100 books like Legendborn

By Tracy Deonn,

Here are 100 books that Legendborn fans have personally recommended if you like Legendborn. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Lynne Malcolm Author Of All In The Mind: Fascinating, inspiring and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science

From my list on psychology of the human experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a science journalist and broadcaster with a degree in Psychology and a deep passion and fascination for people, their behavior, and the workings of the human mind.  For nine years, I produced and presented the popular Australian ABC radio program and podcast, All in the Mind, in which I explored a range of topics, including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, cognitive science, mental health, and human behavior. I’ve received numerous media awards and contributed to media award judging panels. All in the Mind - fascinating, inspiring, and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science is my first book. I continue to write and communicate about the topics I am inspired by. 

Lynne's book list on psychology of the human experience

Lynne Malcolm Why did Lynne love this book?

I found this book inspiring because it takes a different perspective on treating trauma, which is the basis of so many mental health problems. The author draws on his decades of experience treating people who are haunted by their stressful experiences. I love his clear explanation that when people are deeply traumatized by war, disaster, or abuse, their reality is distinctly different from those around them, and it’s like they live on another planet.

He uses stories and case studies to explain his view that the most powerful way to treat psychological trauma is not through the mind but through the body. I love his compassionate stories about how he has successfully helped children and adults heal, not through triggering talk therapy but by using play, yoga, and other physical therapies. His approach may be unconventional, but I admire his dedication and passion for healing deep trauma. 

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Body Keeps the Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestseller

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society." -Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der…

Book cover of The Book Thief

Michele DeMarco Author Of Holding Onto Air: The Art and Science of Building a Resilient Spirit

From my list on transforming your mental and spiritual health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Officially, I’m an award-winning author and specialist in the fields of psychology, trauma, and spirituality. I’m also a professionally trained therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher. Ultimately, I’m an ardent believer that the same life that brings us joy also (sometimes) brings us pain. More importantly, that every aspect of life has a role to play in making us who we are today and who we’ll be tomorrow. We don’t always have control over the events in life, but the script we live by is ours to write—and write it we must, as only we can. I’m also a three-time heart attack survivor.

Michele's book list on transforming your mental and spiritual health

Michele DeMarco Why did Michele love this book?

Markus Zusak’s book is definitely not for the faint of heart or those easily bored: its narrator is Death, and the book is over 500 pages long. Not really the kind of book you’d think of for those aged 12 and up (as it’s listed). But it is one that really ought to be universally read.

The book follows two young children battling for survival in Nazi Germany. Entropy hangs in the air like Death’s shadow. Life’s harsh realities—like evil, heartache, pain, and mortality—are ever-present. In Max's (the young boy) dreams, he is boxing with Hitler and lands a punch, knocking the Fuhrer down, but soon he’s overtaken by the crowd.

This is one of the reasons I appreciate this book: winners sometimes lose; bad things happen to good people. And yet, the response to this existential injustice isn’t to become a mere survivor, victim, or martyr. It’s to…

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


Book cover of The Fifth Season

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

The Fifth Season is set in a world plagued by intermittent climate catastrophes and inhabited by a group of people called orogenes, who possess the ability to control energy and, therefore, thwart these catastrophes.

It follows two talented oregenes named Syenite and Alabaster, who are forced by the ruling class to marry and undertake a dangerous mission together. Jemisin’s story is a riveting exploration of environmental ethics, transhumanism, and the concept of the Anthropocene. She challenges her characters and readers to consider their responsibility for the earth and the other organisms that share it. She also depicts the role that social oppression plays in the exploitation and destruction of the environment.

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Fifth Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…

Book cover of Gone

R.J. Wilson Author Of Awakening

From my list on powerful young adults and supernatural worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading certain texts in the Bible growing up began my love for all things supernatural. The more I studied the subject and understood the worldview of the biblical authors and of other ancient cultures, the more I began to see these scenes in vivid color. With my passion for theological study (personally and as part of a master’s program), my work as a police officer, and my love for fantasy fiction perfectly positions me to write stories in which deep supernatural elements intersect with the gritty and real space of everyday life.

R.J.'s book list on powerful young adults and supernatural worlds

R.J. Wilson Why did R.J. love this book?

Grant’s book is yet another series that feature young adults who wield extraordinary powers.

From burning lasers, to telekinesis, to canceling gravity itself, I was fascinated to discover all of the gifts that these teens inherited once their little home of Perdido Beach became isolated, in space and time, from the rest of the world.

In addition to those supernatural elements, Grant explores the very gritty reality of what it would be like to live in an isolated city, devoid of adults in which these teens are forced to govern, manage, lead, and feed their group with ever-diminishing resources.

