Magic, mystery, and mayhem are the name of the game for author V.E. Schwab. If you’re a fan of Vicious, A Darker Shade of Magic, or Gallant, we’ve got the 20 best authors like V.E. Schwab for you to check out on the list below.
Best known for her Shades of Magic series and the standalone novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Schwab has thrilled audiences with 20 magical novels and counting since 2011. That’s when she published her first novel, The Near Witch, writing as Victoria Schwab. The Near Witch was rereleased in 2019 under the author’s V.E. Schwab moniker, and Schwab announced her intention to stop publishing as Victoria Schwab entirely in 2021.
Schwab’s body of work includes science fiction and fantasy novels for adults, teens, and children, as well as numerous comics and graphic novels based on her Villains and Shades of Magic series. Her 2020 novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, won the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction and was nominated for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, the Goodreads Choice Award, and the Locus Award.
Keep reading to find out more about Schwab, her body of work, and 20 authors you’ll love if you like her books. You will get 50 unique and magical options for your reading list!
V.E. Schwab’s Books
Schwab is nothing if not a prolific writer. She published the following novels as Victoria Schwab:
- The Near Witch (2011), which was republished in 2019 under the name V.E. Schwab.
- The Archived (2013), the first book in the Dark Vault series.
- The Unbound (2014), the second book in the Dark Vault series.
- New Beginnings (2014), the first book in the Everyday Angel series.
- Second Chances (2014), the second book in the Everyday Angel series.
- Last Wishes (2014), the third book in the Everyday Angel series.
- Broken Ground (2015), the second installment of Scholastic’s Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts series.
- This Savage Song (2016), the first book in the Monsters of Verity series.
- Our Dark Duet (2017), the second book in the Monsters of Verity series.
- City of Ghosts (2018), the first book in the Cassidy Blake series.
- Tunnel of Bones (2019), the second book in the Cassidy Blake series.
- Bridge of Souls (2021), the third book in the Cassidy Blake series.
Writing as V.E. Schwab, she published:
- Vicious (2013), the first book in the Villains series.
- A Darker Shade of Magic (2015), the first book in the Shades of Magic series.
- A Gathering of Shadows (2016), the second book in the Shades of Magic series.
- A Conjuring of Light (2017), the third book in the Shades of Magic series.
- Vengeful (2018), the second book in the Villains series.
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020), a standalone novel.
- Gallant (2022), a standalone novel.
Schwab has authored graphic novels based on her Shades of Magic and Villains series. She is also the creator of Netflix’s 2022 offering, First Kill, based on her short story of the same name, which was published in the 2020 anthology Vampires Never Get Old.
There are two novels forthcoming from V.E. Schwab at this time. The as-yet-untitled first installment of her Threads of Power — a sequel trilogy to Shades of Magic — is expected in Fall 2023 from Tor. A standalone novel, Black Tabs, is also forthcoming; Schwab has described it as a “standalone female Blade Runner.”
Here are the 20 best authors like V.E. Schwab to read while you wait for her next book.
Authors Like V.E. Schwab
If you’re a fan of the author’s books for adults, here are 20 authors like V.E. Schwab you should check out right now.
Much of V.E. Schwab’s work blends the magical and the familiar, leaving even the most ordinary settings feeling rich with thrumming possibility. That’s exactly why we’re recommending Susanna Clarke’s novels, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and Piranesi, to Schwab’s devoted readers.
If there ever was a writer who needed no introduction, it’s Neil Gaiman. He’s been charming audiences for more than 35 years with no end in sight. If you’re a V.E. Schwab fan who hasn’t read Gaiman’s work, we recommend starting with Coraline, Neverwhere, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. These titles only scratch the surface of Gaiman’s oeuvre, but you’ll definitely want to read more once you’ve had a taste.
Heidi Heilig shared a table of contents with Schwab in Vampires Never Get Old. Both her Girl from Everywhere duology and her Shadow Players trilogy are perfect for V.E. Schwab fans looking for new authors to read.
The Girl from Everywhere tells the story of Nix: a 16-year-old girl, born in Hawaii in 1869, who has grown up traversing time and space aboard her father’s sailing ship. But when her father discovers his white whale — a map to Hawaii in 1868, the year before his daughter was born — Nix begins to worry that his meddling may erase her from history. Harrow published a sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, in 2017.
Shadow Players begins with For a Muse of Fire. Here, readers meet Jetta, a teenage puppeteer with bipolar disorder. She animates her actors by binding them to lost souls — a form of magic forbidden in her recently conquered nation — but her talents may be the key to finding a cure for her mental illness. Jetta’s story continues in A Kingdom for a Stage and On This Unworthy Scaffold.
