The most recommended shapeshifter books

Who picked these books? Meet our 99 experts.

99 authors created a book list connected to shapeshifters, and here are their favorite shapeshifter books.
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Book cover of Someone You Can Build a Nest In

Caitlin Rozakis Author Of Dreadful

From my list on make you laugh and punch you in the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve never been a fan of polemics or schmaltz. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn or see new perspectives or feel deep feelings; I just think humor is the best way to get past people’s defenses. (All the better to sucker punch them in the feels.) I also think the world can be a pretty dark and scary place. I love books that give us hope, enough hope to have the courage to change what we can to make the world a little brighter.

Caitlin's book list on make you laugh and punch you in the feels

Caitlin Rozakis Why did Caitlin love this book?

Is it wrong to feel cozy while people are being digested by a monster? And yet. Shesheshen is a terrifying blob monster that has to eat and absorb people to use their bones to walk and talk.

She falls in love! Awww. She wants to lay her eggs in her love so they can feast on her beloved’s entrails. Ewww. This is straight-up horror. But it's somehow also funny and clever and heart-warming, even with all the murder.

I wanted to spend more time with Shesheshen, even though she probably would take the compliment by eating me for my shinbones.

By John Wiswell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someone You Can Build a Nest In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Most-Anticipated Book of 2024: LitHub, Polygon, Apple, Goodreads

"Wiswell raises the bar on the outcast as protagonist . . . the ultimate monster slayer story, if the monster is just a misunderstood creature searching for love." - Kristi Chadwick, Library Journal (starred review)

Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance-from the perspective of the monster-by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters…


Book cover of Crowfall

Sinéad O'Hart Author Of The Starspun Web

From my list on middle grade to sweep you into another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my books (I hope!) sweep the reader into another world – it’s one of my favourite themes in the books I love to read, as well as write. When I was about seven, I first read some of the books which would shape my life, including Elidor by Alan Garner and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle, which brought me right out of my own life and into worlds as varied as the frightening interstellar realm of Camazotz and the battlefields of Elidor. I’ve been trying to capture that sense of ‘being swept away’ in my own work ever since.

Sinéad's book list on middle grade to sweep you into another world

Sinéad O'Hart Why did Sinéad love this book?

All of Vashti Hardy’s books are brilliant, but I recommend Crowfall because Hardy creates an incredibly immersive world – the island of Ironhold – and characters including a mechanical sea monster, a pet robot, and a very brave boy named Orin. When Orin discovers his island is under threat, and ends up being put to sea in a rickety boat, how can he save his family and home? An unforgettable adventure.

By Vashti Hardy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crowfall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A rip-roaring, island-hopping adventure - and unforgettable
ecological fable - from the award-winning author of Wildspark
and Brightstorm.
'Hardy has drunk from the same cup as Philip Reeve and Philip
Pullman.' - LITERARY REVIEW

Ironhold is an orderly place where "industry brings prosperity",
and where nature is pushed aside for progress. But when Orin Crowfall,
a lowly servant boy, learns that the island itself
is in grave danger, that knowledge makes him a target of
powerful forces.
He narrowly escapes on a small boat, but then faces a fight
for survival with his robot friend, Cody, in the stormy ocean,…


Book cover of Invasion

Misha Handman Author Of Pawns and Phantoms

From my list on fantasy that draws from older stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

So much of our culture and our fiction comes from taking older stories and ideas and reworking, blending, and adapting them into new forms. This cultural mixture has gifted us with some of the greatest works of English literature, and I’ve always been surprised and delighted to discover what people can pull out of older works and make. It’s why my first novels have followed the theme, and why I will always have time to check out a new story that builds on older ideas to create something new. 

Misha's book list on fantasy that draws from older stories

Misha Handman Why did Misha love this book?

Jenna Moran is an under-appreciated author who combines whimsy and darkness in equal measure, created worlds that are at once familiar and strange. This bittersweet picture book is her at her finest, accompanied by glorious artwork by Elizabeth Sherry as she tells the story of a picture-book world attacked by an invasion of terrible, otherworldly things—Ordinary Objects.

By Jenna Katerin Moran, Elizabeth Sherry (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Earth is full. Now, when there's a new ordinary thing, it doesn't have anywhere to go. A plague of blankets, chairs, and other horrors unleashes itself upon the picture-book realm. Warning: content is fearsome.

