The best books about magic (supernatural)

83 authors have picked their favorite books about magic-supernatural and why they recommend each book.

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The Black Prism

By Brent Weeks,

Book cover of The Black Prism

In the Lightbringer series, Weeks creates a very engrossing fantasy world, even if it’s a bit more compact than other epic fantasies. The system of magic is exceptionally clever, the seamless blending of humor into age-old fantasy tropes is a breath of fresh air, and the characters are extremely dynamic. You may find your least favorite character in literary history on these pages, and you might even find your favorite in that man’s son, grandson, or daughter-in-law. Of the many fantasy series I’ve read, I’d say Weeks most loosely matches the tone and tenor of my own. Narcissist that I am, it’s a wonder I didn’t put this at the top of the list then. Oh well. Perhaps I’m not as loathsome as I give myself credit for.

Disclaimer: If you’re upset at me for ending my last sentence with a preposition, buckle up. I’m one of the bad boys…

The Black Prism

By Brent Weeks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a world where magic is tightly controlled, the most powerful man in history must choose between his kingdom and his son - in the first book of the New York Times bestselling Lightbringer series, one of the most popular fantasy epics of the decade.

EVERY LIGHT CASTS A SHADOW.

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he…


Who am I?

Early in life fantasy was my escape. I watched Lord of the Rings so many times I could quote every line. I read Harry Potter so many times I could recite it. I hunted down every piece of fantasy I could get my hands on. These stories became a part of me. And in consuming so much of them, I succumbed to the inevitable, inexorable need to create my own. Creating fantasy is the most liberating thing you can do. There are no rules. You are the creator. If you read enough, you will have the urge to write—this is my sincere hope for you. Go forth and create. 


I wrote...

The Heir of Olympus and the Forest Realm

By Zachary Howe,

Book cover of The Heir of Olympus and the Forest Realm

What is my book about?

In the aftermath of a devastating attack on his hometown, Gordie Leonhart is confronted by an Olympic god. Hermes tells him that he is the descendant of Hercules, and that this destruction is the result of Zeus's attempt on Gordie's life. In the face of grief, anger, and even girl troubles, Gordie begins his journey to complete twelve labors and attain his Herculean potential in this first installment of The Heir of Olympus.

Tigana

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Book cover of Tigana

I adore all of Kay’s books, but my love for this one is very personal because of the underlying exploration of identity that is the cornerstone of this book. Who are we? What makes us so? And how does group identity work? What does loss of identity do to a person, or a people? Kay takes a long, hard look at all of that through the lens of this epic fantasy novel. Another reason I love this book is the circles within circles: that exploration of how life is cyclical and how everything repeats itself unless we consciously make an effort to break the cycle. And the writing style! Who said fantasy couldn’t be literary? Kay has a way with words that is magical in its own right, conjuring the most incredible pictures in my imagination.

Tigana

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With this rich, masterfully written extravaganza of myth and magic, the internationally acclaimed author of THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY trilogy has created an epic that will forever change the boundaries of fantasy fiction.

Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant King Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful land cannot be spoken or remembered.

But not everyone has forgotten. A handful of men and women, driven by love, hope and…


Who am I?

I am an award-winning and USA Today bestselling South African author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. Human transformation and the question of human social nature are key themes in all of my writing, which explores the experiences of people on the margins or with a background of overlapping cultures. I am a book dragon who loves reading adventures in almost every genre and that broad scope of my reading explorations has wormed its way into my writing style which, though broadly defined as fantasy, encompasses elements from other styles in a rich and ‘aromatic’ blend.


I wrote...

The Apprentice Storyteller

By Astrid V.J.,

Book cover of The Apprentice Storyteller

What is my book about?

The Alchemist meets fantasy with a splash of space opera in this 2021 Author Elite Awards finalist by award-winning and bestselling South African author, Astrid V.J. This gem of transformation fiction explores our human capacity for achieving success in the face of adversity in a magical setting.

Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in the Haldrian Empire, wants to be left in peace. For years, she’s been hounded by her past, never to find a moment’s rest. Then she meets a boy who wants to become her apprentice. He refuses to take no for an answer, and she reluctantly yields, even though she knows taking him with her could endanger his life. As their journey progresses, Viola begins to understand she’s not the only teacher in the equation…

Spider's Bite

By Jennifer Estep,

Book cover of Spider's Bite: An Elemental Assassin Book

Jennifer Estep’s writing talents shine in her Elemental Assassin series. She has filled her world with supernatural creatures and humans with magic who can harness different elemental powers. Gin is an assassin, known as the Spider. She has ice and stone magic. She also runs the best barbecue restaurant in town and Estep’s masterful food descriptions will have your mouth watering for more.

Spider's Bite

By Jennifer Estep,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spider's Bite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Follow Gin Blanco, a kick-butt female assassin who moonlights at a BBQ joint in Tennessee, as she searches for the person who double-crossed her in this heart-pounding and fresh paranormal romance series.

After Gin's family was murdered by a Fire elemental when she was thirteen, she lived on the streets and eventually became an assassin to survive. Now, Gin is assigned to rub out an Ashland businessman, but it turns out to be a trap. After Gin's handler is brutally murdered, she teams up with the sexy detective investigating the case to figure out who double-crossed her and why. Only…


Who am I?

I love stories set in contemporary urban environments where magic just happens to be real. This can take many forms, but my preference is a novel with realistic real-world scenarios that have to accommodate a magical world, without making things too easy for those with power. When I write Urban Fantasy (or SciFi) I try to inject logic and consistency into the worlds I create. My day job, working in the software industry and the logic skills needed to master problem solving, add these qualities to my writing.  


I wrote...

Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant)

By H.D. Smith,

Book cover of Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant)

What is my book about?

After five years of working for the Devil, Claire Cooper believes she lives an otherwise normal life. Until she finds herself in jeopardy for a murder she did not commit. Desperate to save her life and soul, she enters Purgatory, but runs afoul of the Pagan Queen Mab. Mab has her own agenda and uses Claire to get even with the Devil. Claire learns each ruler is in a race to discover “the girl” in the prophecy to fix time. As Claire peels away clues to the real killer, she realizes she must outwit the Devil’s children or end up a prisoner in Purgatory forever.

The Dragonbone Chair

By Tad Williams,

Book cover of The Dragonbone Chair

This book introduces a very good series and was responsible for encouraging my love of science fantasy – some of which I write. While I have tried to keep away from more famous authors, this one got through because it really is that good.

As with all good science fantasy, it has various levels, some of the deepest making one think, or you can just go with the flow and enjoy the yarn. That is something I also strive to do with readers, well, I try to.

The Dragonbone Chair

By Tad Williams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dragonbone Chair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of the trilogy "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" tells the story of Simon, a kitchen boy and sorceror's apprentice, who must find the solution to the riddle of the long-lost swords of power, in order to combat the evil of the undead Sithi Ruler, the Storm King.


Who am I?

I love to read a good story, but I also get the greatest satisfaction from writing one, or several. I believe good fiction can say what factual books cannot, and done right, they can offer differing perspectives to any accepted norm. The trick is to let the characters speak, regardless of whether I agree with what they say, or not. The secret to good presentation is to offer the reader the choice to think about what has been said, consider and delve deeper, or not and pass by.


I wrote...

The Gatekeeper and the Guardian

By John Morris,

Book cover of The Gatekeeper and the Guardian

What is my book about?

This extraordinary tale alludes that Aliens visited Earth in prehistory, creating Elves, Dwarves, and other mythological creatures. In the contemporary world of today, these figments no longer exist, or do they? When Jack shambles ashore upon a South Pacific island, he discovers a mysterious world shielded from our senses. It is filled with people, but not homo sapiens.

