Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If I like...Court Fantasy

...then I might like...

"If I Like..." is a feature here at Small Review where I pick a book or bookish feature and then ask YOU for similar book recommendations!

Last time we played this game I asked for suggestions for one of my library patrons, and you all totally delivered! We've been working our way through your recommendations and she's been loving them. I even got a thank you card with sparkles! Sparkles!

So, seeing how awesome you all are at giving sparkle-gift-inducing-recommendations-of-pure-win, I am now coming to you with a plea for help for myself.

Find me books like:


Who is the recommendation for?

Me! These are my absolute favorite types of books and I'm always looking for more to add to my Special Shelf.

Middle grade, YA, and adult books are all welcome!

More of this, please:

Court intrigue! Slow burn romance! Slow burn plot! Evil court vipers! Strong but imperfect main characters!

Men with swords is also always a plus. A real historical basis is also nice (like in Grave Mercy) but it isn't necessary at all (like in all the others).

But not this:

Remember in Princess Ben when she had all those secret passageways at her disposal and she DIDN'T use them to spy? Yeah, please no disappointments like that. Also, please no insta-love and slooooow plots. Or wimpy guys.

A series is ok, but if it ends on a cliffhanger, pretty please give me a heads up!

So what do you think, can you help me find more books like this? Is there anything YOU'RE looking for?



  1. Fail on my part. Those would be the books I'd think of for Court Fantasy. I'll let you know if I can think of more.

  2. umm, those are my most favorite type of books so I'm really going to have to monitor other peoples recommendations cause....I need some too!

    I only have a few for you since we've read A LOT of the same books but:

    The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook- this fills the bill PERFECTLY. It seriously has it all! Court intrigue? Tons of it! (such a cool twist too!) Romance? Oh baby it makes me want to squeal with how slow of a burn but so much satisfaction! Seriously, seriously SO good. My only down side would be that there are only two books, and while it doesn't end on a cliff hanger....there could be SOO much more in this universe. After you read this and love it (cause I know you will (we should protest in front of Dawn Cooks house....or maybe just ply her with tons of chocolate chip cookies..yeah, that's more my style...no messy tent cities)

    Cold Magic by Kate Elliot also has some intrigue and some very satisfying slow burn romance. There is a second already out and the third comes out this winter. First book was the best, second was still pretty good, but I'm hoping for a big bang finale!

    Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee. This one has four books in it, and the last one kind of sucked but wasn't really necessary so that's ok. The rest of it was great though. It's written in journal format which I normally HATE, but this one has a great protagonist, a great adventure story, and such a great crush!

    The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinely. This book has major crush appeal with the guy character and lots of growth for the main girl character. It was epic. It made me want to learn to ride a horse with no hands and how to fight in the desert!

    And last one...The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle. This one has a court in it (the goblin court), and stuff happens, but not really intrigue, but it has such amazing characters!! Who knew that I could like a goblin?

    And that's all I have. I tried to see by Goodreads if you had read any of these yet (is that stalkerish? I hope not...just trying to be thoughtful ; ) ) but these are epically some of my favorites. Hope you find some good ones too!

  3. Small, you need to read The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and The Song of the Lionness series by Tamora Pierce!

  4. I wish I could help. I don't normally read these.
    Good luck!

  5. The Seven Realm Series by Cinda Williams Chima. It's four books total, three are already out, the final book releases October this year (makes me very sad). It's my favourite high fantasy series - wizards, princesses, street lords, tribal warriors and of course magic and action. The books do end in cliffhangers so you have been warned. The first book is called The Demon King.

  6. Ooooohh love this post Small! Okay, so it's not a fantasy or a time period novel like these featured books, but by golly it's full of spying and intrigue and secret passageways and mysteries! It's the first Gallagher Girl book, "I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have To Kill You" by Ally Carter. ;)
    ALSO, featuring secret passageways and some magic and an awesome time period - "This Dark Endeavor" by Kenneth Oppel. AWESOME book.
    :D That's all I got right now, but if I think of anything else, I'll pop back in! ;) I'm reading "The False Prince" right now and am totally enjoying it! It's the first book better than mediocre that I've read in a few weeks! Breath of fresh air, I tell ya...

