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Nine fantasy gems BookTok hasn’t found yet

Alongside romance, fantasy is one of BookTok’s favorite genres, and recommendations abound. But if you’re a little weary of coming across the same recommendations over and over again, I’ve got nine recommendations to add to your reading list, for every type of fantasy fan.

 

“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helen Wecker: Part fantasy, part historical fiction, this altogether engrossing novel immerses the reader in an alternate universe turn-of-the-century New York. Making their way through this world are the titular golem and jinni. The pair must learn to survive in a world populated by colorful side characters, both friends and foes. This is a perfect read for readers who love character-driven, history-based fantasy, or readers who are looking to diversify their fantasy shelves. Plus, if you enjoy it, the sequel novel “The Hidden Palace” is equally excellent.

 

“The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley: “The Rook” is probably best known for its absolutely abysmal TV adaptation. Unfortunately, the fantastic book doesn’t receive much love or attention in the fantasy world. Perhaps best described as urban fantasy crossed with “The Office” crossed with Marvel, this novel features one of the best uses of the amnesia trope I’ve ever seen, wonderfully unique powers and character ideas and perfectly balances its fantasy, sitcom, horror and murder mystery elements. Protagonist Myfanwy (both versions of her) is one of the most loveable leads in fantasy. This is a perfect novel for fans of quirky, urban fantasy, or any reader who loves a good spy thriller.

 

“The Queens of Innes Lear” by Tessa Gratton: Tessa Gratton’s gorgeous fantasy adaptation of King Lear wouldn’t be out of place next to your copies of “The Wheel of Time” and “Priory of the Orange Tree.” The magic of its setting oozes out of the pages, and it’s hard not to fall in love with its charismatic protagonists. Gratton also wrote a second novel set in the same universe, “Lady Hotspur,” a lesbian re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” which is just as brilliant. If you’re a fan of fairytale/classic adaptations, queer fantasy and/or Shakespeare, these novels are must-reads.

 

“The Women’s War” by Jenna Glass: Feminist fantasy has become one of the most common fantasy subgenres. However, finding quality can be difficult. This hefty novel (coming in at 560 pages) is not for the faint of heart, as it unapologetically tackles subject matter like murder and sexual violence. It certainly lives up to its title as “epic,” with a wide range of time and place and featuring several perspective characters. The novel’s protagonist is beautifully well-rounded, and a rare example of a middle-aged woman taking the lead in a fantasy novel. The magic system is excellently realized, and the politics of the novel are deftly handled, clearly making themselves known without ever becoming too preachy. If you’re an advanced fantasy reader looking for your next feminist read, a fan of dystopian fantasy and/or love your worldbuilding, this is a great read for you.

 

“Four Dead Queens” by Astrid Scholte: Love it or hate it, but it’s hard to deny that YA fantasy has become a darling of the publishing world. So much so that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of YA fantasy novels on offer, both standalone and series. This is one of the strongest standalones published in recent years. Essentially a murder mystery, this novel rushes along at a breakneck pace, with complex characters and some jaw-dropping twists. It’s a quick, easy-to-binge read, and a great addition to any YA fantasy lover’s bookshelf.

 

“The Daevabad Trilogy” by S. A. Chakraborty: You might recognize this trilogy for its pretty covers, which tend to draw the eye at a bookstore. But the shiny covers pale in comparison to the brilliant prose and story they contain. This Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy trilogy is wide-reaching, with absolutely brilliant characters and an unflinching political edge. The worldbuilding is some of the best in modern fantasy, and with each book, you’re guaranteed an absolutely showstopping climactic scene. If you’re looking for your next big fantasy commitment, this is the one for you. But make sure you clear your schedule, because you’re not going to put this series down.

 

“Freya” by Matthew Laurence: From “American Gods” to “Percy Jackson,” “gods on Earth” has been a fun fantasy subgenre to track. “Freya” is the subgenre’s millennial version, with the Norse goddess Freya trying to make it as a 21st century woman in her 20s. The novel’s off-beat humor, irreverent take on gods on earth and speedy pace make it an entertaining and refreshing read. The banter is top-notch, and each character is well-rounded with a distinct voice. If you’re a Percy Jackson fan, or just looking for your next urban fantasy YA read, put “Freya” on your list.

 

“A Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry” by C. M. Waggoner: Although it’s billed as a sequel to “Unnatural Magic,” this novel works equally well as a standalone. A sapphic medieval fantasy story with a whole lot of heart and humor, this is a great book to get you out of your reading slump. The protagonist, Delly, is an absolute joy to read, and the story is full of enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat while still laughing out loud at the antics of its cast.

 

“Wicked As You Wish” by Rin Chupeco: Some fantasy novels give you a long time to get acclimated to their world. “Wicked As You Wish” is not one of those novels. Plunging you directly into the action, this YA fantasy epic is a brilliant example of the found family trope, and is set in a world that’s a seamless blend of fairytale folklore and modern day. Tala is an incredibly loveable heroine, and this novel is notable for its excellent Filipina representation. If you’re looking for a “ragtag team on impossible quest” type of story, check this out immediately.

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