Genre Spotlight: Cozy Fantasy

by Public Service Associate Autumn

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

February makes me want nothing more than to sit and read, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of tea (or hot chocolate). It’s mucky, wet and still fairly chilly outside, so inside I stay. And, as I learned last year, there is a book subgenre that gives you that same warm, cozy feeling as snuggling inside while the wind rages outside: Cozy Fantasy.

While this subgenre cannot be described as entirely new1, it has boomed in popularity and selection within the past year or so. Thus, the lines of this subgenre are not very clearly drawn yet. In general, it’s agreed that cozy fantasy novels are slice of life books that make you feel warm and wholesome inside. These novels often have all the draws of a more traditional fantasy novel, including extensive world building, neat magic systems, and the pull of impossible happenings, without the world-ending tension.  It’s all the magic, with none of the bloodshed. Or, with just a little bloodshed.

So, without further ado, a few cozy fantasies to enjoy. I curated this list to include a wide array of the subgenre, leaving out only those with horror elements in them2, and it includes some of my favorites. I personally recommend The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen3 and A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers. I hope you enjoy them. 

  • Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater | Book | Libby
  • Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree | Book | Libby
  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen | Book | Libby
  • A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers |Book | Libby
  • Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie Holmberg | Book
  • Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher | Book
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna | Book | Libby
  • Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa | Book | Libby
  • Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill | Book | Libby
  • Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall | Book | Libby
  • The House Witch by Delemhach | Book
  • Can’t spell treason without TEA by Rebecca Thorne |Book | Libby

1Some have made the case that Howl’s Moving Castle, the classic novel by Diane Wynne Jones, counts as a cozy fantasy, and it came out in 2008.

2Horror isn’t very cozy to me.

3It was one of my top reads from last year.