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36 of the best fantasy books everyone should read

Are you looking for your next fantasy must-read? From wizards and werewolves to weird happenings underground, we've pulled together some of the WIRED team's favourite fantasy series. Some are set in strange and fantastic worlds, while others start a little closer to home. And, if you'd like more reading ideas, try our guide to the best sci-fi books or our picks of the best books on Audible .

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Piranesi is a wondrous, genre-defying book, but if it had to fit somewhere, 'fantasy' would be the label we'd give it. The less you know about Piranesi , the better, but as a taster, it follows the life of a man who lives within the spectacular, statue-filled halls of a vast, labyrinthine house. Waves roll into the halls, birds and sea creatures come and go, but he has no idea why he's there or how he got there. He's more concerned with writing journal entries and documenting things he encounters.

It's a twisting novel that's both beautiful and deeply unsettling. It's one you could read in a single sitting because the narrator seems so unnervingly naive, and the more you discover, the more you itch for what secrets are hiding beneath the surface. Released in 2021, Piranesi was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and won a massive amount of critical acclaim for author Susanna Clarke. If her name rings a bell, it's because she's already well-known for her first novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell , which was published in 2004 and adapted into a TV series.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Described as Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven , Six of Crows is set in the Grishaverse – like the award-winning Shadow and Bone trilogy, which is now a major Netflix show. In fact, the show might be called Shadow and Bone , but it draws from the cast of characters in Six of Crows , too. Six of Crows begins in Ketterdam, a raucous, busy hub of trade with an underbelly of crime. Kaz Brekker is a criminal mastermind who’s offered the chance to carry out a risky heist with a considerable reward. He handpicks a team to help, including a convict, excellent sharpshooter, and a spy – six outcasts in total, all trying to pull off the ultimate heist. Bardugo is brilliant at world-building, which is a treat if you’re entering the Grishaverse for the first time and a welcome return for anyone who’s read the Shadow and Bone trilogy or her latest duology set in the same universe, King of Scars . Yes, Six of Crows and the other Grishaverse books are technically YA, but don’t let that put you off.

If anyone deserves to be on this list twice, it’s Neil Gaiman. Stardust is a magical fantasy novel that’s a delight to read at any age. It’s about a young man called Tristran Thorn, who vows to find a star for the woman he loves after they see it fall from the night sky.

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What follows is a fairy tale that weaves in stories, characters and settings that are already embedded in our cultural make-up, like pirates, spells, curses, witches, power struggles, falling stars, otherworldly beings and much more. Gaiman said: “I wanted to write a story that would feel, to the reader, like something he or she had always known” – and that’s the enduring appeal of Stardust. The book was adapted into a movie in 2007 with a star-studded cast, including Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Claire Danes. Once you’ve read the book, you should find it on your go-to streaming service, as it does Neil Gaiman’s original tale justice.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Another award-winning entry, Jade City bagged The World Fantasy Award in 2018 and was shortlisted for many others, including the Nebula Awards and the Locus Awards. It’s an epic story that many have said is reminiscent of classic Hong Kong gangster movies. However, the twist here is that it’s set in Janloon, a fantastical metropolis that Lee describes incredibly vividly.

The central premise of Jade City is, as you might guess, all about Jade. This is a stone that’s the lifeblood of the city and has magical properties as it can enhance a person’s natural abilities. That’s why it’s so precious and controlled by two warring families. But when a new drug emerges that gives anyone the power to take advantage of the mystical energies of Jade, tension rises, and violence ensues. It’s stylish, full of beautiful, gritty descriptions and, despite being a fantasy book, touches on all kinds of relatable themes, like family honour and tradition.

Price: £8 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Considered one of the best fantasy books ever written, The Last Unicorn is a magical story about a unicorn living in a forest. One day, hunters arrive in the forest and believe it must contain a unicorn because of the magic protecting the creatures there. One of the hunters shouts a warning to the unicorn that she might be the last of her kind, which urges her to embark on a quest to find more unicorns – or learn what’s happened to them.

What comes next is full of sadness, adventure and wonder, with talking animals, witches, a harpy, spells, a magician, and much, much more. It’s another book that’s a trip back into the world of magic and fairy tales for adults, but a firm favourite for children of all ages, too. The Last Unicorn has since been adapted for the screen. In 1982, it was made into a movie featuring the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee.

Price: £16 | Amazon | Waterstones

Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (2018)

Written by award-winning science-fiction and fantasy writer Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death is set in Sudan in a far off, nuclear holocaust-ravaged future. There’s genocide and suffering between two warring tribes and, amidst this immense pain and violence, Onyesonwu is born – her name means “who fears death?” in an ancient language. Onyesonwu is special, displaying all manner of magical powers from an early age. This book is a mesmerising blend of magic, folk tradition, love and spirituality. But read it soon before it hits your TV screen if you’re a book-before-adaptation kind of person. Who Fears Death is being made into a TV series for HBO and George R. R. Martin is set to be an executive producer.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (2020)

Imagine Beauty and the Beast but ramp up the romance and fantasy even more, transform Beauty into a huntress and Beast into some kind of fantastical faerie lord and that’s A Court of Thorns and Roses . Sara J. Maas might have used the classic fairytale as a starting pont for this epic fantasical romance, but it’s a brilliant story in its own right. So much so that it’s the first in a best-selling series of the same name. A Court of Thorns and Roses begins with Feyre, a huntress who kills a wolf to feed her family. But this was no ordinary wolf. In fact, it wasn’t a wolf at all and Feyre has to face the consequences of her violent actions. This is, technically, a YA (young adult) novel, but don’t let that put you off, it has a huge adult fanbase.

Price: £7 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

The Power, by Naomi Alderman (2017)

The Power could also be classed as science-fiction, but we’re including it in our fantasy recommendations because what’s more fantastical than every woman in the land suddenly being able to electrocute men Palpatine-style with their fingertips? That’s the searingly smart and brilliantly-explored premise of The Power , which allows us to imagine what would happen if the present balance in the world – or, more rightly so, imbalance, – was reversed in favour of women. Would we be living in a calm utopia within a fortnight? Would we face the same problems we always have? Or would there be a whole host of new challenges to contend with?

The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin (2016)

It doesn’t feel like there’s a right way to begin explaining the truly monumental premise and proportions of The Fifth Season , so let’s just dive in. This book takes place on a planet with one massive supercontinent called Stillness. Every few hundred years the ‘fifth season’ occurs – a period of catastrophic climate change. The world-building prowess of Jemisin’s The Fifth Season is epic, there are different ethnicities, species, areas and castes with all kinds of powers and conflicts, and plenty of other details that won’t make sense until you read the book – be prepared to be a little overwhelmed when you’re first introduced to this new universe. This award-winning tome is the first in the Broken Earth series, with later books also scooping up prestigious Hugo Awards in their own right.

Riot Baby, by Tochi Onyebuchi (2020)

Set in the near future, Riot Baby might be a story with fantastical elements weaved throughout it, but it explores very real, pertinent and important issues of race and bias algorithms. The riot baby in this book is Kev, a young Black man who’s in prison. His sister, Ella, has a number of special powers – like being able to see into the future. Riot Baby is novella length (perfect for anyone whose concentration span isn’t what it used to be) and written in a fast-paced style that makes us, as readers, feel as if we’re witnessing flashes of memories in a manner that’s wedded to some of the central themes of anger and injustice.

Price: £14 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (2018)

Some might say Octavia E. Butler’s fantastic Kindred is a work of science-fiction or speculative fiction, but it’s in our list because Butler herself called it “a kind of grim fantasy”. This is a time travel narrative, but we’d bet it’s quite unlike any you’ve read before. Kindred follows the story of a woman called Dana who’s transported from 1976 Los Angeles to a Maryland plantation in 1815, where she’s assumed to be a slave. Like all good fantasy and science-fiction, the magical, surreal, time-travelling elements act as a way into a raw exploration of race, power and gender that’s as relevant and urgent now as it was when Butler first published it in 1979.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch (2006)

Renaissance Venice meets fantasy meets the twists and turns of a well crafted crime novel. Scott Lynch builds a fascinating fantasy city with real detail and real grit. No shining heroes and wistful princesses here. Instead criminal gangs, corrupt officials and the high likelihood of being mugged in a back alley. There is almost a sense of Oceans 11 meets venetian masquerade, blink and you’ll miss the sleight of hand! Fantasy is almost an afterthought in this novel and it is really about the character building and storytelling. Sure there are shark matadors and alchemical alcoholic fruits, not to mention the mysterious Elderglass, but these are more a backdrop rather than plot driving and all combine to make, subtle and intriguing read. There are plenty of twists and turns as Locke navigates the underworld of Camorr, but it’s unlikely you’ll see all of them coming!? This is the first book of a trilogy and although it stands alone you’ll want to read the other two to see what happens next in Red Seas Under Red Skies and A Republic of Thieves .

Earthlings, by Sayaka Murata (2020)

Not one for the faint hearted, this dark fantasy comedy from the author of Convenience Store Woman is tricky to pin down into any one category and the final pages will probably leave you gobsmacked. Natsuki and Yuu are cousins who have long prepared to be abducted back to their home planet. So far, so childhood but then they grow up and the plan persists. In the meantime they have to try to function in regular society, securing partners and jobs and not drawing attention to themselves. No taboo is left unturned with Earthlings encouraging minor acts of rebellion from what 'society' tells us we have to do.

Price: £10.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Circe, by Madeline Miller (2018)

Circe, daughter of Titan sun god Helios, finds herself overshadowed in the halls of the gods until she discovers her own, different power: witchcraft. Banished to a deserted island for abusing her magic, and repeatedly let down by the men she puts her trust in, Circe must forge her own path: as a goddess, a witch, and a woman. Miller’s novel offers a new perspective on tales of Greek myth, with Circe’s centuries-long story seeing her appear at the birth of the Minotaur, face off with goddess of war Athena, and host hero Odysseus on his long return from Troy. An accessible read with larger-than-life characters and an adventurous plot, Circe is mythology as you’ve never known it before.

Price: £7 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, by Tad Williams (1988 to 1993)

The three books in this trilogy, The Dragonbone Chair , Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower , are beautifully crafted fantasies that deftly interweave almost comically simple tropes with a rewarding complexity and depth. Game of Thrones fans will find much to enjoy – George R. R. Martin readily admits they were a big inspiration for him – as Williams takes a similarly methodical approach to creating the fictional continent Osten Ard and the races that inhabit it. His tales of the humble kitchen scullion who has great things ahead of him are full of joyful and sorrowful moments that will have you laughing and crying, making them a delightful diversion from life's ups and downs.

Price: £6 | Amazon | Abe Books | 30-day Audible trial

Malazan Book of the Fallen series, by Steven Erikson (1999 to 2011)

Spanning 10 books and over 9,000 pages of brutal, beautiful and complex fantasy writing, Steven Erikson's series delivers world building on a larger scale than Tolkien and Jordan put together. Erikson will have you laughing and crying as you follow the lives of disparate heroes and anti-heroes across a sweeping vista of worlds peopled by a unique set of races and animals. You will fall in love with his characters and you will hate them, either way you will want to know what happens next. Beginning with the Gardens of the Moon , Erikson’s ability to write epic convergence is unparalleled and will leave you unable to stand the tension leading up to the major events he depicts.

