Fantasy

Under the Big Top and Back in Time: 11 Gaslamp Fantasy Books to Escape Into

There’s something incredibly captivating about fantastical stories intertwined with history.  Gaslamp fantasy books reimagine pivotal events with hints of magic and breathe new life into the past. If you’re looking for stories that do exactly that, we recommend checking out these gaslamp fantasies that will sweep you off your feet. 

Find a safe haven within the pages of The First Bright Thing and discover a circus that travels through time and to new places and provides a single magical night to anyone who enters their Big Top. It’s there we meet Rin who can see the threats of an impending war and a dark, rival circus looming — omens she knows they won’t be able to escape. A brilliant tale of artistry in the face of despair, J. R. Dawson’s debut about a found family mesmerizes readers with its mashup of history and fantasy. 

Find a safe haven within the pages of The First Bright Thing and discover a circus that travels through time and to new places and provides a single magical night to anyone who enters their Big Top. It’s there we meet Rin who can see the threats of an impending war and a dark, rival circus looming — omens she knows they won’t be able to escape. A brilliant tale of artistry in the face of despair, J. R. Dawson’s debut about a found family mesmerizes readers with its mashup of history and fantasy. 

A grim debut of star-crossed lovers, a wondrous circus and bargains born of blackmail, The Carnivale of Curiosities is an imaginative and immersive debut that will sweep you off your feet. An exclusive show that leaves rumors spiraling dazzles London’s elite, but when one of the city’s most notorious men comes with a proposition and a threat against the most vulnerable members, they must engage in the blackmail in order to keep the truth hidden. With love and secrets on the line, the stakes are high, and this mesmerizing novel is perfect for fans of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue.  

A grim debut of star-crossed lovers, a wondrous circus and bargains born of blackmail, The Carnivale of Curiosities is an imaginative and immersive debut that will sweep you off your feet. An exclusive show that leaves rumors spiraling dazzles London’s elite, but when one of the city’s most notorious men comes with a proposition and a threat against the most vulnerable members, they must engage in the blackmail in order to keep the truth hidden. With love and secrets on the line, the stakes are high, and this mesmerizing novel is perfect for fans of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue.  

For a novel that will intoxicate you with its story, pick up The Night Circus and follow the spectacle that arrives without advertisements, announcements or warning. Behind the spellbinding experience is a fierce competition between two young magicians who fall in love without knowing that only one of them can remain standing. The type of book that leaves you captivated as you try to return to reality, Erin Morgenstern’s debut casts its own illusion that will keep you flying through its pages.

For a novel that will intoxicate you with its story, pick up The Night Circus and follow the spectacle that arrives without advertisements, announcements or warning. Behind the spellbinding experience is a fierce competition between two young magicians who fall in love without knowing that only one of them can remain standing. The type of book that leaves you captivated as you try to return to reality, Erin Morgenstern’s debut casts its own illusion that will keep you flying through its pages.

Enter into a mysterious competition alongside two sisters as they go to Caraval — a yearly performance that thrives on audience participation. When one sister is swept away by the mastermind behind the event, the other must win the competition to get her back. The twisty start to the series, Caraval is a shimmering story of self-empowerment, love and magic that you won’t be able to put down. 

Enter into a mysterious competition alongside two sisters as they go to Caraval — a yearly performance that thrives on audience participation. When one sister is swept away by the mastermind behind the event, the other must win the competition to get her back. The twisty start to the series, Caraval is a shimmering story of self-empowerment, love and magic that you won’t be able to put down. 

Mystery and supernatural collide in this tale of a spiritualist who contacts murder victims to uncover the perpetrator. As she and a young skeptic head to England to solve a high-profile murder, they discover that they might actually be at the center of a crime. This immersive novel of vengeance and companionship brings the occult to life and sets the London fog swirling around you as you read.

Mystery and supernatural collide in this tale of a spiritualist who contacts murder victims to uncover the perpetrator. As she and a young skeptic head to England to solve a high-profile murder, they discover that they might actually be at the center of a crime. This immersive novel of vengeance and companionship brings the occult to life and sets the London fog swirling around you as you read.

For queer romantasies that will take your breath away, pick up any of the books in the Last Binding trilogy. The first two books follow the Blyth siblings as they encounter magic alongside the unremarkable world they grew up in. With cozy mystery notes alongside the fantastical, you’ll be enchanted by Robin’s first mystical encounters in The Marvellous Light and Maud’s sleuthing in The Restless Truth, and go ahead and add the third book, A Power Unbound, to your TBR list as it releases in November!

If you haven’t already dipped into Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, take this as your sign to do so immediately. During a time in which magic has disappeared, Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an instant sensation. Quickly, another magician, Jonathan Strange, reveals himself and becomes Norrell’s pupil — but they aren’t quite birds of a feather, and their differences threaten to tear them apart. An epic story of history and fantasy, this novel is a witty and spellbinding masterpiece. 

If you haven’t already dipped into Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, take this as your sign to do so immediately. During a time in which magic has disappeared, Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an instant sensation. Quickly, another magician, Jonathan Strange, reveals himself and becomes Norrell’s pupil — but they aren’t quite birds of a feather, and their differences threaten to tear them apart. An epic story of history and fantasy, this novel is a witty and spellbinding masterpiece. 

Can we hear it for the covers? The redesign of the Shades of Magic series has our heart, and with the first two out now, and the first in a new series coming in September, it’s the perfect time to pick up these stunning stories. With parallel Londons in play, these books are filled with perilous magic and the rare ability to travel between worlds, making compelling page-turners that teeter on the edge of dazzling worlds and destruction.