100 books like Wildwood Dancing

By Juliet Marillier,

Here are 100 books that Wildwood Dancing fans have personally recommended if you like Wildwood Dancing. 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

S.G. Slade Author Of Touch of a Witch

From my list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British writer with a passion for the stories of history, both real and imagined. I have always been fascinated by tales and relics of the past, old ruins, ancient buildings, mythology, and the uncanny power of the natural world. All these things connect us to the ghosts of the past. So, I write historical fantasy novels based in the England I explored growing up, but brushed with the shadow of the supernatural, magic, witchcraft, and seductive illusion. I also write straight historical fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

S.G.'s book list on spellbinding novels with threads of magic woven in their core

S.G. Slade Why did S.G. love this book?

I read this strange and riveting novel several years ago, so I have to confess that I’ve forgotten a lot of the details.

But I have remembered with absolute clarity the richness of the prose and the well-observed wit, so reminiscent of all the Victorian novels I devoured when I was young; the imaginative scope of a world in which an empire can rise or fall on the skill of her magicians, and the all-too-familiar danger of a rivalry between two powerful and ambitious men vying for supremacy.

It is delightful, moving, and an absolute pleasure from beginning to end.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

21 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 Scorpio Races

Laurel Wanrow Author Of The Unraveling

From my list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up camping and hiking, and spent my career teaching others about nature. I feel my best in the outdoors. Nature connections thread through my stories, to the point my kids joke my heroines are all geeky me. Well, true…or the geek I wish I was: one with secret magic to protect our earth. Folks know nature needs help, but my volunteer group still runs into roadblocks putting in native plant gardens. While I—and my characters—fight for protecting wild spaces, I appreciate that everyone’s fight is different and my keeper stories are those with determined characters—IRL or on the page—who turn the tables to succeed.

Laurel's book list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed

Laurel Wanrow Why did Laurel love this book?

Puck is doing all she can to keep her and her brothers together after their parents die from an attack by bloodthirsty waterhorses surrounding their island home of Thisby. I admire how this one fantastical element changes a ‘normal’ life to an ‘otherworldly’ one, and makes the island a strong character in the story. Raising and racing waterhorses is Thisby’s livelihood, and dire circumstances lead to Puck competing for the annual Scorpio Race prize money as the first girl to race, against great odds by riding her beloved island pony. 

I love the feel of the small Thisby and its quaint community of characters. Some are mercenary, some tough, but, like Puck and love-interest Sean, most love the wild nature of the ocean and waterhorses, which is magic to me.

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Scorpio Races 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?

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Some race to win. Others race to survive.It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio…


Book cover of The Thief

M. L. Farb Author Of The King's Trial

From my list on with journeys of faith.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Christian and my writing is influenced by my belief in a loving God who is very aware and involved in our lives. I directly address these ideas in my novel, The King's Trial, which many readers compare to the writings of CS Lewis. Readers who rarely care for religious themes have commented that the balance is right and the novel can be read as straight fantasy. Some of my favorite books with journeys of faith portray religions very different from mine, a few of which I include in the novels recommended below.

M. L.'s book list on with journeys of faith

M. L. Farb Why did M. L. love this book?

I appreciate that Gen’s journey of faith is a rather begrudging one. He certainly doesn’t want the gods involved in his life. Yet he is honorable (despite many appearances to the contrary) and he accomplishes, at great cost to himself, the vital task he sets out to do. His courage, despite his complaining, is still courage (and I wonder if his complaining was a mask for his fear). Sometimes faith feels like that—doing what is right even when you would rather do anything else. And sometimes that is the hardest journey of all.

By Megan Whalen Turner,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Thief 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?

Discover the world of the Queen's Thief New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner's entrancing and award-winning Queen's Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin. Eugenides, the queen's thief, can steal anything-or so he says. When his boasting lands him in…


Book cover of The Cruel Prince

Maxym M. Martineau Author Of Kingdom of Exiles

From my list on fantasy with kick-ass heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fantasy romance author with a love of creating real, in-depth characters with agency. To me, that’s the very definition of a “kick-ass” heroine. It doesn’t matter how she’s kick-ass (e.g., loud/vocal vs. quiet and cunning; the one charging ahead of the army or the one strategizing the attack), just that she’s in control of her own destiny. It’s important for me to have my characters feel like actual people, facing real decisions and the consequences of said decisions, and then I want those characters to have onus and show off their true bad-assery. 