The First Law Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombie (2006 to 2008)

Joe Abercrombie writes brilliant characters. Be it the story of an ageing berserker, a crippled torturer or a pompous noble, his The First Law Trilogy immerses you in a bloody mire of violent, visceral and gritty adventures. You will see the glory of battle in all its bowel spilling ineptitude and hopelessness, but there is always someone to root for even if it is not the god blessed heroes and heroines you might usually expect. As an added bonus there are also three standalone books and a collection of short stories that revisit some of the First Law characters and world, something you will be eager to devour once you’ve read the first trilogy.

Price: £17 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Golem and the Djinni, by Helene Wecker (2013)

Helene Wecker's debut novel is an eerie tale of two magical creatures set loose in 19th century New York. A golem – a mythical creature of Jewish lore – awakens during a sea voyage, and is taught to pass as human among the diverse groups of people living in the city. At the same time, a tinsmith in New York accidentally frees a genie from a flask after centuries of imprisonment, but he's trapped in human form seeking a way to return to his full power. The pair meet and become friends, and must team up to counter an evil sorcerer who wants to enslave them both.

Price: £10 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Dune, by Frank Herbert (1965)

Welcome to a desert planet where water is more precious than gold, everyone wears moisture-preserving jumpsuits and giant worm creatures can come out of the earth's floor that can kill you at any moment. This is Dune, a stark wasteland where warring houses scheme against each other in bloody battles that can alter the course of human history. Although it's science-fiction on the surface, Frank Herbert's epic tome features the fantasy tropes of betrayal, redemption and freedom in spades, and is rightly considered one of the most important of the genre. Herbert's masterpiece not only helped to inspire Star Wars – it still resonates today, tackling environmental concerns, the rise of superpowers and rebellion of people exploited on their own land.

The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King (1998)

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." This iconic line kicks off Stephen King's iconic The Dark Tower, which mashes together fantasy, westerns and elements of science fiction. The first of seven books follows gunslinger Roland as he pursues a mysterious, malevolent presence across a strange world that's linked to our own. From there, it sprawls into a rambling epic that highlight's King's imagination as well as his touch for horror.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin (1996)

Fans of the television series have been distancing themselves from Game of Thrones in droves since that disastrous final season, but George R.R. Martin's books remain relatively untainted. A Game of Thrones , the first in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series, sets the tone – with violence and adult themes rarely seen in a lot of mainstream fantasy up to that point. Each chapter follows an individual character's point of view, and although the series does becomes slightly bogged down in later entries, it is gripping – and the ending is still to come.

Price: £8.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (1990)

Both Pratchett and Gaiman feature in their own right on this list and Good Omens , composed in part over answerphone messages three decades ago, delivers on the promise of a fantasy literature titan team up. It's the extremely silly story of an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, played with glee by Michael Sheen and David Tennant in this year's Amazon Prime Video series, trying to stop Armageddon. Most fantasy books ask for a serious commitment but Good Omens is a fully formed, read-in-an-afternoon treat.

Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch (2011)

Set in a lovingly described version of present-day London, the Rivers of London series charts the adventures of Detective Constable Peter Grant, one of two wizards in the Metropolitan Police. It grounds its fantastical elements in the scientific method, and the mixture of flying spells and police jargon gives the ongoing series a unique and enjoyable tone. The first book, Rivers of London describes an encounter with a malevolent spirit that draws Grant into the capital's magical underworld.

Price: £8 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan (1990-2007)

An epic fourteen novel saga, (as well as a prequel novel and two companion books), the author James Oliver Rigney Jr. (pen name Robert Jordan), published the first entry in 1990 and was still writing on his death in 2007. Too vast to summarise, the fantasy world – actually a distant version of Earth – is epic and magical, with a gigantic cast of characters. The series has spawned a video game, a roleplaying game, a soundtrack album and a forthcoming TV series, and the books have sold more than 80 million copies, making it one of the bestselling fantasy series since Lord of the Rings .

Price: £20 | Amazon | Blackwells | 30-day Audible trial

The Gormenghast series, by Mervyn Peake (1946-56)

The first instalment of Mervyn Peake’s epic fantasy series, which features three books and a novella, was published in 1946. It follows the residents of Castle Gormenghast – a giant, gothic castle. In the first book, we meet title character Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the castle and its kingdom. Populated with a host of fantastical creatures, Gormenghast is like a Lord of the Rings that didn’t blow up. Unlike much of the fantasy genre gets high praise in literary circles too: Harold Bloom called the series best fantasy novels of the twentieth century.

Price: £20 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman (1995)

Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights is a children’s book with a depth and complexity that can satisfy adults. We follow Lyra Belacqua and Pantalaimon, her daemon – her inner self given animal form – as she investigates rumours of children being separated from their own spiritual companions. Over the three-book series, this transitions into a battle between humanity and heaven. It functions in part as a retelling and inversion of John Milton's epic Paradise Lost . The second entry of a three-part sequel trilogy was published in late 2019.

The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman (2018)

Philip Pullman has returned with a follow-up to the His Dark Materials trilogy. The Book of Dust is a second trilogy set in the world of Lyra Belacqua and her inner self in animal form, Pantalaimon. At the point of writing two of the trilogy have been released: La Belle Sauvage (2018) and The Secret Commonwealth (2019). The first of these is set before the tumultuous events of His Dark Materials. But the second fast forwards to a decade after their conclusion. There's espionage, spies and frantic attempts to stop the world from vanishing into darkness.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher (2000)

Harry Dresden is a professional wizard in a version of modern-day Chicago where fantastical creatures lurk just underneath the surface. He makes his living as a private detective, solving cases that bridge the worlds of the real and the uncanny. In Storm Front , the first book in long-running series The Dresden Files, he finds himself duelling with vampires, werewolves, and the mob.

Price: £40 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville (2000)

China Miéville's work falls more accurately under the banner of Weird Fiction, an amalgamation of fantasy and horror pioneered by HP Lovecraft. This work, one in a series of books set in the world of Bas-Lag, lies closer to the fantasy genre. As Mieville describes it "it's basically a secondary world fantasy with Victorian-era technology. So rather than being a feudal world, it's an early industrial capitalist world of a fairly grubby, police statey kind”.

Price: £11 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (2001)

The Amazon Prime series failed to spark, but Neil Gaiman's richly described novel is well worth a read. American Gods pits the abandoned folk deities of the old world against the modern idols we worship now. It follows Shadow Moon, a convict who finds out – days before his release – that his wife has died in a car accident, and falls into the surreal orbit of Mr Wednesday (Odin) and a looming showdown between the old gods and the new.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin (1968)

Ursula Le Guin is one of the titans of fantasy and sci-fi – her books explore political and feminist themes in fantastical settings. The Left Hand of Darkness focuses on an androgynous civilisation, and The Dispossessed is set in anarchist Utopia. The Earthsea series is more traditional but still brilliant – we follow Ged, a teenager at magic school, who causes a disaster dabbling in the dark arts. Readers have pointed to the similarities between Ged’s school and Hogwarts.

The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobbs (1995-1997)

Robin Hobbs' epic fantasy series hero follows FitzChivalry Farseer, or Fitz for short, the bastard son of the crown prince. Raised in a stable and trained as an assassin, the story charts his adventures through the kingdom of The Six Duchies: magic, murder, and political intrigue abound, as well as a zombie curse. Sound familiar? Definitely a good choice for those suffering from Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms.

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The Accursed Kings, by Maurice Druon (1955-77)

A curveball: not fantasy (the books cover the French monarchy in the 14th century), but a book for fans of fantasy. Its author Maurice Druon is the hero of George RR Martin, who penned the series that became Game of Thrones . As Martin wrote in the Guardian: “ The Accursed Kings has it all: iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, deception, family rivalries, the curse of the Templars, babies switched at birth, she-wolves, sin and swords, the doom of a great dynasty and all of it (or most of it) straight from the pages of history."

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (2004)

One of the more recent publications on this list, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The book’s premise is that magic has returned: two men, Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange, wield it. Written in a comedy of manners, Jane Austen style, it took its author British writer Susanna Clarke (see Piranesi above) ten years to write and was widely acclaimed on its release in 2004.

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Mort, by Terry Pratchett (1987)

One of the best entries in Terry Pratchett’s inimitable Discworld series, Mort focuses on a teenager who is taken under the apprenticeship of Death. Appearing in nearly every one of the Discworld books, Pratchett’s Death is one of the author’s greatest creations, and the source of some of the series’ most famous quotes ("Don’t think of it as dying, just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush.”) It’s in Mort that Death grows into a sympathetic and likeable character, who loves cats and curry and is continuously baffled by the irrationally of humans.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (2019)

Marlon James, who won the Booker prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings , is not traditionally a fantasy writer, but he dubbed his latest book the African Game of Thrones . (Although he later revealed the comparison was a joke). This book focuses on the political tensions between warring states, in a world populated by a host of magical creatures: cannibals, vampires, witches, ghosts and sorcerers.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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The Best Fantasy Book Series

Ranker Books

Fantastical realms beckon from the pages of best fantasy books series, inviting readers to traverse realms brimming with mythical beings and epic quests. All of the best fantasy book series transport readers from the mundane to the extraordinary. These imaginative tales have garnered acclaim for their intricate world-building, multi-dimensional characters, and enthralling storylines that keep audiences spellbound till the final page. 

These exceptional works demonstrate the expansive scope of imagination present in this literary category. From high fantasy epics to urban fantasies steeped in supernatural intrigue, these choices please many different reader preferences within this fantastical genre. Each book has a great story, evoking wonderment and fascination as it unravels complex narratives woven through enchanting realms. 

Famed examples such as J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series top this category - its richly-detailed Middle-Earth is an enduring legacy among both casual admirers and devoted fans. J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series has bewitched generations with its wonderful story happening within Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Frank Herbert's groundbreaking Dune series immerses readers in a space opera replete with political machinations and warring factions vying for control over vital resources. These titles represent just a few of the exceptional fantasy books offerings available. 

These beloved works are born of the exceptional imaginations of their authors. With each turning page, these stories reveal themselves as classics and make magic in the hearts of their readers. 

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings

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The Harry Potter Series

The Harry Potter Series

A Song of Ice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire

The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion

The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time

The Dragonriders of Pern

The Dragonriders of Pern

The Stormlight Archives

The Stormlight Archives

Dragonlance Chronicles

Dragonlance Chronicles

The Mistborn Series

The Mistborn Series

The Kingkiller Chronicle

The Kingkiller Chronicle

The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files (Storm Front, Full Moon, Grave...)

The Dresden Files (Storm Front, Full Moon, Grave...)

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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Percy Jackson Series

Percy Jackson Series

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

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Tales of Discworld

Tales of Discworld

The Legend of Drizzt Boxed Set, Books I-III

The Legend of Drizzt Boxed Set, Books I-III

Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice

The Belgariad

The Belgariad

Dragonlance Legends Trilogy

Dragonlance Legends Trilogy

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind

The Colour of Magic

The Colour of Magic

Shannara series

Shannara series

The Malloreon

The Malloreon

The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon

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The Dark Tower

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The 50 best fantasy books of all time

Check out our picks of the most exciting new fantasy novels of 2024, the best of 2023, as well as the top fantasy books of all time..

best fiction books with magic

Fantasy books offer readers the perfect escape into another world. Here we share some of the top fantasy books to give you some inspiration for your literary bucket list. From Megan Giddings dystopian The Women Could Fly , to the magical multi-dimensional universe of Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, and the dark academia world of The Atlas Six – if you’re a fantasy fiction fan we’ve got you covered.

