There are so many magnificent duologies on the shelves right now, and I can understand why. They’re bite sized and delicious, allowing a deeper look into the world and characters of your favorite fantasy without being so long that you need to invest years into a lengthy series before getting that satisfying ending.
Whether you’re new to duologies or are looking for your next read, I’ve got some recommendations for my recent favorites that I believe everyone should be reading and talking about!
Fable and Namesake by Adrienne Young
It’s no secret that I have a penchant for seafaring adventures, and Young absolutely delivers in her latest duology. What I love most about Fable is how alive the world feels. It’s cut-throat and gritty, and yet the action and intrigue are balanced so masterfully with Young’s lyrical prose. The story’s main character, Fable, is a gem sage who is able to deep dive into the open sea to find rare gems to trade across the Narrows. When I say that I held my breath when she was down in the water, I held my breath. This is a world where danger lurks around every corner, and every friendly face is waiting to betray you. If you want a gorgeous fantasy that will send you on an adventure and is guaranteed to make your heart race, this is it.
We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal
I cannot wait to pick up Faizal’s newest novel and the completion of her magnificent duology. In a dual POV tale about a woman posing as a man in order to save her people and the son of a sultan—who just happens to be a merciless assassin known as the Prince of Death—who is tasked to kill her, the stakes are high from the start (not to mention one of my favorite tropes ever: enemies to lovers!) The world Faizal crafts is so rich and vibrant that you can’t help but to lose yourself in it. And if you’re not already intrigued, let me just assure you that this is some of the most intoxicatingly delicious prose I’ve ever read. This is a debut duology that’s absolutely not to be missed.
We Set the Dark on Fire and We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I do not have enough words to describe my love for Mejia’s writing. I was hooked from the first line, and finished the first book in a single day because there was no way I could put it down. In a world where women are trained in the art of being a wife, and where men each have two wives (the Primeras, who run the house, and the Segundas, who are the child bearers), this is a politically charged fantasy that tackles oppression, immigration, sexism, revolution, and so much more. It’s features Latinx representation as well as a queer romance, and writing that I absolutely devoured. I cannot recommend it enough.
The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman
If you, like me, are obsessed with autumn and want to live in a town where everything feels like fall and a little extra spooky, then this is the book for you. The town of Four Paths has one big secret—a beast that haunts the woods, trapped in what’s known as the Gray, that’s slowly escaping its bonds. Honestly, I want this book as a television show stat. It’s got major Stranger Things meets Riverdale vibes, with a cast of characters that feel so authentically teen and a town I would love to live in (you know, minus the terrifying monster). I’m obsessed.
The Belles and The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
These books are magical. They’re opulent and luxurious, with beauty dripping off every last page. The duology showcases a world where people are born gray, and only with the help of a Belle can they be made beautiful. But while the life of a Belle may seem luxurious from the outside, there’s something monstrous that lurks within this lavish society. Clayton peels back the layers of this world with absolute mastery, drawing you in with grand descriptions as a more vicious plot unfurls around you. While this is currently a duology, I definitely felt a little bit of hinting at a potential third book, and I’m ready. Bring it on.
The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen
Two words: Teeth magic. Okay, okay, hear me out. When the main character of this story touched a tooth, she knows the life of its owner and can essentially borrow the magic of that owner by using that tooth. It’s so strange, but totally works and I’m obsessed. The world is eerie and rich, revolving around a caste system and a plague (which, while I’d never want to experience, was fascinating to read about). And the characters! They’re not only well developed, but are hilarious and snarky, and make for the most entertaining group scenes. Definitely get this one added to your TBR.
Adalyn Grace is a New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth. Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn spent four years working in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra. Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days by watching too much anime, and by playing video games with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs.