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  • Writer's pictureEmma

7 Fantasy Books You Need to Read

This is the ultimate list of books to read if you love intricate fantasy worlds with magical elements, mystical creatures, and diverse cultures. I have read and loved all of these books, some several times, and I share them with anyone I can. So read on and save this list for later when you're building your TBR.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Series: The Iron Fey

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 10

Traditionally published

This series is both my favourite fantasy series and my favourite series ever. It follows sixteen year old Meghan Chase who is pulled into the world of faerie after her four year old brother disappears. She soon discovers that getting him back will not only be difficult but dangerous as the Never Never is full of deadly creatures, unwritten rules she doesn't know or understand, and no one she can fully trust. Add in a sassy talking cat, a prankster faerie best friend, and an enigmatic fey prince from the enemy kingdom, and you have the recipe for the perfect fantasy adventure.

Magical Elements: All faeries can manipulate glamour to various degrees be it to grow plants, create illusions, or execute pranks and I loved every moment of discovering the extent of each character's power and limitations

Mystical Creatures: The Never Never has no shortage of creatures as its born from mankind's dreams and nightmares. You have the big bad wolf, piskies, goblins, dragons, satyrs, driads, and too many more to name, each with unique features and abiltities

Diverse Cultures: You get to travel with Meghan and her companions across a whole swath of Fey territory including the Summer, Winter, and Iron courts, the Wildwood, and even to the edge of the world. Each place has different customs and its own host of magic and creatures

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 8

Traditionally published

I'm sure most of you have heard of ToG, but in case you haven't, this is an epic fantasy series that follows young female assassin Celaena Sardothien in the world of Erilea. At the start of book one, Celaena is imprisoned for crimes against the crown and is offered her freedom by the crown prince in exchange for being his champion in the king's tournament. Celaena excepts, with plans to escape as soon as possible, but the realm wants more from her than that.

Magical Elements: Magic disappeared from the continent a decade ago, so it's not prevelant at first, but there are many people who feel the sting of it's absence. Magic came in many forms including shapeshifting, manipulating the elements, and healing, to name a few.

Mystical Creatures: Another world with multiple fictional species including: the Fey, Wyvern, Witches, and various levels of demons.

Diverse Cultures: Erilea is divided into multiple kingdoms and over the course of the books, we get to see the customs and people from each one, all of which are unique and running from the iron fist of Adarlan. In later books, we even get to travel to and explore different continents all together, where magic, in all its forms, still exists.

Shadow of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Series: Shadow of The Fox

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 3

Traditionally published

I put this series off for far too long and it blew me away when I finally read it earlier this year. By far, my favourite books of the year. It had a bit of a slow start, but once it got going, it was perfection until the end. The trilogy follows Yumeko, a half-kitsune girl in the empire of Iwagato as she's tasked with finding and protecting the pieces of the dragon scroll before they can fall into the wrong hands and alter the fate of the world forever. The book's second POV is that of Kage Tatsumi, a shinobi from the Shadow Clan who wields a sword with the soul of a demon. He's under orders to obtain the scroll at any cost. When their paths cross, the journey of a lifetime begins.

Magical Elements: The magic in this series is both subtle and epic. Yumeko herself as part kitsune, specializes in creating illusions. Then there are different clans, which specialize in different elemental magic from fire, earth, and wind, to shadow magic. Blood magic also exists, but is only used by the very desperate or the very dangerous.

Mystical Creatures: Shadow of The Fox is inspired by asian folklore and the creatures in the book reflect that from kitsune, to ghosts, and demons of all shapes and sizes from the realm of jigoku. I loved getting to see the way the creatures lived in harmony with the world around them.

Diverse Cultures: The Empire of Iwagato is full of diversity including all the different clans, each with their own unique customs, and the creatures of the world as well. It's great seeing it all through the eyes of Yumeko, who spent the first sixteen years of her life secluded in a temple.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic

Age Group: Adult

Number of books: 3

(first book in companion trilogy coming Sept 30)

Traditionally published

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that no list of mine is complete without at least one mention of V. E. Schwab, because she is a master and this trilogy is a masterpiece. I'm rereading it right now and it feels just like coming home, while being as exciting, if not more so, than it was when I originally read it ten years ago. The trilogy follows Kell, one of the last remaining Antari (think blood mage) a magic user who can manipulate all the elements and travel between the worlds. In this book, there are 4 realms, each seemingly connected by the existence of London. There's Grey London that lost touch with magic long ago, Red London that flourishes, White London that is dying, and Black London, that burned to ash long ago. When Kell accidentally transports a piece of Black London into his own Red London, he sets off a series of events that topple all the worlds.

