Staff Picks: Looking for Modern Magic
What do you picture when you think of the fantasy genre? Likely, you see images of wizards, dragons and fairytale castles set in faraway magical realms. They’re fun stories to be sure, but what if you prefer your fantasy to be a little more grounded in reality? Well, then you’re looking for contemporary fantasy.
In contemporary fantasy (also known as urban or modern fantasy) the protagonist’s typically very ordinary life is suddenly completely upended when he or she discovers that there is a whole other magical or paranormal world that runs parallel to, yet hidden from, the rest of us. Those who are familiar with the Harry Potter series or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will recognize the theme.
For adults looking to connect with a down to earth fantasy world, check out these titles!
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
As a senior in high school, Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
The world is going to end next Saturday, but there are a few problems–the Antichrist has been misplaced, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles and the representatives from heaven and hell decide that they like the human race.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford’s library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
A young woman finds old papers which begin to reveal an ancient and evil plot concerning Vlad the Impaler and the legend of Dracula, which may still be continuing.
Frances Allshouse, Circulation, Bealeton branch