Apr 12th

Ten Books Every Magic Lover Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go check out their Top Ten and others on their site today!

Today’s Top Ten was Top Ten Books Every X Should Read. We’re big fantasy fans here and one of our favorite aspects of the fantasy genre is magic. So here are our ten favorite books containing magic. Hope you enjoy!

Not included in our list were the Harry Potter books. While we love the magic in Harry Potter, we tried to create a list that magic lovers may not have read yet.

Kate’s Top 5

Daughter of the Blood

 Black Jewels Trilogy
 It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the world of The Black Jewels Trilogy but its portrayal of magic still impresses me. Witches hold most of the power in this world, both magically and politically, to the point of being able to “save” the world and its magic. While there are a few triggering scenes and negative areas (like the fact that witches need a man to help them come into their power) in these books, I still believe its matriarchal society ruled by female Witches is a really fabulous use of magic in a fantasy novel. Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels, Book 1)

A Discovery of Witches

All Souls Trilogy
I absolutely love how the All Souls Trilogy gives an incredibly detailed and positive look at traditional witchcraft. You get both a modern and a historical look at the traditional magic we’ve all grown up hearing about, normally in a negative manner. Here we get to see loving, human practitioners shown in a more realistic light. Deborah Harkness did incredible amounts of research for these books and it shows. The books, locations, and even some of the characters in these books actually exist or existed and it makes the magic so much cooler to read about. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy)

Great and Terrible Beauty

Gemma Doyle Trilogy
The magic in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy takes the form of a mystical world Gemma learns how to visit through her visions. This magic is used as an escape for Gemma and her friends who are young Victorian girls coming to terms with the restrictive nature of their society. While it begins as an escape, the girls must quickly learn to deal with the seductive and corruptive nature of power and the realistic existence of evil. It is a somewhat darker portrayal of magic that comes with a very real set of responsibilities that makes it an exciting Gothic young adult read. A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)

Half Bad

Half Bad Trilogy
The thing I love most about this trilogy is how dark it is. If you’re looking for lightheartedness and fairies, this is not the series for you! In the Half Bad Trilogy, witches exist hidden in our world. They each possess a certain type of power and must be given three gifts on their birthday to unlock this power. They are split into two groups: the black (supposedly bad) witches and the white (supposedly good) witches, who are unsurprisingly fighting against each other. Power is given a whole new meaning as the main character Nathan goes through traumatic events and deals with terrifying types of magic. This is a definite must read for anyone looking for a darker look at magic and power. Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy)

Magic Bites

Kate Daniels Series
The Kate Daniels Series is the monster of all magic depictions! Not only do we have people that can practice ritual and spell oriented magic, but their entire world is sometimes ruled by magic. The premise is that after years of being neglected, magic rises up and causes an almost apocalyptic event. In the aftermath, technology works half the time while magic rules the other half. This change happens randomly. In some places it never happens at all, with magic continuously reigning supreme. You have areas where magic has turned part of a neighborhood into a disappearing sinkhole and areas where mythical magical creatures hide. This world gives magic users a place of power. Necromancers who can control vampires work for a powerful company making good money, while shapeshifters control large swathes of land and live in their own imposing compound. When technology stops working, magic practitioners are needed to create spells to make lights or get cars to work. It’s a positive and unique portrayal of magic in a completely unique magical world–in short, an urban fantasy unlike any other. Magic Bites (Kate Daniels)

Oli’s Top 5

Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic/A Gathering of Shadows
I think everyone not living in a cave has either heard about or read A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I think it would truly be remiss not to include it on this list. ADOS takes us through multiple slightly-different dimensions with Kell, who travels between them by way of sigils made with blood magic. These multiple worlds–Grey London, White London, Black London, and Red London–all have differing degrees of magic in their population, but in each of them people with Kell’s gift are a rarity. Fascinating magic, political intrigue, beautiful worldbuilding, and fantastic characterization are all great reasons to pick this series up if you have yet to. A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel

Uprooted

Uprooted
Uprooted is another very popular novel from 2015 that I feel absolutely has to be included on this list. In this fantasy world, an evil forest is kept at bay by a wizard known as the Dragon. This Dragon exacts a price for his protection: every ten years, he takes a girl from the village to live with him. I won’t say too much in the event that anyone who hasn’t read the book is reading this, but the magical forest is so incredibly creepy and makes for such fascinating villain. Deft characterization and command of prose tie Uprooted together flawlessly–it’s definitely deserving of the praise it received. Uprooted

