I was never one of those crazy Harry Potter fans. Oh, I read the first four books over and over again, but by the sixth and seventh ones came out, I had forgotten what happened in the fifth. It took years for me to finally re-read the fifth and finish off the rest of the series.
I think part of the reason Harry Potter never found an extra-special place in my heart was I was always a die-hard fantasy reader. I knew so many books that were like the Harry Potter series, and I was always on the lookout for the next great story about hidden powers or dragons or magical kingdoms. This is the sort of literature, particularly the urban fantasy variety, is the thing in the world that makes me the most happy. True story.
All of this is to say, that if you’re looking for a recommendation of a book like Harry Potter, I have a lot for you. Try one of these:
1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Sargent comes from a family of women with magical powers, but she meets Gansey and his friends, rich students from a local private school, she is thrust into an strange adventure of mythical proportions. The only problem is she knows Gansey is fated to die.
2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa is a Graceling, a person with an extreme skill – in her case, the ability to kill a man with her bare hands. She’s forced into working as the king’s thug, until she befriends Prince Po and everything changes.
3. Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
Arcadia Bell is a bartender, renegade magician, and hidden fugitive due to her infamous parents being alleged murders. After staying in hiding for seven years, surveillance footage of her missing parents surfaces and she’s given the ultimatum to prove their innocence or surrender herself.
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Orphaned and physically weak Alina Starkov has always relied on her best friend, now a soldier, to provide security and a sense of home. When he’s injured crossing the Shadow Fold, Alina accidentally reveals the power of light that has been lying dormant inside of her, and she’s whisked away to the luxurious life of a Grisha with the hope that she’ll prove to be the world’s salvation from darkness.
5. House Immortal by Devon Monk
Matilda Case isn’t a normal girl – she’s been pieced together with bits and pieces, the result of her scientist father’s experiments. The day Abraham Seventh, another “galvanized” immortal stitched together, shows up at her door, she realizes everything she believes about her family and country might be a lie.
6. Dark Currents by Jaqueline Carey
The midwest town of Pemkowet isn’t just a popular tourist spot, it’s also home to Hel, the norse goddess, and all the faeries, vampires, and other mythical creatures she presides over. Daisy Johanssen, daughter of a human and an inbucus, is Hel’s liaison and in charge of keeping “eldritch” activities in check.
7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
2044 is a tough time. The only place Wade Watts feels at home is plugged into the OASIS, a virtual reality that houses the greatest puzzle of all time put there by the OASIS creator. After Wade stumbles across the first clue, he becomes the target of other players trying to solve the riddle and win the ultimate prize.
8. Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Meg Corby is a blood prophet who can see the future when her skin is cut. When she escapes the only prison she has ever known, she is taken in by Lakeside Courtyard, a private district operated by the “Others,” magical creatures who are utterly ferocious but quickly become loyal to the broken girl.
9. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
Thanks to her ability to speak to the dead, Alex Craft makes the perfect private investigator and police consultant. In fact, she has a personal relationship with Death, a very attractive young man in skinny jeans who has been hanging out since childhood. Even he might not be able to protect her from her latest case, however.
10. The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell (audiobook only)
For centuries the two great guilds, the Magicians and Mechanics, have controlled Dematr, but the two are on opposite sides of a warring battle. Mari, a brilliant young Mechanic, and Alain, a the youngest Magician ever, are thrust together after their caravan is attacked and begin to learn that not everything they’ve been taught about one another’s kind is true.
11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Behind the scenes of the magical circus, a competition is underway between two young magicians, Celia and Marco. Trained from a young age solely for this purpose by their tutors, the two slowly fall in love, not knowing that in this game only one can be left standing.
12. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Raised in India, 16 year old Gemma foresees her mother’s death in a vision that turns out to be true. When she’s sent back to Victorian England to a boarding school filled with gossipy girls, the trip turns dark as her visions are unable to stop, and the young women realize they have unleashed a force they can’t control.
13. Sabriel by Garth Nix
Raised in a boarding school safely outside the Old Kingdom where Free Magic and the Dead roam, Sabriel has little exposure to the land her father, the Abhorsen, helps control. But when he goes missing during her last semester, Sabriel is forced to enter this strange land to find him.
What’s a Harry Potter – like book that you would recommend?