Hi! if its not too much trouble i was wondering if you have any book recs? I've read the queen's thief and I'm working on the magicians right now and I just thought we had similar book taste!
You know not what you have unleashed. Giving book recs is my only joy in life.
I was going to joke that this is just a list of Every Book I Have Ever Liked but that is a lie as I am a voracious reader and that list would probably be in the several hundreds, if not thousands. (I just did some sloppy math and at the rate that I read, it is totally possible for a list of books I have liked to be well over a thousand books.)
Books with a * are books I would die on a hill for. Books with more than one * are books I would die on a mountain, or possibly a mountain range, for.
Books I just generally love:
*The Telling by Ursula K. LeGuin. SciFi. Anthropology and Linguistics and more gay than you originally expected.
***The Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie. SciFi. What does it mean to be a person? (I hate picking favorites but this is. The favorite.)
**Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. SciFi. A level of space military tactics Ender’s Game only wished it could achieve. (Fuck you, Orson Scott Card.) (I love this book so fucking much, I just re-read it.)
*The Flora Segunda series by Ysabeau S. Wilce. Fantasy. A young girl and her dog keep fucking shit up in a place with great worldbuilding. (So good that my friend I loaned the first book to turned to me after reading it and said, “Wow, I can really tell these books influenced you a lot.” I picked up some mannerisms from the protag. Also I picture the red dogs as Vizslas.)
*Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. Fantasy. Regency-era magicians where the main characters are people of color and one of them is a Slytherin force for good. (Really fucking good.)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Fantasy. Not quite as good as Sorcerer to the Crown (similar eras, somewhat similar themes) but there’s more of it so you can enjoy it for longer.
**Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Fantasy. Cranky assholes work at cross-purposes and everything is way more complicated than you thought. Not very much like the movie.
*Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. Fantasy. Have you ever wished you could forget your embarrassing teenage mistakes? Yeah, be careful what you wish for. Somewhat uncomfortable age gap. (Weird and complicated and great.)
*The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve. SciFi/Speculative Fiction. Social Darwinism taken to its logical, horrible conclusion. Also: feelings about robots and family! (Also: the typewriter scene. Also also I cosplayed as one of the main characters for a pre-Halloween party.)
The Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore. Fantasy. Angry women fuck shit up in a cool fantasy world. I like the third book best, but the other two are very good.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson. SciFi. I don’t remember this super well because I haven’t read it in ages, but I fucking loved it and cried my eyes out at the end. Not that it’s hard to get me to cry my eyes out.
The Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley. Mystery. Normally I hate mystery novels, but these are really good–probably because the protag is a young, deeply nerdy girl instead of a grizzled middle-aged man or something. She bikes around the countryside and terrifies adults.
The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen. SciFi. Yes, it’s SciFi with dragons. I don’t remember them super well but the worldbuilding is really cool.
*The Wind on Fire series by William Nicholson. Fantasy. These are… very odd? Kind of about faith and standing against conformity? They’re so hard to explain but they’re VERY VERY good.
**Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. Fantasy. Local Man Does Everything Wrong, Also Ends Up At A SciFi/Fantasy Convention, Then Does Some Things Right. I really really love this book. I actually read the sequel, The Merlin Conspiracy, first. I felt like it had to be the sequel to something, but there was nothing about a previous book anywhere in that book. Finally I found out the first book is Deep Secret, but they’re not sold together because Deep Secret is for adults and The Merlin Conspiracy is middle-grade. The Merlin Conspiracy is also very good, even if I would be way better at the plant magic than Roddy, so there! (The series is The Magids.)
The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee. Science Fantasy. No listen that’s a genre and this series is in that genre. Deeply confused girl gets an involuntary tour of her weird world. Super bizarre but very cool worldbuilding.
The Elemental Logic series by Laurie J. Marks. Fantasy. You know that post that goes around about a gentle giant, but a lady? With a tiny girlfriend? This is that post, in book form. This is supposed to be a quartet but no one seems to know if the fourth book will ever happen. So if you don’t want to deal with getting invested in something that may always have some loose threads, stay away. Really gay, although some of the gay does have an unpleasantly large age gap.
Books to read if you liked the Queen’s Thief series:
The Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: snarky narrator similar to Gen in The Thief. Alternate history where djinn are the source of all magicians’ magic.
Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers. SciFi. Reason for recommending: complicated politics. SciFi imperialism done interestingly. Also, funny hair color mishaps. Haven’t read the second book yet, can’t vouch for it.
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: complicated politics. Young woman suddenly finds she’s in the running to be the next ruler of the land she lives in, but she knows something’s fishy. Then stuff happens with gods. And polyamory.
*The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: complicated politics. (Can you tell I have a type? I have a type.) Faerie court politics done pretty damn well. The first book seems like a godawful, poorly written YA fantasy with faeries instead of vampires–push through it, it gets so fucking good. (These were some of the books, besides the Queen’s Thief series, that got me into SciFi/Fantasy books with a lot of politics.)
