Top 20 Coming of Age Fantasy Books You Have to Read


Coming of age fantasy books are a beloved and classic story-line. Taking us on a character’s journey from humble beginnings to greatness, these tales are often moving and inspiring.

Are you on the look out for a story like this? If so, this post has a list for you.

Here are 20 top coming of age fantasy books to read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book below. If you’d prefer a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.

And for more coming of age stories, here’s another post featuring 5 Coming of Age Fantasy Books for Adult Readers.


Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Description

Thorn Bathu was born to fight. But when she kills a boy in the training square she finds herself named a murderer.

Fate places her life in the hands of the deep-cunning Father Yarvi as he sets out to cross half the world in search of allies against the ruthless High King. Beside her is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in her eyes and his own, the voyage is his last chance at redemption.

But warriors can be weapons, and weapons are made for one purpose. Will Thorn always be a tool in the hands of the powerful, or can she carve her own path? Is there a place outside of legend for a woman with a blade?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating4.20

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

First on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Half the World. While technically a sequel to Half a King, this story is headed by a new protagonist and familiarity with the prior book isn’t necessary to enjoy this story.

What did fans say? Overall, this novel delighted readers with its thrilling pace and gripping cast of characters.

Like many of author Joe Abercrombie’s books, this one bristled with adrenaline-infused action scenes, which fans said kept them racing through its pages.

Along with that, they praised the characters’ complexity, describing them as full of nuance, dilemmas and flaws. Whether they be supporting characters or Thorn, the protagonist, fans said that these gritty anti-heroes were easy to root for and fascinating to watch make their mark on their world.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Half the World say? Overall, these readers said they thought some of the characters came across as flat.

In particular, they mentioned that Thorn had frustrations, but didn’t have internal conflicts or growth. As such, she seemed more like a generalized ‘warrior woman’ type than a unique character. Critics tended to say that this made it difficult to get emotionally invested in the story.


Novice Dragoneer by E. E. Knight

Description

In the first book in an exciting and charming new coming-of-age fantasy series from the author of the Age of Fire series, an impoverished girl enters into a military order of dragonriders, but her path won’t be as easy or as straightforward as she expected.

Fourteen-year-old Ileth grew up in an orphanage, and thanks to her stutter was never thought to be destined for much beyond kitchen work and cleaning. But she’s dreamed of serving with the dragons ever since a childhood meeting with a glittering silver dragon and its female dragoneer.

For years she waits, and as soon as she is old enough to join, Ileth runs away to become a novice dragoneer at the ancient human-dragon fortress of the Serpentine.

While most of her fellow apprentices are from rich and influential families, Ileth must fight for her place in the world, even if it includes a duel with her boss at the fish-gutting table. She’s then sent off to the dragon-dancers after a foolish kiss with a famously named boy and given charge of a sickly old dragon with a mysterious past.

But she finds those trials were nothing when she has to take the place of a dead dragoneer and care for his imprisoned dragon in enemy lands…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.07

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Second on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Novice Dragoneer. This novel captured fans’ hearts with its likable protagonist, Ileth, and its intriguing portrayal of dragons.

Ileth struck readers as a courageous, strong-willed main character, one determined to succeed despite all those fighting against her. Several mentioned how refreshing it was that her strength didn’t come from her skills as a warrior, but her ability to persevere to achieve her dreams. As such, these readers found her journey inspiring.

In addition, other fans said that the story’s portrayal of dragons and how the world was impacted by them was excellent. Many described themselves as feeling the same sense of awe and excitement that Ileth did the more she learned about individual dragons as well as the story’s dragon-influenced culture.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics and Novice Dragoneer is no exception. For the most part, these readers either focused on the plot’s pace or the novel’s handling of sexual harassment.

In terms of the former, several critics came in expecting an action-adventure, whereas Novice Dragoneer centers more on Ileth’s personal growth. 

For the latter: when Ileth is sexually harassed, her classmates and teachers blame her instead of the perpetrators. Critics thought that this injustice wasn’t addressed strongly enough. As such, they thought the book glossed over the issue.


Stormwarden by Janny Wurts

Description

For the first time in audio, the Cycle of Fire Trilogy, a stout and epic tale mixing sci-fi and fantasy by acclaimed author Janny Wurts.

