100 books like Stardust

By Neil Gaiman,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Circe

Judith Lindbergh Author Of Akmaral

From my list on historical fiction with eponymous titles.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we authors name our characters, we gift them with meaning—a single word that somehow encompasses everything they will experience on the page. The name of my heroine, Akmaral, hails from Kazakhstan and means “white deer.” It resounds with the sound of hooves on the ancient Central Asian steppes and the deep connection to the natural world of the nomadic people who once lived there. Names bear unconscious expectations—hopes for strength and wisdom, dreams of triumph, beauty, and love. I hope that someday, hearing “Akmaral” will bring to mind vast, windswept steppes and a strong woman on horseback, head held high, contemplating her journey from warrior to leader.

Judith's book list on historical fiction with eponymous titles

Judith Lindbergh Why did Judith love this book?

It doesn’t hurt to be a goddess—even a minor goddess—that is, unless you are condemned to live alone on an enchanted island for eternity. I love the magic and herbology woven into Circe's character. (I love anything that has to do with harnessing nature’s powerful, innate wisdom.)

Circe’s suffering at the hands of gods and men is as intense as if she were a human woman. Yet she is immortal. Is there no end to it? Thankfully, even a goddess can grow. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Circe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…


Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

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?

Clarke transports the reader to England during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There is, however, one small twist: magic once existed in this world and has now returned through two men, drastically changing the course of history and society.

The story is rich in gothic atmosphere and wry humour, and is positively bursting with ideas (there are almost 200 footnotes!). Clarke imbues her protagonists with conflicting approaches to the pursuit of knowledge, with Norrell representing cautious rationality and conservative methodology, while Strange embodies an adventurous spirit and a willingness to embrace the arcane and often the dangerous.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…


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…


Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

Book cover of Alpha Max

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Human shaped Pirate hearted Storytelling addict Creatively inclined

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers he’s the only human being who can prevent the end of the world, and not just on his planet! In the multiverse, infinite Earths will be destroyed.

Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Funny, yet deep, this is definitely worth venturing into the multiverse for."

Amazing Stories says: "Snarky as Pratchet, insightful as Stephenson, as full of scathing social commentary as Swift or Voltaire, and weirdly reminiscent of LeGuin, Alpha Max is the only multiverse novel you need this month, or maybe ever."

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers…


Book cover of Dead Until Dark

J.L. Buckley Author Of Hybrid: Irinsbane Part I

From my list on steamy romantasy novels with badass but relatable leading women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy romance is a broad genre that simply captivates and enthralls me. The combination of romance, passion, action, humor, magic, mystery, and drama ignites this spark in my heart, filling my metaphorical cup of happiness. But what makes these books so amazing is the strong female perspective they are told from. It’s not making tough decisions or embodying their masculine energies that make them strong. It’s their ability to balance dealing with external conflicts while struggling with self-confidence and loving others so completely that makes them such incredible women to read. Those are the stories I want to read, and those are the stories I want to tell.

J.L.'s book list on steamy romantasy novels with badass but relatable leading women

J.L. Buckley Why did J.L. love this book?

The incongruous premise of this book absolutely drew me into it so hard. Vampires with Southern accents living in the modern world where they’ve come out of the coffin? Add to that a female protagonist with a supernatural gift that she has no idea how or why she has? Charlaine, take my money.

Sookie might not have started out as a badass heroine, but her strength was evident from the beginning of the book. Smart, funny, and lacking a little in confidence, she’s super relatable. And she bags the sexy two-hundred-year-old local vampire while solving a serial killer murder mystery. What’s not to love?

By Charlaine Harris,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Dead Until Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pretty - she's a very cute bubbly blonde - or not interested in a social life. She really is ...but Sookie's got a bit of a disability. She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill: he's tall, he's dark and he's handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting all her life for. But Bill has…


Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Nick Stevenson Author Of Nethergeist

From my list on compelling world building in fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by fantastical world-building that is complex, detailed, forensically credible, and immeasurably encyclopedic in scope. It should propel you to a world that feels almost as real as the world you leave behind but with intricate magic systems and razor-shape lore. Ironically, some of my choices took a while to love, but once they “sunk in,” everything changed. Whenever life gets too much, it has been cathartic, essential even, to transport to another universe and find solace in prose dedicated to survival, soul, and renewal.