The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. Fantasy/Southern Gothic except it’s in England? English Countryside Gothic? Reason for recommending: more dysfunctional straight people. This is a fun lark, with mind meld shit, which I like in fiction.
The Realm of the Elderlings books by Robin Hobb. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: Fitz and Gen would get along a little too well. There are a bajillion of these books divided into smaller series. Lots of fun politics, lots of fun characters, and cool magic. (I want to live in the world of these books, except I don’t because I would probably die for having the Wit. Because I would have the Wit if I lived in this world.)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Graphic novel, Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly plucky protags with dark pasts. A young shapeshifter informs a supervillain she’s his sidekick now.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Realistic Fiction. Reason for recommending: have you ever wondered what Gen would be like as a modern-day teen girl at a private school? Now you know. Local Girl Gets Pissed About All-Male Secret Club, Does Something. Don’t read it if you don’t have a high tolerance for privileged private school kids being ridiculous.
The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: complicated politics. The original (or close to original) gritty urban faeries. Definitely better than the shitty copies people made later.
The In The Shadow of the Bear series by David John Randall. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: main character would get along with Gen a little too well. Adorable blonde girls wants to fight everything, dark magic is a hell of a drug. Endgame romance has a moderate age gap, though.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly mindfuck-y, also some complicated politics. Faeries are real and people keep making bad decisions involving them. Also there’s a hot dude in a glass coffin.
The Martian by Andy Weir. SciFi. Reason for recommending: snarky narrator similar to Gen in The Thief. It’s pretty similar to the movie, but essentially: a crew of people go to Mars and the botanist gets left behind. Now he has to survive. On Mars. No biggie. I love this book because both my parents are botanists, and I’ve studied botany a bit. (Although the movie Arrival wins re: People Studying What I Study Are The Heroes. Also this one book called Cognate but the writing was only so-so.)
**Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein. Historical Fiction. Reason for recommending: [REDACTED DUE TO SPOILERS, JUST READ IT]. Two young women in World War II are a pilot/spy duo, and the spy has been captured–how did we get here?
Books to read if you liked The Magicians series:
The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly cool magic system. Dude is a Mary Sue but in a compelling way, for once. Warning: this is supposed to be a trilogy but the third book has been years in the works. Don’t start this series if you don’t like waiting.
*The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly cool magic system. A young girl becomes the Necromancer-in-Chief in a failing kingdom. Ignore Clariel and Goldenhand, neither is very good. Just keep pretending it’s a trilogy. Read Clariel if you desperately want more, but Goldenhand sucks.
The Engelsfors series by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly cool magic system. Kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but a hell of a lot gayer, and frequently cooler too. Actually now that I think of it, it’s like Buffy if everyone was Willow. Except for the character who’s basically Cordelia. (The ending of the series fucking ruined me but in a good way.)
**The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Comic book, Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly dark. Maybe not quite as dark? Every ninety years, twelve gods are incarnated into the bodies of teens/young adults. This time, they’re pop/rock stars. This is still ongoing. (I cosplayed a background character from this (kinda) for actual Halloween.)
The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: I feel like there are some similar themes/tones, but these books are nowhere near as dark. A boy almost dies of asthma, but is saved by the gift of a strange clock hand. Suddenly, his world looks very different. (Literally, haha.)
*The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: I feel like there are some similar themes/tones, but these books are nowhere near as dark. A series of interconnected books (what order you read them in REALLY changes how you see things) about the history of a world kind of like ours but with magic. And weaving.
***The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. Science Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly cool magic system. Kids learn how to do magic, yell at Secular Satan. I’m an atheist but the belief system of these books is the closest I get to a faith of some kind, even if I am really bad at remembering I’m trying to slow entropy. I would recommend reading the reworked editions–I haven’t, because they’re only available as eBooks right now and I don’t super like reading eBooks. She fixed the timeline in the new versions, plus some issues with how she portrayed an autistic character. The first few books were written ages ago, so the series gets more diverse as it goes on, culminating in some Good Shit in the most recent book. (There’s an asexual character!!!)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: main character is a lot like Quentin. Normal Dude Finds Dying Girl, Decides to Help her, Realizes he Fucked Up and is in Too Deep.
Watership Down by Richard Adams. Realistic Fiction but about rabbits??? Reason for recommending: about as dark as the Magicians series. Yes, it’s about rabbits. Yes, it’s that dark.
*The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. LeGuin. Fantasy. Reason for recommending: similarly cool magic system, also some similar themes/tones, has a Magic School, main character is somewhat like Quentin. This random goat-herding kid turns out to be a powerful mage and gets sent off to school to learn how to handle that. Then he makes a lot of mistakes. Like, a lot.