This classic fantasy trilogy follows three young people struggling to free the Stormwarden, the last of the elemental power-wielding Vaere sorcerers, so that he can battle the humanity-threatening demonkind.

Far in the future, a human-crewed starship crashes on a distant planet, carrying alien POWs taken to help discover the secrets of a deadly foe, the group mind known as the Gierj.

In time, the humans revert to a feudal society, the aliens are seen as “demons”, and the starship’s computer survives as a “magical” entity known as the Vaere.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.82

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Third on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Stormwarden. Fans were enthralled by this story because of its spellbinding plot and likable main characters. 

In terms of the plot, these readers described it as fast-paced, suspenseful and wonderfully unpredictable. Paired with plenty of action, this created a tension-filled, exciting story-line that kept fans at the edge of their seats.

As for the characters, readers praised them as multidimensional and nuanced. Forced to made difficult decisions and learn from their mistakes, the protagonists impressed them with their well-fleshed out strengths, weaknesses, virtues and flaws. At times, they admired the characters and at others, they disliked them. But in either case, fans appreciated their authenticity.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Stormwarden say? Typically, these readers described the story as having moments where it focused too little on important details while providing too much in less important ones. For instance, some mentioned that the characters’ backstories weren’t given much of the spotlight, but the intricacies of sailing were. 


The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Description

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it.

But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody.

Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor.

All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.04

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is The Goblin Emperor. Rather than an action-packed tale about battles and wars, this story captivated readers with court intrigue and a coming of age story.

Readers praised the book for giving them Maia, the kindhearted main character. Especially given the current slew of grim dark fantasy novels around, he stood out to them as a refreshing change.

He’s a noble and heroic character that they immediately bonded with and wanted to see succeed. In particular, his efforts to improve his new kingdom him and serve his people endeared him to them.

Other readers mentioned the world-building. Some mentioned the nuanced way characters spoke to each other, which took into account the social standing of the person they conversed with. Others mentioned the description of court life. But in either case, readers thought the world was fascinating and vividly realized.

Negative Comments

So why didn’t critics like The Goblin Emperor? Overall, readers tended to cite either the plot or the way the author used language to portray court life.

In terms of the plot, critics said that it meandered: there didn’t seem to be a connecting thread between the events or an ultimate point the plot drove toward.

Others, though, were frustrated by the terminology the story used in its dialogue. For instance, Maia would use the royal ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ to refer to himself when he acted in the capacity of a monarch. While this was and is standard protocol for kings and queens, it nevertheless was too off-putting for critics.

Similarly, some were either confused or bothered by how the story used both ‘you’ (formal second person) and ‘thou’ (informal second person). While there’s a historical basis for using the terms, these readers found it grating.


Path of a Novice by R. K. Lander

Description

His face would kindle love, garner hatred, inspire loyalty – bring persecution.

An immortal half-blood becomes a novice warrior and joins the ranks of the Silvans as they battle Sand Lords and Deviants. He only ever had one dream; to become a Silvan captain in an army commanded by the dominant Alpine elves, colonizers of the Great Forest.

There had once been another dream though – to know who his father was, but years of unanswered questions later, he told himself it didn’t matter anymore.

Meanwhile, the powerful Alpine lords weave a story of racial superiority, relegating the native Silvans to second-class subjects. Village leaders, Spirit Warriors and Foresters are starting to rebel.

Fel’annár learns the true meaning of warrior hood when he travels as the only novice warrior in a multi-racial patrol into the Deep Forest. As he battles the enemy for the first time, a power unfolds, one he cannot control – does not want.

While friendships are forged, a destiny begins to unravel, one that is tied to a past he knows nothing about. For others though, it is only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and the danger becomes real.

Can Fel’annár overcome his fears, become the warrior he always wanted to be, or will his dreams be stunted by his own shrouded past? By one elf’s lust for absolute power?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.40

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Path of a Novice is next on our list of coming of age fantasy books. This novel tantalized readers with its well fleshed-out main character as well as its rich world.

In particular, fans said that Path of a Novice transported them into its world and intrigued them by continually adding new, beautiful layers and nuances. 

