I love reading recommendations post. There’s nothing more fun than finding a book similar to a book I loved to read! I love recommending books myself, but I feel like I suck at it. Like, what if I’m the only one who things this book is like that other one? What if it doesn’t make sense? I thought I’d just give it a shot and see what happens. Today’s recommendation post is all about portal fantasies!
What exactly is a Portal Fantasy? Well, think about Alice in Wonderland. She lives in the real world, then falls down the rabbit hole (the portal) and finds herself in Wonderland. I think portal fantasies are books in which a character lives in the real world and then ends up in a fantasy world.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
The “real world” setting of Wintersong isn’t exactly like we know it today. It’s more like a historic Germany/Austria, but historical worlds are still real worlds, so I guess it counts? Anyway, Liesl lives in the “real world” and is then taking to the Underground – a fantasy world full of goblins!
Wintersong was a bit of a weird book to me, I liked it but I also… didn’t, or something? It wasn’t bad! As for whether or not it’s a good portal fantasy book, I really think it is! This one kind of goes from one fantasy world into another, but it still has that portal element that I really love. If you’re new to (portal) fantasy, I recommend not picking up this one right away, though.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Alex lives in New York City (Brooklyn, to be precise) and she’s a Bruja (witch) who hates her magic. While trying to get rid of said magic, she accidentally makes her family disappear. She ends up in Los Lagos, a land in-betwen, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.
I absolutely LOVED Labyrinth Lost and I cannot wait for its sequel, Bruja Born. Alex’s family lives in the very real (and very awesome) New York City. Alex goes through a portal to Los Lagos and it’s just so cool! It’s a good one to start with if you’ve never read a (portal) fantasy book before.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The Hazel Wood is set in the real world, mostly in New York City and the upstate area. It’s a story about some very dark and twisted fairytales, and the main character eventually finds herself in the Halfway Wood – a place in between the real world and the fairytale world. Of course, she also finds herself in the Hinterland, which is the magical fairytale world.
The Hazel Wood has got to be one of my all time favourite contemporary/portal fantasies. Alice doesn’t just go through a portal and find herself in a fantasy world. The people/creatures of this fantasy world find themselves in the real world, too! Also, it’s quite a journey to actually get to the portal… I absolutely love this book and it’s probably the book I’d recommend most!
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is set pretty much all over the real world, but mostly Prague. (Which is awesome!) She’s not only an art student, she also has quite a dangerous side job! This book doesn’t just have humans and angels, but Chimeara as well! The world we enter through this door is one full of monsters.
Doors are portals in this epic fantasy story and it’s such a great book! I loved this more than I though I would, but I also loved it a lot less after a certain point, if that made sense? I didn’t really like the world on the other side of the portal, but it was still a wonderful book nonetheless!
What are your favourite portal fantasies?