Portal fantasy is about going through the doors, finding yourself in a new world, and growing as a better person. Here are some recommendations from the Castle Forks book to the Chronicles of Narnia!

Fantasy has plenty of subgenres under its roster. One of the more low-key but trendy ones is portal fantasy

When we talk about portal fantasies, we talk about stories wherein characters are taken to another world, either through actual portals or because of luck. This “going through the doors” from our mundane world to the fantastical can be anything from a magical wardrobe to a mysterious train platform or even a freak weather event like a tornado.

Books that Deal with Portals

In portal fantasy stories, the focus is especially on the new world. The narrative takes excellent care and exploration when examining the magical world’s creatures, societies, and differences from the mundane world. The new world also allows the protagonists to grow, challenge themselves, and undertake self-discovery.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

As the ward in a wealthy man’s mansion, January Scaller has always felt caged. That is until she stumbles upon a hidden world. Among the many oddities in the house lies a mysterious book. 

Within its pages are tales of fantastical journeys and doorways to other realities that unlock a yearning for adventure in January’s heart. 

As the lines between the story and her life blur, January begins to rewrite her destiny and discover the truth about her past. This captivating debut novel is a love letter to stories, a celebration of self-discovery, and a doorway leading to where imagination is at the forefront.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Beneath the bustling streets of London lies a secret, labyrinthine world: Neverwhere. Here, monsters stalk the shadows, angels ride the Underground, and forgotten souls cling to existence. Richard Mayhew, a young man with a life of beige routine, stumbles upon this hidden reality with a simple act of kindness. Helping a bleeding girl named Door catapults him into a whirlwind adventure.

To survive, he must ally with the enigmatic Door. Their quest to unravel the secrets of her past and save this fantastical realm becomes a desperate fight for survival. Can Richard navigate the treacherous politics of Neverwhere, outrun deadly pursuers, and find a way back to his life, forever changed by the wonders and perils of the world below?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

A Kansas twister whisks Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, away to the magical Land of Oz. There, amidst talking munchkins, a wicked witch, and a field of poppies, Dorothy seeks the help of the powerful Wizard. 

Joined by a Scarecrow yearning for brains, a Tin Woodman longing for a heart, and a Cowardly Lion desiring courage, Dorothy embarks on an unforgettable journey down the yellow brick road. Will they face their fears, find what they seek, and help Dorothy return home? This classic tale of friendship, courage, and the power of believing in yourself will whisk you away to a world of wonder.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

During the Second World War, evacuated siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie find themselves at a mysterious old house. Lucy stumbles upon a magical wardrobe, a gateway to the land of Narnia. Going through the doors, however, Narnia is not the winter wonderland she expects. The evil White Witch, Jadis, has shrouded the once-magnificent land in eternal winter.

Animals talk, mythical creatures roam, and hope seems lost. But Lucy isn’t alone. She encounters a kind faun who reveals the truth about Narnia and the prophecy of its liberation by two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve. Could these be the Pevensie children? 

Castle Forks by Chris Cochrane

Forget school. Forget normalcy. Chris Cochrane’s life takes a sharp turn on a hunting trip with his dad. A hidden castle, revealed by a magical creature, becomes their new reality. 

Inside the Castle Forks book lies a world beyond imagination, where one is burdened by a chilling secret and an immortal enemy: Demon Shadows. 

Chris never craved danger, let alone the world’s fate resting on his shoulders. But here he is, thrust into a fight for survival against an ancient evil. Can Chris and his father rise to the challenge, or will the Demon Shadows plunge humanity into eternal darkness?