Fantasy is my go to genre when I want a bit of everything— romance, adventure, mystery, fantasy has it all! Running out of content to read and watch is really frustrating, so here’s a few recommendations!
I’m sure all of you know the book series Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, The Mortal Instruments, etc. Here’s a set of fresh novels you may never have encountered before~
1. STARCROSSED TRILOGY : JOSEPHINE ANEGELINI
“ Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is - no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood... and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together - and trying to tear them apart. “
This trilogy is absolutely captivating. It has it all— greek mythology, romance, characters with dark pasts, and a mind boggling mystery to solve! Fans of Rick Riordan will surely enjoy this Greek Mythology based series.
2. HALO HADES HEAVEN TRILOGY : ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO
“ An angel is sent to Earth on a mission.
But falling in love is not part of the plan.
Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.
Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her? “
This series is based on Christain values of monotheism, and the existence of angels and demons. But what about angels that care too deeply about humans?
3. RUBY RED TRILOGY : KERSTIN GIER
“ Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors' peculiar history, she's had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.
She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century… ”
Yet another trilogy. This one is the literal embodiment of fantasy, considering the fact that it brings the possibility of time travel into consideration. But unlike most time travel stories, this one isn’t about the future, but our past. Gwen certainly has it tough dodging literal bullets and trying to survive the temper of old white guys in wigs.
Light novel is a genre not known by many, it’s a collection of translated chinese and korean novels found on the web, popularly read by many fans of manga, manhwa, manhua, etc. This is because many of these are based on the novels. Here’s a few original, online novels I couldn’t pass up reading!
1. THE VILLAINESS IS A MARIONETTE : 37 CHAPTERS
“ Cayena, the Imperial Princess, was known as the most beautiful woman in the Empire. She was a woman who knew nothing but evil and luxury. However, she was destined for ruin: she would be used as a chess piece by her younger brother to secure his throne and killed by her crazy husband.
“I’ll make you the Emperor.”
“…Sister, are you referring to me?”
“In exchange, give me freedom.”
She had to change things before she became that Cayena. ”
Super fun to read, with a very unique plot! The protagonist is reincarnated with all her previous memories into the body of a spoiled Princess, who was taken advantage of by her younger brother. I’m desperately waiting for more updates.
2.CLOCKWISE : ELLE STRAUSS
“ A teen time traveler accidentally takes her secret crush back in time. Awkward. ”
Cassandra has been spontaneously travelling back and forth from the 1900s for as long as she can remember, and it’s been ruining her life. Never knowing when she’ll travel, never knowing when she’ll return, she’s living two lives at once! A little too teen for me, but the plot is fresh, and it was an enjoyable series to pass time with.
3. THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES : FARAH OOHMERBHOY
“ Sixteen-year-old Aurora wishes she were anyone else. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she believes things can't get any worse. But when she's kidnapped and dragged through an ancient tapestry into the magical world of Avalonia, she soon discovers that some dreams can easily turn into nightmares.
Hunted by the evil tyrant Queen Morgana, who will stop at nothing to get rid of the last surviving heir to the powerful Firedrake dynasty, Aurora struggles to fit into her new life as a mage at the prestigious Academy of Evolon. Threatened by treachery at every turn and desperate to prove herself worthy, she uncovers a dark, complicated web of political intrigue that threatens the very existence of the seven kingdoms of Avalonia.
Aided by the powerful Duke of Silverthorne, a fae friend, and a handsome but mysterious outlaw called the Black Wolf, Aurora struggles to master her magic and get her rare powers under control before it's too late.
If she fails, her new home and her family will be enslaved forever… ”
One thing I’d like to applaud this book on is the fact that the protagonist doesn’t adjust to the new world quickly, like most protagonists do. She’s weak, and takes time to learn things and get comfortable with her situation. This is a published book, but you can read it online for free.
There’s so many things to watch, I’m not even sure where to begin. Firstly, Ruby Red, the trilogy from above, has got its own movie! But apart from that, let’s begin with the recommendations.
1. ONCE UPON A TIME : 7 SEASONS
“ A young woman with a troubled past is drawn to a small town in Maine where fairy tales are to be believed. For Emma Swan, life has been anything but a happy ending. But when she's reunited with Henry - the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago - on the night of her 28th birthday, everything changes. ”
This has got to be THE most brilliant live action show I have ever watched. It’s based on fairy tales, both Disney and non Disney, and the plot twists, and the way all the stories have been interconnected is literal bliss. You’ll find many familiar characters in the show, Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Pinocchio, the Evil Queen, the Wicked Witch of the West, and even Elsa and Anna from frozen! Although things take strange twists in the latter seasons, the show is and always will be one of the best I’ve ever seen.
2. THE SPARTICLE MYSTERY : 3 SEASONS
“ The Sparticle Mystery follows a group of 11 children left to fend for themselves within modern-day Earth after a science experiment at 'The Sparticle Project' goes wrong, resulting in all those of age 15 and over disappearing into a parallel universe, at precisely 11:11 a.m.
