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!!

Hidden Gems! // Under-hyped Books Which Deserve More Love

Hiya everyone! Today I bring you the third post in the series of themed recommendations that I have been doing on my blog since last week (read the first post here and the second one here in case you missed them!) Today’s theme is underrated or underhyped books which are favourites of mine.

I constantly keep bugging all of you to read Six Of Crows (in a very non-threatening way, of course😉) but I have realized of late that I don’t need to. 8 out of every 10 people I find on Goodreads have read (and loved, mostly) this duology. Similar is the case with so many books – Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles(I haven’t read this yet eek!), Hunger Games and countless more that we hear spoken about everyday in the bookish community. But what about all those books which are in no way lesser than these hot shots, but due to some reason are hardly ever mentioned in this blogosphere, or in the bookish community in general? There are so many hidden gems out there which definitely deserve much more hype than they get. So today I am going to be recommending you some amazing books which are unfortunately on the lowest rung of the ladder of “status in the bookish society”. Click on the cover images to add the books to your Goodreads TBR!

Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Of course this HAD to be on the top of this list! Nevermoor was one of my favourite reads in 2020, and it breaks my heart to see how so few really talk about it. All the characters were just *chef’s kiss* and it was endearing to see a child rejected by all (including her own father and step mother) because she was supposedly cursed and then later finding her place in Nevermoor. And Jupiter might just be the best fictional character ever written.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Why haven’t more people discovered this amazing book yet? It might be the only book written in first person POV that I have enjoyed so far. The main character, Herbie, was so simple yet so complicated, oblivious yet witty. You can read my full review of Malamander here.

The Wave by Morton Rhue

The Wave is a contemporary historical fiction based on a true event. It is a quick read, but it is truly thought-provoking and a must-read if you’re interested in history (like me!) blended with some high school drama.

The Flame Of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn

This was kinda like Percy Jackson set in a more contemporary world! There were redemptions, new friendships and so much more in this middle grade novel based on Roman mythology.

The Miracle On Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle

This is under-hyped on an epic level – only about 300 ratings on Goodreads! It was one of those warm (uhh metaphorically of course, its set during Christmas lol) and fluffy books you’d want to hug (does that sound weird 🙃) and will definitely cheer you up.

The Finisher by David Baldacci

I realize that this is probably the first time I am speaking about this book on my blog, but it use to be quite a favourite of mine when I bought and read the entire series. The Finisher is the first book in the four-book Vega Jane series, a dystopian fantasy that fans of Divergent and alike would probably enjoy.

And we are done for today! Hopefully your TBR got a little bigger!

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of these books? Which is your favourite underrated/underhyped book? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I am sorry if I am being a little boring nowadays, school’s really got to me and I think I may have began experiencing blogging burn-out. Hopefully I’ll be back to writing my normal *fun* posts soon!

Wet Worlds! // Books set in or by the sea

Hey guys! Water you up to? Did you sea what I did there? I am shore you did. (Okay stop groaning, I am just beginning to realize that puns are overrated.)

So I have decided to do a series of themed book recommendations because my brain can’t really think of anything else to post (take a hint and give me some suggestions!). This post is the second in this series (click here to read the first one). Personally, I do enjoy writing such posts and surfing (ooh no pun intended this time, I promise😂) through my Goodreads shelves trying to find more books which fit the theme.

As you already know from the title (and from my not-so-subtle intro lines), today I am going to be recommending you books set in or by the sea. What usually makes such books stand out is there extremely sea-vibey writing (who likes imagining sand between their toes and inhaling fresh salty sea air while reading books set by the sea? *raises a hand, and then the other as well for good measure*) Without further ado, let’s see what recs I have in store for you!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Set on an island isolated except for 10 strangers, this remains till date, one of my favourite murder mysteries (and can I also mention that this was my first one?) My best start into a genre if there ever was one.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Malamander was such a lovely middle grade! The entire story takes place in a town called Eerie-On-Sea (naturally, it is situated by the sea) and the sea itself does play an important role in the book (Malamander is the name of a giant sea creature after all). The atmosphere was beautifully created – the sound of waves, the smell of salty sea air, the eerie noises that give the town its name, all seemed pretty much real in my head.

