Spring is just around the corner, and we could all use a little more magic in our lives. I've got 13 charming, new fantasy books you should read this spring, so make a little room on your nightstand or picnic basket, OK?
At a time when chaos and uncertainty threaten to explode in our faces every day, fantasy can both provide the ultimate escape — and provide a place where you can work through some of the more frightening aspects of real life. Feel-good fantasy titles provide us with lovable characters and idealized locations that we want to return to, night after night. Even darker fantasy novels have something to offer readers of bleak days, however. It has always been a genre that has reflected the complexities of the real world.
No matter why you want to pick up a new fantasy novel this spring, the 15 titles on the list below will meet all your needs, and then some. I've tried to pick a lot of feel-good titles, but there are a few books from darker subgenres here, for those who want them.
Check out my recommendations for the charming, new fantasy books you should read this spring:
'The Raven Tower' by Ann Leckie
A loose retelling of Hamlet, sci-fi author Ann Leckie's fantasy debut, The Raven Tower, centers on Mawat, the son of his nation's divinely appointed ruler, who returns home from the war to find that his father has disappeared, and his uncle, Hibal, has taken his place in the seat of power.
'Enchantée' by Gita Trelease
Set in an alternate version of 18th century France, Gita Trelease's Enchantée follows Camille, an impoverished girl, who must carve a new path for herself and her sister after their brother absconds with the only money they had. Disguising herself with magic, Camille joins the court of King Louis XIV, and falls in with a group of aristocratic gamblers — but can she keep her secrets long enough to make a safe home for her little family?
'The Gilded Wolves' by Roshani Chokshi
Another fantasy novel set in Paris, Roshani Chokshi's The Gilded Wolves takes place in 1889, when the World's Fair takes the city by storm. Compelled by a mysterious group to find an artifact in exchange for his inheritance, Séverin must assemble a crack team to help him pull off the mission.
'What the Wind Knows' by Amy Harmon
This time-travel fantasy centers on Anne Gallagher, who falls backward in time when she returns to Ireland to scatter her grandfather's ashes. Stranded in the tumult of 1921 Ireland, Anne is mistaken for the missing mother of a young boy, and falls into a confusing new life. But as she begins to fall in love, Anne must confront reality. Does she want to remain in the past, or return to the future, and does she ultimately have any choice in the matter at all?
'The Library of Lost and Found' by Phaedra Patrick
Martha Storm isn't great with people, but she desperately wants to be. When a book containing a wonderful, new fantasy world arrives on her doorstep, containing a hint that her beloved grandmother may still be alive, Martha sets out on a quest to find the best friend she's ever known, and makes a few friends along the way.
'Black Leopard, Red Wolf' by Marlon James
From A Brief History of Seven Killings author Marlon James comes this fantasy novel, the first in a new trilogy. Black Leopard, Red Wolf centers on Tracker, a lone-wolf-type of hunter, who must join forces with others to find a boy who has been missing for years. Making their way through James' invented world, which has deep roots in African mythology, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is unlike anything you've ever read.
'The Bird King' by G. Willow Wilson
Set at the end of the Iberian sultanate, The Bird King follows a Circassian concubine and a magical mapmaker as they attempt to escape their crumbling world, which will soon fall to the new Christian empire of Spain.
'Sorcerer to the Crown' by Zen Cho
Sorcerer to the Crown, the first installment of a planned trilogy, has been around since 2015, but Zen Cho's follow-up, The True Queen, just hit stores in March 2019, so now's the perfect time to dig into this series. In the first book of the Sorcerer Royal Trilogy, a freed slave and magician named Zacharias must travel to the border between England and Fairyland to investigate the country's new deficit of magic.
'Miranda in Milan' by Katharine Duckett
Another Shakespeare-adjacent tale, Katharine Duckett's Miranda in Milan picks up where The Tempest left off. Miranda was supposed to marry Ferdinand in Naples, but she's stuck in her father's castle, treated poorly by everyone around her. The reason has something to do with her mother, but Miranda will have to do some digging if she wants answers.
'Witchmark' by C.L. Polk
Set in a world bearing an aesthetic resemblance to Edwardian England, C.L. Polk's Witchmark follows Miles, a magician disguised as a doctor in a veteran's hospital, as he risks everything to find the truth behind a patient's mysterious death.
'The Black Tides of Heaven' by JY Yang
With the fourth book in JY Yang's Tensorate series due out in 2019, it's a great time to read the series' first installment, The Black Tides of Heaven. This novel centers on twins, Mokoya and Akeha, who have grown up with talents both magical and mundane. As their mother's empire teeters on the brink of revolution, the twins must make tough decisions about what to believe and whom to trust.
'Kill the Farm Boy' by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
This punny take on the quest story archetype follows Worstley, the titular farm boy, who is set on the road to fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One. Accompanied by a talking goat and a seven-foot-tall giantess, Worstley journeys across the land, discovering the cursed folk who live in a kingdom threatened by the Dark Lord. The sequel to Kill the Farm Boy, titled No Country for Old Gnomes, is slated for an April 2019 release.