100 books like The Crystal Cave

By Mary Stewart,

Here are 100 books that The Crystal Cave fans have personally recommended if you like The Crystal Cave. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ 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.

The Eagle of the Ninth

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Book cover of The Eagle of the Ninth

Wendy Orr Author Of Cuckoo's Flight

From the list on to bring history to life.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by history, and when I dreamed of being an author, imagined I’d write historical fiction. However, it took many writing detours to arrive there. (Nim’s Island, by the way, has no basis in historical fact!). When I first imagined the story that led to the Minoan Wings trilogy, I fell in love with researching this era, which is particularly intriguing because there are virtually no written records. Visiting the ruins of a four-thousand-year-old town on Crete under the guidance of an archaeologist who had not only excavated there but had become passionately involved with my imaginary characters, was an absolute highlight of my life. 

Wendy's book list on to bring history to life

Why did Wendy love this book?

This was the book that made me want to write historical fiction. I cared so desperately about the characters that I wanted to be there with them, wishing I could do something to help; they are still very clear in my mind. We were living near the USAF Academy at the time, and I convinced my mother to drive me out to their library where I pored over and made copious notes on Roman military history so that I could write my own story about the missing Ninth Legion. (I still have the notes!) 

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Eagle of the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Everyman edition reprints the classic black and white illustrations of C. Walter Hodges which accompanied the first edition in 1954.

Around the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, stationed at Eburacum - modern day York - marched north to suppress a rebellion of the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again. During the 1860s, a wingless Roman Eagle was discovered during excavations at the village of Silchester in Hampshire, puzzling archaeologists and scholars alike. Rosemary Sutcliff weaves a compelling story from these two mysteries, dispatching her hero, the young Roman officer Marcus Aquila, on a perilous journey beyond…

Le Morte D'Arthur

By Thomas Malory, William Caxton (editor),

Book cover of Le Morte D'Arthur

Cory O'Brien Author Of Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

From the list on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Who am I?

Cory O’Brien, author of such books as Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: a No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology, grew up reading myths and legends of all sorts, and turned that passion into a career with the advent of his extremely serious mythology website. He has always had a fondness for the Arthurian Legend in particular, ever since his father read him Howard Pyle’s King Arthur books as a child, and he realized he could use them as a moral justification for hitting other kids with big sticks.

Cory's book list on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Why did Cory love this book?

If you’re interested in the Arthurian Legend, Thomas Mallory is a great place to start. He’s not the first guy to write about King Arthur and his knights (that honor is widely attributed to French poet Chrétien de Troyes), but he is possibly the first writer to collect all the scattered legends into one cohesive narrative. He’s also the only guy to do it while imprisoned for attempting to overthrow the government/having sex with another guy’s wife, at least as far as I know, and that passion for insurrection and adultery definitely shows through in his work. It’s a very old book, and as such the language can be a bit dense and meandering, but it’s also the basis for every other book on this list, and its age means you can read it for free through Project Gutenberg, so that’s a plus.

By Thomas Malory, William Caxton (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Le Morte D'Arthur as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…

The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold,

Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From the list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Why did Gregg love this book?

I read this book years ago, but it stuck with me.

The idea that when a loved one dies they watch over us, wishing to end our pain, is a powerful one. And for a novelist it’s a rich seam to mine. And yet The Lovely Bones did it so well, that few have tried to follow where it leads.

Although it moves in a very different direction, my own book clearly owes a debt of inspiration to Alice Seebold and I couldn’t not make it first on my list.

By Alice Sebold,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Lovely Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling novel that inspired the acclaimed film directed by Peter Jackson.

With an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in…

A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

David W. Burns Author Of Heart of Stone

From the list on blending the real with the fantastic.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a kid using all of my allowance to buy comic books, I have been obsessed with the art and craft of storytelling, especially those stories that deal with the struggle between good and evil—in the world, and inside ourselves.  I’ve been fortunate enough to publish short stories and now a novel in the fantasy genre.  But most of all, I am a fan of speculative fiction, and especially urban fantasy, with its blending of the real and impossible, and I’m always eager to see what’s around the next dark corner or down the next mysterious alley in the hidden heart of the world.

David's book list on blending the real with the fantastic

Why did David love this book?

