There are some worlds that beg to be revisited. Immersive fantasy invites you to stay within those pages. It hugs you, comforts you, and helps you forget about the here and now. But what happens after you’ve reread the same book dozens of times and you still want more? More characters and more journeys!
Luckily some authors can’t wait to these worlds, either. Here are five recent spin-offs of beloved YA series that you can pick up right now!
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
It’s been four years since the conclusion of The Winner’s Curse trilogy. Rutkoski is an author I trust to unfold a romance with sensitivity and nuance. Kestrel and Arin’s love story took me on a wild journey. While The Midnight Lie does include their rebellious daughter, the narrator is actually a girl from a kingdom we haven’t seen before. Nirrim lives in a walled city called the Ward. She’s Half Kith which means any infraction can lead to arrest or death. Suspected of murder, Nirrim is thrown into jail where she meets the enigmatic Sid. Sid is a sea-faring schemer rake, eluding her legendary parents (Kestrel and Arin). Sid enlists Nirrim’s special abilities to help her find real magic. But along the way they discover secrets that will unravel Nirrims’s whole world, confront privilege and class, and endanger the love that’s building between them.
Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
I am a Julie C. Dao stan. Her debut novel Forest of a Thousand Lanterns remains one of my absolute favorites and is a masterclass in world-building. You don’t have to have previous knowledge of her other books to fall in love with Song of the Crimson Flower, though there will be some cameos. Lan is a young nobleman’s daughter who regrets the decision to cruelly reject Bao’s love. He’s a poor apprentice who was in love with her. Bao becomes cursed by a witch, who traps his soul inside his flute.The cure is true love, but Lan and Bao are not in that place. Together they travel across the empire and meet Empress Jade herself as well as Commander Wei. This book has it all: war, magic, and feelings no curse can destroy.
Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
Robin LaFevers’s latest historical fantasy is set in the same medieval France as her His Fair Assassin trilogy. If you’ve missed the convent of Saint Mortain, then Courting Darkness packs more action and new heroines to follow. Sybella is the darkest of Death’s daughters. Trained since she was a child, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sisters. When their lives are threatened, Sybella heads to court in search for a fellow initiate who has been under cover. Enter Genevieve, who has been in the palace for so long her allegiances feel murky. The novel is a journey of them finding each other before it is too late.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
With Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows coming soon to Netflix, it’s time to brush up on your GrishaVerse knowledge. The story of a girl with the power to shape a kingdom, Shadow and Bone took on a life of its own. It has three spin-offs, including the short story collection The Language of Thorns, the Six of Crows duology, and now King of Scars. Years after the events that concluded Bardugo’s first trilogy, King of Scars follows Nikolai Lantsov, privateer, devilishly handsome son of a gun, and the king of Ravka. He’s on a quest to fortify his kingdom after the civil war. Unfortunately, Nikolai is broke. On top of that, there’s a cult rising in power, and a new threat to the Grisha of the kingdom. Accompanied by one of his most trusted and fierce Grisha and a dubious monk, Nikola takes matters into his own hands to find the threat to the world he loves, leaving his throne exposed and his very future at risk.
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare is best known for the Mortal Instruments series of angel-forged hunters fighting against the forces of evil and maintaining “peace” among the races of magical beings. While these books can technically be read on their own, basic understanding of this magical world will only increase the sheer glee of the Easter eggs hidden in these pages. Chain of Gold kicks off a new trilogy of Shadowhunters in Edwardian London. James and Lucie Herondale are the children of the legendary hunters Will Herondale and Tessa Gray. Then, the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London, and so does a terrible plague. This book is about the price of being a hero and the burden of family legacies, which are echoed to the existing stories of their descendants. Power magic, love, and gas-lamp fantasy makes this a powerful start to a well-loved world that keeps getting better and better.
Zoraida Córdova is the award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series, The Vicious Deep trilogy, and Star Wars: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning a new adventure.