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Reading list: The Ultimate List of Must-Read Fantasy Books of 2023 (Part Three)

With so many incredible new releases in 2023, it’s a challenge to decide which ones to add to my reading list. That’s why I’m excited to present part three of my ultimate list of must-read fantasy books!

In this third installment, I’ve scoured the latest releases and found some real gems. From epic adventures to fantastical worlds filled with magic and mystery, these books have something for every reader.

But don’t just take my word for it! I encourage you to check out parts one and two of my reading list for even more fantastic reads. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

As for part three, I am confident that each and every book on this list will take you on an unforgettable journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy reader or just dipping your toes into the genre, these books are sure to capture your imagination and keep you hooked until the very last page. So what are you waiting for? Add them to your reading list and gand let yourself be transported to another world!

And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below. Happy reading, my fellow bookworms!

Reading List

A Crooked Mark by Linda Kao

In this spine-chilling YA debut novel, one teenager finds himself on a mission to hunt down those marked by the devil, including the girl he has fallen for. This dark and sinister tale will have readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.

If you’re a fan of Neal Shusterman and A.S. King, you won’t want to miss this gripping story. Seventeen-year-old Matthew Watts knows firsthand that the forces of Good aren’t the only ones at work in this world. He has grown up alongside his father, skipping from town to town on a mission to find those marked by the devil and exterminate them.

When Matt sets his sights on Rae Winter, a miracle survivor of a deadly car crash, he’s convinced that she’s been marked by Lucifer himself. But as Matt gets to know Rae and starts to fall for her, he’s forced to confront the truth behind his beliefs. With reality and fantasy becoming increasingly blurred, Matt must question everything he’s ever known.

As the mystery unfolds, readers will be left wondering: what if the devil’s mark doesn’t exist at all? With heart-pounding action and a thought-provoking storyline, this novel will keep readers turning the pages late into the night.

Release Date:  June 20, 2023

Reading List

Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Best

Cass is a seasoned thief with an eye for a good mark, and the emperor’s ball is the perfect target for her and her crew. With a fortune in sight, Cass hitches a ride to the planet of Ouris, the glittering heart of the empire, to sneak onto the imperial palace station and steal from the rich, the royal, and the insufferable.

But when the emperor is found murdered, the stakes are raised, and Cass quickly finds herself in hot water. As the palace becomes a crime scene, everyone is a suspect, and Cass is being set up to take the fall. To clear her name and avoid being imprisoned, she must team up with a mysterious rebel with her own motivations for being on the station.

As they work together to unravel the mystery behind the emperor’s death, Cass and her unlikely ally uncover a secret that could change the fate of the empire forever. But with danger lurking around every corner, Cass must stay one step ahead of the killer to survive.

This sci-fi YA mystery is perfect for fans of THE DARKNESS OUTSIDE US and IRON WIDOW. Get ready for a gripping whodunit set in space, where the killer is on the loose, and nothing is as it seems.

Release Date: July 11, 2023

The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley

In the world of Velle, the prophecy of the New Maiden has been eagerly awaited for centuries. The prophecy states that she will be born as the third daughter of a third daughter, and when she does, the citizens of Velle will rejoice. But when the queen finally gives birth to the fabled child, not everyone is happy. Elodie, the queen’s eldest child, has lost her claim to the throne.

Elodie knows that the only way to protect Velle is to retake the throne. And to do so, she must incapacitate her youngest sister, Brianne, who is the Third Daughter. Desperate to achieve her goal, Elodie turns to Sabine, who sells powerful sleeping potions. But Sabine mistakenly sends Elodie away with a vial of tears, which proves to be a dangerous substance. When Brianne consumes the tears, she falls into a deep sleep from which she cannot awaken.

With the fate of their family and country at stake, Elodie and Sabine rush to find a way to revive Brianne. As they work together, they begin to feel a slow-burning attraction between them. But will their growing feelings for each other be enough to save Brianne and help Elodie reclaim the throne?

This sweeping YA duology explores themes of legacy, betrayal, sisterhood, and the politics of emotion in the quest for power. The story is also balanced by a slow-burn LGBTQ romance that will leave readers rooting for the characters. If you loved Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson, or These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, then you won’t want to miss this must-read novel.

And don’t forget to check out the second book in the duology, which is sure to provide even more twists and turns as the characters navigate the challenges of their world.

Release Date: July 18, 2023

reading list

Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto

Prepare for a journey into darkness.

In the Dominions, ghosts roam free, seeking revenge on the living, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its body. Wren, an aspiring valkyr, hopes to impress her absent father and earn her place in the noble House of Bone. But when she fails her qualifying trial due to sabotage, she’s banished to the Border Wall, where she’s forced to fight the undead to keep them from breaching through.

Determined to prove herself, Wren seizes the opportunity to rescue a House of Gold prince who has been kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To succeed, she must team up with Julian, a fierce ironsmith from the exiled House of Iron, who is both her captor and sworn enemy of her own House of Bone.

As they journey across the haunted wasteland, Wren and Julian encounter more than just the undead, and they discover a dark alliance that threatens the living and the dead alike. To save the prince and the Dominions, they must put aside their differences and work together. But will they succeed or fall to the darkness? Fans of Gideon the Ninth and Game of Thrones will love this thrilling YA fantasy.


