Genre Guide – A Newbie’s Guide to Modern Fantasy

There’s a lot of things that come to mind that people think of when they think of Fantasy books: Magic, Faraway Places, Castles, Fairies, Dragons, Magical Creatures, Journeys Across Vast Landscapes, and so much more! Each book is as unique as the stories they tell. If you’ve never picked up a fantasy book, or if it’s been a minute since you’ve read one, these selections will be a great way to get acquainted with the wonderful world of fantasy. 

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The City of Brass

The start of a Middle-Eastern fantasy series filled with magical healers, djinn, political intrigue, and a little bit of romance. It is a door-stopper so get ready to sit down with this one, along with the rest of the trilogy, and the prequel, but it’s the perfect escapist book if you’re looking to get lost in a new world. You can also check out this title as eBook or eAudio on Overdrive/Libby or as eBook or eAudio on Hoopla.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Quite possibly the most heart-warming book you will ever read. Linus, a stuffy government worker, goes to inspect a foster-care situation with magical children deemed incredibly dangerous by someone (?) (the government probably) but he comes to learn that the kids, as well as their eccentric foster parent Arthur Parnassus, are a lot more than they seem. You can also check out this title as eBook on Libby or as eAudio on Libby.

The Grey Bastards

If The House in the Cerulean Sea is the most heart-warming book you will ever read, this book is the oppositeKirkus Reviews described the book as “if Mad Max were set in Middle Earth.” You get some of the best parts of fantasy genre: world building, a bunch of orcs, a quest to discover the truth about the world, and then some moral quandaries about whether the group you’ve built your life around should exist. Lots of fun; DEFINITELY not for children.  

Fourth Wing

This one is blowing up on BookTok so you might already know about it, but it’s the story of a young woman who was raised to spend her life behind closed doors as a scribe, but now must become a dragon rider or die trying – literally. It’s like the best part of Eragon and Harry Potter, but it is not for children! Content warning for spicy scenes and lots of cussing.  

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby, in eAudio on Libby, and in eAudio (Spanish) on Hoopla. 

The Jasmine Throne

This book is a sapphic South Asian inspired story that follows two morally gray leads who, yes, are love interests, but more importantly, they are disenfranchised by a murderous tyrant, and willing to do anything for their freedom and to find their place in the world. But what happens when the two characters’ goals oppose the interest of each other? I’m not entirely sure because the third book hasn’t come out yet, but I’ve enjoyed the first two so far, and you can bet I’ll be reading the third book the minute I can! You can also check out this title as eBook or eAudio on Overdrive/Libby.

Legends & Lattes

This book tells the tale of an orc who was previously a bounty hunter, but decides to hang up that life and open a coffee shop, in a world where coffee shops are not a thing. Like your favorite café order, this book substitutes some tropes in the fantasy genre. The story focuses less on the landscapes of the world and more on the magical folk stopping in for their afternoon pick-me-up. You can also check out this title as eBook or eAudio on Overdrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

This story will take you on a journey across time (post 1714) once the main character, Addie LaRue, makes a deal to live forever, but everyone she meets will forget who she is. That’s exactly what happens for centuries, and as she’s pondering the upsides of her life (living forever) vs the downsides (never making her mark on the world), she meets someone who remembers her name. So what does that mean for her, or for the bargain? You’ll have to read to find out. You can also check out this title as eBook or eAudio on Overdrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.

Six of Crows

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone, and must enlist a group of criminals to help– unless they kill each other first. You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.