63 books like The Emperor's Soul

By Brandon Sanderson,

Here are 63 books that The Emperor's Soul fans have personally recommended if you like The Emperor's Soul. 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 Elvenbane

Edith Pawlicki Author Of Vows of Gold and Laughter

From my list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader my whole life, I jumped into epic fantasy at age eleven. Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan were all high school favorites (and they are wonderful) but by the time I had reached the age that I was supposed to be reading their books, my palette was fairly jaded. The thrill of discovering new worlds and surprising magic was growing elusive, but wonder remains my favorite beat as a reader. I consider it the ultimate challenge in my own writing, and I greedily collect books that surprise me with their scope and imagination, leaving me awed and wonderstruck.

Edith's book list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck

Edith Pawlicki Why did Edith love this book?

Probably the most traditional book on this list, I am starting with The Elvenbane because it is my measuring stick for other fantasy. I read it first as a preteen, and I have revisited it many years since, always to be delighted by the world Norton and Lackey created. The detailed illusions, varied settings, the disparate magics, and the mischievous dragons all kept me guessing and in a haze of delight. There was so much that was familiar but with fresh twists that made it new again. It might not be as novel as the other books on my list, but a fantasy has hit the spot if it brings me back to the wonder I felt reading The Elvenbane.

By Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Possessed of great magical abilities, the Elvenlords can change the very world around them to suit their will. They rule their human slaves with an iron hand but they also fear them. According to an ancient prophecy, one day the Elvenbane - a person half-elf and half-human will be born, and the elvenlords will be overthrown. Neither the elves nor the desperate humans know that the prophecy was created by a third, hidden race: the dragons. The dragonkin love to secretly manipulate the elven society and they get a fresh chance when a human woman, pregnant by an Elvenlord, flees…


Book cover of When the Sea Turned to Silver

Edith Pawlicki Author Of Vows of Gold and Laughter

From my list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader my whole life, I jumped into epic fantasy at age eleven. Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan were all high school favorites (and they are wonderful) but by the time I had reached the age that I was supposed to be reading their books, my palette was fairly jaded. The thrill of discovering new worlds and surprising magic was growing elusive, but wonder remains my favorite beat as a reader. I consider it the ultimate challenge in my own writing, and I greedily collect books that surprise me with their scope and imagination, leaving me awed and wonderstruck.

Edith's book list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck

Edith Pawlicki Why did Edith love this book?

I encountered Grace Lin’s middle-grade fantasy series as an adult, and I can assure you that they are worth reading regardless of your age! When the Sea Turned Silver is littered with metaphors that will make you catch your breath and yet also become literal as her whimsical magic manifests. Chinese folklore that has been stretched and recreated by Lin’s imagination, the book begins with wild tales that are dismissed by the characters as impossible only to culminate with boundless magic that feels inevitable and is even more splendid than the stories they first heard. If you haven’t read these, you’re missing out!

By Grace Lin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When the Sea Turned to Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei's…


Book cover of The Silvered

Ju Honisch Author Of Obsidian Secrets

From my list on combining fantasy with “the past”.

Why am I passionate about this?

History and legend: The actual past and all the myths and stories that ride along with it. I have an M.A. in history and have always been interested in old folklore and myth. So I write fantasy novels set in the 19th century. The flair is steampunk-ish, the setting strictly historical – except for the fact that magic and mythical creatures exist. Magic is taught in Arcane Lodges, mythical beings can be pretty much anything: vampire, body-snatcher, werewolf, dryad, nymph, etc. My first novel Obsidian Secrets (Das Obsidianherz) won the Deutscher Phantastik Preis. Wings of Stone of the same series won the SERAPH as the "Best Fantasy Novel" at Leipzig Book Fair.

Ju's book list on combining fantasy with “the past”

Ju Honisch Why did Ju love this book?

I love Tanya Huff’s style of writing as much as I like her wonderful ideas.

The heroes and heroines in her novels are so well crafted you almost feel you know them personally, which to my mind is the key to a good read. 

The Silvered has Steampunk elements. It is, however, set in an invented world that shows some resemblance to our 19th century. The book is a thrilling fantasy novel combining Steampunk with magic: I love the combination.

By Tanya Huff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Empire has declared war on the were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the Pack- leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen-she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack- leader-to save them. But with every step into enemy territory, the odds against their survival grow steeper...


Book cover of Starless

Edith Pawlicki Author Of Vows of Gold and Laughter

From my list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader my whole life, I jumped into epic fantasy at age eleven. Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan were all high school favorites (and they are wonderful) but by the time I had reached the age that I was supposed to be reading their books, my palette was fairly jaded. The thrill of discovering new worlds and surprising magic was growing elusive, but wonder remains my favorite beat as a reader. I consider it the ultimate challenge in my own writing, and I greedily collect books that surprise me with their scope and imagination, leaving me awed and wonderstruck.

