The best books on the most developed mechanical magic systems

Who am I?

I am a person with nearly unlimited curiosity who has been telling stories since I was small. There is literally almost no topic I have not read or inquired about, and fantasy is where curiosity has fueled my imagination. Learning, exploring, and sharing what I discover are my passion so I hope you will enjoy my first publicly shared story.


I wrote...

Earth's Child: Plagues Result

By Luke Steele,

Book cover of Earth's Child: Plagues Result

What is my book about?

After the Magic council unleashed the Demon Plague the developing survivors become both the greatest hope and greatest threat to the world. Which will it be, and who will determine the result?

The books I picked & why

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The Alloy of Law

By Brandon Sanderson,

Book cover of The Alloy of Law

Why this book?

This book combined the old west with a very thought-out magic system that enhanced the setting. The humor was sometimes tear-drawingly funny for me. The characters seemed alive, complex, and independent. The world seemed real and tangible if not quite like our world. The magic also had a refreshing take and allows for infinite speculation on how the powers might cross-combine. It also had moments of monumental exercises of power as well as monumental limits on powers complicating the storyline.

The Alloy of Law

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to…


The Mongrel Mage

By L. E. Modesitt Jr.,

Book cover of The Mongrel Mage

Why this book?

Again the magic system is very comprehensible with the interplay between order and chaos being the foundation. The development of the main character Beltur as he discovers his relationship to and talent with the interplay of order and chaos magic which is the foundation of how the world works. This book is also grounded in economics and presents deep currents of bigotry and intolerance that must be dealt with in a preindustrial society operating with almost medieval technology, warfare, and gender attitudes. It also addresses how a mage might earn a living in this society where order and chaos magic are a reality while needing to be aware of the limits and energy required to practice the magic without killing themselves. It also addresses some of the very real consequences of war and how magic might be used there as well.

The Mongrel Mage

By L. E. Modesitt Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to his longest and bestselling fantasy series with volume nineteen, The Mongrel Mage, which marks the beginning of a new story arc.

USA Today Bestseller List
Locus Bestseller List

In the world of Recluce, powerful mages can wield two kinds of magic—the white of Chaos or the black of Order. Beltur, however, has talents no one dreamed of, talents not seen in hundreds of years that blend both magics.

On the run from a power hungry white mage, Beltur is taken in by Order mages who set him on the path to discover and hone…


Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book One

By Orson Scott Card,

Book cover of Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book One

Why this book?

This book introduces you to an alternate version of early US history where everyone has some degree of magic that they call knacks. It goes into detail about the main character beginning to discover his own knack which because he is a seventh son of a seventh son is particularly potent. Because of his potential he is faced with supernatural opposition to either pervert his knack or to destroy him. It is full of ethical and moral dilemmas for him and those he interacts with. It also emphasizes how interdependent people are, even people as powerful as the main character who has the potential to destroy or remake the world through his knack and whose very existence depends on a little girl miles away who can see peoples heart fires acting to save his life from supernatural threats by triggering his own knack with his left-over caul. What really drew me through this book were the moral and ethical choices that the boy needed to make as he matured in mind, body, and talent as well as the potential consequences to himself and the world as he made them.

Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book One

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blending folklore and myth, this novel follows young Alvin Maker as he begins a dangerous journey to discover the secret of a magical power.


Wizard's First Rule

By Terry Goodkind,

Book cover of Wizard's First Rule

Why this book?

I found the foundation of the magic to be interesting, where magic existed as additive or subtractive in various degrees and combinations. Most wizardly magic was either or, while some like Confessors and Mord Sith incorporated a combination of both. In addition the author introduces the first of a set of rules about how to use magic which plays an integral part in the story. I also liked the ethical and moral tension inherent in the story, though I will warn anyone I recommend this book to that it is very graphic and like the magic the ethics and morals are very binary. The depictions of scenery were also very engaging though at times seemed repetitive and long-winded. Something else I enjoyed was the development and revelation of the characters' abilities as well as their limitations and the attempt to show innovation in their abilities as a result. For me it showed a refreshing take on how fantasy can be presented in a new light.

Wizard's First Rule

By Terry Goodkind,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wizard's First Rule as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beloved fantasy classic and the beginning of one of the most breathtaking adventure stories of all time

One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations and of humanity. But until he learns the Wizard's First Rule his chances of succeeding in his task are slim. And his biggest problem is admitting that magic exists at all ...

A novel of incomparable scope and brimming with atmospheric detail: in a world where heart hounds stalk the boundaries for unwary human prey, blood-sucking flies hunt on behalf of their underworld masters, and where artists can draw…


The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why this book?

In my opinion no fantasy list is complete without something from Tolkien. Though not the first fantasy book I ever read, that would be The Wizard of Oz, at the time it opened to me a world where even the little guy matters more than anyone can know. The magic in general was more mundane and accomplished through little acts of courage in most cases with moments of bright fireworks. It was the team, the comradery, and the relationships that mattered to pull the characters through their challenges and even one person could tip the balance in the end. Since I am fascinated with shape changers having Beorn the Werebear shift the balance of the battle of the five armies really thrilled me, and he was only there because they cultivated a relationship with him just like Gandalf cultivated his relationship with the Giant Eagles. If you can’t tell this book had a powerful and lasting impact on my teen self when I read it and keeps giving back as I reflect on it.

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in magic-supernatural, wizards, and Middle Earth?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about magic-supernatural, wizards, and Middle Earth.

Magic-Supernatural Explore 432 books about magic-supernatural
Wizards Explore 73 books about wizards
Middle Earth Explore 9 books about Middle Earth

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Lord of the Rings, The Book Thief, and East if you like this list.