The most recommended books about jinn

Who picked these books? Meet our 43 experts.

43 authors created a book list connected to jinn, and here are their favorite jinn books.
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What type of jinn book?



By Sam West,

Book cover of Djinn: An Extreme Horror Novel

Angel Gelique Author Of Man Cave

From the list on disturbing horror.

Who am I?

I've been a passionate lover of all things horror. I strive to take my readers on an unforgettable journey, one that often places them well out of their comfort zone. I believe that horror should make readers uncomfortable, whether through a mounting sense of unease or full-blown exposure to gore and depravity. I do my best to pull readers into my stories so that they can almost personally experience the horrors. If I don’t make them cringe and wince, then I have failed. As outrageous as my books may be, they're not full of violence and gore for the sake of mere shock value. I do my best to create well-developed characters with thought-provoking and immersive storylines. 

Angel's book list on disturbing horror

Why did Angel love this book?

Who wouldn’t want to be granted wishes? Then again, it’s best to heed the old idiom, “Be careful what you wish for.” 

Pam Wilkins lives a miserable life. When she encounters a Djinn who promises her happiness, beauty, wealth, and anything she can hope for, she is desperate enough to give in to temptation. The Djinn does, in fact, grant her wishes, but they come at a hefty cost.

Calling this book sick and twisted would be an understatement. West exceeds the boundaries of human decency. The scenes are downright vile and will surely make you gag. The story is engrossing, wildly imaginative, and has a great twist at the end.

By Sam West,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pam Wilkins hates her life. She doesn't have much going for her. Her boyfriend beats her, she looks like the back end of a bus and she's skint. To top it all off, she cleans up other people's sh*t for a living. While she's at work scrubbing a toilet, a Djinn appears in a puff of smoke and grants her six wishes. All she has to do to make her dreams come true, is commit the most heinous, atrocious acts imaginable. Six wishes for six atrocities. It's a no-brainer. Pam will do ANYTHING to get what she wants. But she…

The Amulet of Samarkand

By Jonathan Stroud,

Book cover of The Amulet of Samarkand

Jinn Nelson Author Of Traveler

From the list on underrated humorous fantasy with happy endings.

Who am I?

As a fantasy writer, I love to play with possibilities and invent new words for our experiences. I find that humorous fantasy is especially powerful in this regard because it pairs possibilities with absurdity, coming at reality sideways or backwards, putting everyday life into a new and more interesting light. Humor has the unique ability to transcend genres, from thrillers to cozy mysteries. It helps you process difficult emotions, or lift your spirits when the world feels a little too dark. These are some of my favorites within this category, and they all happen to be the first books in a series (you’re welcome). I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Jinn's book list on underrated humorous fantasy with happy endings

Why did Jinn love this book?

This is possibly the best known book on my list, yet it took me a long time to discover it.

This is a thriller-style adventure that follows Nathaniel, a young magician’s apprentice on a quest for revenge, who summons Bartimaeus, an all-powerful djinni. Nathaniel (unwittingly) and Bartimaeus (unwillingly) get caught up in a tangled plot of magic-fueled mayhem in which they have to work together to survive.

Bartimaeus’ sarcastic observations and side tangents add an element of humor that keep it from staying dark and somber, while also highlighting the underlying threads of slavery and social injustice in this fantasy world.

By Jonathan Stroud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first volume in the brilliant, bestselling Bartimaeus sequence.

When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. Before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion.


Book cover of Boy of Fire and Earth

Helen Grant Author Of Too Near the Dead

From the list on thrillers with a strong sense of place.

Who am I?

I write Gothic novels and short ghost stories, nearly always with a very vivid setting. One reviewer observed of my debut novel that the German town where it was set, Bad Münstereifel, almost felt like one of the characters in the book. For the last ten years I have lived in Scotland and much of my recent work is set here. I love to explore the derelict mansions that are dotted about the countryside, walk along the old railway line, or swim in the river. I'm fascinated by the way that traces of Scotland's history are visible in the landscape, and I write this into my books. 

Helen's book list on thrillers with a strong sense of place

Why did Helen love this book?