Release Date: July 25, 2023

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

In a kingdom long fallen under the rule of Elantian colonizers, Lan struggles to unravel the secrets of her past and the strange mark on her arm. She spends her nights as a songgirl and her days scavenging for any clues about her identity. Until the night Zen, a practitioner with the ability to commune with demons, saves her life and recognizes the hidden power in her mark.

With the Elantians hunting practitioners and seeking to eliminate any trace of magic from the kingdom, Zen and Lan embark on a perilous journey into the heart of the Last Kingdom to uncover the truth about their abilities and the order of masters planning to overthrow the regime. 

But as they venture deeper into the dangerous pine forests and misty mountains, they must confront their own hidden secrets and the demons that lie at the heart of their magic.

Inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China, this epic fantasy series weaves a tale of power, destiny, and the battle for liberation in a world where the past holds the key to the future.

Release Date: January 3, 2023

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

In the twisted world of Lethe, Alex Stern is faced with a dangerous mission that could cost her everything. Her plan is simple: break her friend Darlington out of purgatory, even if it means risking her future at Lethe and Yale. But the journey to the underworld is treacherous, and few who make it out alive.

With the Ninth House forbidden from interfering, Alex and Dawes must gather a team of unlikely allies to help them rescue Darlington. Together, they’ll have to navigate dangerous secrets and arcane artifacts to uncover the truth behind Lethe’s mysteries. 

But as faculty members begin to die, Alex realizes that something more sinister is at work. The very walls of the university seem to be built with darkness and monsters, and Alex will have to confront the demons of her past to survive.

Packed with Leigh Bardugo’s signature twists and thick with history, Hell Bent takes readers on a thrilling ride through a world of magic, violence, and deadly secrets.

Release Date: January 10, 2023

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde, a Cambridge professor and expert in faerie folklore, prefers the company of books and her dog, Shadow, to people. But when she travels to the small town of Hrafnsvik in the far north to study the Hidden Ones, the most elusive of all faeries, she discovers a world beyond her research.

Despite her intention to avoid the gruff townsfolk and her insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, Emily finds herself drawn into their lives. As she delves deeper into the secrets of the Hidden Ones and uncovers the dark fae magic lurking in the forest, she begins to unravel the mystery of Wendell Bambleby and the real reason for his presence in Hrafnsvik.

As Emily opens her heart to the town and its people, she also unlocks the greatest mystery of all—her own heart. Heartwarming and enchanting, this fantasy tale explores the power of friendship, love, and the unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Release Date: January 10, 2023

Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels, the former mercenary and magical sword-wielder, has settled into a new life with her husband, former Beast Lord Curran, and their son Conlan. They have left the turmoil of Atlanta behind and moved to a new city, hoping for a fresh start.

But Kate’s heroic nature can’t resist a call for help, especially when a young boy is kidnapped by an unknown assailant. With Curran staying behind to protect their new home, Kate sets out on a dangerous mission to rescue the boy.

As she tracks down the kidnapper, Kate discovers that she’s facing a new kind of threat, one that requires her to use all her wits and her sword-fighting skills. With monsters lurking on both land and sea, Kate realizes that her quiet life is about to be shattered once again.

But Kate is determined to rescue the boy and defeat the forces that threaten her family and her new home. With the help of some old friends and some new allies, Kate prepares for battle, ready to face whatever magical chaos comes her way.

Release date: January 17, 2023

mysteries of thorn manor by margaret rogerson

Elisabeth Scrivener has been enjoying her new life with Nathaniel Thorn, but trouble is brewing at Thorn Manor. The wards meant to protect the estate have malfunctioned, trapping everyone inside. As they struggle to unravel the magical trap, Nathaniel, Elisabeth, Silas, and their new maid Mercy realize that the house is hiding unexpected secrets. 

With the Midwinter Ball fast approaching, they must work quickly to find the source of the magic before it’s too late. But as they delve deeper, they discover that the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors is at play, and it demands a price. Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to rely on their connection to each other like never before to break the curse and save themselves and their home.

Release Date:  January 17, 2023

Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare

In the conclusion to the Last Hours series by Cassandra Clare, James and Cordelia’s marriage and London are in danger, and they must save both.

Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything she holds dear, including her father, her dream of becoming a parabatai with Lucie, and her marriage to James Herondale. To make matters worse, she is bound to Lilith, an ancient demon, and has lost her powers as a Shadowhunter.

Fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to escape her sorrows. But news of Tatiana Blackthorn’s escape from the Adamant Citadel and the arrival of the Prince of Hell, Belial, bring her back to London.

Belial’s plan is about to crash into the Shadowhunters of London, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion for their dealings with demons. Cordelia must choose between a love for James she thought was lost and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. With their friends separated and secrets tearing them apart, they must face Belial’s deadly army alone.

To save their city and their families, they must trust each other and muster their courage. If they fail, they risk losing everything, even their souls.

Release Date: January 31, 2023

In conclusion, the world of fantasy literature is vast and exciting, and the third part of our ultimate reading list of must-read fantasy books of 2023 offers even more thrilling options to add to your reading list. From epic quests to magical creatures to complex characters, these books promise to transport you to new and wondrous worlds.

But this is only part three of our ultimate reading list, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out part one and part two for even more fantastic recommendations. And don’t forget to stay tuned for part four, where we will continue to bring you the best of the best in the world of fantasy literature.

So, get ready to journey through new realms and discover the magic that lies within the pages of these incredible books. Happy reading!

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