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Dive into fantasy: Five Books to start your journey

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Richmond London chapter.

If you want to get into fantasy reading or simply want some book recommendations, this article is just right for you. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy enthusiast or just dipping your toes into this genre, these titles offer something for everyone. I love reading everything from dark academia to sci-fi, but fantasy has always been my favourite genre. I put together some fast and easy fantasy reads that I read a few years ago and I hope you enjoy them. If I could read fantasy for the very first time these are five books I know would have me hooked. These five books have transported me to enchanting worlds, introduced me to unforgettable characters, and made my imagination run wild.

  1. “Cruel Prince”, Holly Black (Book 1 in the Folk of the Air Series). 

“I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them.” 

“The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black is a spellbinding tale of a mortal girl, Jude, who is thrust into the wicked and captivating world of the Fae. The Fae are not always what they seem and although they cannot lie, they are always ready to trick you instead. Jude is powerless and magicless amid the fae but that doesn’t make her weak. If you love political intrigue, devious plots, and a deadly court, this book is just right for you. Jude must navigate a treasonable path to power, all while dealing the deceptive and cruel Prince Cardan. This is a tale of duty, magic, deception, family and strength where the crown is sought after by many.  

I love this book because I could vividly see the beautiful world it was set in, Elfhame. With its opulent palaces, enchanted forests: home to magical creatures, court of shadows, fairy market and so much more. Holly Black’s vivid storytelling and complex characters make this a captivating journey through a world where deception and desire entwine, leaving you craving the next page.  

  1. “Once Upon a Broken Heart”, Stephanie Garber 

“Happy endings can be caught, but they are difficult to hold on to.” 

This book follows Evangeline Fox, the daring and compassionate protagonist whose stepsister Marisol, intends to marry Luc, her beloved.  

Evangeline needs Jacks, the Prince of Hearts to stop the wedding because she believes Luc is enchanted. He agrees to help her under strange conditions, and she takes his offer as she’s desperate to save her one true love. 

Once upon a broken heart tells a spellbinding story filled with magic, love and treachery. My favourite thing about this book is that it made me think of the instrumental of Lana del Rey’s “Young and beautiful” because of they make me feel a sense of melancholic beauty. Both the song and this book evoke a sense of love and longing which capture bittersweet romances in cathedral settings.  

We watch the rose-golden haired mc and her unseemly companion who is a fate, face trials and make decisions to do what she thinks is right. But her time spent with the fate makes her wonder if Luc is truly her one true love. 

  1. “Shadow and Bone”, Leigh Bardugo. 

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.” 

Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo invites you into a world of magic and intrigue. In the war-torn land of Ravka, Alina Starkov discovers her extraordinary power, which holds the key to saving her country from the encroaching darkness. As she’s trained among the Grisha, people who can control the elements, she faces not only the challenge of mastering her abilities but also navigating a world of politics, power struggles, and forbidden love. This gripping tale combines magic, romance, war and danger, taking you on a thrilling journey through a beautifully crafted fantasy realm. Ravka, a vast and diverse country with various landscapes and regions which help create a vivid and richly detailed world. If you’re not one for reading and you’d rather watch a show on Netflix, the series adaptation of this book is wonderful for you!  

  1. “Shatter Me”, Tahereh Mafi, (Book 1 in the Shatter Me series).  

“I am a nightmare, wrapped in an apocalypse, inside of a plague.” 

Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi is an electrifying dystopian novel that immerses you in the mind of Juliette Ferrars, a girl with a deadly touch. Locked away for her entire life, she’s considered a dangerous weapon by the ruthless Reestablishment government. When she’s suddenly released, she must grapple with her newfound freedom and a choice between becoming a weapon of destruction or a beacon of hope. I really enjoyed this book because of how complex the characters are. There were some characters who came across as villains but later I could see myself understanding their actions and misgivings. If you like books with superpowers and moral dilemmas, then the shatter me series is perfect for you.   

  1. The Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard. 

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.” 

This book centres on Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old in a world where being red was inferior and being silver meant a life of luxury. She is a young Red who will not stand for the way things are, the way things have always been. This fantasy book is set in a techno-medieval fantasy world and tells a story of revolution and of a fight for change and a better world.  

Reds cannot have powers especially power as great as Mare’s. Mare Barrow, a red who discovered she has powers she shouldn’t have wants to bring this change the world needs. Read this book if you love young adult dystopian fantasy with a hint (more than a hint) of romance.  

Happy reading, and may these books open doors to realms of wonder you never knew existed! 

Serena Nwafor

Richmond London '26

Hey, my name is Serena and I am a student at Richmond the American International University, London. I’m majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics and I have really enjoyed my experience as a student so far.