97 books like The Rust Maidens

By Gwendolyn Kiste,

Here are 97 books that The Rust Maidens fans have personally recommended if you like The Rust Maidens. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Mexican Gothic

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Author Of Thief Liar Lady

From my list on fantasy by Latine authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a half-Mexican author who grew up in a tiny Alabama town, where I spent my summers playing with sticks in the woods and exploring such distinguished careers as Forest Bandit, Wayward Orphan, and Woodland Fairy Princess. After college, I ran away to New Zealand for seven months and only pretended to be a character from Lord of the Rings on special occasions. Nowadays, I live and work in South Carolina with my clingy (and, unfortunately, non-magical) cat. 

D.L.'s book list on fantasy by Latine authors

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Why did D.L. love this book?

I’ve always loved a good Gothic novel, but Moreno-Garcia raised the bar with this book.

Part mystery, part romance, part haunted house story—this novel runs the gamut from eerie to enchanting. The menacing secrets of High Place, set against the backdrop of glamorous 1950s Mexico, drew me into an intriguing plot that was as captivating as it was frightening. 

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


Book cover of Deathless

Camilla Andrew Author Of When The Stars Alight

From my list on fantasy and cinematic experiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was a maladaptive daydreamer. I could often be found crafting elaborate fantasies in my head featuring fully-fledged worlds and characters that I would actively interact with and speak to as if they were real. I was a strange child, and I kept that strangeness with me when I went into fiction. Since then, I’ve always wanted to encapsulate the feeling of giving a movie-like experience in book form. I want the people who read my work to feel like they’re experiencing something real.

Camilla's book list on fantasy and cinematic experiences

Camilla Andrew Why did Camilla love this book?

Reading this book felt like drinking a pitch-black winter night. That’s the best way I can describe it. Somehow, Valente managed to masterfully bottle the frigid sensation of a bleak midwinter and transport it to the page.

I’ve always loved this book for how mythic and grandiose it feels even in the short amount of pages it has. This is something that I feel would come alive in an animated adaptation where you can really capture the eerie and surrealist imagery used.

By Catherynne M. Valente,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace - only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.


Book cover of The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

Camilla Andrew Author Of When The Stars Alight

From my list on fantasy and cinematic experiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was a maladaptive daydreamer. I could often be found crafting elaborate fantasies in my head featuring fully-fledged worlds and characters that I would actively interact with and speak to as if they were real. I was a strange child, and I kept that strangeness with me when I went into fiction. Since then, I’ve always wanted to encapsulate the feeling of giving a movie-like experience in book form. I want the people who read my work to feel like they’re experiencing something real.

Camilla's book list on fantasy and cinematic experiences

Camilla Andrew Why did Camilla love this book?

While more of an anthology than a book, this still encapsulates the theme quite well. Perhaps more suited to a mini episodic format than a feature-length film, Carter still imbues many of her short stories with striking and unforgettable imagery.

I think of the titular story and its ancient castle by the sea or The Erl-King and its inescapable labyrinth of a forest and am left dumbfounded that I have not seen it rendered anywhere other than my own mind’s eye.

By Angela Carter,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Bloody Chamber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Helen Simpson. From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


Book cover of The Hunger

T.L. Bodine Author Of Neverest

From my list on to read instead of going out in the elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've often lived around the fringes of nature, from late-night cross-country road trips through forested backwoods, to living off-grid in New Mexico's high desert. As much as I've lived in the shadow of mountains and extreme environments, I've never dared to venture up into them – and I'm endlessly fascinated by the people who do. What is it that drives people toward extreme sports and outdoor challenges, even understanding the risks? Why do people risk life and limb to venture into places where man isn't meant to be? It's a question I don't think I'll ever stop finding fascinating. 

T.L.'s book list on to read instead of going out in the elements

T.L. Bodine Why did T.L. love this book?

A meticulously researched retelling of the Donner Party tragedy, Katsu's book is a slow-spooled tragedy and creeping horror of intense claustrophobia and distrust.

And that's before the supernatural elements take hold! This book is meaty, with a lot to chew on and a ton of character drama packed into its relatively brief word count, but you'll leave it thinking quite differently about the forces that shaped our American frontier...

By Alma Katsu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark." - Stephen King

After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented - the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.