From shipwreck to survivor, castaway to explorer, our hero adapts to his new life, increasing the bounty for all, aided by the advanced science of The Ancestors. Fast-paced and riveting, the trilogy takes off when an abandoned spacecraft is discovered. Now Jack and his new friends need to unlock its secrets, but before they can do so, the Island is invaded by Ogre hordes.

Book cover of An Unkindness of Magicians

Good action isn’t just powered battle armor fights, guns going off, or well-executed martial arts, magic can be pretty damn impressive too. An Unkindness of Magicians opens with a woman auditioning for a spot in a magic dueling tournament by levitating traffic in the middle of New York, and it just gets crazier from there.

I’ve described the book to some as Mortal Kombat with wizards. Magic users in New York face off for an elimination-style tournament where people can die in the matches. It’s not just brute force with fireballs either, any kind of magical ingenuity is on the table, and Kat Howard gives us some really engaging magical duels.

An Unkindness of Magicians

By Kat Howard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A remarkable writer." -Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods

An Alex Award Winner

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city's magicians' power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney-a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney…


Who am I?

I’m a Canadian-Filipino science fiction and fantasy author who’s grown up on a steady diet of genre novels, movies, television, anime, and video games. I’m just as happy writing about the intricacies of hacking a system as I am about the ways magic can enrich or complicate lives. I’ve always loved explosive action in other media but since I’ll never be a director with resources to trash real cars or demolish buildings, I became a novelist. You can have all the actions and explosions you want without needing a 100 million dollar budget, and I’ve found some amazing examples of other writers who do just that.


I wrote...

The Chimera Code

By Wayne Santos,

Book cover of The Chimera Code

What is my book about?

Cloke is one of the premier combat mages of the 22nd century, a mercenary for hire that takes only the highest paying or most interesting jobs. Zee is an enormously talented console jockey with no name, no past, and no future unless a big score finally arrives.

When Cloke gets a job offer from someone that’s not even technically alive, she needs a new hacker to fill the gaping hole her dead one has left. Cloke and Zee find themselves on a globetrotting heist of magic, digital hijacking, and taking on the biggest multinational corporation on Earth for a score that can change the world order.

Tehanu

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of Tehanu

Ursula K. LeGuin was the first writer who taught me that words can transport you not just into other worlds, but into other people. In this book, she continues the story of Tenar, the escaped priestess of the Wizard of Earthsea series, as she adopts and cares for a brutalized child. Of all the Earthsea books, this one is my favorite for the way in which LeGuin takes the seemingly mundane details of Tenar’s life as she struggles to protect Tehanu and turns them into something deeper and more profound than even the magic her companion Ged wielded as the great wizard leader in the earlier books in the series. 

Tehanu

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fourth book of Earthsea in a beautiful hardback edition. Complete the collection with A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Furthest Shore.

With illustrations from Charles Vess

In this fourth novel in the Earthsea series, we rejoin the young priestess the Tenar and powerful wizard Ged. Years before, they had helped each other at a time of darkness and danger. Together, they shared an adventure like no other. Tenar has since embraced the simple pleasures of an ordinary life, while Ged mourns the powers lost to him through no choice of his own.
Now the two…


Who am I?

I’ve always been a daydreamer – I spent a lot of my childhood imagining the different places I could go if I just crawled through some magical crack in the universe or discovered a hidden tunnel under my bedroom floor. So fantasy has been at the top of my reading list forever. Fantasy does what all great books do, just more explicitly – they take you somewhere new, and by leaving this world behind, they give you a fresh perspective on everything that’s old and familiar. My favorite fantasies take big ideas and play them out in language rich enough to make me love that new and alien place with a passion. 


I wrote...

Blue Window

By Adina Rishe Gewirtz,

Book cover of Blue Window

What is my book about?

Five siblings fall into Ganbihar, where thought can turn into reality and where the edges of what’s real blur dangerously. Thrust into a conflict between two powerful forces, their love for each other and their desire to get home will be tested by the wonders and the terrors that they encounter in the midst of an ancient society heading toward all-out war.

