Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

New List!

I am putting together a new “Best” list for you guys, and I need some advice to get me started. This one will include one of my favorite genres — and I think one with a lot of potential — historical fantasy fiction.

I am looking for the AWESOMEST literature for young adults that takes place in a real historical time and place, with all the usual elements of historical fiction, but has magic driving the story, or at least its parts. (Adults’ books are fine too, for a separate list, but I am thinking I won’t find as many…)

I already have a few great titles on my mind.

“Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly deals with the present age and the French revolution, with the two coming together through scary ghostly magic.

“Book Thief,” by Mark Zusak, set during World War II in Germany, is told from the point of view of Death.

In “Apothecary,” by Maile Meloy, three cold war era-kids use magic and alchemy to stop villains from setting off an atomic bomb.

This is going to be so much fun.

Have you ever come across something amazing that would fit this list? I’ll take recommendations! 🙂


December 9, 2011 - Posted by | Book Impressions, Updates


  1. I love reading lists. I haven’t heard of Apothecary, but I just looked it up and added it to my wish list. I own The Book Thief and Revolution–I’ve been meaning to get to them.

    A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is also something I own that i haven’t read yet, and it’s historical with magical elements.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | December 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. Yep! I read it, and it will definitely go on the list. If you come across something like this, drop me an email. In a way, I’ve been putting this list together for a while now. Can’t wait to present it to you guys 🙂

    Comment by Katia Raina | December 10, 2011 | Reply

  3. Does time travel count?

    The Golden Hour by Maiya Williams takes four modern-day kids back to the French Revolution. She wrote a sequel about ancient Egypt. And I think there’s another volume too.

    The Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman is a little different. In City of Masks Lucien travels back to 15th or 16th century Venice, only it’s an alternative Venice called Bellezza, so that may not count for your list. But it’s a fantastic book. By far the best of the series.

    Then there’s The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel, a highly unusual novel set in a Celtic abbey in (I think) the 10th century, with the fantasy element that the main character hears energy humming when he looks at people. The higher the number, the more energy.

    And I LOVE The Book Thief. One of my all-time top ten favorites. Also adored Great and Terrible Beauty. Wonderful idea for a list, Katia!

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | December 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Joanne, these all sound exquisite, including the Stravaganza series. Why not? Thank you for such amazing recommendations.

      Comment by Katia Raina | December 10, 2011 | Reply

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