Recommended Reading | Epic Standalones

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When it comes to sci-fi and fantasy, it seems like everything is part of a series nowadays. And don’t get me wrong, I love series. A lot of my favorite books are part of a series. But there is something special about a truly epic story that’s all wrapped up in a single book. Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite science fiction and fantasy standalones. They’re perfect when you’re in the mood for something amazing, but don’t have the time to commit to another series.

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This book completely blew me away when I first read it. It kept me up until four am, and, two years later, I still can’t stop thinking about it. I am crazy excited about the film adaptation (directed by Steven Spielberg himself) coming out next year, and will be rereading this book before then.
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Discovering a standalone fantasy novel feels like a rarity in a market geared toward series. This one is a stand out. I had high expectations going in to this story, because I’d heard so many great things about this book. And it did not disappoint. Novik somehow managed to write a truly epic story in a single, average-sized volume. And it’s so worth reading.
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m sure you’ve heard about The Night Circus, but it’s still worth mentioning. I recently reread it, and loved it just as much as I did the first time around. I could go on and on about how amazing this book is, but I’ll spare you. Just go read it.
  4. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I wasn’t expecting very much from this book because I picked it up almost immediately after it was released last year. But it completely blew me away. It’s a thriller with a sci-fi twist, and I love that it messed with my mind, but still totally made sense. I just really enjoyed this book. I think I even finished it in a single sitting. Definitely a page-turner!
  5. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. I’d say this book is a bit more magical realism than fantasy, but it’s still amazing. It’s actually set in turn-of-the-century New York and centers around a golem and a jinni who are trying to find their place in the melting pot that is America. It’s absolutely gorgeous, inside and out.
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir. Do I even need to talk about this one? I love this book, and have read it twice in the past few years. The story is great, but the way it’s told is so fun and entertaining. I think this is the perfect combination of science and storytelling, and I can’t wait for Andy Weir’s next novel.

Have you read any of the books on this list? Are there any you would add? Let me know your what your favorite epic standalone book is!

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26 thoughts on “Recommended Reading | Epic Standalones

  1. Such a great list. SFF standalones are so rare these days. I haven’t read any of the books on this list but there are several that I really want to get to!

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  2. Hi! I’ve heard gorgeous things about the Night Circus and Uprooted and I’ve been thinking about reading them in English, that is not my natuve language. I’m quite good at reading, but in a scale from Fangirl to , I don’t know, Shakespeare, how much difficult would you rate the language to be?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think both of them are somewhere in the middle. They’re probably more advanced than Fangirl, language-wise but definitely not Shakespeare. Uprooted might be a bit easier because there is less imagery, so I’d suggest starting with that one if you want to read them in English. (Your English is excellent for a second language, by the way.) Good luck! Both books are beautiful!

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      1. Well, Uprooted and The Martian are already on my favorites list. I also really loved Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races, Joshua Gaylord/Alden Bell’s When We Were Animals as well as his other book The Angels are the Reapers, and Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter.

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