Negative Comments

Critics of Path of a Novice generally mentioned two reasons why they didn’t enjoy this story. The first was that the protagonist struck them more as a vessel for wish-fulfillment rather than a fleshed out character. To them, he seemed too perfect.

On the other hand, the second reason critics gave was the overall story seemed to share too many standard fantasy book elements. As a result, these readers thought the book was generic.


Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

Description

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river. 

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right.

But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood and the secrets of the royal family she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Troubled Waters. This novel enchanted readers primarily through Zoe, it’s protagonist, and the authentic romance between her and her love interest.

Fans described Zoe as a refreshing heroine, one that starts off in a vulnerable state but grows into a strong and self-possessed individual. Her journey moved these readers, who found her relatable and appreciated that she wasn’t the hyper-competent protagonist type.

In addition, others said that Troubled Water’s romance caught their attention. They contrasted it with romances in other fantasy books, which they said tended to say relied on ‘love at first sight’ with little substance behind it. Not so with this novel, which fans praised as having two strong characters who have gain trust and mutual respect for each other. These readers praised it as heartwarming.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Troubled Waters? Well, they tended to focus on either Zoe as a protagonist or the story’s means of characterizing its cast.

For the former, these readers described Zoe as overly favored by the story. For example, some of them said she adapted too easily to the changes around her while others said she’d make frustrating decisions but face no consequences for it. As a result, these readers found her unlikeable.

In terms of the latter, critics said that the book tended to characterize its cast by astrology descriptions rather than showing those traits in action.

On the other hand, other readers didn’t mind being told about a character’s traits, but didn’t like how frequently those traits were attributed to the character’s astrological sign. This group of readers started to feel that the astrological signs dominated characters instead of informing about them.


The Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

Description

This is the story of Shana, a halfbreed born of the forbidden union of an Elvenlord father and a human mother.

Her exiled mother dead, she was rescued and raised by dragons, a proud, ancient race who existed unbeknownst to elven or humankind.

From birth, Shana was the embodiment of the Prophecy that the all-powerful Elvenlords feared. Her destiny is the enthralling adventure of a lifetime. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with prophecies is The Elvenbane. This coming of age story gripped readers with its believable characters and nuanced characterization.

Fans remarked that the characters, which include those from various age groups and species, were all unique. Moreover, as they interact with their world, they grew and learn from one another.

Paired with this, fans often said that the story’s world-building was intricate and rich. Not only was it immersive by itself, but seeing the characters interact with it made both the cast and the world wonderfully complex.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Elvenbanewhat did they say? Critics tended to have a common reason: the book’s pace. Several of them mentioned that it was slow and not much happened, plot-wise.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Description

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another one of our coming of age fantasy books is The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a novel nominated for the prestigious Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Fans fell in love with Elisa, the story’s protagonist and raved about her  portrayal. Many of them were intrigued by how different she is from the typical ‘Chosen One’ character. While most ‘Chosen Ones’ start off as unlikely heroes due to their socioeconomic background, Elisa battles a powerful sense of worthlessness and a sheltered upbringing.

Readers often said that this made her easy to empathize with, especially given how much she has to fight to grow past her weaknesses. Several readers who had battled eating disorders or a negative self-image said they felt a particular connection to her. By the end of the novel, readers of all stripes said Elisa’s growth into a confident and heroic leader inspired them and warmed their hearts. 

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the world-building. In particular, readers praised the book’s multifaceted and respectful inclusion of religion into its setting. Often missing in fantasy world-building, it added a new dimension to Elisa and other characters.

In addition, readers said that seeing characters of different cultural and religious convictions interact was refreshing and made the world come to life.

Negative Comments

Not every reader enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. So, what did critics say?

For the most part, they had two main reasons. Some were upset that Elisa started off overweight but became thinner over the course of her trials. For instance, she trekked through a desert and had far less food available to consume than usual. Critics interpreted this as linking heroism and thinness.

The second criticism is more ambiguous, having to do with the portrayal of religion. Some readers disliked the fact that Elisa was religious or that religion was included as part of the story’s world. However, their distaste didn’t come across as a criticism against The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so much as a dislike of religion in general.

Ironically, others seemed to think that the religious aspect wasn’t delved into deeply enough. For instance, these critics were intrigued by the philosophical questions Elisa ponders. They said, though, that the book only offered surface-level answers.


