This is my second post for Blogoween 2018!
I recently started a new series on my blog dedicated to all of the mythical creatures in literature. My first and most recent post in this succession was about mermaids. You can find that post here. Considering I wrote that this past summer and it is now officially fall, I decided that we should discuss a more autumnal figure today. That being–witches.
Just to make things clear, when I say witches I mean the whole lot. As with most mythical beings, I am aware there are many different categories. With that said, if a book has a character who mirrors the general definition of a witch, I’m considering it a green light to include that book on this list.
Disclaimer: While I did read some of these books, a good portion of them I did not. This post is mainly just to help you guys discover the wide variety of witch books that the world has to offer.
So let’s get into today’s discussion, shall we?
1. The Language of Thorns
by: Leigh Bardugo
The Language of Thorns is a collection of fairy tales set in the same universe as Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. When I recommend The Language of Thorns, what I really mean is one of the stories inside called, The Witch of Duva.
The Witch of Duva is also an amazing choice for a witch-y tale. It’s basically Bardugo’s take on Hansel and Gretel. We should all be aware by now what Hansel and Gretel is about, so you know that this isn’t going to be a light read. Not to mention, Bardugo takes everything we know about the original story and turns it on it’s head making the reader even more spooked than before. I would also totally be lying if I didn’t say this story gave me the damn chills.
2. Wicked Like a Wildfire
by: Lana Popovic
Wicked Like a Wildfire follows two sisters, Iris and Malina, who come from a family where all the women posses the unique magical ability to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as patterns and can turn her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork. Malina, on the other hand, interprets moods as music. Unfortunately for the sisters, their mother has a strict rule to keep their gifts a secret. In addition, they are forbidden from falling in love.
Wicked Like a Wildfire takes place in a secluded sea-side town in Croatia. In the book, it is mentioned that Iris and Malina are “vestica”, which is the Croatian word for witch. The term for their magical ability is also a unique one which the author refers to as a “gleam”. Iris and Malina are also considered good “vestice” or witches. But, while the sisters are on the more reputable side of this tale, there are still wicked witches thrown into the mix, as well.
Wicked Like a Wildfire is probably one of the most weird yet original witch stories out there. If you’re looking for a witch-y read unlike anything else, I suggest picking this bad boy up.
3. The Graces
by: Laure Eve
The Graces is a paranormal YA book that follows our protagonist River as she becomes obsessed with the town’s elite clique known as the Graces. In the story, the Graces are rumored to be witches who have magical powers. There’s even a scene in the book where River is gathered in a circle with some other girls as well as one of the Graces and they are performing a ritual with magical herbs.
One of the Graces, Summer, takes River into her and her sibling’s inner circle because she believes River is different. When I say this, what I mean is that Summer thinks River is honest. The truth though? Everything River does and everything she says is calculated.
The Graces is kind of like a mix between Mean Girls and every witch story ever told. If you’re interested in more details about this book, you can find my in-depth, spoiler free review here.
4. Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
by: Various Authors
Toil & Trouble is a fictional young adult anthology by a wide array of authors ranging from Zoraida Cordova, all the way to Emery Lord. Each writer tells a story inspired by a different witch from either history, literature, or pop culture. All narratives are also told from a feminist perspective. Some witches mentioned include from Glinda the Good, Sabrina, Ursula, Morgan le Fey, Gemma Doyle, and much more.
5. Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel
by: A.W. Jantha
I think Hocus Pocus is pretty much self explanatory when it comes to what makes it a witchy read. The Sanderson Sisters are by far some of the most famous witches in pop culture to date.
There are two parts to this book. The first portion is a retelling of the original Disney film, and the second portion is a sequel that continues the story 25 years later with Max and Allison’s Daughter. Both stories take place on Halloween and both stories include the famous witch trio known as the Sanderson sisters.
6. A Discovery of Witches
by: Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches takes place in a library and follows a young scholar known as Diana Bishop. When Diana discovers a bewitched alchemical manuscript, she accidentally unleashes a large group of creatures from the underworld such as daemons, vampires, and of course, witches.
7. The Witches
by: Roald Dahl
The Witches is a children’s classic that follows a recently orphaned boy who is left in the care of his elderly grandmother. The boy’s relative is constantly warning him about the witches and saying what horrific creatures they are.
Dahl has a unique take on the witch as a mythical being because in this story, they can’t be spotted by wearing black cloaks and hats, or be seen flying on broomsticks. In fact, the witches in this tale actually disguise themselves as seemingly nice and ordinary ladies.
I haven’t read The Witches yet, but I hope to do so real soon.
8. Practical Magic
by: Alice Hoffman
Everyone knows Practical Magic as the 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Many people, however, aren’t aware that the movie was actually based on a novel of the same name written by Alice Hoffman.
