The Magic of Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series recently turned twenty years old and is still as popular as ever. This popularity can be evidenced by the enthusiastic reaction the Alamance County Public Library has received from the recent Harry Potter Escape Room.

The appeal of Harry Potter is easy to understand. The world J.K. Rowling built is wonderfully detailed, quirky, fantastical, and features relatable characters. The series further cements its appeal by exploring the power of friendship, bravery, and the pains and joys of growing up.

There has yet to be another book or series of books that eclipses the magic of Harry Potter. However, the below books each tell the story of fantastical world of magic, appealing characters, and epic contest of wills. These read-alikes are sure to delight Harry Potter fans of all ages.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. New York: Ace, 2015, 384 pages, $10.20

A historical fantasy that is set in Regency London.  In this version of London, government is controlled by an aristocratic society of magicians. The current head of this society is Zacharias Wythe, a freed slave and a talented sorcerer. He stands out like a sore thumb in the stuffy society, but is still  tasked with the important duty of  finding out why magic is disappearing from the world. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, the second is due to be published this March.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. New York: Anchor Books, 2012, 516 pages, $12.00

Le Cirque des Reves is a nocturnal carnival that appears without warning to delight and astound its visitors with magical attractions. This enchanting setting is a backdrop to a dangerous duel that features star-crossed magicians Celia and Marco. Morgenstern’s highly anticipated second book will be published later this year.

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. New York: Random House Books, 2018, 480 pages, $13.29

Tamora Pierce has been a fixture in young adult fantasy since her publication of the Song of the Lioness quartet in the 1980s.  Her newest work explores the early life of one of her beloved characters of her Tortall chronicles, Arram Draper (AKA Numair Salmalin). Like Harry Potter, Arram arrives at a renowned school to study magic. He’s extremely gifted and develops close friendships with two other students. This series will explore the testing of these friendships and the power and peril magic brings.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. New York: Tor Books, 2015, $10.87

This sci-fi/fantasy series tells the story of four parallel universes connected by different iterations of London.  The story centers on Kell, who has the power to hop between these worlds. He is only supposed to carry messages and news between the different rulers, but cannot resist the temptation to break the rules with dangerous consequences.

Amanda Gramley is the Adult Programming Coordinator with the Alamance County Public Libraries.  Contact her at agramley@alamancelibraries.org or (336) 229-3588.