Looking for fantasy books about magic? These 17 fantasy books will completely bewitch you
Sometimes we need a little magic. There are so many enchanting fantasy books about magic. A great fantasy magic book can transport you to another world. Especially when they combine magic with fantastical worldbuilding and a gripping plot. So whether you’re looking for an urban fantasy or a ya fantasy book here are the absolute best fantasy books about magic. Let’s have a look.
I’ve included a description, readers ratings and a summary of my personal thoughts (positives and negatives) for each book on this list. If you’d like a quick comparison I’ve also included a comparison chart at the bottom of this post. It includes readers rating, tropes, content warnings and a price estimate.
This post isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of every single fantasy book I’ve read. It’s a guide to the absolute best fantasy books about magic. This post does contain affiliate links. That said, I won’t ever recommend a book I haven’t read and loved myself. You can rest assured every book has passed my scrutiny.
This post is all about fantasy books about magic
What are some fantasy books about magic?
1. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
If you love a magical heist, the found family trope and a twisty plot
There is so much to love about Six of Crows – found family, sassy banter and a heist. The magic system is really unique and plays a big role throughout the book.
Six of Crows follows six teenagers living in Ketterdam. Kaz Brekker, a criminal prodigy, is one of the teens. He is offered a deadly heist for a huge payout.
But it’s an impossible heist. And Kaz will need all the help he can get to pull it off. So he assembles five other teens to help him.
Six of Crows is like a fantasy version of Oceans Eleven. If you’re a fan of the friendship group in A Court of Mist and Fury you should read this. There was plenty of banter between the friendship group.
Magic is incorporated throughout and it’s developed very well. I really enjoyed reading about the unique magic system..
Good reads rating: 4.47
2. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
If you are looking for autumnal reads with witches (set in Salem)
I was sold on this book as soon as I heard Sapphic witches! It’s a YA Fantasy book about witches featuring a f/f romance and set in Urban Salem. Magic plays a key role throughout the book. But it reads more like a YA Contemporary.
These Witches Don’t Burn follows Hannah. She is a witch living in Salem. A dark blood ritual interrupts her end of school bonfire.
And she investigates with her ex-girlfriend Veronica. She also meets Morgan. But trying to date in the middle of a supernatural crisis is not easy and will test Hannah’s limits.
This is one of my favourite duologies! I love all the magical, fantastical elements and I really enjoyed the modern setting in Salem. The representation is absolutely fantastic. And the pacing of the plot really kept me hooked.
If you're looking for more books with elemental magic then I have an article specifcally on elemental magic. You can check out my recommendations for books with elemental magic here.
Good reads rating: 3.76
3.Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
If you’re looking for a wlw fantasy book
First, please can we take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the cover of Girls of Paper and Fire is. It contains unique magic, mythology and world-building inspired by Malaysia.
It follows Lei. She is a member of the Paper Caste. And the people of Ikhara persecute her. She sees the royal guards take her mother. Afterwards, Lei suffers with trauma. They return and try to take Lei.
She has to learn skills fitting of a King’s Consort. But she falls in love.
Girls of Paper and Fire is an excellent fantasy book. The plot is quite dark and deals with topics such as rape and misogyny. But it also includes an amazing wlw romance.
Good reads rating: 3.82
4. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
If you’re looking for cottagecore sapphics, family secrets and magic
This Poison Heart follows Briseis. She has a magic gift where she can magic tiny seeds grow into rich blooms with a single touch.
Her aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York. And it’s there she must uncover her family’s heritage and secrets.
Again, mythology was woven seamlessly into the plot of this book. It opens in an urban setting before the characters move to a small town.
And the cottagecore imagery is beautiful. I love the plant references. And I love how the magic system is woven into Briseis' love for plants.
It opens with several mysteries and they keep you intrigued until the end of the book. If you like sapphic romance or cottagecore then I highly recommend picking this up.
Good reads rating: 4.20
5. Malice by Heather Walter
If you’re looking for a dystopian re-telling with an anti-villain protagonist
Malice is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. And if you’re a fan of re-tellings, dystopian books or books with fae then you need to read this book!