By Michael Grant,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the FAYZ! The first book in the bestselling cult YA thriller series GONE that Stephen King calls a 'driving, torrential narrative'.

In the blink of an eye all the adults disappear in a small town in southern California and no one knows why.

Cut off from the outside world, those that are left are trapped, and there's no help on the way. Sam Temple and his friends must do all they can to survive. Chaos rules the streets. Gangs begin to form. Sides are chosen - strong or weak. Cruel or humane.

And then there are those who…

Book cover of The Cruel Prince

E.M. Epps Author Of A Winter of Fish and Favor

From my list on fantasy books with pragmatic heroes who are still heroic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong fantasy reader, but all too often, I find myself grousing at the characters: “Listen! You could solve all your problems with a really confident lie!” Or: “...by revealing the truth in a public campaign before the villain gets you!” Or: “May I suggest a well-placed arrow?” Or: “Is he really the villain? The infrastructure seems pretty sound, and you have no expertise in governance!” Every now and then, I’m delighted to find characters as pragmatic as I am (or as I would be if I were a fantasy hero). These are my favorites.

E.M.'s book list on fantasy books with pragmatic heroes who are still heroic

E.M. Epps Why did E.M. love this book?

Jude Duarte, a human girl living in Faerie, is a cold-hearted ball of ambitious rage. Never have I rooted for a character so much.

Although picking fights with the clever and cruel Fair Folk is not pragmatic – on the surface – when the choice is between waiting for a random death on a bully’s whim or fighting back with every weapon at her disposal, Jude will always fight. I may have cheered out loud when she stabbed an enemy who broke into her bedroom and then stuffed his body under her bed until she could bury him. She does what she has to do to survive–and, in the end, to make Faerie a (slightly) better place.

Holly Black’s writing is so poetic, so smart, so sharp, like a honed fairy blade. She is a master.

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Cruel Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book . . . intoxicating" - Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three…

Book cover of This Poison Heart

Gabriela Houston Author Of The Second Bell

From my list on female-led books rooted in world mythologies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Polish, London-based writer of Slavic-folklore-inspired fantasy novels for adults (The Second Bell, out from Angry Robot Books) and children (The Wind Child, published by Uclan). I write stories of families, grief, motherhood, and communities, steeped in the Ancient Slavic lore and set against the beauty and danger of the natural (and supernatural) world.

Gabriela's book list on female-led books rooted in world mythologies

Gabriela Houston Why did Gabriela love this book?

A powerful story of mothers, daughters, adoptive families, and loyalty the book draws inspiration from Greek mythology. The main character is a teenage girl with a magical affinity for plants. As she unexpectedly comes into an inheritance, for the first time her abilities seem to hold more promise than a threat. A highly readable story.

By Kalynn Bayron,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked This Poison Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'Kalynn Bayron does more than re-write a fairy-tale ... She breaks it apart and rebuilds it into a wholly original and captivating story where girls finally decide for themselves who lives happily ever after' - Brigid Kemmerer 'Brings much-needed inclusivity and contemporary flavor to the teen fantasy genre' - Kirkus Reviews 'A delicious mix of intoxicating fantasy and coming of age, steeped in Greek mythology and peppered with references to the Jordan Peele films Get Out and Us' - Observer New Review _______________ Ever since she can remember, Briseis has had power over plants. Flowers bloom in her footsteps…

Book cover of Spinning Silver

Rachael Loper Author Of Anathema's Curse

From my list on to pull your soul into another realm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing fantasy since I was a very young child. My need to escape a world that I viewed with fear was satiated by writing worlds that gave me control over how I could create and master them. I would read books that I adored but wanted to implement changes to better fit my own personal feelings and perception. For example, unicorns were terrifying creatures in my head, so I gave them fire-covered horns and eyes of flames. Nothing in the world felt pure or safe to me, so I write in a way that gives a dark twist to any and all mythological creatures and magical realms.

Rachael's book list on to pull your soul into another realm

Rachael Loper Why did Rachael love this book?

Be careful what you say out loud. You never know who might hear you.

In this story, you have a cruel and harsh Staryk lord with only care for his silver to be turned to gold. He’s cold and indifferent to the one he appoints to this seemingly impossible task, yet you find yourself clinging to hope he will change.

There are multiple POV, so if this is your thing, trust me you’ll love how many are in here. It’s like getting multiple thrilling stories in one book. Redeemable monsters is how I would label this book in two words if I had to.

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Spinning Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following her award-winning novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is rich, original and a joy to read.