    1. DUH! What am I even thinking?! Totally forgot my favorite: "The City of Ember". Again, it's a bit different than those books you mentioned, but it does have some of the elements. I think you'll enjoy it a ton!

  7. I'm seconding Queen's Thief series, Seven Realms series (and Chima's other series, Heir Chronicles), and adding in the Thief Errant series by Elizabeth Bunce. Also, I just happen to have a list of courtly intrigue books on my blog - be warned, it also has fairy stories, since they generally have court intrigues.

  8. How about The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Carson. I loved that one!

  9. Wow!
    totally out of my depth here!
    :D other than Marillier's Heart's Blood (which does have intrigue and slow-building romance) I'm completely clueless.

  10. Oh my goodness! I would love all of these books. I really believe that I should have lived back with the knights, princesses, and royal courts. I would have fit in quite well. Thanks for sharing this!

    New Follower here.

    Chelsey@Charming Chelsey's

  11. I asked pretty much the same question as an optional comment possibility on my (on-going) Bitterblue giveaway, because that's the sort of book Bitterblue is! I'm looking forward to getting more recommendations.

  12. I love this game! I could start recommending some things - but I'm afraid you've read them all, already! In fact! Some of them I might have read because YOU recommended them in the first place! LOL.

    Let's see: I'm 99% certain you've read The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal already, right?
    If you haven't read The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner already, then you totally should.

    Hey, this is not courtly at all, but I know you love historical fantasy. I just finished reading Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - it's basically Jane Austen WITH MAGIC. I think you'd love it.

    Other things I'd recommend: The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley, because it's got some great maid-lives-in-castle-secretly-saves-life-of-prince-over-and-over-while-no-one's-the-wiser kind of action in it.

    I highly recommend The Thirteenth Princess and everything else by Diane Zahler!

    I haven't read it yet, but I'm interested by Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry. It was recommended to me for being a middle-grade, adventure princess story. If I'm remembering correctly, she has a magic charm that links to her a sea serpent who humorously thinks of most people as food.

  13. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges.
    The lead character is a member of Russian royalty. The first book is part of series and the only one out yet. She's a necromancer and the court is seperated from light and dark.

    The Summers of Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn.

  14. Is it sad that I can't help because I've not read any of the books mentioned. >_< Bad, bad reader!

  15. You've already read the only one I can think of, Grave Mercy. There might be some from Fairy Tale Fortnight. I've got one I'm reading now that's really good. The Fairytale Keeper Avenging The Queen by Andrea Cefalo. I got it in the mail and just wanted to see what it was like and realized when I put it down I was on page 50 or so. Really, really good!


  16. Thanks for doing this post! I totally just bookmarked this whole page so that I could come back and refer to it later because I love, love, love Court Fantasy too! I just bought The False Prince and can't wait to devour it!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  17. Oh wow, these are all awesome! You all totally ROCK! Thank you!! A lot of these I have on my TBR, but now I know to bump them way up. I'm so excited to start these. Now I just need to find the time... :D

  18. Ooh, this is a subgenre that I'm only really getting into now! I really need to read Poison Study; it's pretty ridiculous that I haven't yet. I wish I had books to recommend to you on this front, but I don't at the moment. I was pretty disappointed with Changeling by Philippa Gregory, which I though would have some promise in this area. One book that I haven't read yet but am looking forward to reading off of NetGalley is Throne of Glass. I'm hoping it'll be as awesome as Grave Mercy!

  19. Aurelia by Anee Osterlund
    Exile by Anne Osterlund
    Trouble with Kings by Sherwood Smith
    Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith
    Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley
    Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

  20. I just have to recommend one of my favorite books, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. I know you didn't like Graceling (the first in the series) but Bitterblue is an AMAZING sequel (I'm trying not to be biased because I loved Graceling and Fire). I haven't read any of the books you mentioned, but when I was looking for books like Bitterblue they were all recommended to me several times. And it fits all the requirements.

    Awesome Book Assessment


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