The most recommended metamorphosis books

Who picked these books? Meet our 27 experts.

27 authors created a book list connected to metamorphosis, and here are their favorite metamorphosis books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of metamorphosis book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Upgrade

David W. Burns Author Of Heart of Stone

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Fantasist Optimist Romantic fool

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

David W. Burns Why did David love this book?

What great science fiction is all about: taking a trend in modern science and running rampant with it.

In this near-future world, genetic manipulation of crops and humans has decimated society, forcing authorities to strictly police the scientific community. When he is exposed to an unlicensed gene bomb, biologist Logan Ramsay finds himself changing into something both more and less than human.

I loved the frantic pace of this book, as our hero is propelled into a desperate race for survival. The difficulty of effectively conveying a growing suprahuman intellect was deftly handled, and the action scenes were tense and electrifying, with several edge-of-your-seat surprises thrown in. A thoroughly satisfying story from start to finish. 

By Blake Crouch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Upgrade is the mind-bending thriller from Blake Crouch, author of the bestselling Dark Matter and Recursion.

'You are the next step in human evolution . . .'

What if you were capable of more?

Your concentration was better, you could multitask quicker, read faster, memorize more, sleep deeper.

For Logan Ramsay, it's happening. He's beginning to see the world around him, even those he loves the most, in whole new ways.

He knows that it's not natural, that his genes have been hacked. He has been targeted for an upgrade.

Logan's family legacy is one he has been trying to…


Book cover of Linger

Michael Griffo Author Of Moonglow

From my list on changelings and their friends.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer I like to explore many genres, and one of my favorites is young adult supernatural.  I think I was destined to write in this world because the first book I took out of the library was Where the Wild Things Are. My favorite books as a teenager all dealt with supernatural themes – Summer of Fear, Carrie, and Audrey Rose. Writing about changelings allows me to explore the tenuous connection between what lies inside of us – our psyche, our minds, our souls – and what might exist on the other side of our known world.  It’s the search for that missing link that keeps me writing.  

Michael's book list on changelings and their friends

Michael Griffo Why did Michael love this book?

I love when fantasy meets reality and that’s just what happens in Linger. A virus turns people into werewolves and the transformations are controlled by the temperature. A worldwide virus and an unpredictable climate? Talk about a dose of reality. Grace Brisbane is an anomaly – she was bitten by werewolves when she was young, but somehow has never shifted and as a result she’s dying. The book follows Grace as she and her friends try to save her life. It’s a fantastical story, but grounded in real human emotions. The perfect blend of truth and fiction.

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Linger 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?

The LongingOnce Grace and Sam
have found each other they know they must fight to stay together. For
Sam this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace it means
facing a future that is less and less certain.The LossInto
their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and
danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a
wolf while denying the ties of being human. The LingerFor
Grace, Sam and Cole life is a constant struggle between two forces -
wolf and human - with love baring its…


Book cover of Black Heart

Elise Noble Author Of Pitch Black

From my list on morally grey heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author from England who set out one lunchbreak to write the type of book I wanted to read. I like strong, imperfect heroines who fight for justice, both in their own lives and for others. Plus most of my books involve romance, so hot guys are a must too. I’ve written over fifty novels and novellas, from romcoms to thrillers, and one constant is strong female characters who do things for themselves. 

Elise's book list on morally grey heroines

Elise Noble Why did Elise love this book?

Assassin Calypso was my favourite side character throughout the series, and in Black Heart, we finally get to meet her properly.

As part of her metamorphosis, she has to learn to trust others, which is perhaps her biggest challenge of all. There’s as much romance as suspense in this book, and former CIA agent Ian Black makes a worthy hero as he teams up with Calypso to right past wrongs. 

By Lynn Raye Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He’s untouchable. Unbreakable. She plans to destroy him.

Former CIA agent Ian Black has done terrible deeds. Sacrificed his honor and reputation for God and country. He’s a fighter and a survivor. His mission is to rid the world of scumbags who prey on innocent people.

No price is too high, and no one crosses him. Not for long, anyway.

But then Natasha Oliver walks in, threatening to expose the one thing Ian thought dead and buried: his heart.

Natasha’s innocence was ripped away years ago when she was thrown into prison for crimes her parents committed. Now, as the…


Book cover of Living as a Bird

Gísli Pálsson Author Of The Last of Its Kind: The Search for the Great Auk and the Discovery of Extinction

From my list on books that capture life on the edge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by “nature” since childhood, growing up on an island south of Iceland and spending summers on a farm. As a teenager, I would explore my island in the company of friends, often with a binocular and a camera at hand. There was much to explore: a towering volcano above the local community, ancient lava flows, stormy seas – and an amazing variety of seabirds. I witnessed an island being born nearby during a stunning volcanic eruption. My life and career have been heavily informed by this experience, as an anthropologist and a writer I have always somehow engaged with connections between people and their environments.