Will dark magic claim their home?
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge - and if she fails,…

Book cover of An Ember in the Ashes

Christina Bacilieri Author Of The Last Refuge

From my list on YA books that blend fantastical magic with dystopian worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to stories where characters discover the magic within and channel it to confront overwhelming odds. Dystopian fantasies meld the intricate worldbuilding of an oppressive world with a character’s unique abilities to fight back. When I was a young adult, these types of books made the most challenging moments in life manageable, not only for the escapism but for their message of hope. They reminded me I wasn’t alone and that my voice mattered. At their core, they’re made for the dreamer in all of us. They inspired me to become an author and write about the transformative power of self-discovery.

Christina's book list on YA books that blend fantastical magic with dystopian worlds

Christina Bacilieri Why did Christina love this book?

Laia and Elias stole my heart, while the Commandant’s cruelty stole my breath. Sabaa Tahir’s ability to evoke such powerful emotion with this story set in reimagined Ancient Rome was nothing less than masterful.

The characters are faced with impossible choices, which kept me asking questions about what I would do in their situation. I thought the integration of elemental magic was woven in perfectly. I’m a sucker for it and could lose hours thinking about what abilities I’d wish for.

Laia is spying on the Martial Empire for the rebels in exchange for their help rescuing her brother when her path collides with Elias, an enforcer of the tyrannical regime. Both dream of freedom, and we root for them to find it together in this ruthless world.

By Sabaa Tahir,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked An Ember in the Ashes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'Keeps one reading long after the lights should have been out' - Robin Hobb

Read the explosive New York Times bestselling debut that's captivated readers worldwide. Set to be a major motion picture, An Ember in the Ashes is the book everyone is talking about.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.

When Laia's grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.

But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant…

Book cover of From Blood and Ash

Dorothy McFalls Author Of The Last Moonlight Dragon

From my list on romantic fantasy novels to escape troubling times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I rediscovered my love of romantic fantasies when my mother went into the hospital, and I needed a place to go to escape the horror of watching a parent’s health fail. I not only buried myself in reading fantasies filled with magical love stories, I started writing them again. Throughout my life, I’ve reached for fantasy novels whenever life got tough. As a child, I would read nearly every fantasy I could find. As an adult, my tastes have changed, and I’m looking for fantasy novels with a romantic twist. But still, it’s the heroine overcoming adversity despite the worst odds that gives me hope and comfort exactly when I need it.

Dorothy's book list on romantic fantasy novels to escape troubling times

Dorothy McFalls Why did Dorothy love this book?

This book is the start of a spicy romantic fantasy series that hooked me from the first page. It fed into my love of spooky vampires, dark mysteries, and a fun love story with snarky dialogue.

I devoured this book and the rest of the series during the pandemic lockdown. The complicated Kingdom of Solis provided the perfect escape. The high drama of this fantasy echoed the stress of the uncertainty of the stressful time I was living through. The promise that things can work out, even when everything is falling apart, proved to be the balm I so desperately needed. When things get stressful, I pull out this series for a reread.

By Jennifer L. Armentrout,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked From Blood and Ash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“I hope you guys love this book as much as I do!! (Let me just say...Hawk *swoon*!!)” ~ NYT bestseller Sarah J. Maas

Captivating and action-packed, From Blood and Ash is a sexy, addictive, and unexpected fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Laura Thalassa.

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather…

Book cover of Dance of Thieves

Marcelina LoBue Author Of Masks of Faded Dreams

From my list on fantasy romance books to stay up until 3 a.m. reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I've always been attracted to the fantasy genre; I've been obsessed ever since my teacher introduced me to it in the first grade. What started as innocent fairy books evolved to dark, spicy fantasy romance/romantasy. Now, in addition to staying up way past my bedtime reading, I'm a teenage author of my own YA fantasy romance book, Masks of Faded Dreams. This genre has truly changed my life. As cliche as that sounds, it's true; it's both my form of escapism and an eye-opening experience into worlds I'd never known existed. 

Marcelina's book list on fantasy romance books to stay up until 3 a.m. reading

Marcelina LoBue Why did Marcelina love this book?

Dance of Thieves...more like Thieves of My Heart. Seriously, this book stole my heart.

From the first few pages, I knew there was something incredibly special about this story. Kazi and Jase embody that rich x poor dynamic and warmed my heart instantly. They both deal with so many personal issues that they handle in different ways; I love how it shows how there are many ways to grieve, and seeing as I was going through a difficult time while reading, it was a part of my healing journey.

The angst was on a whole other level. Although it was a bit political intrigue-heavy, the romance DID NOT disappoint. It left me staying up well past midnight to finish their story. 

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dance of Thieves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'Mary E. Pearson is a fearless storyteller' Stephanie Garber

A reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives, and their hearts, in a new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes…

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