Oh, the Books! Bookish Guides is a monthly recommendation feature in which we share books we love that fit a certain hard-to-find category. If you are having trouble finding a book that contains a certain feature and you want our help, send use the suggestion box on our Bookish Guides page and we may feature it on a future post!
Since it’s October, and to go along with Horror October Fortnight, we decided that this month we would focus our Bookish Guide on books that involve witches and dark magic! We know: it might be a pretty broad topic, so we’ve tried to narrow it down to books that have a large focus on witchery — not just books that might have a witch in them at some point. We hope that you find this guide as much as we had making it!
I have only read two books that obviously deal with witches, that shout ‘this is a book about a witch’, and those are Half Bad and Wicked.
Half Bad deals with a young male witch who has a Black Witch parent and a White Witch parent, which wouldn’t a bad thing if the White Witches weren’t hunting down Black Witches and killing them. This book is less about the witchy and more about the abuse the MC has to struggle as a half-Black Witch, but I’m sure we’ll see more of the witches and their powers as the series goes on.
And Wicked tells the story of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. I like that this one flips the script on a well-known world, providing insight into what might have made Elphaba the Wicked Witch we all know.
Witches by another name
I think sometimes it’s hard to tell if characters in a book are witches, or just magical. (Does that make sense?) These three books involve dark magic and characters with supernatural powers; whether that makes them witches is up to you to decide.
White Cat deals with people who are ‘curse workers’. They have a variety of different powers, curses, that they use with care (as using their powers involves a blowback that affects them as well). This one is especially fun because it involves a family full of con artists and shady individuals, and the characters have to wear gloves so as not to accidentally use their powers against others.
The Diviners is about a young girl who moves in with her uncle in New York City and finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. It may not seem like the appropriate place for a girl to be, but Evie is a ‘diviner’ and has a special gift that might help in the investigation. Oh, and did I mention the beginning of the book includes an Ouija board and an evil spirit? Definitely some dark magic in there.
Beautiful Creatures involves a ‘caster’ family that has magical powers, and a poor innocent boy who has to go and fall in love with one of them. As if that’s not trouble enough, the girl he falls in love with is coming near her birthday when her future will be determined as either Light or Dark. I feel this series is disappointing as a whole, but the first book showed some promise and introduces some memorable characters that are fun to read about.
Some Other Witchy Books
I have to admit, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve read either of these books (they were both published a decade ago)! My memory is a bit rusty on them, but I feel like they still deserve a spot on this list.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a historical fiction novel set in a 19th century boarding school. It deals with a girl who has visions of the future, which end up coming true, and her discovery of this secret mystical order. This book was magical and mystical, and I loved the Victorian setting. I think the love storyline was a bit odd in this series, but overall I have positive memories of this book.
Blue is for Nightmares is about a girl who uses the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother to try and figure out who is responsible for a murder. I’m pretty sure this one wouldn’t hold up to a reread, but I know when I read it as a teen I really enjoyed the magic of the spells used and was pretty shocked by some of the twists in this series.