Maxym's book list on fantasy with kick-ass heroines

Maxym M. Martineau Why did Maxym love this book?

Basically, I’d recommend the whole Folk of Air series, but you should start with The Cruel Prince, as they build upon one another.

Jude is the definition of a kick-ass heroine. She takes absolutely no prisoners, even in a setting where she seemingly has less power than those around her. She will fight tooth and nail to get the respect she deserves, and I love that about her. Also, Cardan. Cardan.

I don’t even know what else to say about him without starting a whole different review thread, but specifically, Jude and Cardan’s interactions. Just read it.

By Holly Black,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Cruel Prince 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?

"Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book . . . intoxicating" - Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows

Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three…


Book cover of Six of Crows

Jali Henry Author Of Cursed Charm

From my list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an avid reader as a child. Then I became a teenager and started hating it! Why? Because the teachers at school started pushing classical literature on me. I didn’t read for years until a friend introduced me to fantasy. I fell in love and haven’t looked back. I love commercial fantasy fiction that has lots of action, where the writer focuses less on elegant prose and more on plot and characters. I aim to write the kind of books that readers get addicted to, where they can disappear into another world and forget they are reading – the kind of books I love to read!

Jali's book list on addictive urban fantasy with strong female leads

Jali Henry Why did Jali love this book?

The main thing I loved was Leigh Bardugo’s writing. She has a way of being elegant yet succinct with her writing which makes it easier for me to get lost in the intricate world she creates. And what a world she creates!

I fell in love with all the characters in this book. They had deep flaws and the vulnerability made me love them so much – it made them so real. There’s a powerful female lead in Nina, a passionate, voluptuous grisha (type of witch) who loves food, making her immediately relatable. The plot had me hooked and I didn’t want the book to end.

By Leigh Bardugo,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Six of Crows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

*See the Grishaverse come to life on screen with Shadow and Bone, now a Netflix original series.*

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable - perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk…


Book cover of The Wee Free Men

Jody Bower Author Of The Princess Powers Up: Watching the Sleeping Beauties Become Warrior Goddesses

From my list on fantasy heroines who break the mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a PhD in cultural mythology and wrote my dissertation on heroine journeys, which became my book Jane Eyre’s Sisters: How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story. I've come to understand that the traditional hero quest story is usually about returning society to the way it used to be, before something threatened or changed it. In contrast, heroines (as long as they are not just gender-swapped heroes) tend to question how things have been and upset the status quo. First, the heroine must learn to discern what is good and right in the world and identify the old, rotten ways that must be discarded if all are to prosper.

Jody's book list on fantasy heroines who break the mold

Jody Bower Why did Jody love this book?

Tiffany Aching comes from a long line of sheepherders and seems to be an ordinary 12-year-old – until the day she sees something odd in the water, goes home and fetches her mother’s frying pan, puts her baby brother next to the brook and clobbers the monster that tries to snatch him. Tiffany, it seems, is a witch, and not your average witch either. With the help of the Wee Free Men, “Pictsies” who refuse to bow to the rule of the Queen of Faerie, she must journey into that dangerous realm to rescue the son of the local baron – upsetting all her village’s deeply held ideas about heroes and witches.

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Wee Free Men 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?

A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality . . .

Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle - aka the Wee Free Men - a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.

Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself . . .

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE TIFFANY ACHING SEQUENCE


Book cover of The Perilous Gard

Christine Cohen Author Of The Sinking City

From my list on fantasy deeply grounded in our world with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received a classical education steeped in myth and folklore, and consequently I’m drawn to those stories that show how magic inhabits the liminal spaces of our world. My favorite books transport me to a different historical place or time, make it feel effortlessly lived in, and then explore what lies beneath the surface. I’ve now written two novels set in our world (900s Scandinavia and 17th century Venice), but with a twist, and I hope to write many more. After all, the wonderful thing about myths is that they contain deeper truths that connect us all. They bring us together, which is its own kind of magic.

Christine's book list on fantasy deeply grounded in our world with a twist

Christine Cohen Why did Christine love this book?

I picked this up as an adult thinking it was straight historical fiction. After all, we meet the imprisoned Princess Elizabeth of England in the first chapter. However, when the main character is relocated to a remote castle and discovers the underground world of the fairy folk, the story takes a delightful turn into the realm of myth and legend. It pays homage to the Scottish myth of Tam Lin, the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, and several Arthurian legends, while remaining firmly grounded in Elizabethan England. The added twist of the fairy realm was so deftly accomplished that I finished the book thinking that perhaps, if I lived in Elizabethan England, I too might have stumbled upon the land of the Fairy Folk. 