Nick's book list on compelling world building in fantasy

Nick Stevenson Why did Nick love this book?

I read this book as a child and was immediately captivated by the rugged island nations and the rich cultural tapestry the inhabitants live within. The evocation of mist, mountains, remote shores, isolated villages, and their bleating goats form the backdrop to the story of Ged, the would-be wizard on his voyage to become a mage.

The self-discovery he faces at the wizard school (long before Hogwarts) when he unleashes a malevolent force through youthful ego and determination to prove his magic vitality leads him on a journey of self-discovery through the lands and within his own soul, pursued by the darkness he freed. It’s a rite of passage that culminates in him facing this shadow and what it truly is. The imagery is stark, and the haunting world-building is compelling. Perhaps it’s still my favorite fantasy to this day.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked A Wizard of Earthsea 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?

The first book of Earthsea in a beautiful hardback edition. Complete the collection with The Tombs of Atuan, The Furthest Shore and Tehanu

With illustrations from Charles Vess

'[This] trilogy made me look at the world in a new way, imbued everything with a magic that was so much deeper than the magic I'd encountered before then. This was a magic of words, a magic of true speaking' Neil Gaiman

'Drink this magic up. Drown in it. Dream it' David Mitchell

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.

Hungry for power and knowledge,…


Book cover of The Bear and the Nightingale

Melanie K. Moschella Author Of Iron-Bound Flames

From my list on bingeable book series for escapist readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been an escapist reader. From fantasy to historical fiction, my favorite books have transported me from my life—providing me with the adventure and romance that I crave. I’m a lover of series, specifically, because they offer a longer, more immersive experience. As a writer, I hope to offer my readers the same respite from reality that my favorite series have offered me, and I’m publishing my completed five-book series, The Raek Riders series all at once in an effort to do just that. They will be available March 19th, 2024, ready for escapist readers to binge from start to finish. 

Melanie's book list on bingeable book series for escapist readers

Melanie K. Moschella Why did Melanie love this book?

Set in medieval Russia, The Winternight Trilogy is sure to transport you out of your current location into a land of snow and ice, rich with fairytale lore.

What I remember most about these books is the captivating scenery—I was completely drawn into the enchanted forest and harsh, winter wonderland detailed within. Vasya was a strong, female character that I could root for, and I heartily enjoyed coming of age with her and fighting her battles.

These books are best enjoyed on a blustery winter’s day under a plush blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. 

By Katherine Arden,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Bear and the Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_____________________________
Beware the evil in the woods...

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods. . .

Atmospheric and enchanting,…


Book cover of The Eyes of the Dragon

Jo Danilo Author Of The Blackwood Crusade

From my list on modern fairy tales to make you believe in magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mum tells me I used to sit with a book of fairytales open on my lap, aged three, and ‘read’ them out loud. Of course, I wasn’t reading them because I couldn’t read yet; I had memorised them all, word for word. Later, having consumed all the traditional tales and still with a hunger for more, I began reading modern fairytales. They opened up a whole new world; a world of light and darkness where anything at all is possible and unusual characters and events cascade from the pages. And then I realised I could actually write my own…

Jo's book list on modern fairy tales to make you believe in magic

Jo Danilo Why did Jo love this book?

“Did they all live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say.” This is a book I have read over and over again, and I never tire of it. Unlike the horror books he is well known for, this one was written by Stephen King for his daughter, and it is rooted firmly in a fairy-tale world, featuring a brave prince, his not-so-brave brother, a hunted dragon, and a truly nasty magician. However, King has injected this tale with his own, unique flair for interesting characters and truly gut-churning scenarios, and the story is all the better for it. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the kingdom of Delain, a young prince must struggle against powerful forces to gain his rightful inheritance.