Magical Elements: Magic is the essence of this trilogy. People can wield water, earth, air, fire, or bone, and in the case of an Antari, blood. Some people can wield two elements, and a rare few three, but only the Antari can use all elements. People can also be metal workers and healers, though they are subsets of the main elements as far as I understand. Magic from Black London can do whatever the wielder wishes, but at a cost that for some is far too steep to pay

Mystical Creatures: Mystical creatures aren't really present in this series, but there is plenty of magic to make up for it. The closest we get is the Antari themselves and one of the villains who is more magic than human.

Diverse Cultures: With the existence of 4 Londons, readers get to explore the essence of each one, including the way people and magic are treated. In later books, we also get to see beyond Red London to the countries beyond.

Summer's Revenge by Emma K. C. Couette

Series: The Fidalian Chronicles

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 1 of 3


This is obviously my book, but I have it under good authority that it's amazing! The story takes place in the realm of Fidalia where each kingdom is a a season and Summer and Winter have been feuding for centuries. Follow Crown Prince Isanfier of Summer along with his twin sister Skiansy, as he seeks revenge for his parents' murder and discovers a lot more than he bargained for including war, a deadly sentient forest, and a curse that threatens to destroy the realm itself.

Magical Elements: Fidalia is a world of magic, bestowed to people as a a gift from the god Fidal. Magic comes in many forms and can be elemental, mental, or physical in nature, such as creating fire, moving objects with the mind, or healing. Magic is banned in Summer, after the death of the late King and Queen, but that doesn't stop people from possessing it. In Winter, magic is prevalent and buys positions of power.

Mystical Creatures: Each kingdom is home to a certain type of mystical creatures including trolls, pixies, ice wolves, and lizard sized dragons. The Edgewood houses goblins, ogres, and ghosts.

Diverse Cultures: Each kingdom has its own customs, festivals, social classes, and magic usage, along with other unique elements. In Winter, for example, magic dictates your social class. In Summer, the people wear their hair in long braids that they never cut.

Butterflies That Never Die by Aldara Thomas

Series: Legend of The Heirs

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 2 of 3


This series just keeps getting better and better. I've read the first two books and am eagerly awaiting book 3 after that cliffhanger ending! The book follows Hannah who discovers she's from a realm beyond our own called Leiranor where everyone is an animal shapeshifter and magic is prevalent. She soon discovers she's in the centre of a political struggle between a rebel force and the young Queen Arabella because apparently their the heirs of long dead gods and only one of them is meant to take the Throne of Bone.

Magical Elements: Magic in this world is subtle and tied to whatever animal the person is part of. One character who is a jellyfish can create and manipulate electricity for example. Another group of characters can wield fire and the queen herself can kill with a look, as her animal affiliation is a viper.

Mystical Creatures: Technically, everyone in Leiranor is a mystical creature and I love that aspect of it. There may be some additional creatures I'm forgetting at the moment, but they're not integral to the story

Diverse Cultures: I loved exploring Leiranor, especially in book 2, and the political landscape, as well as the legends surrounding the gods. Every aspect of the worldbuilding is so unique

A Lair of Bones by Helen Scheuerer

Series: Curse of The Cyren Queen

Age Group: Young Adult

Number of books: 4

Indie published

This series is one of my all time favourites, which I never expected and I'm so glad I found it. The cover is what originally drew me in, but the plot and characters wouldn't let me go. The story follows Rohesia, the daughter of a criminal, in the world of cyrens. Destined to be a bone cleaner for life because of her lineage, Roh will do anything to change her fate, so when she gets a chance to compete in a tournament for the crown, she takes it. Now all she has to do is survive.

Magical Elements: Cyren magic is awesome and includes being able to manipulate the ocean around them and perform a death-song, which is lethal to humans. The series also has water warlocks who can perform all sorts of water magic.

Mystical Creatures: Cyrens are of course mystical creatures themselves but the series also includes sea drakes, lethal water horses, and more that I can't name off the top of my head.

Diverse Cultures: There are four different Cyren territories and many human territories we get to visit throughout the course of the series. Saddoriel is where Roh is from and includes a palace made of human bone. Csilla is a smaller territory tasked with keeping an eye on the terror tempests. And Lochloria is home to the water warlocks, or was, before the cyrens destroyed them.

And that my bookish friends, is a complete list of the best fantasy books you should read if you love intricate worlds, magic, and mystical creatures! Of course, these books also contain other elements like strong friendships, romance, and crazy plot twists. I can't recommend them enough! If you want more info, you can check out my reviews on Goodreads or search them up on Amazon. I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Save it for later and I promise your TBR will thank you ; )

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