At a time when we could all use a little extra escapism and enchantment, we asked you to vote for your favourite Oz YA fantasy reads. And what a magical list you gave us!
As many of the titles you voted for belong to a series, we’ve included information about the whole series in the list, along with the blurb and link to the first book to help you discover where your next reading adventure begins.
Chasing the Valley
by Skye Melki-Wegner
Penguin Random House Aus.
Set in a land where magic can be terrifying, Chasing the Valley combines the friendship and camaraderie of Ranger’s Apprentice with the hardship and survival of The Hunger Games – with spectacular results.
Danika is used to struggling for survival. But when the tyrannous king launches an attack to punish her city – echoing the alchemy bombs that killed Danika’s family – she risks her life in a daring escape over the city’s walls.
Danika joins a crew of desperate refugees who seek the Magnetic Valley, a legendary safe haven. But when she accidentally destroys a palace biplane, Danika Glynn becomes the most wanted fugitive in Taladia.
Pursued by the king’s vicious hunters and betrayed by false allies, Danika also grapples with her burgeoning magical abilities. And when she meets the mysterious Lukas, she must balance her feelings against her crew’s safety.
Chasing the Valley is the first book in an epic trilogy of magic, treachery and survival.
Colours of Madeleine
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Pan Macmillan Aus.
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.
Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.
They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter. Elliot begins to write to Madeleine, the Girl-in-the-World – a most dangerous thing to do, for suspected cracks must be reported and closed. But Elliot’s father has disappeared and Madeleine’s mother is sick. Can a stranger from another world help to unravel the mysteries in your own? Can Madeleine and Elliot find the missing pieces of themselves before it is too late?
by Nattie Kate Mason
An heir to the magically gifted Kingdom of Alearia must be chosen. The shape-shifting Prince Alexander is favored to claim the title. The fire wielding sisters Princess Anastasia and Princess Alecia feel that one of them will take-out the crown. However, the eldest potential heir, Princess Agnes, has other plans. The current ruler of Alearia; Queen Amealiana, a gifted sage and prophetic, has a hidden secret, that will change everything. If you love high fantasy novels, packed full of magic, suspense, betrayal, death, healing, royalty and competition, ‘The Crowning’ series is for you.
by Elizabeth Foster
Book #3 TBA
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
Gap Year in Ghost Town
by Michael Pryor
Allen & Unwin
Let’s get this straight – ghosts are everywhere. And they’re dangerous. This is why my family has hunted them for hundreds of years.
The Marin family run a two-man operation in inner-city Melbourne. Anton has the ghost-sight, but his father does not. Theirs is a gentle approach to ghost hunting. Rani Cross, combat-skilled ghost hunter from the Company of the Righteous, is all about the slashing.
Anton and Rani don’t see eye to eye – but with a massive spike in violent ghost manifestations, they must find a way to work together.
And what with all the blindingly terrifying brushes with death, Anton must use his gap year to decide if he really wants in on the whole ghost-hunting biz . . .
Gap Year in Ghost Town is smart, funny and scary – with extra action and attitude.
Guardians of Time
by Marianne Curley
Book #4: The Shadow
Imagine if you were able to change history. By altering one tiny thing you could start a chain of catastrophic events. Ethan is one of the Named, fated to stop this ever happening, although the forces of chaos have other ideas and Ethan is finding it more and more difficult to stay one step ahead. He is also a normal schoolboy, whose life is rapidly becoming far too confusing. So when Isabel arrives on the scene she is only going to make matters worse . . . or is she? This is history in the making – literally.
by Melina Marchetta
Penguin Random House Aus.
Finnikin has not been home to his beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was brutally murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then he is summoned to meet Evanjalin, an enigmatic young woman who claims the heir to the throne still lives. She is determined to return home and Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. But the truth will test Finnikin’s faith in Evanjalin . . . and in himself.
by Will Kostakis
Book #2: Rebel Gods (coming soon)
All 16-year-old Connor is trying to do is avoid his ex-best friend when he stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same secret chamber looking for an ancient being, things take an unexpected turn . . . and Connor’s life will never be the same again.