I bought this book after reading Sami Shah's standout story "Reap" in the anthology The Djinn Falls In Love And Other Stories. It's set in Karachi, Pakistan, and follows the adventures of Wahid Hasain, as he attempts to recover the soul of the girl he loves, which was stolen by a djinn. It is a book full of horror and wonder, gore and lyricism, and I was glued to every single page. It brings Karachi to life in all its gritty glory: the traffic, the university, auto rickshaws, chai cafés, mithai shops, and lemon juice sellers. Shah peoples the city with characters like Badshah, the youthful 'King of Karachi', Kamran, the sadistic killer, and above all the djinn – many different types of them, from the vaguely pitiful to the outright terrifying. A read that will take you far from home. 

By Sami Shah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

‘Sami Shah’s imagination is a place of wonder and terror’ Kamila Shamsie ‘Bold, compelling fantasy with a truly original setting’ Saladin Ahmed Born of a smokeless fire, and raised in Karachi, Wahid’s life comes apart when he loses the girl he loves to vengeful djinns. Setting out on a journey to recover her soul and find out the truth of his own origins, he is accompanied by Iblis, the Devil himself. Together, they traverse a city infested with corrupt cops and hustling beggars, and discover deathly creatures lurking under its sinister surface, even as the threat of Judgement Day looms…

Spooky Archaeology

By Jeb J. Card,

Book cover of Spooky Archaeology: Myth and the Science of the Past

Kenneth L. Feder Author Of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

From the list on frauds, myths, and claims about human antiquity.

Who am I?

My fascination with the ancient past began when I was four years old and wanted to be a dinosaur, specifically a Tyrannosaurus rex. When it became clear that this option was not open to me, I decided instead to become an archaeologist. Archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs, but instead investigate human antiquity. When I began my 40+ years of teaching archaeology, I asked students what topics they wanted covered in class. Invariably they expressed an interest in things like ancient astronauts, Atlantis, Stonehenge, and pyramids. This led me to a career-long study of strange claims about the human past, it provided the raw material for multiple books on the subject.

Kenneth's book list on frauds, myths, and claims about human antiquity

Why did Kenneth love this book?

Peeling back the stratigraphic layers of archaeology’s history, self-described “weirdshitologist,” archaeologist Jeb Card, reveals the discipline’s very “spooky” foundations in this riveting book. These foundations included a belief in a mythic time that preceded our modern world which has left behind its spoor in the form of eerie and phantasmagorical archaeological sites imbued with evil spirits, elves, pixies, djinn, elementals, and other paranormal entities. Card discusses haunted landscapes, bloodthirsty Druids, cursed mummies, and Lovecraftian “Old Ones” in his romp through all that is weird, strange, and, indeed, spooky in archaeology. Finally, Card shows that archaeology as presented on cable TV, YouTube videos, blogs, and social media is still haunted by the specter of Victorian Age beliefs about humanity’s presumably spooky past.

By Jeb J. Card,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Outside of scientific journals, archaeologists are depicted as searching for lost cities and mystical artifacts in news reports, television, video games, and movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy. This fantastical image has little to do with day-to-day science, yet it is deeply connected to why people are fascinated by the ancient past. By exploring the development of archaeology, this book helps us understand what archaeology is and why it matters.

In Spooky Archaeology author Jeb J. Card follows a trail of clues left by adventurers and professional archaeologists that guides the reader through haunted museums, mysterious hieroglyphic inscriptions, fragments…

If Wishes Were Curses

By Janeen Ippolito,

Book cover of If Wishes Were Curses

Avily Jerome Author Of The Breeding

From the list on urban fantasy books to explore if magic were real and in the world.

Who am I?

I love urban fantasy and all the associated genres, like paranormal and horror. I love the question of “what if” and exploring how things would work if certain rules of magic or the supernatural were real. I love the variety and scope of world building that can be done parallel to and within our world through urban fantasy. That “what if” question is at the center of my own writing, and especially when I read non-fiction on topics like parallel universes and aliens and demons, I get so much inspiration for stories and worlds and what might be happening just beyond our view. 

Avily's book list on urban fantasy books to explore if magic were real and in the world

Why did Avily love this book?

