Scottish Folklore: A Remarkable Legacy in Today’s Tantalizing Fantasy

Are you a fan of fantasy novels and folklore? Here are a few of our recommendations on Scottish folklore inspired fantasy fiction.

Book Culture BookTok Fantasy Fiction Recommendations

As discussed in my earlier article on Scottish folklore, many of the fantasy tropes and mythical creatures originated from Scottish mythology. Mermaids, faeries, sprites, and druids are just a sampling of what we are used to seeing authors utilize in their fantasy worlds. We’ve gathered some of our favorite Scottish folklore-inspired fantasy novels we think you’ll love.

A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ACOTAR is a retelling of the oral tale of “The Ballad of Tam Lin.” This ballad tells the story of a young man who is kidnapped by the Queen of the Fairies. He is rescued by his true love, who helps him to escape from the fairy realm. In Maas’ retelling, Tamlin is a cursed fae High Lord awaiting the day a human woman comes to love him. He is taken by Amarantha and subsequently rescued by Feyre (the human woman), along with several other fae nobility and their families. Maas incorporates many Scottish mythical creatures in her world of Prythian that, include: the Linton worm, faeries, mer-folk, banshees, and more. 


Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

As the youngest and only sister of seven siblings, it falls upon Sorcha to save her family from the curses that have befallen her family and to protect their land from enemies. She is kidnapped and taken to the land of the fae where she finds love like no other. She must choose between her family and her heart as to whom she will save. This story gives praise to Celtic traditions and folklore. 


The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

Epic adventure, magic, comradery, and the search for oneself encapsulate this Celtic trilogy. Five Toronto college students find themselves swept away to the magical realm of Fionavar, First of All Worlds, by the mage Loren Silvercloak. Good vs evil high fantasy adventure takes place as humans join forces with magical beings to overcome the fallen god Rakoth Maugrim and his siblings. 


The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Three siblings discover a world of fairies after their family moves into the Spiderwick Estate. The estate was home to a brownie that becomes angry with the children after they inadvertently destroy his nest. A series of revenge-filled events follow and the children discover Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, detailing faeries in the forest that surround the estate. Each book incorporates mythical creatures of Scottish folklore.


Prince of Foxes by H.L. Macfarlane

A romantic Scottish faerie tale with a banished fae prince, a reluctant human heroine, and plenty of mythic creatures. Prince of Foxes is a loose retelling of the Scottish folklore “Gold-tree and Silver-tree.” Written by a Scotland native, the story is authentic in its interpretation and lyrical writing reminiscent of oral traditions. 


Read more about Scottish Folktales here.