The Dark Glory War by Michael A. Stackpole

Description

Four young men come of age in a time of prophecy and war….

In the sacred season of the Moon Month, four young men don the masks that herald their coming-of-age celebration, a time of testing, ritual, festival, and romance.

But for Tarrant Hawkins and his friends Leigh, Rounce, and Nay, their first test becomes a desperate struggle for survival. For they will encounter the vanguard of an invasion force poised to overrun their homeland of Oriosa, and all four will find their lives changed forever when they encounter a legendary weapon that brings its wielder invincibility.

Yet the magic sword may prove more curse than blessing, signaling the arrival of a cataclysmic battle with ancient foes. And in the face of dire sorceries and terrible battles, these youths will come to manhood…or to death.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is The Dark Glory WarThis fantasy novel kept readers glued to its pages with its mixture of boys’ coming of age story and its fast-paced, action-packed battles. Several readers remarked on how they enjoyed seeing the main characters grow and prove themselves.

Others mentioned that the book’s action scenes captivated them. Fast-paced and harsh, these battles featured throughout the story and kept readers wanting to know the fate of each character.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, these readers had two complaints: an aspect of the characters or the book’s pace.

 In terms of the characters, critics said that they couldn’t connect with them. Some said that this was because the characters didn’t feel multidimensional, while others said that they just didn’t have an aspect that interested them.

On the other hand, other readers mentioned that the story seemed too slow at certain points but too fast at others.


The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V. R. Cardoso

Description

Magic can make you invincible. If it doesn’t get you killed first.

Aric and Fadan are half-brothers. Both sons of the Empress, but only one of them the son of the Emperor. A decade ago, Fadan’s powerful father tore the Empire in two by outlawing the use and practice of magic.

Forbidden from seeing each other, Aric and Fadan defy the Emperor and wander the vast Imperial Citadel until one night, they stumble upon an ancient Manual of Magic. They are faced with a choice: take the book straight to the Emperor or see if one of them has the forbidden magical Talent.

Their world is turned upside down and the half-brothers find themselves swept away as tragedy and conspiracy separate them, sending each to either end of the Empire.

In a world of dark mages, massive creatures, and vengeful gods, one will train as a Dragon Hunter while the other taps into magical powers that could spell his execution. 

Dark forces are moving in the shadows and no one in the Empire is ready for what’s to come. Will Aric and Fadan survive to ever see each other again?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.11

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is The Dragon Hunter and the Mage. This novel features two main characters that readers found a delight to follow!

Seeing the two brothers discover their gifts and grow into adults gripped them. At the same time, fans said that both the main characters and the side ones were well-developed, all of them adding to the story.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, they said that The Dragon Hunter and the Mage had a slow beginning. Others said that the book occasionally used modern terminology they didn’t think matched the medieval-inspired world.


Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold

Description

Born human, raised by wolves, Firekeeper seems the last person anyone would choose to back as a candidate for heir apparent to a royal throne.

Nonetheless, when Firekeeper and her wolf “brother,” Blind Seer, travel with Earl Kestrel’s expedition into the kingdom of Hawk Haven, the earl thrusts the wolf-woman into the midst of the heated intrigue surrounding who will be chosen as the heir of elderly King Tedric. 

Soon, the only thing the competing factions seem able to agree upon is that Firekeeper is an enemy. Firekeeper may not be able to read or write. She may struggle to speak a coherent sentence. However, if there is one thing the wolf-woman has learned from her life among wolves, it is that a strong pack needs an even stronger leader. 

Will Firekeeper win the fight for the throne? Whatever happens, the wolf-woman’s part in the contest will forever change it, even for those who do not see through wolf’s eyes. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Through Wolf’s Eyes. Fans of this novel enthused over its incredible characters, all of whom felt flesh-and-blood. 

Readers described these characters, whether main characters or supporting ones, as capturing their hearts and stirring their emotions. Their interactions with each other, their history and growth were touching and organic. 

In addition to that, other readers praised the book for its political intrigue. Richly detailed and nuanced, fans were delighted and eager to find out how each new twist and turn would impact the characters. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Through Wolf’s Eyes? Well, several of them said that the book included too many world-building or character details. However, most of them were generally readers who didn’t enjoy political fantasy.

