Looking for a great fantasy read with all the rich world building, action, and magic of a series, but with none of the long wait times between sequels, or dreaded cliffhangers? These standalone fantasies are for us readers who aren’t looking to commit to anything too serious right now. We’re here for a good time, not a long time, and the books on this list are sure to deliver just that.
It Ends in Fire
by Andrew Shvarts
As a child, Alka Cheralzi witnessed her parents’ brutal murder at the hands of Wizards before she was taken in by an underground rebel group.
Now, Alka is deep undercover at the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic: Blackwater Academy, a place where status is everything, where decadent galas end in blood-splattered duels, where every student has their own agenda. To survive, Alka will have to lie, cheat, kill, and use every trick in her spy’s toolkit. And for the first time in her life, the fiercely independent Alka will have to make friends in order to recruit the misfits and the outcasts into her motley rebellion.
But even as she draws closer to victory — to vengeance — she sinks deeper into danger as suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek the traitor in their midst, and dark revelations unravel her resolve. Can Alka destroy the twisted game…without becoming a part of it?
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Hearts We Sold
by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Dee Moreno is out of options. Her home life sucks (to put it mildly), and she’s about to get booted from her boarding school—the only place she’s ever felt free—for lack of funds. But this is a world where demons exist, and the demons are there to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true.
The demon who Dee approaches doesn’t trade in the usual arms and legs, however. He’s only interested in her heart. And what comes after Dee makes her deal is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she ever could have imagined. Reality is turned on its head, and Dee has only her fellow “heartless,” the charming but secretive James Lancer, to keep her grounded. As something like love grows between them amid an otherworldly threat, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give James her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?
A Season of Sinister Dreams
by Tracy Banghart
Annalise may be cousin to the prince, but her past isn’t what she claims, and she possesses a magic so powerful it takes all her strength to control it. Evra is a country girl, and has watched as each friend and family member came into their own magic, while hers remains dormant. But everything changes after Annalise loses control of herself and Evra begins experiencing the debilitating visions of a once-in-a-generation clairvoyant meant to serve the crown.
Thrown together at court, Evra and Annalise find that they have the same goal: to protect their kingdom from the powerful men who are slowly destroying it. But neither is quick to trust the other — Evra’s visions suggest a threat to royal rule, and Annalise worries that her darkest secrets will be revealed. Their magic at odds, the young women circle each other, until the truth must come out.
by Kate Pentecost
Elysium, Oklahoma, is a town like any other. Respectable. God-fearing. Praying for an end to the Dust Bowl. Until the day the Dust Soldiers arrive — until the people of Elysium learn it’s all a lie. You see, there isn’t only one god. There are two sisters: Life and Death. And the Sisters like to gamble against each other with things like time and space and human lives.
Elysium is to become the playboard in a ruthless game between the goddesses. The Dust Soldiers will return in ten years’ time, and if the people of Elysium have not proved themselves worthy, all will be slain.
Nearly ten years later, seventeen-year-old Sal Wilkinson is called upon to lead Elysium as it prepares for the end of the game. But then an outsider named Asa arrives at Elysium’s gates with nothing more than a sharp smile and a bag of magic tricks, the frightened townspeople flock to this side.Sal tries to prove herself the best witch to lead Elysium, only to trigger a terrible accident that gets both her and Asa exiled into the brutal Desert of Dust and Steel.
There Sal and Asa stumble upon a gang of girls headed by another exile — a young witch everyone in Elysium believes to be dead. As the apocalypse looms, seven girls and one demon will use their gifts to create a cavalry of magic-powered scrap metal horses to ride to Elysium’s aid. But they must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor — only by reinventing the rules can they beat Life and Death at their own game.