Donner's decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the…


Book cover of The Good House

Nicole Willson Author Of Tidepool

From my list on contemporary horror written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a near-lifelong fan of horror in all its forms. I read the works of Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shirley Jackson as a child, and for most of my writing career, I’ve been trying to recreate the feelings those early works gave me the first time I read them. My short fiction has appeared in several publications, and my debut horror novel Tidepool came out in 2021. Even though one of the best-known horror novels of all time, Frankenstein, was written by Mary Shelley, the horror world still sometimes treats female authors like afterthoughts. I hope my list will help readers discover more imaginative books written by women. 

Nicole's book list on contemporary horror written by women

Nicole Willson Why did Nicole love this book?

I’m a sucker for an addictive, epic horror novel, and Tananarive Due delivers with this book. Angela Toussaint inherits her late grandmother Marie’s old house (the “good house” of the title) and returns to her hometown of Sacajawea, WA. At first, she seems content there even if a few of the townspeople have a way of reminding her she’s the only Black woman in town. But after a tragedy shatters Angela’s life and horrific deaths become a regular occurrence in the town, it becomes clear her Gramma Marie passed down far more than the house. Due’s prose is so vivid that at times I felt like I was inside Angela’s head, or walking around the Good House myself. This is the perfect scary book to lose yourself in on a rainy fall day. 

By Tananarive Due,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Good House is the critically acclaimed story of supernatural suspense, as a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.

The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint's late grandmother is so beloved that the townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors, and the Toussaint's family history-and future-is dramatically transformed.

Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to…


Book cover of The Family Plot

Nicole Willson Author Of Tidepool

From my list on contemporary horror written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a near-lifelong fan of horror in all its forms. I read the works of Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shirley Jackson as a child, and for most of my writing career, I’ve been trying to recreate the feelings those early works gave me the first time I read them. My short fiction has appeared in several publications, and my debut horror novel Tidepool came out in 2021. Even though one of the best-known horror novels of all time, Frankenstein, was written by Mary Shelley, the horror world still sometimes treats female authors like afterthoughts. I hope my list will help readers discover more imaginative books written by women. 

Nicole's book list on contemporary horror written by women

Nicole Willson Why did Nicole love this book?

Cherie Priest is a very versatile writer, and this horror novel is one of her best. I’ve lent copies of Family Plot to people and never gotten them back. Dahlia, whose father owns a salvage company, takes a team of coworkers to an old mansion to strip all the valuable stuff they can find before it’s torn down. But there are far more things in—and around—the house than they know, and those things have a way of making themselves known during the nights the crew spends at the mansion. Dahlia is a wonderful, tough, no-nonsense main character, and parts of the novel gave me the “Alone in the house late at night” creeps. 

By Cherie Priest,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he's thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project. The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there's the cemetery, about thirty fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s, Augusta insists that the cemetery isjust a fake, a Halloween prank, so…


Book cover of I Am Not Your Final Girl

Andrea Blythe Author Of Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

From my list on women reclaiming their own power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated fairy tales, folklore, and horror since I was a child, drawn to these strange stories in which wondrous and terrifying things happen. In many of these tales, the women often lack a sense of agency or control over their lives and work for a better life within the limitations of their situation. The act of retelling these stories provides space to explore this lack of power and how these women might find clever or unusual ways to reclaim it. In particular, I’m interested in the ways characters might make use of the danger or darkness around them to carve their own path in the world. 

Andrea's book list on women reclaiming their own power

Andrea Blythe Why did Andrea love this book?

Much like fairy tales and folklore, horror stories have their own rules and tropes for how the female protagonists or villains are expected to behave within the confines of their own stories. I Am Not Your Final Girl is a powerful collection of horror-themed poetry that gives voice to female characters from horror cinema — the survivors, victims, and monsters who prowl through dark worlds, facing oppression, persecution, violence, and death. Holland’s words provide these women a platform to channel their pain, trauma, and rage into a galvanizing force. These women are survivors and fighters, women who claim their own power and take ownership over their own bodies. They do not give up; they do not relent. 

By Claire C. Holland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Not Your Final Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an Elgin Award-nominated book!

"There is nothing else in this world / like realizing / you’re going to live / and not being sure / you can."

