Book Bites

My Recipe For Books About Masterful Magicians

This week we have two books all about magic that have been recommended to me over and over again. Major thank you to Samantha H. for sending me the recommendation for Night Circus! Please send me your book recommendations via Goodreads, y’all! I’m always interested in hearing about titles that have caught your eye.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A deal is made between two wise and magical men. Years later, each man has trained a pupil to compete in a glorious arena – Le Cirque des Rêves.  The rules are unclear. The players don’t even know their opponents. They do know one thing– this duel is one of beauty, finesse, and utterly bewitching displays of magical circus acts.

This book will keep you waiting and waiting for the final reveal! I kept attempting to guess the ending (something I’m very good at), and I was definitely (and happily) surprised.  Plus, the imagery is so vivid that I could not help but see the pictures in my head. The magic of the circus is that it doesn’t present itself as magic. The players in the game seek only to entertain and delight all while fostering the belief that there must be smoke and mirrors.

Quote: “Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

You’ll Like This if: you would be interested in a combination of Big Fish, Harry Potter, and a dash of Victorian-era nostalgia.


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

In the more famous magical worlds, people tend to be a bit more positive and upbeat. (Okay, we’ll forgive Mr. Potter for his Book 5 angst-filled whining.) Really, who wouldn’t be cheerful when you have magic? And like most unsatisfied teenagers, Quentin Coldwater is absolutely miserable in his life. He’s completely obsessed with the world inside a fantasy series he read as a kid. Fillory, which seems not too far away from Narnia, is a magical land where five children have various adventures. Little does Quentin know, this world really exists. He and his brilliant friends are unexpectedly admitted to a completely exclusive, secret college of magic in New York. The magic is a bit of a cross between a traditional magician and the wizards and witches we’re used to.

And yet, Quentin is still not blissed out on the magic juice once he finds out the world of magic is real. The thing that I liked about this book is that Quentin is still a bit depressed and angsty in his new world. Magic doesn’t immediately solve his sadness, and I found that quite realistic. I would NOT recommend this to someone looking for the “adult” Harry Potter. This is quite a different story with very different themes.

Admittedly, I have not read the sequel. Anyone check it out and recommend it?

Quote: “If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so. ”

You’ll Like This if: You’re up for a combination of harsh realism and a dark and twisty homage to Harry Potter and Narnia.

Images via Goodreads 1 and 2


  • Jess McKechie

    I’ve been meaning to read The Night Circus for a while now, it sounds great!

  • Sarah Kate Khoury

    I just started reading The Magicians!

  • Becky Lyle

    I agree with you about The Magicians. I haven’t read the sequel yet (J.K’s new book Casual Vacancy came out and jumped to the front of my book queue), but am excited to. This is the first I’ve heard of The Night Circus, but your comment about angsty 5th year Harry Potter makes me trust that you understand me as a reader, and so I will be adding it to my queue behind The Magician King. Thanks!

    • Rebecca Kuitems

      Glad to hear it 😉

  • Kelly Marvel

    Both of these books are FAVORITES of mine! I love them so much.

  • Annie Hatmaker

    I absolutely ADORE The Night Circus and will definitely have to check out The Magicians and sequels! Thanks for sharing!

  • Nicolas Courchamp

    I loved The Magicians and its sequel. It’s more a book for people who liked genX writers who dealt with teen angst (such as Ellis, McInerney or Coupland for instance) than a book for people who like Harry Potter.

  • Andrea Olson

    I’ve read both books, and can’t love them more. Thanks for the post!

  • Alexis Kate

    Halfway through The Night Circus and I love it! The Magicians was fantastic! The sequel – The Magician King, not so good. I’m extremely easy to please, and while the majority of the book was well written, the end of the story was extremely abrupt and left a slew of questions unanswered. Yet didn’t leave itself open to a third book. So disappointing…

  • Alexandra Apiti

    I’m just about to start reading The Night Circus after waiting a very long time to get it out from my local public library, and now I can add The Magicians to my ever expanding to-read list.

  • Alli Treman

    Read the sequel to The Magicians! I liked it even better than the first one. It was very dark, and almost perfect. Now I’ll have to add The Night Circus to my reading list.

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