Let's talk about books you usually do not read. I've mentioned before that I was raised in a household of books. My parents are readers and I've grown up always reading some kind of book.
Interestingly enough, these books were never dystopian or fantasy until about a year ago. Yes, I've dabbled in Harry Potter as a teenager, but I never really loved it and that was the limit of my fantasy adventure.
Last year, I decided I wanted to read more fantasy and dystopian novels, since I felt like I was missing out on so many books that so many people in the book community were loving. However, to start reading these books is quite an overwhelming process. Where do you start? How do you pick books? To help others struggling with the same problem, I made a few points that helped me - or that I wish I knew when I started reading dystopian and fantasy books.
1. Find people who love the same books as you and also read fantasy and dystopian
Go socialise with all your book friends. Ask them if they read fantasy and if they do, pick those. Your book friends know your taste better than Goodreads and they know exactly what you'll like. Also, Goodreads (though one of my favourite sites) has some weird ratings on there. Books that aren't even published are 5 stars and other books are spammed with haters. Trust your friends and ask them what they think you'll like.
2. Don't start with big series right away
So the thing about fantasy and dystopian is that there is a lot of world building, which means that there is usually more than one book in a series. I get the temptation of immediately jumping in with Games Of Thrones (really I do - I have had book one for months), but it's probably not the best idea. A series is a commitment and before committing, it might be smart to just dabble in the genre a bit. Pick a great standalone or a start series like The Hunger Games.
3. Loved the movie? Read the book
Talking about The Hunger Games, if you love movies with dystopian or fantasy elements, try the books! So many Hollywood films nowadays are based on books, so you're bound to find one this way. Another bonus is that if you don't love the books, but still want to know how the story ends, you can just switch to the movies again.
4. Find crossovers
This really helped me the most. Luckily for all of us, the book industry is big on crossovers right now. Nothing is really one genre anymore. There is YA and fantasy, romance and dystopian, adventure and fantasy and everything in between. Try and find a book, and here Goodreads is your saviour, that combines fantasy/ dystopian with a genre you know you love. This way there'll be enough familiar elements for you to enjoy the story.
5. Stick with it
The beginning was rough for me. I didn't get it. I like book without too much description and I really had to learn to not glance over the description in dystopian books. Unlike with books set in this world, you need the description in these books to help you understand the world. Once you get used to it, and after a few chapters I'm sure you will if you picked up a good book, you'll love the description and crave to find out more about this new excited world.
These were just some general tips. If you want real recommendations, here's a short list of my favourite fantasy and dystopian novels. It's short, because I'm new at this myself so feel free to add more in the comments! (There are links to the Goodreads pages of the books or to my reviews if I've written about the books)
- Throne of Glass series (YA/ dystopian)
- The Selection (YA/ dystopian)
- The Queen of the Tearling (historical fiction/ dystopian - if that's even a thing)
- The Grave Mercy Series (historical fiction / fantasy)
- Half Bad (fantasy / adventure)
- The Winner's Curse (fantasy/dystopian)
- Harry Potter (YA/ fantasy)
- The Night Circus (fantasy elements)