This book was so much fun. Quintessential urban fantasy—a supernatural world overlaying the real world, with a fantastic jumble of supernatural characters, including fae, shifters, vampires, genies, and more. There’s mystery and romance and fae politics and magic, and it was an absolute blast to uncover the world and get to know the characters. The main character is part-genie, but has a curse put on her so she can only use a little of her magic. She is framed for a crime, so she has to figure out what is really going on. One of my favorite aspects was that it was pretty mild when it came to the sensual elements, so while it had plenty of romantic tension, there was more plot than sex, which I prefer. 

By Janeen Ippolito,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Wishes Were Curses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

So I accidentally killed a shifter. On purpose.

With genie powers I shouldn’t be able to use, thanks to my curse-mark.

In my defense, the damn grizzly was threatening civilians and might have been a vampire as well. Pittsburgh is safer without him. Only the Fae court doesn’t believe my story, and the shifters are out for blood.

Now I’ve lost my job as a romantic investigator, and I’m on death row. My only hope is an oddly outgoing vegetarian vampire lawyer who seems strangely familiar. Too familiar. Almost like we’ve met before, and this whole thing was a set-up…

This Woven Kingdom

By Tahereh Mafi,

Book cover of This Woven Kingdom

Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber Author Of Twin Crowns

From the list on fantasy to make you swoon.

Who are we?

As co-authors of cross-over romantic fantasy, best friends, and soon-to-be sisters-in-law, Katie and I share a great love of all things fantasy romance. Our favourite novel, The Princess Bride, was a huge inspiration for our own book, Twin Crowns, which aims to capture the swoony romance, laugh-out-loud humour and rollicking adventure found in so many of the novels that we love. 

Catherine's book list on fantasy to make you swoon

Why did Catherine love this book?

Mafi weaves her story with such poetry and lyricism that it’s impossible not to pause for a moment and take stock of how expertly a character or setting is introduced every couple of chapters. The romance here is a slow, aching burn, but the pay-off is certainly worth it. Inspired by lush Persian mythology, the chance meeting between Alizeh, a magical Jinn masquerading as a lower servant, and Prince Kamran, the king’s grandson, makes for a compelling forbidden romance that anchors the wider plot of political intrigue and betrayal, which is in some ways reminiscent of Game of Thrones.

By Tahereh Mafi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Woven Kingdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Instant New York Times bestseller
Instant #1 Sunday Times bestseller
Instant Indie bestseller
Instant USA Today bestseller

Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people-New York Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi's first novel in this epic, romantic fantasy series inspired by Persian mythology.

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant…

Dalen Pax and the Beads of Fire

By Will Grey, David Noceti (illustrator),

Book cover of Dalen Pax and the Beads of Fire

L. Becker Author Of Angel's Gate

From the list on fantasy with a healthy dose of myth.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by folklore and religious myth. A passion further inspired by my path as an Eclectic Pagan, and my pursuit of a Masters in Mythological Studies. My interest in mythology was first inspired by my mother as she told us bedtime stories filled with the exploits of heroes, of gods, and angels. My upbringing in Christianity introduced me to the mythologies of Judaism, which eventually led me into the greater world of Paganism and an entire universe filled with a multitude of pantheons filled with their own gods, heroes, and legends. 

L.'s book list on fantasy with a healthy dose of myth

Why did L. love this book?

The start of an epic fantasy adventure. Filled with djinn, magic, and myth, Dalen Pax and the Beads of Fire pulls you into an engaging fantasy world where time unravels and reforms a world of wild imagine. The protagonist begins his adventure as a normal teenager trying to find his place in the world. A world that expands with the revelation that magic exists, that time is a construct. Joined by a band of engaging characters I highly recommend joining the adventure.

By Will Grey, David Noceti (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dalen Pax and the Beads of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dalen Pax and the Beads of Fire is a delightfully inventive Fantasy novel, a remarkably touching and insightful coming-of-age story, and a philosophical tour de force.

Dalen Pax is a typical high school misfit who has always wished that magic was real. One fateful night, he found that it was when he risked his life to save Mathias, a man he didn't know. A man with the ability to wield real magic. After their meeting, Mathias enlists Dalen to help him retrieve a powerful artifact known as the Beads of Fire, which connects its wearer to the Fire Jinn, a…

Book cover of Nura and the Immortal Palace

George Jreije Author Of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria

From the list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy.

