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8 Fascinating Fantasy Books With Characters Who Reincarnate

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Arvyn Cerézo

Senior Contributor

Arvyn Cerézo is an arts and culture writer/reporter with bylines in Book Riot, Publishers Weekly, South China Morning Post, PhilSTAR Life, the Asian Review of Books, and other publications. You can find them on and @ArvynCerezo on Twitter.

One of the concepts that I love most in fantasy books is reincarnation. I’m not really a big believer in any religion, but I find the concept very fascinating. What if you could have several chances at life over and over? To have different bodies in different lifetimes? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live as someone with a different race, body type, gender, sex, skin color, etc.? If it were me, I’d surely develop a deep appreciation for humanity — getting to know everyone’s struggles in various societal contexts.

Although there are books about reincarnation here and there in the Western publishing world — The Wheel of Time series is one such example — the concept is somewhat less explored. It’s more prevalent in Asian literature as Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism consider it a tenet of their faith. The genre isekai, or portal fantasy, for example, has a lot of books featuring this concept. Most of these, however, are in Japanese and are hard to find in bookstores.

While they’re less common, luckily, there are some great examples of reincarnation fantasy novels available in English to choose from. If you love stories that involve reincarnation, below are eight books where the main character or side characters reincarnate throughout lifetimes. In here, the concept is treated in many different ways. Gods or angels are reborn. Characters die and are reborn as new ones, retrieving their memories later in life. Others change history and get reborn as something else. There’s a lot to explore here.

Cover of The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz

The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz

The book follows Evan as he ponders strange memories of past lives. He recalls being a soldier and as a toddler, though it feels impossible to him. He’s also unable to explain why he speaks a foreign language and has a childhood trauma.

During this difficult period of his life, he meets Poppy, who reveals to him that she’s a member of the Cognomina, a secret society, and that she and the other members reincarnate or have returned from a past life.

The book is followed by The Cognomina Codex, which is equally as fascinating as this one.

Cover of A Dream Wants Waking by Lydia Kwa

A Dream Wants Waking by Lydia Kwa

This book, set in modern-day China and told from multiple perspectives and timelines, follows Yinhe, who reincarnates several times as different characters. They are Qilan, a royalty who lost their friend Ling when they took her in the “bardo” in 750 CE.

Now in the present, Yinhe wants to reunite with Ling more than ever. But first, they must reclaim a drawing from a demon named Gui, who stole it in order to use its powers to summon a god and rule the world. For millennia, humans have been handing down this artwork, with the last keeper giving it to another to preserve the painting’s power.

Cover of Children of Shadows by N.J. Simmonds

Children of Shadows by N.J. Simmonds

This is the third and final book in the author’s series in which the characters are archangels who can reincarnate with their memories intact.

It follows Zadkiel, who believes his lover, Ella, died. They loved each other in many reincarnations over many lifetimes. Zadkiel believes that he lost Ella forever in this reincarnation. He’s surprised, however, that she’s still alive. Against this backdrop, his mother, Luci, must fight Mikhael, another archangel who banished her from their realm.

Cover of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

The book follows Bree and her journey to self-discovery. When Bree’s mother died, she didn’t want to stay with her family. So, she went to college to leave it all behind and forget about the painful memories associated with her mother. After moving there, however, she begins to encounter strange and magical events.

One of these strange things leads to the realization that her mother’s death may not be what it appears to be. She learns more about some people, who are known as Legendborn, who fight demons. The Legendborn are descendants of King Arthur’s knights who inhabit the bodies of their descendants. In some way, they reincarnate.

Cover of Nation of the Sun by HR Moore

Nation of the Sun by HR Moore

The story follows Amari, who appears to have the ideal life. She’s about to marry, but a stranger — who seems very familiar — asks for her help.

Amari meets the stranger, who’s named Caspar, just as her husband leaves for a trip after their wedding. But then they are attacked and are forced to seek assistance from a community known as the Pagan Nation. There, Amari discovers that she’s a reincarnating demon. Yet, she doesn’t seem to remember her previous lives, old memories, or how she ended up where she is now, and she has no idea who Caspar is or whether she should trust him.

As she works to discover her true identity, she finds herself trapped between two worlds: the Amari of today, who has a loving husband, and the Amari of yesterday, who appears to be romantically involved with Caspar.

Cover of Ravensong by Cayla Fay

Ravensong by Cayla Fay

Neve and her sisters are Irish war gods who protect the world against demons. They reincarnate when they die, but they don’t get their full memories and powers back until they turn 18. Still under 18, Neve wants more than ever to become her true self.

But she’s still in high school and hates being human — until she meets Alexandria. The two fall in love along the way. However, Alexandria is being pursued by Hell, so Neve has to protect her from evil.

Cover of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Maya is hated by her father, even forcing her to get married to a king. On the wedding day, Maya escapes and meets Amar. They eventually get married, and she becomes the queen of Akaran.

Little does she know, however, that Amar hides things from her. In their home, there seem to be some strange doors that lead somewhere. In one of these, she discovers the truth about her identity, that she can reincarnate, and the true identity of her husband.

Cover of The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Emperor Sikander wants to conquer the kingdom of Shalingar. To save her family and friends, Princess Amrita offers herself as his bride. The emperor has other ideas, though, putting Amrita in jail instead.

While in there, Amrita meets Thala, an oracle. They become friends, eventually escaping the palace together. As Amrita thinks she has lost everything she loves, Thala tells her to find the Library of All Things, which has the capability to rewrite their histories and possibly reborn again into new people and into new realities where Sikander doesn’t conquer kingdoms.

Want more books about reincarnating characters? Here are 11 of the best Isekai manga books that offer different takes on this fascinating concept.