Alix E. Harrow
Readers who enjoyed the sweeping fantasy of Addie LaRue are sure to love The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy Awards, Alix E. Harrow’s debut follows its eponymous heroine as she searches for a series of magical doors — one of which she first encountered as a young child.
Readers looking for Regency-era fantasy will find much to love in Naomi Novik’s body of work. Novik’s longrunning Temeraire series reimagines the Napoleonic Wars with dragons and dragon riders replacing airships and pilots. The story centers on a young sea captain who accidentally bonds with a dragon egg looted from a French frigate. Capt. Laurence’s bond with the young hatchling, Temeraire, cannot be broken, so he has no choice but to transfer into the Aerial Corps. But can Laurence hack it without the years of training that his peers get before they take to the skies?
What happens to the novel manuscripts that would-be authors abandon? That’s the driving question behind A.J. Hackwith’s Hell’s Library trilogy. The Library of the Unwritten introduces readers to Claire, the librarian responsible for managing the Unwritten Wing — a special place in Hell for the spirits of unfinished books. Sometimes the books in the Unwritten Wing try to go on adventures, and that’s exactly what happens when an unwritten Hero sets off to chase down the author who never finished his story, leaving Claire with no choice but to go after him. Claire’s adventures continue in The Archive of the Forgotten and The God of Lost Words.
Mary Robinette Kowal
Love the Shades of Magic series’ focus on Georgian England? Check out Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories, which imagines an alternate version of the period, where Regency England’s most marriageable young women train in the art of magic. The first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, centers on a bachelorette named Jane, who must use her magical abilities to save her sister from a bad match.
If you’re looking for thrilling stories set against an antique backdrop, you owe it to yourself to check out June Hur’s books. Set in Joseon-era Korea, Hur’s novels center on murder investigations carried out by the podocheong: a police bureau established in the 15th century, which functioned similarly to modern-day law enforcement agencies. Hur’s first three novels — The Silence of Bones, The Forest of Stolen Girls, and The Red Palace — span nearly 400 years of the Joseon period, offering readers an inside look at a place and time that’s rarely explored in western media.
Cherie Priest has spent 20 years publishing must-read fiction, so it’s understandable if her bibliography appears a bit daunting. We recommend that newcomers start with one of two series — the high-flying steampunk adventures of The Clockwork Century or the Lovecraftian horrors of The Borden Dispatches.
If you love Shades of Magic’s court intrigue and the complex relationship between Lila and Kell, check out Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown. The story here centers on Zacharias Wythe, a formerly enslaved man who has recently been appointed England’s top-ranked thaumaturge, the Sorcerer Royal. Together with Prunella, a talented young woman prevented from studying magic by English law, Zacharias works to uncover the cause of England’s dwindling magical reserves. His story continues in The True Queen.
Catherynne M. Valente
Catherynne M. Valente has truly written something for every type of reader. Schwab fans unfamiliar with Valente’s work should check out Radiance, a decopunk mystery that follows a young documentarian around colonized space in an alternate 1986; Palimpsest, the erotic tale of a city situated in the liminal space between dreams; and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, a series-starter about a precocious 12-year-old who answers the call to adventure when the people of Fairyland come to her for help.
Fans of Schwab’s young adult novels would do well to watch out for new releases from YA up-and-comer Melissa Albert. Albert debuted in 2018 with The Hazel Wood, which spent 36 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List and was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award. The Hazel Wood served as the first installment of her fantasy duology of the same name. A sequel, The Night Country, appeared in 2020. Albert published a tie-in collection of fairy tales, titled Tales from the Hinterland, in 2021.
N.K. Jemisin writes fantasy series that are simultaneously heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. Her most famous work is the Broken Earth trilogy — comprised of The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky — which took home three consecutive Hugo Awards for Best Novel. Not only did that feat make Jemisin the first African American writer — and first woman of color — to win the Best Novel Hugo, but she also became the first writer to win Best Novel three years running, as well as the first to win for each book in a trilogy.
Finished one of Schwab’s series and looking to start another? If so, you’re in luck, because R.F. Kuang’s Poppy War trilogy is complete and ready for you to enjoy. If grimdark fantasy based on Chinese history isn’t your thing, check out Kuang’s newest novel, Babel. Set in Oxford’s magical translation institute at the end of the Regency era, Babel follows Robin, a Chinese orphan raised in England, who must choose sides when the British Empire threatens his homeland with violence.
