10 books like An Ember in the Ashes

By Sabaa Tahir,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like An Ember in the Ashes. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses

This seductive book is a paranormal fantasy adaptation of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” but with dark elements such as a cruelly sadistic queen, a dangerously macabre villain, and a fiery, passionate romance between the beastlike hero and the brave female warrior who overcomes her fear to heal his broken heart and save the Fae realm from impending doom. I’m a French teacher, and I love how the original version of La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast)—which was penned by the female French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve—was adapted into a steamy paranormal dark fantasy romance.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Court of Thorns and Roses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience Feyre Archeron's journey all over again with the beautiful collector's edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the seductive first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series by Sarah J. Maas, featuring a deluxe new package, an updated map, ribbon pull, and more! When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she…

The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern,

Book cover of The Night Circus

Celia Bowen is an artist whose medium is magic. She is an unwitting competitor in a contest where only one will survive. Her canvas is a circus that appears without fanfare. Its black and white tents conceal a fantastical world filled with sugar flowers, cuckoo clocks, chocolate mice, cloud mazes, and wishing trees. Its spectacles delight crowds and are performed only at night. Regular attendees are identifiable by their black attire punctuated with a single red accessory.

I love this book because it transports you to a place of wonder amidst the strain of an impossible situation. Morgenstern has created a whimsical experience tinged with darkness. Celia is fabulous because of her capacity to imagine and love. I’ll never look at someone wearing a black coat and red scarf the same way again.

The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Night Circus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TIKTOK SENSATION

Rediscover the million-copy bestselling fantasy read with a different kind of magic, now in a stunning anniversary edition to mark 10 years since it's paperback debut.

The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Against the grey sky the towering tents are striped black and white. A sign hanging upon an iron gates reads:

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

Full of breath-taking amazements and open only at night, Le Cirque des Reves seems to cast a spell over all who wander its circular paths. But behind the glittering acrobats, fortune-tellers…


The Belles

By Dhonielle Clayton,

Book cover of The Belles

Don’t let the gorgeous cover fool you into thinking this story is all about beauty, though the prose and setting certainly have their share of it. I was captivated by the gray royal court where the Belles control beauty. There are no shortages of dark secrets that put them all at risk in a dangerous political game. Fun details, like miniature teacup pets, are woven seamlessly with the darker aspects of this lush world.

The Belles

By Dhonielle Clayton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beauty. Power. Magic. What would you give to have it all?

The dazzling New York Times instant bestseller from the author of TINY PRETTY THINGS (coming to NETFLIX soon)

Camellia and her sisters control beauty.

They are Belles and they can make you 'perfect'.

Glossy hair, smooth skin, flawless body.

You'll feel better once it's done. The results are worth the pain.

And when they fade, the Belles will fix you all over again . . .

But it will cost you.

Are you willing to pay the price?

'Heart-pounding' Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author

'Diverse' Tomi Adeyemi,…

Grave Mercy

By Robin Lafevers,

Book cover of Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I

Set in the mid-1400s in France, this series starter contains action, court intrigue, romance, and assassin nuns! I read it years ago and it remains a favorite, not only for the beautiful language, but for the strong heroine, Ismae, and her journey from following the rules and doing as she’s been told, to learning how to discern right from wrong and follow the guidance of her own moral compass. This is a book I would love to watch as a movie, not only for the action, but the costumes.

Grave Mercy

By Robin Lafevers,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Grave Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
     Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high…


The Weight of Feathers

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Book cover of The Weight of Feathers

Another book remarkable for its descriptions, The Weight of Feathers combines the real world with enough distance and faint magic to make everything in it shimmer. Not everything makes perfect sense, and not everything needs to, because in Anne-Marie McLemore’s rewriting of the classic Romeo and Juliet love story, the taste of aguas frescas and the clinking of wind chimes make the otherworldly seem perfectly plausible. The Weight of Feathers is the sort of book that made me want to live in its world, to be privy to the hidden magic. The love story unfolds gradually as the deep cultures and subtle, colorful fantasy steal away the senses.

