Book list

Books with a touch of magic

Magic comes in a range of strengths. There are a lot of books around like Harry Potter for those of you who want something similar.

If you are an older reader and you enjoy stories of magic and fantasy but would like to see a more serious treatment of the battle of good against evil than Harry Potter, or if you prefer your wizards to be a bit more awesome than Professor Dumbledore, then you might like to have a look further down the list. You might also like to look at my articles: 'The battle of good against evil' and 'The power of naming'.

Books for older readers

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co prove themselves to be the best psychic investigations agency in London...eventually, maybe.

Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz

The Old Ones have escaped from their prison and are bringing great evil and destruction to the world. Only the Five can stop them, but the Five are lost and in disarray.

Evil Star by Anthony Horowitz

If Matt really is the first of the five, how can he find the others? And what are they supposed to do? There's a tight deadline here, to save the world.

Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz

Matt is the first of The Five to be found. He has to find the other four. He's in a battle against the Old Ones. It's a race against time. And he doesn't even know it yet.

Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglas Anthony Cooper

Kids who converse with ghosts on a regular basis need Professional Help, right? But will Milrose Munce survive to tell the tale?

Midwinter Lucie by Alan Porter

Martin Lewis, next in line of a long line of Martin Lewis's, who have all perished in the bell tower of the church at Midwinter Lucie. Can our Martin find out why...and prevent his own death?

Barnaby Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

More adventures with Barnaby Grimes as he runs errands across the city, through the alleys and over the rooftops. But there are dark forces to match himself against.

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Quick-witted tick-tock boy meets wolf on rooftops. Disposes of same. Solves wicked mystery. Unsung hero.

Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter by D M Cornish

Rossamund, fresh out of the foundlingery, makes his way in a world where monsters roam.

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning by James Patterson

The world needs saving, but humans aren't up to the job...maybe mutant bird kids are?

Hazel's Phantasmagoria by Leander Deeny

Hazel stays in the country with her Aunt and cousin. Oh, and they are both seriously weird and the place is scary.

City of Time by Eoin McNamee

The Harsh are stealing time again and it's up to Owen the Navigator and Cati the Watcher to do what they can...

The Navigator by Eoin McNamee

It's literally a battle against time, where the Resistors fight to keep time ticking, and the terrible Harsh fight to turn the clock back to primal solitude. Owen discovers he has a role to play in the fight, like his father before him...

Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling by D M Cornish

Rossamund, fresh out of the foundlingery, makes his way in a world where monsters roam.

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson

Six bird kids on the run from the science lab/prison/school where they were created as an experiment. Oh yes, and this time they save the world too...

Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson

Six bird kids on the run from the science lab/prison/school where they were created as an experiment.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Six bird kids on the run from the science lab/prison/school where they were created as an experiment.

Fearless by Tim Lott

Locked away for no reason. Stripped of name, shaved of hair, dressed in grey. Little Fearless fights against the injustice for herself and all the other girls who aren't so brave.

The Starlight Conspiracy by Steve Voake

It's magical. Out of this world in fact. And Berry's got it. She can't use it and she can't hide it. So she'll just have to try and give it back...

Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish

Peer Ulfsson, fighting to find his own place in the world, learns that everything actually has to come second to loyalty and love for friends and family. Plenty of trolls and strong magic.

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

One problem. Two people trying to solve it. Faery and Ploddy. Course, you'll have to believe in faeries to get on with this one.

Corby Flood by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Corby Flood solves mysteries, mends broken lives, and is loved by everyone, except the five unamusing clowns in bottle green bowler hats...

Arthur and the Forbidden City by Luc Besson

Arthur goes in search of the Minimoys, and his Grandpa, and the family fortune, all in his own backgarden. But the garden is a big place when you're only three quarters of an inch tall.

Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud

Brilliant conclusion to a brilliant trilogy. What is to become of John Mandrake? Has he got a conscience after all? All will be revealed...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry gets closer to his deadly enemy, Lord Voldemort.

Worm in the Blood by Thomas Bloor

A transformation tale of separation, isolation and despair. Bit more than your average teenage angst.

The Wrong Hands by Nigel Richardson

Graham Sinclair, BOY HERO, hits the headlines and needs a support team to help him cope. Unfortunately he's not very good at choosing, perhaps because nobody's ever treated him properly, on account of his deformed hands.

The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

To be an apprenticespook Thomas Ward has to leave his old life behind him. And he has to sharpen up his wits too. But he's already well-equipped, being the seventh son of a seventh son...

Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher

There's no love lost between Rob and his sister. But Rob finds, rather to his surprise, that he'll go to a lot of trouble to get her back. Magic and mystery.

Glint by Ann Coburn

Ellie has to be brave to search for her missing brother, so she does what Argent would do, their favourite fantasy character from childhood games.... Two stories in one.