White Cat

The Curse Workers Trilogy
The Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black is an older series–the first book was released in 2010–but it’s one of my favorites. In the urban fantasy world that Black has created, some people are born with one of a select few groups of magical talents: manipulating bodies, minds, luck, emotions, etc. This magic is outlawed and tightly controlled by the government. The main character, Cassel, comes from a family of magical con artists, who still use these talents for profit while trying to stay under the radar of the law. Cassel himself, however, has none of these talents to speak of. The political climate surrounding magic and the way that these characters use their supernatural skills and navigate through this world make for a great read. White Cat (The Curse Workers)

shadowshaper

Shadowshaper
Shadowshaper was one of my favorite releases of 2015, and for good reason. Featuring an extremely diverse cast of characters, most of whom are black, it explores a multitude of cultural themes and addresses the very serious issues of cultural appropriation and gentrification. The magic of Shadowshaper is both beautiful and unique. Sierra Santiago is a young Afro-Latina woman living in Brooklyn whose plans for a typical teenager’s summer are shattered when she discovers murals coming to life around her neighborhood. With the help of friends and family, she discovers and hones her skills at shadowshaping, a magic in which ancestral spirits are infused into art. Sierra is tough, competent, and paints her magic into beautiful street art. Shadowshaper is brilliantly written and stands out from the oft-whitewashed young adult urban fantasy novels that saturate the genre. Shadowshaper

Weight of Feathers

The Weight of Feathers
The Weight of Feathers is a gorgeous work of magical realism. Anna-Marie McLemore’s prose is magic in itself, deftly weaving the story of the feuding Corbeaus and Palomas. Each family travels to perform their magical show; the Corbeaus their winged tightrope walking among the trees, the Palomas their swimming show with mermaid tails. Lace Paloma has been taught from the young age that the Corbeaus possess black magic and the Corbeaus believe the same about their swimming counterparts. Each family has something to hide: the Corbeaus have feathers in the hair and the Palomas have scaled birthmarks on their bodies. The magic in this book is understated, but the descriptions of their performances are magic themselves. It’s hard to describe this book in a way that does it justice, but no one should pass it up! The Weight of Feathers

Full Disclosure: The links above take you to Amazon Books, with whom we are an affiliate. Your purchases greatly benefit our ability to buy books to review and maintain this website. However we also feel strongly about supporting Independent Booksellers in our area. Two indie sellers we really like are Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC. Show your support and purchase your books online through them!
Hope you enjoyed our top ten picks. Are your favorites on here? Leave us with a comment with your top ten or tell us what you think of ours!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go check out their Top Ten and others on their site today!

Today’s Top Ten was Top Ten Books Every X Should Read. We’re big fantasy fans here and one of our favorite aspects of the fantasy genre is magic. So here are our ten favorite books containing magic. Hope you enjoy!

Not included in our list were the Harry Potter books. While we love the magic in Harry Potter, we tried to create a list that magic lovers may not have read yet.

Kate’s Top 5

Daughter of the Blood

 Black Jewels Trilogy
 It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the world of The Black Jewels Trilogy but its portrayal of magic still impresses me. Witches hold most of the power in this world, both magically and politically, to the point of being able to “save” the world and its magic. While there are a few triggering scenes and negative areas (like the fact that witches need a man to help them come into their power) in these books, I still believe its matriarchal society ruled by female Witches is a really fabulous use of magic in a fantasy novel. Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels, Book 1)

A Discovery of Witches

All Souls Trilogy
I absolutely love how the All Souls Trilogy gives an incredibly detailed and positive look at traditional witchcraft. You get both a modern and a historical look at the traditional magic we’ve all grown up hearing about, normally in a negative manner. Here we get to see loving, human practitioners shown in a more realistic light. Deborah Harkness did incredible amounts of research for these books and it shows. The books, locations, and even some of the characters in these books actually exist or existed and it makes the magic so much cooler to read about. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy)

Great and Terrible Beauty

Gemma Doyle Trilogy
The magic in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy takes the form of a mystical world Gemma learns how to visit through her visions. This magic is used as an escape for Gemma and her friends who are young Victorian girls coming to terms with the restrictive nature of their society. While it begins as an escape, the girls must quickly learn to deal with the seductive and corruptive nature of power and the realistic existence of evil. It is a somewhat darker portrayal of magic that comes with a very real set of responsibilities that makes it an exciting Gothic young adult read. A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)

Half Bad

Half Bad Trilogy
The thing I love most about this trilogy is how dark it is. If you’re looking for lightheartedness and fairies, this is not the series for you! In the Half Bad Trilogy, witches exist hidden in our world. They each possess a certain type of power and must be given three gifts on their birthday to unlock this power. They are split into two groups: the black (supposedly bad) witches and the white (supposedly good) witches, who are unsurprisingly fighting against each other. Power is given a whole new meaning as the main character Nathan goes through traumatic events and deals with terrifying types of magic. This is a definite must read for anyone looking for a darker look at magic and power. Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy)

