The best fantasy books that anime lovers will enjoy

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy has always been a passion and an escape for me. It started with copious amounts of reading, then I found anime when I was only a child as Cardcaptors began to air on TV. I’ve watched hundreds of anime shows since then and continued my penchant for reading and writing almost exclusively in the fantasy genre. In college, I obtained a BA in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing, so I have a good grasp on literature analysis and many works. In addition, I studied Japanese for two years, lived in Japan for six months, and held a position at the anime club while I was in college.


I wrote...

Arigale: Spite in the Spirit

By Denise O. Eaton,

Book cover of Arigale: Spite in the Spirit

What is my book about?

Judith and Chit are called to the lonely tower outside their city with little explanation. The one who summoned them is an old, elven wizard named Maleth, who will send them on a quest to lower their floating city of Arigale to where it once resided. Maleth is intrigued by Judith’s strange form of necromantic magic, yet he is also certain of the anxious young man in training.

Judith, a bubbly yet mysterious young woman, is eager to accept. Chit remains cautious, a remnant of being raised by the Order that presides over Arigale. Both discover their meeting with the wizard carried dire consequences. Can they accomplish what has been asked of them and save Arigale no matter the lengths they must go to?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Bloody Spade

Denise O. Eaton Why did I love this book?

I loved the magical girl reminiscent transformations in this book mixed with a dark story. I’ve always had a fondness for the genre, and this book gave me a mix of Shugo Chara and Madoka Magica vibes. As a demisexual, I also really felt seen from all of the asexual spectrum representation in the main cast. I am a character first writer, so I loved the large cast and how insanely compelling each character and their backstory was. Every personality is so unique it bursts off the page, which is what really drew me into this book and made it my favorite novel of all time. The aesthetics also really help, since the flashier the magic the better in my opinion.

By Brittany M. Willows,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bloody Spade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil

The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergenceushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has sincebecome a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—aspecialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively asCardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens toconsume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.

But the Reemergence was only the beginning.

When another influx occurs on…


Book cover of The Stray Spirit

Denise O. Eaton Why did I love this book?

The medieval fantasy in this book was juxtaposed with band culture for the bard MC early in the book, which gave me a few laughs. I love all of the characters, but even more, I love that I didn’t like them all at first. One character came across too cheery while another was too stuck up, but I ended up loving them all by the end. The world is one I would adore stepping into for a week to live in, so it’s a very good escapist read. The MC’s directive is so simple, since he’s just trying to get into a bard group and prove his family wrong. The fact the scenario twists into so much more but remains so wholesome reminded me of the anime Spice and Wolf.

By R.K. Ashwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Stray Spirit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bard and a forest spirit uncover a deadly magical threat…and the key to survival lies within their own forgotten songs.

Struggling bard Emry Karic has only one path home: impress the Auric Guild, join its ranks of elite musicians, and return to his family with his honor in hand.

Difficult to do on a good day. Impossible to do with a possessed lute.

Hours before Emry’s big break, an unnatural earthquake strikes, forcing a forest spirit named Aspen to take refuge in his lute. Aspen is loud, talkative...and not leaving anytime soon.

Panicked, Emry swears the spirit to silence…


Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Denise O. Eaton Why did I love this book?

I have a soft spot for books that feature necromancy, so I had to pick this up. Right away, I felt for the MC’s plight of feeling trapped in the life laid out for her, and then I felt intense anger towards the one responsible only to find they must work together. There is humor, drama, and heart in this tale. When I read I want to be made to feel something, and this book has that in spades, even if a lot of the time I find myself feeling anger at how the MC is treated. She has a thick skin though, and she’ll need it for the road ahead with deep mystery and dueling all about. Did I mention fighting? Love the action and how it is portrayed.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…


Book cover of Evermore

Denise O. Eaton Why did I love this book?

Evermore has an anime-level mystical other world with copious drama and shenanigans afoot. There are strained friendships, romance, death-defying endeavors, and more. Who doesn’t love a good immortal chasing after his love through different lifetimes? I appreciate that the MC isn’t a damsel in distress even with the romance-heavy lean of the book. There’s plenty of mystery and action with the MC’s ability to see spirits and auras as she tries to discern the strange things happening around her. I have so much love for themes of life and death. I can see parallels between this book and the anime The Ancient Magus Bride. Both involve not-so-distant other worlds and a protagonist who has shut herself away for her gifts falling in love with an immortal.

By Alyson Noël,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evermore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Don't miss Evermore, the first book in Alyson Noël's #1 New York Times bestselling The Immortals series. Enter an enchanting new world where true love never dies. . .

After a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people's auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone's entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who…


Book cover of Valiant

Denise O. Eaton Why did I love this book?

Valiant is a great example of why I love the morally gray so much. Like in many anime, the characters are all shown to be dysfunctional to some degree and really stand by their choices with a good amount of agency that I adore. The MC’s loss and addiction make her a relatable lead as she struggles to navigate this dark, mysterious underworld she has ended up in. As with the anime Kakegurui, her and her friends’ addictions skew their judgment and make everyone susceptible to influence if they can get what they desire. The love interest was my favorite part of this book. He is rough, but he knows what he’s talking about and helps guide the MC to a better path.

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valiant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A companion novel to Tithe, from bestselling author Holly Black!

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are…


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Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


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