Low Fantasy - What it is, and why you should try it!

Updated: May 6, 2021



Fantasy novels might not be your thing - and that's okay. They often have complex worlds, characters, and magical elements that can be hard to keep track of for casual reading. But, there is a huge variety of sub-genres that are more accessible for many readers.


Low fantasy, for example, is where the world is mostly realistic, with only a few magical or whimsical elements that make the story fantastic, yet plausible. Low fantasy books allow you to escape within the book without having to memorize a map or list of Elfen words in order to enjoy the story. The stories are only slightly outside the realm of possibility - all the better for convincing yourself that it could totally happen, if only you were there to see it.


Here is a list of 10 great low-fantasy books we recommend you try if you're looking to step outside your comfort zone (only a small step!). If you'd like to try any of the recommendations, click on the book cover to place a hold.


Practical Magic (Series) by Alice Hoffman



Yes, THAT Practical Magic, that the movie was based on. There is actually a whole series of books revolving around this story that give you just the right mix of family problems and magic.


For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.


One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic...




If Sylvie Had Nine Lives by Leona Theis


What if you got to do what you liked, and then try again if it didn't go well?


Meet Sylvie—funny, sly, sensual and flawed. She can’t always count on herself to make good choices. She may or may not recognize a life-or-death moment, may or may not cancel her own wedding with a day to spare, might just try to walk past store security with a little something in her pocket. Like all of us, Sylvie must make decisions that have reverberations for years to come. Unlike the rest of us, Sylvie gets to live more than one life.



The Power by Naomi Alderman


What would the world look like if every woman in the world suddenly had the power to overcome their oppressors, dominate men, and fight for leadership? It might not be what you think...


All over the world women and girls are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain, and even death. And with this small twist of nature, everything changes drastically. Ambitious and provocative, visceral and page-turning, award-winning author Naomi Alderman's THE POWER at once takes us on a journey to an alternate reality and exposes our own world in bold and surprising ways.



Omens (Series) by Kelly Armstrong



Olivia Taylor Jones, 24, seems to have the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education and is engaged to a handsome young tech-firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia's world is shattered when she finds out that she's adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers, each still serving a life sentence.



The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin


If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?


It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.


The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.




Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen



When his wife dies suddenly, Harry Crane leaves his job and old life behind and takes up residence in the woods behind single mother Amanda's house. She and her daughter Oriana have suffered a tragedy of their own and Harry reluctantly agrees to help the little girl in a scheme to escape his past, which just might change his life.




The Witches of New York by Ami McKay


The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?



Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montemore


Time Traveler's Wife meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in a wondrous novel exploring the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the timelessness of family. Just because life might be out of order, doesn't mean it's broken. It's new years eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or follow her heart and remain at home in Brooklyn to be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the new year begins, Oona feels lightheaded, woozy, and it's not from the champagne. At the stroke of midnight Oona is torn from her life and everyone she loves, finding herself in her 51 year old body thirty-three years into the future. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she's told is her own, Oona learns that will with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she's never met? Hopping through decades, and a lifetime Oona Out of Order is a surprising, magical novel that explores the power of love, the bonds of family, and the wonders of life.



The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.


For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man's race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.