Your Summer Reading List: Fantasy Books to Delight Your Inner Nerd

Your Summer Reading List: Fantasy Books to Delight Your Inner Nerd

It's always great to settle down with a good book - but nothing really beats getting buried deep in the pages of a new read while you're on vacation, or simply outside enjoying the sunshine. That's why we've compiled some of the best books we know and love into our very own RebelsMarket summer reading series.

Last week was musician autobiographies - but this week it's all about fantasy. Check out the following fantasy books that should totally make your summer reading list:

Summer Reading. As kids, it was something we had to do - as adults, it’s something we can look forward to every year! Why? In school, teachers chose the books for us, as adults, we get to choose what we read! 

Summer is also a perfect time to jump in and explore a genre - and today we’re going to talk about some fantastic fantasy reads. If you’re brand new to the adventurous and often magical world of fantasy literature, have no fear: these reads are easy to jump into and have enough diversity to suit anyone with a penchant for fiction and a love of great writing.

If you’re already a devoted fantasy fan, then this list might just introduce you to a new soon-to-be favorite book!

Bookburners by Max Gladstone (and others)

Book burners cover image

Source: Simon & Schuster

Love a scrappy team of do-gooders hunting down danger and saving the world? Then have we got a series for you!

A title like that might make book lovers nervous, but this series is much less Fahrenheit 451 and much more Hellboy when it comes to what they destroy. These adventurers hunt down cursed books and uncover secrets in order to protect our world from dark magic. 

Stylistically, one thing that really sets Bookburners apart is its formatting - this isn’t your everyday paperback. Bookburners is a serial story, meaning new chapters come out every week for subscribers. This can be pretty refreshing and fun (and hails from the literary tradition of serialized publications), but the first season is available to download now if you’re not ready to jump into serial fiction just yet.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart A Doorway book cover image - fantasy perfect for summer reading

Source: Amazon

We've all heard stories of children traveling to other worlds in unusual ways, be it tripping through the fur coats in an old wardrobe to following a white rabbit through a mysterious hole in the ground. In Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire tells us the story we never knew we were waiting for: what happens to those magical children when they come back?

This Novella explores the world of grown-up magical child Nancy and her home for children like her; kids who have seen amazing things and come back to our world not quite able to fit in. But even here in the mundane world, a darkness is approaching and the children she cares for are in danger. Perhaps there are more daring feats and magical mysteries waiting in Nancy's future...


Dealing with Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles) by Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with dragons - fantasy book for summer reading

Source: Amazon

Come for the dragons, stay for the cherries jubilee - Patricia C. Wrede’s very 'improper princess' Princess Cimorene and her clever friends turn fantasy tropes around in this charming YA novel.

If you've loved Arya and Sansa Stark, meet Cimorene: the princess who longs to learn new skills and do interesting things. A princess who doesn't want her kingdom meets a dragon with sophisticated taste, and the unlikely pair form a friendship and partnership that might just be able to save the day from the scheming of cruel local wizards. If you're ready for a princess who loves the library as much as her swords and a dragon who doesn't care about bucking draconic traditions, then this is the novel for you!


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina book cover art

Source: Amazon

Speaking of dragons, Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut novel Seraphina is New York Times bestseller that is not to be missed! An exciting re-imagining of human and draconic interaction, in this story the two groups live and work in seeming harmony. Though as our heroine learns, tensions are ready to rise just beneath the surface.

Seraphina, a musical prodigy guarding a terrible secret, is a new addition to the court and wants little more than to go unnoticed. But a grisly murder at court soon draws her to investigate and risk everything in order to uncover the sinister plot behind it all. 


Redwall by Brian Jaques

Redwall book cover art

Source: Amazon

A prophecy long left unfulfilled, a peaceable kingdom set upon by nefarious brigands, and simply marvelous feasts, Redwall Abbey holds all the adventure a young mouse could wish for. Yes, while the characters of this tale have tails of their own, their fears, their drive, and their hope are all perfectly human and easy to relate to.

A young adult novel, the book is a light and easy read that you’re sure to enjoy every moment of. Will Matthias find a way to save his home and the creatures closest to him, protecting the Abbey from the dangerous Cluny the Scourge? You’ll have to read to find out! And never fear - when you’re left wanting more on the very last page, there are over 20 books set in this world for you to discover.


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The lazt unicorn book cover

Source: Amazon

Some might remember the Rankin & Bass animated movie from 1982, with voice talent from Christopher Lee to Angela Landsbury - but even in the case of such an excellent movie, the book is still better. A lovely and surprisingly short work from Peter S. Beagle’s catalog,

The Last Unicorn is all about one creature’s departure from the safety of her forest into the uncertain and dangerous world beyond it, ultimately to find out the fate of (and potentially rescue) the rest of her kind from the evil Red Bull. No comment on the energy drink of the same name is intended, by this author or the author of the book.


The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Trilogy) by N. K. Jemisin

The obelisk gate fantasy book cover

Source: Amazon

The second book in N. K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy, The Obelisk Gate is a great read with innovative, interesting characters. The novel follows Essun on the search for her daughter, encountering challenge after challenge (including a dangerous request from Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world).

Although this is the second book in the Broken Earth Trilogy, you can, of course, start with The Obelisk Gate, but you might be doing yourself a disservice. The rest of the trilogy brings even more light to this beautifully constructed world - beginning with the Hugo-award winning novel The Fifth Season.


The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman

The golden compass book cover art

Source: Amazon

While the heroes of this story are young, the series is anything but sweet and sugar-coated. While many view The Golden Compass and the following novels The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass as an allegory for the Catholic Church, Pullman’s writing in these worlds is more about the reactions people have to power structures run amok, religious or not.

The Magesterium is just the beginning though, with cross-dimensional travel, majestic armored bears, and soul deamons you can talk to that look like animal companions, these books are chock full of everything there is to love about high fantasy with a revolutionary bent.

What fantasy books would you add to this list? Tell us all about why readers will love them in the comments below!