By Elizabeth Marie Pope, Richard Cuffari, Cynthia von Buhler (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1558, while exiled by Queen Mary Tudor to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard, young Kate Sutton becomes involved in a series of mysterious events that lead her to an underground world peopled by Fairy Folk—whose customs are even older than the Druids’ and include human sacrifice.


Book cover of Spinning Silver

Rachael Loper Author Of Anathema's Curse

From my list on to pull your soul into another realm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing fantasy since I was a very young child. My need to escape a world that I viewed with fear was satiated by writing worlds that gave me control over how I could create and master them. I would read books that I adored but wanted to implement changes to better fit my own personal feelings and perception. For example, unicorns were terrifying creatures in my head, so I gave them fire-covered horns and eyes of flames. Nothing in the world felt pure or safe to me, so I write in a way that gives a dark twist to any and all mythological creatures and magical realms.

Rachael's book list on to pull your soul into another realm

Rachael Loper Why did Rachael love this book?

Be careful what you say out loud. You never know who might hear you.

In this story, you have a cruel and harsh Staryk lord with only care for his silver to be turned to gold. He’s cold and indifferent to the one he appoints to this seemingly impossible task, yet you find yourself clinging to hope he will change.

There are multiple POV, so if this is your thing, trust me you’ll love how many are in here. It’s like getting multiple thrilling stories in one book. Redeemable monsters is how I would label this book in two words if I had to.

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following her award-winning novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is rich, original and a joy to read.

Will dark magic claim their home?
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge - and if she fails,…


Book cover of Hive

Meg Caddy Author Of Slipping the Noose

From my list on YA with compelling female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to YA novels – big feelings conveyed across shorter word counts, intense experiences, other worlds, characters finding their way in the world. For a long time in these books and across a range of genres, women and girls could only hope to be on the sidelines of these big stories. They were the maiden in the tower, the prospective bride or love interest of the hero. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a time where a wide range of female experiences can be found in our YA books, and these are always stories I seek to read and to tell. 

Meg's book list on YA with compelling female protagonists

Meg Caddy Why did Meg love this book?

This amazing Australian YA weaves such a delicate web. A quiet, introverted dystopia, and at its heart is the wonderful Hayley. Hayley is such an interesting female protagonist here not because she is deadly or combative, but because of her incredible perseverance and curiosity. Hive is the first in a truly compelling duology. 

By A. J. Betts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.


Book cover of The Merlin Trilogy

Mary-Jean Harris Author Of Night Of The Immortals

From my list on historical fantasy with captivating natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy reader and writer, I love to explore magic systems and see how a story can seamlessly be brought to life. The natural, mysterious magic we often see in fantasy creates a sense of whimsy and wonder that takes readers to new worlds. I have two degrees in theoretical physics and a minor in philosophy, something that would seem to naturally lead to science fiction, but it’s also true that understanding magic is related to science. Indeed, the physicist Albert Einstein once said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” I hope you find some new books on this list that will sweep you to another world!

Mary-Jean's book list on historical fantasy with captivating natural magic

Mary-Jean Harris Why did Mary-Jean love this book?

Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy (and the companion novel, The Wicked Day) creates an immersive world and is so enjoyable to read. The characters are alive and the words flow across the page like gentle pixie dust lulling you into a world of enchantment. There is no magical system per se but the magic is present in glimpses like sunlight off the surface of a broken mirror, only allowing us to perceive hints of its reflections. Even for those well-versed in Arthurian legends, the unique perspective of Merlin takes us on a new adventure. I loved the elements of philosophy in the story as well, both moral philosophy and metaphysics that relates to our understanding of the world and the natural and magical forces that shape it. 

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Arthurian legend is one of the most enduring and powerful of myths, and Mary Stewart's classic The Merlin Trilogy is one of its most beloved and acclaimed retellings. In prose that is as vividly, achingly real as it is poetic, New York Times bestselling author Mary Stewart brings to life the man behind the myth: Myrddin Emrys ... Merlinus Ambrosius ... Merlin. The Crystal Cave The Hollow Hills The Last Enchantment Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myrddin Emrys -- or, as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood in The Crystal Cave,…


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