A GOOD READ: If you liked Potter, you may like these alternate worlds

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
— image credit: IMAGE SUBMITTED

Although J.K. Rowling’s hugely popular Harry Potter series is primarily aimed at children, there is no denying that adults across the world have been drawn to and have fallen in love with this series (myself included).

The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, came out long ago but adults who loved the Potter books may still be searching for that next thrilling find that will bring back the fun and excitement that Hogwarts delivered. Here is a list of great fantasy fiction that will help adults recapture the magic.

Harry Potter was so enticing in part because of Harry’s ability to travel to an alternate universe, the magical world of Hogwarts, and escape the everyday horror and boredom of life with the Dursleys.

In Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Richard Mayhew is taken from his normal life as a businessman in London to find himself thrust into the underground world of Neverwhere, where strange creatures lurk and magic is very real. This is a fast-paced fantasy full of adventure and Gaiman creates a beautiful, magical world with engaging and unique characters that will capture you. And despite the occasional lightheartedness, the novel is permeated with darkness as the horror and violence of Neverwhere creeps into Mayhew’s life.

In The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Quentin Coldwater is a young man desperate for meaning in his life. One day, while walking through a Brooklyn park in the dead of winter, he suddenly finds himself on the beautiful, sunny grounds of a castle. This castle turns out to be Brakebills, an exclusive and mysterious school for wizards where Quentin will spend the next four years learning the difficult art of magic. The Magicians is a gritty and dark coming-of-age tale as Quentin discovers partying, danger and young love while he grows up at Brakebills. And when he and his newfound friends graduate and embark on an exciting adventure to a new world, things quickly turn from fun to terrifying. This darkly humorous, bleak and compelling read with have you checking out the sequel (The Magician King) immediately.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card will appeal to fans of Harry Potter who loved the idea of being “the chosen one.” In this science fiction novel, young Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is selected to attend a special battle school to help protect his planet from the threat of invading aliens. He and his schoolmates lead dangerous battle simulations but Ender doesn’t realize that these simulations are real and that he is leading his classmates into the final battle against aliens who want to destroy Earth. Although aimed at teens, this fast-paced and addictive science fiction classic has won several awards and was recently adapted to the big screen.

Finally, Rowling has written a new novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling, a mystery featuring a young and dark detective named Cormoran Strike. Although this book is not a fantasy novel, Rowling’s personal writing style shines through, making this a good choice for anyone who enjoyed her Potter books. Cormoran is almost Hagrid-like: a tough, larger-than-life character with a lot of personality. The use of Latin, the detailed descriptions of food and the abundance of great characters all make this book a fun and engaging read with a delightful mystery that will satisfy Rowling fans.

All of these books and more are available to borrow from the library, so come in and find your next great reading adventure. Library staff are here to help, so feel free to ask us for more great suggestions.


A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Sarah Dearman works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.



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