Feature photo @ATaleForTalisa
Much like the fairytales and folklores from our childhood, mythological or mythic fiction stories of today draw on similar cultural and fantastical themes. They often create complex tales filled with dark magic, world-altering spells and urban settings. It’s a recipe for great reading. We’ve rounded up these dynamic mythic fiction books to add to your favorite bookstagram collection.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Mina’s homeland is at the center of natural disasters. Storms rage, and floods sweep the lands. The legends of the sea monsters begin to spread, leaving everyone to assume the land gets cursed with death. To save her brother and her people, Mina throws herself into the water and journeys to find the sea gods. When she finds him in an enchanted sleep, she’ll do everything she can to wake him and stop the storms that continue to fall upon her home.
Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor
Sunny Nwazue wants to control the Leopard powers she recently discovered flowing through her blood. Her adventures in America and Nigeria required her to balance normalcy and the supernatural spiritual realm. Now those lessons will come into play, as Sunny embarks on another journey to discover an object hidden in the magical realm that will save them from Udide, a terrifying giant spider.
The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine
Blue de la Cour will do anything to help the poor in her town, including hiding the magic within her blood and strengthening her skill that lets her turn metal into gold. The crowned prince, Kellan Renard, tethered the line between politics and violence. He must find a bride soon or the violence amongst the kingdom’s families will never cease. When Kellen and Blue first meet during their childhood, it was a troubling connection. But now older, the two just might be the sole reasons to end the madness and save their future.
Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson
In early twentieth-century Europe, Jack Nevin, a clever trickster, is the assistant to a powerful enchantress. His supply of stolen tricks has kept her thriving during her glory days. When the two are exposed, and need to flee to America, they find an Alaskan Pacific World’s Fair Exposition, which could make them a fortune. But Lazlo, a new magician, with the power of illusion threatens to steal the show, leaving Jack to go on a mission to uncover the secrets behind Lazlo.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
In this second installment of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre returns after surviving Amarantha’s clutches and performing terrible deeds in order to save Tamlin’s people. The results left her with a fractured soul and a damaged heart. But with gifts granted from the High Fae comes with more politics, daunting power, and an evil looming on the horizon. Not to mention she’s made a bargain with a High Lord from the ruthless Night Court. She’ll try to reign in it all before everything consumes her and her world ceases to exist.
Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane
When Hene, the wife of King Menelaos, gets captured with magic by the Hittite prince Alaksandu, Achilles is the only demigod prophesied to rescue her. But the transgender daughter of Athena is in hiding on Skyros. Achilles wants to focus on her transition without being dragged into the wars and prophecies of man. To convince her to step in, Athena grants her the body she’s always wanted. Once she’s thrown into war, Achilles will realize Helen is more than just a mortal and the web amongst gods’ plots goes deeper than she anticipated.
Malice by Heather Walter
Will true love’s kiss break a princess’ curse? Not likely in this town filled with greedy, self-centered villagers constantly seeking jewels and elixirs. For Princess Aurora, her fairytale ending just so happens to come from the villain. Alyce, who was labeled the town of Briar’s villain because of her dark magical powers, lives alone as an outcast and a monster. Both women, trapped in cages; will the two put aside their differences to save one another, or will they let a curse and their town ruin them for good?
Extasia by Claire Legrand
In Haven, the last place for humanity to survive, a young girl, Amity, will become one of the saints. Destroyed by wicked women, the world is no longer what it once was, leaving the saints of Haven—teen girls who sacrifice their lives for the sins of others—to protect this new world. But when men are dying in unnatural ways, Amity soon realizes the life of a saint is not what she thought it would be. While strange creatures follow her, witches outside the Haven cast spells to reveal the truth about her village. With her new powers, she’ll soon have to choose whether to protect Haven, or destroy it for good.
Ashes of Gold by J. Elle
When Rue woke up locked in a basement with no magic or allies around, confused is an understatement—she’s enraged. One thing is for certain, Rue is from East Row, which means she isn’t going down without a fight. When she does break loose and finds her friends, she makes a vow to restore the stolen magic that the Chancellor ripped from her father’s people. But to reclaim the past, she must learn who to trust and how to listen to her half human, half god heart.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
A cursed princess might be a familiar story to read—only this one is poisonous to the touch. For Soraya, living alone in a garden and away from her family is the best way to protect them from herself. Even as her twin brother approaches marriage, Soraya struggles with the choice to stay or to go. That is, until Azad, a boy who isn’t afraid of her curse, and Parvaneh, the girl he saves come into Sorays’s life, restores the hope she let die long ago.
