Do you love a dash of magic in your fiction? Are you bored with garden-variety sword-and-sorcery fantasies? If you’re ready to take a dive into a different kind of spellbinding story, check out some of our recent favorites. From flying women to futuristic crime families who trade in drug-aided magic, we’ve got a little something for every kind of reader.
The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum
Fate. Kismet. Coincidence. Luck. We all have our theories about why things work out the way they do, but Israeli author Blum’s debut poses an intriguing alternative: What if people employed by a supernatural organization were in charge of orchestrating so-called coincidences? These creators of “situations” (formerly imaginary friends) possess strange powers like “the ability to experience the present as something that was the future until a moment ago when it became ever so slightly past.” Read our review.
Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer
(spoiler alert) In Molly Tanzer’s gender-swapped take on The Picture of Dorian Gray, the aesthetes of Wilde’s iconic novel become even more scandalous. Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton belongs to a club that contacts demons, which in this case means beings from another dimension, not Judeo-Christian spirits. Most demons are drawn to aspects of our world they can’t experience in theirs, and Lady Henry’s demon is enamored of magnificent aesthetic experiences above all else. Looking down somewhere from a velvet chaise lounge, Oscar Wilde must be very proud. Read our review.
Jade City by Fonda Lee
Lee’s gangsters might be the coolest out of all the magic users on this list. The crime families of Janloon carry jade that gives them increased strength, speed and durability. They train from birth to carry it, slowly exposing themselves to more of the substance over the years. But as you might expect, the demand for jade is enormous, and drugs are formulated that allow anyone to use it, if they’re willing to risk the potentially deadly side effects. Read our review.
The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller
In this extremely entertaining alternate history tale, the United States has just entered World War I, and the science behind unaided human flight, known as empirical philosophy, is deeply controversial—mostly because, for the most part, only women can fly. Against the backdrop of tension and drama playing out on a national level, 18-year-old Robert Weekes dreams of following his mother’s footsteps and learning to fly. Read our review.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
What if women had physical superiority over men? How would that change our world? Read Alderman's award-winning novel to find out, as the women in this world suddenly gain the power to wield (and kill with) electricity. Reading this page-turning thriller feels like holding lightning in your hands. Read our review.
The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
Every magic user in the Raverran Empire is conscripted into service, and jesses are placed on their wrists to prevent the using of magic. Warlocks, called Falcons, are dependent on an assigned Falconer, who can say the incantation that releases their power. The arrangement forces irreverent, cynical fire warlock Zaira and bookish noblewoman Amalia to work together as one, blending classic buddy comedy with fantasy intrigue. We won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say the magic of Caruso’s world gets even more interesting in the upcoming sequel, The Defiant Heir. Read our review.
Torn by Rowenna Miller
In Miller’s wonderful debut, talented seamstress Sophie is able to create charmed clothing for good luck or protection. She draws from her Pellian heritage, in which charm casting is traditionally done via stone tablets. As this tale of political intrigue winds on, Sophie discovers she can cast curses, and that her magic is more nuanced and more dangerous than she ever imagined. Read our Q&A with Rowenna Miller and Melissa Caruso.
Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier
The regions and countries of Neumeier’s Four Kingdoms are personified in what their inhabitants call Immanent Powers. The Powers are literal spirits of the land, increasing or decreasing based upon the strength of the region. When Kehera, the princess of peaceful Harivir, flees to the harsh, forbidding domain of the Wolf Lord of Ëaneté, their tentative alliance changes their lives and the Powers they’re tied to. Read our review.