Marissa Meyer’s body of work is perfect for fans of The Near Witch, Monsters of Verity, and Villains. Like Schwab, Meyer has also built a world of superheroes and supervillains — her lauded Renegades trilogy — but she otherwise deals almost exclusively in fairy-tale retellings, stretching old stories to never-before-seen climes. Novels in her Lunar Chronicles series offer new twists on Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and the Evil Queen. Her Gilded duology blends Rumpelstiltskin with legends of the Erlking, and she takes Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts out for a spin in Heartless.
There’s something downright delightful about reading a series in which the world as we know it has been skewed slightly. Schwab pulls this off to perfection in many of her series, but if you’re looking for more weird vistas, you’d do well to dig deep into China Miéville’s bibliography. We recommend starting with Un Lun Dun, in which two 12-year-old girls travel to an alternate version of London filled with magic and mayhem; Perdido Street Station, about a demihuman searching for a way to fly again in a steampunk metropolis; and The City & The City, a neo-noir set in overlapping cities whose citizens cannot legally acknowledge each other’s existence.
Pick up one of Fonda Lee’s young adult novels if you love Vicious and Vengeful. Her standalone debut, Zeroboxer, tells the story of Carr, a competitor in a gravity-free boxing league who becomes a folk hero…only to discover a vast conspiracy that could derail his entire career. Lee’s next novels for teens, Exo and Cross Fire, imagine a near-future Earth colonized by aliens in the wake of an intergalactic war.
Shades of Magic fans are sure to enjoy Lee’s Green Bone Saga, which features plenty of epic fight scenes, magical shenanigans, scheming, and intrigue. The story centers on the Kaul family crime syndicate, whose members are some of the elect few able to wear jade: a magic stone that imparts superhuman abilities to trained wielders. The world is changing around the Kauls, however, and the strength of their entire organization will soon be put to the test.
Erin Morgenstern’s 2011 debut, The Night Circus, enraptured audiences with its tales of dark magic and dueling magicians. Morgenstern took a long break from publishing, reappearing in 2019 with The Starless Sea: the tale of a grad student who goes on a quest to find a magical library after discovering a book in which he himself is the main character.
Alexandra Rowland writes indulgent fantasy with some truly fantastic world-building and characterization, which means they’re a perfect match for V.E. Schwab fans. Rowland’s most recent novel, A Taste of Gold and Iron, is a lush fantasy mystery with one of the best will-they-or-won’t-they romances we’ve read in a long time. Their earlier works include A Conspiracy of Truths, which focuses on a talented storyteller wrongfully accused of witchcraft, and its sequel, A Choir of Lies.
Vivian Shaw’s Dr. Greta Helsing trilogy is a must-read for alt-history fans. Dr. Helsing works with a particular clientele; she specializes in treating the maladies of the undead. Vampires, zombies, mummies — hardly any patient is too dead for Greta. London has bigger problems than its undead citizens, however. Cultists and murderers abound, leaving Dr. Helsing with no choice but to root them out, in this inventive fantasy trilogy.
What does the E stand for in V.E. Schwab?
The E stands for Schwab’s middle name, Elizabeth.
What is the difference between V.E. Schwab and Victoria Schwab?
Until 2021, Schwab published books for children and young adults under the name Victoria Schwab. Her adult books have always been published under V.E. Schwab. She announced her intention to publish all future works as V.E. Schwab in a February 2021 Instagram post.
What pronouns does V.E. Schwab use?
Schwab’s pronouns are she/they.
Is there a movie for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue?
An Invisible Life of Addie LaRue movie adaptation is forthcoming. According to Variety, Augustine Frizzell (The Last Letter from Your Lover) will direct. Frizzell adapted Addie LaRue for the screen with her husband, filmmaker David Lowery (The Green Knight). Schwab revealed the finished screenplay in September 2022.
1. J.K. Rowling
2. Stephen King
3. J.R.R. Tolkien
4. George R.R. Martin
5. Terry Pratchett
6. C.S. Lewis
7. Neil Gaiman
8. Anne Rice
9. Robert Jordan
10. Terry Brooks
11. Ursula K. Le Guin
12. Brandon Sanderson
13. Patrick Rothfuss
14. Orson Scott Card
15. Raymond E. Feist
16. Christopher Paolini
17. Tad Williams
18. Robin Hobb
19. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
20. Philip Pullman
What are the most popular fantasy book series to read?
1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. A Song of Ice and Fire by the beloved George R.R. Martin
4. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
5. The Dark Tower by the amazing Stephen King
6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
7. The Belgariad by David Eddings
8. The Sword of Truth written by Terry Goodkind
9. The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
10. The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
11. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
12. The Mistborn Trilogy written by Brandon Sanderson
13. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
14. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
15. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
16. The Dresden Files written by Jim Butcher
17. The Shannara Chronicles written by Terry Brooks
18. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
19. The Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin J. Anderson
20. The Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn