When vampires slithered out of the literary spotlight and back to the darker crevices of the bookstore, apocalyptic fiction rushed in to fill the gap. While we loved watching Katniss and the gang claw their way to the top of the new world order (we want to see what they could do with a stake), the death of the vampire trend left a supernatural-creature-shaped hole in our hearts. Lucky for us, a new breed of literary witches is on the rise. From the present day to the Edwardian era, these supernaturals will enchant their way onto your bookshelves (or if that doesn’t work, some of them’ll just beat you up):
The Midnight Witch, by Paula Brackston
A beautiful young society woman in Edwardian London is thrust into a dangerous position after the sudden death of her father, the sixth Duke of Radnor. While her older brother, Freddie, takes the title, Lilith receives a more powerful inheritance: she replaces her father as Head Witch of the secretive Lazarus Coven. Soon, her position is challenged by a group of dark sorcerors, her engagement to a fellow witch is threatened by a handsome human, and her dedication to her coven is tested by her inexperience and wayward heart. This is the third in Brackston’s series of standalone witch novels.
Half Bad, by Sally Green
Here be witches who would just as soon deck you as hex you. Green imagines a present-day England inhabited by both humans and White Witches, who’ve ruthlessly exterminated their Black Witch counterparts. Nathan is a “half code” of mixed heritage, on the run after escaping a White Witch council that hopes to use him to track down and destroy his father, the last and most violent Black Witch. This is grueling, character-driven YA that trades in herbs and candles for bureaucracy and a violent coming of age.
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, by Katie Cross
Teen witch Bianca has two reasons for enrolling at Miss Mabel’s magic school: to learn all she can to overturn a powerful family curse that threatens to kill her, and to keep her enemy close. It’s Miss Mabel herself, sitting on the opposite end of the headmaster spectrum from Dumbledore, who is behind the the deadly curse, and it’s with this in mind that Bianca enters a magical competition to become the dastardly witch’s assistant.
Shadow Spell, by Nora Roberts
Book two in Roberts’ Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy moves its focus from recently transplanted American pixie Iona to her roguish cousin Connor, a womanizing falconer in the countryside of County Mayo. His sister’s babeish best friend, horsewoman Meara, is just an old friend…until the day she’s suddenly more. Connor and Meara have to decide whether it’s worth risking friendship for love, while battling the same dark forces that plagued the O’Dwyer family in last year’s Dark Witch.