Deerskin

By Robin McKinley,

Book cover of Deerskin

Fairy tales are often disturbing, and “Donkeyskin,” the Charles Perrault story upon which Robin McKinley based Deerskin, is no exception. And so, unlike many of McKinley’s novels—which retell fairy tales for a young adult audience—Deerskin is firmly an adult book. But though McKinley does not shy away from the dark themes in this story, which include incest, rape, miscarriage, and PTSD, she is respectful of them, and of the impact they have on Lissar, the story’s protagonist, and on the reader. Though this is often a difficult read, it’s also a hopeful one—a story not just of abuse, but of recovery, and proof that strength of character doesn’t always reveal itself through the swinging of swords or the slaying of dragons. 

(There’s also a sweet romance. Oh, and there are dogs. Lots and lots of dogs. And they are delightful).

Deerskin

By Robin McKinley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A fierce and beautiful story of rage and compassion, betrayal and loyalty, damage and love...A fairy tale for adults, one you'll never forget.”—Alice Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic

The only daughter of a beloved king and queen, Princess Lissar has grown up in the shadow of her parent’s infinite adoration for each other—an infatuation so great that it could only be broken by the queen’s unexpected passing. As Lissar reaches womanhood, it becomes clear to everyone in the kingdom that she has inherited her late mother’s breathtaking beauty. But on the eve of her…


Who am I?

“All stories have two sides,” my fifth-grade teacher said to us one day. “Sometimes, they have more than that.” She told us to rewrite a scene from the book we were reading from the perspective of a different character. What was meant to be a quick writing exercise turned out to be the start of my lifelong fascination with retellings. I love that retold tales show the fundamental truth that everyone has a story, no matter how peripheral they might seem in the original. I’ve written two Pride and Prejudice continuations, and my forthcoming novel is a historical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. 


I wrote...

Book cover of The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh

What is my book about?

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. But she comes to see that what she has always been told is an affliction of nature might in fact be one of nurture – and one, therefore, that she can beat. She throws away her laudanum and seeks refuge at her cousin’s London home. Suddenly wide awake to the world but utterly unprepared, Anne must decide what matters more: society’s approbation, or the pull of her newfound sense of self.

An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Jane Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.

Artesans of Albia

By Cas Peace,

Book cover of Artesans of Albia: King’s Envoy

Cas Peace is an extremely talented author. Her Artesans of Albia series is a well-realized work of fantasy and magic. Her world-building is exceptional, and the whole series has a tremendous sense of history. This is a series that you can truly sink your teeth into.

Artesans of Albia

By Cas Peace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taran Elijah's quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world...In Albia, the fourth realm, the precious Artesan gift is dying. Although born to the craft, Taran is struggling to achieve his potential. Against his friends' advice, he embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. Alone, he crosses into Andaryon, the fifth realm, but instead of finding a mentor, he stumbles upon a treacherous plot.In the wake of Taran's actions, Albia suffers a series of vicious raids. Major Sullyan of the High King's forces is sent to oppose them. But a dark and treacherous force…


Who am I?

I’ve been working professionally as a writer for twenty-five years. I’m nothing close to a household name, but a number of my articles have gone viral throughout the years. I’ve had educators reach out to mention they’ve taught my work at both the high school and college levels. Writing is an occupation of passion, and the authors I’ve mentioned are all talented and passionate about their craft. It’s rare to find people who speak the truth anywhere in our society. These writers don’t just speak the truth, they make it sing.


I wrote...

The Reader of Acheron

By Walter Rhein,

Book cover of The Reader of Acheron

What is my book about?

The Reader of Acheron is a thoughtful dystopian/fantasy about a world where reading is prohibited. The book wrestles with the concept of willful ignorance, and the way an established power system can spread misinformation in the interest of servitude. The book has many parallels in our current political environment.

Book cover of Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of the Tears of Artamon

Besides the intriguing adventure and plot, this series is the masterpiece of Sarah Ash (the first books especially – and the last chapter is still being written). You’d soon fall in love with her and her exquisite and rich way of describing her magical worlds.