Along with the mysterious Sally and, later on, his new friend Locky, Connor discovers the Monuments – gods who have been buried for generations – who created the world and hid themselves away from humanity to keep everyone safe. But now they’re exposed and vulnerable, and Connor isn’t sure who, himself included, can be trusted with the knowledge and the power these gods have.
Monuments is the first book in an exciting duology from YA star, Will Kostakis. Look out for the gripping conclusion, Rebel Gods, out in 2020.
by Isobelle Carmody
Penguin Random House Aus.
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous.
by Alison Croggon
Penguin Random House Aus.
Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful Gift, a Gift that makes her a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfolds. Noe, she and her teacher Cadvan must survive a perilous journey through a time and place where the dark forces they battle with stem from the deepest recesses of other-worldly terror.
This epic fantasy about Maerad and her astonishing yet dangerous Gift is an unforgettable tale. Steeped in the rich and complex landscape of Annar, a legendary world few have yet discovered, it is one of literature’s most exciting stories.
Price of Magic
by Bonnie Wynne
In the blackest dungeon of the Clockwork City, a prisoner lies bound in silver shackles. Who is she? And why are the wizards so afraid of her?
Seventeen-year-old Gwyn has no family and no past. Apprenticed to a half-mad herbalist, she travels the snow-blasted High Country, hawking potions in a peddler’s wagon. Her guardian hides her from the world like a dark secret, and she knows better than to push for answers.
But when she discovers she is hunted by the goddess Beheret, Gwyn is drawn into a deep and ancient tale: of chained gods and lost magic, of truths long buried and the rising of a war she never could have imagined.
Wizards and their magic-sniffing hounds pursue her – as does a stranger in a smiling mask, who calls her by an unfamiliar name…
But what really terrify her are the dangerous gifts she’s spent her life suppressing. Now, Gwyn must step out of the shadows and take charge of her destiny – even if the price is her own soul.
The Ninth Sorceress is the breathtaking first installment of The Price of Magic, a sweeping fantasy saga full of rich storytelling and tangible magic.
by Garth Nix
Allen & Unwin
Garth Nix’s fantasy masterwork is a compelling high fantasy, the gripping story of a young heroine who must do battle in Death itself to defeat a powerful enemy. A tale of dark secrets, deep love and dangerous magic.
For many years Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into that treacherous world – and face the power of her own extraordinary destiny.
by Helen Scheuerer
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Tales of the Otori
by Lian Hearn
In his fortress at Inuyama, the murderous warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
Brought up in a remote village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people, Takeo has learned only the ways of peace. Why, then, does he possess the deadly skills that make him so valuable to the sinister Tribe? These supernatural powers will lead him to his violent destiny within the walls of Inuyama – and to an impossible longing for a girl who can never be his. His journey is one of revenge and treachery, beauty and magic, and the passion of first love.
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Allen & Unwin
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo massive environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, the Undying’s former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first.
Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet’s surface, they’re both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Amelia form a fragile alliance… but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible. As they race to decode the ancient messages left by the alien race, Jules and Amelia must navigate the traps and trials within the Undying temple and stay one step ahead of the scavvers on their heels. They came to Gaia certain that they had far more to fear from their fellow humans than the ancient beings whose mysteries they’re trying to unravel.
But the more they learn about the Undying, the more Jules and Amelia start to feel like their presence in the temple is part of a grand design – one that could spell the end of the human race…
Got a favourite Oz YA fantasy that you don’t see listed here? Sing its praises using #LoveOzYA.
Want to keep up to date with the latest LoveOzYA new releases, resources, events and news? SUBSCRIBE to our monthly newsletter.
Tags: Australian YA, fantasy, fantasy books, YA fantasy, young adult book list, Young Adult fantasy, young adult fiction, young adult literature