Late February, early March…it always seems like this is the time of year that the monotony of winter really starts to get to me. All the fun holidays are over for a while, and the short, overcast days and long cold nights have me dreaming of spring – or tropical destinations. It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some escapist literature. Why not ignore the frost outside and let your mind take a journey to some fantastic place instead? Get inspired by our list of fun fantasy reads below that are organized based on other works you may have already enjoyed. Choose one for yourself, kick back, relax, and enjoy the trip. Bon voyage.
If you loved The Hunger Games series or The Night Circus….
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Magic, mystery, and romance – the debut novel by Stephanie Garber, Caraval, checks all the boxes for an engrossing and fun winter read. It all starts when Scarlett Dragna, an isolated yet determined young woman, finally receives an invitation to see the Caraval, the mysterious, invitation-only annual event she has always dreamed of attending. Caraval is more than a performance – the multi-day event is meticulously planned and full of magic-infused challenges. The audience plays along, with many willing to take great risks for a shot at winning Caraval’s rich rewards.
Scarlett and her sister Tella, abused by their cruel and powerful father, have never even left the tiny island they call home. When Scarlett receives her invitation, she knows this may be her last desperate chance to seek out a new life before her arranged marriage is to take place.
Participants in Caraval are told that everything that happens during the event is only an elaborate performance. But when Tella is kidnapped as soon as the sisters arrive, Scarlett faces the sickening realization that finding Tella is the key to winning that year’s Caraval. During Caraval’s five nights, Scarlett is forced to question everything she thinks she knows in order to rescue Tella and fight for her right to live her life on her own terms.
As a bonus, the sequel to Caraval, Legendary, is due this spring!
If you liked the Twilight series or watched David Bowie's Labyrinth every time you were sick as a child….
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Lose yourself this winter in the dark and twisted romance of Wintersong, the story of nineteen-year-old Liesl, a gifted composer and dedicated sister who thinks her dreams of music and magic are nearly lost to her as she shoulders family burdens and helps to run the local inn. When she and her sister, the beautiful but reckless Kathe, stumble across something unexpected, they are drawn into a magical world that’s exciting and beautiful – but with a frightening dark side that even borders on grotesque and macabre. Who will be the Goblin King’s bride? There’s only one way to find out…
PS: If you read it and love it, a sequel to Wintersong is also expected soon.
If you can’t get enough of The Andromeda Strain or Brave New World…
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This gripping novel starts in winter too – during a theatrical performance of King Lear on a snowy night a famous movie star dies onstage of a mysterious disease. A child actor on the outskirts of the production witnesses the tragedy. Within hours, the disease has spread throughout the country, and then the world. Modern civilization comes undone as humanity succumbs to the plague. The story jumps back and forth in time between the story of the child actor, who in the wasteland of the future has joined a Traveling Symphony that tries to keep a spark of art and culture alive, and the heyday of the first victim’s movie stardom. As we learn about their lives Station Eleven shows us how we are all connected and how much we depend on each other, for better or for worse, for our modern way of life to survive.
If you love Victoria and The Crown or are beyond excited for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding…
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Often described as “Will and Kate fanfiction,” The Royal We has its fair share of detractors. However, if you’re ready to get lost in a royal daydream about a modern princess with some laugh-out-loud funny moments, this is the book you’ve been looking for. Sporty, ambitious Rebecca Porter, an American exchange student, finds herself swept up in an adventure she never anticipated when she spends time studying at Oxford, leaving her dramatic and beautiful twin sister Lacey behind in the States. It’s not long before Rebecca, better known as Bex, catches the eye of Prince Nicholas, the future king of England and her dormmate. Against her better judgment and despite other romantic complications, Bex finds herself falling for Nick, even as his family pressures him to choose a more “suitable” girlfriend who is better prepared for a royal life in the public eye. Visits from Lacey and Nick’s wilder little brother Freddie only add fuel to the fire of this royal romance.