Edith's book list on fantasy if you want to be truly wonderstruck

Edith Pawlicki Why did Edith love this book?

Starless is a classic epic—a band of characters undertakes a dangerous quest to fulfill an ancient prophesy—but its creativity will keep you gasping. I dare not enumerate the many marvels Carey created lest I ruin the surprise for readers, but I can tell you that it features thousands of fallen stars who become deities in the world, and manifest their power and identities in varied and unpredictable ways. Besides the magic itself, Starless also features many different cultures and lands that make me think Carey’s mind must be a beautiful and dangerous place! This book might be telling the oldest story, but it does so in revolutionary ways.

By Jacqueline Carey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man...

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity. But in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep…


Book cover of The Paper Magician

Jami Fairleigh Author Of Oil and Dust

From my list on fantasy featuring art-based magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

At heart, I believe every one of us is creative. It doesn’t matter if you express your creativity through words, notes, metal, wood, food, fabric, or paint. Personally, I love to sketch, paint, write, and sculpt. There is something magical about bringing your imagination to life and sharing it with the world! Our art allows us to share our emotions, dreams, memories, and culture with the world. As a fantasy author, I wanted to create a place where art can transform the physical world too. 

Jami's book list on fantasy featuring art-based magic

Jami Fairleigh Why did Jami love this book?

Like many fantasy novels, The Paper Magician revolves around a character who feels small, lost, and powerless.

Although Ceony Twill desperately wants metal magic, she gets assigned to paper and decides to make the most of it. Since I’m half-Japanese, I immediately thought “origami!” when I read about the folding magic. It is the first book in a trilogy and I found the story to be a light, fast read.

Holmberg’s Victorian, gas-lamp world feels familiar, and though I found the characters a little thin (paper joke intended!), I enjoyed Ceony’s adventure. My favorite characters were two of the paper creatures, Fennel and Jonto, and I dare you not to adore them too!

By Charlie N. Holmberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Charlie is a vibrant writer with an excellent voice and great world building. I thoroughly enjoyed the Paper Magician." -Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn and The Way of Kings

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she's bonded to paper, that will be her only magic...forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to…


Book cover of Imager

Jami Fairleigh Author Of Oil and Dust

From my list on fantasy featuring art-based magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

At heart, I believe every one of us is creative. It doesn’t matter if you express your creativity through words, notes, metal, wood, food, fabric, or paint. Personally, I love to sketch, paint, write, and sculpt. There is something magical about bringing your imagination to life and sharing it with the world! Our art allows us to share our emotions, dreams, memories, and culture with the world. As a fantasy author, I wanted to create a place where art can transform the physical world too. 

Jami's book list on fantasy featuring art-based magic

Jami Fairleigh Why did Jami love this book?

If you like slice-of-life fantasy featuring art-based magic, check out Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

The novel centers around a character named Rhenn who has spent several years apprenticing to become a master artisan. But when his patron is killed and he almost loses the opportunity of becoming an artist, he learns the true power of his art. I enjoyed the “classic fantasy” feeling of the world, and the interactions between the characters.

Bonus, if you love this story, there are eleven more books to enjoy in the series! 

By L.E. Modesitt, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Imager" is the beginning of a whole new fantasy in a whole new magical world from the bestselling creator of "Recluce". Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant in L'Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, the most powerful nation on Terahnar, he has spent years becoming a journeyman artist and is skilled and diligent enough to be considered for the status of master artisan - in another two years. Then, in a single moment, his entire life is transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager - one…


Book cover of Memory and Dream

Jami Fairleigh Author Of Oil and Dust

From my list on fantasy featuring art-based magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

At heart, I believe every one of us is creative. It doesn’t matter if you express your creativity through words, notes, metal, wood, food, fabric, or paint. Personally, I love to sketch, paint, write, and sculpt. There is something magical about bringing your imagination to life and sharing it with the world! Our art allows us to share our emotions, dreams, memories, and culture with the world. As a fantasy author, I wanted to create a place where art can transform the physical world too. 

Jami's book list on fantasy featuring art-based magic

Jami Fairleigh Why did Jami love this book?

If you haven’t read any of Charles de Lint’s stories, you’re in for a treat!

Each of his stories feels so fresh and original. His characters jump off the page… but will also break your heart. This novel is about a young artist named Isabelle Copley (Izzy) whose whimsical paintings seem so real they could come to life. But is her art just… art? The writing is beautiful and lyrical, but also dark and scary.

Memory and Dream is also a great entry into de Lint’s story world of “Newford”.

