Ever imagined you could apparate to an exotic location across the globe for a quick getaway? Or wished you could become invisible and spy on your friends and family? Ever had a dream so vivid you woke up thinking you could fly? The rise-and-grind of the nine-to-five isn’t always as exciting as we wish it could be — which is why so many of us love to pick up a good book and travel to a faraway magical realm on our days off. This weekend, look beyond Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and pick up one of these fantastical, magical adventures:
1. "The Magicians" Series
The Magicians — often dubbed as the adult version of Harry Potter — follows Quentin Coldwater, an average, somewhat awkward high schooler from Brooklyn who discovers he's actually a powerful magician who has been granted admittance into Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. The novel seamlessly intertwines fantasy elements with Quentin's very real, very relatable struggle to discover his place in the world. Read up, fast! A television series based on the books premieres on SyFy on January 25.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman, $10.20, Amazon
Brooklyn Afro-Latina (yas!) Sierra Santiago has a pretty chill summer planned; she wants to paint and hang out with her friends, like any normal teenager. But Sierra's not a normal teenager. When a zombie-like creature crashes the first party of the summer, she discovers she belongs to a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who can connect with spirits via their art.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older, $11.44, Amazon
Uprooted opens in a village on the edge of a vast Wood corrupted by a mysterious, malevolent magic. Agnieszka, the heroine, and her people rely upon a cold, aloof wizard named The Dragon to keep the dark powers of the Wood at bay. However, his protection doesn't come for free. Every 10 years, he selects one young woman from the village to live with him in his castle. For a decade, they cannot leave, and they cannot see their family. So, what happens with Agnieszka gets chosen for the mysterious endeavor? You'lll have to read to find out, or wait for the Hollywood version, which will be produced by Ellen DeGeneres.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik, $15.58, Amazon
4. "A Wizard Of Earthsea"
Long before Harry Potter journeyed to Hogwarts, a young mage named Ged traveled to a school of wizardry in the fictional land of Earthsea. This book is far from a traditional fantasy, and Ged is far from a traditional protagonist. The book — though filled with magic and dragons and boyish adventures — is a coming-of-age story that asks the reader to look within.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, $8.99, Amazon
5. "Like Water For Chocolate"
In this iconic Mexican novel, food becomes a conduit for magia and passion. The protagonist, Tita, is a brilliant cook. She was born in the kitchen, and her magic flows through her and into her food and into those who eat it.— often with unexpected results. This romantic, magical romp through Tita's life is enriched with authentic Mexican recipes from her cooking adventures.
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, $8.92, Amazon
6. The "Grisha" Series
Shadow and Bone introduces us to a remarkable magical order called The Grisha, who practice matter at its most fundamental levels. When a meek orphan named Alina discovers she's actually a powerful Grisha who can summon the power of the sun, she embarks to the royal court to train with the highest ranking member of the magical elite, a mysterious man named the Darkling.
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo, $6.70, Amazon
7. "The Night Circus"
Celia and Marco are two illusitionists with Le Cirque des Rêves trained since childhood to compete in the "game." Unbeknownst to them both, only one will survive the competition. The game takes on an even more tragic turn when the two competitors turn into collaborators — and eventually, lovers.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, $9.71, Amazon
8. "The Diviners" Series
Set on the bustling streets of New York City in the Roarin' Twenties and infused with a diverse set of characters (black characters! LGBTQ characters! Asian characters!), this novel represents the best of YA fantasy. The Diviners follows Evie O'Neill, an Ohio girl who moves to NYC to live with her uncle, the studious director of the Museum of Creepy Crawlies. But, Evie has a supernatural power she keeps secret from those around her — until she discovers she's not the only one who can work that magic.
The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray, $8.04, Amazon
A young man named Tristan Thorn embarks into the world Faerie on an adventure to find a fallen star to gift to his would-be fiancé. He finds the star, and discovers she's a beautiful woman named Yvaine. Unfortunately, he also discovers that he's not the only person who wants Yvaine, and he ends up on a mad dash to escape a coven of sister witches and a clan of ruthless Lords.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman, $9.18, Amazon