Time and Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s good, creepy fun for kids.

Two young orphans get jobs at an old mansion that’s shadowed by a massive, dark tree. New mysteries appear in every chapter with forbidden rooms, darting shadows, and at night, things do a lot more than go bump.

The two orphans must face the darkness inside themselves before they can hope to deal with the spirit that haunts the mansion and the poor family trapped there.

Recommendation: Buy it. It’s fantastic. If you have a kid, absolutely get it. It’s aimed at grades 4-6, so decide how badly you want to scare your kid.