Initially, the world becomes their exciting playground. With adults' rules, law and order all removed, the youngsters have great fun fulfilling many wishes, including raiding sweet shops etc. However, as the world's resources start to dwindle and daily survival gets harder, the youngsters resolve to bring the adults back by venturing to the top secret 'Sparticle Project'. They are aided in their quest by a number of clues left before the disappearance by a woman named 'Doomsday' Dora, a scientist who worked on the Sparticle Project. Along the way they have many adventures and learn important life skills. ”
Absolutely mind blowing!! The show originates in the UK, and couldn’t be any more original. It isn’t exactly fantasy, BUT it does include fantasy-like elements in seasons 2 and 3, and the show is so underrated I had to recommend it. Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to see what the world would look like without anyone older than 16?
3. THE ELEPHANT PRINCESS : 2 SEASONS
“ Alex Wilson thinks she is an average suburban girl living in Melbourne, until her 16th birthday when exotic visitor, Kuru, shows up in her backyard with a magical elephant, Anala. He informs her she is the heir to the throne of the magical Indian kingdom of Manjipoor. With his help, the reluctant princess will master her magic powers and defend her royal inheritance against her devious cousin, Vashan, whilst balancing the pull of both worlds to find her true destiny. In the second season, Alex and her family have moved to the Gold Coast. Her friend Amanda has followed her there, where they plan to find a new drummer for their band. Meanwhile, in Manjipoor, Diva has returned to take over Manjipoor and learn the secrets of The Book. ”
This is more of a kids’ show than a YA show, but I still remember enjoying it in my preteens. It’s an Australian show, and albeit whitewashed (Only the Protagonist), the story is interesting. I don’t remember much about this show, actually, but it was well animated (for its time) and I never felt offended watching anything, so it should be fine.
Korean entertainment is taking over the markets, and I’m sure a lot of you have heard, and maybe even love K-Pop and K-Dramas. On top of that, there’s many other genres I’ve been introduced to, like Thai, Chinese, Japanese dramas, etc. Here's a few shows I enjoyed watching!
1. W : TWO WORDS : 16 EPISODES
“ The series focuses on the eponymous fictional webtoon entitled W, written and illustrated by its legendary author and illustrator Oh Seong-moo (Kim Eui-sung) which begins to function on its own, like a different world existing there. W became so famous in South Korea that even its printed versions became a best-seller there.
The storyline of the webtoon W starts with the younger years of its main character Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk), a handsome and intelligent boy who is also skilled in shooting. He became famous in South Korea as he won a shooting competition during the 2004 Athens Olympics. But this fame is interrupted when the unknown Murderer massacres his family, and he is erroneously accused of the crime. Another villain, Han Cheol-ho (Park Won-sang), handles the case to gain political popularity, urging the court to impose death penalty upon Kang Chul. Despite his efforts, Kang Chul is deemed innocent of the crime. Depressed over losing his family, he attempts to commit suicide over the Han River but stops himself and chooses to search for the real killer instead and devote his life to crime-fighting.
Ten years later, Kang Chul becomes a multimillionaire. He starts "Project W" in an effort to catch the real culprit behind his family's death; part of the project is his television broadcasting company dubbed "W," after the initials of the interrogatives "who" and "why" (hence, the title of the webtoon). One night, he receives a suspicious phone call and is severely injured by the same mysterious Murderer on the rooftop of his penthouse. Then even stranger things happen. The story runs about the question whether he will be able to have a happy ending. ”
This was the first ever K-Drama I had ever watched, it had me hooked from the start. It was exactly what I was looking for, and to this date, my favorite genre. AKA, escaping reality into a different universe. Also, the main characters are absolutely gorgeous, and the story was so unique!!! It’s my favorite K-Drama, and always will be.
2. HI BYE, MAMA! : 16 EPISODES
“ Cha Yu-ri has been a ghost since she died in a tragic accident five years ago. Through a reincarnation project, she is given the possibility to become human again if she succeeds in going back to her place within 49 days. However, her husband is now remarried. ”
Beautiful!! This drama is so adorable, funny, and unique all at the same time. Did you know the child playing Cha Yuri’s daughter is actually a boy?? He acts so well! Either way, this show made me cry during both the ending and the beginning, and I love the supernatural elements in it. It’s a little unrealistic, but isn’t all fantasy?
3. MY LOVE FROM THE STAR : 21 EPISODES
“ A real romance starts to brew between the more than 400-year-old alien professor and the sassy actress – but Min-Joon is an alien who never intended to remain for long on the earth. His time is coming near an end. When Song-Yi finds out the truth of his identity, can she accept him? ”
I lied, this was the first ever K-Drama I ever watched. I actually started this before W, but I ended up completing it after W, so I always count that as the first one. This one is very cute, my cousin recommended it to me. Very unique, and unlike how usually, the girl is shy and unknown, the female lead is an actress!
