Top 10 Fantasy Books About Other Worlds You Can’t Put Down


Fantasy books about other worlds are an escapist delight. Whether characters are leaving one fantasy world for another or jumping from our world to a fantasy one, these stories pique our imaginations and make us smile.

If you’re on the lookout for stories like these, today’s post has a novel for you.

Here are 10 incredible fantasy books about other worlds to read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each one of the books in this list below. However, if you’d prefer a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.

Bonus: There are also some other books that fit this list: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist. Since I’ve mentioned these books in other posts though, I’ll link to them instead.


Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Description

Imagine it were possible to bring the characters from a book to life. Not like when you listen to an audiobook with such enchantment that the characters seem to jump off the pages and into your bedroom…but for real. Imagine they could actually climb out of the pages and into our world.

Then imagine if those characters brought their world into ours.

This is the story of young Meggie, who lives a quiet life alone with her father Mo, a bookbinder, until one cruel night when Mo reads aloud from Inkheart, and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.

Somehow, Meggie and Mo must learn to harness the magic that conjured up this nightmare. Somehow they must change the course of the story that has changed their lives forever.

This is Inkheart, a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.88

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is Inkheart. Fans immediately had a reason to bond with the characters in this book: all of them were book-lovers!

Many of readers were delighted by this shared commonality as well as the entire premise of books coming to life. Inkheart, they said, took this idea and delivered on it beautifully.

Moreover, fans said that this immersive adventure kept them turning the pages for hours on end. For some, this was due to its engaging characters, while others cited its vividly expressed world.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Inkheart, what reasons did they give? For the most part, critics said that the book struck them as overly descriptive. Because of this, they tended to characterize the story as slow-paced.


The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickinson

Description

Jim Eckert was a dragon. He hadn’t planned it that way, but that’s what happened when he set out to rescue his betrothed.

Following her through an erratic astral-projection machine, Jim suddenly found himself in a cockeyed world – locked in the body of a talking dragon named Gorbash.

That wouldn’t have been so bad if his beloved Angie were also a dragon. But in this magical land, that was not the case. Angie had somehow remained a very female human – or a george, as the dragons called any human. And Jim, no matter what anyone called him, was a dragon.

To make matters worse, Angie had been taken prisoner by an evil dragon and was held captive in the impenetrable Loathly Tower. So in this land where georges were edible and beasts were magical – where spells worked and logic didn’t – Jim Eckert had a problem.

And he needed help, by george! 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.90

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

A second story on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Dragon and the George. This comedic and classic fantasy novel delighted readers, who described it as a light, fun frolic. Many of them mentioned how much the book made them laugh and grin at its witty humor.

At the same time, the characters act realistically to their situation, whether it be the main character, Jim, or the surrounding character cast. Fans said that they found themselves growing closer to each character as they turned the pages.

Negative Comments

No fantasy novel is without its critics. Given that, what were the reasons readers may not like The Dragon and the George?

Overall, critics tended to say that the story struck them as too similar to standard fantasy, whether that be the characters, plot or world.

Most tended to focus on the characters though, saying that they fell into recognizable types. Because of this, these readers found it difficult to connect with them. 


The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Description

On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra.

Book cover of "The Talisman"

The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery.

Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more.

Let the quest begin. . . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.13

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Talisman, a novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

Readers delighted by The Talisman remarked that it was a wonderful hero’s journey story. Jack, they said, was an enjoyable and convincing child protagonist. They rooted for him as he faced his fears and struggles, while also enjoying his growth and bravery.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t find the story enjoyable, though, their comments were generally consistent: these readers said that the novel stretched for too long, particularly in the middle.


The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly

Description

A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction.

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal.

The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose — a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.

On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get.

But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Silent Tower, giving us two intelligent characters in the form of Joanna and Antryg. Fans praised this story for its characters and world, which is a refreshing meld of magic and technology.

The two leads impressed them with how multidimensional they were, as well as how enjoyable they were to read about. Aside from brilliant, Antryg struck these readers as a unique fantasy character: eccentric, middle-aged, near-sighted and more. Likewise, the less quirky Joanna pairs her own brilliance with pro-activeness and competence. 

Negative Comments

Critics, on the other hand, tended to have two comments. The first was that they thought the book’s pace was slow, particularly in the beginning.

The second was that the story’s writing style included the frequent use of adverbs, which bothered them after a while. 


The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Description

In The Gunslinger, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil.

In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake.

Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Gunslinger by Stephen King. Readers who raved about this novel frequently mentioned the beautiful, poetic prose.

They also enthused over how intriguing Roland was as a character. While Roland starts off as the classic ‘strong and silent type’ so common in Westerns, he’s reveals a unique and multifaceted character.

Other readers mentioned how much they appreciated the distinctiveness of the world itself: it’s part Western, fantasy and post-apocalyptic.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Gunslinger, they often said that there wasn’t much background information in the beginning of the book. Because of this, the story confused them until they progressed through a good portion of the novel.


The Magic Kingdom of Landover by Terry Brooks

Description

Chicago lawyer Ben Holiday can’t fathom what lies ahead when he purchases Landover – a magical kingdom of chivalry and sorcery – from Meeks, the mysterious seller who placed the ad. Weary and jaded, Ben clings to the ad’s promise: “Escape into your dreams.” But Landover is not the enchanted idyll he expected.

