Manga, anime, and even otome games are a few of the go-to mediums for shojo fans to get their fix, but one form of entertainment is constantly rising in popularity: light novels. Classic light novels such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which also had a notably popular anime adaption in the late 2000s, have even recently been re-released.
One subgenre of light novels with a widespread fan base is isekai, where the protagonists either travel to or are reincarnated into another world. With such a variety of worlds and genres to explore, here are 10 light novels that shojo fans will want to dive right into.
10 Culinary Chronicles Of The Court Flower – Food, Love And Palace Intrigue
In Culinary Chronicles of the Court Flower, the protagonist Rimi, who had blissfully spent her days preparing food as a tribute to her homeland’s protective god, is suddenly whisked away to become a concubine to the emperor of the neighboring country of Konkoku.
It is Rimi’s love of food and culinary skills which help her to keep her head above water and seemingly out of trouble as she tries to survive in the ruthless palace. Her love of food also leads her to an encounter with the culinary scholar Shusei. When Rimi rises through the ranks to become emperor Shohi’s personal chef, a love triangle ensues between her, the scholar, and the emperor.
9 I Became The Secretary Of A Hero! – An Office Worker Fights To Save Her Sister
I Became The Secretary Of A Hero fits the isekai genre. When Aki’s little sister Nako is kidnapped by a mysterious man calling himself the Dark Lord, Aki chases after them and plunges into a rip in time, leading her to another world.
Once there, Aki is rescued by Elias, the Hero. Aki and her sister have been summoned as the “right hand” of the Hero and the Dark Lord, respectively. The Hero must defeat the Dark Lord to save the world they reside in. When Aki arrives in the new world, she does not encounter the Goddess to receive any unique ability, so she earnestly asks to become the Hero’s secretary and record keeper throughout their journey.
8 The Weakest Manga Villainess Wants Her Freedom! – A Reincarnated Villainess Wants A New Life
In The Weakest Manga Villainess Wants Her Freedom!, a young high school girl one day rushes off to the bookstore to get her hands on the last volume of her favorite shojo manga called Saint Aela of Gaea. As she rushes back out in excitement, she is hit by a truck and reincarnated into the world of Saint Aela.
Being reincarnated as Elle of the four grand magi, she soon realizes she has been reborn as the first person that Aela defeats. Armed with the knowledge of the truth behind the Demon Lord’s existence, the being that she and all other citizens of the kingdom worship, Elle is determined to change her fate and to be remembered as anything but a disgrace to the four grand magi.
7 The Apothecary Diaries – A Skilled Apothecary Must Survive A Palace Full Of Mysteries
Having also been adapted into two different manga series by various publishers, The Apothecary Diaries light novel adaptation currently has three volumes available in English.
In The Apothecary Diaries, Maomao is torn from her ordinary life as the daughter of an apothecary when she is kidnapped and forced to serve in the royal palace. Although she tries to live quietly, Maomao’s wit and knowledge of medicine are soon discovered by Jinshi, the head eunuch, who decides Maomao will be his personal servant. Mysterious fires, food poisoning, and not-so-secret pregnancies are just a few of the dangers Maomao encounters.
6 Last Round Arthurs – A Unique Take On The Legends Of King Arthur
In Last Round Arthurs, a reimagining of the tales of King Arthur, teenage Luna Artur is a “King,” one of the people participating in the battle to succeed the legendary King Arthur. Luna isn’t considered one of the most serious succession candidates in part because she sold her Excalibur bestowed to her for the competition.
Luna is constantly mocked as the least likely to succeed Arthur. Luna soon meets Rintarou, an unbelievably magically talented boy who is so unimpressed with the ordinary world that he decides to team up with Luna to make her the future king. Rintarou’s abilities might be just what Luna needs to succeed.
5 The White Cat’s Revenge As Plotted From The Dragon King’s Lap – Revenge, Even In Another World
In The White Cat’s Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King’s Lap, Ruri was once an ordinary human girl in unfortunate circumstances. Although beautiful by any other standards, Ruri has always been overshadowed by her childhood friend and neighbor Asahi. When the two friends would fight, even if Asahi were wrong, everyone treated her as if she were right and Ruri was at fault.
Unfortunately, this trend of fortune favoring Asahi continues even when the two friends are accidentally transported into another world. Asahi is beloved and praised as a priestess, and Ruri is cast out and exiled. This ends up being for the best as Ruri is favored by the spirits and possesses magic, including the ability to turn into a cat and plot her revenge.
4 Bibliophile Princess- A Booklover’s Tale
In Bibliophile Princess Lady Elianna thought she was Prince Christopher’s betrothed in name only, seemingly prepared to step aside should the prince ever come to be in love with someone else. After a four-year engagement, much to her surprise, Elianna – or Eli, as the prince affectionately calls her – is in love with Christopher.
When it’s made clear to Elianna that she is not a false fiancée and that Prince Christopher truly adores her, it’s not an easy road for the two. Nefarious schemes threaten to tear them and the nation apart at every turn.
3 May I Ask For One Final Thing? – A Mad Dog Princess
In May I Ask For One Final Thing? Scarlet, a talented magic-user from a respected family, has been engaged to Kyle, the second prince, since before the two were born. Kyle suddenly calls off the engagement in front of a crowd of onlookers at a royal ball.
Kyle unjustly accuses Scarlet of harassing the girl he truly wants to marry. Scarlet denies the accusations, but Kyle dismisses her, which leads Scarlet to say, “May I ask for one final thing?” As the crowd mocks her, she punches nearly everyone there, including her erstwhile fiancée.
2 Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams – A Short Story Collection For Fans Of The Series
Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams is a collection of short stories featuring several characters from the original series. It is the third light novel in the Vampire Knight series, and it covers events from the original timeline of the series and beyond.
The collection has six stories in all, including Deranged Love, a story of Rido Kuran’s last thoughts as he lay dying, having been slain by Yuki. Rido recalls his obsessive love for Yuki’s mother, Juri, which began early from when he first held Juri as a child. Another story, Gifts for Yuki, features Kaname wanting to reward Yuki for doing well in her studies with tutor Aido.
1 The Earl And The Fairy – An Alternate Victorian Era Fantasy Romance
The Earl and the Fairy is a four-volume light novel series by Ayuko and Mizue Tani. The story is set in the 19th century and revolves around Lydia Carlton and Edgar Ashenbert. Lydia is a young woman who can see fairies and, as such, works as a fairy doctor. Many people don’t believe in her abilities, and Lydia is often teased and ostracized for it.
Edgar is a young man who is the descendant of the Blue Knight Earl, a lord of the fairies. Edgar enlists Lydia and her unique abilities to help find a magical sword known as the Sword of the Merrow, which would help to prove his lineage. Dark forces are at work along the way as Edgar and Lydia fall in love.
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