If you’re reading this, you’re probably stuck in your house. You can leave once a day but other than that you’re staring at a wall, wondering when it’s all going to end. Or, you’re from the future and you’re so glad this is all over…
I picked these books because:
- They are quick reads.
- They have huge and/or engrossing worlds to escape to.
- They have a cast of wonderful, colourful characters that can become the only friends you get to hang out with.
- The characters go on incredible adventures that will make you jealous of them being outside.
The book recommendations below might not include all of these things, but at least you know the general reasons for picking them!
Number 1: Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere
There are a lot of books in Sanderson’s cosmere. This world is huge, on a scale that isn’t even fully realised yet, though we know quite a bit.
The Mistborn Trilogy is a great place to begin. It’s often on reading recommendation lists because of its accessibility, the wonderful cast of characters (including the main character, Vin, who is one of my favourite hero characters in fantasy), and it’s the perfect introduction to the cosmere.
If you want to dive right in to something on a much larger scale, why not try The Stormlight Archive! It’s massive, epic, and even though there are only three books out right now, that’s over 1000 pages per book. The cast of characters is even larger – on the scale of A Song of Ice and Fire – and they are all unique, in more ways than one. I recently finished the third book in this series and I am SO excited for the fourth (due to be released later this year!).
Number 2: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
You’ve obviously heard about this one so I won’t go into it too much. All I will say is that these books are incredible. The world is massive, and the characters are so wonderful to watch – even when they do horrific things. If you like political intrigue, a bit of a travelogue, assassins, dragons, strange/magical/dark religions, fat kings, and villains who you might just like although you really don’t want to – this is the b series for you!
Number 3: The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Firstly, I haven’t finished this series yet! I’m recommending it based on the first four books that I have read. I loved each one, so it’s worth a recommendation.
If you thought A Song of Ice and Fire was a bit too dark for you, or not massive enough on scale, then Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is perfect for you. The first book is heavily influenced by Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, but Jordan soon turns away from that influence and creates a story and world that is unique, engrossing, and utterly brilliant.
The magic system is intriguing, the characters are compelling and a joy to follow, and the world itself is a pleasure to get lost in.
There are 14 books in the series, and one prequel novel too, so you’re not going to run out of books in a hurry!
Number 4: The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
The first two books of this trilogy are out now and they are two of the most beautifully written fantasy books in existence.
We follow Kvothe as he tells his story of his life, from travelling with his family as a child, to studying at the university. His charm and wit are wonderful, and there may even be a bit of an unreliable narrator to the core of the story so it’s exciting to think and theorise about the (as yet unpublished) third book!
Number 1: The Age of Five Trilogy by Trudi Canavan
Trudi Canavan’s fantasy books are not talked about enough! This was the first trilogy I read by her and I loved it. The magic system may not be up to Sanderson’s level, but it’s fun and adds a lot to the story. It’s ‘soft’ design adds an element of mystery which is wonderful.
The main characters are fantastic too! The further you get into the series, the higher the stakes and the bigger the world and the universe. You will have so much fun uncovering the mysteries of this world.
Number 2: The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson
I read this trilogy a long time ago after finding the first book in a dusty little second-hand bookshop. I fell in love with the main characters and the world immediately. Each book has its own individual plot that is very different to the others, but the characters remain the same and there is an umbrella plot that binds them all together.
It’s a fantastic and quick read!
Number 3: Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
This is the series that inspired the wizard school. I have only read books one and two but they are full of magic, adventure, and characters that you can’t help but love.
This world is one of pure escapism, so if you need that right now, this is the series for you.
Number 1 & 2: Elantris and Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
These two books are also set in the cosmere, but (for now) they are standalones, so you don’t have to feel like you’re entering into a massive series! They have plenty of hints to a larger universe, but the stories themselves are amazing.
Number 2: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This may be the only Neil Gaiman I have read (so far) but it is by far one of the only fantasy books set in the ‘real’ world that I love. It’s filled with gods, mystery, great magic, and war. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking. It might look like a big book but I promise that you will burn right through it.
Those were my main recommendations, but here is short list of other wonderful fantasy books and series that I have read that I think you would love if you want a world to escape to and a cast of characters to fall in love with: