14 best cozy fantasy books to escape into this fall

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On some days, only a book that feels as comforting as a warm cup of hot chocolate will cut it. As the weather turns at the end of summer, I’ve noticed that I have quite a few of these days.

I’ve found myself turning to comfy books with fall vibes in the last week or so (especially Louise Penny’s mysteries), but I’ve also been retreating into cozy fantasy books with low drama and high comfort.

In this post, I’ve shared my favourite fantasy books that are mostly low-stakes, full of cozy vibes, and offer a reading experience that feels like a warm hug, best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea or three.

Read on for the best cozy fantasy books to enjoy this year and pick a few to add to your reading list first. (For even more coziness, you can also complement this with my favourite cozy books in all genres). Enjoy the adventure.

The best cozy fantasy books for some well-earned rest and relaxation

Between by L.L. Starling

Read Between for… a cozy fantasy rom-com set in the autumnal days before Halloween with some stakes, but ultimately an uplifting ending.

In r/cozyfantasy over on Reddit, Between is one of the lesser-known gems that fans love. One reader has described it as having “a sort of Gilmore Girls meets Labyrinth vibe, so you get all the Autumn/Halloween goodness and none of the spook”.

Between is the story of Sasha Pierce, the new substitute teacher in Old Middleton, a charmingly witchy village. Pick it up for a funny read about feisty heroines, slow burn romance, and the perils of gatecrashing fairytale kingdoms.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Read Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries for… one of the best new cozy fantasy books for 2023, bringing together a logical, data-driven professor and a whimsical plot set in early 1900s Scandinavia.

Described by Sangu Mandanna, author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, as “A darkly gorgeous fantasy that sparkles with snow and magic”, this bestseller is one of the best new fantasy books for 2023.

Meet Emily Wilde, the foremost expert on the study of faeries, a genius scholar, and a meticulous researcher. She’s incredibly talented, but there’s one thing she’s not good at: people. Quite frankly, she’d rather just be with her books or her dog, Shadow.

When Emily arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik, she has no plans to make friends. But as she gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the most elusive of all faeries – The Hidden Ones – she finds herself on the trail of another mystery. Who is Wendell Bambleby, her dashing and handsome academic rival who’s also just arrived in town?

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Read A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking for… a cozy, charming read that practically smells of fresh baked gingerbread from the first page.

In this Nebula award-winner, fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like other wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t speak to water or control lightning… in fact, her only magic works on bread, and her familiar is a sourdough starter.

However, Mona’s world is turned upside down when she discovers a body on the bakery floor. Now it’s her time to truly step into her unique powers.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Read Howl’s Moving Castle for… Diana Wynne Jones’s original imagining of the story behind the Studio Ghibli movie.

What could be more cozy fantasy than the book behind Howl’s Moving Castle? Published in 1986, over a decade before the animated film was released, this is Diana Wynne Jones’s original story that inspired the movie.

Pick up a copy for the tale of a woman who stumbles upon an ever-moving castle in the hills, where she meets a mysterious wizard with plenty of demons, but also plenty to love. For more like this, here’s my collection of the best books with Studio Ghibli vibes.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Legends & Lattes book

Read Legends & Lattes for… cozy fantasy meets slice-of-life in this comfy read about an Orc Warrior who opens a coffee shop.

How could I not recommend Legends & Lattes? It’s probably *the* most popular cozy fantasy book of the last few years.

If you’re looking for something quirky and charming, Legends & Lattes is a fun, comfy, and lighthearted read about following your dreams into new and unfamiliar places.

Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart, writes: “Take a break from epic battles and saving the world. Legends & Lattes is a low-stakes fantasy that delivers exactly what’s advertised: a wholesome, cozy novel that feels like a warm hug. This is my new comfort read.”

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Read The Goblin Emperor for… a fantasy classic with hopepunk messages about slowly changing society by Locus award winner Katherine Addison.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is full of comforting kindness and cozy slice-of-life vibes. In this tale of deadly court intrigue, the youngest half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile. That is, until a sudden accident leaves him with no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett

Read The Grace of Wild Things for… one of the best new cozy fantasy books for 2023 and an inventive reimagining of L.M. Montgomery’s classic.

A fantasy take on Anne of Green Gables with magic and witches? Yes please. This new book for 2023 by Heather Fawcett explores the families we build for ourselves, how we find a way through loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination.

This is the story of Grace, a young girl who’s never been good at anything except magic. This isn’t enough for anyone to adopt her from the orphanage, so she decides on a better idea: to run away and offer herself as an apprentice to the witch in the nearby woods.

After all, who better to teach Grace how to use her magic? Surely the witch can’t be that bad, right?