Who am I?

I’m an avid reader and writer of children’s literature, though I find it difficult to read anything that isn’t diverse these days. Being able to experience the world from the perspectives of other cultures is a true delight, and I learn something every time. After having read dozens of these diverse books, especially diverse fantasies, I find that nothing inspires my creative soul more. That’s why I’m able to speak on this topic for large conferences and schools, spreading this inspiration to others. And, as a published author of diverse children’s literature, I’ve done the same in my writing with praise from Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and many others.

George's book list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy

Why did George love this book?

Khan’s Pakistani-inspired heroine Nura proves uniquely cunning as she goes from being a child laborer to discovering an entrance into the world of the jinn.

If you don’t know anything about the jinn, it is that they are tricksters who will try and trap you, and that’s exactly what happens to Nura. Only, what makes Nura so special is that she is cunning too.

I loved watching her outsmart the immortal beings in this supernatural world. 

By M.T. Khan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nura and the Immortal Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magical adventure rooted in Muslim culture and tradition, Nura and the Immortal Palace follows a young girl's journey from modern-day Pakistan into the world of the jinn.

Nura has worked all her life in the mica mines, earning just enough to keep her family afloat - and enjoy the odd delicious gulab jamun from the market. Some day she's going to find the Demon's Tongue, a legendary treasure buried deep in the mines, and her family will never have to worry about money again.

But when a terrible accident buries her best friend below ground, Nura goes in search…

Come True

By Brindi Quinn,

Book cover of Come True

Rachael Loper Author Of Anathema's Curse

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

Who am I?

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

Why did Rachael love this book?

Now here is a fantasy mixed with Rom-Com like you’ve never known before. I laughed and felt my heart throb the entirety of this book.

Sometimes it’s good to step away from the morally gray love interest and fall for the sweet one. Velis is a hot genie who becomes attached to his “master” (the conjurer of his genie lamp). Dolly is a heavily self-disciplined girl with a tragic story. With a deep need of mending her struggle, Velis is the supportive, compassionate, and respectful love interest perfectly capable of such a task.

Add in a hot genie bad boy brother and you have a dramatic story worth reading.

By Brindi Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

★A jaded girl. A persistent genie. A contest of souls.★ 

Recent college graduate Dolly Jones has spent the last year stubbornly trying to atone for a mistake that cost her everything. She doesn't go out, she doesn't make new friends and she sure as hell doesn't treat herself to things she hasn't earned, but when her most recent thrift store purchase proves home to a hot, magical genie determined to draw out her darkest desires in exchange for a taste of her soul, Dolly's restraint, and patience, will be put to the test.

Newbie genie Velis Reilhander will do…

Book cover of The War to Save the Worlds

Payal Doshi Author Of Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (The Chronicles of Astranthia, Book 1)

From the list on children’s fantasy with South Asian representation.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and as a kid I loved to read. But I never saw myself—an Indian girl like me—represented in children’s books before. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I began writing my first novel at age 23. When I did, I wrote the entire first draft with white characters and set it in a western country. I believed my Indian culture and my experience as an Indian kid was not worth writing about. I was so wrong! Now, with the novels I write, I’m passionate about representation, especially South Asian representation because all kids deserve to see themselves and their cultures in the books they read.

Payal's book list on children’s fantasy with South Asian representation

Why did Payal love this book?

Jinn. A sleep spell. A mystical land. A piece of the moon hurtling towards Earth. An ancient prophecy. And my favorite—a tale of siblings. What sets this book apart from other fantasy novels is that when Amira and her younger brother Hamza are tasked to save the world from the wrath of terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls, they use science and logic instead of magic to win. This book is full of relatable references and hilarious puns while Amira is a budding feminist. What’s not to love in this riveting story of legend, science, history, adventure, and humor?

By Samira Ahmed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War to Save the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2021

From bestselling author Samira Ahmed comes a thrilling and magical adventure intertwining Islamic legend and history, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the Land of Stories.
On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the…

Wish For Me

By A. Star,

Book cover of Wish For Me

K.B. Thorne Author Of Bad Blood

From the list on if first person snark is your style.

