1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
It’s the year 1806, and most people believe that magic has been long gone, until a reclusive gentleman named Mr. Norrell appears and reveals his magical ability, gaining him a small measure of unwelcome celebrity. Soon he has taken on a student, the wild and adventurous Jonathan Strange, and the two embark on an adventure that takes them through the Napoleonic Wars and straight into the magical realm of the Raven King. Given the sheer size of the book, there’s obviously more to the plot, but if you are a fan of witty 19th century history, you’ll absolutely be a fan of this. An added bonus is that if you’re unable to finish this whale of a book, you can always tune into the BBC miniseries!
2. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
This is a light urban fantasy that reads like a paranormal romance, but goes so much deeper than that. Set in an alternate universe where humanity is living in the aftermath of the “Voodoo Wars” (a war between humans and supernatural creatures), the action of the story centers on Rae “Sunshine” Seddon, a baker who just so happens to get abducted by vampires. This traumatic experience reveals Sunshine’s latent magical powers (an ability to control, you guessed it, sunshine!) and sets her on a path to truly discover who she is. This standalone novel might end up leaving you hungry for more, and not just thanks to the loving descriptions of the heroine’s special cinnamon rolls.