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for… the debut novel from Becky Chambers, one of the most unique voices in fiction – and one of the coziest, by far. Her wonderfully hopeful and cozy sci-fi feels as comforting as a hot cup of tea.

In a motley crew on an exciting journey through space, Rosemary Harper, one adventurous young explorer, realises that this crazy environment is exactly what she wants and needs.

On board the Wayfarer, Rosemary discovers the meaning of family, love, and trust in the far reaches of the universe. I loved escaping into this heartwarming and feel-good world crafted by the author of the 2021 gem A Psalm for the Wild-Built.

If you love Becky Chambers, here’s my collection of the best books to read with similar vibes.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Read The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches for… a lighthearted and cozy book about a witch looking for a place to belong.

In this feel-good book with the same vibes as The House in the Cerulean Sea and Legends & Lattes, meet Mika Moon. As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika knows she has to hide her magic and keep her head down.

But when she receives the opportunity to embrace a quirky new family and teach young witches at the remote and mysterious Nowhere House, the course of her life goes in a whole new direction.

If you loved reading TVSSOIW, good news! Sangu Mandanna shared on Reddit that her next fantasy novel, A Witch’s Guide to Magical Innkeeping, is out on April 2nd 2024 (and you can expect the same cozy cottagecore vibes):

“It’s about a grumpy witch who has lost her magic and now runs a tumbledown inn in rural Lancashire with her resurrected great-aunt, an undead rooster and a semi-villainous fox. Then she finds out about a spellbook that might help her get her magic back…”

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Read The House in the Cerulean Sea if… you love cozy fantasy themes of love, kindness, and the open-heartedness of good people.

For one of the most wholesome and heartwarming fantasy books ever written, read The House in the Cerulean Sea.

There’s no drama in this uplifting feel-good book that feels like a modern fairytale. Escape into the story of forty-year-old Linus Baker and the orphanage of six uniquely talented children he’s put in charge of under a highly classified assignment.

Into the Wildbarrens (The Gems of Elsana #1) by Christian Sterling

Read Into the Wildbarrens for… the feel-good origin story of a legendary wizard, brimming with Lord of the Rings vibes as well as comedy and romance.

If you love stories of legendary wizards – think Galdalf, Dumbledore, and Merlin – and their quests, then you should read this feel-good epic fantasy next.

Into the Wildbarrens is Book 1 of Christian Sterling’s The Gems of Elsana series, weaving the story of a motley bunch of adventurers and one of the greatest quests Elsana has ever known.

The Hedge Witch (A Threadneedle Novella) by Cari Thomas

Read The Hedge Witch for… a cozy countryside fantasy that will probably win you over with the cover alone.

In this novella set in Cari Thomas’s enchanting Threadneedle universe, Rowan is visiting her aunt Winne (who happens to be a hedge witch) to get back to nature and hone her skills in the Welsh countryside.

However, Rowan soon realises that she might not get the R&R she was hoping for – hedges are a serious business, it turns out.

Not only that, but mysterious events are causing panic around the town and non-magical folk are starting to take notice. Is her beloved magical world about to be exposed, or can it remain hidden?

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Read Tress of the Emerald Sea for… the newest novel from fantasy bestseller Brandon Sanderson, offering whimsical vibes on a beautiful island but also an adventurous journey to a seafaring mission.

This new standalone (which expands Sanderson’s Cosmere universe) is for everyone who loved The Princess Bride – or just wants a cozy fantasy read.

Tress has spent her life on an island named The Rock, surrounded by emerald-green ocean. Here, her days are simple: collecting cups from sailors from distant lands and listening to stories from her friend Charlie. But when Charlie leaves the island and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea.

Some parts of this book aren’t quite as cozy as others on this list, but overall, Tress of the Emerald Sea has a lighthearted tone without shying away from more thought-provoking and clever philosophical passages.

Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Read Witch of Wild Things for… a touch of magic, romance, and love for wild things in a new book for September 2023.

This choice is maybe more magical realism than full-on fantasy, but it’s absolutely cozy – and has a swoon-worthy romance tucked in there, too.

Witch of Wild Things is the story of Sage Flores, who’s been running from her family – and their gifts – ever since her younger sister Sky passed away. However, now it’s eight years later and Sage has reluctantly returned to her hometown and her old job at Cranberry Rose Company.

In her work, she uses her ability to communicate with plants to discover unusual heritage specimens in the surrounding lands – which would be pretty straightforward, if it weren’t for her partner in botany sleuthing: Tennessee Reyes, who broke her heart in high school.

This enchanting new read is packed with romance, botany, and more than a touch of magic.

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