The Haunting Of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

A spooky middle grade set in a small coastal town, this story had very atmospheric vibes. It can easily be read in a single sitting, so get out your blankets, snuggle in your couch during a rainy day and give this book a read!

Frostheart by Jamie Littler

Frostheart is a cute middle grade about a little boy trying to find his missing parents. He is often shunned by most people because of this power he has, but he gets taken in by the crew of a ship called Frostheart and finds friendships and betrayals on his journey. I haven’t read the sequel yet, but I hope to read it soon!

The Storm Keeper’s Island

A magical story set in an Irish island, this book is about the power (literally!) of nature and definitely worth a read.

The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton

You haven’t had a childhood if you haven’t read any Enid Blyton! Anyway, this particular series of hers called the Adventure series deals with ship voyages and other sea-stuff.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of this post (I realize its much shorter than usual but…). Hopefully you got some great recommendations and your TBR just got a little bit bigger. See you in my next post!

𝓡𝓪𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓵

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Discussion Post: Role of Parents in MG and YA fantasy (Part 2) + 8 book recommendations with active parent roles!

Hello guys, how are you all today?

You can find part 1 of this discussion HERE . I would suggest that you first read the first part if you haven’t and then come back here. But if you don’t want to, that’s absolutely fine, you can continue reading this post. (also, if you’re on WP reader, please continue reading this post here to enjoy better formatting)

In the first part, we talked about how a lot of MG and YA novels ignore parents, and often have the absent and/or dead parent tropes. I also shared the results of a survey I conducted, which revealed that most readers do not prefer such novels, instead they would rather have books where the parents do have a role to play in the story.

I personally agree with the majority. It is really important for MG and YA books to portray parent-child relationships, not only because most young readers will find the experiences relatable, but also because it is crucial for children (as well as adults) to understand the benefits of a healthy parent-child relationship and to learn to steer clear of unhealthy ones. If I have to make a list on the advantages of showing parental relationships in books, here’s how it would look like –

  • As already mentioned, most readers will find the experiences of the protagonists quite relatable, and this will add to their enjoyment of the book.
  • It gives the reader a chance to reflect upon his/her own relationship with their parents/children and judge whether it is healthy or not.
  • The reader (especially if young) gets exposure to the different relationships parents and children share.
  • It adds a little realistic element to the story, therefore getting the readers invested into the story and help them in empathizing with the characters all the more.

Parents definitely should have some role in the books, and this does not mean only biological parents. Adopted parents add to the story even more, don’t you think? The Book Thief and Keeper of The Lost Cities are good examples, I’ll be talking about them in the later part of this post.

There are books like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, where there is some ambiguity regarding the identities of the protagonists’ parents. Something along the lines of I-never-knew-my-father trope, if you know what I mean? I wouldn’t really consider books like these to be the ones with active parents, but whenever the identity of the biological parent is revealed, there is a certain element of surprise which adds some enjoyment.

The Aurora Cycle, The Mortal Instruments and The Keeper of Lost Cities all have something in common – villainous parents. Of course, parents are wholly included in these books, but on the opposite side of the protagonist. Usually protagonists of such books have this internal struggle – whether to side with their parent(s) or their friends.

Many books revolve around the main character trying to find his missing parents, like Ash in Frostheart by Jamie Littler, or trying to get vengeance for their dead parents, like Nova in Renegades by Marissa Meyer.

