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Book Reviews: 2nd Chapter, Matlock, recommend fantasy books for all ages

Fantasy is the base for all literature – from the original campfire tales, through Shelley and Dickens to Sarah J. Maas and her myriad of bestselling titles. As Sir Terry Pratchett once said, ‘it is a kind of plasma in which other things can be carried’.

In other words, fantasy is not only for children. We read it to escape reality but also to experience situations in ways which are easier for us to process and accept.


Most of the first books we encounter are fantasy, with monsters, aliens and anthropomorphic creatures. We then move on to chapter books of fairies, unicorns, magic trees and sword-wielding heroes off to fight the dragon. Somewhere along the road, fantasy becomes more of a taboo genre – and as adults, many forget to believe in the incredible, and often lose the ability or willingness to employ our imaginations.


At 2nd Chapter, we are predominantly fantasy readers, and have pulled together a selection of ten lesser-known titles which we have read, and which we have in stock at the time of writing. For children who still experience wonder and for adults who want to rediscover it.

Ten Delicious Teachers by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton (Picture Book)

A delightfully illustrated rhyming book, which introduces counting, safety and manners in a fun way. A nice amount of text on each page, and lots of things to look for in the pictures.


Beast Quest: Ferno The Fire Dragon by Adam Blade (Childrens 7+)

A great introduction to chapter books for any emerging reader. Large text, pictures and a relatively fast moving plot. A fun adventure story full of wizards, heroes and dragons.

If you prefer fairies, unicorns or kittens in your adventure books, then try any of the Daisy Meadows stories.


The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher (Childrens 9+)

Book one of a wonderful trilogy set in Victorian Wales, but which stands alone if you prefer. A young orphan, the fae and a grumpy cheese obsessed crow whose stories may or may not be true. A nice mix of characters that have you eager to start the next chapter. Written for children, but a lovely series for adults too.

Under My Hat: Tales From The Cauldron – Anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan (Young Adult)

A compilation of short stories from many of the frontrunners in modern fantasy. A great introduction to many styles of writing, and suitable for teens and adults of all ages. Great for dipping your toes into a new genre, and for busy parents who don’t have as much time to read as they’d like.


Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz (Young Adult)

From the author of spy drama Alex Rider comes a dark and twisted tale of a young boy coming of age, whilst uncovering long buried secrets. This supernatural adventure will have you on the edge of your seat.


Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar (Young Adult)

In this retelling of The Nutcracker set in Edwardian society, beautifully whimsical delights await you. For fans of ballet, fairytales, lustrous settings and cosy reads, this book has it all.


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Young Adult)

Set in the well known Shadowhunters universe, this darkly enticing tale will have you whisked away to Victorian England, where angels, demons and warlocks await. Add in a captivating love triangle, and this book is perfect for romantasy (fantasy romance) lovers.

Hex Life – Anthology edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering (Adult Fantasy)

Another compilation. Short stories about witches from top female urban fantasy and paranormal writers, this is a great introduction to the genre. With the option to dip in and out without forgetting the plot, it’s great for busy adults who enjoy witches, romance and minor smut.


Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy (Adult Fantasy)

A mysterious story of adventure, secrets, experimentation and betrayal. This page-turning feminist thriller is perfect for those looking for a more modern fantasy.


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Adult Fantasy)

This urban fantasy tale will pull you into the world of London Below, where creatures and vigilantes alike roam the dark corners. With found family and a spectacular adventure, this book is great for crime and thriller fans wanting to try something different.

Thanks to Megan Chivers and Mia Rogers, managers at 2nd Chapter in Matlock, for compiling this list for us.

Megan's favourite comfort author is Gail Carriger and her Parasolverse and San Andreas Shifters series.

Mia's loves the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas with book 4, Queen of Shadows being her favourite.

2nd Chapter can be found at:

22, Crown Square, Matlock, DE4 3AT

01629 583833


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