Practical Magic follows two sisters who were born into a family of magic. For over two hundred years, the women in their family have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their town. All Gillian and Sally want is to escape the never-ending incrimination. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away.
From what I have heard, Practical Magic is more Magical Realism than actual Fantasy. Nonetheless it is still a story about witches.
9. How to Hang a Witch
by: Adriana Mather
How to Hang a Witch is pitched as the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls, which to me sounds awesome. The narrative takes place in Salem, Massachusetts and follows Samantha Mather, a descendant of Cotton Mather. For those of you who don’t know, Cotton Mather was one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials back in 1693.
When Samantha moves to Salem from New York, she and her stepmother don’t exactly receive the most amiable of greetings. Almost immediately, Sam becomes the rival of a clique who refer to themselves as The Descendants. Now, I’m just gonna go out on a limb here, and say that these girls are the offspring of the ‘witches’ who were hanged during the trials decades before. In addition, Sam also has an encounter with a very angry ghost.
How to Hang a Witch has everything one could want in a witchy read–an atmospheric setting, paranormal beings, and a centuries old curse that must be broken. Most importantly though, are the witches!
by: Susan Dennard
Truthwitch has a unique take on these mythical creatures. The story follows a character known as Iseult who has unknown abilities, and Safiya a truthwitch. Safi is trying to avoid being captured as truthwitches have the rare ability to sense whether or not someone telling the truth. Considering many would kill for this magic Safi must keep her power hidden.
Truthwitch is a nice blend of high fantasy and witchy goodness.
11. The Wicked Deep
by: Shea Ernshaw
The Wicked Deep was just published in March of this year. The story follows a town known as Sparrow, where two centuries ago three sisters were drowned for being witches. Flashing forward to present day, each summer the sisters return in the stolen forms of innocent girls in order to seek their revenge. To do so, they lure boys to their doom and drown them in the harbor.
To me, the witches in this story seem extremely reminiscent of sirens, but at the same time, they still manage to possess that classic witchy vibe.
12. The Bone Witch
by: Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch is a tale that follows a necromancer–a type of witch who can communicate with the dead.
In this novel, necromancy is normal–especially in our main character Tea’s family. After she accidentally raises her brother from the dead, Tea discovers she is a rare kind of necromancer–a bone witch. Being a bone witch is not considered a good thing in Tea’s community and many people begin to fear her.
The Bone Witch is the first book in a three book series, and definitely worth giving a shot.
13. The Price Guide to the Occult
by: Leslye Walton
The Price Guide to the Occult follows a teen witch Nor Blackburn who’s magical abilities are less than exceptional. After Nor discovers a mysterious book that promises to cast any spell for the right price, things start to change.
To me, this premise sounds like a whole lot of damage is going to be done, but at the same time still be pretty epic, as well.
14. Labyrinth Lost
by: Zoraida Cordova
Labyrinth Lost is a story that follows a bruja named Alex. If you didn’t already know, bruja is the spanish term for witch. Unfortunately, Alex hates magic and when she performs a spell to rid herself of her abilities, the charm backfires, and instead makes her entire family disappear.
Pick Labyrinth Lost up if you are looking for a witchy read with a diverse set of characters.
15. Hex Hall
by: Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall follows Sophie Mercer who recently discovered that she is a witch. After a prom-night spell goes wrong, Sophie is banished to Hex Hall, a secluded reform school for disobedient individuals with special abilities.
Not only does Hex Hall include witches, but we also get to see other paranormal creatures such as faeries, ghosts, shapeshifters, and vampires. Either way, I’m always down for a book that follows a magical school with an array of mythical beings, and Hex Hall seems like the ultimate choice for that category.
by: Gregory Maguire
Wicked is probably one of the more popular books on this list. I think everyone knows the Broadway play by now, but many still aren’t aware of how different the book differs from it.
Wicked is the origin story of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In this story, Maguire casts light upon how the Wicked Witch became well…wicked.
17. The Witch’s Daughter
by: Paula Brackston
In The Witches Daughter we follow Bess Hawksmith, who just witnessed her mother getting hanged for being a witch. In order to save herself from the same fate, Bess turns to a Warlock named Gideon who makes Bess immortal. Fast forward to present-day England where Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, but all is soon interrupted by a teenage girl called Tegan.
The Witches Daughter is part historical fiction, part fantasy, and all things witchy.
18. The Penguin Book of Witches
by: Katherine Howe
If fiction isn’t your jam and you’re more interested in the history of witches, than check out The Penguin Book of Witches. This nonfiction book is a compilation of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends. Names mentioned range from, Eunice Cole, who was tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart, all the way to Jane Jacobs, a woman accused so often of witchcraft that she took her oppressors to court on charges of slander.
While The Penguin Book of Witches isn’t the most magical option on this list, it is the most realistic.
I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post!
Until next time,