From Claire C. Holland, a timely collection of poetry that follows the final girl of slasher cinema - the girl who survives until the end - on a journey of retribution and reclamation. From the white picket fences of 1970s Haddonfield to the apocalyptic end of the world, Holland confronts the role of women in relation to subjects including feminism, sexuality, violence, and healing in the world of Trump and the MeToo…


Book cover of Brute: Poems

Andrea Blythe Author Of Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

From my list on women reclaiming their own power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated fairy tales, folklore, and horror since I was a child, drawn to these strange stories in which wondrous and terrifying things happen. In many of these tales, the women often lack a sense of agency or control over their lives and work for a better life within the limitations of their situation. The act of retelling these stories provides space to explore this lack of power and how these women might find clever or unusual ways to reclaim it. In particular, I’m interested in the ways characters might make use of the danger or darkness around them to carve their own path in the world. 

Andrea's book list on women reclaiming their own power

Andrea Blythe Why did Andrea love this book?

In her stunning poetry collection, Brute, Emily Skaja navigates the dark corridors of trauma at the end of an abusive relationship. Exploring the intersections of both love and violence, these poems have a mythic quality to them, with the narrator seemingly struggling to survive the brutality of a fairy tale world longing to gobble her up. At the same time, the fantastical elements of these poems are balanced by the present moment, with cell phones, social media, and other current technologies evoking a kind of modern magic that holds sway over our lives. The poems in this collection take the reader on a journey from sorrow to rage, guilt, hope, self-discovery, and reinvention.

By Emily Skaja,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Selected by Joy Harjo as the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets

Emily Skaja’s debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability,…


Book cover of Travelogue From an Unruly Youth

Ed Davis Author Of The Last Professional

From my list on losing and finding ourselves via wanderlust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my writing career over forty years ago, pausing in boxcars, under streetlamps, and in hobo jungles to record the beats and rhythms of the road as I caught freight trains and vagabonded around the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In the years since, whether hiking the Camion de Santiago, traversing the length of Hadrian’s Wall, or backpacking in the high Sierra, I’ve been privileged to indulge my wanderlust all around the world, and to share those adventures with others.

Ed's book list on losing and finding ourselves via wanderlust

Ed Davis Why did Ed love this book?

All of us who survived our own version of an Unruly Youth will find much to admire, and much that resonates, in this riveting account of one young man’s quest for identity, and for answers to his fundamental questions about life. He journeys along a “pipeline to freedom" on a bed of steel, ties, and gravel, never sure where his path will carry him from day-to-day. Travelogue From an Unruly Youth carries us into a hidden and unconventional world, weaving a romantic tale of roadside mystery and the universe-altering power of love.

By D.C. Jesse Burkhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Travelogue From an Unruly Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traveling the North American continent via freight train brought freedom, passion, romance, adventure, and danger -- a heady concoction for someone in his early 20s. The writer journeyed along a "pipeline to freedom" on a bed of steel, ties, and gravel, never sure where his path would carry him from day to day. Yet part of the cost to those nomadic highs was leaving behind a woman who cared dearly for him, and that severing continued to reach him even as he blasted magically across the map on a unique geographic and spiritual quest. After long months and thousands of…


Book cover of The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America

Erik Loomis Author Of A History of America in Ten Strikes

From my list on books to read after Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at the University of Rhode Island who specialized in the labor and environmental history of the United States. I have dedicated my life to writing histories that people can read for inspiration in the fight for justice. We cannot change the present and future if we do not understand the systems of oppression that have created how we live today. I hope to continue contributing to shattering myths, providing hope, and charting paths for change through my writing.

Erik's book list on books to read after Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the USA

Erik Loomis Why did Erik love this book?

Once you’ve read Zinn, you are going to want to know more about the workers’ struggle. Among recent books, you can’t do better than Ahmed White’s book on this iconic struggle of the 1930s, when the steel companies massacred strikers and even the Roosevelt administration did nothing about it. Powerful story and very well-written.

By Ahmed White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In May 1937, seventy thousand workers walked off their jobs at four large steel companies known collectively as "Little Steel." The strikers sought to make the companies retreat from decades of antiunion repression, abide by the newly enacted federal labor law, and recognize their union. For two months a grinding struggle unfolded, punctuated by bloody clashes in which police, company agents, and National Guardsmen ruthlessly beat and shot unionists. At least sixteen died and hundreds more were injured before the strike ended in failure. The violence and brutality of the Little Steel Strike became legendary. In many ways it was…


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