Malice is a Maleficent retelling. The book is set in a Kingdom called Briar. Once upon a time, a wicked fairy cursed a line of princesses to die. Only true love’s kiss can break the curse.
The book follows Alyce – the dark grace. She was left abandoned in Briar from a dark kingdom. The dark magic that runs in her veins abhors residents in Briar.
Except for Princess Aurora who accepts her. And she encourages Alyce to accept herself.
This book is almost a cross between Wicked and The Hunger Games. But with fae. The world building is darkly magical. And the residents of Briar reminded me of the residents of the Capitol. It critiques greed and consumerism quite a lot throughout the book. Alyce’s character was also really well developed. And she gets a lot of growth throughout the novel.
Good reads rating: 4.06
Related Post: The 15 absolute best books to read in Spring
6. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
If you’re a fan of Crescent City
If you’re a fan of Crescent City you definitely need to read a Dark and Hollow Star. This is one of my top books in 2021! A Dark and Hollow Star is an urban fantasy, fae queer main characters and a wlw romance.
A series of gruesome murders threatens to expose the faerie world to humans. Four queer teens – Nausicaä, Arlo, Vehan, and Aurelian – each hold a piece of the truth. And they must track down the mysterious killer.
The characters are so well developed in this book . I personally love Arlo and Nausicaä. Nausicaä is a grumpy, chaotic and sarcastic lesbian. Arlo and Nausicaä have a perfect grumpy/sunshine slow-burn vibe.
Fae are included throughout so there are references to magic throughout. I loved how the magic system in this book was unique compared to other books with fae that I've read.
I listened to the audiobook version which you can find on audible. It features a full cast of narrators which made it really engrossing. The voices of Vehan and Nausicaä are so spot on!
Good reads rating: 3.83
7. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
If you’re looking for a fantasy with magic, curses and shape-shifting dragons.
It follows Shiori. She is the only princess in Kiata. Shiori lives in a land where magic is banned. And demons are locked away inside a mountain. But forbidden magic runs through her veins.
Shiori normally conceals it. But on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, she loses control. And she attracts the attention of her stepmother Raikama.
Raikama possesses dark magic. She banishes the young princess. And turns her brothers into cranes. Shiori must speak of it to no one. For with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
The worldbuilding in this book is exquisite. Especially when Shiori is in Iro. The images of snow-capped mountains and eating hot buns in the snow is beautiful.
Good Reads Rating: 4.31
8. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
A modern King Arthur retelling featuring a Black main character, magic and secret societies
Legendborn follows Bree Mathews. After the death of her mother, she wants to avoid family memories. So, she joins a residential program for gifted high school students.
But then she witnesses a magical attack on her first night. A flying demon feeding on human energy. A Mage tries to wipe her memory. But he fails. And instead Bree unlocks new memories of her mother’s death.
Legendborn is a brilliant debut novel. It was a fast-paced story full of twists and turns. And it kept me absolutely hooked. In fact, I stayed up to about 2am finishing it.
The characters are well developed and there is plenty of character development. It’s perfect if you love strong, badass heroines or brooding morally grey characters.
Tracy Deonn also included commentary on racism and slavery. They were woven perfectly into the storyline. If you like A Court of Thorns and Roses, then you should definitely read this book.
Good Reads Rating: 4.43
9. The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
A queer YA retelling with dark academia vibes and a mystery to solve
The Grimrose Girls is a modern take on classic fairytales such as The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. But with a darkly magical twist.
The heroines of the stories are re-imagined as friends attending an elite boarding school. After their friend dies, the police rule the death as suicide. But they decide to investigate to find out what really happened.
Grimrose Girls is a unique concept and fantasy retelling. The mystery was really gripping and well-paced. And the story kept mentioning tantalizing details that kept me engaged.
The story also uses the darker versions of the fairytales. And this added to the dark academia, mysterious tone of the book.
The book is also full of queer characters including lesbian, bi and transgender representation in the book. If you’re looking for a fantasy retelling or love the dark academia aesthetic then you should definitely pick this one up.
Good Reads Rating: 3.68
10. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
If you’re looking for a magical and classic children’s story
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an absolute classic. It has one of the most magical fantasy worlds. And the magic that the Witch is able to wield is absolutely enchanting.