"O.O

that is a very creepy children's book.

O.O" - C.E. Murphy, author of the Walker Papers series, The Negotiator
Trilogy, and the Inheritor's Cycle.


The Strange Case of Guaritori Diolco

By Bill Hiatt,

Book cover of The Strange Case of Guaritori Diolco

Bill Hiatt Author Of Different Lee

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Insatiable reader English teacher Life-long learner Hiker Webmaster

Bill's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Guaritori awakens from a coma to find that he's lost twenty years--and his entire world.

Fiancée, family, and friends are all missing, perhaps dead. Technology has failed, and magic has risen, leaving society in ruins. Most survivors are at the mercy of anyone who has strong enough magic. Guaritori has none. He finds a protector, but his troubles are far from over.

The new society in which he finds himself is superficially friendly but surrounded by enemies and full of secrets. Guaritori doesn't know it yet, but the biggest secret is his. If his protector knew who he truly was,…

The Strange Case of Guaritori Diolco

By Bill Hiatt,

What is this book about?

Coming out of a coma after twenty years, Guaritori--Garth to his friends--discovers that the world he knew no longer exists.

Advanced technology has failed. Magic, which he didn't know even existed, has become much more powerful. Supernatural groups battle for supremacy, forcing human beings to seek shelter wherever they can find it.
Garth's only hope for survival lies with a varied group including a shape-shifter, an alchemist, a tarot card reader, a blacksmith with a flaming sword, and others. But a prophecy foretells that he will bring about the downfall of their leader, the mysterious Ms. M.

Even worse, Garth…


Book cover of The Changeling of Fenlen Forest

Natasha Deen Author Of The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad

From my list on kickbutt heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1980s when there wasn’t consideration for representation or diversity in literature or media. If I wanted to read about a Girl of Color, inevitably, she was a slave. If I wanted to watch a TV show featuring women (of any color), they were inevitably rescued in the climactic moment by a man. As such, I grew into a reader who loves kickbutt girls of all stripes. Give me a chance to cheer on a female who’s looking for her happy ending and not about to let the world dictate how she finds that happiness (and with whom), and boy, you got me!

Natasha's book list on kickbutt heroines

Natasha Deen Why did Natasha love this book?

A herd of wild unicorns, a gloomy forest, a changeling, and magicThe Changeling of Fenlen Forest is a perfect choice for a cozy day of reading. The book opens with Elizabeth as she searches for her lost unicorn fawn. But her search takes her to a strange land where Elizabeth resembles a missing girl. So much so, that the town’s people think she’s a changeling—and dangerous. Elizabeth, with the help of a handsome shepherd, searches for the answer behind the missing girl. But is she prepared for the secrets her search will uncover? The Changeling of Fenlen Forest is a journey into loss and identity, and it’s the perfect read for days when readers want to inhabit a mysterious new world that’s full of intrigue.

By Katherine Magyarody,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elizabeth thinks she knows the gloomy Fenlen Forest. But when her treasured unicorn fawn, Sida, goes missing, Elizabeth tracks her into a strange land where the people think Elizabeth is a changeling, a malignant being who too-closely resembles a missing girl. If Elizabeth can find her fawn and uncover the fate of her lost double, can she stop the fear from turning into hate? To solve the deepening mystery, Elizabeth befriends a handsome, skeptical young shepherd whose stories hint at a dark secret lurking at the forest’s edge, and tame a herd of wild unicorns with the ability to unlock…


Book cover of Macunaima: The Hero with No Character

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Author Of Dutch Light: Christiaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe

From Hugh's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author

Hugh's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Why did Hugh love this book?

The eponymous hero and his brothers embark on an oversexed tropical Homeric epic that builds into nothing less than an origin myth of Brazil.

As in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (also published in the same year, 1928), the trio’s adventures collapse time and space and are notably relaxed about gender identities. Nonchalantly metamorphosing races and species and the animate and inanimate, Macunaíma anticipates much later works of magical realism.

This vibrant new translation by Katrina Dodson captures both its modernist spirit and its authentic roots in the luxuriant rainforest.

