Best New Fantasy Books for Your Book Club

Though my tastes have changed over the years, one thing that has always been true (at least, since I started reading) is that I love fantasy. I used to be more of a dragons and chosen hero type girlie — I mean, who wasn’t once? — but these days, I favor the softly weird, the speculative, and lore-based fantasy.

Even if your book club doesn’t normally discuss fantasy books, I think you should start. The ones I rounded up here have various levels of the fantastical. Some are more fabulist, with subtle escapes from the mundane, while others are full-on time travel romances. Whatever “level” of fantasy you decide on, these books will help to take you and your book club out of the usual and to a place where life can be reconsidered in novel ways.

Nibbles and Sips: Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Bread Pepperoni Pizza Bites

garlic bread pepperoni pizza bites

This is such an easy but delicious-sounding recipe. For it, you’ll need a can of biscuits, a package of pepperoni, cheese of your choosing (swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.), butter, egg, fresh basil, and fresh garlic.

Chop up your cheese and pepperoni (or just the cheese, if you want to keep it vegetarian), spread the biscuits out a bit and stuff your filling in each one, brush the rolls with an egg wash, and bake at 350 degrees.

For the full instructions, visit @Chef_Tyler’s YouTube page.

cover of The Emperor and the Endless Palace; wildly colorful illustration of mountains, oceans, clouds, trees, a dragon, and a large jungle cat

The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang

Across multiple timelines and lives, two men are reborn, each life proving to them the eternity of love. A young emperor gets seduced by a courtier in 4 BCE, an innkeeper helps a mysterious visitor in 1740, and a college student meets an intriguing stranger in modern-day L.A.

Honestly, if they’re not willing to be reborn and traverse timelines, do they even love you?

cover of The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years by Shubnum Khan

The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years by Shubnum Khan

First off, this is giving Rebecca meets the movie Three Thousand Years of Longing (starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, if you’re unfamiliar). It centers around Sana, who, along with her father, is one of the latest inhabitants of the once-grand Akbar Manzil, an estate off the coast of South Africa. Usually, the estate is a place where people go to forget themselves, even going so far as to ignore the estate’s uncanny qualities — like bones in the garden and mysterious moving figures — but Sana becomes obsessed with the contents of a forgotten room. The room’s pictures, diary, and other artifacts tell Sana of Akbar Manzil’s original owner’s second wife, who died a hundred years ago. As she dives deeper into the woman’s life, a djinn watches her from the shadows.

cover of The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young

The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young

From the author of Spells for Forgetting comes another subtly fantastical story. This time, June Farrow waits for her family’s curse to find her in a small mountain town. The women of her family are known for their flower farm, just as they are known for the curse that haunts them — a curse thought to be the cause of June’s mother’s disappearance years ago. Now that June has started hearing and seeing things that others can’t, she knows the curse is at her door. She’s also ready to do anything to be free of it.

cover of Jonathan Abernathy, You Are Kind by Molly McGhee

Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind by Molly McGhee

Jonathan Abernathy is feeling that debt-fueled existential crisis many of us have felt, but he gets a potential out in the form of a government loan forgiveness program. And it’s for a job that he can do in his sleep…or other people’s. The generally oblivious Jonathan becomes a dream auditor and enters people’s dreams to remove anxieties and any other elements that might disrupt their work. For a time, he convinces himself that he’s doing them a service, but the existential dread creeps back in as he questions the morality of it all. With how accurate some dystopian stories have been in the past, and reading the plot for this, I just want to say: “Please don’t give them any more ideas.”

island witch book cover

Island Witch by Amanda Jayatissa

In this Sri Lankan-inspired gothic story, Amara is the daughter of a traditional demon-priest, who was respected by the other townspeople before a new religion came in with the British colonizers. Now, men are being attacked in the jungle, and Amara’s father stands accused. She’ll have to solve the mystery of the strange happenings to clear her father’s name…but there’s also the issue of the connection she has to what’s going on.

Suggestion Section

Book Club Tings:

A list of book club-friendly questions

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8 Genre-Blending Nonfiction Books You Need To Read

By yours truly: Book Clubs Are Having a Moment

Lighting Up Our Brains: Books about Reading

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