Cozy fantasy books have been popping up all over my bookish socials. I say it’s a sub-genre we’re way overdue for! My local bookstore shelves the cozy mysteries all together on the endcap of the mystery section. The dream is that cozy fantasy could reach the same status for the fantasy aisle. Like cozy mystery readers, cozy fantasy readers are looking for a fairly specific reading experience. First, we want an immersive world, lovingly drawn. We want characters we can really get to know and love. And perhaps most importantly, we don’t want the stakes to be super high.
Here are the cozy fantasy books for those of us who love a gentle slice of life story once in a while. I don’t want to read endless battle sequences. I certainly don’t want the brutality of sexual assault or epidemic disease to be a part of the story. Still, the sub-genre isn’t yet that well-defined, and what any individual finds “cozy” will vary. Plenty of people find The Lord of the Rings cozy, because hobbits lead a cozy way of life. But the stakes are high as could be in that series! Keeping that in mind, these are 20 must-read cozy fantasy books that dip their toes into other genres like romance, mystery, and even horror. Snuggle under your warmest quilt with your favorite hot beverage and settle in.
Adult Cozy Fantasy Books
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
A quirky found family story is a pretty easy sell to a lot of people looking for cozy fantasy. I’m someone who generally avoids romance books that have a plot line involving childcare. This one does, but it proves me wrong with delightfully devilish children. In a world where witches have to live in solitude to avoid attention, Mika finds herself taking a gig training three young witches whose out-of-control magic is threatening everything. What ensues is incredibly cute, cozy, and romantic.
That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming
This fun book is for readers who want some real humor in their fantasy and who don’t mind that the stakes are a little higher than many cozy fantasies. It’s also for people, myself included, who are happy to read fantasy not peppered with “thee” and “thine” and whatnot. In this story, Cinnamon runs into a demon who informs her that she’s been worshiping an evil goddess, so they set out to hunt her down. That sounds serious, but the book is a laugh riot.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Here’s the book that really brought cozy fantasy books to the map this year. If you’re truly looking for low stakes, start here. Viv, an orc barbarian, has hung up her sword. She just wants to start a coffee shop. The obstacles that threaten this business venture are more Animal Crossing than World of Warcraft. Read it for the sweet cast of characters and the dollop of romance.
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
This sweet book delves into magical realism, and what is cozier than feeling that magic really could suffuse our everyday lives? Sophie Go is an unaccredited matchmaker and an outcast. But she finds a community to practice her skills on: seven septuagenarian bachelors in her condo complex. Sophie can see people’s “red threads” connecting to their relationship matches, and she’s a genuine and caring person. The story does depict a toxic parent relationship, if that’s something you want to avoid. If you’re okay with that, I can guarantee you’ll be smiling page after page.
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
I recommend listening to this as an audiobook if that’s an option for you. It has the kinds of digressions and asides you’d get from someone spinning you a real yarn. That style is what lends this fable-like story such coziness. It’s a reimagining of a Senegalese folk tale following Paama, who leaves her foolish husband. This attracts the attention of the undying djombi, who give her something called the Chaos Stick. But whether she’s truly worthy of wielding that power is not clear to the Indigo Lord, and he wants to persuade Paama to give it back.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
Hear me out: it’s a loose You’ve Got Mail retelling, set in a world with zombies, and it’s cozy. When the lonely zombie hunter Hart sends a letter into the void, it ends up in his nemesis Mercy’s hands, and their epistolary romance ensues. Because I’m the person that I am, my favorite thing about this book was the coziness and heartfelt nature of the funerary rites that Mercy performs.
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa
I know there are people out there who count books, bookstores, and cats among their top interests. Here’s the book for you. What would you do if a talking cat showed up at your bookstore telling you that you needed to liberate lonely, unread books from their neglectful owners? First I would be worried they’d be coming for my physical TBR, but then I’d want to join Rintaro Natsuki on this thoughtful, sweet adventure.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
If you’re looking for cozy sci-fi, you need to be reading Becky Chambers. If you’re looking for cozy fantasy, this is one of those speculative books that blurs the boundary between sci-fi and fantasy. In this vision of the far future, the robots all walked off their jobs long ago, and humanity chose a different way life. When a tea monk meets one of these fabled robots, the two wrestle with the question of what humans really need. The result is positively lovely.
