10 Magical Books to Read When You Want to Escape Reality

It’s okay to take a pause and escape reality, including the crushing weight of depressing news, disappointing people, constant self-doubt—the never-ending cycle of everyday life.

Magical books can help clear your mind and enchant your heart. For a few moments or a few hours, let yourself whirl away to a mystical world with powerful dragons, temperamental witches, and perilous quests—worlds in which your reality feels like a distant dream. 

1. The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden

In this historical fantasy novel, author Katherine Arden brings new life to classic Russian folklore. Captivating creatures jump off the pagesfrom humble house-spirits to the powerful and elusive Firebird!

Follow the adventures (and misadventures) of the brave and unusual Vasya in a story where concepts, like winter, chaos, and midnight, become living and breathing entities. Explore Russian culture and history as you dive into this captivating and magical book, the first installment of the Winternight trilogy.

Get the book here

10 Magical Books to Read When You Want to Escape Reality

2. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine reimagines the age-old tale of Cinderella in a beguiling and fantastical way. With human-eating ogres, magical languages, and curses from foolish fairies, the winsome world of Frell is sure to captivate your attention.

The strength, wit, and intelligence of the young protagonist Ella enriches the story and her relationship with Prince Charmont (Char for short) is sincere and well-written. If you’re looking for a charming, meaningful, yet short read, Ella Enchanted will fit your fancy. 

Get the book here.

3. The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale retells one of the lesser-known fairytales, The Goose Girl, with charm and personality. It’s easy to find the protagonist Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee (Ani for short) immediately relatable, as she far prefers the company of animals to people. She has good reason tooshe has the ability to speak to and understand animals.

When Ani is sent by her mother (the queen) to the neighboring kingdom Bayern to wed the prince, her identity is stolen and chaos ensues. In her journey to reclaim her life, Ani’s kind heart shines through. 

Get the book here

4. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

Get whisked away to a world not too unlike our own—except for the fantastical objects, daemons and armored bears, of course. The Golden Compass, originally called Northern Lights, is the first installment of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Follow the adventures of a young girl named Lyra Belacqua, who, accompanied by her daemon Pantalaimon, sets off on a quest to the northernmost part of the world. Along the way, she teams up with a band of Gyptians, a witch named Serafina Pekkala, the armored bear Iorek Byrnison, and a Texan aeronaut named Lee Scoresby.

In this coming-of-age novel, the charming and persuasive Lyra finds herself at the epicenter of a battle of ideologies between friends and foes, and through her charm and powers of persuasion, is able to save the lives of her friends.

Get the book here

5. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke

Originally written in German and later translated into English, Cornelia Funke fashions a tale where magic (quite literally) leaps from the pages. The story follows Meggie as she learns that her father has the magical ability to read characters out of books and into real life. Unfortunately, this includes the villainous Capricorn.

Get the book here

6. Magyk, Angie Sage

Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, was stolen from his crib the night he was born. On that same night, Septimus’ father, Silas Heap, finds a baby girl with violet eyes. Filled with sorcery and charm, Magyk, the first of a series of seven novels, will take you on a bewitching journey to uncover the mystery of Septimus Heap. 

Get the book here

7. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

If you’re a sucker for meandering hobbits, quests of valor, and stories of epic proportions, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is sure to capture your fancy. The fantasy epic begins where The Hobbit left off, in the Shire of course. Frodo Baggins and his hobbit companions—Sam, Pippin, and Merry—escape their home with the one ring in hand, beginning a sacrificial journey where they meet plenty of friends and foes along the way. As their situation grows bleaker and bleaker, Tolkein’s world reveals that heroes can, indeed, come from the most unlikely places. 

See Also

Get the book here

8. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

While The Lord of the Rings trilogy is dark and epic, The Hobbit is more upbeat, making it a light introduction into the tales of hobbits, elves, dwarves and the lands of Middle Earth. Occurring roughly 60 years prior to The Lord of the Rings, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins joins a group of merry dwarves on their quest to reclaim their home and forgotten gold. Of course, chaos and many misadventures ensue.

If you love the tales of Middle Earth but prefer a lighter read, The Hobbit is the way to go!

Get the book here. 

9. The Ice Queen, Alice Hoffman

When ice meets fire, you get The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman, a novel loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen. Hoffman tells the story of a woman who lives at a cool distance from the world after experiencing the tragic death of her mother at an early age. When she is struck by lightning, she searches for a man who returned from death following a similar event. What follows is a fiery and ice-cold love affair.  

Get the book here

10. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

In The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle draws you into an incredibly unusual fantasy realm. The story begins with a unicorn who suddenly comes to the realization that she may be the last of her kind. While the world where she lives is filled with fantastical elements and mesmeric magical creatures, magic has largely been forgotten. 

In its essence, The Last Unicorn is a beautifully sad tale navigating the tension between magic and reality and exploring what it means to be human. If you’re looking for a novel where the prose itself is magic, The Last Unicorn is the book for you.

Get the book here

What are your go-to novels for when you need an escape? Share your favorite magical books in the comments below!

Featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/1xzSAlZUVSc
Inkheart image via @beccasbooked on Instagram
Adeline Hanssen

Recent Posts

Top 10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Senior Year

Senior year of college will be the most fun, most stressful, most memorable year of school for some. It certainly felt…

2 hours ago

Messy Hair Do Care

Let’s face it… Looking glamorous and put together in an 8am lecture after a long night out is not exactly…

5 hours ago

Fall Fashion Finds For Under $50

Our style editor has been doing some serious hunting! And she's found the best fall finds for under $50! But…

8 hours ago

What I Learned From Dorm Disasters

When you think of move in day you probably are expecting many different things; the nerves when meeting your roommate,…

12 hours ago

What Every Girl Needs For A Night Out

By the first weekend of school every girl starts to realize there are just some things you can't leave your…

16 hours ago

Networking: What It Really Means and How To Do It Right

Network: As a college student, you hear this word all the time – from professors, advisers, parents, employers – it’s…

19 hours ago