Who am I?

I’ve adored reading a good snarky first-person story since I first read Bloodlist, so long as the snark doesn’t go too far and become total unlikeable jerk… It can be a fine line! I hope I stay on the right side of it, but having read it enough and written in it for years with my Blood Rights Series, I feel qualified to say I’m a…snark connoisseur. (If you ask my family, this is how my own internal/life narrator speaks! My mother says that my character Dakota is me if I “said everything aloud that I think in my head.” She’s probably right, and I’m okay with that.)

K.B.'s book list on if first person snark is your style

Why did K.B. love this book?

The description opens with “When the snarky Glory St. Pierre,” so I’m all over it right there. A. Star is an author I’ve read a lot of, and she cultivates both snark and take-no-crap female leads…with a frequent dash of hot hero. Where can you go wrong with that? This series is a sort of cross between urban and epic fantasy, following a modern girl who stumbles into a Djinn and ends up entangled in his world, with danger, suspense, and all the snark you can handle along the way.

By A. Star,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three wishes. Two lovers. One destiny.

When the snarky Glory St. Pierre discovers the gold mechanical vase in her deceased grandmother’s basement, she has no idea that she has uncovered a priceless treasure: a genie lamp. With a real genie inside. A very sexy genie with a not-so-sexy grudge against the entire human race.

Irving Amir hates being called a genie. He’s a Djinn, and he is none too happy to be in the service of Glory, who is as intolerable, and beautiful, as humans come. Now he owes her his gratitude for freeing him and three wishes. Damn his…

The Water Witch

By Juliet Dark,

Book cover of The Water Witch

Helen M. Pugsley Author Of The Tooth Fairy

From the list on learning the old legends.

Who am I?

I remember being gifted a copy of a fairy tale book for children by someone my dad worked with as a kid. "Wow, these are really close to the originals," Mom murmured under her breath.
"Wait, there are originals?" That set off a chain reaction of a lifelong love of fairy tales, myths, legends, and folk stories. Writing The Tooth Fairy forced me to double-check my lifetime of accumulated knowledge. Plus, being trapped indoors with audiobooks during a global pandemic left me a lot more time to learn! In short: I simply love the old legends.

Helen's book list on learning the old legends

Why did Helen love this book?

This book is about a single lady, in an old house, living alone after a recent breakup. Being in a similar situation, it caught my attention and held it. All of a sudden, the strong female lead was battling the fae queen, helping nymphs through rivers, and transforming into a deer while battling addiction! Her best friends were a brownie and a djinn, she worked for a witch, her handyman was a Norse God, and her ex was a literal incubus. I learned a lot from reading this one, but it also got me to lookup more legends independently. Like the one about William Duffy and Janet Bird.

By Juliet Dark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Deborah Harkness and Elizabeth Kostova, The Water Watch is a breathtakingly sexy and atmospheric new novel of ancient folklore, passionate love, and thrilling magic.
After casting out a dark spirit, Callie McFay, a professor of gothic literature, has at last restored a semblance of calm to her rambling Victorian house. But in the nearby thicket of the honeysuckle forest, and in the currents of the rushing Undine stream, more trouble is stirring. . . .
The enchanted town of Fairwick’s dazzling mix of mythical creatures has come under siege from the Grove: a sinister group of…

The Golem and the Jinni

By Helene Wecker,

Book cover of The Golem and the Jinni

Vered Neta Author Of Things We Do For Love

From Vered's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Motivational speaker Mother Scriptwriter Care giver

Vered's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Vered love this book?

The Golem and the Djinni is an exhilarating tale that captivates you, making you reluctant to part ways with its beloved characters. It's a literary adventure that enchants every time you dive into its pages.

As a historian, reading this book felt like stepping into a time machine, immersing myself in the vibrant tapestry of early 20th-century New York. The vivid imagery painted by the author transformed history into a living, breathing movie. Every word vividly depicted the evolving cityscape, its pulse echoing through the ages.

