Normal! // Fantasies In Which The Main Character Does Not Have Magical Abilities

Let’s play that game where you have to say the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a particular word. Music? Dancing. TV? Netflix. Fantasy? Magic…oh wait.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the series of themed recommendation posts I have been writing on my blog lately! In this series, I choose a random theme, and give you some of the best books I have read based on that theme. You can read my previous posts which were part of this series here, here and here!

Okay, so let’s talk about that little game I played in the beginning. Why is that the human brain associates fantasy with magic? Of course, this association is not unjustified. I believe about 95% of books belonging to the fantasy genre that I have read recently revolve around magic and/or have a main character who has magical powers. But fantasy itself should not be defined as mere magic. In light of this, today Rachel brings you a list of fantasy novels she loved which have a ‘normal’ main character, as in, the main character does not have any magical powers. Click on the cover images to add the books to your Goodreads TBR!

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune || My Review

The House In The Cerulean Sea is going to be at the top of every recommendation post (and other posts too) from now on so you’ll have to get used to it. What can I say about this beautiful book that hasn’t already been said? Go read this heartwarming, hopeful and magical (albeit without the literal magic- at least not in the main character) fantasy if you haven’t already.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I am impressed how the author has created such an immersive dystopian world without it being based on magic. I was quite obsessed with the trilogy when I read it though some things in Allegiant were disappointing *cough* that ending *cough* but do give it a read if you’re looking for an intense and fast paced dystopian fantasy.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman || My Review

Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking but I am not really considering Auri as a main character because she doesn’t have much role to play in this book as in the second one (and anyway what she does is not exactly ‘magic’, right?). But looking at our crew, the six main characters, none of them have magical powers and perhaps that’s one of the reasons Aurora Cycle duology is a huge favourite of mine.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Ah I had read this so long back (read: 1.5 years back), in the school library. I don’t remember much, but I do recollect recommending this to a lot of my friends and being surprised about the lack of magical powers in the characters.

The Great Zoo Of China by Matthew Reily

I just realized I haven’t mentioned this book on my blog ever! I mean, how is that possible? Trust me to forget unforgettable books. Anyway, The Great Zoo Of China is a brilliant book (5 stars from me when I read it a year back!) with lots of action, and even more dragons. Perfect for anyone suffering from Jurassic Park hangover.

Honourable Mentions

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!! Yes, there is magic and all in the Grishaverse, but do notice that of our six crows, four do not have any magical abilities (oh my god I hope nobody got spoiled) hence the mention.

I recently read the entire Heroes Of Olympus series by Rick Riordan and I realized that from the crew of 7 demigods, it is only Annabeth who does not have any magical powers. The HOO series will definitely not make it to this list (too much magic!) but Annabeth does deserve an honorable mention, doesn’t she?


And with that, my friends, we conclude this post as well as the recommendation series! I must admit, recommendation posts are much harder than they look, but I did enjoy writing all the four posts. Hopefully you enjoyed reading them too and found some new books to add to your TBR list.

Did you find this recommendation series helpful? Have you read any of the books I mentioned in this post? Which is your favourite fantasy with a ‘normal’ main character? Chat with me in the comments! Until later!!

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Book Review

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


My Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

(4.5 stars)


Review

I will be honest, though I had heard lots of good things about this book, I picked it up purely because of that amazing synopsis. The synopsis promised so much, and if there is one thing I am sure about this book, it is that it delivered those promises. I often start reading the book and then try to compare it to the synopsis, and I did the same with this one and found that somehow while being exactly what the synopsis said it was, the book also managed to be something quite different altogether.

The characters made this book for me. I loved each and every member of squad 312, though I still am a little uncertain about whether I like Auri or not. But a fact worth noting is that I haven’t come across many books recently where I loved ALL of the main characters, and that too there are six of them. Each character was crafted so beautifully, it was impossible not to love them. I loved how Scarlett also holds a rather high esteem of Tyler, and there was no sibling rivalry there. I loved the ‘scarcasm’ throughout the book (You rock, Scarlett!). I want longer Zila POVs, please! For some reason, Zila sounds a little like me (don’t worry, I don’t shoot my bunkmates repeatedly with a stun gun😂). But the “Your problem is that you know how everything works except other people” part that Tyler says to her, I get that a lot. What can I say, I can be pretty blunt and straightforward at times🤷‍♀️. And Kal. What can I say about him? My heart melted every time he said “Be’shmai” in that beautiful voice of his (well, I am assuming he has a beautiful voice). I felt a little wary of Finian at first, but he turned out to be all right. I liked how the author didn’t use the classic “nerdy boy who doesn’t speak much and gets bullied by everyone” trope for Finian, because I was kinda expecting that after reading the blurb. I guess now I have to come to the character I have been trying to avoid speaking about. Cat. Oh wait, did my heart just clench at the sound of her name? Yes it did. But I am not going to say anything about the reason because I do not want to give any spoilers. All I will say is that for all her tomboy-ishness, Cat was…adorable. Yes, I am weird like that😉.

Usually, with fantasy books with the Found Team trope, the team begins working together suddenly after some big incident occurs. But in Aurora Rising, our crew gradually warmed towards each other and tried working together. That impressed me.

For those of you who have read the synopsis and are not wanting to read the book because you think it will be the cliche “Future with robots, and humans in space” and that kind of stuff, let me assure you, you have nothing to worry about! I myself feel that this book is less of a sci-fi than a fantasy. So even if you are not a science or space geek, you should give this book a go!

And I also wanted you to know one thing that I have no idea why I rated the book 4.5 stars and not 5. It was purely on impulse. And also, this rating is subject to change, which I suspect it will, once I read Aurora Burning.

Wait, how come my review is already so long? Half of you are thinking of leaving already, aren’t you? Okay, so since I want you to be around for my other posts as well, I won’t bore you to death, and end this post now. I hope my review is reason enough to pick up and read this amazing book!

Have you read Aurora Rising? What did you think of it? Do you want to recommend me any books similar to this one? Let me know in the comments section! See you there!