The best fantasy books of 2024

Can’t spell treason without tea, by rebecca thorne.

Book cover for Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea

Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea is a cosy sapphic fantasy story of following your heart and building a community of found family. Tired of their high-stakes existence in the cruel Queen’s kingdom, bodyguard Reyna her partner, and powerful mage Kianthe, embark on a new adventure: to open a bookshop and teahouse together. As the pair flee to Tawney, a snow-covered town in the heart of dragon country, they discover a whole new world of adventure. As Reyna and Kianthe encounter mishaps and mysteries along the way, their love for each other is put to its greatest test yet. 

The Ashes and the Star Cursed King

Full of twists, intrigue and bloodthirsty romance, The Ashes and the Star Cursed King is the second book in Carissa Broadbent’s vampiric fantasy Crowns of Nyaxia series . A prisoner in her own kingdom, Oraya finds herself fighting for freedom and forced to enter into a secret alliance with Raihn, the vampire who betrayed her. With the rival Houses threatening to wage warfare against one another, and Oraya’s only hope of reclaiming her kingdom at the hands of her enemies, will she reclaim the throne or will her heart lead her astray? 

The Atlas Complex

By olivie blake.

Book cover for The Atlas Complex

In The Atlas Complex Olivie Blake offers a riveting conclusion to the internationally acclaimed The Atlas Six trilogy. Following a dramatic incident at the library, the Alexandrians must navigate their dangerous recruitment terms. With alliances crumbling and ethical dilemmas concerning their exceptional abilities, the initiates are split. Meanwhile, global forces are plotting their downfall, and Atlas Blakely, their Caretaker, might be planning something catastrophic. As they face decisions about power and betrayal, everyone is in a desperate race for survival.

by TJ Klune

Book cover for Heartsong

Heartsong , the third book in the Green Creek series, is a queer, paranormal romance set in Oregon's enchanting wilderness. Robbie Fontaine, having moved from pack to pack following his mother's death, yearns for a place to belong. His journey brings him to Caswell, Maine, where he experiences pack life as Michelle Hughes's trusted deputy. But when a mission incites doubt about his place and exposes whispers of treachery and magic, Robbie seeks answers, especially concerning Kelly Bennett, a wolf he believes may be his mate, and a rumored traitor. With the inevitable revelation of truth, everything stands to fall apart.

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A complete guide to TJ Klune's books

A tempest of tea, by hafsah faizal.

Book cover for A Tempest of Tea

Vampires. Secrets. Tea. What more do you want?! Already causing a ruckus on TikTok, in  A Tempest of Tea , Hafsah Faizal takes us to Arthie Casimir's prestigious tea establishment in the city of White Roaring. Tearoom by day, illegal bloodhouse by night, Arthie caters to both humans and vampires – but this arrangement is under threat, and Arthie can't save it alone. . .

by Lucy Jane Wood

Book cover for Rewitched

Such is the excitement around YouTube star Lucy Jane Wood's cosy fantasy, that when she announced it, it flew to number one on the Amazon book chart on pre-orders alone. Balancing work at her beloved Lunar Books and concealing her witchcraft from the non-witches around her has left Belle burnt out. But when her thirtieth birthday brings a summons from her coven, Belle risks losing her magic forever. With the month of October to fix things, and signs that dark forces may be working against her, Belle will need all the help she can get – from the women in her life, from an unlikely mentor figure, and even an (infuriating) watchman who’s sworn to protect her.

by Genevieve Cogman

Book cover for Elusive

Daring, adventurous, and elusive, for Eleanor life as a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel is never boring. As the League travels through revolutionary France rescuing vampires and aristocrats from the revolting masses, they learn that Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, a notorious French diplomat, has gone missing and offer their services to find him. Learning that de Talleyrand’s disappearance is part of a bigger plot, Eleanor must take matters into her own hands. From Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library series , comes the second novel in her thrilling fantasy retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel .

The best fantasy books of 2023

Sword catcher, by cassandra clare.

Book cover for Sword Catcher

Two outcasts find themselves at the centre of world-altering change in the start of an epic fantasy series from author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles. In Castellane, Kel is stolen to become Prince Conor Aurelian’s body-double. As his ‘Sword Catcher', Kel lives for one purpose: to die for Conor. Lin Caster is an Ashkar physician, part of a community ostracised for its rare magical abilities. But events pull her and Kel together and into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King who rules Castellane’s criminal underworld. Together, they’ll discover an extraordinary conspiracy. But can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? 

The Serpent and the Wings of Night

By carissa broadbent.

Book cover for The Serpent and the Wings of Night

In Carissa Broadbent's series opener, a human-vampire survival game akin to The Hunger Games, unfolds. Oraya, an adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, battles for more than mere survival in the Kejari, a legendary contest run by the goddess of death. To win, Oraya must ally with perilous Raihn, a deadly vampire and fierce competitor. Despite being an enemy to her father's reign, Oraya is irresistibly drawn to Raihn. In the merciless Kejari, compassion is scarce, and love could prove fatal.

Bookshops & Bonedust

By travis baldree.

Book cover for Bookshops & Bonedust

From cosy fantasy author Travis Baldree comes the prequel to BookTok sensation Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust. Wounded while hunting a necromancer, Viv, from Rackam's Ravens mercenary company, is sent against her will to recover in the remote beach town of Murk. Who would think she'd end up in a struggling bookshop with a grumpy proprietor as her main company? Despite the seclusion, adventure lurks close with strange visitors, a resentful gnome, a summer romance, and countless skeletons, making Murk more eventful than Viv expected.

Starling House

By alix e. harrow.

Book cover for Starling House

Nobody in Eden remembers when Starling House was built – stories of the house’s bad luck have been passed down the generations. Opal knows better than to mess with haunted houses, or brooding men. But when an opportunity to work there arises, the money might get her brother out of Eden. Starling House is uncanny and full of secrets – just like Arthur, its heir. Sinister forces converge on Eden – and Opal realizes that if she wants a home, she’ll have to fight for it, even if it involves digging up her family’s ugly past. This is a romantic and spellbinding Gothic fairytale from Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award-shortlisted Alix E. Harrow.

Book cover for Ravensong

Set in the dreamy backwoods of Oregon, Ravensong is the second book in TJ Klune’s beloved Green Creek series. Gordo Livingstone, scarred by past betrayals, isolates himself from his wolf pack in a mountain town. However, when the wolves return, he teams up with Mark Bennett to face a common enemy and emerges victorious. A year later, Gordo becomes the witch of the Bennett pack, battling his feelings for Mark and a mysterious impending threat. As Green Creek settles, internal turmoil arises. Unbreakable bonds may prove fragile as danger looms.

Stone Blind

By natalie haynes.

Book cover for Stone Blind

The sole mortal raised in a family of gods, Medusa lives with an urgency that her family will never know, and is alone in her ability to experience change and to be hurt. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. Unable to control her new power, she is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest. Shorlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023, this retelling of the famed myth of Medusa asks who the real monsters are, after all.

A guide to Natalie Haynes' books

He who drowned the world, by shelley parker-chan.

Book cover for He Who Drowned the World

He Who Drowned the World  is the sequel to the  Sunday Times  bestseller  She Who Became the Sun. After triumphing over the Mongol rulers, Zhu Yuanzhang aspires to become emperor. However, her ambitions are challenged by Madam Zhang, who seeks the throne for her husband, and Wang Baoxiang, a scorned scholar craving revenge. To secure her position, Zhu forms a risky alliance with the unstable eunuch general, Ouyang, while all contenders push their limits for power. As desire and ambition clash, the question remains whether even the most ruthless heart can bear the steep price of their pursuits. 

Masters of Death

Book cover for Masters of Death

This book is about an estate agent. Only she’s a vampire, the house on sale is haunted, and its ghost was murdered. When Viola Marek hires Fox D’Mora to deal with her ghost-infested mansion, she expects a competent medium. But unbeknownst to Viola, Fox is a fraud – despite being the godson of Death. As the mystery unfolds, Viola and Fox are drawn into a quest that neither wants nor expects. And they'll need the help of a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel and a love-stricken reaper. And it transpires that the difference between a mysterious lost love and a dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as you’d hope.

A Power Unbound

By freya marske.

Book cover for A Power Unbound

Set in an alternative Edwardian England,  A Power Unbound  is the third book in The Last Binding trilogy. Start the series with   A Marvellous Light  and  A Restless Truth . Jack Alston seeks a peaceful life after his twin sister's death forced him to abandon magic. However, a perilous ritual threatens British magicians, forcing Jack back into the magical world. In a London townhouse he joins the owner to find the Last Contract's final piece, enlisting the help of Alan Ross, a money-driven writer and thief. But the alliance will become entangled in a night of secrets and bloody sacrifice as the foundations of magic in Britain risk being torn up. 

Spirits Abroad

Book cover for Spirits Abroad

Drawing inspiration from Asian myth and folklore, Zen Cho's short story collection combines magic, joy, humour and tenderness. We’ll meet an elderly ex-member of parliament, who recalls her youthful romance with an orang bunian. Then a teenage vampire struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love . . . and eating people. A mischievous matriarch returns from the dead to disrupt her own funeral rites and Chang E, the Chinese moon goddess, spins off into outer space – the ultimate metaphor for diaspora. Enjoy this journey into magical new worlds, each with its own meaning. 

The First Bright Thing

By j. r. dawson.

Book cover for The First Bright Thing

Ringmaster, or Rin for short, can jump to different moments in time. With the scars of World War I feeling more distant as the years pass, Rin is focusing on the brighter things in life, like the circus she’s built and the magical misfits and outcasts. But while the present is bright, threats come at Rin from the past as a malevolent shadow looms, and from the future with an impending war on the horizon. The First Bright Thing  by J. R. Dawson is a spellbinding debut for fantasy fans that also asks the difficult question – if you knew how dark tomorrow would be, what would you do with today?

Fall of Ruin and Wrath

By jennifer l. armentrout.

Book cover for Fall of Ruin and Wrath

From the author of  From Blood and Ash,   Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a scorching romance with high stakes, breathtaking magic and a searing enemies-to-lovers romance. In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by vengeful gods, nine surviving cities thrive under pleasure-seeking rulers. Calista, possessing infallible intuition, hides as a courtesan. She rescues a prince, triggering warnings of joy and doom. As the prince and her protector vie for power, she navigates rebellion, danger, and desire, torn between intuition's safety and heart's risk. Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a captivating romantic fantasy from a mega bestselling author and global sensation.

The Thousand Eyes

By a. k. larkwood.

Book cover for The Thousand Eyes

The epic sequel to The Unspoken Name – could you sacrifice your dreams to escape a nightmare? Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal survey abandoned Echentyr worlds to make a living. The empire’s ruins seem harmless but fascinating. Yet disaster strikes when they stumble upon ancient magic during a routine expedition. This revives a warrior who’d slept for an age, reigniting a conflict thousands of years old. And the soldier binds Csorwe to her cause. Shuthmili is desperate to protect the woman she loves. However, as events escalate, she’s torn. Can she help Csorwe by clinging to her own humanity or by embracing her eldritch powers? 