These readers found the scheming uninteresting and, given that the majority of the book revolves around politics, disengaged with the story.


Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Description

Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.

For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her—a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea’s young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.

But the fate of the Vestrit family and the ship may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles…and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.14

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Ship of Magic. Fans of this book praised its superb world-building and its incredible portrayal of characters and their relationships to one another. This especially impressed them because since so many characters had a point of view.

Overall, fans praised the story for investing them so deeply in the story. Each character struck them as engaging and fully realized, whether they were lovable or infuriating. They changed as a result of events in the story and inspired powerful emotions in fans.

Negative Comments

On the other hand, critics tended to agree that the story’s pace was slow. They agreed that the novel is full of believable characters and rich character development. However, they mentioned that the book was so heavily concentrated on characters that it didn’t have plot-based momentum.

Once they reach the end of the book, critics thought no much had happened. Since they’d mostly expected adventure, they were disappointed.


The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Description

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs — once thought of almost as gods — were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them.

Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets.

A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought — and lost — before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is The Shadow of What Was Lost. Fans of this novel praised it for combining their favorite aspects of fantasy, while adding exciting twists and turns. The story kept them guessing, each page filled with intrigue and new questions. 

Others mentioned that The Shadow of What Was Lost delighted them with its detailed, nuanced world-building. Whether it was because of the history, magic systems or more, readers described the story as complex and engaging.

Negative Comments

No book is loved by all, so what comments did critics make?

They generally had two remarks. The first was that they didn’t connect with the characters. These readers  said that they didn’t think that the characters came across as well-fleshed out, either individually or in terms of distinction from one another. The second was that they thought the plot was a well-trodden path. 


Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Description

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back.

Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love — a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.90

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Flame in the Mist. Inspired by Mulan, this novel delighted fans with its immersive atmosphere and likable protagonist, Mariko. 

Many readers described the book’s world and scenery as lushly realized. Not only did they find themselves quickly absorbed into the story, but they also mentioned that its Japanese cultural elements were rich and well-researched.

As for Mariko, fans praised her as a brave, intelligent heroine with a moving character arc. Seeing her discover her abilities and what she learns – particularly around finding strength in her femininity – gripped them.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? Overall, critics had to comments about Flame in the Mist.

First, they said that the story’s pace was slow. The second was that Mariko didn’t strike them as an authentically ‘strong female character’. Instead, they thought she either acted spoiled or mouthy without facing consequences.


Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw

Description

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. 

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself. 

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations.

Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.35

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Dawn of Wonder. Inspired by classic fantasy tales, this novel delighted readers with a compelling story and lovable characters. 

Fans often said that the novel’s pace was excellent as well, drawing them into action, character-development moments and world-building experiences with graceful ease. 

Many also praised the story itself, saying that it was a powerful and epic adventure. Several of their favorite fantasy book elements featured in the novel: daring escapades, ancient mysteries and charming humor.

With likable characters leading the way, these readers flew through the pages, eager to see what would happen next. 

Negative Comments

In terms of what critics said, most tended to say that Dawn of Wonder struck them as a relatively standard fantasy book. These readers said that this impression came from the plot as well as the characters.  


Hatch: The Dragons of Laton by James Stevens

Description

Ammon’s job was simple, to care for the dragon eggs in the Nest. It should have been easy, but it wasn’t.

When the sun rose after the hatch, he had made an enemy of the most powerful man in the kingdom, and he would soon learn that was the least of his problems!

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.02

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Hatch.

Fans of this story had two main reasons why they loved it: first, they thought the world itself was wonderful. On one hand, much of it was familiar. But on the other, the setting had enough twists to make it feel the original.

The second reason readers became fans was the characters. Readers frequently said they were easy to fall in love with and root for. The main character, Ammon, captured readers hearts with his growth from timid egg-watcher to courageous hero. Fulgid, the dragon, came across to readers as delightfully sassy and adorable. Experiencing this dynamic duo bond and grow closer was even more enchanting!

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Hatch, they typically cited the characters as the reason. Critics described them as flat, with little to distinguish them from one other.

