85 books like The Once and Future Witches

By Alix E. Harrow,

Here are 85 books that The Once and Future Witches fans have personally recommended if you like The Once and Future Witches. 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 Pachinko

Kern Carter Author Of And Then There Was Us

From my list on family drama, sacrifice, and how beautifully messy a family can be.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a large family that initially didn’t include my mother or father. My mother made the sacrifice of leaving our island of Trinidad to make a home for us in Canada. She was separated from us for years while my grandparents raised me and my brothers. I think that type of upbringing triggered my curiosity about what a family can be. When I became a father at 18, the question of what kind of family I would build became the central theme of my life. It still is today, which is why stories that revolve around family are so captivating for me. 

Kern's book list on family drama, sacrifice, and how beautifully messy a family can be

Kern Carter Why did Kern love this book?

I loved this book because it shows generations of family sacrifice and how the decisions we make in our lifetime can live on for decades after we pass.

I rushed to read this book every evening and had to pull myself away. It was so amazing to me that this author could weave through years and years of family history in a clear, coherent, and powerful way. 

By Min Jin Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* The million-copy bestseller*
* National Book Award finalist *
* One of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2017 *
* Selected for Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf book club *

'This is a captivating book... Min Jin Lee's novel takes us through four generations and each character's search for identity and success. It's a powerful story about resilience and compassion' BARACK OBAMA.

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja…


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…


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 Spellbound

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

I’m a sucker for a cool historical setting and also for romance with a social-status difference as a main obstacle, and this novel delivers on both! In 1920s-era New York City, amid Prohibition and jazz and snazzy fashions—and, in this version of things, an underworld of secret magic—wealthy Arthur meets working-class Rory, and the sparks begin. Both of the men are utterly endearing (another feature I’m soft on) and bring different paranormal powers to the problem of a lethal magical relic on its way to New York. There are two more books in the series, so if you fall for this pair, hurray! There’s more to read.

By Allie Therin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Allie Therin built a world that came alive and flew off the pages." —Gay Book Reviews

To save Manhattan, they’ll have to save each other first…

New York, 1925

Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.

Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk.…


Book cover of The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

Do not read after dark! At least, don’t do so if you’re a scaredy-cat like me when it comes to ghost stories. That said, I found this story lovely and fun and steamy—when it wasn’t scaring the daylights out of me, that is. The premise is fabulous: a man moves to York, England, because he has inherited an old house there, which turns out to be super haunted. So who does he turn to for help? One of the many ghost-tour guides who roam the city telling their tales, of course. Turns out this particular guide—aside from being a highly sexy fellow with dyed-blue hair—can in fact see ghosts. And the ones in this house would rather murder the living than be politely ushered out.

By Lily Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and…


Book cover of The Dark Wife

Molly Ringle Author Of Lava Red Feather Blue

From my list on fantasy with great queer representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been making up magical worlds ever since childhood, when I populated the creekbanks and vacant lots in my hometown with ghosts, fae, Land of Oz residents, and other creatures from my imagination. Fantasy and forbidden love have always been my two main allures in reading, and different varieties of sexuality and gender identity also fascinated me once I became more aware of such issues in college, through books as well as my anthropology classes. I was recently pleased to learn there’s at least one cool label for me as well—demisexual—and nowadays I love populating my fantasy novels with queer characters. Everyone deserves adventures in the otherworld!

Molly's book list on fantasy with great queer representation

Molly Ringle Why did Molly love this book?

The story of Persephone and Hades is my favorite Greek myth—and a lot of other people’s, to judge from how many of us have written about it. Therefore I’ve read lots of the novels that retell it, but The Dark Wife stands out for being the only Sapphic version I’ve found! Here Hades is a goddess rather than a god, and rather than abducting Persephone, she shelters her in the Underworld, where Persephone can avoid the sexual predators among the gods above. (Of which there are a lot, in canonical myth; let’s be honest.) Though set in the deliciously spooky land of the dead, the romance between the two goddesses is sweet and comforting, and the writing is as lyrically pretty as a classical poem.

By S.E. Diemer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the…


Book cover of Peter Darling

Sylvia Barry Author Of Lessons in Timing

From my list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning.

Why are we passionate about this?

