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8 Amazing Fantasy Books Like R.F. Kuang's Babel

Fantasy author R.F. Kuang released one of the true publishing phenomena of 2022 with her best-selling novel Babel

Collage of Books Like R.F. Kuang's Babel, including Library of the Unwritten

R.F. Kuang's bestseller Babel is a historical fantasy epic follows a group of students who study translation. The dense fantasy novel is set in an alternate England that grapples with themes of colonialization, academia, and the power of words. Here are eight other novels that are perfect for fans of Babel!



By R.F. Kuang

Robin Swift finds himself brought to Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation, also known as Babel, to work with their magical system. Silver-working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British Empire mighty and unstoppable, something Robin soon begins to question. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide where his loyalties lie. 

More Fantasy Books for Fans of R.F. Kuang's Babel

Ninth House (Ninth House Series Book 1)

Ninth House (Ninth House Series Book 1)

By Leigh Bardugo

In Leigh Bardugo's dark academia, Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. She's the child of hippies, a high school dropout, and a vagabond with a slew of dead-end jobs to his name. But at the age of 20, she's the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Offered a second chance at life, she finds herself with a full ride to Yale. But of course, there's a catch. 

Alex is tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Eight "tombs" are home to the rich and powerful students of the university, many of whom will go on to become major power players in politics, finance, and Hollywood. It's not just pure privilege: Something more mystical is afoot.

books like a wrinkle in time

A Darker Shade of Magic

By V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is the Red City, the Grey, and the White. Kell acts as an ambassador to Red London and leaps between the cities as a diplomat. He's also a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. 

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a thief who robs Kell and then saves him from something deadly. Together, they must save all of the Londons, which might include the long-lost Black city …

The Library of the Unwritten AJ Hackwith

The Library of the Unwritten

By A.J. Hackwith

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those stories you never finished? In the depths of Hell, it is Claire's job to collate them all. She is the Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors are kept. Sometimes, restless unwritten tales and their incomplete characters try to escape into the world of the living. 

When one hero tries to find his author, Claire must track him down with the help of former-muse-turned-library-assistant Brevity and the demon courier Leto. Soon, things go wrong and the group find themselves being tracked by a terrifying angel on a mission.

the book eaters, a sci fi fantasy book

The Book Eaters

By Sunyi Dean

In the wilds of the Yorkshire Moors, a group of people known as The Family live in secret. They are Book Eaters, a rare group for whom the written word is food. Every novel they read allows them to retain the stories within. Spy stories are a peppery snack. Romances are a sweet treat. Mischevious children read dry and dusty dictionary pages as punishment. 

Devon and her brothers grew up in this world. While the boys ate stories of adventure, she, like all book eating women, was forced onto a diet of fairy tales. But her son has been born with a strange condition that demands a different kind of sustenance: not of books but of people's minds …

A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance Book 1)

A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance Book 1)

By Naomi Novik

Scholomance is a school for the magically gifted, an institution dedicated to the advancement of mysticism. There are no teachers, monsters lurk the halls, and the students are not allowed to leave until they graduate or die. 

The dark academia by Naomi Novik follows Galadriel "El" Higgins, a Welsh-Indian junior student at the Scholomance. Her powers are far darker and stronger than anyone could have predicted, which makes her ripe picking for any number of student alliances. But the monsters who fill the shadows also have their eye on El, for when these humans come into their power, they become ever-so-enticing a feast. 

El must survive at all costs, but her powers could also kill every student within the walls of The Scholomance.

The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke

The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke

By Tina Makereti

Hemi Pōneke is a young Māori boy, the orphaned son of a chief and ardent student of English who wishes to cross the planet with an English artist named Mr. Angus to further his studies. It's the mid-19th century, and London has no place for a boy like him. 

He is forced to become James, to be the latest exhibit in a traveling show where his very being is viewed as freakish by white Brits. Among his fellow "performers" are those who buck the binaries of race, gender, and physicality. Together, they will find ways to rebel against the society that has decried them as worthless.

best fantasy books

The Goblin Emperor

By Katherine Addison

Maia is the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor. He has lived his entire life in exile, separate from the echelons of power the rest of his family inhabit. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. 

Maia has no idea how to navigate this new world of treachery and power. He has no friends, no advisors, and no idea who, among the hangers-on that now surround him, wants him dead. He must become the Goblin Emperor that nobody imagined would rule, and try to stay alive without losing himself to the thrall of power.

A Master of Djinn

A Master of Djinn

By P. Djèlí Clark

Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities in the city of Cairo, 1912. Fresh off of preventing the destruction of the entire universe, she has now been tasked with solving the murder of a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz. He was the person responsible for opening up the veil between the magical world and our own, before vanishing without a trace. 

Now, the murderer of this group claims to be al-Jahiz himself, vengeful about the social oppressions of the modern age. Is he who he says he is? Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this man and keep Cairo safe.