The seamless blend of history and intimate relationships entranced me. Wecker masterfully wove the threads of human connection against the backdrop of a changing world. Yet, what truly stole my breath was the brilliant fusion of two distinct mythologies, bringing forth the Golem and the Djinni into the bustling heart of the modern world.

By Helene Wecker,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Golem and the Jinni as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of only two novels I've ever loved whose main characters are not human' BARBARA KINGSOLVER

For fans of The Essex Serpent and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.

'By far my favourite book of of the year' Guardian

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a djinni, a being of fire, born in…

Ptolemy's Gate

By Jonathan Stroud,

Book cover of Ptolemy's Gate

Anya Leigh Josephs Author Of Queen of All

From the list on fantasy to break your heart.

Who am I?

A lot of people feel intimidated by fantasy. Admittedly, the classics of the genre can be hard to get into, with their epic worldbuilding and thousand-page counts. But what made me fall in love with fantasy was the way it made me feel. Growing up queer, Jewish, fat, and chronically ill in the American South made it impossible for me to relate to the people around me. But fantasy, with its stories of outcasts becoming saviors, resonated with me. That’s why I started writing Queen of All when I was only twelve years old—I wanted to make people feel seen and understood. That’s what these books have done for me. 

Anya's book list on fantasy to break your heart

Why did Anya love this book?

The conclusion to a charming middle-grade trilogy about a quick-witted demon named Bartimaeus, this book also depicts love and loss with an intensity and realism that resonates with readers of any age. I first read this book when I was about nine years old, eager to find out what would happen to the hilarious characters I’d loved so much in the first few books. I’ll never forget how hard I cried on that school bus home. I was just old enough to understand what that kind of loss would feel like, and still young enough to be moved by the story’s idealism and for the fantastical world to feel real for me. But I think, no matter who you are, this is a story at once heartbreaking and hilarious. 

By Jonathan Stroud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The tremendous climax of the Bartimaeus sequence.

Three years on from the events in The Golem's Eye, the magicians' rule in London is teetering on a knife-edge, with strikes, riots and general unrest. The Prime Minister is largely controlled by two advisers, one of whom is 17-year-old Nathaniel. Meanwhile, living under a false identity, Kitty has been researching djinn; she has come to believe that the only way to destroy the magicians is with an alliance between djinn and ordinary people.

Kitty seeks out Bartimaeus and embarks on a terrifying journey into the djinn's chaotic domain - the Other Place…

Book cover of Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar

Benjamin Radford Author Of Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Folklore

From the list on (real-life) monsters.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by monsters. Growing up I saw television shows and read books about famous ones like Bigfoot and Nessie, and always wanted to search for them and discover the truth. That led me to a degree in psychology to learn about human cognition and perception, and a career in folklore to understand how legends and rumors spread. But I also wanted field experience, and spent time at Loch Ness, in Canadian woods said to house Sasquatch, to the Amazon, Sahara, and the jungles of Central America looking for the chupacabra. Along the way became an author, writing books including Tracking the Chupacabra, Lake Monster Mysteries, Big—If True, and Investigating Ghosts

Benjamin's book list on (real-life) monsters

Why did Benjamin love this book?

While some people may not think of genies (or jinn) as monsters in the same category as Bigfoot or dragons, from a cultural and folkloric point of view they definitely are.

Most Americans probably think of the wisecracking genie in Disney’s Aladdin, but belief in genies is both serious and widespread. In his book Legends of the Fire Spirits journalist Robert Lebling describes how the creatures appear in the Koran (hint: it’s closer to the recent film Three Thousand Years of Longing).

They are in some ways the Muslim equivalent of Christian angels, imbued with magical powers and viewed by the devout not as real and tangible as you or I. What I love about this book is how Lebling reveals the real stories of jinn—in both their wonder (granting wishes) and terrible vengeance (mass murder).

