When you look at my bookshelf, it’s quite apparent that when it comes to series vs standalones, I much prefer to read series. A good 80% of my shelves are filled with various series. But scattered among those trilogies and quartets you’ll spy the odd standalone novel.
When it comes to standalones, I have a bit of a love/ hate relationship with them. It amazes me how an author can create such a rich world, with such amazing characters and fully flesh it out in only a single book. They’re nice because you know you’re going to get the entire story all at once, no anxious waiting after a shocking cliff-hanger leaves you hanging.
Why do I hate them then? Because they always leave me wanting more. More of the characters, more of the world, more of everything. It’s a sign of a good standalone when my biggest reaction upon finishing is despair that it’s not going to be continued.
There are a few standalones that have left me with giant book hangovers once I’ve finished them. It won’t be a surprise to know that they’re usually the standalones that I’ve reread over and over again. Most have been mentioned in previous posts so they shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to find here.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
This is the most recent addition to my list of favourite standalones. It was one of the most unique fantasy worlds I’ve ever read about and I’m so sad it’s only a single book. I reviewed this recently (or the post will be coming out soon depending on when everything is scheduled) so I won’t go into too much detail. I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes we’ll get a companion novel one day.
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
I feel like I’ve talked about how amazing Juliet Marillier, and Heart’s Blood in particular, is multiple times, but I’ll never stop!! This is my all-time favourite Beauty and the Beast retelling. It’s so unique and terribly underrated. Please give it a chance if you haven’t already!
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I don’t know if I can put in words my love for this book. It’s just so good, and so well written. I love the lore and the characters and horses and aaahhh!!! I’m so overdue for a reread. I feel like this book has kind of faded into the background a bit in recent years. It deserves a resurgence in popularity. I want to see it all over Instagram again.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
You know this book, it’s very popular even outside of bookish communities. The first time I read this I barely knew anything and I’ve reread it 3 times or so. It’s one of the most magical novels I’ve ever read. I remember being in awe of the story when I put together different parts of the plot. It’s another book that deserves a reread sooner rather than later.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
You know, for ages I thought this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling (I think it was marketed that way by Western publishers?). Turns out it’s actually a retelling of some Slavic fairy tales (Polish, I believe? I’m writing this at 1am so please forgive me if I got that wrong). I really wish I’d known that piece of information when I first read Uprooted because during/ after my first read through I was disappointed. I kept comparing it to Heart’s Blood and it just didn’t compare, or maybe I wasn’t in the right mood. Anyway, I ended up giving it a second chance a couple of years ago and LOVED it! I’m looking forward to a third reread in the future.
What are some of your favourite fantasy standalones?