Book cover of Uprooted

Beth Ball Author Of Phoenix Rising

From my list on adult fairy tales that sweep you into a magical world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always adored fairy tales, most particularly rewritings of fairy tales where the heroines seize a destiny all their own. But beyond feminine agency, I want a story that sweeps me away in every respect: lose me in a forest, turn my head with magic, let me stand and face my inner darkness, and, perhaps most importantly, entrance me with gorgeous language—it has to feel like a fairy tale. As fate would have it, these particular proclivities led me to write fantasy novels in my own right! You won’t find princesses, but you will find magic libraries and stories that dwell on the power of stories themselves!

Beth's book list on adult fairy tales that sweep you into a magical world

Beth Ball Why did Beth love this book?

Where can I even begin with the magic and immersion of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted?

Saying an unlikely heroine with an affinity for the forest meets an aloof, powerful wizard thus starting her quest to uncover the potential of her own magic barely scratches the surface of the enchanting world Novik creates. The allure and power of the dark forest that runs tangled roots beneath the story’s unspooling narrative is an unmissable experience.

And Novik’s uniquely beautiful language is perfectly matched by the magic of the fairy tale world itself and the weaving of the spells therein! 

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dark enchantment blights the land in the award-winning Uprooted - a enthralling fantasy inspired by fairy tales, by Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series.

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel
Winner of the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
Winner of the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Novel

Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest's…


Book cover of In the Garden of Iden

Jay Cutts Author Of Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom

From my list on funny sci/fi fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Where many people would see an empty package of Oreos, I see the remains of a lost civilization, an artifact crafted galaxies away by beings who flit in and out of existence in order to build rainbows for lonely children and who have left the empty bag, filled with dog poop, flaming on someone’s front step and are laughing uncontrollably as the person stomps on it to put it out. I want to find authors who see more than the bag of Oreos. I want them to be wildly imaginative and to paint what they see with cleverness and humor. I try to do the same.

Jay's book list on funny sci/fi fantasy

Jay Cutts Why did Jay love this book?

Kage Baker is an Isaac Asimov compared to Terry Pratchett’s Marx Brothers. In the Garden of Iden is more sci-fi than fantasy, including time travel, cybernetics, and nanotechnologies. And love and loss. This book is part of a series of novels that Baker crafted about time-travelling enhanced humans who carry out critical tasks throughout history. 

What I loved most about this book is how very human her main characters are. Like Pratchett and Bill Shakespeare, Baker is a master at showing us human nature. Her comedy is high comedy. I laugh because I recognize myself in her characters. Baker has a fine eye for the subtle and the absurd. And yet unlike many humorous authors, the tragedies of the heart are always at the core of her stories.

By Kage Baker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Garden of Iden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first novel in what has become one of the most popular series in contemporary Science Fiction, now back in print from Tor. In the twenty-fourth century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company. One of these is Mendoza the botanist, who is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden. Her quest is jeopardized by Nicholas Harpole, who stirs unfamiliar emotions within her about her…


Book cover of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

J.D. Blackrose Author Of Demon Kissed

From my list on Great romantasy books that aren’t by Sarah J. Maas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about this because I write romantasy too, and so do many other wonderful authors. Sarah J. Maas is a legend in the Romantasy genre, and she’s prolific, so there’s a lot to read with her various series. But, if you’ve finished with her books and are looking for more, there are plenty of authors out there doing amazing, spine-tingling, dare I say loin-tingling work, and we should celebrate them. Besides, no matter how prolific Ms. Maas is, readers will always finish books faster than even she can write them.

J.D.'s book list on Great romantasy books that aren’t by Sarah J. Maas

J.D. Blackrose Why did J.D. love this book?

What? You didn’t know there was a book? There is! Now, the movie is, in my humble opinion, the most perfect movie ever made, but the book came first.

I read the book ages ago and fell in love with it. More in-depth than the movie and a little different in places, it is worth the read, and if you want to follow up with a small, equally as fun read, try The Silent Gondoliers, also by Goldman.

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Princess Bride 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?

William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers.

This tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts was unforgettably depicted in the 1987 film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Fred Savage, Robin Wright, and others. But, rich in character and satire, the novel boasts even more layers of ingenious storytelling. Set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin, home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in courtship, fairy tales, and coming of age?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about courtship, fairy tales, and coming of age.

Courtship Explore 13 books about courtship
Fairy Tales Explore 291 books about fairy tales
Coming Of Age Explore 1,245 books about coming of age