Off the Shelf: Fantasy

Posted Jan. 26, 2021

By Mary Jo Kachurik,
Adult Services Librarian with the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

Hello! In this blog post, I’m going to give an introduction to the genre of fantasy. Fantasy stories take place in alternate realities that can be based on mythology, folklore, or the original ideas of the author. The action can take place in a separate world from ours, or in our world but with the addition of fantastical elements like magic or monsters.

One of the best things about fantasy is that it lets us imagine a different world and helps us reflect on our own. If you like stories about good and evil that will spark your imagination, you should give fantasy books a try.

Here are some authors you should make sure to read if you want to see what the genre is all about:

Neil Gaiman has a variety of works that range from whimsical fairy tale stories like Stardust to books that explore the darker sides of reality like American Gods.

His writing is magical in and of itself and really brings the stories to life.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (starting with The Eye of the World) is an epic story of heroes and destiny, set in a richly imagined fantasy world full of complex magic and massive battles. It’s a great series to read if you liked J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s books like the Earthsea series deal with societal issues and helped define the genre’s ability to comment on the world we live in.

She was also one of the first major female writers of fantasy fiction.

And here are some newer authors and titles if you want to check out what’s popular now:

Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series is a reimagining of the Napoleonic Wars but with dragons, and she has also written excellent fairy-tale-inspired stories like Uprooted and Spinning Silver. More recently, her novel, A Deadly Education, is about a student at a magic academy full of dangerous monsters.

N. K. Jemisin’s award-winning Broken Earth trilogy (starting with The Fifth Season) takes place in a world where people use magical powers to fight against geological upheaval and an oppressive society. Her newest book is The City We Became, which is about a group of people trying to save New York City from a great evil and that deals with issues like racism and gentrification.

V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series (starting with A Darker Shade of Magic) tells the story of a world with parallel versions of London and the engaging characters that can travel between them. The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue, Schwab’s latest book, is about a woman who can live forever but is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Connect with us!

You can find more information about several of these books and authors in the New Book Spotlight on WTCPL’s Youtube channel. And NoveList, available through WTCPL’s website with your library card, is always a great place to get recommendations for what to read next!

If you’re already a fantasy reader, or if you’d like to give the genre a try, I’d love to invite you to our Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Discussion. It’s open to all adults, and we’re currently meeting online via Zoom at 6:30 PM on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. You can check out the monthly book selection on our online calendar or have it emailed to you by subscribing to our email newsletter.

If you would like to attend a book discussion, contact the Adult Services Department by calling 330.399.8807 ext. 200 or by emailing