What will it be?
Tales of a land through a magical wardrobe? A place where creatures walk like men and magic is real in more ways than you thought possible.
Adventure or Romance?
A story about mercenaries?
Journeys to lonely mountains?
It’s a matter of deciphering your mood.
What type of book are you most likely to engage with?
More often than not, I am attracted to a book by the reviews and synopsis…possibly even the aesthetic of the front cover. The question is whether or not I am actually going to finish that book. In the moment, you’re reeling to buy it because of the dazzling cover and the fascinating description. The great hype and reviews on Bookstagram are plotting your path. The book is calling your name.
When considering a purchase, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Is this purchase an impulse buy?
- Am I legitimately going to finish this book?
- Should I do more research before purchasing it?
Read a bunch of reviews online.
You can read Goodreads reviews, check through bookstagram pages, watch BookTubers’ videos. These offer support for your decision, ensuring you DO NOT end up wasting time on a book you will probably either DNF or give away. Most of the books I end up purchasing have been online recommendations. A large percentage of my books have been BookTube and Bookstagram recommendations.
By joining these communities, I’ve found people with the same reading tastes as I do which makes choosing books a lot easier. While actively looking through new releases and genres is a great way to find your new books, I like to browse online blogs and find great recommendations. Although they may be ‘mainstream’ books that does not necessarily make them any less interesting or important. Other people have simply discovered it a bit earlier than I have.
Everyone should know by now, fantasy is my favourite genre. There is a great reason for that – I am a massive introvert who always grew up surrounded by books and films.
FAIRYTALES, IN PARTICULAR.
Princesses and Princes, Heroes and Villains.
Fantasy has always appealed to me because of the nostalgia attached to the main concepts and tropes – royalty, magic, creatures. The genre is so diverse which allows all types of readers to invest themselves into it. When reading, I look for a great escape away from the normality and depressions of reality.
If you are new to the fantasy game, you might want to adjust using a step-ladder. Here are some suggestions, using my own personal passage through time. Growing up, I read middle-grade fantasy before progressing to the Young-Adult and Adult categories.
NOTE: All of the books listed on here are not ranked using a star rating…however, if I were to rank them, they would be anywhere from above a 3.7 star rating.
These books are amazing introductions to fantasy as they represent the key components of the genre. A sort of magical element, something other or strange. Anything which defies the possibilities of reality, which questions perceptions and sanity. Magical or mystical, its defies the constructs of our world. These books are great for teens as they discuss relevant topics of growing up and innocence. They focus on the importance of imagination and belief in contrast to the crude awareness of adults.
- Harry Potter (easy read)
- Percy Jackson (For fans of Greek mythology and a long series which progresses with the characters as they age. Great allegory and morals to back a humorous and fun ride as you watch these heroes grow up)
- The Heroes of Olympus (Sequel to Percy Jackson which attaches Roman mythology to the series, alongside a bad-ass collection of ethically diverse characters.)
- The Chronicles of Narnia (Enter a land where magic is real and a sibling quartet save a land from the grasp of an Evil ruler, as claimed in a prophecy.)
- Peter Pan (A tale about the importance of child-like innocence and imagination – to belief, the things that adults lack.)
- Alice in Wonderland (Questions sanity through a whimsical journey of a young girl’s mind. Also addresses the concept of imagination and a child’s perspective on life through their naivety.)
- Carry On (Basically Drarry fanfiction with the same basic plot points of the Chosen One, enemies to lovers plot, a prophecy and prejudice.)
- The Mortal Instruments (A world where demons exist and humans melded with angels to protect humanity from them. Nephilim became Shadowhunters to slay the demons. Supernatural beings such as Werewolves, Vampires and Faeries also exist, AKA Downworlders. Follow a young girl who is submerged into this world after her mother is kidnapped and her life is bargained for the Mortal Cup, a device with the power to create an shadowhunter army.)
- The Infernal Devices (The same world but in 1878, London, following a young woman who has something special about her.)
- The Dark Artifices (Follows after the end of the Mortal Instruments series)
- Vampire Academy (Vampires are real, however, they are not as you assume. Here’s what you need to know – there are Moroi; Vampire royalty who attend St.Vladimir’s Academy to hone their powers over magic. There are the Dhampir who are half-human, half-vampire, a guardian of the Moroi. Then there are the Strigoi; they are undead, immortal, and are made instead of born.)
- Bloodlines (Sequel to the Vampire Academy series with a different protagonist. Excellent series which expands on some of my faves – Adrian)
- Throne of Glass (Assassins, Princesses, Royalty, Fire, Magic, Duels, Battles, Deaths, Fae, Alliances, Cons)
- Of Poseidon (If you like Aquaman, The Little Mermaid, Barbie A Mermaid Tale. This was a great romance which reminded me of the above films. It was a cute trilogy which I ATE UP)
- Sorcery of Thorns (A book about books! This gave me vibes similar to the Infernal Devices. Although the characters were a bit cliche with the tropes and descriptions, I still really enjoyed this book because it summed up some of my favourite things about the genre. The side character, Silas, was the most interesting character in the book. Definitely would like to know more about him.)
If you’re interested in drama and action, these books deal with If you are looking for a book with more teen-drama and action, these books deal with the romance and tension at ANOTHER LEVEL. Be prepared for the drama because it takes a level up in these series. Most of these are character driven so be prepared for a wide cast of characters to cry, scream and shout.
- Nevernight (The story follows Mia Corvere whose father is executed for political crimes, ensuing her path to become an assassin when she is the lone survivor of her family. It began with death, followed a trail of blood before returning back to blood.)
- A Darker Shade of Magic (What if there were alternate Londons? What if you could travel through them? Kell is an Antari, a magician with the powers to travel between worlds, along with a magical jacket which changes to suit his environment.)
- Circe (Follows the Greek myth of Circe and how she came to be and the intentions behind all of her magical mayhem)
- The Grisha Trilogy (Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha)
- The Six of Crows duology (Sequel to the Grisha trilogy. The world is based off of Eastern European culture, playing with elemental magic and otherwise with the Grisha. A band of six skilled individuals team up for an impossible heist.)
- An Ember in the Ashes Quartet (A story that recounts the struggles of 17-year-old Laia to save her older brother from the clutches of the Empire, while Aspirant to become Emperor, Elias Verturius, struggles to find a way to leave the Empire. This story is a great reflection of tyrannies like the Roman Empire with a twist of magic and myth from East Asia.)
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Civilization’s only hope lies with the fate of Fellowship who must destroy the One Ring which the Necromancer desires. A daunting task lies ahead for our heroes, with Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Uruk-hai, Ogres, man-eating spiders and many other creatures which threaten their journey.)
- The Hobbit (prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The tale which preludes Frodo’s, Bilbo Baggins leaves Bag-end to go an adventure and claim a stolen Mountain with the Dwarves of Erebor. They, not only, reclaimed the Mountain in the end, but Bilbo found his courage.)
- Vicious (What is morality? Who is good? Who is bad? Taking a look between the present and ten years ago, Victor Vale and Eli Ever are at odds. Playing with superpowers and life itself, who is the hero and who is the villain? That is for you to determine.)
- The Princess Bride (A lovely tale for everyone. Its got action, romance, sword fights, comedy, games of wits and happily ever afters. What isn’t there to love with this classic tale? Its got all of the tropes you love.)
Here we have the bangers!! The OGs, discoveries and new faves. These deal with darker topics, graphic content and often less than five books unlike our younger fantasy counterparts. Enter the four factors – violence, death, explicit scenes and coarse language. When researching, consider these factors and your interest. Not all adult fantasy have these characteristics but the themes are considerably different to that of middle-grade books which focus on acknowledging these factors with a discrete lens.
Conclusion: Fantasy is so diverse, it can be for everyone.
There’s high-fantasy like Lord of the Rings which escapes into a land of magic, battles and conquering of evil Necromancers…
or lower-grade fantasy which takes places in a world similar to our own, like Percy Jackson.
Authors spend days and months researching through mythology, histories and books to find their world within reality and fiction. Its a pleasure of mine to read about different lands and places in our reality, within fiction. The fascinating thing about fantasy is that it takes elements of reality and submerges them in a different situation.
An amazing example is Alice in Wonderland where characters are provided with alternative roles in their setting, opposing reality with the insanity of Wonderland.
Percy Jackson similarly does this with the merging of the mortal world and demigod’s life through the Mist. Adventures as a demi-god are prioritised throughout the story, yet, the Western reality is still a pivotal part of the story when Percy returns at the end of the Summer.
All in all, check out one of the above recommendations. Find something which fits your vibe and interests. Because I’m SURE there is something for you out there.
“All you need is faith, trust and a little pixie dust.”– J.M Barrie, Peter Pan