The fantasy genre has the power to transport us to other worlds, to introduce us to characters we may never have imagined, and to show us how to dream bigger. Many people use reading as a way to escape from their everyday lives, and in that sense, there is no genre more perfect than fantasy. The clashes between heroes and evil kings can make our own struggles seem small by comparison. Even if one has nothing from which they wish to escape, fantasy can still provide entertainment. The wonder and uniqueness of its existence are unmatched. After delving into the realm of fantasy, one might even find themself looking at our own world differently, imagining fairies in the woods or European castles ruled by cruel and powerful lords.
Whether one has enjoyed fantasy in the past, or if one is hesitant to give it a try, here are a few top picks from various media forms:
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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
Both a book and movie series, both are widely acclaimed in their own right. Set in Middle Earth, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy portrays the classic scuffle between good and evil, where an unassuming hobbit, joined by a diverse group of allies, sets off on a journey to destroy a dangerous magical ring.
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Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Though the book series is still unfinished, there is an eight-season HBO series which has received a great deal of praise. It is violent, crude, and sexually unambiguous, so be prepared for something much more intense than the Lord of the Rings. If you do choose to give this series some of your attention, you will be rewarded with well-developed characters, jaw-dropping plot twists, and thought-provoking themes that include religion, family, honor, what it means to be a leader, and much more.
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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses is set in a post-war world in which fae and humans both exist yet are forced to live divided by strict boundaries. One girl finds herself exploring the lands of the faeries, coming into contact with complex characters, and learning to find her own inner strength. A Court of Thorns and Roses is empowering, well written, and has gorgeous scenery to visualize.
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The Shadowhunters Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
While it has been made into a movie as well as a TV series, I highly recommend only reading the books for this one. The series is set in the world we know with one exception – the existence of those known as ‘shadowhunters’ who secretly guard humanity from demons. Shadowhunters is constructed via a handful of smaller series, each with its own brilliant plot lines, exciting lore, and diverse characters.
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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Turned into a one season TV special through Amazon, this story follows the friendship of an angel and a demon as the apocalypse nears. The author of the book also wrote the show, so rest assured that it is very true to the original. Whimsical, thought-provoking, and fresh, you’ll wish it didn’t have to end.