One For My Enemy

Book cover for One For My Enemy

In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand in Olivie Blake's new fantasy fiction. The Antonova sisters and their mother, Baba Yaga, are the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants while the Fedorov brothers and their crime boss father, Koschei the Deathless, dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. For twelve years, the two families have been in stalemate, but that is about to change. While fate draws together a brother and sister from either side, the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. 

A guide to The Atlas Six and Olivie Blake's books

Book cover for Scarlet

Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocrat vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty. For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. Revolution's a bloodthirsty business . . .  Scarlet  is a thrilling reinvention of the tale of  The Scarlet Pimpernel  with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.

A Taste of Gold and Iron

By alexandra rowland.

Book cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron

Kadou, the modest prince of Arasht, has no plans to wrestle for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he is in conflict with the father of queen's new child, who is a powerful ambassador at the court. Then a hunting expedition goes badly wrong, and Kadou finds himself accused of murder. This sensual tale of courtly intrigue, backstabbing politics and romance set against the backdrop of an Ottoman Empire-inspired world, is a must-read.

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

By t. l. huchu.

Book cover for The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

Ghostalker Ropa Moyo and her rag-tag team of magicians are back in The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle, the third book in the spellbinding Edinburgh Nights series. Ropa Moyo is no stranger to magic or mysteries. But she’s still stuck in an irksomely unpaid internship. So she’s thrilled to attend a magical convention at Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, where she’ll rub elbows with eminent magicians. For Ropa, it’s the perfect opportunity to finally prove her worth. Then a librarian is murdered and a precious scroll stolen. Suddenly, every magician is a suspect, and Ropa and her allies investigate.

Fourth Wing

By rebecca yarros.

Book cover for Fourth Wing

Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last . . . Violet, destined for a quiet life among books, is forced by her commanding mother to become a dragon rider, despite her fragility. With dragons rarely bonding with humans like her, danger looms. Amidst a deadly war and failing protective wards, she suspects a dark secret among the leadership. Forming alliances and facing treacherous foes, Violet fights for survival. Romance and betrayals intertwine as she navigates this perilous path. Graduation or death awaits in the world of dragon riders. 

Immortal Longings

By chloe gong.

Book cover for Immortal Longings

In the kingdom of Talin, the deadly games held in the capital twin cities of San-Er attract thousands, offering unimaginable riches to those skilled enough to jump between bodies and enter the fight to the death. Princess Calla Tuoleimi seeks to take down her tyrannical uncle, King Kasa. To achieve her goal, she must win the games, where Anton Makusa, desperate to save his comatose childhood love, enters to secure the prize money. An unexpected alliance between Calla and Anton forms, leading to a consuming partnership. As the games near their end, Calla faces a crucial choice: her lover or her kingdom.

by Frances Hardinge

Book cover for Unraveller

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and his closest ally. But the Unraveller carries a curse himself and, unless he and Nettle can remove it, Kellen is a danger to everything – and everyone – around him . . .

The Women Could Fly

By megan giddings.

Book cover for The Women Could Fly

Part fantasy, part dystopia,  The Women Could Fly  is a powerful novel that speaks to our times. In a world where witches are real and unmarried women over the age of thirty must be monitored by the state, Josephine Thomas is twenty-eight, ambivalent about marriage and on the cusp of losing autonomy over her own life. It's been fourteen years since her mother's disappearance, and Jo has heard ever possible explanation from kidnapping to murder . . . to witchcraft; but all these years later, she feels she's never understood her mother more. So when she's offered an opportunity to honour one last request from her mother's will, she takes it . . .

Book cover for Wolfsong

When Ox Matheson was twelve his father taught him that he was worthless, destined to be misunderstood, and then he left him. Four years later, the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change his life forever: they are shapeshifters, and can transform into wolves at will. Drawn into an unimaginable new world, Ox found a friend in Joe, the youngest Bennett brother, but when the pack was pulled apart by tragedy and murder, Joe left town . But now, he has returned, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Origins of The Wheel of Time

By michael livingston.

Book cover for Origins of The Wheel of Time

This companion to Robert Jordan's internationally bestselling series, The Wheel of Time, will delve into the creation of a masterpiece, drawing from interviews and an unprecedented examination of his unpublished notes. Michael Livingston tells the behind-the-scenes story of who Jordan was (including a chapter that is the very first published biography of the author), how he worked, and why he holds such an important place in modern literature.

The best fantasy books of all time

The atlas six.

Book cover for The Atlas Six

Dark-academia fantasy novel  The Atlas Six  was originally self-published by Olivie Blake, and was then snapped up for re-publication after it shot to fame on TikTok. The story follows six young magical practitioners as they compete to join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places. Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

Legends & Lattes

Book cover for Legends & Lattes

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually  is . But old rivals and new stand in the way of success, and Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more. If you've already read Legends & Lattes then Bookshops & Bonedust , the highly anticipated prequel, is available to pre-order now. 

The Invisible Library

Book cover for The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is the astounding debut fantasy book by Genevieve Cogman, and the first novel in The Invisible Library series. Professional spy Irene works for the mysterious Library, along with her enigmatic assistant Kai. Their mission is to steal a dangerous book from an alternative London. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. And to make things more complicated, this alternative world is infested with chaos, full of supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic.

The Invisible Library books in order

A marvellous light.

Book cover for A Marvellous Light

For fans of Bridgerton who'd like to welcome magic into their lives. Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance. Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he's actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, and he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his adversarial magical-society counterpart, as together they discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

Empire in Black and Gold

By adrian tchaikovsky.

Book cover for Empire in Black and Gold

This epic fantasy novel is the first book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s critically acclaimed fantasy series The Shadows of the Apt. The Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades, but now an ancient Empire is conquering city after city, and the Lowlands are next . . . Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, sees the threat, but can he convince his people of the danger that is coming? 

Adrian Tchaikovsky's books in order

Blood of an exile, by brian naslund.

Book cover for Blood of an Exile

In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who sentenced Bershad offers him a way out of his forced occupation and exile, Bershad sees a way to earn redemption, but it won't be easy.  Blood of an Exile , the first book in the Dragons of Terra series is packed with adventure and of course, lots of dragons.

The Lord of the Rings

By j. r. r. tolkien.

Book cover for The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy is a classic of fantasy fiction and is a must-read for all fantasy fans. The story of the hobbit Frodo and his epic quest to reach Mount Doom and defeat the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying the One Ring, Tolkien’s epic fantasy was adapted into three of the most popular films of the 2000s. One of the best fantasy books ever written. 

by Susan Dennard

Book cover for Bloodwitch

The brilliantly imagined coming-of-age fantasy series, Witchlands, continues with  Bloodwitch . The Bloodwitch Aeduan and Iseult the Threadwitch race for safety, desperate to evade the Raider King. His attempts to subdue the Witchlands are gaining momentum, as his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing goals, Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet trust is a tenuous bond . . .


Book cover for Witchshadow

Susan Dennard’s  New York Times  bestselling fantasy series continues – with the story of Iseult, the Threadwitch. The Witchlands have been on the brink of war, and in the fourth book in this epic fantasy series, it arrives. Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

The Witchlands series books in order

By lucy holland.

Book cover for Sistersong

This folklore-inspired tale of betrayal, magic and murder is a 2022 must read. King Cador’s children inherit a land abandoned by the Romans, torn by warring tribes. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. And Sinne dreams of love, longing for adventure. All three fear a life confined within the hold, protected from Saxon invaders. But when Myrdhin, meddler and magician, arrives, the siblings discover the power within themselves and the land.  

Fury of a Demon

Book cover for Fury of a Demon

The third and final instalment in Brian Naslund's Dragons of Terra trilogy has come to paperback this year. Osyrus Ward has subdued most of Terra, but to finish the job and annihilate the dragons he must add to his huge army of skyships and create a machine that possesses unheard-of power. Rebels Bershad and Ashlyn are doing every everything they can to prevent this, but they have been captured in Dainwood by Ward's mercenaries. Ashlyn employs her dark magic against the terrifying forces massing around them, and Bershad summons his history of victory in battle. But will their combined energies be enough to save the world?

The Empire's Ruin

By brian staveley.

Book cover for The Empire's Ruin

In the first book in Brian Staveley's epic fantasy trilogy, Ashes of the Unhewn, the great Annurian Empire is on its last legs, and its elite soldiers – the Kettral – are dwindling. Kettral soldier Gwenna Sharpe is given a quest, in order to restore the hawk-riding battalion. She must travel beyond the known world, to the place where the mighty war hawks nest. She will face obstacles along the way, from poisoned land to a monk turned conman to sinister forces massing against the empire. Gwenna's quest to save it is fraught with danger, but full of potential for recovery and renewal.

by Neil Gaiman

Book cover for Stardust

In the tiny town of Wall, young Tristan Thorn is madly in love with the beautiful Victoria Forrester. When she agrees to marry him if he retrieves a fallen star he doesn’t hesitate. But to find the fallen star he’ll need to cross the ancient wall which the town is named for, into a world of magic and danger. This charming fairytale fantasy will delight fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver . 

The Colour of Magic

By terry pratchett.

Book cover for The Colour of Magic

Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully inventive fantasy fiction series Discworld begins with  The Colour of Magic . Set in a flat world resting on the back of four elephants who are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle, this is a parallel time and place full of magic. When the first-ever tourist arrives, their survival is charged to a comically inept wizard who must face robbers, mercenaries and Death himself. Terry Pratchett is the author of some of the most-loved fantasy books of all-time.  

The Star-Touched Queen

By roshani chokshi.

Book cover for The Star-Touched Queen

Maya's world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges her marriage for political advantage. She becomes the Queen of Akaran and the wife of Amar despite a horoscope that promised a marriage of death and destruction. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire. But Akaran has its own secrets. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger, but who besides her husband can she trust? Steeped in Indian folklore and mythology The Star-Touched Queen is an enthralling fantasy read.

A Game of Thrones

By george r.r. martin.

Book cover for A Game of Thrones

No list of the best fantasy fiction is complete without George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy fiction series, universally acknowledged to be some of the best fantasy books of all time. The first book in the series gave its name to the TV series that became one of the most talked-about in history. In a world where summers span decades and winter can last a lifetime, the battle for the Iron Throne has begun. The breakout success of A Game of Thrones means the series will feature on best fantasy books lists for years to come.

Books series to read if you love Game of Thrones

The fifth season, by n. k. jemisin.

Book cover for The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is the first fantasy novel in N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. In a far-future Earth, a continent known as the Stillness is plagued by apocalyptic natural disasters known as Seasons, that can last for generations. Book one follows the story of Essun, a woman living an unremarkable life in a quiet town until three tragedies strike in one day. Her husband murders their beloved son in cold blood and kidnaps their daughter, a world-spanning empire falls, and a great rift has been torn into the Stillness throwing ash into the sky and blocking the sun's light for years to come. And so Essun's fight to save her daughters in this dying land, begins . . .