The Chronicles of Narnia follows four children who are evacuated to a country house. They find a magical kingdom called Narnia at the back of a wardrobe.
But Narnia has been enchanted by a White Witch. And it is frozen in an eternal winter.
The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe has one of the most magical concepts behind it. The concept is also familiar to everyone and makes it easy to follow.
While there are multiple books in the Chronicles of Narnia - you can easily read The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe as a standalone.
This is a childhood classic. And it’s a really nostalgic read. The concept behind the book is magical and the imagery is really cosy.
Good Reads rating: 4.22
11. Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
An LGBTQ+ Graphic novel about a witch and a non-binary werewolf
Mooncakes is a light-hearted romance about a witch and a non-binary werewolf. The illustrations of the spells and the magic bookshop are absolutely adorable.
It follows teen witch Nova. She works at her Nana's magical bookshop. And she helps them loan out spell books. But she also investigates supernatural occurrences in her local town.
One day, she is tasked to investigate reports of a white wolf in a nearby forest. She then discovers her childhood best friend, Tam, fighting a demon werewolf. Together they investigate the demon and rekindle their feelings towards each other.
This is such a comfort read. The artwork is insanely beautiful. I really loved the illustrations of the magic and magical creatures living in the forest. The romance is also really adorable.
The story is such a quick, cute and light-hearted read that I think it's a perfect fantasy book for beginners. It also deals with serious topics like loss and difficult family relationships really well.
Good reads rating: 3.85
12. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
If you’re looking for a popular book series merging Greek mythology with the modern world
I couldn't resist including Percy Jackson. Growing up I was a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series. And it’s still one of my all time favourites. It's a re-telling of Greek myths and legens.
The concept is that the Greek Gods are real. And they occasionally fall in love with mortals. They have children who become demigods.
The book follows Percy Jackson. He is having trouble focusing on his schoolwork. When one day his maths teacher turns into a monster.
And so mum decides it’s time to tell him the truth. His father is a Greek God. And she sends him to camp Halfblood – a summer camp for demigods.
Greek Mythology is woven seamlessly into this book. And I love how it balances Greek mythology with the real world. There are quite a few books in the Percy Jackson series. But the writing style is so easy to follow and the world is so engaging you'll be happy that there is plenty for you to get stuck into.
Good reads rating: 4.28
13. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein
A charming adventure story with cottagecore vibes
The Hobbit is an absolute classic. It's a fantasy standalone novel with a simple but engaging storyline. And a well paced plot.
The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins. He is A Hobbit who lives in The Shire. One day he meets Gandalf and goes on an adventure.
The Hobbit the most charming adventure story. Also, the imagery in the hobbit – particularly around food is lovely. I want to be able to eat seven meals a day much like a hobbit.
The Hobbit is such a cosy, comforting book. It's not as long and drawn out as Lord of the Rings. And it's a really light-hearted read.
Good reads rating: 4.28
14. Spellhacker by M.K. England
A fantasy heist with witty banter and a memorable friendship group
Spellhacker has so many great elements– a diverse cast of characters, a high stakes heist, criminal mastermind main character and plenty of banter. In this world magic is a commodity and we follow a group of friends who run an illegal business siphoning it.
It’s set in a world where magic ( known as maz) was once freely available. But an earthquake unleashed a deadly plague. And now maz is a tightly controlled and expensive commodity.
We follow Diz who runs an illegal maz siphoning business with her three best friends. They get offered one last massive heist that could change everything.
This was a well written standalone. The book opened with a bang and it was fairly fast-paced throughout. It felt like a cross between Ready, Player One and Six of Crows. The world-building around the magic was also really excellent.
Good Reads Rating: 3.59
15. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
If you’re looking for magical world building, princesses and a quest
Children of Blood and Bone combines a fast-paced, action-packed plot with magical West Africa inspired world-building. The book opens in a world where magic has disappeared.
There used to be magic in Orïsha. Zélie remembers how powerful her reaper mother was. But one-night magic disappears and Zelie is left without hope.
She now has to bring back the magic with the help of a runaway princess. Orïsha is full of danger everywhere. But Zeéie’s greatest danger is herself.