The Weight of Feathers

By Anna-Marie McLemore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows. The Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small…

This Savage Song

By Victoria Schwab,

Book cover of This Savage Song

I’m a fan of V. E. Schwab’s writing in general, but This Savage Song is my personal favorite story of theirs. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a main character as unlikeable as Kate Harker. The daughter of a kingpin who rules over a city where monsters are real, Kate is ruthless and rebellious. As the city threatens to burst into an all-out war, Kate has to team up with another main character—one of the monsters. 

The writing in This Savage Song is lyrical and punchy at the same time, making it a quick and compelling read. If you’re looking for a story where everyone is a villain in their own way, set in a world with a fascinating magic system that turns violence into actual living, breathing monsters, you’ll want to give this one a read.

This Savage Song

By Victoria Schwab,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked This Savage Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city, a grisly metropolis where the violence has begun to create real and deadly monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the inhabitants pay for his protection. August just wants to be human, as good-hearted as his own father-but his curse is to be what the humans fear. The thin truce that keeps the Harker and Flynn families at peace is crumbling, and an assassination attempt forces Kate and August into a tenuous alliance. But how…

The Kiss of Deception

By Mary E. Pearson,

Book cover of The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book One

When I finished this book, I immediately wanted to go back and read it again! Princess Lia flees her home on the day of her arranged wedding, only to find herself falling in love with two handsome strangers. She has no idea one is her betrothed prince and the other is an assassin hired to kill her. In a masterful storytelling move, the reader gets into both the love interests' heads but has no idea which is the prince and which is the assassin.

The Kiss of Deception

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia's life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight - but she doesn't - and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighbouring kingdom - to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive - and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an…

Finnikin of the Rock

By Melina Marchetta,

Book cover of Finnikin of the Rock

A kingdom cursed after the murder of the royal family is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the immersive world-building in this series. Even with all the details, the pacing of the story never falters. But it’s the dynamic and complex characters like Finnikin and Evanjalin that are so richly portrayed, I was willing to follow them on any adventure.

Finnikin of the Rock

By Melina Marchetta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2008 Printz Award Winner Melina Marchetta crafts an epic fantasy of ancient magic, exile, feudal intrigue, and romance that rivets from the first page. (Age 14 and up)

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the…


The Naming

By Alison Croggon,

Book cover of The Naming: Book One of Pellinor

The Naming, which is the first in The Books of Pellinor quartet, was the first true YA quest novel I ever read. As a Tolkien nerd who was greatly inspired in high school by the Lord of the Rings—almost certainly the series which made me a fantasy writer myself—I had never encountered anything in YA that came close to the depth of landscape worldbuilding that Tolkien so masterfully executes in his books. And in The Naming I felt like I had finally entered a world as intricate and well-developed as Middle-earth—or as close as the faster pace of YA narrative would allow. What was more, our reluctant quester turned out to be a young woman, and I was both thrilled and relieved to see myself in Maerad as I joined her on her journey. 

The Naming

By Alison Croggon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An epic fantasy in the Tolkien tradition, with a strong girl hero. . . . I couldn’t put it down!" – Tamora Pierce

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn’t yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and…


The Book of Night Women

By Marlon James,

Book cover of The Book of Night Women

This novel, told from a slave woman’s perspective, illuminates the time of maximal oppression in the slave colony of Jamaica, where White men sexually and physically abused enslaved Black women at whim. Lilith, the main character, came alive to me as her rage and despair grew with the multiple attacks on her body and spirit. 

It took me back to the anguish I felt discovering the journals of Thomas Thistlewood and his chronicling of close to 4,000 acts of rape carried out on his female Black slaves. When I visited Jamaica for the first time, I included Westmorland Parish as a stop. It was there that Thistlewood perpetrated his atrocities – an appalling example of the conditions under which enslaved women and girls lived during this period. 

The Book of Night Women

By Marlon James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the National Book Award finalist Black Leopard, Red Wolf and the WINNER of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings

"An undeniable success.” — The New York Times Book Review

A true triumph of voice and storytelling, The Book of Night Women rings with both profound authenticity and a distinctly contemporary energy. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they- and she-will come…

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