Six Books Set in Magical Libraries

Books set in magical libraries
For book lovers, reading about magical libraries can have a special appeal—a place that, in the real world, already feels enchanted and full of possibility can literally be so in fantasy. Below are six books set in extraordinary enchanted libraries.

Cover image for The Book That Wouldn't BurnThe Book That Wouldn't Burn (2023) is the first book in a planned trilogy by Mark Lawrence, in which a girl seeking to discover the secrets of an ancient library meets a boy trying to escape it; and together they discover horrible truths about their world and a looming war.

Cover image for The Midnight LibraryThe Midnight Library (2020): Matt Haig's novel explores the choices we make and the regrets that result through a magical library whose books contain all the alternate universes from every decision made over the course of a lifetime. In exploring this library, Nora also confronts herself and the life she's living in reality.

Cover image for The Library of the UnwrittenThe Library of the Unwritten (2019): As a writer myself, I find the premise of this book by A. J. Hackwith delightful—in hell, there exists the Library of the Unwritten, full of unfinished books. As might be expected from a library in hell, the stories contained within are restless and prone to escape attempts, and it's the Head Librarian's job to keep them in line.

Cover image for The Library at Mount CharThe Library at Mount Char (2015): Scott Hawkins' novel centers on a fantastical but dark library run by twelve people and the godlike man who adopted them, known as "The Father." The library, and their mastery over its different "catalogues," gives the characters supernatural and at times horrifying powers. Kate Braithwaite, who reviewed the novel for BookBrowse, called it "the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of libraries."

Cover image for The Invisible LibraryThe Invisible Library (2016): In this first novel in a series of the same name by Genevieve Cogman, the titular library is dedicated to collecting books from a wide array of different worlds. Agents of the library meet with dangerous complications when sent to collect a book from an alternative, magical version of London.

Cover image for The Shadow of the WindThe Shadow of the Wind (2004): Originally published in Spanish in 2001, and translated into 20 languages, Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novel is a massive bestseller. In post–World War II Barcelona, young Daniel's father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a secret library full of all the books the world no longer cares about. An acclaimed literary work, The Shadow of the Wind is more magical realism than fantasy.

More Beyond the Book Articles

This piece by Katharine Blatchford was first published as a "beyond the book" article for Mark Lawrence's fantasy novel The Book That Wouldn't Burn. Every time BookBrowse reviews a book, we accompany it with a "beyond the book" article. You can read thousands more in our Beyond the Book section.

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