Children of Blook and Bone has much in common with A Court of Thorns and Roses – A strong female lead and a quest. I loved Zélie instantly and the world building is enchanting.
But Children of Blood and Bone also explores much darker themes such as racially charged violence. And that makes it a really powerful read.
Good reads rating: 4.10
16. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
If you’re looking for a high fantasy novel about feminism
The Gilded Ones was one of my most highly anticipated books in 2021. And I’m really glad it lived up to my expectations.
It follows 16-year-old Deka. She lives in a village where all the girls undergo a blood ceremony. If their blood runs gold – they are impure.
Deka has lived in fear of this ceremony. And on the day – her blood runs gold. And Deka must face consequences worse than death.
But then a mysterious woman comes to her rescue. And offers her the chance to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her.
There is so much to love about this book. The found family trope works really well. There was so much diversity in the army of Alaki. The magic system was really intriguing and the world-building was excellent.
This book is not for everyone – it has a lot of violence. Please check the trigger warnings before reading.
Good reads ratings: 4.04
17. Ruinsong by Julia Ember
If you’re looking for a unique magic system in a dystopian world with Phantom of the Opera vibes.
Ruinsong is an wlw book set in a dystopian world. It has lush world-building, a twisty plot and feisty main characters. The magic system is different to anything else I've read. It's linked to music and singing.
In this world, singers have magic powers when they sing certain songs. And they are able to heal, cause pain and heat people.
Cadence is an incredibly strong mage. She was born in poverty in an orphanage and rises to success. But she works for the evil Queen Elene. And Elene forces Cadence to use her power to torture others. But when she is reunited with her childhood friend she must make a choice. Does she take a stand or follow the queen.
This book reminds me of a dystopian and queer phantom of the opera. Strong-willed women, wearing beautiful ball gowns and taking down evil. If you’re a Katniss or Johanna fan you’re guaranteed to love this underrated gem.
Good reads rating: 3.54
18. A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
A book about a secret magical society, academia and a mlm romance.
A Marvellous Light has so many elements I love in a book - dark academia vibes, a secret society and a queer romance. Plus, the magic is really well developed throughout.
It follows Robin Blyth. Due to an administrative error, he is named liaison to a secret magical society. So, he is forced to contend with magic's dangers and a deadly curse while he searches for his missing predecessor.
To do this, he'll need the help of Edwin Courcey. Edwin Courcey is his prickly magical society counterpart but he clearly wishes Robin were anyone else.
I love the secret society of magicians. And the Edwardian setting and mlm romance sets it apart from other books including secret magical societies. If you like historical fiction or dark academia then you need to read this one
Good reads rating: 4.13
Those were my picks for the fantasy books about magic
Whether you’re looking for ya fantasy or urban fantasy books about magic - I hope you found a book to read.
What fantasy books about magic would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.
This post was all about fantasy books about magic
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Name & Author
Good Reads Rating
Six of crows by
Enemies to lovers, heist, found family,
Addiction (gambling and drug), Child trafficking Gambling, Genocide, Sexual abuse and slavery, Violence (graphic)
Friends to lovers,
lesbian main character, bisexual love interest, transgender side character, queer side characters
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Malice by Heather Walters
A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
grumpy/sunshine MC, fae,
anger, arson, blood/gore, death,
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Curse, chosen one, dragons
death of a parent, murder, fire, animal death, bullying
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Chosen one, friends to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, secret society
Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
Retelling, curse, magic book, boarding school, dark academia
suicide mention, depiction of anxiety and OCD, parental physical/emotional abuse, mention of parental death, gore
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
Chosen one, siblings, secret world
harmful content relating to slavery and misogyny
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
Childhood friend, friends to lovers,
Kidnapping, Confinement, Violence, grief, death of a parent
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Chosen One, absent parents
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein
Chosen one, quest
Spellhacker by M.K. England
friends to lovers, heist,
Attempted murder, chronic illness, medical treatments, drug use, anxiety
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
grumpy/sunshine, quest, abusive parents, magic
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Chosen one, found family
Ruinsong by Julia Ember
Grumpy.sunshine, magic, childhood friend
fatshaming, violence, cancer,
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
Enemies to lovers, grumpy/sunshine