By Charles de Lint,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From her mentor, Rushkin, Isabell Copley had learned to paint creatures that come to life--literally--and years after these creatures have ruined her life, Isabelle returns to painting, haunted by memories, dreams, and the threat of her mentor's return.


Book cover of The Golden Key

Jami Fairleigh Author Of Oil and Dust

From my list on fantasy featuring art-based magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

At heart, I believe every one of us is creative. It doesn’t matter if you express your creativity through words, notes, metal, wood, food, fabric, or paint. Personally, I love to sketch, paint, write, and sculpt. There is something magical about bringing your imagination to life and sharing it with the world! Our art allows us to share our emotions, dreams, memories, and culture with the world. As a fantasy author, I wanted to create a place where art can transform the physical world too. 

Jami's book list on fantasy featuring art-based magic

Jami Fairleigh Why did Jami love this book?

This novel is dense, rich, and chewy.

It’s the first book I’ve read with three authors, but I thought they did a great job at crafting the story of Tira Virte, where art is created to record history,  marriages, and treaties. But how safe is a society where only men from a specific family can create the art?

 Each author wrote one section of the book, and I definitely noticed each change in author voice, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. The vibe is creepy and lush, like the old gothic horror novels. The art-based magic introduced in this novel is interesting (and icky!).

It won a ton of awards, and though it’s not an easy read, it shouldn’t be missed!

By Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, Kate Elliott

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now in trade paperback, this World Fantasy Award-nominated novel by three powerhouse women fantasy writers introduces a world where art is prized above all.

In the duchy of Tira Virte, fine art is prized above all things, both for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriage and births to treaties and inheritances. And although the Grand Duke is aware that there is more to the paintings of certain limners than meets the eye, not even he knows just how extraordinary the art of the Grijalva family truly is.

For certain males of their bloodline are…


Book cover of Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Art Forger

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Tony Tetro is one of the most successful art forgers in history and a character straight out of a movie, with a devil-may-care attitude towards his fast life among the rich, famous, and fraudulent.

His talents have fooled expert appraisers and wealthy collectors for years, including Prince (now King) Charles, who acquired paintings by Tetro thinking they were authentic works of art by Picasso, Dali, Monet, and Chagall. There are likely hundreds of his forged paintings currently hanging in museums and galleries—or displayed in private collections—authenticated as originals.

Read about his secret stash room hidden behind a mirror, his reckless disregard for consequences, and his jaundiced view of the victims of his many cons, and you’ll swear you’re reading a novel versus nonfiction. 

The key to writing a novel is to make the characters as real as possible, with all the many contradictions we find in ourselves, in order to…

By Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Con/Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's most renowned art forger reveals the secrets behind his decades of painting like the Masters-exposing an art world that is far more corrupt than we ever knew while providing an art history lesson wrapped in sex, drugs, and Caravaggio.The art world is a much dirtier, nastier business than you might expect. Tony Tetro, one of the most renowned art forgers in history, will make you question every masterpiece you've ever seen in a museum, gallery, or private collection. Tetro's "Rembrandts," "Caravaggios," "Miros," and hundreds of other works now hang on walls around the globe. In 2019, it was…


Book cover of Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

Noah Charney Author Of The Devil in the Gallery: How Scandal, Shock, and Rivalry Shaped the Art World

From my list on art crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in 2006, a New York Times Magazine feature article about me announced that I had essentially founded the field of the study of art crime, while still a postgraduate student. I’m often mentioned as the world’s leading authority on the history of art crime and I’ve been a professor teaching the subject for more than a decade (I’m not actually that old). I also founded ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, the world’s first think tank and research group on art crime. We launched the first academic journal on the subject, The Journal of Art Crime, as well as the first academic study program, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, which runs every summer in Italy. I’m also the author of more than a dozen books, many best-sellers, and one a Pulitzer finalist. I write on art crime for TED Ed videos, I host TV programs on the subject, and I recently curated a virtual exhibit of lost art called Missing Masterpieces.

Noah's book list on art crime

Noah Charney Why did Noah love this book?

This book is part philosophy, part on art and forgery. Most approaches, my own included, to art forgery are art historical and criminological. This one is readable and thoughtful and fun but focuses on the big ideas behind the scenes.

By Thierry Lenain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The obsession with art forgery appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In Art Forgery, the author's aim is not to suggest new methods of detection, but rather to look at the genealogy of faking and to interrogate the anxious, sometimes neurotic, reactions triggered in the modern world of art by these clever frauds. Thierry Lenain considers the idea of authenticity in the Middle Ages, when the issue of false relics and miracles often arose: if a relic gave rise to a cult, it would be considered as genuine even if it had evidently been 'forged'. Similarly, the seventeenth and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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