Two weekends ago a list of books claiming to be as charming as Harry Potter made its rounds on Facebook. A few of my co-workers and I, who also happen to be rabid Harry Potter fans, looked at this list. We unfortunately disagreed with the majority of the list. Much of what was chosen that was “similar” was not really the big reasons the series was so popular.
In light of this I have decided to make my own list, with help from a few friends, of books we found just as enchanting.
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
This first book in a series by acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson is perfect for those wanting some more magic in their lives. The Rithmatist follows Joel, a young boy at a private school, who dreams of being a Rithmatist. A Rithmatist is chosen by the Master at a young age, giving them the ability to enchant chalk drawings to fight off the wild chalkings in this alternate universe of the United States. The magic is detailed and intriguing; the world well fleshed out; and the characters ones you care about deeply, quickly. Joel is a character children can look up to as someone that works for what he wants, and someone that learns along his journey. I actually, in fact, recommended this to a young patron today that I was discussing Harry Potter with. I can only hope he, and the rest of you, enjoy it as much as I am.
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is the first in one of my favorite trilogies. If you look at these books on my shelf they look just as well-loved and well-read as my Harry Potter novels. Gemma, the main character, is sent to a boarding school after the mysterious death of her mother. While she’s there she learns that her mother, who also went to the same school, was involved with a group of girls that found something very…well…great and terrible. Libba Bray’s writing is lush and vivid. Her characters are unforgettable and you absolutely have to find out what happens to them next. Also, if you enjoy these I suggest Libba Bray’s The Diviners, the second of which will be released this summer.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is a great start to a fantastic fantasy series. It has a young boy, much like Harry, trying to find his place in the world. He also discovers he is part of something much bigger than he ever imagined. There is also a lot to learn about Greek mythology in these novels. Also check out the continuation of this series, Heroes of Olympus, and his series involving Ancient Egypt, Kane Chronicles.
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Also the first in a series, Etiquette and Espionage is a fun romp through steampunk Victorian England. The main character, written off by her parents as a failure, is sent to a private school in order to refine her into a “lady.” Little does she know she is actually being trained to become a spy. Full of humor and adventure Sophronia starts to learn who she is. This is also a fun read for those that have read Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series as it has some of those characters in their younger years.
Magyk by Angie Sage
If you are looking for another tale about strictly magic, check out the start of Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, Magyk! You find yourself becoming entranced in a new magical world with intriguing characters. The best part is it isn’t only one book, so the magic continues!
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
If you’re like me and you read Harry Potter when it was originally released and you’re now “an adult”, you’re probably still looking for something that grabs your attention like Harry did. Well look no further! I LOVED The Magicians, also, it’s a trilogy. So the story continues, but you won’t be bogged down with a super long series during your busy “adult” schedule (as you can see, I’m still unsure about this whole being an adult thing). Quentin Coldwater discovers he is, in fact, a magician and goes to the magical college Brakebills…and his adventure only begins there. Funny, dark, and an amazing adventure, I can’t rave enough about this series.
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Another adult trilogy to help you get your magic fix is The Paper Magician. The complexities and world building are very interesting. All the different types of magic and how they are worked is something I could only dream of coming up with. Also the books are not overly long, so if you’re busy, it won’t take you too long to finish.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The start of a new trilogy, A Darker Shade of Magic is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. I can’t say enough about it! It is also a great Young Adult/Adult crossover! The world building is amazing! I stayed up way too late every night to read this. I also enjoy that each book appears to be its own story, like Harry Potter. The main issue is fixed in one novel, but there is an overall arc to the series. I cannot wait to see what happens next!