Sorcerer to the Crown

Book cover for Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown is the first book in Hugo Award-winning author Zen Cho’s fantasy series. In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, whose duty it is to keep the levels of magic stable   – but they're failing. The supply of magic is being disrupted by the Fairy Court, and war with France means the government wants to drain this scarce resource even further. When Zacharias meets ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman they find that her recent magical discovery might just change the nature of sorcery forever.  

by John Gwynne

Book cover for Malice

Malice is the first book in John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series , from bestselling author Conn Iggulden. Set in the Banished Lands where armies of men and giants clash in battle, Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Ruin of Kings

By jenn lyons.

Book cover for The Ruin of Kings

The hugely anticipated debut by Jenn Lyons is the first fantasy book in the A Chorus of Dragons series. Brim-full of big ideas – body-swapping, prophecy, rich worldbuilding and grim commentaries on many aspects of empire – to name but a few, this is the tale of Kihrin, a young prince cursed with bad luck and worse prophecy.  The Ruin of Kings  is a fantastically complex and multi-layered fantasy book, and characters like Doc and Galen, alongside Kihrin's own well-balanced set of talents and flaws make this a promising new fantasy series. 

Children of Blood and Bone

By tomi adeyemi.

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi’s YA fantasy book is the first in her West African-inspired fantasy fiction series Legacy of Orisha. Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . . Tomi Adeyemi is the author of some on the best fantasy books for YA readers in recent years.

She Who Became the Sun

Book cover for She Who Became the Sun

A Number One  Sunday Times  Bestseller, this absorbing historical fantasy novel from Shelley Parker-Chan reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor. In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule, and when a bandit raid wipes out her home and her brother perishes, Zhu resolves to overcome her destiny by taking her dead brother’s identity. Can Zhu escape what’s written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother’s greatness – and rise as high as she can dream?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By marlon james.

Book cover for Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf  is the first fantasy novel in Marlon James's Dark Star Trilogy. A New York Times bestseller, National Book Award finalist and Ray Bradbury Prize winner, it's no stranger to accolades. Set in an African-inspired fantasy world, the first book in the series follows Tracker, a mercenary with an extraordinary ability to follow scents, as he hunts down a missing boy. On his journey Tracker's crosses paths with strange companions, from shapeshifters to giants, who seek the same child and hide their own secrets . . .

We Hunt the Flame

Book cover for We Hunt the Flame

A TikTok sensation, We Hunt the Flame  is a brilliant YA fantasy debut about exploration and claiming your own identity. Zafira is a Hunter, who disguises herself as a man to try to provide for her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, a notorious assassin in thrall to his sultan father. Both are reluctant legends, and both are on dangerous missions. As they embark on these perilous tasks, a long buried evil begins to stir. We Free the Stars is the epic sequel in Hafsah Faizal's duology.

The Buried Giant

By kazuo ishiguro.

Book cover for The Buried Giant

Booker Prize-winning author Kazou Ishiguro does not disappoint in his first fantasy book, The Buried Giant . The book begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, this is a novel about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Howl's Moving Castle

By diana wynne jones.

Book cover for Howl's Moving Castle

Now also a movie from Studio Ghibli, this beloved modern classic follows Sophie Hatter from the land of Ingary as she catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell. Deciding she has nothing more to lose, Sophie makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above her town, Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl, whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls . . . 

Northern Lights

By philip pullman.

Book cover for Northern Lights

First published in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first book in the Hid Dark Materials series is a must-read for all fantasy fans. Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world. 

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The 27 Best Books About Witches For Adults, Teens, and Budding Practitioners

Dare we say they're spellbinding?

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Read enough witch books and you may want to become one yourself, which happened to Alex Mar when she was researching her nonfiction work Witches of America . If that path happens to spark your interest, try Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within , an introduction to spells, altar-making, and more. Or, perhaps you'd rather read about women learning to harness their powers, like the Owens sisters in Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic or Sunny Nwauze in Akata Witch . In that case, also consider coming-of-age stories found in YA fare like The Year of the Witching , or adult books like Anne Rice's bestselling Lives of the Mayfair Witches serie s. Tweens brave enough can read Roald Dahl's famously scary book, aptly titled The Witches . And, yes, there are even witch books for babies.

Set across time and space, from Salem to New Orleans, these stories are nothing short of captivating.

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Elena Nicolaou is the former culture editor at Oprah Daily. 

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Beyond the Bookends

A Book Blog for Women and Moms who Love to Read

30 of the Best Witch Books That are Wickedly Addicting

Witches header

**Updated 09/01/2023**

Halloween is fast approaching and every year, as soon as the weather begins to cool for fall, I can’t get enough of witch books! This year has some amazing new picks that I cannot read fast enough! Whether you like YA witch books, witch book series, or witch romances, we’ve got you covered with our favorites.

There is something about witch books that has always captivated my attention. I’m not saying that I wish I could make a potion or two but, I would really love to make a potion or two that was not just what my kids are eating for dinner. Which witch book is your favorite?

* Witch Books Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

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Table of Contents

Best Witch Books of 2023

Playing the Witch Card

Playing the Witch Card by K.J. Dell’Antonia

This witch book is the perfect blend of Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic in the new novel from the bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters! This fantastic fantasy book has characters and a story that are irresistible.

Flair Hardwicke must navigate three generations of magic, two exes, and a Tarot deck that insists on making itself known. This whimsical tale had me loving Flair more with each page and hoping that she would be able to navigate her own past in order to create a happy ending for herself and her daughter. If you love witch books, this pick is the perfect pick.

The Witches of Bone Hill

The Witches of Bone Hill by Ava Morgyn

Cordelia and Eustace are sisters who have inherited a large Victorian mansion. The catch? In order to collect their inheritance, they must live inside the quirky mansion.

With a dash of mystery, a touch of romance, and a sprinkle of spooky ancestors, the sisters must navigate the house, a captivating groundskeeper, and the secrets that have been haunting their family for generations. The sisters will need to embrace the powers that they have been taught to ignore in order to mend their bond, uncover the truth, and save themselves.

This is one of the witch books that is not only spooky but completely captivating from the first page.

Weyward and more of the best Summer reads 2023

Weyward by Emilia Hart

This is such a well-thought-out book and one of the best witch books I have read in a while. This adult fantasy book follows three Weyward women. In 2017, Kate is fleeing an abusive partner to her great-aunt’s cottage. In 1619, Altha is awaiting her own witch trial and in 1942 we meet Violet whose father keeps her trapped in her house because she cannot fit into what society expects of her.

Each of these women finds themselves and who they are as the story progresses and I found myself completely sucked in. I loved this debut urban fantasy novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author. It is also a perfect book to read if you love the Practical Magic Series or the All Souls Trilogy . If fantasy books are your favorite, you will love this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023.

Must Read Witch Books for 2022

The witches of moonshyne manor

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais

I am a huge fan of Ms. Marais’ writing. I read her previous two books and was so excited to read this adult fantasy book because fantasy is my favorite genre. This book did not disappoint. The writing is beautiful and very much Marais’ style and the witches in this book are hilarious. They are witty and funny and there is never a dull moment in the Manor.

The magic in this book is woven seamlessly into the story that has non-stop surprises. The book begins with the people of the town descending onto the manor with a wrecking ball to destroy it and the distillery and leave the witches homeless. They are left with less than two weeks to save their house but in order to do so, they must reveal long-kept secrets.

I do not want to give anything away. This family drama book made me laugh out loud often and shed a few tears as well. I absolutely loved this witch book and it is a definite must-read from our list of adult fantasy novels.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

This book for fall is definitely a feel-good book of the season. Mika Moon knows that she must hide her magic and stay away from other witches so their powers do not draw the attention of other people. She also knows that witches are destined to be orphans, a very lonely existence.

When she is asked to come and teach magic to three young witches, she finds the life that she had always dreamed of, even if it is temporary. But, does it have to be? Can she find the life she always wanted?

I listened to this charming witch book in one day and loved it. This adult fantasy book is a delightful pick from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023 and if you were waiting to read this one, it is a great book for fall.

Acts of Violet

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

I absolutely loved the GMA book club pick Oona Out of Order and it was on our list of the best of the year. I was so excited to read this witch book and it did not disappoint.

When the famous magician Violet Volk disappears without a trace, nobody can figure out where she went. Now, a decade later, her sister is wondering if Violet will finally reappear and if she can get some answers. Her fans still love and adore her but Sasha wants answers. Their relationship has left so many questions. As Sasha searches for answers, she will have to come to terms with the past.

I loved this adult fantasy novel. It is so original and unlike anything that I have read. It is magical realism at its best which is not surprising coming from this author. This is a very original pick from our list of books with colors in the title.

Book of night

The Book of Night by Holly Black

I have read Holly Black for years and love her so I was so excited to read this adult fantasy. This fantasy is complex and dark which I should have guessed from the name.

Black is able to make our world into something else and make it seem entirely plausible. In this world, shadows can be manipulated and changed into something else. They can be removed and controlled.

Charlie is a Con artist who finds herself pulled into something that is over her head. Desperate to save herself and her sister, Charlie will do almost anything. While nobody calls themselves witches in this book, the manipulation of matter is certainly witch-like. I would definitely consider this a witch book like no other.

Young Adult Books About Witches

Akata Witch

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I absolutely loved this YA fantasy book about Sunny, a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her parents and two brothers in Nigeria. Sunny is albino and teased for her looks. This is one of the fantasy books set in Africa that is a must read!

When Sunny discovers that she is a “free agent”, someone with magical abilities whose parents are not magic, she enters a world she didn’t know existed. Sunny and her three fellow magical students must study and learn their abilities in order to stop the Black Hat Killer before he brings about complete destruction.

Unlike anything I have read, the story is woven beautifully and is one of the best fantasy books for teens. if you love young adult books about witches, this is at the top of our list.

plain bad heroines

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

I started Plain Bad Heroines and I did not know what to think.  I was debating giving up on the book for a little while because I just wasn’t sure where the book was going.  Fast forward. I loved it and I am glad I stuck with it. This YA fantasy book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well-written.

The lines between reality and fiction are perfectly blurred. It is a book about a book and making a movie about that same book. ( follow that? Lol) The story intertwines the lives of all those that read the book and the mystery and supernatural that follows them 🐝. I don’t usually read horror but I loved this witch book. If you’ve read this dark academia novel, I have to talk to someone about it!!!

If you love this book, we have 20 more Dark Academia book recommendations here.

Serpent and Dove

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise Le Blanche is a witch, Reid Diggory is a witch hunter, but when they are forced to be married Lou has to keep her identity a secret and try not to fall for her handsome husband. Could you ask for anything more from enemies-to-lovers books?

Set in the pre-industrial age in Paris, France, this historical fantasy book is perfect for lovers of YA! It’s got funny, fierce heroines, a steamy love story, and a cast that is actually diverse! I devoured all three witch books in this YA fantasy series of books set in Paris.

Watchmakers Daughter 1

The Watchmaker’s Daughter (Glass and Steel#1 by C.J Archer

I read this book in a day. I then read the next three in as many days. I am not sure what is so addicting about these witch books, but they are just that- addicting.  There is a little magic, a great story and a whole lot of chemistry going on in these books.