As with all monsters, whether you believe in them or not is…

By Robert Lebling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Legends of the Fire Spirits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the magical tale of Aladdin in "The Arabian Nights", the genie that suddenly appears out of the lamp is powerful, playful and utterly mysterious. Supernatural, shape-shifting figures have been given many names over the ages - genie, demon, spirit, ghoul, shaitan and jinn. Those who have seen them believe jinn shadow us in our daily lives, causing endless mischief, providing amazing services and sometimes inducing sheer terror. "Legends of the Fire Spirits" explores the enduring phenomenon of the jinn. From North Africa to Central Asia, from the Mediterranean to sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, this riveting book draws on long-forgotten…

City of Djinns

By William Dalrymple,

Book cover of City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

Haroon Khalid Author Of Walking with Nanak

From the list on merging genres and writing styles.

Who am I?

I love reading history that is told in an experimental, interesting manner – history merged with travel, fiction, magical realism, etc. I began my writing career as a travel writer, bringing together history with travel but increasingly I have begun to experiment more. My book Walking with Nanak brings together 4 genres. One intellectual question that I have pursued through my writing is challenging modern notions of national, religious, and ethnic identities. I see my writing style as an extension of that pursuit, breaking away from the neat compartmentalization of genres. 

Haroon's book list on merging genres and writing styles

Why did Haroon love this book?

This book introduced a whole new way of travel and history writing for me. It beautifully merges the experiences of the author, his interactions with people, and the history of the city he is engaged with. I loved how he used everyday conversations and experiences to link it back to historical moments and told a chronological story of an amazing city. The book is important to me because it also taught me that travel writing can happen within one’s home and one’s own city. One doesn’t need to travel hundreds of miles, in a foreign country, to engage in travel writing. It helped me conceptualize travel writing in a new way.

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Indraprastha is the Hindu name for the first, mythical Delhi. In this book the author peels back the successive encrusting layers of Delhi's history, using both the material and the human remains of each period as a touchstone with the present. With each of the six cities of Delhi being revealed in respective chapters, the climax, the final chapter, tells of the mythical first city, whose beginnings, told in the Mahamarata, form the principle Hindu creation myth. This book is a portrait of Delhi, the mother of all cities. Its dry plains are the fertile meeting point of all the…

The Weight of Our Sky

By Hanna Alkaf,

Book cover of The Weight of Our Sky

Gigi Griffis Author Of The Wicked Unseen

From the list on history for those who find history intimidating.

Who am I?

I came to my passion for history later in life—when I realized I could trade in the endless date memorization I remembered from history class for an exploration of fierce lady pirates like Shek Yeung and unwilling empresses like Sisi of Austria. Historical stories that felt like thrillers, adventures, or mystery novels. Comedies. Tragedies. And most of all: books that didn’t require a history PhD to get swept up in the story. These are the books that made me fall in love with history, and they’re the kind of books I now write. I’m the author of three historical novels, all written first and foremost to sweep you away into a damn good story.

Gigi's book list on history for those who find history intimidating

Why did Gigi love this book?

This book reads more like a thriller with heart than a historical novel, which makes it the perfect historical fiction for those just dipping a toe into the genre. 

Set in 1969 in Malaysia, during the historic race riots, the story follows a Beatles-obsessed teenage girl with OCD as she struggles to survive and get back to her family. I devoured this story over a couple of nail-biting days – and I bet you will too.

By Hanna Alkaf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother's death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.

A trip to the movies after school turns into a nightmare when the city erupts into violent…

Wishes and Wellingtons

By Julie Berry, Chloe Bristol (illustrator),

Book cover of Wishes and Wellingtons

Tephra Miriam Author Of The Sparkle Riot Crew and the Kid From Star Quad 9

From Tephra's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Pioneer Royalty Revolutionary Dreamer

Tephra's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Tephra love this book?

Once I met Maeve Merritt, a rebellious young girl tired of abiding by uptight school rules in London, I couldn't help but root for her fiery spirit. And when fate leads her to stumble upon a sardine tin hiding an ornery Genie within, well, let's just say chaos ensues in the most delightful way possible.

As Maeve tries to navigate this newfound magical world while outsmarting those who seek to claim her treasure for themselves - including an endearing orphan boy named Bennet - every page is brimming with excitement and endless possibilities.

With each twist and turn, Julie Berry effortlessly captures Maeve's quick wit and audacious personality that, made her feel like a true friend throughout my reading journey.

By Julie Berry, Chloe Bristol (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Julie Berry comes a middle-grade fantasy adventure full of humor and heart.

