Many friends interested in the fantasy genre often ask me for book recommendations. It’s no secret that I have a deep love for both YA and fantasy lit, and the two combined is definitely my favorite combination; however, I’m no expert. I don’t follow lists religiously—though I mean to, and may end up doing so—and I don’t attend book fairs—though I would if I knew of them in advance. I just peruse the libraries in our county, as well as bookstores, and grab what catches my attention. That said, I do know of some pretty amazing books for people who love Harry Potter and want to read something similar. Here are some of my favorite recommendations.
Septimus Heap. This series, which is still in process, is written by Angie Sage and is the most similar to Harry Potter that I can think of. Wizarding, magic, an evil wizard, cool creatures, and amazing plot build-ups and intersections can be found in every single book. The books are even printed like magical tomes, with uneven edges and a wide, short binding. The latest one is supposed to be out in the spring and I, for one, am frothing at the mouth waiting. (Okay, not literally, but I’m pretty darn excited!)
Fablehaven. This is my new hands-down favorite series. I may love it as much as I love HP. It’s full of fantasy creatures, people with magical powers, evil demons and witches, and just about every fairy tale critter you could think of. The five-book series is written by the awesome Brandon Mull, who also wrote The Candy Shop War. I’ve written several reviews about these books (beware, they all contain spoilers) and cannot recommend them highly enough.
Chronicles of Prydain. This series is older but it seems so long forgotten! People usually say, “Oh, yeah,” when you mention that one of the books in Lloyd Alexander’s amazing series is The Black Cauldron, but they usually forget the rest of the books in the quintet. Magic is not as prevalent in the series (though it’s definitely there), but there is plenty of humor and adventure—and it’s so well written that you’ll probably want to read it at least twice.
Percy Jackson. Skip the film—which was awful and didn’t capture the books in the least—and dive head-first into this magical series by author Rick Riordan (also of The Kane Chronicles). You’ll find Greek gods, goddesses, and monsters rather than witches and wizards, but all of the adventure and fantasy is well and alive in the books. Though they don’t have the complete depth of Harry Potter, they are an absolute thrill ride that should not be missed.
Leven Thumps: I just started the first book in this series and haven’t finished it yet, but I’m so hooked that I cannot wait to read the second half and the rest of the series. It’s about a young boy and several magical beings who must save the fantasy world of our imaginations—I think!—in order to save our own world.