Stravaganza: City of Flowers by Mary Hoffman

Sky joins the Brotherhood of Stravaganti and they must all work together to save the city of Giglia, stronghold of the great di Chimici family.

The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea

Pidge and Bridget set out to save the world from destruction, with all the hounds of the evil Morrigan on their trail.

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud

Nathaniel is junior in the government now, but he still needs his djinni, Bartimaeus, to help him out of a tight corner. Pity then that Bartimaeus is less than willing...

Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish

Down, but not out, Peer Ulfsson survives his ghastly uncles, cold, hunger and loneliness, only to face the Troll King. He could save himself, but goes back for his friend...

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Characters slip out from between the pages of a book.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Evil times bring forth great leaders, but Eragon never expected to be a great leader. Nobody can plan to be a Dragon Rider. It just happens...

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer

'We, Cosmo Hill, are the world's only Supernaturalists.'
Cosmo grinned weakly. 'What? You don't like clothes?'
'That's naturists, Cosmo. And nobody does that any more, not with the ozone layer spread thinner than cling film. We call ourselves Supernaturalists because we hunt supernatural creatures.'

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Lirael finds there is a task that needs to be done. It needs to be done by anAbhorsen, and only she can do it.

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan

Wayward Crown Prince Pyrgus of the faerie realm, up against the evil fairies of the night, finds himself suddenly whisked off to the Analogue World, where he's supposed to lie low for a while . . . But he doesn't.

Hamish and the Fairy Gifts by Moira Miller

Hamish doesn't really believe in the Wee Folk, but he still has to deal with them on a daily basis. Magic, Scottish variety.

Stravaganza: City of Stars by Mary Hoffman

Georgia follows Lucien but she finds herself in sixteenth century Remora. There she meets other stravaganti, including Lucien, but her role turns out to be quite different.

Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

Lucien travels to sixteenth century Belleza and becomes deeply involved in political intrigue.

Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve

Compelling sequel to Mortal Engines. Love, jealousy, betrayal, anger, loyalty and bravery. Brilliant!

Lirael by Garth Nix

'Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?' Lirael's destiny is not what she wanted, or expected.

The Chosen One by Mark Robson

Can the evil Selkor make himself the Chosen One simply by stealing the Keys of Power, or will the Keys choose for themselves?

Ryland's Footsteps by Sally Prue

Is Ryland bound to follow in his father's footsteps, or is there another way?

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

Well, the story is magic, but the romance is real.

The Soul Thieves by Catherine Fisher

The final conflict between the sorceress Gudrun and her son Kari. Can he develop his skills and match her power and still stay off the road to evil?

The Empty Hand by Catherine Fisher

Gudrun has left the Jarlshold and returned to the land of the Snow-Walkers in the far north, beyond all natural knowledge. But she cannot leave Kari alone. She sends a rune-beast to fetch him, and doesn't care how many of the Jarl's people perish in the encounter.

The Snow-Walker's Son by Catherine Fisher

A Viking mix of magic and superstition, courage and loyalty. A battle between Gudrun the sorceress, and Kari, the son who she disowned. Can Kari's powers possibly match those of his mother? And does he have to follow her evil path?

First Sword by Mark Robson

Part of the Darkweaver Legacy series. Powerful mixture of fantasy magic and mortal combat.

The Other Wind by Ursula Le Guin

The dead are seeking to free themselves and invade Earthsea.

Elementals: Water by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Six short stories about ancient, elemental spirits, and water. Not just for children.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel must cross into Death to find her father. She can do it with the protection of Charter Magic and the tools of the necromancer, but it is dangerous . . .

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

Visit the fantastic kingdom of Narnia, where the wicked White Witch's icy grip is about to be challenged by the mighty Lion King, Aslan.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

Wych-hunter Thaniel Fox is not sure what to make of the beautiful Alaizabel Cray when he finds her lost among the ghouls and ghasts of the Old Quarter.

Cold Tom by Sally Prue

He thinks he's an elf, but the Tribe don't want him. He's a liability. His fangs haven't grown. His voice is ugly. He's losing his sharp eyesight and hearing. Where can he go where he will be safe, and where does he belong?

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

It's a town eat town world. The great traction city of London is prowling round the Great Hunting Ground looking for prey. But, if London hopes to use re-created weapons of mass destruction in its bid for superiority, then London must expect to have enemies - Tom, Third Class Apprentice of the Guild of Historians, and the dreadfully disfigured Hester Shaw, for a start . . .

The Angel Factory by Terence Blacker

Normal young boy finds he is surrounded by aliens intent on saving mankind from its own worst excesses. But is the cure worse than the disease?

The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring is broken and the nine companions scatter. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas follow the trail of Merry and Pippin, who are carried off by orcs, and they play their part in the battle against the Dark Shadow. Meanwhile Frodo and Sam must find a way into Mordor . . .

The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien

Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged a Ring of Power, by which he could enslave all the free peoples of the world. Read how the Ring came to be lost and found again, and fell into the unlikely hands of Frodo Baggins, hobbit of the Shire. What will he do with it?

Deathscent by Robin Jarvis

Brindle is a space traveller marooned in Elizabethan England. But if you think something is a little adrift with Elizabethan England, just wait until you know Brindle better . . .

Trail of the Huntress by Mark Robson

Jenna must use all her strength and skill as a trained soldier, and she must put her trust in Perdimmon the magician in order to save Calvyn from the Lords of the Inner Eye.

The Forging of the Sword by Mark Robson

Calvyn puts all his knowledge of magic into the forging of a powerful sword which he wields in a mighty battle of good against evil.

The Beguilers by Kate Thompson

Rilka sets out on a quest to catch a beguiler and to understand its nature. And in doing so she learns a lot about her own nature too.

Secret Heart by David Almond

When the last tiger left the circus his spirit stayed behind. Now, on the last day, when the very canvas of the tent is thin and frayed and starting to tear, who is strong and brave enough to lead the tiger back to the forest?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The little prince and the airman form a special kind of friendship and a special kind of understanding.

Milo's Wolves by Jenny Nimmo

Laura doesn't believe that Gwendal is her long-lost brother. But what else could he be? He seems to have enemies, but he seems to have powerful friends too . . .

The Dogs by Mark Morris

What could be worse than losing your dogs somewhere out on the moor? Finding them again nine years later . . .

The Wolf-Sisters by Susan Price

Kenelm is sent on a quest for help from the Wood-People and when he meets the terrifying and beautiful Wolf-Sisters he is faced with the choice between obedience to his King and the liberty that he yearns for.

The Leap by Jonathan Stroud

Charlie has lost her best friend Max. He drowned at the mill pond. Or was he bewitched? And can she really fetch him back?

The Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark

Keith dreams about a strange place, Quantoum. But when he seeks out the place and visits, his dream becomes a nightmare.

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Lyra discovers her destiny. She is to bring an end to death itself. How does she do that? And what are the consequences? Concluding part of His Dark Materials trilogy.

Greg by Dirk Walbrecker

Greg wakes up one morning to discover he has turned into a gigantic caterpillar!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The power of the Dark Lord increases, but somehow, Harry seems to be a match for him.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

A knife so powerful it can resolve the battle between good and evil for all time. Everyone wants it, but Will is the bearer. The second part of His Dark Materials trilogy.

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins, timid hobbit of The Shire, finds that he can indeed bring about the prophecies of the old songs, as he riddles with Smaug the Great Worm in the halls of the old King Under the Mountain.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Follow Alice into her Wonderland and meet the Cheshire Cat, the Hatter and the March Hare for yourself - and many more too.

Troy by Adele Geras

I would never have thought that old story of the wooden horse could be so nerve-wracking.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

Arrogant young wizard summons up a spell too powerful to control and a great evil is released into the land. Humbled, he must do what he can to avert the evil.

The Weathermonger by Peter Dickinson

England goes primitive after falling under a strange enchantment which turns everyone against technology. Who can find the source of the spell?

Skellig by David Almond

What is this thing in the garage? It's the weirdest angel I've ever come across. But can it work miracles?

Ragboy, Rats and the Surging Sea by Alan Temperley

Life is not easy for Silas the ragboy. But his luck changes when he meets a distressed mermaid on the beach after a storm and decides to protect her.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Exciting battle of good against evil. The hunt for King Arthur's Holy Grail is on. Is Merlin really there, helping them all out?

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Lyra's friend Roger is abducted by the Gobblers and Lyra sets out on a determined rescue mission across the frozen wastes. But the Gobblers are much more terrifying than anyone could imagine. The first part of His Dark Materials trilogy.

Kit's Wilderness by David Almond

Haunting, introspective book about a local community's roots and the effect of past events on the present inhabitants. Do they all see ghosts or are they just in tune with each other?

Heaven Eyes by David Almond

'Damaged' children escaping from the council home are cast ashore after a rough raft ride onto the oozing mud of The Middens. But who on earth is that living in the abandoned warehouse, and do they really dig up a saint out of the mud?

Elidor by Alan Garner

The enchanted kingdom of Elidor is under threat from the forces of evil. Where better to hide the treasures of Elidor than in a back garden in Manchester?

Boy in Darkness by Mervyn Peake

Most bizarre story of the lot. Compelling description of an evil lamb. How does he do that?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Boarding school romps, magic and adventure.