Add magic to your reading list with these magical novels about magicians. You’ll find all the best books about magicians just for you.
What’s a book you should have already read but haven’t?
When I was recently asked this question by a fellow book blogger, my answer immediately slipped off my tongue: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
The tale of dueling magicians had been on my reading list for years, and everyone I knew loved it. I just hadn’t gotten around to it.
Once I did read it, I loved everything about it. Immediately, I craved more novels about magicians. I’ve read some fiction books about magic, but magicians and Harry Potter-style wizards seem different to me.
Magicians evoke a feeling of illusion, smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand. Tricks that show extreme talent and skill … or possibly actual magic.
Here are my results from my search for the best novels about magicians. Twelve magical books that caught my attention and will eventually land on my nightstand. Books like The Magicians, the basis of a popular tv series.
So step right up. Take a peek inside. You never know what you might find in my list of enchanting novels about magicians.
Novels About Magicians I’ve Already Read
The Night Circus
Without warning, Le Cirque de Rêves arrives in town, a circus that only operates at night. Within its walls are two competing magicians, Celia and Marco, bound together in a high stakes challenge. When they fall in love, a love so magical it affects the world around them, their dangerous game becomes even more precarious. From the first page to the last, Morgenstern had me captivated with her seductive and mysterious prose. Her five-star book left me craving more novels about magicians.
In this light-hearted Young Adult fantasy, Scarlett Dragna imploringly writes letters each year for tickets to Caraval – a once-a-year performance/carnival where the audience gets to join in on the fun. When her sister whisks her away to enjoy just one night of Caraval, Scarlett is dragged into a journey of love, magic, and mystery. I’m not sure if Caraval belongs on my list of books about magicians, but I loved it so much that I decided to include it anyway!
A clash between two magicians leads to a lifetime battle as they vie to outwit and expose each other’s secrets. You might be tempted to pick this book up after seeing Christopher Nolan’s incredible film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. Don’t do it! The Prestige only made my list so that I could warn you that the book is dreadfully boring and nowhere near as magical as the movie. The movie, on the other hand, is a must-see.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Orphaned Hugo lives in a Paris train station, keeping the clocks and stealing food to survive. When the toymaker catches him stealing, Hugo becomes intertwined with the grumpy man and his lively goddaughter and finds his deepest secret is in danger. A quick children’s read that is beautifully illustrated, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a perfect choice for a read-aloud.
Best Books About Magicians I’m Dying to Read
The coming of age story of Quentin Coldwater, a high school senior obsessed with a fantasy book series about the magical land of Fillroy. After Quentin is admitted to an exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, he discovers that Fillroy is real, but it’s a much darker place than he imagined. If you’ve loved the television adaptation of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy, be sure to try the novels.
The Magician’s Elephant
When a fortuneteller’s tent appears in the market, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene pleads to know if his sister is still alive and how he can find her. Enigmatically, she declares that an elephant will lead him there. This declaration sparks a wondrous chain of events that will captivate your imagination in this acclaimed children’s book gorgeously illustrated by Yoko Tanaka.
Acts of Violet
A decade ago, magician Violet Volk disappeared during a performance and hasn’t been seen since. Although she leads a quiet life with her daughter, Sasha has never been able to escape her sister’s celebrity. When a podcaster obsessed with Violet aggressively pursues Sasha for an interview, Sasha finds herself pushed to her emotional limit and is forced to confront the painful truths of her past.
Carter Beats the Devil
Glen David Gould
Loosely based on the life of magician Charles Joseph Carter. Master magician Carter the Great is pleased when President Warren G. Harding attends one of his performances. Carter pulls the President onstage to participate in one of his greatest stunts. When Harding dies just hours later, Carter’s whole magical empire is at risk of coming crumbling down. Although the cover leaves much to be desired, every list of novels about magicians gives rave reviews to this thrilling historical novel.
The Magician’s Assistant
After twenty years as a magician’s assistant to her husband, Sabine is shocked after his death to find that he was living under a false identity. Even stranger, the family he said was killed in a tragic accident is very much alive. Now she must reconcile the man she knew with the new family that has entered her life.
Explore the Best Dystopian Novels for Adults!
Books Like The Magicians
The Last Magician
In modern-day New York, magic is almost extinct. Anyone of magical inclination who enters Manhattan becomes trapped there by the Brink, an energy barrier that will take their power – and possibly their lives – if crossed. Talented thief Esta has been training her whole life to take down the Brink. Able to manipulate time, she journeys back to 1902 to steal a book and end the bring down the Brink before it is built.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
For those looking for fantasy books about magicians, try Susanna Clarke’s 800+ page epic. Reclusive Mr. Norrell has accumulated one of England’s largest book collections about magic. Working in forgotten magic, Mr. Norrell uses his abilities for England in the war with Napoleon. When he finds another practicing magician, he accepts the young man as his apprentice. But Jonathan Strange is the complete opposite of Mr. Norrell – handsome, charming, talkative, and attracted to the wildest forms of magic, including the shadowy figure of the Raven King.
The Paper Magician
Charlie N. Holmberg
Want unique magic novels? Holmberg’s debut will charm you with its stunning creativity. After graduating from the School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony Twill is disappointed to find herself apprenticed to a paper magician. Just as the kindness of Magician Emery Thane begins to win her over, a dark magician attacks. Now, Ceony must embark on an epic adventure to save Thane’s soul.
More Fiction Books About Magicians To Try
The Illusionist’s Apprentice
Harry Houdini’s former apprentice finds herself in possession of a secret that could save the life of a man she hates. In 1926, Wren Lockhart has always pushed conventions as a female vaudevillian. When Horace Stapleton, a spiritualist defamed by Houdini, becomes the suspect in a death, Wren must team up with the newly formed FBI to discover the truth. If you like historical fiction stories about magicians, Kristy Cambron’s tale might be just up your alley.
The Magician’s Lie
The Amazing Arden, the most famous illusionist of the day, performs a new twist on her notorious act – sawing her husband in half with a fire ax instead of a saw. When her husband is found dead, policeman Virgil Holt arrests Arden. As Arden tries to convince Virgil of her innocence by telling her story, Virgil must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion.
The Zig Zag Girl
In 1950, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens investigates the death of a girl found cut in three. Her death eerily reminds him of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl. Edgar turns to the trick’s inventor, his old war buddy Max Mephisto, to help investigate when another body is found and a warning arrives about an even worse trick, The Wolf Trap.
What Novels About Magicians Do You Think I Should Read?
What do you think? What books about magicians have you loved? What is my list missing? As always, let me know in the comments!
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Riana Ang-Canning says
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about magicians (does Harry Potter count?) but some of these seem so cool. I like the sound of The Magicians and The Paper Magician as I love the thought of going to a magic school. Will have to pick one of these up!
V.E. Schwab’s The Darker Side of Magic series! If you like Erin Morgebnstern, you will LOVE VE Schwab!!