While The Lord Of The Rings will always remain my benchmark for epic fantasy world-building, there is something almost hypnotic about the ease and economy of Ursula K. LeGuin’s worldbuilding here, making it my “go to” book whenever I want to slip back into a fully-realized and authentic fantasy world without a lot of effort. 

At barely 182 pages, this tale of a young wizard trying to undo a spell gone terribly awry also stands as a thoughtful exploration of the mysterious and inextricable relationship between life and death. The world of Earthsea is described with scant prose, but every word is chosen carefully by a masterful storyteller and every sentence evokes a mood or packs an emotional punch.

Too soon, the spell is over, leaving you wishing for more.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Wizard of Earthsea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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,…


By George MacDonald Fraser,

Book cover of Flashman

Austin Grossman Author Of Crooked

From the list on set in alternate histories.

Who am I?

I'm a lot of things. I design games. I study literature and theater. I write novels that are messy fusions of literary and genre fiction. I'm endlessly curious. Each of my books starts with when I hear in my head, the voice of a character asking a question. It's always a silly question, and it's always the one that matters more to them than anything else in the world. "Why does being superintelligent make you evil?" became Soon I Will Be Invincible. "What are people who play video games obsessively really looking for?" became You. Answering the question isn't simple, but of course that's where the fun starts.

Austin's book list on set in alternate histories

Why did Austin love this book?

Flashman does a thing I love, which is to tell the story of another book's least notable character.

Harry Flashman comes from Thomas Hughes's 1850 novel Tom Brown's School Days (the entire basis for the Harry Potter novels), where he's a sub-Draco Malfo figure, a useless bully.

Flashman tells the story of his later years as the Victorian Empire's most cowardly soldier, rattling around British colonies, stumbling through their various atrocities and debacles. I wish the book were even harsher on the Brits, but it's a deeply fun counter-text and a lovely bit of escapism nonetheless.

By George MacDonald Fraser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For George MacDonald Fraser the bully Flashman was easily the most interesting character in Tom Brown's Schooldays, and imaginative speculation as to what might have happened to him after his expulsion from Rugby School for drunkenness ended in 12 volumes of memoirs in which Sir Harry Paget Flashman - self-confessed scoundrel, liar, cheat, thief, coward -'and, oh yes, a toady' - romps his way through decades of nineteenth-century history in a swashbuckling and often hilarious series of military and amorous adventures. In Flashman the youthful hero, armed with a commission in the 11th Dragoons, is shipped to India, woos and…

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator),

Book cover of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Z.S. Diamanti Author Of Stone & Sky

From the list on fantasy adventure filled with fun, magic, and hope.

Who am I?

Creativity can lead to beautiful things. As a child I needed glasses and didn’t know it. Instead of reading books, my brother and I would tell stories to each other while we were supposed to be sleeping in our bunk beds at night. Eventually, I did get glasses and found that all the fantastical things that my mind came up with gave me quite the propensity toward fantasy. And once my eyes were set, it was game on! Over the years, I’ve authored numerous pieces in other genres, but my first books were always going to be fantasy. And that’s how the Stone & Sky series was born.

Z.S.'s book list on fantasy adventure filled with fun, magic, and hope

Why did Z.S. love this book?

A list of fantasy adventure books filled with fun, magic, and hope would hardly be complete without one entry from The Chronicles of Narnia. And though it’s hard to pick just one, I think we have to go with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

When Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are swept away into the magical world of Narnia to sail with king Caspian and his ragtag crew across the sea, there is no shortage of adventure. They face many challenges along the way, including the incessant whining of Eustace.

Our protagonists never give up, even in the face of difficult bouts with sea serpents, wizard’s tricks, and dragon curses. And at the end of their journey, they grow into the heroes they were meant to be.

By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful paperback edition of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, book five in the classic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. This edition is complete with cover and interior art by the original illustrator of Narnia, Pauline Baynes.

A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world's end is only the beginning.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth book in C. S. Lewis's classic…

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

Mark David Gerson Author Of The MoonQuest

From the list on fantasy that will make you devour the series.

Who am I?

One of the reasons I prefer novels to short stories as both reader and writer is that I like to immerse myself in fictional worlds and forge ongoing relationships with the characters who live in them. Often, in fact, I experience something resembling grief when I reach the end of a beloved book and am forced to say goodbye to the people and places that have so captured my imagination through all those pages. And that’s as true for the books I write as for those I read. For me, whether I’m writing it or reading it, that’s the major attraction of a compelling series!