Gísli's book list on books that capture life on the edge

Gísli Pálsson Why did Gísli love this book?

This is a wonderful book. The iconic song of the blackbird takes the author into a series of exciting reflections that complicate a whole range of concepts often applied to birds, such as dance, space, and territory. I was repeatedly struck by her insights into the lives of birds.

I am amazed by the way she brings bird biographies into focus. At a time when birds (and other animals) are still often seen either as empty categories or simply good to think with, such a perspective feels like a fresh wind. As Despret observes, bird songs are in the process of vanishing. I am inclined to think of her powerful book, with its metaphoric uses of the song of the blackbird, as echoes from Rachel Carson’s warnings in Silent Spring.

By Vinciane Despret, Helen Morrison (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the first days of spring, birds undergo a spectacular metamorphosis. After a long winter of migration and peaceful coexistence, they suddenly begin to sing with all their might, varying each series of notes as if it were an audiophonic novel. They cannot bear the presence of other birds and begin to threaten and attack them if they cross a border, which might be invisible to human eyes but seems perfectly tangible to birds. Is this display of bird aggression just a pretence, a game that all birds play? Or do birds suddenly become territorial - and, if so, why?…


Book cover of Fledgling

David Kubicek Author Of In Human Form

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Craftsman Storyteller Thinker

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

David Kubicek Why did David love this book?

The Ina are an ancient race known as vampires to humans.

They have coexisted with humans and have entered into symbiotic relationships with humans to the point that they depend on humans for survival.

I fell in love with Shori, the young Ina main character, who wakes up in a cave barely alive with no memory of her past life.

Her perseverance and her loyalty to her own human symbionts as she searches for the answers to her past—while she is still a target of those who murdered her family— are what endeared her to me.

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Octavia Butler novel for our times' THE ATLANTIC

'My book of the year . . . completely devours the genre which gave rise to it' JUNOT DIAZ

The final ground-breaking novel from renowned, bestselling author Octavia E. Butler.

A young girl wakes up in the woods, gravely injured and alone, with no memory of what happened or who she is.

As Shori heals, she realises that she isn't like the people around her, which leads to a shocking discovery. She is a fifty-three-year-old vampire, and in terrible danger.

To save herself, Shori must learn anew everything about the power…


Book cover of Dreamcatcher

Aaron Dennis Author Of Beyond the End of the World: Lokians 1

From my list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

Who am I to be an expert? I'm not. I know what I like and why, and I also know what I dislike. I have no idea what you like or dislike, and I don't presume to know more than anyone else. I do not have a passion for sci-fi; I have a predilection for it. I've been writing creatively all my life. Sci fi is not all I read or write either. At the end of the day, I only need to know that I've given life my best shot.

Aaron's book list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science

Aaron Dennis Why did Aaron love this book?

Like the last book, I read this one after seeing the movie. I've never been a big King fan, but this one is a winner. Spoiler alert: it's about a time-traveling fungus. (That never made it into the movie.) For that reason alone, I think this is a sci-fi worth reading. Plus, there's the element of horror present in most of King's work.

The characters are very cool, distinct, and real. However, there isn't much character growth throughout the book. In this case, that's perfectly fine. I didn't need Henry to go through some psycho-social metamorphosis. Seems like today, everyone looks for a protagonist that has to change over time. Just give this one a read.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From master storyteller Stephen King comes his classic #1 New York Times bestseller about four friends who encounter evil in the Maine woods.

Twenty-five years ago, in their haunted hometown of Derry, Maine, four boys bravely stood together and saved a mentally challenged child from vicious local bullies. It was something that fundamentally changed them, in ways they could never begin to understand. These lifelong friends—now with separate lives and separate problems—make it a point to reunite every year for a hunting trip deep in the snowy Maine woods. This time, though, chaos erupts when a stranger suddenly stumbles into…


Book cover of Shiver

Kimberly Baer Author Of The Haunted Purse

From Kimberly's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Author Grammar guru Bookworm Power-walker Dreamer

Kimberly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Kimberly Baer Why did Kimberly love this book?

I’m always on the hunt for well-written young adult novels, and this one took my breath away. The writing is downright lyrical, each sentence polished to dazzling perfection.

The love story grabbed me from the start and stayed with me for days after I finished the book. Ms. Stiefvater is a master at evoking emotion—I was moved to tears by some of the plot developments and the characters’ reactions to them. The story is enhanced by an alternating point of view, which draws readers into the heads of both protagonists.

I’ve heard this book described as “the werewolf version of Twilight,” but that’s selling it short. Shiver is so much more.

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Shiver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The #1 bestselling Shiver in the Shiver trilogy,
rejacketed for a new generation of fans.
This chilling love story will have you hooked from the
very first page.

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes
a place of fear.