Then there are books like Six Of Crows duology, which I think cannot be included in any of these categories (absent parents, dead parents or active parents). Colm Fahey, Jesper’s father, definitely made a great addition to the book, and I was really happy when Inej got to meet her long lost parents. Wylan’s father was one of the main villains in the first book in the duology. But the other three main character’s parents are absent or dead, and I don’t think I would have liked having them in the story anyway, for the reason that Six Of Crows was one of those YA novels where the characters are in the higher age bracket (17-18 years old).


There are a lot (though not as many as I would have liked) of books out there which show the ups and downs of parent-child relationships and impart valuable lessons along the way. I will now be talking about 8 such books that I have read and loved. You can click on the cover images to know more about the book on Goodreads and add it to your TBR!

The Miracle On Ebenezer Street: This book was so adorable! The entire plot revolves around George trying to get his father to enjoy Christmas (and life in general) like he did earlier, before George’s mother died. I went “Awww” so many times while reading this. This perfect Christmassy read will definitely cheer you up whenever you’re feeling low.


The Six Bad Boys by Enid Blyton: I must have read this book a gazillion times now, (my first time reading it was 4-5 years back and my most recent reread was a week ago), and it never fails to make me all teary-eyed. I think this is one of the best books there is for showing the different types of parent-child relationships there can be. I think the major lesson here is that it is too easy for children to be led astray if their parents neglect them and make them feel unwanted. And what impacted me even more was how young the protagonists were – Tom was twelve-ish and Bob was even younger. A must-read for all coming-of-age (and everyone else, of course!) readers. (And its quite short so it can be read in a single sitting. Seriously, read it and you’ll thank me later!)


The Flame Of Olympus: Apart from its wonderful take on Roman mythology, the major thing I loved about this was that the mc’s father accompanied her on her quest to save Olympus and the human world from falling! Do you realize how rare that is in MG fantasy? Usually, in a book like this, the protagonist would have lied to their parents and snuck off, but this was a pleasant surprise!


Keeper Of The Lost Cities series: The main character, Sophie, finds out that her ‘human’ parents whom she has always known and loved are not her biological parents since she is an elf. Since nobody knows who her real parents are, she is sent to live with an elvin couple, who in turn, are battling their own grief of losing their only daughter to an accident. I loved seeing their relationship slowly build from hesitant to loving. This does not happen entirely in the first book, but gradually throughout the series, making it even more impactful.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Ah one of my favourite standalone novels of all time! So the main character is adopted, and her relationship with her foster father is so sweet! Though this relationship is a little sidelined throughout the novel, but that’s understandable because the story focuses on other much larger things. This book has gained a lot of popularity, so I am sure a lot of you have read this already, but if you haven’t, click on the cover image right now and add it to your TBR!


Matilda: You all recognize this one, don’t you? It was one of my childhood favourites, and so so good. Basically the main character is a sweet, incredibly intelligent girl who has got terrible parents who don’t care about her at all and provide an unsuitable environment at home for a little girl like their daughter. The ending (a happily ever after, I assure you) will definitely make you cry happy tears!


Misfit by Jo Zaida: I love how Elle (the main character) and her parents’ relationship grew through the course of the story, and the ending was just…*chef’s kiss*

This is releasing on 24th May 2021, so do add it to your TBR!


Buddy by Nigel Hinton: It’s been quite a while since I read this, but I do remember liking it a lot. The relationship between Buddy and his dad is the prominent theme in the book, so I would definitely recommend!


These were my opinions on the different fictional parents in MG and YA books. But why should this discussion stop here? This is why I am now adding a new feature to my discussion posts – I will be tagging some fellow bloggers to continue this discussion on their own blogs! April @Booked Till Midnight, Ashmita @the fictional journal and Pilar @The bookworm shelf, I would love to read your thoughts on this! You can twist and stretch this topic any way you want. No obligations of course, but if you do decide to do this, ping me back so I can read your posts!

Let’s Chat!

What are your thoughts on the inclusion of parents in MG and YA books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you find any of my recommendations helpful? I’d love to discuss with you in the comments section!