But others said they were disappointed by the story itself. It struck them as either too straightforward or too reminiscent of standard fantasy tropes. Other than that, the plot seemed to tug the characters along rather than the character shaping plot.


Fatemarked by David Estes

Description

They are the fatemarked.

Misunderstood. Worshiped. Hated. Murdered at birth.

Their time to step into the light has come.

An ancient prophecy foretold their coming, the chosen few who will bring peace to a land embroiled in a century of mistrust and war. When kings start dying, that hope and belief swiftly turns to fear.

Roan Loren is one of the fatemarked, but has hidden his mark of power his entire life, fearing the damage it might cause to those around him.

A great evil is coming. He can’t hide anymore.

In the spirit of fantasy epics like Throne of Glass and The Lord of the Rings, enter a world of magic and dragons, kings and queens, and victory and defeat, during a time when honor and valor still meant something. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.04

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Fatemarked. This fast-paced novel won fans for its epic story line, rich world-building, and captivating characters. Readers mentioned how distinct the character cast was, with each having their own personality and relatability.

Others mentioned that even as the story developed the characters and its world, it also had plenty of action and electrifying battles. This kept the book moving at an intense and thrilling pace the entire time.

Negative Comments

In general, critics of Fatemarked said that the overall tone of the story or its characters. For the former, they described the book as too bleak and heavy. This depress them enough that they didn’t want to continue reading.

In terms of the latter, these readers suggested that the novel’s dialogue and characters came across as either bland or geared to a younger readership. As such, these critics found it difficult to bond to them or get invested in the story.


The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Description

An epic battle between good and evil…

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers.

Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great – until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us.

At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game – a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind – he’s one of the last of the warriors – at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

And next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is The Warrior Heir. This fantasy novel tantalized fans with its blend of a likable protagonist, action, and a world similar to our own but with intriguing twists. 

In particular, readers were fascinated by the magic system and world-building in The Warrior Heir, saying that the powers the various guilds had and how they vied for power was refreshingly different.

Aside from that many praised the story for its overall epic feel, along with non-stop suspense and adventure.  

Negative Comments

So what did critics say about The Warrior Heir?

Overall, these readers said that the book had several noticeable character types and common plot tropes. Because of this, they thought the story came across as bland and couldn’t get invested in it.


A Dragon from the Desert by William King

Description

The biggest problem in fifteen year old Raif’s life used to be finding lost goats. Now, apprenticed to a terrifying war wizard he is caught in the web of intrigue and assassination surrounding the heir to his home kingdom.

And if that was not enough he becomes foster parent to an orphaned dragon. He must do his best to make sure he and his new friend survive the dangers of the deadly world in which they find themselves.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.30

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of coming of age fantasy books is A Dragon from the Desert. Fans said that this heartfelt story was full of intriguing characters and world-building. They often remarked that the world seemed to constantly develop as they turned the pages, while the characters grew in depth.

All on all, these readers praised the book, saying its world and the characters were likable, easy to connect to and root for. 

Negative Comments

Critics, on the other hand, mostly said that the story was slow. In general, my impression is that these readers seemed to come into the story expecting it to be less character-driven and more plot-driven.


Wolfblade by Jennifer Fallon

Description

Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family’s great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers’ Collective, the Patriots — even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets – but that doesn’t matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics – and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.

As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat – but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

The last story on our list of coming of age fantasy books is Wolfblade. 

This novel delighted fans with its exciting political thriller plot and its characters. Packed with political machinations, twists and turns, this book kept readers rushing through its pages.

Moreover, it riveted them to see the protagonist grow – gradually and realistically – from naive and helpless to shrewd and powerful. The characters overall, though, struck fans as well-fleshed out, all with unique personalities and motives.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? For some readers, Wolfblade wasn’t for them because it was a political fantasy, and they were looking for an action-oriented story. However, most critics cited the characters. 

These readers typically said that they didn’t connect to them, though their reasons varied. Several mentioned that characters were introduced and killed before they could get to know them enough to care about their fates.

For others, the character cast in general was unsympathetic. As such, it was difficult for critics to find enough to like about the characters to root for them to succeed or empathize with them when they failed.


Top 20 Coming of Age Fantasy Books You Have to Read

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?




Top 20 Coming of Age Fantasy Books You Have to Read


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