Four of my favorite fantasy novel finds

Four+of+my+favorite+fantasy+novel+finds

From drifting asleep while my dad read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to me, to sitting on the grass during recess in third-grade, devouring the final pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I’ve always had a certain passion for fantasy fiction.

There’s something about the promise of magic and mythical creatures that draws me in and a cast of lovable and typically sarcastic characters that begs me to stay. I don’t think I know who I would be without my borderline unhealthy obsession with fantasy.

And as a total fantasy nerd, I, of course, have a to-read list that stretches on for miles. However, I remember when I used to have a hard time finding books that had everything I was looking for. After reading the fantasy classics, like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, I had to find some lesser-known selections. Whenever I found a good one, it only furthered my craving for a worthwhile fantasy series.

So here are four of my favorite fantasy series that fed my passion and caused me to delve deeper into the mythical world.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

I was still relatively new to the fantasy genre when I came across Fablehaven, upon a recommendation from my fourth-grade teacher. I don’t remember what expectations I had before diving into the story, but I can say with certainty this book would have met any expectations I could’ve set.

Fablehaven is about siblings Kendra and Seth Sorenson who, due to an unfortunate accident, end up staying at their mysterious grandparents’ house. Upon arrival, their grandfather instructs them to not go past the garden into the woods. They are free to roam the house and garden as they like, but the woods are completely off-limits.

Within a day, Seth ignores the warning and goes exploring in the woods, uncovering a secret about their grandparents and their home and kickstarting an adventure that lasts for five books.

My initial infatuation with this series was probably partially due to the fact that I was only just discovering my love for fantasy, but nonetheless, this book was absolutely incredible. Five years later, Fablehaven still remains somewhere on my top five favorite books I’ve read ever.

The story is multi-layered, with mystery and shocking twists intertwined delicately into the plot. It has all the makings of a typical fantasy series, with fairies and satyrs and giants. The characters were genuine role models for my young and impressionable self.

Fablehaven is partially responsible for my love of fantasy and fostered my childlike sense of wonder in all the best ways.

Fablehaven is partially responsible for my love of fantasy and fostered my childlike sense of wonder in all the best ways.”

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I can once again say that my fourth-grade teacher is the reason I read and loved this book. She would read it aloud to our entire class after lunch, and it was often the highlight of my day. I remember the excitement I felt at piecing together parts of the story’s intricate puzzle.

The story begins when a peculiar ad in the newspaper causes hundreds of children to enroll in a test that will determine their intelligence. Only four children succeed, a motley group of misfits, who all have extraordinary talents. They receive a challenge to go undercover at a learning institute, a challenge that requires a combination of their unique and valiant talents.

The Mysterious Benedict Society didn’t involve the traditional unicorns and fairies of classic fantasy, but rather other impossibilities involving the capability of the human brain. Rather than stretching readers’ beliefs to impossible lengths, the story remained just tame enough that it allowed the imagination to wonder what it would be like if the story was true.

I was particularly enthralled by the mysterious aspect of the story that was constantly shifting and changing to make me question what I thought. I experienced a sense of intrigue so strong I still feel remnants of it when I think about the series.

Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan

I don’t think I could’ve predicted that a series about Norse mythology would capture my attention as much as it did, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; everything Rick Riordan writes is a comedic masterpiece.

Magnus Chase is set in the same universe as Riordan’s other series and tells the story of a demigod name Magnus Chase, who happens to be the cousin of Annabeth Chase, one of Riordan’s many beloved characters. Magnus has been living on the streets of Boston for two years, ever since his mother disappeared and he was forced to run away. When he falls into the clutches of his psychotic uncle, everything begins to go downhill. First a barrage of discoveries concerning his heritage, then a fire giant attacking his city, and then he dies, less than fifty pages into the book.

Magnus Chase has a quality I haven’t found in many books; it had me completely absorbed by the end of the first chapter. I didn’t have to wait for it to pick up and get interesting, it began in such a way that I fell in love instantly. It wasn’t hard, considering that the main character was sarcastic and hilarious, and the chapter titles actually had me laughing out loud.

Rick Riordan’s writing is at its finest in this series, and the quality only progresses throughout the trilogy. Magnus Chase is also unique in that it features a deaf character who uses ASL, an Arab-American Muslim who practices her religion devoutly and later in the series, multiple LGBTQ+ characters. All of those are impressive feats for a genre which can often be lacking in representation.

Magnus Chase was phenomenal in every aspect, and I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about it, an esteemed compliment that doesn’t hold true for many books I’ve read.

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

I didn’t really think I would like Let the Sky Fall. I read it mostly out of desperation because I was stuck in a rut and hadn’t been reading much.

The trilogy is by my favorite author of all time, but I still expected it to be more of a typical teen romance. And while that aspect remained, Let the Sky Fall was so much more.

Vane Weston’s parents died in a category-five hurricane tornado that left him with no memories but a beautiful dark-haired girl. The girl’s name is Audra, and not only is she a sylph (an air elemental), but she’s also Vane’s guardian. But when their location is revealed to their deadly enemy, Vane and Audra have only a few days to unlock Vane’s memories and his powers.

I can’t pinpoint what about the story really grabbed me, but I easily became lost in the romance and the action. I was reminded what it felt like to finish a book in under a day, what it felt like to enjoy a story so much that all I wanted to do was read.

The romance was fast-paced but still beautiful and developed. The plot was even better, involving wind spirits, hidden powers, and deadly villains. I spent a wonderful few days completely entranced in the magical world my favorite author had created.