It’s cold and miserable. All I want to do is sink into another world, with a cup of coffee in hand – and so that’s what I’ve been doing. Unashamedly. These tomes that I turn back to, time and time again, are all fantasy book series that you have to curl up with.
Books that require a blanket and peace.
Series that keep you reaching for the next one and forgetting to turn the light off even though you know you should be sleeping…
TWILIGHT SERIES – STEPHANIE MEYER
High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn’t expect life to change much when she moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington state. Then she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a handsome but mysterious teen whose eyes seem to peer directly into her soul. Edward is a vampire whose family does not drink blood, and Bella, far from being frightened, enters into a dangerous romance with her immortal soulmate.
Don’t laugh, ok? With the recent release of Midnight Sun, which is Twilight but from Edward’s POV, I’ve really enjoyed leafing through my teenage memories. It’s angsty, it’s ridiculous, and it’s delicious all over again. And then you get to watch the movies.. Yes the premise is ridiculuous, yes it’s filled with high school angst paired with fangs, yes it’s perfect for taking you back in time.
The Witches Discworld Books – Terry Pratchett
Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
A divine mash-up of comedy, crime and fantasy, Rivers of London is the book that kick-started the formidably successful Peter Grant series. Overlaying a wonderful supernatural gloss on the streets and landmarks of the capital, Aaronovitch provides a thrillingly exciting opening mystery for his detective/apprentice wizard protagonist.
One of the delights of reading is the ability to re-visit old favourites. Books that envelope you like an old friend; vaguely familiar but with the excitement of forgotten memories. I’ve found myself lately turning to a few old comforts, such as the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. A beguiling mix of the supernatural, crime-fighting and unusual personifications of London, the series is one that I recommend to nearly everyone.
THE CITY OF BRASS (THE DAEVABAD TRILOGY) – S. A. CHAKRABORTY
Among the bustling markets of eighteenth-century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But, alongside this new world, the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust. Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes…
“An extravagant feast of a book – spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable/” Laini Taylor, Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author. This quote says it all a 1000x better than I ever could.
CARAVAL (CARAVAL SERIES) – STEPHANIE GARBER
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems… Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
If you loved by Erin Morgenstern, you will adore Caraval. It’s darker, twistier, painted with astonishing detail and razor sharp. Some people don’t love it, but I adored it – and it only gets better with each consecutive book.
NEVERMOOR (THE TRIALS OF MORRIGAN CROW SERIES) – JESSICA TOWNSEND
Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor. There she’s invited to join the Wundrous Society. Mystery, magic and protection are hers – if only she can pass four impossible trials, using an exceptional talent. Which she doesn’t have…
I am in love with Nevermoor. It’s forever going to be compared to Harry Potter, but has an Enid Blyton/Faraway Tree twist of surrealism. It’s actually children’s book – but perfection for escapism.
THE FAIRY’S TALE: A NOVEL FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T TRUST FAIRY TALES (THE PATHWAYS SERIES) – F. D. LEE
Bea is a lowly cabbage fairy, but she dreams of being an official Fairy Godmother. So when she is finally given a chance to prove her worth, Bea is determined to make a success of it. Besides, how hard can a Happy Ever After story be? Every girl wants to be rescued by a handsome man, don’t they? Apparently not.
This is Terry Pratchett meets George Orwell and I adored it. With surprising plot twists and compelling characters, The Fairy’s Tale is a whirlwind, cynical adventure into the world behind classic folk tales and myths. Bea is sassy, crotchety, very reluctant and yet quite incredible. Well worthy on this list for 9 fantasy books.
Of course, when you’re looking to fill your fantasy book wishlist, there’s always the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s OG series…
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