Ten fantasy books

Tales From Outer Suburbia

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a good fantasy book.

Here are some suggestions after you've exhausted Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Earthsea et al.

  • Inkheart

    Author: Cornelia Funke
    Publisher: The Chicken House
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 9+

    12-year-old Meggie and her father, Mo, a bookbinder, both love reading, but since the disappearance of Meggie's mother, they no longer read together. One night a stranger knocks at their door, prompting Mo to reveal his awful secret.

  • Fly By Night

    Author: Frances Hardinge
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 11+

    Smugglers, thieves, murder, floating coffeehouses, river battles, highwaymen, suspense, political intrigue and excitement - this book has everything!

  • Un Lun Dun

    Author: China Miéville
    Publisher: Pan Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Zanna and Deeba inadvertently enter UnLondon, an alternative London which is threatened by Smog - a living poisonous cloud.

  • Fever Crumb

    Author: Philip Reeve
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    In a teasingly recognisable London threatened by northern invaders, orphan Engineer, Fever Crumb, is assigned to help renegade archaeologist Kit Solent.

  • Summoner: The Outcast

    Author: Taran Matharu
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 10-15
    Reading age: 10+

    This prequel to the Summoner series is an excellent introduction to the world of Hominum for new readers, and a welcome “what happened before?” for fans. A page-turning battle fantasy with a sensitive consideration of class and corruption.

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go

    Author: Patrick Ness
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    The first in a series, this enthralling sci-fi/fantasy novel grips readers throughout, presenting them with tough questions about identity, ethics and the nature of truth.

  • Tales From Outer Suburbia

    Author: Shaun Tan
    Publisher: Templar
    Interest age: 11-12
    Reading age: 10+

    These often thought-provoking stories look at the reactions ordinary people have to the unusual situations they find themselves in and feature a host of different illustrative styles ranging from collage to painterly Edward Hopper-esque scenes.

  • Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon

    Author: Jonathan Stroud
    Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    A fantastic, fast-paced adventure story set in a vividly-realised world of Arabian and Biblical myth.

  • The Last Dragonslayer

    Author: Jasper Fforde
    Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    Times are tough for Jennifer Strange, manager of Kazam Mystical Arts - then predictions of a new Dragonslayer coming to slay the Last Dragon begin...

  • The Wizards of Once

    Author: Cressida Cowell
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Wish is a girl from a warrior tribe and Xar is a boy from a wizard tribe, living in a world loosely based on Ancient Britain at the beginning of the Iron Age, but where magic is real. A fabulously imaginative, funny and unpredictable adventure.