79 books like The Paper Magician

By Charlie N. Holmberg,

Here are 79 books that The Paper Magician fans have personally recommended if you like The Paper Magician. 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 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 Golden Compass

A.A. Vora Author Of Spin of Fate

From my list on ethics in age appropriate ways for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m of Indian ethnicity and Japanese nationality, so it felt natural to write a book that drew inspiration from both cultures without being adjacent to either one. Like me, my book is a mixed bag. It features an original mythology with a unique religion and mythical beasts that you’ve (hopefully) never seen before. It’s also pretty heavy on themes and tries to provide some context to questions that baffled me as a kid: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do war and violence exist? I can’t say that I’ve answered those questions, but I hope I’ve provided a multifaceted perspective into the conversation around them.

A.A.'s book list on ethics in age appropriate ways for kids

A.A. Vora Why did A.A. love this book?

I loved that this book doesn’t oversimplify challenging themes for a young audience. It mingles magic, action, and fascinating worldbuilding with some heavy philosophical and ethical undercurrents in a unique and compelling way.

The protagonist, Lyra, was a bit of a brat (in the best way), and I loved her mix of naivety and intelligence. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of dust as a conscious particle, and the most fascinating aspect for me was the study of its mysteries.

While I can’t comment on the specific religious undertones—I am not Christian and harbor no negative feelings against the church—I did appreciate the overarching conversation around religion as an institution.

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Golden Compass 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 volume in Philip Pullman's groundbreaking
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, now a thrilling, critically
acclaimed BBC/HBO television series. First published
in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first
book in the series won the UK's top awards for children's literature.

"Without this child, we shall all
die."

Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live
half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.

The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands
of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight.

Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences
far beyond her own world...



This…


Book cover of Ella Enchanted

Ariele Sieling Author Of Midnight Wings

From my list on Cinderella retellings with a unique spin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science fiction and fantasy author with a love of fairytales. I enjoy genre-bending, genre-blending, and new takes on old stories. As a child, I had a book of fairytales illustrated with embroidered illustrations. In high school and college, when I had the opportunity, I always chose to read fairytales—I've even taken classes that exclusively explore fairytales. Now as an author, I’ve leaped feet first into fairytale retellings. My first series, Rove City, features fairytale retellings set in an intergalactic spaceship, and my second series is made up of collections of original fairytales. Next, I’m planning to take the original fairytales and turn them into my own retellings. 

Ariele's book list on Cinderella retellings with a unique spin

Ariele Sieling Why did Ariele love this book?

This classic retelling of Cinderella is the one that first got me into fairytale retellings. We see El as a young woman living with her stepmother, stepsisters, and godmother who can only do small magic. El is cursed with a spell of obedience, and she must do anything if someone else commands it. She keeps her curse a secret to the best of her ability, with only the aid of her godmother to keep her safe. The story spans several years of El’s life and features a slow, sweet romance with the prince, whom she gets to know throughout the entire story. My favorite part is the ending, where we see how her strength of character has grown to the point that she is able to stand up and do the right thing, despite the power of the curse.

By Gail Carson Levine,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Ella Enchanted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

ELLA ENCHANTED is a witty, refreshing take on the popular fairytale, Cinderella which preserves the spirit of the original but adds plenty of humorous twists and a spunky, intelligent female protagonist. "If you've read HARRY POTTER, try ELLA ENCHANTED" Publishers Weekly

Ella is given a blessing at birth by a very stupid fairy: She gets the gift of obedience! but the blessing turns into a horror for Ella who literally has to do what anyone and everyone tells her, from sweeping the floor to giving up a prrecious necklace! She has to battle with ogres and wicked stepsisters, make friends…


Book cover of Stardust

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?

Neil Gaiman’s ability to weave a huge fantasy world and tell an engaging tale with a beautiful love story at its heart is just what makes this book so special to me.

Enemies to lovers, Yvaine and Tristran’s love story gives me all the feels. I loved falling in love along with them! It was literally magical.

Gaiman knows how to pepper in cheeky humor exactly when necessary, and the simplicity of his writing magically transforms words into this epic fantasy world that lives rent-free in my head. I love this book.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture—this charming fairy tale by the #1 New York Times bestselling author, weaves a magical story set long ago in the tiny English village of Wall, a place where things are not quite what they seem.