Traditionally, manga are referred to as comics drawn and published in Japan. There’s so many options to pick from, so it was hard narrowing the recommendations down only to three.
1. SUPERIOR : 28 CHAPTERS
“ The demon queen subdued enormous and powerful monsters and slaughtered over half of the world's population. Surviving members of the human race elected a hero to slay the demon queen, beseeching release from her oppressive rule. However, he questions his mission to eradicate the monsters. In his opinion they too are conscious and alive, and so he anguishes over that fact. Sheila the Demon Queen became interested in him and joined his journey, hiding her identity with the plan to kill him after she had gained his trust. Eventually, she realizes that she fell in love with the hero and hence their journey begins… ”
A cute manga. Has a very different perspective on the world, which I enjoyed reading about. I think this message needs to reach as many people as possible— life is not in black and white. There is no good and evil, only choices that affect the people around us.
2. GHOST HUNT : 44 CHAPTERS
“ The decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try to tear it down, "accidents" start to happen-people get hurt, sometimes even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that the creepy old high school is haunted-possibly by ghosts from the Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits. No ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who's been hired to investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to solve this mystery! ”
One of the first, and best supernatural/fantasy/mystery mangas I have ever read. The supernatural events in this manga aren’t just your average ghosts, but actual evil spirits. The stories are absolutely chilling, and I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys history, horror, etc. Some of these stories are based on real life people, such as Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female murderer, who even got into the Guinness World Records.
3. BRIDE OF THE WATER GOD : 151 CHAPTERS
“ Soah is a girl from a small village. The Water God is upset and so a long drought has been devastating the village people. In order to appease the god, they marry Soah off to him by sacrificing her to the Water God in exchange for rain. The Water God rescues her to his Water Kingdom, where her new life begins. For Soah, this is a story of her faith...her life...her love… ”
Honestly, I didn’t read all the chapters of this manga yet. The art, however, is incredible, it’s the literal definition of traditional manga art. It’s intricate, lots of details, and historical, making the costumes beautiful. Not to mention the fantasy element, making the settings gorgeous, too! This has actually been adapted to a modern-setting K-Drama, called the Bride of Habaek. They changed a lot, though, so I don’t like it :(
WEBTOONS+KOREAN TRANSLATED MANHWA:
Manhwa are basically manga, but Korean, and unpublished. You’ll find tons of series on the web! The original site to read them on would be mangadex.org. I’m a huge fan of the Isekai (rebirth) genre, so the recommendations here will be only from there. But, there’s lots of other genres and stories available.
1. DEATH IS THE ONLY ENDING FOR THE VILLAINESS : 35 CHAPTERS
“ Penelope Eckart reincarnated as the adopted daughter of Duke Eckart and the villainess of a reverse harem dating sim. The problem is, she entered the game at its hardest difficulty, and no matter what she does, death awaits her at every ending! Before the “real daughter” of Duke Eckart appears, she must choose one of the male leads and reach a happy ending in order to survive. But the two brothers always pick a fight with her over every little thing, as well as a crazy crown prince, whose routes all lead to death. There’s even a magician who’s enamoured with the female lead, and a loyal slave knight! But somehow, the favourability meters of the male leads increase the more she crosses the line with them! ”
Has such pretty artwork, it’s mind blowing. On top of that, the protagonist is very realistic, and her relations with the other characters is interesting to watch develop. This was also based on a light novel, and it’s completely translated, so one can read that, as well.
2. LADY BABY : 100 CHAPTERS
“ Calliope has suffered through nature’s law and many accidents. Her family was murdered and an ongoing war ended her life, but she traveled back in time to when she was born?! While Calliope slowly grows, will she be able to figure out who killed her family and stop them in time? ”
Very heartwarming, and the young Calliope looks absolutely adorable!! Her family adores her, and it’s refreshing to watch as she strengthens bonds with them.
3. INSO’S LAW : 81 CHAPTERS
“ “I just want to live a normal life, why is this happening to me!” Ham Dan-i’s hobby was to read “Law of Insomnia”, a novel about a beautiful female protagonist set in school. One day, she wakes up to her entire life being transferred into the novel? Her school uniform mysteriously changed, and a beautiful best friend suddenly appeared out of nowhere. But even in a world of fantasy novels, Ham Dan-i’s role is not different. Stuck as the childhood friend of the heroine, her normal everyday life comes to an end, as she starts interacting (much to her displeasure) with the characters of the novel. ”
This one is not completely fantasy, considering Ham Dan-i goes into a realistic novel, meaning there isn’t magic, and it’s set in Korea. I love the story, and how everyone warms up to Dan-i, whereas she has a hard time adjusting to everything.
Those are all the recommendations! Hope you enjoy them :)
Author ~ Suditi Mukadam
Editor ~ Srivatsa