A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my favorite vampire books from when I was a kid and growing up. And as much as everyone loved the post, the one thing people asked me about was witches. Why don’t I have any witch books? Why did you go into October with Halloween looming behind me without considering the witches? What, do you have a thing against witches?!
No! In fact, I believe in witches more than vampires. I believe in the power of spirit that flows through everything and believe in the magic force of good over evil. So I decided to put my thinking cap on and get a list of some witch books I loved reading or would love to read in the future.
Before I get into my list, I did want to mention some factors that went into it. First off, I tried to keep this list to books about witches. I didn’t want a witch in a book to be the dynamic of all witches. I always feel like there’s more power in knowing a witch’s life than seeing the good/evil things they’ve done. For example, The Wizard of Oz. On one end, you can definitely call this a witch book, but on the other, you can imagine that this is actually a book about a young girl trying to get back home from a magical place where witches exist. This is why books like Wicked exists. Sadly, Wicked didn’t make this list because 1) I hated that book 2) I make the rules.
As a person who watches Practical Magic almost every year around this time, I couldn’t have a list of witch-y books without the Owens sisters. It’s the story of Sally and Gillian; two sisters who recently lost their parents and living with their crazy aunts in a small Massachusetts town. But their strange family lineage makes them responsible for all the bad things that happen around town and abused by its inhabitants. Sally and Gillian both hope for some release of the daily taunts of their neighbors and both receive it; one gets married and the other runs away.
When I think of witches, this is the book and movie I think about. It’s not about casting big spells, but being one with nature and the divine creating beauty in the subtle ways. I also envy the house they live in because it’s gorgeous and all the witch-y aesthetics you can dream of.
I was actually considering putting this book with my vampire list, but I didn’t because I felt like this was centered more around the witchery than that. A young scholar and witch named Diana Bishop comes across a strange little book among the library stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. While to her this was just some ordinary book that needs to be sent back to the stacks, it opens up a world for her filled with witches and demons and vampires. As she continues to research the happenings around this book, a very old and very attractive vampire named Matthew Clairmont finds her and helps her with both discovering the book and herself.
I will be honest and say that I tried to read this book, but failed to finish. While I love the prose and the story, I thought it was a little long. However, I also didn’t really appreciate the slow burn back when I read this book, so I’ll have to try again in the future. The story is about Agnieszka, a young girl who comes from a village not too far from a very powerful wizard named Dragon. Every few years, Dragon comes down from his tower to pick a girl from their village. While villagers don’t know who he’s going to pick, they all automatically assume it will be the pretty girl named Kasia. However, when it turns out to be Agnieszka, the village is shocked. Agnieszka isn’t prepared for life with Dragon, but willingly goes to his tower to serve him the way he sees fit. As she settles into her role, Dragon warms a little to her and offers to teach her his magic since she showed signs of having some magic within her.
Rereading this synopsis, I do want to give this book another chance. It is breathless and lyrical and I do love Naomi Novik’s writing. I guess I’ll have to accept its slow burn and just enjoy the ride.
I really love diverse fantasy and the reason why I love diverse fantasy is because authors add in their culture and world into the stories. And for Zoraida Cordova, she calls her witches “bruja” because of their Latin heritage. But the best part about bruja is that it’s not the same stake-burning ones we had in the Northeast of America. Brujeria combines many forms of witchcraft including santeria and voodoo. When you’re digging from this well of witchcraft for your novel, then you’re going to have something set apart from the other witch stories
And the same goes for the actual story. The story follows Alex, a very powerful Bruja who doesn’t really care for magic. In fact, she hates it. On her Deathday celebration, she casts a spell to rid herself of her powers, but it backfires erasing any trace of her family. All she has is another brujo to help with returning her family, but she doesn’t trust him. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list of books because the story sounds so interesting and I love the YA tropes I can already see forming.
First off, I’m going to hate on this movie tie-in photo for the book. I would have much rather used the original cover, but that doesn’t allow me to inundate you with affiliate links and help me make a little money.
While most of the books on this list are about a witch or witches, this particular book is about a witch who makes a ton of predictions about the future and all of them are absolutely right. It’s also about an angel and a demon assigned to live alongside humans and causing havoc or creating miracles within their history. And it’s also about how this angel and demon messed up the end of the world. The witch in question has already predicted the mistakes Aziraphale and Crowley make as well as where the real ending of the world will take place. It’ll take Anathema, an occultist, and her lover, a witchfinder, to disseminate the prophecies and stop the apocalypse from making its way to a small town in England.
While I wasn’t the biggest fan of this story, I did love the inclusion of witches, a witch-y family, and an outsider who doesn’t know how important he is to this coven. Lena is a new student who recently moved to the small town of Gatlin in South Carolina. While she looks like your average teenage girl, she has a dark secret; she will inherit the full strength of her magical powers on her 16th birthday and renounce the human world for her magical one.
Ethan is a young teenager who’s lived in Gatlin his entire life, but recently he’s been having these dreams of a mysterious girl with long hair and the song “Sixteen Moons” playing on his MP3 player. When Ethan meets Lena, he finds her attractive but would settle for a friendship. But when they find a mysterious locket, it reveals to them the terrible past their ancestors had during the Civil War. As the secrets behind their family heritage reveal themselves, Lena gets closer to her 16th birthday where fate will decide whether she’s a good witch or a bad witch.
I hope you weren’t perusing through this list waiting for me to get to this point. I honestly thought whether or not it made sense to include this book because it is a beloved and well known series about a young wizard who goes to a fancy wizarding school and learns that he’s a part of a bigger plot of an evil wizard who didn’t have enough love in his life. I’m just teasing.
This one has been on my TBR since it came out, but sadly I haven’t had a chance to read it (of course). Tea is a young witch who just raised her brother from the dead. While that might sound like something a witch would normally do, it’s not. Necromancy means that Tea is a bone witch; a name that makes her people fear her and ostracize her from their community. But Tea isn’t alone and she finds solace with another older bone witch who takes Tea and her brother away to learn more about her powers. Of course there are dark elements coming her way and prepared to fight. Tea just needs to get herself as powerful as they to defeat whatever is coming.
What other witch-y books could you recommend for the witchiest time of the year?