By Mario de Andrade, Katrina Dodson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here at last is an exciting new edition of the Brazilian modernist epic Macunaima: The Hero with No Character, by Mario de Andrade. This landmark 1928 novel follows the adventures of the shapeshifting Macunaima and his brothers as they leave their Amazon home for a whirlwind tour of Brazil, cramming four centuries and a continental expanse into a single mythic plane. Having lost a magic amulet, the hero and his brothers journey to Sao Paulo to retrieve the talisman that has fallen into the hands of an Italo-Peruvian captain of industry (who is also a cannibal giant). Written over six…


Book cover of Infinite Constellations: An Anthology of Identity, Culture, and Speculative Conjunctions

Eugen Bacon Author Of Serengotti

From Eugen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Award-winning African-Australian Editor

Eugen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Eugen Bacon Why did Eugen love this book?

This cross-lingual anthology is a unique hybrid of cultural poems and short stories from people of color in a crossroads of diasporas.

Contributing authors identify as Black, Black-Latinx, Filipo-Spanish-Chinese, Jamaican with Chinese heritage, Japanese-American, Cherokee, Euro-American Cherokee, Cuban, Jewish, Santeros, and more. Stories of transmorphed identities tug at the reader with lived experiences of belonging/unbelonging in a blend of the creative and scholarly.

The anthology is rich with the call of ancestry—peoples and place. Memorable prose poetry and short stories full of soul.  

By Kiini Ibura Salaam (editor), Khadijah Queen (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gathering of innovative, speculative fictions by writers of color, both established and emerging

The innovative fictions in Infinite Constellations showcase the voices and visions of 30 remarkable writers, both new and established, from the global majority: Native American/First Nation writers, South Asian writers, East Asian writers, Black American writers, Latinx writers, and Caribbean and Middle Eastern writers. These are visions both familiar and strange, but always rooted in the mystery of human relationships, the deep honoring of memory, and the rootedness to place and the centering of culture.

The writers in this anthology mirror, instruct, bind and unbind, myth-make…


Book cover of Under the Mountain

Mandy Hager Author Of Singing Home The Whale

From my list on Aotearoa New Zealand's top writers for young adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love Aotearoa New Zealand books! Our writers are brave, feisty, original - and living in ‘the land of the long white cloud’ at the bottom of the globe gives us a unique take on the world that permeates through everything we write. But we struggle to get our voices heard internationally, so far from the rest of you! This is your chance to push out your boundaries and explore stories that derive from a culture very different from your own, while sharing the same human emotions that bring us all together. As one of these writers, I challenge you to check us out – you won’t be disappointed!

Mandy's book list on Aotearoa New Zealand's top writers for young adults

Mandy Hager Why did Mandy love this book?

This book for younger YA’s has some of the creepiest villains you’ll ever meet and knuckle-biting tension as the heroes are chased by the evil Wilberforces, slug-like shapeshifters who live under Auckland’s extinct volcanoes. Their goal is the destruction of the world and only red-haired twins Rachel and Theo Matheson can stop them, with the help of the strange Mr. Jones, who helps the twins unleash their supernatural power.

By Maurice Gee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beneath the extinct volcanoes surrounding the city, giant creatures are waking from a spellbound sleep that has lasted thousands of years. Their goal is the destruction of the world. Rachel and Theo Matheson are twins. Apart from having red hair, there is nothing remarkable about them - or so they think. They are horrified to discover that they have a strange and awesome destiny. Only the Matheson twins can save the world from the terror of what is under the mountain. Also available as an eBook


Book cover of Autumn Country

Robert Pope Author Of Not A Jot or A Tittle: 16 Stories by Robert Pope

From my list on strangely miraculous short fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early on, I identified with American short story writers Bernard Malamud and Flannery O’Connor. Though firmly ensconced in the American canon, neither had a fear of allowing the comic or fantastic to play important roles in stories with serious spiritual values. I enjoyed fabulous writers as well, the wildness of Nikolai Gogol, the magic of Ray Bradbury, the comic impulses of Mark Twain. I came across Dune and read it several times. Since those days, I have taken in many stories that do not stick to representations of reality, discovering writers all over the world with the same fascinations. I can’t keep myself from trying to join them. 

Robert's book list on strangely miraculous short fiction

Robert Pope Why did Robert love this book?

This collection is an Introduction to an established writer of traditional horror with thirteen stories previously published in magazines, anthologies, or collections. I read these now as a single continuous work (like a symphony) with re-emerging themes.

