I am looking for a fantasy book series about Elves that I read years ago.

The main character is human and he falls in love with an Elven girl.

The details that I can remember:

  • There is a war in the book.
  • The girl has swirl tattoos on her body that are a representation of her magic power -- She has more or bigger ones then other elves and is the second main character.
  • During the books she gets more or bigger ones when her magic grows.
  • I can only remember that her mom is a big influential player, (I think political but I'm unsure) in the Elven world/leadership.
  • At the end, during a special Elven feast, the boy gets transformed, (I think into a Elf by a golden dragon, who is the representation of Magic).

I remember that some elves can only partially take animal forms whilst others can become wholly the animal they want

Thanks for the answers so far; it is not:

  1. The Inheritance Cycle
  2. The Elfhome (Tinker) series
  3. House of Night series by P. C. Cast + Kirstin Cast
  • You might have a look at the checklists here How to ask a good story-ID question? to see if there's any info you can recall.
    – Valorum
    Jun 14, 2017 at 15:41
  • What was the main character's name? What was his love interest's name? Who were the elves at war with? Was she a princess or was her mother a politician? What magic did she do? What was the plot (did they travel or face some kind of adversity?)?
    – Valorum
    Jun 14, 2017 at 15:46
  • Maybe look at this question which mentions elves with tattoos.
    – eshier
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:47
  • Does this answer your question? Fantasy series with a warrior elf who had magic tattoos
    – Alex M
    Dec 7, 2019 at 0:21
  • @AlexM Two things: point at the ultimate target, not a question closed as duplicate of another, and we don't close a story-id question as duplicate until it has an accepted answer.
    – DavidW
    Dec 7, 2019 at 1:17

1 Answer 1


This sounds like the Inheritance Cycle -- Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance -- by Christopher Paolini. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_Cycle has a decent synopsis.

As far as I remember, there are no tattoos mentioned. However, every other thing you mention is represented. Eragon is a young (he is fifteen years old when the series starts) male who impressed a Dragon, is taught the magic of the Elves, falls in love with an Elf, Arya, whose mother is Queen of the Elves. Eragon is transformed into an Elf during the Elves' Blood-Oath Celebration, which happens once every one hundred years, by the spirit of the dragons who gave Elves (and later, humans) the ability to perform magic.

The Elves are at war with Galbatorix, a Dragon Rider who violated his oaths to seek personal power. He is currently the king of Alagaësia. Galbatorix and his thirteen Forsworn have killed all the other Dragon Riders (except Eragon). Except for Galbatorix, all of the Forsworn are dead. The only magic users, and thus the only threat to his magical tyranny, as far as Galbatorix knows, are the Elves.

Tattoos as a representation of magic power remind me of two other series.

The first series is Wen Spencer's Tinker/Elfhome series -- the Sekasha caste of elves have protective magics tattooed on their bodies in the color of the clan of the person they defend. (Wind is Blue, Fire is Red, and Stone is Black. I think Water is White, though members of that clan have been conspicuous by their absence so far.) Even though Tinker is female, she does not act like a "typical" female; she's an eighteen-year-old absent-minded inventor who loves magic (great-great-great-granddad was an Elf stranded on a magic-poor Earth. Tinker and her male cousin -- who acts more like a brother -- Oilcan has inherited the genetic code to use the Elven Spellstones), hovercraft racing (she invented the hovercraft) and quantum physics.

The other series, the House of Night series by P. C. Cast + Kirstin Cast currently stands at twelve books, four novellas, and four "related books". Its only similarity to the books you're describing is the swirly tattoos that grow as the magic power of the individual grows. They appear on the face during puberty (when a strand of "junk DNA" gets activated and turns the unfortunate teen into a vampire. The tattoos do grow as the individual's power grows. I don't remember any elves. A war between factions of the House of Nyx (where the newly converted vampires attend school for four years and learn to use their powers (as well as mundane subjects like geography and mathematics), boils over into open warfare in later books.

  • There are very few references to tattoos being magic in the Inheritance Cycle. As far as I can remember off the top of my head the only time that tattoos are directly linked to magic is the two elven maids who jointly have a dragon tattooed on their bodies which is detailed during the elven feast/festival in book 2 I think. That one occasion may be the instance in the OPs mind, but tattoos are not important in any of the rest of the story.
    – Theyna
    Jun 15, 2017 at 20:39

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