Be careful what you wish for ...

Maeve Merritt chafes at the rigid rules at her London boarding school for "Upright Young Ladies." When punishment forces her to sort through the trash, she finds a sardine tin that houses a foul-tempered djinni with no intention of submitting to a schoolgirl as his master.

Soon an orphan boy from the charitable home next door, a mysterious tall man in ginger whiskers, a disgruntled school worker, and a take-no-prisoners business tycoon are…

Children of the Jinn

By Margaret Kahn,

Book cover of Children of the Jinn: The Story of My Search for the Kurds and Their Country

Christiane Bird Author Of A Thousand Sighs, a Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan

From the list on classics about the world of the Kurds.

Who am I?

I first became interested in the Kurds during a 1998 journey I took to Iran to work on my first book about the Middle East, Neither East nor West. While there, I traveled to Sanandaj, Iran’s unofficial Kurdish capital, where I was immediately struck by how different the area seemed from the rest of the Islamic Republic—heartbreaking in its lonesome beauty, and defiant. Despite a large number of Revolutionary Guards on the streets, the men swaggered and women strode. These people are not cowed, I thought—no wonder they make the Islamic government nervous. I had to find out more.

Christiane's book list on classics about the world of the Kurds

Why did Christiane love this book?

Five years before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Kahn traveled to northwest Iran to study the Kurdish language and teach English. Because Kurdish was outlawed at that time, she endured much suspicion and endless stonewalling before finally being welcomed into Kurdish homes. The result is this moving and groundbreaking work that in a sense paved the way for other travelogues about Kurdistan, including my own. Kahn writes beautifully about the Kurdish women she meets, the difficulties of understanding another culture, and the constant threats of living under SAVAK (then Iran’s secret police).

By Margaret Kahn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forty years after the publication of Margaret Kahn's book, Children of the Jinn, Kurds, the fourth largest linguistic and ethnic group of the Middle East, are still being denied basic human rights. The book is an historical and ethnographic account of the lives and struggles of the individuals she met during the year Iraqi Kurds rose up, with American backing, to wrest their rights from the Ba'athist regime. In the Iranian border town where she lived, she witnessed the arrival of a hundred thousand refugees. She volunteered in the refugee school and saw first-hand what happened when the U.S. government…


By Tim Powers,

Book cover of Declare: A Novel

Tom Doyle Author Of Olympian Games: Agent of Exiles 2

From the list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind.

Who am I?

I love history, and it infuses most of my fiction. Since I first picked up a book, I’ve never stopped learning about the past. Now, I listen to college courses and podcasts and read books both popular and academic. Sometimes this is for my writing or personal travel, but those things are often just excuses for the fun of immersion in a subject. I particularly enjoy reading and writing alternate/secret history because it merges creative imagination with factual scholarship. But I’m picky about the use of history in all media—factual sloppiness bumps me out of a story as quickly as bad physics drives a scientist from an SF movie. 

Tom's book list on alternate/secret histories that blew my mind

Why did Tom love this book?

Tim Powers is best known for his secret histories. Unlike alternate history, a secret history doesn’t change the publicly known facts of the past; instead, it tells a story hidden beneath those facts that may change their meaning.

Powers takes a strict approach to secret history that I admire and try to follow when I can: all the known historical details (who was where and when and what they were doing) must remain the same. His marvelous novel Declare applies this rule to the Kim Philby spy case. Powerful beings that have been dwelling among us provide the hidden motivations for espionage and treason from WWII into the Cold War.

Declare is fun both for its spycraft and occult details. 

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a young double agent infiltrating the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Paris, Andrew Hale finds himself caught up in a secret, even more ruthless war. Two decades later, in 1963, he will be forced to confront again the nightmarethat has haunted his adult life: a lethal unfinished operation code-named Declare. From the corridors of Whitehall to the Arabian desert, from post-war Berlin to the streets of Cold War Moscow, Hale's desperate quest draws him into international politics and gritty espionage tradecraft -- and inexorably drives Hale, the fiery and beautiful Communist agent Elena Teresa Ceniza-Bendiga, and Kim Philby, mysterious…