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Coziness means different things to different people, which is why I wanted to include this book that brings some cozy horror into an urban fantasy setting. Jessamyn Teoh is back in Malaysia after college and discovers she’s being haunted by the ghost of her estranged grandmother Ah Ma. Ah Ma has a score to settle and is going to drag Jessamyn into a world of gods, gangs, and family secrets. It’s a touch darker than many of the books on this list, but if you want both thrumming rage and a wholesome relationship with a cantankerous ghost, you’ve gotta read this one.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
A comfort book for lots of readers, Garden Spells boasts an absolutely enchanting old house, home to the eccentric Waverly women who are known for their magic. When the last Waverly, Sydney, returns home, she upends everyone’s lives. The family has to come together to heal, and readers should take care if wishing to avoid domestic abuse plot lines. If you think food is magic, and you have a fondness for Practical Magic, this is definitely your flavor of cozy.
Heart of Stone by Johannes T. Evans
Let’s serve you up some slow burn, pining vampire cozy fantasy. It’s a historical romance between a vampire named Henry and his newly hired secretary Theophilus. It’s also an immersive slice of 18th century life for characters expressly written, per the author’s note, with ADHD and autism. While the threat of outing and/or violence for queer characters is often driving the plot in queer historicals, this book doesn’t not delve into those kinds of stakes. It’s gorgeous.
Inked by Rachel Rener
This is an urban fantasy that does have some real stakes to it, but there are plenty of elements that add coziness. One is a truly adorable animal sidekick. Another is the hilarious relationship between tattoo artist Talia and her very protective Jewish mother. Talia has encountered the fae realm after using magical ink from her hot, mysterious boss Zayn’s office. Turns out Zayn is an incubus, they have an adventure to go on, and Talia’s mom is not going to stop calling.
YA Cozy Fantasy Books
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
While this book does have a sense of danger, there is a deep coziness that runs through it. It’s there in the autumnal atmosphere and the richly developed folklore. This story about trans brujo Yadriel, who accidentally summons the ghost of Julian, the school bad boy. If you like reading books where you feel very protective of the characters and their unfolding relationship, this is your book. It’s the cozy fantasy mystery romance you’ve been looking for.
Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell (March 14)
Just look at this cover and tell me you’re not dying to read this cottagecore fantasy. Catherine’s out of control magic has accidentally poisoned her father. To help him, she needs help from her former best friend Xavier. Their story is friends to enemies to lovers, if that’s your cup of tea. And you’ll be enchanted by the flower magic and the cast of characters you’ll wish you could hug.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
Anyone looking for cozy fantasy vibes should definitely be checking out T. Kingfisher’s fantasy books as a rule. This one follows Mona, who wields magic that only works on bread. She’s got a sourdough starter as a familiar. What could be cozier? A dead body in her bakery kicks off her journey to figure out how to creatively wield her magic in order to save the day. The result is both so fun and so, so funny.
Middle Grade Cozy Fantasy Books
The Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill
If there’s one book I could move into, it would be this one. It’s basically all vibes and worldbuilding, little plot. Imagine if Pokemon didn’t have to fight, but they were just super cute little dragons who produce tea. It’s a book that underscores the value of care, and appreciating the good things in life that take time. And lucky you, there are three books in the series to treasure.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Talk about the blueprint! Any book that has been adapted by Studio Ghibli is likely to have cozy elements, and this one definitely does. It’s the captivating story of Sophie, cursed into the body of an old woman, making her way in the dramatic and Vain Howl’s house. I’m honestly not sure whether I’d recommend watching the movie first or reading the book first, because it’s not clear which one people generally prefer. But I would say you absolutely need both in your life.
You might also want to check out Books to Read if You Love Studio Ghibli, What To Read Next Based On Your Favorite Hayao Miyazaki Movie, and 11 Enchanting Books for Fans of Miyazaki Films.
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
If you like books that are a little spooky and very sweet, here’s a cozy middle grade fantasy you’ll love. Pitched as Coco meets Stranger Things, the book chronicles the ghostbusting hijinks of friends Lucely and Syd. They’re the ones who released the malicious spirits in the first place. Because of the strong friendships and family bonds depicted, this book really does give cozy feelings in abundance.
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe
This book has similar cozy vibes to the beloved Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service. The story follows Eva, a witch-in-training who could lose her magic if she doesn’t prove herself by the time she turns 13. It’s as wholesome and precious as you can imagine a book about a young witch who summons cabbage when she means to summon flowers to be.
Also, check out these other books like Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Root Magic by Eden Royce
This historical fantasy delves into the folk magic that has been the legacy of African American families for generations. Jez and Jay are twins learning about their family’s use of rootwork, and not a moment too soon, because their town is under threat. Even with some scary themes and the underlying racism that provides a backdrop to the story, the atmospheric writing will bring you the kind of coziness that helps you brace against the cruel world.