Magic Bites

Kate Daniels Series
The Kate Daniels Series is the monster of all magic depictions! Not only do we have people that can practice ritual and spell oriented magic, but their entire world is sometimes ruled by magic. The premise is that after years of being neglected, magic rises up and causes an almost apocalyptic event. In the aftermath, technology works half the time while magic rules the other half. This change happens randomly. In some places it never happens at all, with magic continuously reigning supreme. You have areas where magic has turned part of a neighborhood into a disappearing sinkhole and areas where mythical magical creatures hide. This world gives magic users a place of power. Necromancers who can control vampires work for a powerful company making good money, while shapeshifters control large swathes of land and live in their own imposing compound. When technology stops working, magic practitioners are needed to create spells to make lights or get cars to work. It’s a positive and unique portrayal of magic in a completely unique magical world–in short, an urban fantasy unlike any other. Magic Bites (Kate Daniels)

Oli’s Top 5

Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic/A Gathering of Shadows
I think everyone not living in a cave has either heard about or read A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I think it would truly be remiss not to include it on this list. ADOS takes us through multiple slightly-different dimensions with Kell, who travels between them by way of sigils made with blood magic. These multiple worlds–Grey London, White London, Black London, and Red London–all have differing degrees of magic in their population, but in each of them people with Kell’s gift are a rarity. Fascinating magic, political intrigue, beautiful worldbuilding, and fantastic characterization are all great reasons to pick this series up if you have yet to. A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel

Uprooted

Uprooted
Uprooted is another very popular novel from 2015 that I feel absolutely has to be included on this list. In this fantasy world, an evil forest is kept at bay by a wizard known as the Dragon. This Dragon exacts a price for his protection: every ten years, he takes a girl from the village to live with him. I won’t say too much in the event that anyone who hasn’t read the book is reading this, but the magical forest is so incredibly creepy and makes for such fascinating villain. Deft characterization and command of prose tie Uprooted together flawlessly–it’s definitely deserving of the praise it received. Uprooted

White Cat

The Curse Workers Trilogy
The Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black is an older series–the first book was released in 2010–but it’s one of my favorites. In the urban fantasy world that Black has created, some people are born with one of a select few groups of magical talents: manipulating bodies, minds, luck, emotions, etc. This magic is outlawed and tightly controlled by the government. The main character, Cassel, comes from a family of magical con artists, who still use these talents for profit while trying to stay under the radar of the law. Cassel himself, however, has none of these talents to speak of. The political climate surrounding magic and the way that these characters use their supernatural skills and navigate through this world make for a great read. White Cat (The Curse Workers)

shadowshaper

Shadowshaper
Shadowshaper was one of my favorite releases of 2015, and for good reason. Featuring an extremely diverse cast of characters, most of whom are black, it explores a multitude of cultural themes and addresses the very serious issues of cultural appropriation and gentrification. The magic of Shadowshaper is both beautiful and unique. Sierra Santiago is a young Afro-Latina woman living in Brooklyn whose plans for a typical teenager’s summer are shattered when she discovers murals coming to life around her neighborhood. With the help of friends and family, she discovers and hones her skills at shadowshaping, a magic in which ancestral spirits are infused into art. Sierra is tough, competent, and paints her magic into beautiful street art. Shadowshaper is brilliantly written and stands out from the oft-whitewashed young adult urban fantasy novels that saturate the genre. Shadowshaper

Weight of Feathers

The Weight of Feathers
The Weight of Feathers is a gorgeous work of magical realism. Anna-Marie McLemore’s prose is magic in itself, deftly weaving the story of the feuding Corbeaus and Palomas. Each family travels to perform their magical show; the Corbeaus their winged tightrope walking among the trees, the Palomas their swimming show with mermaid tails. Lace Paloma has been taught from the young age that the Corbeaus possess black magic and the Corbeaus believe the same about their swimming counterparts. Each family has something to hide: the Corbeaus have feathers in the hair and the Palomas have scaled birthmarks on their bodies. The magic in this book is understated, but the descriptions of their performances are magic themselves. It’s hard to describe this book in a way that does it justice, but no one should pass it up! The Weight of Feathers

Full Disclosure: The links above take you to Amazon Books, with whom we are an affiliate. Your purchases greatly benefit our ability to buy books to review and maintain this website. However we also feel strongly about supporting Independent Booksellers in our area. Two indie sellers we really like are Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC. Show your support and purchase your books online through them!
Hope you enjoyed our top ten picks. Are your favorites on here? Leave us with a comment with your top ten or tell us what you think of ours!

By Kate Woods

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Ten Books Every Magic Lover Should Read

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