Top 5 Gateway Books Into Fantasy

Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Looking to get hooked into Fantasy novels?  Wondering what all the hype is about?  Well here are 5 books that are sure to ensnare any reader into the fantasy series.

5. The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1),  By: Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars
Frank Beddor sets up an amazing twist of the old tale “Alice in Wonderland”.  Taking bits and pieces of the Wonderland Mythos, Beddor recreates Wonderland and Alyss.  With her family murdered before her eyes by her maniacal aunt, Redd of House of Hearts.  Running away, through the Pool of Tears, the Looking Glass, young Alyss Heart finds escape and refuge on Earth where all her memories are pushed away as childhood imagination.  But as the years past, old friends come looking to bring her back and save her Kingdom from Her Imperial Viciousness, Queen Redd Heart.  This novel brings readers a new tale, a new spin on the old tale, and gives all power to one’s imagination.  This story brings back all those classic characters and weaves together and unforgettable story.
The rich new direction that this novel takes on a fairy boring to read classic (no offense to any hardcore fans of Lewis Carroll’s classic), brings the character to life with beautiful visuals.  If you’re looking to go into the fantasy genre, this definitely is a book to pick up.  Beddor recreates a world encourages readers to use their imagination as he uses his startling technique to give characters like Alive, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter new life and history

4. The Hobbit, By: J. R. R. Tolkien

One of J. R. R. Tolkien’s best works, The Hobbit is the prequel to the famous Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Set in the realm of Middle Earth, The Hobbit takes Bilbo Baggins, a simple Hobbit on an unexpected journey.  Galdalf the Grey has brought dwarves into his home in the hopes of bringing a burglar on a mission to reclaim the Dwarven Kingdom taken over by the greedy dragon, Smaug.  This novel brings readers (and fans) more to the Lord of the Rings story, more history and mythology to the Middle Earth universe.  It also helps that this novel has many hilarious moments that hook in the reader in.
The Hobbit is a masterful novel and one of Tolkien’s easier novels to read. The story works as a one-shot, building the realm of middle earth in a very easy to understand way. Unlike his other works, this story has one central plot line until it explodes into one amazing climatic ending.  Not only is this novel a classic, but the easy to read nature of the novel and the humorous characters bring it to life, giving it a charm that doesn’t exist as his works became more dramatic.  It’s a fun story!
A novel full of adventure and amazing characters, easily one of Tolkien’s finer works.

3. The Irda (Dragonlance: Lost Histories, #2), By: Linda P. Baker

the irda
Now this is a story that stands out in the crowd of fantasy novels.  This is a story that steps away from the normal mythos of supernatural beings and instead introduces readers into a race bigger, more intelligent and beautiful than the fairest of elves.  This novels brings readers a story about Ogres.  Linda P. Baker sets out to discuss the ogres, before they were the horrid creatures that haunt dreams.  Once, they were the highest of beings, blessed by the gods, but them their vanity and power, the evil that seeped in by the combination, began to destroy them.  This story takes readers on a journey, following one High Orge as she sees the danger and hears the warning of the Gods.  This story brings readers a fable, a lesson of corruption.
Ogre’s are creatures that no one ever associates with beauty, after all, they are such putrid evil creatures that one is made to wonder: why are they so beautiful on the cover?  The story telling is magnificent, to say the least, because it focuses more on who these creatures are, rather than what they are. Any reader who is interested in a unique story are encouraged to pick up this novel, and no, you don’t have to be a fan of the Dragonlance series to understand these creatures.  This novel holds it’s own history and gives readers the details they need in order to understand the world these Ogres, once known as Irda, live in.  This is yet another novel that is rich in intoxicating scene specifics and strong character narratives.
It’s such a unique spin on an old tale and offers readers something new, something fresh in the world of fantasy.  A new type of history, a new type of mythos that is guaranteed to captivate any reader interested in the fantastical realm.

2. Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance: the Chronicles Trilogy, #1), By: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight

This is the novel that launched the birth of a realm.  Dragons of Autumn Twilight introduces to a realm with magic, forgotten gods of good and evil and dragons.  Starting off, the story holds a lot of intrigue and mystery when an old wizard comes into town, somehow knowing more than he lets on.  Then, by nightfall, old friends who separated for 5 years, in search for any sign of the gods, reunite, except for one.  As old friends reunite, they come upon the rescue of two Plainsmen.  Soon enough these friends finds themselves thrust into a war between the Gods of Light and Darkness, a war that threatens the balance of the good and evil, as well as the fate of Krynn itself.
Simply an amazing novel.  Each of these characters offers something to the plot, each of them offer so much story and grow so much as they face, not only the darkness of the world around them, but the darkness within themselves and the their loved ones.
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman did so many wonderful things with Dragons of Autumn Twilight.  As stated above, the outer darkness of the world is not the only driving point these heroes have to face, but also their inner demons.  This steps away from the cliché of ragtag heroes who are thrust together in order to fight an unseen battle.  Instead, the heroes are an odd grouping of mix-matched friends who, half-elves, humans, magicians, warriors and Kender, who find themselves unveiling the why darkness has been plaguing the world.  It’s not a sudden shift, but rather a gradual reveal.
As a character driven novel, the reader gets to understand what makes them work together, what gives them these drives that forces them to make the decision of fighting, rather than going back to how their lives were before.
This novel creates a realm as unique as Middle Earth and offers readers captivating characters.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, By: J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
It shouldn’t be a surprise that this novel would hold the number one spot on this list.  Watching the movies isn’t enough, and the reason is because the books are just so much better.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has swept millions of readers of their feet and it brought readers the tale of a young orphaned boy who discovered just who he really was.
From the first chapter in the novel, readers will be hooked.  J. R. Rowling starts by following the ever-distasteful Uncle Vernon as he goes about his day.  But what’s this, a mysterious little cat is following him around.  The magic has already started; the plot has already sucked readers in because Rowling offers readers so much!  Her detail is amazing and as the story progresses and we are introduced into Harry Potter and the wizarding world, readers will sucked into the first adventure the Boy Who Lived.  A story about hope and friendship, that highlights that as long as one has good and true friends willing to get into whatever mess one gets themselves in, that anything is possible.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is such a visual novel!  From beginning to end, the reader sees everything that is happening in the novel.  Not only that, the characterization and the way the novel works, unveiling secret after secret while also making the reader look in one direction before revealing the whole truth at the end of the novel.  Following Harry Potter on his first adventure as he discovers new truths around him is what makes this novel amazing for adults and children alike.
J. K. Rowling’s captivating writing beings readers hilarity, amazing characters and a great plot.  Seriously, just go pick up this book, it’s spellbinding.

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