Mark's book list on fantasy that will make you devour the series

Why did Mark love this book?

Most people read young adult fantasy when they’re in their teens. That wasn’t true for me.

In fact, ironically for someone who would end up writing fantasy, I didn’t read much of it until I was well beyond my teens. That’s when I discovered YA authors like Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Ende, and Ursula K. Le Guin. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, however, was the first.

At the time, I was refocusing my life—away from the logical and intellectual and toward the spiritual and numinous, not unlike Wrinkle’s main characters, whose journey became a powerful metaphor for my own creative and spiritual awakening.

Moreover, that the now-classic book was rejected 26 times over two years was a potent lesson in perseverance. It still is.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…

Book cover of An Unkindness of Magicians

Liz Michalski Author Of Darling Girl

From the list on making you believe in magic.

Who am I?

I vividly remember the first time a book transported me—it was in Mrs. Paul’s second-grade math class, and I was reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader under the desk. It carried me away to a different world. I’ve been looking for that same magic in every book since, hoping to fall into a picture or open a wardrobe door to another place and time. This list contains a few of my favorites, the stories that have earned permanent spots on my shelves, the ones that get pulled down when I need some enchantment in my life. (And don’t we all need a little magic these days?)

Liz's book list on making you believe in magic

Why did Liz love this book?

Magic is real. To wield it requires sacrifice.

Its allegiance shifts and changes over time. To hold it, Houses of Magic put on an epic tournament at every Turning, where their best and brightest act as champions in battle. But what the champions don’t know, because their elders have never taught them, is that the magic itself draws from a dark source, and that source is crumbling.

Powerful magician Sydney has emerged from The House of Shadows to fight for a sponsor who wishes to establish his own house. But Sydney has first-hand experience with the darkness.

And she doesn’t want to help restore the establishment. She wants to burn it to the ground.

A fast-moving, gritty, wholly satisfying read. 

By Kat Howard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Unkindness of Magicians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A remarkable writer." -Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods

An Alex Award Winner

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city's magicians' power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney-a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney…

City of Bones

By Cassandra Clare,

Book cover of City of Bones

Kris Branham Author Of Breaking

From the list on getting magical powers.

Who am I?

I've spent my life feeling out of place in this world which had me diving into novels since I was a little girl able to read. I was increasingly drawn to the supernatural dynamic in shows and novels. On top of that I am neurodivergent which means that I have spent years in and out of my own forms of darkness and self-doubt. As an author I wanted to create a world for characters that struggle with the same issues I struggle with and help them heal and grow through their trials. My hope has always been that in the course of my stories I can help a reader heal as well. 

Kris' book list on getting magical powers

Why did Kris love this book?

This book is a unique way of looking at humans being caught up in a supernatural world.

It provided real and unique outlook on a seemingly normal girl who gets swept away and brought into a world that surrounds her every day. It has its own sense of awakening where people can look around our world, outside of the pages and wonder what they are missing right under their nose.

It’s a great voice that instantly draws in the readers. The magic in this series intrigued me with how it worked. Invoking and storing magical runes on their bodies was an interesting take on gaining magic.

By Cassandra Clare,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover this first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly).

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he…

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Book cover of The Graveyard Book

M.R. Fournet Author Of Brick Dust and Bones

From the list on giving kids beautiful nightmares.

Who am I?

As a middle grade horror writer, I attribute my love of everything spooky to my early obsession with reading. Of course, my little brain was twisted already, but I found a perfect home in the monsters and ghouls of the library. These are the five books that inspired me to become a writer who scares children in the best possible way.

M.R.'s book list on giving kids beautiful nightmares

Why did M.R. love this book?

The perfect teen horror book doesn’t exist…oh wait, yes it does. Unlike the others, I read this as an adult, but wow! This was a huge influence on my horror book, with its scenes of living in a cemetery.

Gaiman paints certain evil things as beautiful and worthy of redemption, and I appreciate that. A murderer on the loose, a boy living in a cemetery with ghosts, and all manner of monsters lurking in the pages. It’s a gorgeous book and deserves that Newberry Medal on the cover.

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Graveyard Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing his entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in wizards, Merlin, and King Arthur?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about wizards, Merlin, and King Arthur.

Wizards Explore 92 books about wizards
Merlin Explore 13 books about Merlin
King Arthur Explore 57 books about King Arthur