Go and catch a falling star . . .

Tristran Thorn promises to bring back a fallen star for his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and crosses the wall that divides his English country town from another, more dangerous world of lords and witches, all of them in search of the star. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one…


Book cover of The Emperor's Soul

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 anything by Brian Sanderson, this novella is a great place to start.

It is a fast read with a hopeful tone and satisfying ending. In this story, Shai is caught forging a priceless artifact. As punishment, she must forge a soul for the emperor who is in a coma. If her forgery doesn’t work, the empire will fall into chaos.

The magic of Shai’s forging is very cool; she creates stamps that can rewrite the nature of an object’s existence. The Emperor’s Soul spoke to me on a personal level. My stepmother is a Japanese artist, and I grew up watching her carefully seal her pieces with her custom, red stamp.

Highly recommended to anyone looking for that quick, feel-good punch that great fantasy can provide!

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy and co-author of the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series comes the tale of a heretic thief who may be an Empire's only hope for survival.

Shai is a Forger: a foreigner who can flawlessly re-create any item by rewriting its history using skillful magic . . . although she's currently condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor's sceptre, she has one last opportunity to save herself. The emperor has barely survived an assassination attempt, he needs a new soul and, despite viewing her skill as…


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 The Magician's Daughter

Sarah Chislon Author Of Tattoo of Crimson

From my list on fantasy featuring magical animal companions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, the concept of magical, sentient animals and their relationship with humans fascinated me, so it was no surprise that when I started to write the Blood of the Fae series, a massive, mysterious feline sauntered onto the pages and carved out a significant role in the story. Over the years, I’ve found many new favorite animal companions in the pages of books, and I’m working on building up a real-life collection of animal companions including ducks, chickens, a sweet kitty, and many more lovable critters to come (alas, none of them show signs of developing magical abilities)!

Sarah's book list on fantasy featuring magical animal companions

Sarah Chislon Why did Sarah love this book?

I found so much to love in this story of found family and hidden magic—an enchanted isle, a guardian wizard and his rabbit familiar, and a young woman with a concealed past, all devoted to one another.

The bonds between the wizard, his adopted daughter, and their rabbit familiar were simply lovely, and the sacrifices they made in their quest to save what magic remains in their world were compelling. Despite trials the characters endure, the story still captured a cozy feel which would make it a fantastic winter read.

Though The Magician’s Daughter stands alone, I’d love a sequel—I didn’t want to leave these enchanting characters behind!

By H G Parry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"That most rare and precious thing: a brand-new classic, both wholly original and wonderfully nostalgic."  —Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author

In the early 1900s, a young woman is caught between two worlds in H. G. Parry’s cozy tale of magic, miracles, and an adventure of a lifetime.

Off the coast of Ireland sits a legendary island hidden by magic. A place of ruins and ancient trees, sea salt air, and fairy lore, Hy-Brasil is the only home Biddy has ever known. Washed up on its shore as a baby, Biddy lives a quiet life with her guardian,…


Book cover of The Name of the Wind

Tyler Krings Author Of War and the Wind

From my list on humor, romance, and a dash of fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an American-born writer and I have been writing fantasy and science fiction since I was just out of elementary school. I have been obsessed with Star Wars (and later Trek) since I was able to watch television, and I believe I was twelve when Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters…needless to say, I have not stopped reading and writing fantasy since. The books on my list are some (but not all) of my very favorites and many of them have gone on to heavily inspire my own style when writing my own works.

Tyler's book list on humor, romance, and a dash of fantasy

Tyler Krings Why did Tyler love this book?

The Name of the Wind is a beautifully told tale of Kvothe and his conflict with the Chandrian (mystical beings of suspect nature existing in a parallel plane).

After the murder of his parents and troupe, Kvothe goes claw his way through the city streets and then on to scheme through the ranks of the Magical Academy, looking for evidence of and information about his parents' killers. There is love, music, magic, and mystery with a dash of wit and violence.

By Patrick Rothfuss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The lyrical fantasy masterpiece about stories, legends and how they change the world. The Name of the Wind is an absolute must-read for any fan of fantasy fiction.

'This is a magnificent book' Anne McCaffrey

'I was reminded of Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkein, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone' THE TIMES

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University…


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