Yes! Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm has set the perfect topic for me this week: it’s books with magic!
Of course, this usually means I’d recommend the Witchlands series and the Shades of Magic series right off the bat, so today’s also a challenge for me. I’m going to give you my top five magical books WITHOUT including those two series!
1. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
I had so much fun when I read an ARC of Shadow of the Fox over the summer, and the magic was fantastic! It’s rooted deeply in Japanese mythology and folklore, and it had such a lively quality to it that really made it feel like an integral part of the world. Plus, the heroine is a kitsune, a trickster by nature, and I was so excited to see a female character playing this role for once!
2. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
This book had the most exciting kind of magic for me: magic the main character is afraid to handle. That’s a kind of conflict I can absolutely get behind, and I loved the gradual steps Alex takes to really come into her own. Not only that, though, but the rules of magic that govern her existence as a bruja are really interesting, and the magical world she becomes a part of is intensely colorful and dangerous all at once.
3. Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Okay, first of all, look at those covers. See the cool looking crows? Now look at the negative space and how stinking CLEVER it was to hide the Ketterdam skyline in the feathers. God, I’m so in love with the genius cover design for these two books. So in love.
I also really like the magic system and the dangers that come along with it. The danger of losing control and the danger of being discovered are the biggest two for sure. I also love that not all of the main characters are even Grisha. Most of them rely on their material skills rather than any kind of innate magic, and it makes for a very interesting, very mixed, very intimidating crew!
Well, I can’t just leave this off the list! It’s one of my favorite books, one of my favorite movies, and the magic in it is so vibrant and rich and NOT bounded by a clear set of rules. It has a life of its own, shaped by the hands that wield it, and as a result, it has this incredibly human quality to it. Or maybe it just reflects the humanity of the characters with incredible clarity. Either way, it’s fun and strange and delightful in a way I haven’t seen anything recently published display. I hope this kind of organic, unrestrained, variable magic makes a return someday soon!
5. Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst
The entire premise of Inkmistress is that Asra has the power to change the world, change the future by writing in her blood. It’s a terrifying power, one that can’t be wielded lightly, and I love magic that comes with vicious consequences like that. The conflict of cost is always interesting because it balances high risk, high reward, and the consequences of either path necessarily have to have enormous magnitude. It’s an amazing conflict generator.
There! I did it! I still recommend the Witchlands and Shades of Magic series, but I recommended OTHER BOOKS. I can do it!
Which magical books are your favorites?