Doesn’t fall feel like the perfect time to read The Raven Cycle? Something about the cooler weather and the spookiness of the Halloween season makes me want to escape back to Henrietta, Aglionby, 300 Fox Way, Cabeswater, and all the rest of the places. Last fall, that’s exactly what I did — in preparation for Call Down the Hawk — but this fall, I’m instead bringing you some books to read if you, like me, love The Raven Cycle.
While I still haven’t found a book that has quite the same feeling as this series, all of these manage to scratch that itch for me, with beautiful writing, strong characters, and a general vibe of magic. (Although sadly, I wasn’t able to find one that’s quite as passionate about cars as Maggie Stiefvater.) Go check them out! And if you’re interested, read my very long, spoiler-filled review of the Raven Cycle.
Okay, let’s get into these recommendations.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
The magic in The Raven Cycle usually feels undefined and ambiguous — just the way I like it, in other words — and the same is true for Spellbook of the Lost and Found.
Set in a small Irish town, this book follows a group of teenagers who find an old spellbook and hope it can bring back some of the things that they’ve lost. The writing is atmospheric, lyrical, and a little bit spooky, much like Maggie Stiefvater. Plus, we follow a great cast of characters and their intricate, fascinating relationships with one another. Sound familiar?
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
One of my favorite things about The Raven Cycle is the fact that I pick up something new every time I read it: bits of foreshadowing, story threads that I see in a whole new light, details that I’d never noticed before. The Starless Sea is another book that can give you something new with each reread.
This book follows a grad student named Zachary Ezra Rawlins who, through a series of magical circumstances, finds himself in a secret underground library at the shore of the Starless Sea. Like TRC, there’s a dreamy feel to the story, a sense of magic that’s just around the corner from the real world, as well as some of the most beautiful writing you’ll ever read.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Noah Czerny would feel right at home in Elatsoe, which is even more full of ghosts than The Raven Cycle. Like TRC, this book is set in a world much like our own, but this one is also populated with myths and folklore come to life, and some people, like our hero Ellie, can occasionally speak to ghosts.
While The Raven Cycle draws on Welsh myths and stories, Elatsoe focuses on Lipan Apache legends, while also bringing in the folklore from plenty of other cultures. Both books have a strong sense of history attached to them, and of course your fair share of people with unusual and unexplainable magical abilities (Ronan Lynch, I’m looking at you).
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
If you read The Raven Cycle and wanted a little more horror and a lot more emphasis on female friendships, then Sawkill Girls might be the perfect book.
On the island of Sawkill Rock, girls have been disappearing for decades, surrounding by stories of evil lurking in the woods. This book is definitely further on the horror spectrum than TRC — which gets pretty creepy sometimes but never goes too far — with the added bonus of a dark and possibly magical forest to rival Cabeswater. The relationships between the three main girls are at the heart of this book, and much like in TRC, there is a focus on facing darkness through the strength of their bonds.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
300 Fox Way fans, this one’s for you. The Nomeolvides women of Wild Beauty tend the gardens of La Pradera and must never fall in love too deeply or else their lover disappears. The story kicks off when a boy with no memory appears in the garden.
Now, a family of magical women and curses involving falling in love…where have I heard that before? Other than the obvious comparisons, Wild Beauty also has a strong emphasis on nature that reminds me of TRC, as well as a sense of magical realism and some truly gorgeous writing.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
More dark forests! More creepy atmosphere! More making deals with supernatural beings without fully considering the consequences! Adam Parrish would be so proud.
The Darkest Part of the Forest is set in a tiny town that sits right next to the faerie world, following two siblings and a horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin. While I was reading this one, I couldn’t stop thinking about how similar its main character, Hazel, is to Blue Sargent — fierce, headstrong, and refuses to be anything less than the hero in her own story. There’s also great small town vibes, as well as this sense of wavering right on the edge of real life and magic that’s so strong in both books.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
This one is slightly cheating because I technically haven’t finished it yet and it’s probably the least similar to The Raven Cycle out of any of these, but it’s giving me similar vibes and it comes out tomorrow and I just want to talk about it!
Following three sisters in 1893, this book is all about witchcraft and lost magic and the fight for women’s rights. I can certainly imagine the women of 300 Fox Way being descended from the characters in this book, who are powerful and strong-willed and unapologetic in their magic. It also explores ideas of class and privilege, which are major themes in TRC, and it’s got some truly breathtaking prose. Go read it!!
What books do you recommend for fans of TRC? Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?