Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
I had always been interested in folklore and mythical creatures ever since I was a child.
Centaurs, dragons, unicorns, mermaids, and other age-old creatures bought mythical creature books to life in new and exciting ways and pushed the boundaries of my imagination.
Today’s modern authors are still inspired by mythology and are breathing new life into these classic favorite characters in fun and imaginative ways.
Even the world’s most highly acclaimed authors of the 20th century such as J.K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, and George R. R. Martin have incorporated these animals into their writing.
But what are the best books about mythical creatures? And what kind of creatures are popular in today’s modern fantasies? These are all the best books with mythical creatures of all time.
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What To Expect From Mythical Creatures Books?
Books with mythical creatures transport you into a world of adventure, mystery, and imagination.
They allow you to escape reality and explore distant lands filled with magical creatures, powerful forces of good and evil, and unpredictable plots.
You can expect to see a vast diversity of characters; from dragons to unicorns, giants to trolls – there’s a wide range of fantastical creatures that help make these stories truly engaging.
On top of that, many authors make use of mythology as inspiration for their storylines and contain tales that are not unknown to readers beforehand. Many of them are fairytale retellings or reimagined folklore legends.
Not only do you get to dive into a realm of fantasy, but you get to learn more about different cultures through an exciting adventure.
Books about mythical creatures usually have intriguing battles between good and evil. Each creature plays its part in fighting for justice or chaos depending on where the story takes them.
Expect these books to have plenty of drama and action-packed scenes, as well as be introduced to themes relating to morality or justice, used to teach important lessons while you’re having fun reading.
Overall, books featuring mythical creatures offer diverse characters, unique worlds full of magic and danger, plus moral messages hidden beneath their pages – making them fantastic reads for all ages!
Best Books With Mythical Creatures
Now you know a little bit about what you might find in a mythical creature book, it’s time to introduce you to my favorite books with mythical creatures…
1. Mist Bound: How To Glue Back Grandpa – Daryl Kho
Mist Bound: How To Glue Back Grandpa by Daryl Kho is an award-winning children’s book with mythical creatures.
It’s one of the most popular children’s books in Singapore (the home of the author), and even adults who enjoy mystical creatures will fall in love with this story.
This short folklore book takes place in a magical land. It follows the story of Alexis who needs memory glue to help her grandpa.
She takes a journey into a magical world to find eight ingredients required to make the glue.
These ingredients aren’t ones she can find in the store. Alexis will have to come across monsters and other magical creatures to find them.
This book contains mythological creatures from Southeast Asian folklore and fairytale and will be familiar to those from Malaysia and Singapore who perhaps grew up hearing stories of these creatures.
It’s also beautifully illustrated.
2. Six Crimson Cranes – Elizabeth Lim
If you love the works of Leigh Bardugo or Shelby Mahurin, then you’re going to enjoy this young adult fantasy read by Elizabeth Lim.
Six Crimson Cranes is a story of dragons and enchanting cranes and a princess with magical powers. I loved Elizabeth Lim’s vivid storytelling and world-building in this book.
The story follows Shiori who has always kept her magical powers a secret. But, being forced into an arranged marriage caused her to lose control and unleash the magic.
This act made her stepmother Raikama angry. Raikama cast a spell banishing Shiori and turned her brothers into cranes.
However, Shiori is not giving up. She’s determined to find her brothers and get her place back in the kingdom.
Mythical creatures can come in any form, but I never expected to be glued to the pages of a book about cranes. Elizabeth Lim never disappoints.
3. Mythical Creatures & Magical Beasts – Zayden Stone
Of course, this list would not be completed without Mythical Creatures & Magical Beasts by Zayden Stone, which is the ULTIMATE book about mythical creatures.
Within the pages of this book, you’ll find information about nearly every mythical creature that has ever crossed your imagination… and then some.
It contains answers to a lot of your mythical questions and is also accompanied by beautiful illustrations and graphics, bringing the pages to life.
Stone covers the history of each creature, analyzes their symbolism in folklore, and retells original myths.
If you’re more interested in the history of mythical creatures over a fantasy story, this is the book for you. This book is intended for adult audiences.
4. An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures – Theresa Breslin
Mythical creatures take different shapes and forms throughout the world as each country and culture has its own unique folklore, but one country that is famous for its treasured folktales is Scotland.
If you enjoy Scottish myths and legends, either about the Loch Ness Monster or about creatures unknown, then Theresa Breslin’s book An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures is the perfect choice for your collection.
Throughout the pages are beautiful images of the creatures that are famous throughout Scottish folklore.
It’s not just a picture book, though. These illustrations are accompanied by a variety of tales to go along with the images.
This is another book that is more about learning and understanding the history of the creatures over the story. It’s catered to children aged 6 – 12, but adults will love it too.
It would suit anyone interested in learning about mythology in a fun way.
5. A Dark and Hollow Star – Ashley Shuttlesworth
One type of mythical creature I will never get bored of is Faeries. Yes, I know there are hundreds of stories featuring fae, but they are such diverse creatures they bring any story to life.
A Dark And Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttlesworth is a fae book that stands out for me among the others.
This story is set in the modern world but also takes readers into the Fae world. In this story, faeries live among humans under the condition that they wouldn’t use magic.
But, once a series of gruesome murders occur in Toronto, the faeries are exposed.
The fate of the fairies comes down to a group of teens. Each one is a key player in helping to catch the murderer.
This exciting book was impossible to put down and would capture the hearts of any young adult fantasy lover. It’s gripping, action-packed, and a real page-turner.
It’s also the first installment in the Hollow Star Saga, so perfect for those who want to get sucked into a series. If you like books about fae, then you may also like these fae romance novels.
6. The Dragon and The Unicorn – Lynne Cherry
One of the best books about mythical creatures for dragon enthusiasts is The Dragon and The Unicorn by Lynne Cherry.
The story takes readers to Ardet Forest, which is home to many mythical animals, including Allegra, the unicorn, and Valerio, the dragon.
All of these creatures have been able to live amongst each other in peace.
Their perfect habitat is put at risk when King Orlando starts cutting down the trees to make a home.
However, his daughter Arianna feels like she must convince him to stop, so he doesn’t destroy the animals’ homes.
I loved reading about the bonds between the different creatures, no matter how different they were. It’s something that reminds us to accept others for their differences and to think about our own moral compass.
If you’re looking for a story with unlikely best friends, this will warm your heart.
7. Into The Land Of Unicorns – Bruce Coville
Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville is the first book in the Unicorn Chronicles series. It’s a short book of only 176-pages, so you can easily devour it if you feel you can’t put it down (which will probably happen!)
I love the imagination put into this adventure. Luster is a magical land where unicorns and other creatures live.
We follow Cara, who has heard of this place and is determined to visit. When she finds a way to jump into Luster, her journey begins.
Cara meets several magnificent creatures when she arrives. She immediately connects with a unicorn named Lightfoot.
Cara and her new friends set out to find the Unicorn Queen before the mystery man with evil plans does.
Although this book was originally published in 1994, the story is still poignant and exciting and is still a hit with YA readers today.
8. Dragon’s Reach – J. A. Andrews
Dragon’s Reach by J.A. Andrews is a book about dragons, one of my favorite mythical creatures because of their power and ferocity of them.
Dragon’s Reach features a dragon that is pretty much as close to my imagination as I’ve found. I love the interesting characters, the compelling storyline, and just the right healthy dose of magic.
The story follows Sable, a thief paying off her debt to a mob boss. She has a unique gift allowing her to feel the truth when people speak.
Sable is determined to use this gift to break free. However, freedom is more dangerous than she could have imagined.
When she’s caught again, Sable makes it her mission to convince the Dragon Princess of the truth she discovered. But this won’t be an easy task.
This is the first book in The Keeper Origins trilogy and, not going to lie, is a hefty book to get through. Despite its size, the story never slows down the pace and has many twists and turns.
I enjoyed the world-building of this book and I can’t wait to see what more J. A. Andrews comes up with!
9. Beast Behaving Badly – Shelley Laurenston
Pairing mythical creatures and romance can go one of two ways, either really icky or absolutely amazing. Beast Behaving Badly is the latter. If you’re in the mood for something steamy, then you may want to dive into this read.
This story takes us into a world of shifters. Bo is a lion/polar bear hybrid, and ten years ago, he met a woman named Blayne and has been keeping an eye on her since.
When they meet again, she asks for his help, and of course, he doesn’t hesitate to step up to the offer.
As Bo spends more time around Blayne, he realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye.
This is a tantalizing shifter romance novel that is unique and sizzling. It has the classic damsel in distress meets strong, protective hero, but it still somehow feels different from the rest.
