The best contemporary fantasy books about witches

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to read when I was three and the first book I remember reading was Ozma of Oz, which featured some great witches (even though they weren’t called that). I’ve been fascinated by women using magic to change the world around them ever since, and books about witches have remained a staple of my reading diet. As an adult, I learned more about the theory and practice of witchcraft and even spent some time in a coven. These days, I guess you’d call me more of a hedgewitch; I maintain no formal practice, just try to live in “a good way” like my Ojibwe ancestors taught.


I wrote...

Sisters of Sorcery

By Marsheila Rockwell,

Book cover of Sisters of Sorcery

What is my book about?

Deep in the Dark Dimension, the tyrant Umar the Unrelenting craves the Power Cosmic to expand her realm into new dimensions. When she kidnaps the cosmic being Ardina to make a grim battery of her powers, she draws the attention of Clea, her estranged daughter and mighty user of the mystic arts. Clea knows her mother will stop at nothing to conquer the whole of the Splinter Realms, imperiling all of reality. To defeat her, Clea must ally herself with three powerful sorceresses, each with their own unique powers, traverse dimensions, and free Ardina and the entire Archipelago of Anguish and Redemption before Umar consumes it all.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Practical Magic

Marsheila Rockwell Why did I love this book?

Sally and Gillian Owens are outcasts in their small Massachusetts town, largely due to a rumored family curse and two aunts who delight in playing into that rumor.

But while the aunts may enjoy being called witches, the sisters don’t find those pointed hats quite so comfortable. Each sister tries to escape their legacy in different ways, but they eventually discover that magic isn’t so easily left behind, and neither is family.

I love this book (and the movie based on it) because each woman is strong in their own way and the witchcraft has a degree of realism not often seen outside of occult non-fiction. It’s also just a really sweet story, and it turns out I’m a sucker for those.

By Alice Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Practical Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*25th Anniversary Edition*-with an Introduction by the Author!

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, and The Book of Magic.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and…


Book cover of We Ride Upon Sticks

Marsheila Rockwell Why did I love this book?

YA books about witches promise teen angst, magic, and mayhem, and Barry’s book does not disappoint.

One thing that really makes Barry’s book stand out is the unique POV she uses. The girls on the 1989 Danvers High School Women’s Varsity Field Hockey Team sign their names in a notebook, initiating a spell to make their team finally start winning.

After that, they become a new entity, which is both all of them and something else entirely – the winning team. Or is it?

Barry’s POV places us in the minds of all the girls at the same time, but instead of being confusing, it makes the magic come to life on the page. GenXers (like me) who were in sports/music programs will particularly enjoy this one.

By Quan Barry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Ride Upon Sticks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the town of Danvers, Massachusetts, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals—even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers.

Against a background of irresistible 1980s iconography, Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season.
 
Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily,…


Book cover of Witches Unleashed: A Marvel Untold Novel

Marsheila Rockwell Why did I love this book?

Okay, this one’s cheating a little – these are contemporary comic book witches. But it’s my list, so I’m including it.

Harris has created a super fun story featuring the empath Topaz, sorceress Jennifer Kale, and succubus Satana Hellstrom (with bonus Johnny Blaze aka the Ghost Rider).

Each of these women is kickass in their own right, but when they combine their powers – Topaz’s divine in nature, Satana’s demonic, and Jennifer’s good old-fashioned witchcraft – they become a force that can face down Lucifer himself.

And if the magic doesn’t take him down, the snark surely will!

By Carrie Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witches Unleashed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three extraordinary supernatural heroes join forces with Ghost Rider to capture Lucifer himself and return him to Hell, in this staggering Super Hero adventure from Marvel: Untold

Johnny Blaze, aka the Ghost Rider, has accidentally released Lucifer from Hell, and that's a serious problem. While hunting the 666 fragments of Lucifer's soul now loose on Earth, Johnny enlists the aid of witches Jennifer Kale, Satana Hellstrom and Topaz to track down a sliver of the demon which is possessing the body of Jennifer's cousin, Magda. Lucifer is looking for the Tome of Zhered-Na, aiming to release the demon within its…


Book cover of Witches: A Novel

Marsheila Rockwell Why did I love this book?

This book was translated from Spanish by Heather Cleary. It’s also not really fantasy. Sorry!

I don’t read enough translated books. The flow of language is different and storytelling isn’t always as straightforward as the Western narrative structure I’m more familiar with.

(I find this to be true with books written by fellow Indigenous authors in America and Canada, as well, but I haven’t read any of their work featuring contemporary witches. Yet.)

This book intertwines the stories of Curandera Feliciana and journalist Zoe, who are brought together by the murder of Feliciana’s cousin Paloma. It’s less about witches as spellcasters, and more about them as healers, knowledge-keepers, and disrupters of the status quo (i.e., the patriarchy).

Not a light read, but an important one.

By Brenda Lozano, Heather Cleary (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beguiling story of a young journalist whose investigation of a murder leads her to the most legendary healer in all of Mexico, from one of the most prominent voices of a new generation of Latin American writers

Paloma is dead. But before she was murdered, before she was even Paloma, she was a traditional healer named Gaspar. Before she was murdered, she taught her cousin Feliciana the secrets of the ceremonies known as veladas, and about the Language and the Book that unlock their secrets.

Sent to report on Paloma’s murder, Zoe meets Feliciana in the mountain village of…


Book cover of Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery

Marsheila Rockwell Why did I love this book?

Hex Life is an anthology of witchy stories, many featuring contemporary witches.

Anthologies are often a mixed bag, but they generally have something for everyone, so even if every story doesn’t resonate with you, you can find little gems that do.

This anthology has eighteen possible new treasures to unearth, and while I liked them all, the one that sparkled brightest for me was Angela Slatter’s “Widows’ Walk.”

“Widows’ Walk” is the story of four witchy Widows, the many cats they keep, and the young girl they set out to help. Stories about witches often involve vengeance or righting wrongs, and this is no exception. But what stands out about this story is the grace, warmth, and sweetness with which said wrongs are righted.

Highly recommended.

By Kelley Armstrong, Rachael Caine, Sherrilyn Kenyon

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hex Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brand-new stories of witches and witchcraft written by popular female fantasy authors, including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon writing in their own bestselling universes!

These are tales of witches, wickedness, evil and cunning. Stories of disruption and subversion by today's women you should fear. Including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon writing in their own bestselling universes.

These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman's gotta eat.

Bring…


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Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

Book cover of Oaky With a Hint of Murder

Dawn Brotherton

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York’s wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it’s time to dig into the details and see what ferments.

Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior’s disapproval of wineries growing legs? Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery’s reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the corner, Aury harvests more than she bargained for when the killer tries to bottle her up for good.

Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

What is this book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York's wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it's time to dig into the details and see what ferments.


Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior's disapproval of wineries growing legs?


Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery's reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witches, witchcraft, and magic-supernatural?

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