Every fantasy reader has their favorite magic systems. Elemental magic and stories involving earth, wind, fire, water and the like are my favorite genres to read about. Avatar: The Last Airbender (a 15-year-old cartoon! ), which debuted on Netflix in May, has proven that I am not alone in my enthusiasm. Sadly, the magic-bending in Avatar can only be found in three episodes per season. If you’re a fan of Avatar, here are eight more elemental fantasy books like it (a mix of YA and adult). “Yip yip,” as a good friend of mine once said.
Elemental Fantasy Books Like Avatar: The Last Airbender
Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee
The first book in a planned trilogy, Shamanborn begins with this brand-new elemental fantasy adventure. Even though there are numerous forms of light and shadow magic, not all are welcome in every area of a divided realm. Since he was an orphan, Sirscha Ashwyn has become a skilled assassin. Her unusual powers are revealed when she is sent to the Dead Wood, a forest that is overrun by the souls of the deceased.
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
The Seven Kennings series gets off to a hefty start with this high-fantasy novel. “Kennings” are distinct flavors of magic (all elemental) that can be found among the various races of beings that populate a vast universe. With a huge cast and rotating POVs, we get a sense of each character’s personality (all relayed via the shapeshifting storytelling of the bard Fintan). As a team, they shed light on the dominoes that have fallen, sparking a global conflict.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Various types of magic are examined in the ongoing Witchlands series. Some are elemental (water, earth and wind) while others are merely desirable. For example, who wouldn’t want to be able to tell the difference between truth and fiction? Safiya, whose magic is so rare that it’s a threat, falls into this category. It’s up to Safiya and Iseult’s running speed in a dangerous world after they encounter a Bloodwitch.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
This one focuses more on disasters caused by the elements than on magic. Aeon’s world came to a halt seventeen years ago due to a rift between the two goddesses who ruled it. Neither kingdom has experienced daylight since; instead, one is engulfed in a scorching, perpetual night. The daughters of both goddesses are now being drawn to the Great Abyss in an effort to heal their world. ‘
Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks
Check out Marks’s Elemental Logic series if you’re into queer-forward epic fantasy. When Shaftal’s powerful earth witch ruler dies without an heir, the peace they’ve known for so long comes to an end. Sainnites invade Shaftal, and as losses mount, it becomes clear that a new kind of cooperation will be necessary to save the kingdom. Come for the diverse cast of mostly female and queer protagonists; stay for the action-packed finale.
Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce
When you’re feeling down, Pierce’s fantasies can help. Her Circle of Magic books are no exception. The Winding Circle temple and the four misfits who arrive there to learn their magical abilities are introduced in this first book. The light-weaving abilities of Sandry set him apart from his peers, who have abilities linked to earth, fire, water, and air. Sorcery is sprinkled liberally throughout this tale of adolescence.
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The first book in Thomas’s Elemental trilogy should be your cup of tea if you like your fantasies bulky and filled with a lot of intricate magic. Iolanthe Seabourne, a 16-year-old elemental mage, may be the best in the world thanks to an errant lightning bolt. While fleeing powerful enemies and securing the protection of a princely defender, she is unaware of this.
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
In Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, you’ll find everything you could ever want in a fantasy treat. Mages who control the elements rule the Earth in each book’s reimagining of a fairy tale or classic story. In an alternate San Francisco, a Firemaster is in a predicament due to his alchemical experiments, and the Fire Rose takes on the role of Beauty and the Beast.
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
It’s been ten years since Kiva Meridan, a seventeen-year-old prison healer, has worked in Zalindov, a notorious death prison.
Upon the capture of the Rebel Queen, Kiva is tasked with ensuring that she survives long enough to face the trials of air, fire, water, and earth, which are reserved for the most dangerous criminals.
Kiva’s family then sends a coded message with a single instruction: “Don’t let her die. “We’re on our way.” Risking her own life, Kiva volunteers to take the ailing queen’s place in the Trials. If she succeeds, she and the queen will both be granted their freedom.
However, no one has ever made it out alive.
While Zalindov is infested with an incurable disease and a mysterious new inmate is vying for Kiva’s heart, she can’t help but feel as if her trials are just beginning.
Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
When it comes to combat, Ash is the product of a long line of gladiators. A fire god, whose rage has depleted her country of its natural resources, has beheaded her mother, and she swears revenge on the god who killed her mother in the arena.
Madoc was raised in the streets, where he fought to pay his family’s taxes as he grew up. However, he is hiding a dangerous secret: unlike his opponents, he does not possess the powers of the earth god. It’s a gift that hasn’t been seen in a long time—something that he has.
An attempted revenge plot goes horribly wrong and throws Madoc into Ash’s path, forcing him to face off against the fire and earth gods in a gladiator match. Madoc, despite his attraction to the beautiful warrior, will not put his family at risk, no matter how enthralled he is by her.
After being compelled to act by the gods, Madoc and Ash discover an ancient conflict that threatens to unravel not only the world, but all of eternity.