10. The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire) – Tui T. Sutherland
This list would be incomplete if I didn’t include the Wings of Fire series, which is now on its fifteenth book in the series! The Dragonet Prophecy is the first book in the series and is the one that will suck you in!
These adventurous children’s books follow a story about a dragon and a prophecy that promises that five dragons will end a war and crown a new queen.
Although, not everyone wants to meet their destiny.
The five dragons, Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Starflight, and Sunny are five dragons who learn to value friendship above all else.
Each book is short and sweet, and makes for the perfect beginner chapter book for second graders to get sucked into. The story is easy to follow and the language is simple.
Related post: Books like Wings of Fire
11. The Goblin Wars – Stuart Thaman
The Goblin Wars by Stuart Thaman is a fantastic novel with so much happening I don’t know where to begin.
It’s the first book in a trilogy, but each book in the trilogy has been featured in The Goblins Wars: Omnibus collection which has all the stories in one 800-page book.
There are many ways the goblin has been explored in folklore but they are always seen as the villain. I enjoyed reading about them in The Goblin Wars because they are treated as that – the big threat to the cities and kingdoms.
Lady Scrapple is using goblins to build a mindless army, but one is free, and she can’t control its mind.
The king of Talonred is missing, and the city is in ruins without his guidance. One determined warrior is willing to do anything to find him, even if it means facing goblins.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced and action-packed fantasy story with battles and fighting, then you’re going to love this read.
12. Wish: A Dream’s Beginning – Deby Adait
One of my favorite YA unicorn novels is Wish: A Dream’s Beginning by Deby Adait. This book is intended for tweens but I think its mythical creatures are fun for all ages.
We follow Rielle and her dog Pud, who meet a unicorn named Benny. They go on an adventure with his herd. As Benny discovers more about the young girl, he realizes that she’s lonely.
This book is about more than just the adventure the characters go on, it has some underlying moral messages about prejudice and loneliness.
It explores the beauty of friendships as Benny, and the herd accept Rielle and Pud.
It would be a great chapter book for first year teachers to read to their class about being a good friend and accepting others for their differences.
13. Ice Dragon – D.K. Holmberg
Ice Dragon by D.K. Homberg is the first book in the Dragon Misfits series and is a high fantasy, young-adult epic!
Everyone has been warned that a dragon is coming. There is protection in a mountain village, but it’s no place for a misfit like Jason.
However, when tales of a new dragon arriving begin to surface, Jason is forced down the mountain.
While trying to escape, Jason discovers he has a connection to magic. This could be the key to stopping the Dragon Souls. Could the village’s survival rest in Jason’s fate?
This exciting story had me glued to the pages and immediately searching for the second novel in the series (Iron Dragon).
It has many twists and turns and it was the plot that kept me hooked, though I didn’t find the writing to be anything special.
14. Fireborne – Rosaria Munda
Fireborn by Rosaria Munda is an action-packed novel that will have fantasy readers hooked on the pages. It’s the first installment in the addicting Aurelin Cycle series.
Annie and Lee are both in the regime to become Dragonriders. Both of them have very different backstories but form an unlikely bond.
They are also rivals for the top position in the dragon-riding fleet.
When survivors of an attack that happened when they were children come back, they begin a war to take over the city.
Friendship is put to the test when Annie and Lee must fight for survival and to save the city.
This is a great book that is intended for tweens and teens, but it would be loved by adults as well (I loved it as an adult).
It gave me Game of Thrones vibes, with incredible world-building and great character development, and just a hint of political intrigue.
15. Zombies VS Unicorns – Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Do you prefer zombies or unicorns? If the two were to battle it out, who do you think would win?
In Zombies vs. Unicorns, two of my favorite fantasy authors, Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, break it down through anthology stories.
There are several short stories supporting both sides of the argument, and they have bought in some of my favorite authors to help them (Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfield, and Margo Lanagan to name a few).
Ultimately, the reader can decide for themselves at the end of the book which creature is superior.
This is a fun and different book about mythical creatures and is probably more suited to fans of the authors involved than for simple reading.
I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and will read anything she’s written, even her shopping list.
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Final Words On Best Books With Mythical Creatures
If you love mythical creatures as much as I do, you’ll probably want to add a few of these books to your collection.
As you can see, these books are all very different from one another and cater to different tastes, so I hope you were able to find something that interests you on this list.
If you think I missed one of your favorite mythical creature books, let me know about it in the comments below.