If you’ve been reading fantasy for awhile you’ve likely seen the emergence of the “cozy fantasy” sub-genre (sometimes called light or low stakes fantasy). While there is no definitive definition for this aesthetic category, books classified as such tend to share the overall trend of a quiet, comforting escape. Expect magic but little violence. Expect cups of warm drinks, friendly companions, close communities, found families, and, most especially, expect character driven stories that make you feel just a little bit happier when the final page turns.
Does this sound like something you need in your life right now (trust me, it is) or maybe you’re looking to get into fantasy? Peruse this list of 11 Must-Read Cozy Fantasy books to find your next favorite, comforting read!
(Note: While many of the stories on this list can be enjoyed at any age (14+), some of the romance titles are meant for an 18+ audience.)
Regency England, a grumpy-sunshine romance, and evil fae combine in this fantastic story about Dora (who had half her soul stolen by a faerie as a child) and Lord Sorcier (raging ball of contemptuous fury) join forces to fight nasty faeries. Essentially, Bridgerton meets Howl’s Moving Castle.
A young women raised on a magical, isolated island populated by magical creatures, ancient trees, a plethora of black rabbits, and her Magician father, ventures into the real world of 19th Century London for the first time when the life of her father and his rabbit magical companion are in jeopardy.
Gingerbread that come to life to fight evil and a sourdough starter familiar are what you’ll find in this hilarious, escapist novel as Mona, a low ranking wizard with powers over baked goods, is left to fight off the great evil killing all wizards in the kingdom.
Likely my favorite cozy fantasy on this list, I was completely swept away by Emily - a curmudgeonly professor who travels to the far northern coastal town of Hrafnsvik (circa late 19th Century) to study faeries of the region, and is unfortunately joined (unfortunate to her) by her handsome and oh-so-charming colleague.
While not much happens plot wise in this incredibly illustrated graphic novel, you will find yourself lost and completely absorbed within its pages. A book that appeals to almost any age and reader, this adorable story full of cutesy Pokemon-like creatures and an overall message of appreciating the small things in life, will absolutely steal your heart.
This novel will forever be found on these lists because it really launched the genre onto our collective radars - along with the help of a massive TikTok fan base! Viv, an Orc (and former slayer) decides to settle into a quiet life and launch a coffee/pastry shop in a town that has never really heard of either but while she meets a cast of helpful characters, there are those dead set against her succeeding.
Oh-so-sweet and oh-so-charming this comforting novel about a young witch charged with teaching a group of young witches to control their magic is full of fabulous, funny characters and a light touch of romance. It will fill your cozy cup right to the top with its charms!
Want to dip your toe in sci-fi but finding it intimidating or confusing? Try Becky Chambers! Let this itty bitty fantasy/sci-fi novel fill up your warm fuzzy feelings as a tea monk and a sentient robot question what it really means to lead a good life.
A sort of “You’ve Got Mail” retelling but with zombies … yet cozy? That’s what you’ll find here.
The Studio Ghibli movie, a physical book, or one of the audiobook versions (my personal fav!), whatever version of this story you choose you’ll be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable cozy fantasy than this beloved classic!
Regency London, a secret society of of butt-kicking thieves and pirates, disguised as proper English ladies, (complete with flying house pirate ships) work to overcome a big bad that would like to see the society crushed beneath his boot.
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