Lord of Snow and Shadows

By Sarah Ash,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three kingdoms. One man.
A destiny written in blood.
An epic new fantasy series begins . . .

Seemingly always the outsider, Gavril Andar - an impoverished young painter - yearns to join the privileged circles of Muscobar polite society. However, unbeknownst to him, he does have royal blood in his veins: the dark and powerful blood of a father he never knew - the Drakhaon, ruler of the isolated northern kingdom of Azhkendir. And when the Drakhaon is brutally murdered, an unwilling Gavril is forced to take up the mantle of both his father's rule - and his power.…


Who am I?

Being of Eastern European origins, and also a child of the 80s, definitely had a say in what my likings and my character would become growing up. From the cold long winters and the white landscapes, Fantasy genre, and everything Might and Magic have shaped my childhood, my studies, my art (traditional oil painting and clay sculpting) and lingered until now (and definitely beyond).


I wrote...

Winterhorn

By Baiculescu Ovidiu Nicolae,

Book cover of Winterhorn

What is my book about?

Delve into a world of might and magic where ancient creatures roam the earth and shape the destinies of humans.

Get to meet Lorian, a simple boy born with a leg disability, who finds himself right at the core of a timeless conflict between magic wielders and magical creatures. Without much choice, he is forced onto a wicked path of constant danger and separated without a reason from his promised love, Elmira. He befriends an Iprorim, an imp, will get to know some of the secrets of a witch called Naghnatë and will meet a Drakhahoul, Ghaeloden-Three-Horns, a dragon, who will take a peculiar interest into the boy’s fate.

Empress

By Karen Miller,

Book cover of Empress

Reading Empress forced me to face my own assumptions about the nature of evil. The first book of the Godspeaker trilogy, Empress is a detailed account of the life of the villain. Hekat is a mistress of her own fate, cutting herself a path from child slave to renown warrior, to god-touched wife of the great Warlord, and finally to Empress as she spurs her warlord on to conquer the entire world. Even as Hekat commits terrible atrocities, you can’t help but fall in love with her ability to navigate a bloodthirsty culture and always come out on top. If you enjoy the complicated feeling of falling in love with a villain, Empress is a must-read for your booklist.

Empress

By Karen Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a family torn apart by poverty and violence, Hekat is no more than an unwanted mouth to feed, worth only a few coins from a passing slave trader. But Hekat was not born to be a slave. For her, a different path has been chosen. It is a path that will take her from stinking back alleys to the house of her God, from blood-drenched battlefields to the glittering palaces of Mijak.This is the story of Hekat, precious and beautiful.


Who am I?

I’ve been reading epic fantasy since I was fourteen, and over the years my taste has evolved. But the one thing that has always drawn me to fantasy, and always will, is the characters. Whether simple and familiar or deep and complex, every good epic fantasy leaves me a little richer in imaginary friends. While writing my own books over the last twenty-five years, I’ve gained the ability to create my own characters to fall in love with. I get to push them to grow and watch them succeed. I hope you will fall in love with the characters in Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern too!


I wrote...

Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern: Dreams of QaiMaj: Book I

By Selah J. Tay-Song,

Book cover of Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern: Dreams of QaiMaj: Book I

What is my book about?

Princess Stasia follows a vision from a magic dream away from the underground ice kingdom Iskalon. She disobeys her father, outruns the infuriatingly handsome captain of her guard, and ventures into the dangerous tunnels of the fire kingdom. Just another day for Stasia. Until it isn’t. Unbeknownst to Stasia, the half-mad fire king has escalated a centuries-old conflict, determined to burn Iskalon to the ground. Captured in battle, Stasia succumbs to magic flames to protect her family’s secrets in death. Impossibly, she survives the inferno. A new magic begins to grow inside her, the power of the enemy: Fire.

If you like the vivid cast of Assassin’s Apprentice, the detailed worldbuilding of The Eye of the World, and the gritty realism of Empress, you’ll love the Dreams of QaiMaj epic fantasy series!

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