Cursed by Marissa Meyer
A dark retelling of Rumpelstiltskin makes up this sequel to Marissa Meyer’s Gilded. The Endless Moon is upon Serilda and Gild, who must break the curse that has them tethered to Adalheid’s haunted castle. Once it does come, Erlking can capture one of the seven Gods and wish to return his lover Perchta, who is lost to the underworld. But Erlking doesn’t want just one God, he wants them all so he can force all seven to release the Dark Ones onto the world of mortals. Working to stop him will require every effort from the couple who also intend to solve the mystery that’s Gild’s forgotten name, freeing his sister and protecting their soon-to-be child.
The Gathering Dark by Erica Waters
This anthology of folklore wrapped in horror features a wicked town twice burned, with a third fire looming on the horizon; a lake that allows those who have drowned to return to life, only coming back to be something more sinister and deadly; a cemetery filled with the restless dead; and a rural isolated bridge with a monster waiting and ready to complete its summoning ritual. These tales retell, and shed light onto the scariest stories where monsters lurk and refuse to be forgotten.
Queen of Myth and Monsters by Scarlett St. Clair
When Isolde sought the vampire Adrian as her king shortly after she was newly crowned queen, she didn’t expect it would cost her everything—including her father and homeland. Now in the vampire stronghold of Revekka, Isolde isn’t sure who’s an enemy and who’s an ally. And as politics grow deadly, Isolde will have to rely on the bond she has with Adrian, even as two opposing goddesses playing mortals and vampires like chess pieces.
Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
Zoey’s mother died, and now she must go and reclaim her apartment on the island outside of Charleston. It’s a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, which includes neighbors that are secretive, quirky and even on the run. Each tenant inhabits an air of magical secrecy, and when Zoey meets them, she’ll find two estranged middle-aged sisters, a legendary writer, three ghosts, and a lonely chef with a story of their own story—some not yet written.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
Ever imagine consuming the contents of a book—literally? Well, out on the Yorkshire Moors, there are a line of people who eat books for food and retain the information from the book they ate. Spy novels are a peppered snack, while romance is as sweet as chocolate. Even children must eat smelly old books for punishment’s sake. Devon grew up eating fairytale books and flowery stories while her brothers ate stories of action and adventure. But once Devon has a child, she’ll soon learn that life isn’t like the fairytale stories when her son has a darker appetite hungry for human minds.
Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
When Emery Blackwood’s boyfriend and love of her life, August Salt, is accused of murdering Lily, her best friend, when they all were in high school, nothing has ever been the same. As an adult, she now lives a quiet existence hiding on Saiorse Island, maintaining her late mother’s tea shop and caring for her ailing father. All she wants is for people in her community to not draw attention to the past and her role in it. But lately the island, rooted in old folklores, has begun to show signs of strange happenings, and August’s return brings back the old story she desperately wanted to keep in the past. The town might know more than they’re letting on, as the truth about Lily comes closer to the surface.
The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore
Yaga is a half-goddess who possesses magical powers. Having trusted mortals in the past only to see heartbreak has led her to keep to her hut, alone in the woods. If anyone needs healing, they must seek her out. When her old friend, Anastasia, who marries the tsar, ends up suffering from a curious ailment, Anastasia seeks Yaga out for help. The moment Yaga begins helping her, she realizes the fate of all Russia connects to her friend. Agreeing to return to Moscow, Yaga witnesses all she’s missed living in the woods. Everything is on the brink of chaos, and Anastasia’s husband Tsar Ivan grows closer each day to becoming a volatile tyrant. Yaga knows she can’t return to her sanctuary if she’s to help her land survive from powers far older than she can handle. This retelling of Baba Yaga puts a modern spin on a character who’s often only seen as the villain.
One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig
In the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder, Elspeth Spindle will do anything to stay safe, including using a monster for protection. “Nightmare” is what she calls the ancient mercurial spirit trapped in her head. But using any kind of magic comes at a cost. One day on a dark road, Elspeth encounters the King’s nephew and captain of the most dangerous men in the realm. He soon thrusts her into a deadly quest to cure Blunder of its dark magical hold, all while Nightmare slowly takes over her mind, and she battles each day to stop him.
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Eighteen-year-old Mererid, also called Mer, is familiar with the old tales of the kingdom of Wales, where magic and conflict existed. As the last living water diviner, she’s spent the last few years working to escape the prince that captured her. His orders cause her to accidentally poison the wells of his enemies, killing hundreds. Since then, she’s tried to keep out of his reach, but when a proposition comes her way to get revenge and bring him down, she takes it. Together, a crew of thieves, allies, one fae-cursed young man, and a corgi that may or may not is a spy will work together to destroy the magical well that supports the prince’s land.