Weaving in and out throughout the collection, the image of the shape-shifter develops with a wild inventiveness that never spins out of control. The same with the writer’s fascination with music that comes out humorously in the story “Collectable,” disturbingly accurate in “Under Iron.”

There is dark humor working beneath the surface that keeps readers alert and tingling with anticipation, a good effect if you’ve never tingled.  

By Tim Jeffreys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this way, the fantastic in these stories takes us away from our lives in the present moment, providing a moment’s escape, but brings us back to ourselves in the end, like that ride on the roller coaster. Our feet find purchase once again; the journey has not only been entertaining, as we screamed in delight and fear, it has taken us somewhere and then left us off in strange territory, entertained, yes, perhaps better off for the experience, yet, miraculously, unharmed. This is the pure experience provided by these stories. Each one takes us for that ride, rewards us…


Book cover of Legends of the Dragonrealm

Mikayla Deely Author Of The Rise of Surge: Of Fire and Fate

From my list on ferocious and fantastic dragons.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve read books about dragons ever since I can remember. If I couldn’t read it, my dad read it to me. Outside of books, I’d seek out movies or shows with the magical beasts in them. I was a bit obsessed, really. From cruel-hearted and devious to kind-natured and intelligent, I was writing and reading about it all. My favorite, however, is dragons that are as smart as they are deadly. This reflects a lot in the books I chose, as they all contain some pretty ferocious dragons!

Mikayla's book list on ferocious and fantastic dragons

Mikayla Deely Why did Mikayla love this book?

When I first picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. Our story follows Cabe, the son of a Dragon Master, as he is thrust into adventure when the Brown Dragon himself comes and demands Cabe go with him. What really intrigued me about this book was how Knaak wrote his dragons. They are shape-changing beasts that rule the land under their own council led by the Gold Dragon. This was the first book I read that portrayed dragons as having a leadership similar to that of a monarchy, and once I delved into their world, I didn’t want to stop reading.

By Richard A. Knaak,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dragonrealm, is an ombinus of the first three novels in Richard A. Knaak's original fantasy series.

FIREDRAKE: In the ultimate war between humans and fiery shape-shifting beings, Duke Toma has unleashed every conceivable evil upon the world of the Dragon Kings. Only one dares to challenge him: Cabe Bedlam, a youth cast adrift in a world where none can be trusted. Yet at his command us a formidable arsenal...a fierce warrior tradition imparted by his regal forebears...the fabulous gifts of the witch Gwen, the lady of the Amber...and the magical Horned Blade, the sword that promises its bearer total mastery…


Book cover of Shadow of the Fox

K. Bird Lincoln Author Of Tiger Lily

From my list on fantasy if you’re hungry for romantic kitsune lore.

Why am I passionate about this?

I used to steal Tolkien and Piers Anthony books from my older brother’s bookcase and burn through library world mythology sections like a ravenous beast. When I reached college in the 1990s, I realized “world” mythology had usually meant “Western” myths, and that’s when I became a Japanese Studies major and dove headfirst into feudal Japan: kitsune, dragons, dream-eaters, tengu, and other fantastical creatures. I was in love. Perfectly natural that when I started writing novels, my brain conjured romantic fantasy based on East Asian myths. Hope you’re ready to fall in love as well, with the Japanese version of fox spirits—kitsune!

K.'s book list on fantasy if you’re hungry for romantic kitsune lore

K. Bird Lincoln Why did K. love this book?

Do you want a crash course on Japanese yokai and spirits like trickster kitsune fox, grandmother badger, flesh-eating ghosts, tree spirits, and oni demons? Hankering to go along on an adventure tale through samurai-laden alternate historical Japan to find a monk who knows the hidden location of a temple or swoon after a YA romance?

So maybe the story’s main plot is a search for a MacGuffin, and the characters are solid archetypes, but the fun in this book is going along for the crazy ride a la Alice in Wonderland as they meet and defeat various folktale dangers.

By Julie Kagawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow of the Fox 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?

'One of my all time favourite fantasy novels!'
Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy and Spirit Hunters series

The first book in a brand-new series set in ancient Japan from New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa.

Enter a beautiful and perilous land of shapeshifters and samurai, kami and legends, humans and demons...a world in which Japanese mythology and imagination blend together

When destiny calls, legends rise.

Every millennium the missing pieces of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers are hunted, for they hold the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one…