India Steel does not know what to do when her father dies and her fiancé steals her inheritance- the watch store where she always worked. Members of the watchmaking guild are afraid of her. Left with no other choice, India takes a job with Matthew Glass. A charismatic, if not mysterious man from America. While this series is technically not a young adult fantasy book, there is no inappropriate content in this series.

the wren hunt

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

I loved this book and read it in only a few days.   Once a year, Wren is chased through the forest by a group of boys who deliberately taunt her and terrify her.  They are judges-  a powerful group of families who control magic.  Little do they know that Wren is an Augur- another magical family who has to keep her identity hidden. 

The war between the Judges and the Augur is old and deep.  In order to save her family, Wren must take an internship within the walls of a Judge’s home and risk everything.  The lies and the deceit are spellbinding I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. This is a modern witch book that is a must-read and a young adult fantasy novel that should be on your TBR as well.

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Ultimate List of YA Fantasy

If you love witch books then this is the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres.

Witch Book Series

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

For years, the Owens women have known that their bad luck is because of a curse. This book is the first book in the Practical Magic series. I just adore this tale of magic, family, and sisterhood. At this point, this is one of the best urban fantasy books and it is truly iconic.

Gillian and Sally are sisters who have been raised by their two aunts. They both want to leave their small Massachusetts town. But, when Gillian gets into trouble, she runs to Sally for help.

The trouble comes back to haunt them and when a hunky police chief comes to town, the sisters try hard to cover up their family secrets. The powerful bond between the Owens sisters brings this story to life and is a must for a list of books about sisters. This is the first published book in the Practical Magic series and the one I recommend you read first.

If you love adult fantasy books, check out: Practical Magic Books in Order and More Witchy Books for 2023 . This is a must-read if you love witch books and my favorite of all the Alice Hoffman Books .

Not sure which Practical Magic book to read first , we have a whole post about it!

discovery of witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop is a witch who accidentally recovers an ancient book that has been missing for hundreds of years. In doing so, she triggers her long-forgotten magic and opens the door for vampires, witches, and demons to search out Diana and the book.

This urban fantasy book about secret societies, witches, vampires, and more is a blend of heart-pounding action, historical fiction, and romance with the perfect mix of fantasy as well.

Why We Love This Book: If you love the witch aspect of Harry Potter, Vampires, fantasy books, or time travel books then you will love The All Souls trilogy. This adult fantasy novel explores the history of witches, demons, and vampires. This series reads like a historical fiction and we are obsessed. Find this book in Books Like A Discovery of Witches / Best Fantasy Books for Adults / Books About Witches / Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter / Books About Libraries

The magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is a high school student obsessed with the made up world of Fillory.  He finds himself admitted to a magical college that is both secret and elite. If you are looking for books set in college, this one has an almost cult-like following.

The best way I can describe this series is if Harry Potter was admitted to Hogwarts in College.  It has a different, darker feel but it is fun, imaginative, and entertaining. The magic in this school is definitely a little bit dark and steamy and for this reason, is perfect for a list of dark academia novels. If you love urban fantasy books, you must read this series of books like Harry Potter. This is a witch book unlike any other.

If you like The Magicians, here are more adult books like Harry Potter.

back in a spell

Back in a Spell (The Witches of Thistle Gove Book 3) by Lana Harper

Nina Blackmore has been trying and failing to get over her broken heart for a year. Now, her best friend convinces her that she needs to attempt to date by dating someone who is the opposite of her usual.

Nina goes out with Morty and it does not go well but suddenly, Morty starts developing magical powers and Nina’s powers become off the charts. These two must learn to navigate the magic.

This was such a cute romance and a perfect next book in the Thistle Grove series.

Salem Witch Trial Books

Magic lessons

Magic Lessons (Book #1 of the Practical Magic Series) by Alice Hoffman

I started it the minute I got it but made myself wait until Halloween to finish the book because I wanted to enjoy the book to the fullest.  I absolutely loved this prequel to the amazing Practical Magic.  

The  Owens women have a centuries-old curse that started with Maria Owens in the 1600s.  With her amazing ability to weave a story, Alice Hoffman has once again written a book that captured my heart on the first page.  Part historical fiction and part love story, this witch book had everything that I wanted from a prequel. This historical fantasy book was a must for books like A Discovery of Witches.

If you love Alice Hoffman, you’ll love our guide to The Practical Magic series!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond and more witch books

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

This children’s story is the book that sparked my interest in witch books. It’s all about Kit Tyler, a child new to colonial America, who befriends a woman named Hannah Tupper.

But the townspeople believe that Hannah is a witch, and soon Kit is swept into a trial similar to the Salem Witch Trials. She has to prove her innocence or risk being killed like a witch.

A break with Charity

A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi inspired my love of historical fiction with her books, and A Break with Charity is no exception. This witch book tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials.

Susanna knows that Ann Putnam is planning to falsely accuse women her mother dislikes of being witches, but when she is threatened by Ann, she has no choice but to go along with her plan. But once her own parents are swept into the madness, Susanna seeks a plan to stop the witch trials once and for all. This is one of the books about witches that takes place during the Salem Witch Trials and is a must-read.

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Witch Books: Romance

Witch Please

Witch Please by Ann Aguirre

This charming romance is perfect for Halloween! Danica is a witch hiding as a mechanic with her cousin, Clem.

Swearing to her grandmother not to fall in love with a mundane (non-magic man) so as not to lose her power is easier said than done.

She meets baker, Titus, and is instantly smitten. Can she casually date him or will she catch the feels?

the ex

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

This is the most charming Halloween romance book about witches EVER. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it, but it’s perfect for the spooky season and a perfect book for fall.

Nine years ago Rhys Penhallow broke Viviane Jones’ heart and so she cursed him. Now he’s back in the town his family founded to infuse magic back into the ley lines but everything goes wrong!

As his curse takes over the town, Rhys and Vivi have to work to end the curse and restore the right magic back to the town…if they can keep their rekindled romance at bay long enough!

This is one of the most fun urban fantasy romance books on this list. This is one of the adult fantasy novels you will not want to miss. If you love second chance romance books, this is such a great pick.


Chocolat by Joanne Harris

In a small town where everything stays the same, Vianne comes and sets up her chocolate shop. She has the ability to know exactly what everyone needs to mend their souls. Is this a witch book? That is for you to decide.

Warning: do not read this book if you are hungry because the descriptions of the chocolate confections are almost as good as the book itself. Add in a touch of romance, and this book is a delicious treat.

Historical Fiction Witch Books

A secret history of witches

A History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

Five generations of witches must decide what they are willing to do to protect their family. Ursule is a powerful witch whose power was thought to be lost when she dies.

When her granddaughter steps into the circle, the magic is reborn. This is such a great historical fiction witch book, we highly recommend it.

mists of avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is a fairy tale retelling of the story of King Arthur, featuring the Lady of the Lake, Paganism vs. Christianity, and an epic struggle for power.

Merlin and the Lady of the Lake practice pagan witchcraft, as they try to keep the old ways alive against the new religion gaining popularity, the choices they make for Arthur’s kingdom inspire the tale we know so well.

Why I Loved it: This was my first high fantasy book series, which I routinely think about. I read it in middle school (which I absolutely shouldn’t have) and devoured this tome in days. It captivated my imagination unlike anything I had ever read before.

The mini-series adaptation of this adult fantasy book is wonderful too and well worth the watch! It’s perfect for our list of Cornwall Books. If you love witch books, you will love this pick.

Find this book in Cornwall Books / Fairy Tale Retellings / Lake Books / Adult Fantasy Novels / Witch Books

jonathan strange

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark

This book. So many people recommended it to me because of my love for Harry Potter. The writing style was Victorian, which fit the book’s time period but felt hard to read at times. The story, however, is full, complex and epic. If you love witch books, this is a must-read.

In nineteenth-century England, people believed that magic had disappeared until Mr. Norrell revealed his powers. He then takes Jonathan Strange as a student. But when Strange is drawn to darker magic, the two men develop a rivalry that can change history.

the lost queen

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

If you love Outlander, The Mists of Avalon, or The Clan of the Cave Bear, then you will love this pick from royal reads. Set in Britain/ Scotland when Christianity is poised to become the religion of the country, a future queen who swore to the old ways is learning how to balance the needs of her people and her religion with the role she’s expected to play.

Meanwhile, her twin brother is training to be the man history knows as Merlin. The first in a new trilogy about Arthurian legend.

This book is a perfect pick for a list of books like A Discovery of Witches or a list of books like Outlander. If you love books set in Scotland, this book is a must-read.

Books About Witches/ With Witch Characters


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #1)

How do we love Outlander? We cannot count the ways. There is a reason this is one of my favorite books of all time .

This epic story begins in 1945 when Claire Randall and her husband take a second honeymoon to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate being reunited after the war. When Claire touches one of the standing stones, she is transported to 1743.

This is when the real story begins. In order to stay safe as an English woman in Scotland, she must depend on Jamie Frasier for protection. This book is definitely at the top of our list of best romance novels of all time but you will love it equally if you love historical fiction , magical realism , romance , or witches . This is one of the iconic and epic time travel romance books that has it all and is perfect for a list of books like A Discovery of Witches . It was easy to include this on the best fantasy books for adults as well.

The White Queen

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen is one of my favorite Philippa Gregory novels, revolving around Elizabeth Woodville and her relationship with the King of England. I love the magical elements of this book as Elizabeth and her mother were said to be witches. We had to put this on our list of witch books.

It’s a really wonderful story. I learned so much about the tumultuous history of Britain. Also of note, Elizabeth was the mother of the boys in the tower which this book covers as well. If you love biographical novels, Philippa Gregory has written more than a dozen for you to read.

Find this book in Biographical Fiction / Best Witch Books / Books with Colors in the Title


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s most well-known works. When three witches tell Macbeth (a Scottish general) that he will be king, Macbeth makes sure this comes to pass by killing the king himself.

Soon, Macbeth is paranoid and begins to kill more people in order to remain the reigning king. Obviously, this is a very simplified version of the story but, all the death and destruction begins with the prophecy of three witches. This classic is a must for any list of books about witches.

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Middle-Grade Witch Books

Harry potter and the sorcerer's stone and more fantasy books for tweens

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling

I was in university when this book was published and the first four were sitting on my younger brother’s bookshelf before I picked it up to see what the fuss was about. I read all four books in as many days and was married with a child before the final book was published. 

This story introduces us to Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger; our fearless trio.  We also meet the other favorite beloved and detested characters that make the Harry Potter book series so special. After all, what would Hogwarts be without Hagrid, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, and Draco Malfoy?

Why We Love This Book:  In our opinion, this is the best children’s fantasy series ever written. It features strong lessons on morality, inventive plotlines, and hidden threads woven throughout the entire series. Jim Dale’s audiobook narration of this book is award-winning. He voices over 200 characters, each with distinct accents. Appropriate for ages  9-13 Find this book in Books like Harry Potter / Books Like Percy Jackson / 21 Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter / Harry Potter Books in Order / Best Audiobooks for Kids

The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Boys grow up to be shapeshifters and girls become witches.  But, what if you are a boy who loves witchery? Would you show your talents if it meant you would be exiled? 

This Middle grade challenges gender stereotypes and is a perfect witch book for any middle-grade fantasy reader. Not only is the story great and the illustrations gorgeous, but the message of this book made it a must for best graphic novels of all time. This is one of the witch books for an 11-year-old that every child should read!

The lion the witch and the wardrobe and more winter books

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

The iconic book is actually the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series. However, since the first book is technically a prequel, I consider this the first and it can be read independently of the rest of the books in the series.

When four children discover a secret passage from a wardrobe into the Land of Narnia, they find a land enslaved by the white witch. They find friends, enemies, and magic in this book that has withstood the test of time. This classic children’s book series is one for the fantasy lovers!

The Witches of Brooklyn

The Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse

This graphic novel is the first in a series and I love it for so many reasons. It’s about modern-day witches in Brooklyn. It is a diverse witch book with female heroines and it’s amazing!

When Effie finds out that her aunts are witches, she want to join them in practicing witchcraft, but she has a lot to learn. This is a charming one-sitting read for your favorite little witch or wizard.

Stand Alone Witch Books


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Everyone knows the Wicked Witch of the West but not everyone knows how she became that way. She wasn’t always bad. This is the story of a girl who would grow up to become one of the most hated villains in history.

I think of Professor Snape from Harry Potter in the same way. If you love witches and root for the bad guys, this is a book like Harry Potter for you. Like the Broadway play, the movie adaptation of this will be a must-see.

Find this book in Books Like Harry Potter / Books Like Cinder

YA fantasy books about witches and pirates! Ahoy matey.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Flora and her brother are pirates on the Dove. In order to protect her identity, she has become Florian and is tasked with protecting Lady Evelyn on the ship until the time she can be sold.

Flora does not intend to fall in love with Evelyn and when the two free a captured mermaid, they change the fate of more than just her.

I am so glad that someone recommended this adult fantasy book to me. It is one of those books that really did not get the visibility that it should have. This book is so well written and is filled with magic while also exploring the power of love.

Best YA Fantasy books every fantasy lover needs to read.

If fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres.

Adult Fantasy Novels

Ultimate List of Best Adult Fantasy Novels to Read

If fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. This list if carefully curated and divided into sub-genres.

More Witch Books to Read

What is your favorite witch book.

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Jackie is the mother of three children and a Speech-Language Pathologist who uses her love of books to create language-based learning opportunities in her speech therapy practice and with her own children. Her 20+ years of experience in regular and special education classrooms ensures the website content is relevant and informative. She started this website with Kirsten to share their passion for literacy with other moms and kids.

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Religion » Magic & Witchcraft

The best books on magic, recommended by owen davies.

The Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire takes us on a tour of the history of magic and ritual.

The best books on Magic - The History of Magic and Experimental Science by Lynn Thorndike

The History of Magic and Experimental Science by Lynn Thorndike

The best books on Magic - Book of Black Magic and of Pacts by Arthur Edward Waite

Book of Black Magic and of Pacts by Arthur Edward Waite

The best books on Magic - Ritual Magic by Elizabeth M Butler

Ritual Magic by Elizabeth M Butler

The best books on Magic - The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses by Joseph Peterson

The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses by Joseph Peterson

The best books on Magic - Book of Shadows by Gerald Gardner

Book of Shadows by Gerald Gardner

The best books on Magic - The History of Magic and Experimental Science by Lynn Thorndike

1 The History of Magic and Experimental Science by Lynn Thorndike

2 book of black magic and of pacts by arthur edward waite, 3 ritual magic by elizabeth m butler, 4 the sixth and seventh books of moses by joseph peterson, 5 book of shadows by gerald gardner.

W hen did the whole history of magic actually kick off?

And there’s this idea that books and magic go hand in hand, books being a way for people to record their secrets.

Yes, some cultures put oral knowledge above written works as a means of transmitting the truth, but when you record something in writing it’s preserved, so it doesn’t get corrupted by oral tradition.

And what is it about this book that really grabs you?

It’s not a book where you read all eight volumes in a row, but it has a huge wealth of information from a polyglot scholar who spent decades researching his subject. He used so many extracts from original sources. Also, when Thorndike was writing in the early 20th century, there was this academic notion of societal progress as a linear progression. There were three stages of human intellectual development from magic to religion to science. But Thorndike came along and said, actually, when you look at the history of science you find that magic is central to it right up until the 18th century.

What did he see as the link between magic and science ?

His idea was that the basis of science is experimentation and a lot of learned magic is actually about trying to discover the secrets of the natural world. To a certain degree, magic and science had exactly the same aims.

“When you look at the history of science you find magic is central right up until the 18th century.”

So why was it that reviewers at the time weren’t happy with his theory?

Your next choice is The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts .

Yes, Waite is a very interesting character. He was one of the early members of the Golden Dawn which grew up in the late 19th century. It’s the first real organised group of ritual magicians who practised magic as a religion rather than as an aspect of science.

Yeats was also a member. What was the lure for someone like him?

There was a whole fascination at the time with Ancient Egypt – the excavations by the French, the Germans and the British. The cracking of the hieroglyphs had led to a boom in knowledge about Egyptian magic. Once you could translate it you could start practising it. There’s also the whole idea of the crisis of faith in the second half of the 19th century.

There’s a lot of talk of grimoires in there – can you explain what they are?

My definition of a grimoire is essentially a book of magic which contains conjurations and spells. Waite thought that many grimoires were complete nonsense at best and downright diabolic at worst.

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They were very popular in France .

Well, that’s because the French were entrepreneurial booksellers, printers and publishers. It was all illicit, they shouldn’t have been publishing information on them and of course people were drawn by the lure of the forbidden.

In the late 17th century there had been the huge affair of the poison scandals in which the French high society had been knee-deep in magical rituals, employing Parisian magicians and purchasing grimoires.

But, you’ve made a case that grimoires weren’t all bad and there’s even a link with the angels.

Your next book, Ritual Magic , is all about the Germans.

Yes, Elizabeth Butler wrote a series of books just after the Second World War. Ritual Magic is one of them. She also wrote a seminal book on the Doctor Faust legends. Her view is that there is something specific in the German make-up which had led to centuries of fascination with magic.

And why does she think that?

Her views are never properly explained. Obviously the books she wrote are coloured by the Second World War and the Nazi regime and it’s difficult to know to what extent she held these anti-German views before.

It sounds like you’re sceptical of her views; what’s the value of the book for you?

There are some grand claims for your next book, The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses by Joseph Peterson.

Like a lot of the grimoire tradition they claim Biblical origins. The Old Testament is made up of the first five books of Moses as received from God. Even 2,000 years ago there were rumours and manuscripts circulating in the Middle East which were reported to be other texts of messages that Moses had received, but which weren’t included in the Torah or the Old Testament.

Were these claims actually true?

Oh no, they are all bogus. The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses originated in the 18th century. But, even though it’s bogus there is still that central message of secret materials transmitted by God which is at the heart of Christianity and Judaism. So there’s the idea that the religious authorities over the centuries have withheld secret knowledge and this is hugely potent.

This is real Dan Brown territory.

Your final book puts us very firmly in the modern day. This is the Book of Shadows which you see as more of a genre than a particular book.

The Book of Shadows was essentially invented by Gerald Gardner, who is the founder of Wicca. He was a civil servant before the Second World War, very interested in the occult and in the writings of the Golden Dawn. In the 1940s he invented the modern religion of Wicca. He claimed that he had discovered a secret tradition of ancient fertility magic which had been maintained over the centuries by witches who had been persecuted by the authorities. So much so, that by the 20th century there was maybe only one coven left, and he said he got hold of their secret from a coven in the New Forest.

And this book or genre has proved immensely successful in today’s popular culture.

Yes, with programmes like Charmed , the three sisters actually have the Book of Shadows and, of course, it’s there in Buffy the Vampire Slayer . So there are all these attractive young women who have their own grimoires. There was this sudden boom of interest among teenagers. And I think that’s because as teenagers there is always a fascination with the idea that you can have some sort of control over your life or others.

They are on the brink of adulthood and frustrated that they don’t have enough power.

Yes and you’re exploring possibilities and belief systems. The interesting thing is that the authorities have always tried to suppress all the books I’ve been talking about, but here we are in the third millennium and they are still thriving. TV companies are producing programmes in which magic is presented as a reality in modern settings. It’s still a vibrant tradition.

October 13, 2009

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Owen Davies

Owen Davies is professor of social history at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written widely on the history of witchcraft, magic, ghosts and folk medicine. He argues that despite persecution, magic has been with us since the first recorded written word and it’s still very much part of popular culture today.

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Books | Best Sellers

About the best sellers - may 12, 2024.

This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only.

A version of this Best Sellers report appears in the May 12, 2024 issue of The New York Times Book Review . Rankings on weekly lists reflect sales for the week ending April 27, 2024 .

Rankings reflect unit sales reported on a confidential basis by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles published in the United States. Every week, thousands of diverse selling locations report their actual sales on hundreds of thousands of individual titles. The panel of reporting retailers is comprehensive and reflects sales in tens of thousands of stores of all sizes and demographics across the United States.

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E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats and are included in our combined fiction, combined nonfiction, advice, children's series and monthly lists. Titles are included regardless of whether they are published in both print and electronic formats or just one format. In general, publisher credits for e-books are listed under the corporate publishing name instead of by publisher's division or imprint, unless by special request. Graphic book rankings include all print and digital formats. Adult, children's, young adult, fiction and nonfiction graphic books are eligible for inclusion on the graphic books and manga list. Audiobook rankings are created from sales of physical and digital audio products. Free-trial or low-cost audiobook sales are not eligible for inclusion. Publisher credits for audiobooks are listed under the audiobook publisher name.

The appearance of a ranked title reflects the fact that sales data from reporting vendors has been provided to The Times and has satisfied commonly accepted industry standards of universal identification (such as ISBN13 and EISBN13 codes). All identities, anecdotal, contextual, and other information about the retail sales of any title, as well as overall sales data, are provided with the expectation and assurance of confidentiality by every vendor and are protected by Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Sales are defined as completed transactions by vendors and individual end users during the period on or after the official publication date of a title. Institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases, if and when they are included, are at the discretion of The New York Times Best-Seller List Desk editors based on standards for inclusion that encompass proprietary vetting and audit protocols, corroborative reporting and other statistical determinations. When included, such bulk purchases appear with a dagger (†).

Publishers and vendors of all ranked titles must conform in a timely fashion to The New York Times Best-Seller Lists requirement to allow for examination and independent corroboration of their reported sales for that week. Sales are statistically weighted to represent and accurately reflect all outlets proportionally nationwide. An asterisk (*) indicates that a book's sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above.

Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, e-books available exclusively from a single vendor, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, periodicals and crossword puzzles.

The New York Times Best Sellers are compiled and archived by The Best-Seller Lists Desk of The New York Times News Department, and are separate from the Editorial, Culture, Advertising and Business sides of The New York Times Company.

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best fiction books with magic


Weekly Best Sellers Lists

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Monthly Best Sellers Lists

The week’s bestselling books, May 12

Southern California Bestsellers

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Hardcover fiction

1. Table for Two by Amor Towles (Viking: $32) A collection of stories from the author of “The Lincoln Highway.”

2. The Women by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press: $30) An intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.

3. Funny Story by Emily Henry (Berkley: $29) A pair of opposites with the wrong thing in common connect.

4. James by Percival Everett (Doubleday: $28) An action-packed reimagining of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

5. The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl (Random House: $29) An adventure through the food, art and fashion scenes of 1980s Paris.

6. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books: $30) A magic-infused novel set in the Spanish Golden Age.

7. North Woods by Daniel Mason (Random House: $28) A sweeping historical tale focused on a single house in the New England woods.

8. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Ecco: $30) A giant Pacific octopus bonds with a widow at a Washington state aquarium.

9. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (Riverhead: $28) The discovery of a skeleton in Pottstown, Pa., opens out to a story of integration and community.

10. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf: $28) Lifelong BFFs collaborate on a wildly successful video game.

Hardcover nonfiction

1. The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson (Crown: $35) An exploration of the pivotal five months between Abraham Lincoln’s election and the start of the Civil War.

2. Somehow by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Books: $22) A joyful celebration of love from the bestselling author.

3. Knife by Salman Rushdie (Random House: $28) The renowned writer’s searing account of the 2022 attempt on his life.

4. An Unfinished Love Story by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster: $35) The historian recounts the experiences she and her husband embarked upon in the last years of his life.

5. The Creative Act by Rick Rubin (Penguin: $32) The music producer’s guidance on how to be a creative person.

6. Atomic Habits by James Clear (Avery: $27) An expert guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones via tiny changes.

7. The Wager by David Grann (Doubleday: $30) The story of the shipwreck of an 18th century British warship and a mutiny among the survivors.

8. The Wide Wide Sea by Hampton Sides (Doubleday: $35) An epic account of Capt. James Cook’s final voyage.

9. Open Wide by Benny Blanco, Jess Damuck (Dey Street Books: $35) The music producer and actor on cooking, eating and celebrating life.

10. Shakespeare by Judi Dench, Brendan O’Hea (St. Martin’s Press: $32) The legendary actor’s journey through the plays of William Shakespeare.

Paperback fiction

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury: $19)

2. Dune by Frank Herbert (Ace: $18)

3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Penguin: $18)

4. Happy Place by Emily Henry (Berkley: $19)

5. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (Penguin: $18)

6. Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez (Forever: $18)

7. Bunny by Mona Awad (Penguin: $17)

8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Atria: $17)

9. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Vintage: $18)

10. Beach Read by Emily Henry (Berkley: $16)

Paperback nonfiction

1. The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan (Knopf: $35)

2. The Eater Guide to Los Angeles (Abrams Image: $20)

3. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions: $20)

4. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Vintage: $17)

5. Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond (Crown: $20)

6. Soul Boom by Rainn Wilson (Hachette Go: $20)

7. Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino (Harper Perennial: $21)

8. Dinners With Ruth by Nina Totenberg (Simon & Schuster: $19)

9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (TarcherPerigee: $19)

10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Vintage: $17)

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April 24, 2024

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Five of the best books about video games

Generations have now grown up with games, but they have long been linked to science fiction and are now the subject of histories, too. Here are five of the best

T here is a lingering misconception about video games that they exist entirely in their own sealed subculture, utterly untranslatable to books or movies. But this has never been the case: in the 80s and 90s, games (and by extension, virtual worlds) became a major theme of cyberpunk fiction, from the jacked-in hacker dystopia of William Gibson’s Neuromancer to the narcotic alternative reality of Jeff Noon’s Vurt.

Video game history and culture have also been widely explored in book form, whether that was the How to Beat Pac-Man manuals of the 1980s or current investigations of the game development process by journalists such as Jason Schreier and Tom Bissell. Avid gamers and utter newcomers alike will learn much about video games and our modern digital world from these five books.

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Gamish by Edward Ross

Video game histories can often be somewhat insular and workmanlike, overlooking the cultural impact of the medium while obsessing about games console release timelines. Gamish is different – an accessible and fascinating graphic history written and illustrated by comic book artist Ross. It gathers all the landmark moments, but also ponders what games mean to players and the wider world, as well as the issues around sexism and representation that still haunt the industry and its fanbase.

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That Old Back Magic: 9 Must-Read Historical Fantasy Books

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Liberty Hardy

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

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best fiction books with magic

Set in the Spanish Golden Age, during a time of high‑stakes political intrigue and glittering wealth, The Familiar follows Luzia, a servant in the household of an impoverished Spanish nobleman, who reveals a talent for little miracles. Her social‑climbing mistress demands Luzia use her gifts to win over Madrid’s most powerful players, but what begins as simple amusement takes a dangerous turn. Luzia will need to use every bit of her wit and will to survive — even the help of Guillén Santángel, an immortal familiar whose own secrets could prove deadly for them both. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo is on sale now.

We as humans tend to romanticize the past, but these books fantasize the past by giving history speculative elements! Who doesn’t wish the past had more magic? Or at least more dragons. Er, any dragons, really. (Do dinosaurs count as kinda-dragons?) After all, a lot more people from centuries ago believed in magic and supernatural creatures than we do today. (Silly science, ruining all our fun.) But it’s still exciting to imagine these things were possible. So why not add a little extra something to stories from days of yore? Give history the old razzle dazzle and add a touch of magic to your historical fiction reading with this list of nine must-read historical fantasy books!

In these pages, you’ll find women spontaneously turning into dragons and getting the heck out of Dodge; a sister searching for her brother lost on the battlefield (who may have had a little supernatural help); fox gods at the turn of the 20th-century in Manchuria; a boy with an unusual talent in Singapore during the Japanese invasion; a fantastical reimagining of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor; and more! Whether you’re looking to add magic to your reading life, or you just love good books, there’s something here for everyone!

cover of The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden; illustration of hands holding a rose

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

This is an amazing novel of literal and figurative hauntings set during World War I. After field nurse Laura Iven was wounded in action, she is sent home to Halifax. But shortly after, she loses her parents in the munitions explosion and receives a strange package indicating her brother Freddie has died in battle. With no date of death, explanation, or a body, Laura holds out hope that the missive is incorrect and returns to Belgium to look for Freddie. Meanwhile, the book goes back in time in alternating chapters to show readers what happened to Freddie on the battlefield, some of which involve a mysterious figure he meets. Even with the speculative elements, it’s one of the most harrowing, powerful portrayals of war in fiction in recent years.

cover of When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill; illustration of green foliage with purple flowers and the hint of a dragon

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

Barnhill’s first novel for adults is a fun feminist fantasy! In 1955, in what is now called the Mass Dragoning, hundreds of thousands of women turned into dragons. As in scaly, fire-breathing, flying dragons. Then they took off, because, hello, they’re dragons now and can fly. But, the dragon women left behind a lot of loved ones and a lot of questions. Why did it happen? Why didn’t all women turn into dragons? And, young Alex wants to know, why aren’t they allowed to talk about what happened?

cover of The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo; illustration of an Asian woman in red walking on the snowy banks by a river. Her reflection in the water is a white fox.

The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo

And this is a fantastical mystery, set in Manchuria in the early 1900s. When a woman is found frozen outside, it is said she may have been lured by a fox god, who has the ability to change into a beautiful human. Bao is the detective charged with discovering the woman’s identity, which is intriguing for him because the case also involves his fascination with the fox gods. Meanwhile, Snow is a mother bent on revenge, chasing a murderer, and soon, Bao will be following in her footsteps. And all the while, the world of mortals and spirits weaves in and out of their stories. It’s a quietly beautiful mystery that pulls from mythology and history.

cover of The Conductors ; illustration of a young Black woman in old-fashioned dress holding a lantern

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

In a world where magic is real, Hetty and her husband are conductors for the Underground Railroad, using their abilities to help enslaved people to freedom. After the Civil War, they wind up in Philadelphia, working as detectives to help solve cases for Black people that the white police ignore. When an old friend is found dead, the unusual case will uncover old secrets and new dangers that could cost them their lives.

cover of The Great Reclamation by Rachel Heng; painting of blue waves crashing on rocks

The Great Reclamation by Rachel Heng

Heng has taken a period of history and added a dash of magic in this sad, lovely story of family, war, and love. Ah Boon has grown up in Singapore in the time of British rule, and has been in love with his neighbor Siok Mei for years. He is not interested in being a fisherman like the other men in his village, but he does have a unique gift for finding and moving islands. (What, you can’t do that?) When the Japanese army invades and occupies their village, Ah Boon and Siok Mei will have to make hard choices about their future and their family, before all is lost.

cover of The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz; illustration of jungle foliage, antlers, and cheetahs

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz

Two women are on a collision course with magic and danger in this exciting debut fantasy inspired by the history and stories of colonial South America! Eva wants nothing more than to be accepted by her family, but, being an “illegitimate” child, she is an outcast. Her secret doesn’t help matters: Eva has magic in her — magic she can’t use, under punishment of death. Reina is a young woman who is almost killed in an attack until she is saved by her grandmother, a dark sorceress. But to keep her life, Reina must do her grandmother’s bidding, no matter the cost. Even if it involves ancient gods.

Book cover of She Who Became the Sun: Radiant Emperor by Shelley Parker-Chan; yellow with an orange sun and the outline of many soldier on horses at the bottom

She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor Duology) by Shelley Parker-Chan

The Ming Dynasty, but make it speculative! In 14th-century China, it is said a young boy named Zhu is destined for greatness. Unfortunately, he dies, leaving behind his sister. Refusing to believe it is her destiny to be a quiet, servile woman, she takes her brother’s destiny as her own, disguising herself as a boy and joining a monastery. As this new Zhu grows, she learns the ways of the harsh, unforgiving world, and decides she wants to take as much of the future for herself as she can, eventually rising up to be a great leader.

cover of The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope AOC; illustration of the profile of a black woman wearing a blue hat with a pink ribbon and flower, in front of green plants

The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

And how about a Jazz Age heist novel, with a side of spirits? Magic almost always comes with a cost. Clara can talk to ghosts, but in return, she is indebted to them. But then a spirit gives her a chance to get out of her obligation. All she has to do is steal a magic ring from the richest woman in the city. A little breaking and entering — easy, right? To pull off the robbery, Clara calls on other friends with unusual abilities. But, as they get their plans together, it turns out that the trickster spirit may not have been very forthcoming with all the details of the job. And the threats growing in the real world have Clara and her friends rushing to find a solution.

cover of Ours by Phillip B. Williams; paiting of two young Black people, one in a pink jacket and one in a blue jacket

Ours by Phillip B. Williams

And, last but not least, this amazing speculative novel of history and sanctuary. In the 1830s, just outside St. Louis is a town called Ours. But it’s not on any map, and outsiders can’t find it. It’s a town specifically created by a conjuror named Saint, who rescues enslaved people and hides them away in Ours. But as the years go by, Saint’s powers start to wane, making the special town vulnerable to the outside world that Saint wanted to keep out, as well as powerful people with motives of their own. Can the sanctuary be saved? Or was it too good to be true? Ours is a fantastical reimagining of American history, a magical epic infused with imagination and pain and joy.

If you want to learn about more great fantasy and/or historical fiction books, check out New Historical Fiction for Your Book Club , 10 of the Best Historical Fiction Books About Books , and 12 Perfect Dragon Books to Read During the Year of the Dragon . And be sure to sign up for our nonfiction newsletter, True Story , our SFF newsletter, Swords and Spaceships , and listen to our SFF podcast, SFF Yeah !

Finally, you can also find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index , carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.

best fiction books with magic

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