Dark Victorian Fantasy
READING LIST: Dark Victorian Fantasy
One of the hardest questions to answer (for me) is when someone requests "a book like the Night Circus." It's a pretty unique novel, with a specific tone and atmosphere that are difficult to find anywhere else. I've worked on building an answer to this question for years - and it's still a very short list. In order to qualify, I required the books to (1) be set in the Victorian era, (2) contain a supernatural element that we could define as fantasy, and (3) fit into the dark, gothic aesthetic that I love so much.
- Night Circus
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- Soulless (Parasol Protectorate series)
- Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices series)
- The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co series)
- A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic series)
- Interview With A Vampire
Books I haven't read yet (so little time! so many books!) but which I know belong on this list thanks to trusted recommendations (all of these are on my personal TBR):
- The Paper Magician
- Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards series)
- A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell series)
- Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue (Montague Siblings series)
Titles that are out of print, but which I consider relevant:
- A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle series) by Libba Bray
- Sorcery and Cecelia; or, the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (this is technically set in the Regency period but the vibe is perfect) by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
I've tried to steer clear of horror, for the most part, but I did include a number of mysteries. I think of horror as being told from the perspective of the victim, whereas the same story, told from the perspective of someone "solving" the crime, is what I think of as a mystery. It's a pretty blurry line for a lot of these (like Dracula, and Interview) but I did my best to steer clear of books whose entire purpose is to terrify the reader.
- A Natural History of Dragons (I adore this book but it isn't very dark, so it doesn't quite qualify as Dark Victorian Fantasy)
- The Phantom of the Opera (technically, there is no supernatural element, so it isn't fantasy - but it sure feels like it belongs here)
- Courtney Crumrin (a graphic novel series)
- Good Faeries, Bad Faeries (if Brian Froud isn't dark victorian fantasy, I don't know what is - but he doesnt write novels, so he's in the honorable mentions)
- The Historian (since it's set in modern day, it really doesn't count, but it's got the right vibe)
- Cordelia Underwood (Moosepath League series)
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All three books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy, are now available together in a collectible paperback boxed set. The books have gorgeous new covers, maps, forewords, and bonus content.
Passion. Power. Secrets.
The New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries returns once more to Victorian England and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell....
A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes.
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Step back in time to Portland, Maine, in 1896. When the young, beautiful, redheaded Cordelia Underwood inherits a parcel of land from her seafaring uncle, it sets in motion a chain of events that leads to the unearthing of a family secret two centuries old.
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A collector's edition of the most famous vampire novel of all time, illustrated with the artwork of Edward Gorey.
"Charlie is a vibrant writer with an excellent voice and great world building. I thoroughly enjoyed the Paper Magician." --Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn and The Way of Kings
"Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!" - Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn
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The first book in the critically acclaimed New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy, the exhilarating and haunting saga from the author of The Diviners series and Going Bovine.
A Kirkus Prize nominee and Stonewall Honor winner with 5 starred reviews! A New York Times bestseller!
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR and the New York Public Library!
Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age.
The lights of the Paris Opera House dim and a lovely singer holds the audience spellbound with her enchanting voice. Two men are rivals for her love: one of them the beloved friend of her childhood -- and the other the terrifying opera ghost who haunts the theater and wields a strange power over the performer.
"Once upon a time, I thought faeries lived only in books, old folktales, and the past.
"Courtney Crumrin is a fun series, cover to cover." — School Library Journal
Courtney Crumrin grumbles about everything, but now she's really got something to grumble over. Having run out of credit cards, her parents are moving to the wealthy suburb of Hillsborough, to live rent-free with their creepy old uncle Aloysius.
The spellbinding classic that started it all, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A magnificent, compulsively readable thriller . . . Rice begins where Bram Stoker and the Hollywood versions leave off and penetrates directly to the true fascination of the myth—the education of the vampire.”—Chicago Tribune