Sylvia Barry is our invention, a solitary witch who writes queer romance from her lighthouse keep. As a pair of co-authors, one of us grew up with the dry humor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and the other grew up with fanfiction and romance tropes. We came together to write quirky, queer romances that are playful and ironic but also deal with deeper themes of self-discovery, trauma healing, and community. Rivals-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine are our favorite tropes to write, especially in dual (or more!) POV, because the Yearning is always juicy, and we play off each other’s energy as we write our opposing characters.

Sylvia's book list on grumpy/sunshine romance with a healthy side of yearning

Sylvia Barry Why did Sylvia love this book?

Time moves differently when you can never grow up. We love to revisit S.A Chant’s brilliant exploration of Queer Time again and again.

Peter Darling has fast become one of our favorite books of all time–it’s a lush, transformative addition to the Peter Pan canon. The rivals-to-lovers element is rich and romantic, and the plot twist breaks boundaries, subverts expectations, and plays with gender in such a careful and nuanced way while also depicting a fresh and unique take on Neverland.

It’s a masterpiece of a book and one that continues to amaze us every time we reread it.

By Austin Chant,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Peter Darling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A queer, transgender retelling of Peter Pan in which Pan returns to Neverland after a decade in the real world.


The Lost Boys say that Peter Pan went back to England because of Wendy Darling, but Wendy is just an old life he left behind. Neverland is his real home. So when Peter returns to it after ten years in the real world, he's surprised to find a Neverland that no longer seems to need him.


The only person who truly missed Peter is Captain James Hook, who is delighted to have his old rival back. But when a new…


Book cover of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

Kara Alaimo Author Of Over The Influence: Why Social Media is Toxic for Women and Girls - And How We Can Take it Back

From my list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a communication professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a social media user, and a mom. After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I wrote an op-ed for CNN arguing that he’d won the election on social media, and I just never stopped writing. A few hundred op-eds and a book later, I’m still interested in what social media is doing to us all and the issues women are up against in our society. My book allowed me to explore how social media is impacting every single aspect of the lives of women and girls and exactly what we can do about it. I wrote it as a call to arms.

Kara's book list on what it’s like to be a woman in this sexist, misogynistic world

Kara Alaimo Why did Kara love this book?

Kate Manne offers the best definitions of sexism (men thinking they’re better than women) and misogyny (men punishing women for displeasing them) that I’ve ever read. And she brings receipts, showing examples of how these two things play out in everything from novels to politics to crimes to classrooms.

Once I read her book, it was impossible for me not to spot more examples pretty much everywhere I went in the world.

By Kate Manne,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Down Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Misogyny is a hot topic, yet it's often misunderstood. What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist - or increase - even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics, by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne. It argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility some
men feel toward all or most women. Rather, it's primarily about controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling the "bad" women…


Book cover of The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Liza Street Author Of Blood Bounty

From my list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author and a lifelong lover of books, I read all genres. My favorites are set in fantastical worlds with unique settings. The mash-up of history and fantasy is endlessly compelling to me, and I always want to see a romantic subplot (or main plot!) in the books I read. I want a happily-ever-after even when the strange world and its villains are conspiring against the main characters. 

Liza's book list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance

Liza Street Why did Liza love this book?

This truly lovely historical novella is set in a fantastical version of ancient China and incorporates mythology that I’m certain I didn’t completely understand. However, the bittersweet tale, told by a former handmaiden named Rabbit to a traveling cleric, is gorgeous enough to stand without any background knowledge. This is a tale I will return to more than once, for its compelling story and nostalgic tone.

By Nghi Vo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Empress of Salt and Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 Crawford Award!
Winner of the 2021 Hugo Award!
A Hugo Award-Winning Series!

A 2021 Locus Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist

"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful... The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."―NPR

A 2020 ALA Booklist Top Ten SF/F Debut | A Book Riot Must-Read Fantasy of 2020 | A Paste Most Anticipated Novel of 2020 | A Library Journal Debut of the Month | A Buzzfeed Must-Read Fantasy Novel of Spring 2020 | A Washington Post Best SFF…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witches, suffragettes, and Salem?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about witches, suffragettes, and Salem.

Witches Explore 134 books about witches
Suffragettes Explore 30 books about suffragettes
Salem Explore 17 books about Salem