Without going straight into the usual Harry Potter picks, there are a number of books every year coming out that either have an element of magic in their stories or focus entirely on magic. Some can be dark, others feel like stepping into a second home, but all bring magic to life. I will say that one of the other givens on this list is the Mistborn series, which I want to give another try but did not include on this list. So, what are some great magical reads?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus might be a commonly brought up book recommendation, but I think it’s well worth the hype. Like the book below this it brings magic through two magicians who are our protagonists. Set against each other in a competition of feats, all the challenges occur in the setting of a circus, but there is a dark undertone as mysteries surrounding the challenge, the circus, and the two magicians themselves only seem to grow. This book is both magical, and filled with a cast of characters that all leave a mark on the reader and leave you wanting to relive everything. Definitely worth picking up if you want a fall read that isn’t necessarily meant to terrify you.
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
Another recommendation with battling magicians this one was also filled with a lot of mystery, and is perhaps one of the latest releases to end up on the list. In this book we mainly follow Kallia, who has been a show magician working at the famous Hellfire House, but she’s always wanted more. When she learns of a competition for Magicians happening in the mysterious Glorian it is the only thing on her mind, that and figuring a way to leave the only place she’s ever known. The competition though is not all it seems, and neither is the city it is in. This one was really interesting, and kept me guessing throughout. I always love a good magical element, but this book took it to new levels as the magic was shown in amazing moments, and darker ones as well. Not sure if this one was considered hyped, but is a great read to pick up if you’re looking for some YA Fantasy.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Going away from the Magician picks, this one is closer to the Cassandra Clare style of world building as we follow Diana, who is researching at Oxford when she gets her hands on a magical text that witches and vampires everywhere have had their eyes on forever. Though she has never wanted to be connected with witches she soon finds herself in the middle of a power struggle, and a dangerous hunt for that very magical text. I really enjoyed this book, which brings us vampires, witches, and all the age old feuds between the two. This one may have started a little slow, but I got hooked and soon found myself buying the other two books in the series. Be forewarned, if you enjoy this be prepared to grab the entire series. 🙂
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
If there was an OG magical read out there, this one would be it for me. If you happen to be a Miyazaki fan, and haven’t read this, then look no further for a great magical read. Yes, this is the very book that the movie was based on, and it is just as good as watching the movie (let’s be real, Miyazaki is amazing). I really need to reread this one since it’s been a long time, but the memories on this book are top notch, and there’s nothing as magical as a castle powered by magic, a young lady spelled to appear old, a fire demon, and the magician they all are connected to. This one just is special in so many ways, and always a great read to recommend if you’re looking for a fun, magical book.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This series feels like it was one of the ones that helped bridge the gap between Adult and YA Fantasy for me. It definitely has the slower pacing of a non-YA Fantasy, but when it picked up it did so with the world of Red London, and Kell with his peculiar coat is still one of the few lines that has stuck with me to this day. I love the different Londons that are only connected by Antari like Kell, who is now the last in Red London. I know this one tends to be an either like or dislike for readers, but it remains a unique take on magic, and the concept of connected worlds. It is also one of my favorites among the Victoria/V.E. Schwab series.
Bonus: More Great Magical Reads!
-City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
-A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
-The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Were any of your favorite magical reads on this list? I’m hoping to pick up some more books in this category, and keep expanding this list! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!