But Grace is fascinated by the pack, and finds herself drawn to
a yellow-eyed wolf. There's something about him - something
almost human.

Then Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her
breath away...



Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author
of the novels Shiver, Linger, and Forever.

Her novel The Scopio…


Book cover of The Unlimited Dream Company

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From my list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Martin B. Reed Why did Martin love this book?

Published in 1979, but it reads like 1960s psychedelia. The hero, Blake, descends—literally—on the sleepy riverside town of Shepperton (where Ballard himself lived), and conjures it and its inhabitants into a sensual Amazonian Eden. I imagine Ballard walking the streets each day and seeing visions: flamingos perched atop the filling station, orchids overrunning the hardware store, his neighbours throwing off their business suits and coupling naked in their front gardens. Seeing, like his hero’s namesake, "a world in a grain of sand, or heaven in a wildflower." The rich prose, evocative but never repetitive, works the same magic on the reader.  

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a new introduction by John Gray and striking new cover from the artist Stanley Donwood, the author of 'Cocaine Nights' brings you the story of suburban London transformed into an exotic dreamworld.

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is surreally transformed. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man's urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an…


Book cover of The Golden Ass

Hal Johnson Author Of Apprentice Academy: Sorcerers: The Unofficial Guide to the Magical Arts

From my list on magic not to let your parents catch you reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

The only thing I love reading more than books about myth and legend are books you’re not supposed to read. George Bataille once wrote that if you ever caught him producing a book that he risked nothing to write, you should throw it away, and I take that to heart. Every book should be dangerous, because only danger makes you think. I hope every book I’ve written is, in some sense, dangerous, although of course I also hope my readers do not get ripped to pieces by the devil. That’s a little too dangerous. 

Hal's book list on magic not to let your parents catch you reading

Hal Johnson Why did Hal love this book?

Not necessarily the world’s first novel (the world’s first novel is probably lost) nor even the world’s first great novel (that would be Petronius’ Satyricon, which you should also not get caught reading), The Golden Ass is definitely the world’s first great novel that has survived through the centuries intact.

It’s the story of a man who tries just one time to dabble in magic and accidentally turns himself into a donkey. The poor guy has a bunch of adventures as he tries to figure out how to, you know, stop being a donkey.

That doesn’t sound so bad, but no one’s ever going to let you read a book with the title The Golden Ass. It just means the golden donkey! There’s nothing filthy about it! But no one will believe you!

By Apuleius, P.G. Walsh (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Written towards the end of the second century AD, The Golden Ass tells the story of the many adventures of a young man whose fascination with witchcraft leads him to be transformed into a donkey. The bewitched Lucius passes from owner to owner - encountering a desperate gang of robbers and being forced to perform lewd 'human' tricks on stage - until the Goddess Isis finally breaks the spell and Lucius is initiated into her cult. Apuleius' enchanting story has inspired generations of writers such as Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes and Keats with its dazzling combination of allegory, satire, bawdiness and…


Book cover of Locos: A Comedy of Gestures

David David Katzman Author Of A Greater Monster

From my list on shattering the conventions of what a novel can be.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, artist, and actor throughout my life, I’ve explored and enjoyed many artistic forms. While I appreciate books across many genres, I elevate to the highest level those works that manage to break conventional boundaries and create something original. In my own work, I have always challenged myself to create something unique with a medium that has never been done before. At the same time, I have sought to discover a process and resulting work that inspires readers’ own creativity and challenges them to expand their imagination. 

David's book list on shattering the conventions of what a novel can be

David David Katzman Why did David love this book?

Locos is charming and cruel, tragic and hilarious, ambiguous yet direct, and written with clear, poetic prose. The experimental style on display never overwhelms the narrative. Despite the fact that Alfau directly declares the fictive nature of his characters, he made me care about them. The book contains a series of interconnected short stories with characters reappearing throughout and even when they are not featured, a brief mention may act as a dramatic revelation that changes significantly what you read before. And further, some of the characters seem to metamorphosize and serve different roles in subsequent stories.

The entirety manages to hold together as more of a novel than a collection partly thanks to the overlapping characters, partly through the consistent tone and style, and partly because Alfau is always in the background or making appearances as "the author." Some of the stories are quite hilarious, while some are devastating.…

By Felipe Alfau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The interconnected stones that form Felipe Alfau's novel LOCOS take place in a Madrid as exotic as the Baghdad of the 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS and feature unforgettable characters in revolt against their young 'author' "For them", he complains, "reality is what fiction is to real people; they simply love it and make for it against ray almost heroic opposition" Alfau's "comedy of gestures" -- a mercurial dreamscape of the eccentric, sometimes criminal, habitues of Toledo's Cafe of the Crazy -- was written in English and first published in 1936, favorably reviewed for The Nation by Mary McCarthy, as she recounts…