Anytime I’m having trouble focusing on reading, I love to pick up a cozy fantasy book to reset. They’re just pure joy in book form. If you’re not familiar with the genre, welcome to your new favorite fantasy sub-genre. The concept was relatively new to me as well, though I quickly realized these sorts of warm and fuzzy fantasy stories were ones I had been seeking out for a long time without even realizing there was a name for it.
Like cozy mysteries, cozy fantasy books tends to be somewhat lower stakes than is usual for the genre. And like cozy mysteries, sometimes called “cozies” for short, cozy fantasy definitely has a subjective element. What exactly makes a book cozy? It’s all about a feeling, and what’s cozy to me might not be exactly the same for you.
But generally speaking, cozy mysteries feature goodhearted characters, supportive friends, magical elements, and often even found family. That’s not to say there’s no drama or conflict at all, though the amount varies a lot book to book and you’re pretty much guaranteed a happy ending. I mean, what kind of cozy book would it be if it left you crying in devastation at the end?
These 13 cozy fantasy books are more likely to have you crying happy tears as you finish the last page and wish you could immediately start the story over again.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
A witch and a grumpy librarian fall for each other in this cozy fantasy romance all about finding your family. Mika Moon has always had to hide her powers, but when she’s offered a job training three young witches, she knows she can’t abandon them to the same lonely childhood she experienced — even if it means breaking all the rules. But as she gets to know the children’s caretakers, including a curmudgeonly librarian who resists her presence there from the very beginning, she begins to wonder why being on her own is supposedly the better option. Maybe Mika can be a witch and have a family of her own, after all.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
In a house on an island, a group of young orphans could bring about the end of the world. Or, at least, that’s what Linus Baker has been told by Extremely Upper Management. Now, Linus has to determine if these dangerous children, including a gnome, a sprite, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist, are likely to bring about the end of days. Linus has always taken his job as a Case Worker seriously. But the children’s charming caretaker, Arthur Parnassus, begins to make him rethink his stance. This home is more than suitable. And maybe, just maybe, Linus is about to find out that it could welcome one more person into its hold.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
This D&D-esque fantasy is the epitome of cozy fantasy: it’s set in a coffee shop, follows a former warrior trying to settle down and make a life for herself, and features relatively low-stakes drama and a dash of romance. After tiring of her life as an adventurer, Viv decides to set up the first and only coffee shop in Thune. There’s only one problem: no one here even knows what coffee is. And an old friend-turned-enemy is after the magical stone that is bringing about the luck Viv needs to make this endeavor work. Okay, maybe there are a few problems with this plan, but Viv is one determined orc who’s not about to let anything get between her and her dreams. You’ll want to visit Viv’s coffee shop for a quick bite of Thimble’s sweet treats by the end, not to mention a freshly brewed cup of Thune’s best — and only — coffee.
Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Banished by his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, for being two meek, Julius has been transformed from a dragon into human form. He has one month to prove to his mother that he can be the formidable predator she expects him to be, or he can forget about being a dragon forever. But in the vertical metropolis built on the ruins of old Detroit, mages run supreme and dragons are viewed as beasts to be exterminated. Julius is going to need a whole lot of help if he wants to survive — as a dragon or a human.
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe
A young witch with a whole lot to prove sets out on her first mission away from home in this adorable fantasy novel perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Eva Evergreen may only have a dash of magical abilities, but she’s determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her 13th birthday. Eva hopes that by helping out the coastal town of Auteri with her “semi-magical” repair shop will do the trick. But Auteri is facing real problems and they were expecting a fully-fledged witch. Will Eva be able to prove to herself — and everyone else — that even a touch of magic can be enough to make a big difference?
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
When an administrative error lands a baronet as the newest liaison to a magical community he previously knew nothing about, suddenly life gets turned on its head. Within the course of a day, Robin Blythe learns magic exists, meets the world’s most disagreeable coworker, and is cursed by a band of errant magicians. Now, in order to find a cure to an increasingly painful curse, Robin must work together with Edwin Courcey, a man who would just as soon erase Robin’s memories as help him. But Edwin’s hiding a complicated past of his own and an even more complicated family. And it soon becomes apparent that Robin isn’t the only one in need of saving — especially when a dangerous magical conspiracy comes to light.
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim
In this magical realism book all about food, family, and cooking, food is literally healing. Or, Natalie’s is at least. Armed with her grandmother’s old restaurant and cookbook, she returns home to San Francisco after her estranged mother’s death with hopes of finally becoming the chef she’s always dreamed of. But as she works her way through her grandmother’s cookbooks, she realizes the recipes are anything but ordinary.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
Childhood friends get a second chance at love in this sweet graphic novel about a hard-of-hearing witch and a nonbinary werewolf who come back into each others lives. Nova is a teen witch, helping out in her grandmothers’ magical bookshop. But then her childhood best friend, Tam, shows up battling a demonic horse in the woods. Tam is on the run from those would steal their wolf powers and is looking for someplace to call home. And Nova’s pretty sure she knows exactly the place.
The House Witch by Delemhach
The new royal cook is a housewitch who just wants to make some good food and keep anyone from uncovering his secrets. But people keep coming into his kitchen, and soon his past is catching up with him. Now, he’s going head to head against unruly knights, fending off a royal mage, and sussing out a spy in the castle. All that, and his love life is just starting to get complicated. What’s a magical cook to do?
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
After she has the misfortune to attract the ire of the Witch of the Waste, a girl named Sophie is transformed into an old woman. In order to break the spell, she needs the help of the heartless Wizard Howl who lives in an ever-moving castle. It will take managing the mercurial wizard’s moods, striking up a deal with a fire demon, and facing the Witch of the Waste head-on to return to herself. But Sophie soon realizes there’s more to Howl — and herself — than she ever could’ve imagined.
Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne
Reyna and Kianthe want only one thing: to open the coziest tea shop in all the land, filled with firelight and plants and good company. But their jobs keep getting in the way. As private guard to the queen and one of the most powerful mages in the land, they’re can’t exactly just hand in their resignations. At least, not without setting off a powerful royal temper tantrum. But after an assassination attempt, Reyna is ready to leave royal halls behind. Kianthe has just been waiting for an excuse to flee her responsibilities, and seeing her girlfriend taken hostage by an assassin is reason enough for her. Together they set out to open up the tea shop of their dreams in a town inhabited by more dragons than people. The going won’t be easy, but it will be entirely worth it.
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
A book about a cat and a bookshop? Could there be anything cozier? After his grandfather dies, a bookish high schooler, Rintaro Natsuki, is approached by a strange cat in the family bookstore he soon plans to close. Apparently there are books in need of saving — and only Rintaro can help the cat save them. Through a maze of books that appear at the back of the store and a series of strange mission, Rintaro is reminded of what makes books so special and why he shouldn’t give up on himself — or his grandfather’s used bookshop — just yet.
Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell
Described as a “cottagecore fantasy romance,” Flowerheart follows a girl who’s wild magical powers become untenable when they cause poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest. A solution comes in the form of a difficult spell and a former friend who names an exacting price to his help. Clara would do anything to save her father — something Xavier knows all too well as her former best friend. But their bargain isn’t the only dark secret Xavier hides; a terrible darkness is consuming the queendom, and Clara’s wild, unpredictable magic may be the only thing that can stop it.
Even more cozy recommendations: