The best books about the fae

Who am I?

Many kids love fairy tales and so did I but I was always puzzled by the lack of fairies in these tales. The idea of a separate world containing these beautiful but flawed creatures enthralled me from an early age. I read everything about them so that I could get my hands on, whether the book was fiction or nonfiction. When doing my Master's in Children’s Literature, I studied fae tales that appear around the world which evoked a thirst in me to write my own…so I did. All the books on this list give a glimpse of the chaotic nature of the fae, of the world that surely exists beyond our comprehension. I hope they are as much a treat for your imagination as they were mine.

I wrote...

Road of the Lost

By Nafiza Azad,

Book cover of Road of the Lost

What is my book about?

Croi is a brownie, glamoured to be invisible to humans. Her life in the Wilde Forest is ordinary and her magic is weak—until the day that her guardian gives Croi a book about magick from the Otherworld, the world of the Higher Fae. Croi wakes the next morning with something pulling at her core, summoning her to the Otherworld. It’s a spell she cannot control or break.

Forced to leave her home, Croi begins a journey full of surprises…and dangers. For Croi is not a brownie at all but another creature entirely, enchanted to forget her true heritage. As Croi ventures beyond the forest, her brownie glamour begins to shift and change. Who is she really, who is summoning her, and what do they want? 

The books I picked & why

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The Folk of the Air

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Folk of the Air

Why this book?

Holly Black is a master of the fae tale. Much has been said about this trilogy already but I assure you, the praise is well-deserved. Each book has a tight and dynamic plot, prose that fairly flies off the page, and a conclusion that is very satisfying. The first book was almost deceptive in the way it presented a not-very-strong protagonist until she evolves and becomes so much more than the reader thinks her to be. It’s the best kind of fictional surprise.

Rosemary and Rue

By Seanan McGuire,

Book cover of Rosemary and Rue

Why this book?

The October Daye series is a fun series featuring a sassy protagonist who has a penchant for getting into trouble with the supernatural, who are mostly fae from both the Seelie and UnSeelie courts. MaGuire weaves in a lot of fae mythology to buoy the plot that keeps each installment in the series fresh and thrilling. With endearing side characters and a charged romantic sub-plot, the series offers the (mostly) perfect escape from the prosaic world.

War for the Oaks: The Screenplay

By Emma Bull, Will Shetterly,

Book cover of War for the Oaks: The Screenplay

Why this book?

This is an old one and to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s still in print, but if you are able to hunt a copy down, give it a read. It is one of the very first contemporary urban fantasies written featuring a YA protagonist. A precursor to more recent works by Holly Black among other writers, the novel takes the fae out of the fae world and brings them to the chipped pavements of a contemporary city to wreak havoc as they will. The story is fun and the fae mythology intriguing.

The Fairyland Series

By Catherynne M. Valente, Ana Juan,

Book cover of The Fairyland Series

Why this book?

If you’ve read any book by Valente, you will know the worlds she creates are a trip. As a reader, you have no choice but to trust her and she doesn’t let you down. This series is ostensibly for middle graders but I dare say that you will enjoy it no matter your age—as long as you allow your imagination free rein (or is it reign? Either way). The story features a young girl who goes to Fairyland and has many adventures while learning important life lessons. It is loads of fun.

Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel

By Katherine Harbour,

Book cover of Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel

Why this book?

I will never understand why this trilogy isn’t more widely read. Amongst all the titles in the list, this one has the most fleshed-out fae mythology, bringing to vivid life creatures and legends that aren’t commonly known. I don’t know how much research Harbour did but the fact that she knows her fae is very evident in the way the story unfurls throughout the three books. Every time I think of this series, I think of a dark night lit by fireflies, with the scent of clove and cinnamon in the air, and an anticipation of danger. This is good stuff, friends. If you are into fae, give this one a read.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in fairies, murders, and criminal investigations?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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