T5W: Hidden Fantasy Gems

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is  Hidden Gems in Your Favorite Genre.

What are some of your favorite books in your favorite genre that don’t get a lot of hype?

Here’s the thing: I don’t have a favorite genre. My favorite book is a weird mix of sci-fi and fantasy in space, and most of my favorites are in some way genre-bending. But the genre I read the most is fantasy, so this is a list of hidden fantasy gems.

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng


Under the Pendulum Sun is worth your time just because of how weird it is. Do you want to read about a hidden Gothic fairyland with the creepiest fae ever, where the sun is literally a pendulum and the moon is a fish? Do you want to read about missionaries having theological debates with fae queens? Do you want to read about clockwork fae masquerades? Try this. If you like weird, you won’t be disappointed. And just look at that cover.

Tensorate by JY Yang

Tensorate is a quartet of novellas (the cover of To Ascend to Godhood hasn’t been revealed yet) set in a fantasy world inspired by East and Southeast Asian mythology. It explores themes of family, grief and the conflict between magic and technology, and it has an all-queer cast. It’s currently my favorite novella series because of its characters and worldbuilding – I love this world and all the magical creatures in it.

The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera


The Tiger’s Daughter is an epic fantasy book about two warrior heirs who fall in love while fighting demons, bandits and an evil emperor. It’s a slow epistolary novel, so don’t expect a fast-paced adventure, but if you want a slow-burn f/f romance, here it is. I love both Shefali and Shizuka and I can’t wait to read more about them in The Phoenix Empress. It’s the only f/f adult fantasy series I found so far and I think it should get more hype. It’s not flawless, but it’s really important to me.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter


Do you like modern fairytale retellings that aren’t based on the same three western fairytales? Do you want to read beautiful, macabre descriptions? Vassa in the Night is a modern retelling of Vasilisa the Beautiful set in a fantasy Brooklyn in which Baba Yaga’s stores walk around on chicken legs. It’s one of the weirdest YA books ever written and I will never stop screaming at all of you to read it.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust


Of all the books on this list, this is the only one that received a decent (still too small) amount of positive hype, but I will talk about it regardless because it’s been a few months since the release date and I feel like people are already forgetting that this beautiful, quiet, subversive f/f retelling of Snow White exists. And that would be a shame.

Do you have a favorite genre? Have you read any of these?

7 thoughts on “T5W: Hidden Fantasy Gems

    1. It’s one of the most… unusual books I’ve ever read? An exploration of Christian theology and sin, but with fae. It was gothic and surreal, so if that’s what you look for, you’re going to find it there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great List! I really need to get to Girls of Snow and Glass, because it sounds so good and really intrigues me 🙂 I’m very curious about Vassa in the Night as well, I have just heard that it confused a lot of people because it’s pretty weird, but still it sounds unique!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a slow, quiet standalone fantasy novel and while that’s not everyone’s thing, it’s not something I’ve seen often, and I really liked it. Vassa in the Night really is weird; if surrealism isn’t your thing it may not work for you. The plot makes more sense if you’re familiar with the source material (i’ts still really whimsy and nonsensical at times, but that’s the point).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m definitely going to read Girls Made of Snow and Glass, because it sounds like something I would really enjoy 🙂
        Vassa in the Night might be a book I’ll pick up when I’m really in the mood for ‘weird’ aaand I’ll definitely check out the source material if that helps 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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