Now I am as much of a fan of this magical series as the next Ravenclaw, but it’s time to break out of the routine and try and search for that new quarantine binge-read!
I rounded up several books and series that may not have the exact same premise as The Boy Who Lived, but they have the same tone and excitement!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is one of the best Harry Potter-esque satires out there. It acknowledges valid critiques fans have had for years, along with the most popular fan fiction tropes, to create a mesmerizing and heartfelt love letter to the magical fantasy genre. Also I need to bring up the gorgeous watercolor covers by series artist Kevin Wada! The sequel is already out, so you won’t even have to wait to continue this series!
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin was Harry Potter long before Harry Potter existed. This book follows a young boy wizard as he masters his skills amidst fantastic beasts (and where to find them). Some of the most popular fantasy tropes can be traced back to this book and its sequels, so it’s well worth an exploration!
The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross asks the question, ‘What if Harry Potter was based on a real person?’ This graphic novel series follows Tommy Taylor, the subject of his father’s massively popular book series. Turns out a clandestine group has been following Tommy and believes there is more truth to the fiction than anyone could have guesses. Along the way, Tommy encounters numerous figures in classical literature in this genre mash-up full of twists and turns!
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman follows a kind-spirited businessman who is clearly a Hufflepuff. One day he accidentally stumbles across a secret London, one teeming with bizarre creatures in the underground sewers. He ends up following a daring quest while exploring this vast and uncharted hidden world. Seriously, it’s Neil Gaiman, so you know you’ll be in for a delightful read!
A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the perfect book if you needed the HP books to address how truly bizarre their world truly was. This first book in a trilogy follows four separate yet parallel Londons, where people can transport between each to carry out their missions. The book follows smugglers and thieves caught up in a “darker” mystery in the midst of their heists.
The Lost Years Of Merlin by T.A. Barron follows one of the most famous wizards that isn’t Harry Potter as he is coming of age. This story starts as Merlin searches for the mysterious source of his powers, but along the way he encounters all sorts of magical creatures. Also, this is the first of eleven books, so if you need an engrossing series to keep you busy in quarantine, then this is it.
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki follows the highs and lows of super-powered adolescence. This serialized comic strip is a fantastic blend of humor and heart. It’s Harry Potter with a dash of X-men, but way more absurd.
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black is for the die-hard HP fans who need even more dazzling artwork to bring a magical world to life. This first of five books follows three siblings who discover a mysterious field guide in the ancient mansion they just moved into. That is only the start of the magical journey these kids find right outside of their window. The detailed ink drawings throughout the book are also stunning and fully enhance the reading experience.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is the first in a magical five-book series with massive twists on the fairy tales you’ve grown up with. Thirty-five girls compete to win the love of a prince and escape their squalor. But one of the girls is harboring a dangerous secret, and she’ll have to go above and beyond to make sure she isn’t exposed. For fans of the Yule Ball in the Goblet of Fire, as well as the whirlwind romances in the HP series, try this series out!
Let us know which of these books you're checking out and how you enjoyed it! How many times have you read the Harry Potter series by now? It is totally valid to critique the series, as well as J.K. Rowling's problematic comments on social media. But for many people, these books have been a safe space during quarantine and a very uncertain time. Tell us your thoughts on the series and sound off in the comments!