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5 Surprising Books to Combat Your Reader’s Block

There is no feeling as frustrating as being unable to focus on the words in front of you. You read the same paragraph over and over again, but your mind is elsewhere. Every day, your TBR pile climbs ever higher. We’ve all been there. 

After trying a lot of different techniques to get over my reader’s block, this is what I have discovered: alternate between genres. Explore different stories. Challenge your inner bookworm.

And what better place to start than from fantasy heists? Fantasy heist stories are a blend of fantasy, thriller and crime, and have gained much popularity among readers (especially young adults) these past few years. The five books mentioned below will have you rooting for the unlikeliest characters in literature.

1. Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

In a world where a chosen few can manipulate the elements (and some even the human heart)—called the Grisha—Kaz Brekker is an infamous thief in Ketterdam, and he’s been given the biggest and deadliest heist he is yet to pull: break into the impregnable Fjerdan prison, the Ice Court, and free a prisoner, for the prize of a million kruge. So he puts together a crew—“a gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer,” and Kaz himself, “a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.” 

Hunted down by rival gangs and monstrous human-metal hybrid creatures, the crew soon realizes that this prisoner is no ordinary man. And it’s up to Kaz and them to make sure he doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. You’ll find yourself rooting for this gang of thieves and cutthroats, laughing at the unlikeliest instances, and falling in love along the way. 

It is now an original Netflix series, called Shadow and Bone. Get the book on Amazon.

2. The Lies of Locke Lamora (The Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora: con artist, criminal mastermind, leader of the Gentleman Bastards—a small gang of talented thieves raised by a “blind” priest in the island city of Camorr, fashioned after Venice. Locke and his gang pull elaborate heists with remarkable efficiency, conning even the most powerful capas of the underworld. Soon, Locke, known only as the Thorn of Camorr to the others, is hunted by everyone: rival gangs, capas, and even the Spider, the Duke’s head of secret police.

And there’s a new criminal in town, the Gray King, with the deadly Berangias sisters and a warlock named The Falconer on his side. Locke’s carefree life soon begins to crumble, and he’s thrust into a world of loss and pain and death—and lots of blood.

Click here to find the book Amazon.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

Kell, with his red hair and inky black eye and many-sided coat, is one of the last Antari, a magician able to travel between parallel Londons. Adopted by the royal family of Red London, Kell is an ambassador—but also a smuggler. When he inadvertently smuggles a dangerous artifact from White London, he unleashes a dark power that was only barely kept at bay before.

Forced to escape to Grey London (the boring, ordinary London with no magic) carrying this artifact, Kell is robbed by a young thief named Delilah Bard, and they find themselves running from one London to another, trying to stop an elaborate plot to destroy the walls between the worlds.

You can find the book here.

4. The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic #1) by Patrick Weekes

When Loch—a former military captain—is framed for stealing a priceless elven manuscript and wrongfully imprisoned, the adventure begins. She escapes from this floating prison and assembles an eccentric crew on the other side of the law—a thief, a talking unicorn, a sentient warhammer to which the soul of an ancient king is bound, a wizard kicked out of wizard school, and a death priestess.

While compared by many to The Lies of Locke Lamora—there are indeed a few similarities (the name of the main characters, for instance)—The Palace Job is more lighthearted, less complex and only moderately dark.

Get the book on Amazon.

5. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Wheelan Turner

Eugenides (or Gen) claims he can steal anything. But what he can’t do is keep his mouth shut. Imprisoned for stealing the king’s seal and boasting about it, he cannot refuse when the king’s magus sends him on a seemingly impossible quest: to retrieve an ancient treasure.

Set in a world much like Ancient Greece, The Thief will take you on some delightful adventures with Gen’s little crew. Although not as action-packed as YA fantasy novels usually are, this book will still have you rooting for its characters—for, if Gen doesn’t return with this treasure, he’ll be looking at another long spell in prison.

The book is available here.

Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

September 9, 2021

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