10 Historical Fantasies That Will Alter Your Mind
Historical fantasy provides a broad array of options, with just the most popular fare ranging from Xena: Warrior Princess to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Fullmetal Alchemist. All they share is a passion for historical settings, elements of the supernatural, and a rabid fan base. This list of ten will be sure to satisfy fans of any and all stripes. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Mind-Altering Historical Fantasies
- Jackaby by William Ritter
- The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
- Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
- The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
- The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn
- This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
- Berserker by Emmy Laybourne
- Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
What Are The Origins Of Historical Fantasy?
As a genre, historical fantasy mixes together the impulses of historical fiction and fantasy. The former begins with books like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and matures with Thaddeus of Warsaw. Fantasy, on the other hand, can be traced through Ovid's Metamorphoses through The Lord of the Rings and on. Just like other genres, these precursors aren't necessarily a part of the genre, though. The popularity of similar subgenres like alternate history and urban fantasy (and even historical romance) in the 20th century propelled historical fantasy into the limelight. Since then, they've only matured in both subject matter and craft.
Themes In Historical Fantasy
There is a certain charm about historical fantasy novels. This genre plays well with the imagination, mixing magic and fantastic elements with imaginative stories set in a time and place in the past.
We have gathered some of the best historical fantasies that offer mind-blowing plots and clever settings. In no particular order, here is our list of 10.
Coming in at #1 is "Jackaby." This novel is the first in a series of the same title. Written by William Ritter, it centers on the life of R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the extraordinary and the unexplained. He is also able to see supernatural things. Set in 19th century New England, the main character, along with his assistant, Abigail, sets out on a thrilling adventure ride as they both investigate a murder. Ritter offers a blend of science, ghastly horror, and laugh-out-loud humor.
He is also able to see supernatural things.
At #2, "The Girl from Everywhere" is a fast-paced multidimensional novel by Heidi Heilig. The story is about time travel, featuring the life of Nix, a young woman who has spent sixteen years travelling through centuries and around the globe aboard her father's ship. This book will take readers to several time periods, from modern-day New York City to Honolulu, Hawaii in the year 1868. This volume is Heilig's debut, a tale of enchanting romance mixed with mythology, history, and adventure.
Taking the #3 spot is "A Temptation of Angels." The plot focuses on Helen Cartwright who, as an angelic descendant, is responsible for protecting the world's past, present, and future. Author Michelle Zink manages to build Helen's character as a strong, independent, and intelligent woman who is not afraid to deal with her weaknesses. In the story, she is torn between loyalty and love. This is a tale of romance and mystery, set within the streets of London.
Next, at #4 is "Wintersong." Written by S. Jae-Jones, this is a dark and romantic coming-of-age story. It is a fairy tale retelling about magic, music, memory, sacrifices, and siblings. The plot revolves around Liesl, an 18-year old woman who sets out to rescue her sister from the dangerous but wonderful Goblin King. Armed with her tenacity and musical prowess, she journeys into self-discovery as her fate becomes sealed.
Written by S. Jae-Jones, this is a dark and romantic coming-of-age story.
Coming in at #5 is "The Dark Unwinding." With gripping twists, this novel by Sharon Cameron will captivate fans of historical and adventure fiction. The events start slow, but as the pages are turned the story of Katharine Tulman unravels with inspiring developments. She travels to her uncle's estate to have him committed to a lunatic asylum, but she discovers many wonderful things about the place and the people living in it. This book is a recipient of the Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work.
At #6 is "The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls." The plot begins with a young musician attempting to commit suicide. She has a budding career that appears bright, but all that fades into darkness when she is incarcerated in a maximum-security psych ward. There, she discovers letters from the past written by an insane woman. As she reads them, she goes through a portal that brings her to England in the Victorian era. Author Emilie Autumn features vivid characters and well-realized settings in this psychological thriller.
At the #7 spot, "This Monstrous Thing" is an imaginative Gothic retelling of "Frankenstein." Set in Geneva, Switzerland in the year 1816, this is a tale of two brothers who gamble at life using dark science. One night, in an attack against their master, Dr. Geisler, Oliver is killed. His brother, Alasdair, perfects Dr. Geisler's research and attempts to bring Oliver back from the dead. This debut novel of author Mackenzi Lee is bound to satisfy horror and steampunk fans.
This debut novel of author Mackenzi Lee is bound to satisfy horror and steampunk fans.
Next, at #8 is "Shadow and Bone," the first installment in the Grisha trilogy. Written by New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo, this novel is set in a fictional world that is inspired by research on Tsarist Russia. It tells the story of Alina Starkov, a soldier who is determined to help end the war with her newly discovered magical powers. However, she realizes that her gift could be a threat to her family and even to the future of the whole nation.
Coming in at #9 is "Berserker." The title cleverly describes Hanne Hemstad, the main character in the book. She possesses a curse that turns her into a graceful but shameless killer when anyone she loves is in danger. In an effort to flee from her father's enemies, she leaves Norway to go to the American frontier. The story is set in 1883 in a place filled with perilous trails, blizzards, and wild animals. This novel by Emmy Laybourne talks about strong love surviving in desperate times.
Finally, at #10 is "Hunting Prince Dracula," book two in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco. The setting of Bran Castle in Romania makes an ideal backdrop to the story of Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a student of forensic medicine. In the halls of the school's forbidding castle, she discovers clues about strangely familiar murders. This novel is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, romance, and mystery.