The kingdom is in ruin. The barons refuse to recognize Ben as King, a dragon is decimating the countryside, and a demon lord has challenged any prospective ruler to a fatal duel. To make matters worse, the Paladin, renowned champion of the Kings of Landover, seems to be merely a legend.

Ben’s only allies are a bumbling court magician, a talking dog turned court scribe, and the beautiful Willow, who is part girl, part tree. With his friends in tow, Ben sets out to claim the throne.

But when Meeks decides he wants Landover back, Ben will face supernatural foes of every stripe to prove himself worthy of the kingship. The question is: Can he survive?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.11

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Magic Kingdom of Landover by Terry Brooks. A feel-good, comedic tale, this story entertained readers with its exciting premise – a person from ‘our’ world transported into a fantasy one – and constant adventure.

Whether it was because of the fish-out-of-water setup, the quirky character cast, or the familiar and beloved fantasy tropes, fans consistently described The Magic Kingdom of Landover as pure fun. Once they picked up the book, they were engrossed in Ben’s quest until the final page.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, so what did these readers say?

In general, people who didn’t enjoy The Magic Kingdom of Landover named either its pace or Ben, the protagonist, as their reasons. In terms of the pace, critics tended to say that the book included too many descriptions. As such, it struck them as slow.

On the other hand, some readers found Ben frustrating and couldn’t bond with him. Some said this was because he came across as petulant or rude, while others said his naivete grated on them.


The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono

Description

For high-schooler Yoko Nakajima, life has been fairly ordinary – that is until Keiki, a young man with golden hair, tells Yoko they must return to their kingdom.

Once confronted by this mysterious being and whisked away to an unearthly realm, Yoko is left with only a magical sword; a gem; and a million questions about her destiny, the world she’s trapped in, and the world she desperately wants to return to.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.20

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Twelve Kingdoms. This fantasy novel stunned readers with its impressive portrayal of its protagonist’s growth.

Over the course of the story, Yoko changes from vulnerable and dependent to a brave, confident hero. Readers described this as both convincing and inspiring.

Negative Comments

Not everyone thought that The Twelve Kingdoms was for them, though. These readers typically said that while Yoko grew by the end of the book, her weak character lasted too long. As a protagonist, she grated on them.

Others said that the story itself became repetitive. Yoko goes through many battles, but readers suggested that they seemed too frequent and similar. As a result, instead of grabbing readers, they slowed the book down.


The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson

Description

The daughter of rich but neglectful parents, Terisa Morgan lives alone in a New York City apartment, a young woman who has grown to doubt her own existence.

Surrounded by the flat reassurance of mirrors, she leads an unfulfilled life — until the night a strange man named Geraden comes crashing through one of her mirrors, on a quest to find a champion to save his kingdom of Mordant from a pervasive evil that threatens the land.

Terisa is no champion. She wields neither magic nor power. And yet, much to her own surprise, when Geraden begs her to come back with him, she agrees.

Now, in a culture where women are little more than the playthings of powerful men, in a castle honeycombed with secret passages and clever traps, in a kingdom threatened from without and within by enemies able to appear and vanish out of thin air, Terisa must become more than the pale reflection of a person.

For the way back to Earth is closed to her. And the enemies of Mordant will stop at nothing to see her dead.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.92

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Mirror of Her Dreams. This novel dazzled readers with its characters and intriguing world.

Fans said that the characters gained more dimension and became more interesting the further they read. Seeing them go through their journeys of self-discovery, learn more about their strengths and talents, and eventually fall in love absolutely delighted these readers.

Aside from that, several fans praised the book for its immersive quality. Once they started reading, they said, it was easy to feel completely transported into the book’s pages.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? Overall, these readers said that the book’s storyline and characters struck them as standard fantasy. For instance, some of them described the world as a traditional European-inspired setting without twists to it.

Others said that Terisa in particular struck them as bland and passive, so much so that critics thought she was unlikable.


The Restorer by Sharon Hinck

Description

Soccer mom in our world. Promised deliverer in another. 

Susan Mitchell thought she was an ordinary homemaker. She was wrong. Pulled through a portal into another world, she finds a desperate nation waiting for a promised Restorer.

While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and embraces a profound spiritual journey.

Will this adventure demand her life? Can she find a way back to her family? She has always longed to do something important for God, but can she fill this role?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Restorer. First off, this novel delighted fans by having a married woman as a protagonist. In particular, they found her relatable and easy to connect with.

Others also mentioned that the relationship between Susan and her husband was sweet and engaging, another plus.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t rate The Restorer highly said that the story was slow at times. Some other readers said that they wanted more answers regarding the world-building.


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Description

The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica.

Only a human can save this enchanted place by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name.

But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return.

As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

And the last story on our list of fantasy books about other worlds is The Neverending Story. This famous classic delighted readers – both children and adults – with how imaginative and engrossing it was.

The Neverending Story, fans said, transported them into its world as completely as Bastian was pulled into Fantastica. It was fast-paced, filled with intriguing mythology and led by a protagonist they enjoyed following.

Negative Comments

Almost half of The Neverending Story‘s readers rated it five stars on Goodreads. However, those who didn’t enjoy this fantasy novel cited its second part as why. They said that while most of the story bristled with suspense, the middle lost momentum.


Top 10 Fantasy Books About Other Worlds You Can’t Put Down

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?



Top 10 Fantasy Books About Other Worlds You Can’t Put Down


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