The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

With a panel of leading fantasy authors—N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and Marlon James—TIME presents the most engaging, inventive and influential works of fantasy fiction, in chronological order beginning in the 9th century

best fantasy books to read

N.K. Jemisin on the Timeless Power of Fantasy

best fantasy books to read

The Arabian Nights

best fantasy books to read

Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

best fantasy books to read

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

best fantasy books to read

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

best fantasy books to read

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

best fantasy books to read

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

best fantasy books to read

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

best fantasy books to read

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

best fantasy books to read

The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola

best fantasy books to read

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

best fantasy books to read

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

best fantasy books to read

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola

best fantasy books to read

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

best fantasy books to read

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

best fantasy books to read

A Hero Born by Jin Yong

best fantasy books to read

The Once & Future King by T.H. White

best fantasy books to read

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

best fantasy books to read

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

best fantasy books to read

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

best fantasy books to read

The Wandering Unicorn by Manuel Mujica Lainez

best fantasy books to read

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

best fantasy books to read

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

best fantasy books to read

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

best fantasy books to read

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

best fantasy books to read

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

best fantasy books to read

Watership Down by Richard Adams

best fantasy books to read

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

best fantasy books to read

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

best fantasy books to read

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

best fantasy books to read

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

best fantasy books to read

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

best fantasy books to read

The BFG by Roald Dahl

best fantasy books to read

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

best fantasy books to read

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

best fantasy books to read

Redwall by Brian Jacques

best fantasy books to read

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

best fantasy books to read

The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

best fantasy books to read

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

best fantasy books to read

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

best fantasy books to read

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

best fantasy books to read

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

best fantasy books to read

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

best fantasy books to read

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

best fantasy books to read

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

best fantasy books to read

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

best fantasy books to read

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

best fantasy books to read

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

best fantasy books to read

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

best fantasy books to read

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

best fantasy books to read

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

best fantasy books to read

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

best fantasy books to read

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

best fantasy books to read

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

best fantasy books to read

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

best fantasy books to read

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

best fantasy books to read

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

best fantasy books to read

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

best fantasy books to read

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

best fantasy books to read

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

best fantasy books to read

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

best fantasy books to read

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

best fantasy books to read

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

best fantasy books to read

Angelfall by Susan Ee

best fantasy books to read

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

best fantasy books to read

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

best fantasy books to read

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

best fantasy books to read

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

best fantasy books to read

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

best fantasy books to read

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

best fantasy books to read

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

best fantasy books to read

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

best fantasy books to read

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

best fantasy books to read

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

best fantasy books to read

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

best fantasy books to read

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

best fantasy books to read

The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

best fantasy books to read

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

best fantasy books to read

The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang

best fantasy books to read

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

best fantasy books to read

Jade City by Fonda Lee

best fantasy books to read

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

best fantasy books to read

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

best fantasy books to read

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

best fantasy books to read

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

best fantasy books to read

Circe by Madeline Miller

best fantasy books to read

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

best fantasy books to read

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

best fantasy books to read

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

best fantasy books to read

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

best fantasy books to read

Witchmark by C.L. Polk

best fantasy books to read

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

best fantasy books to read

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

best fantasy books to read

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

best fantasy books to read

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

best fantasy books to read

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

best fantasy books to read

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

best fantasy books to read

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

best fantasy books to read

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

best fantasy books to read

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

best fantasy books to read

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

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36 of the best fantasy books everyone should read

Are you looking for your next fantasy must-read? From wizards and werewolves to weird happenings underground, we've pulled together some of the WIRED team's favourite fantasy series. Some are set in strange and fantastic worlds, while others start a little closer to home. And, if you'd like more reading ideas, try our guide to the best sci-fi books or our picks of the best books on Audible .

It's Prime Day 2023, so we've uncovered the top discounts. Check out the best Prime Day deals in the UK here.​​

Piranesi is a wondrous, genre-defying book, but if it had to fit somewhere, 'fantasy' would be the label we'd give it. The less you know about Piranesi , the better, but as a taster, it follows the life of a man who lives within the spectacular, statue-filled halls of a vast, labyrinthine house. Waves roll into the halls, birds and sea creatures come and go, but he has no idea why he's there or how he got there. He's more concerned with writing journal entries and documenting things he encounters.

It's a twisting novel that's both beautiful and deeply unsettling. It's one you could read in a single sitting because the narrator seems so unnervingly naive, and the more you discover, the more you itch for what secrets are hiding beneath the surface. Released in 2021, Piranesi was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and won a massive amount of critical acclaim for author Susanna Clarke. If her name rings a bell, it's because she's already well-known for her first novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell , which was published in 2004 and adapted into a TV series.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Described as Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven , Six of Crows is set in the Grishaverse – like the award-winning Shadow and Bone trilogy, which is now a major Netflix show. In fact, the show might be called Shadow and Bone , but it draws from the cast of characters in Six of Crows , too. Six of Crows begins in Ketterdam, a raucous, busy hub of trade with an underbelly of crime. Kaz Brekker is a criminal mastermind who’s offered the chance to carry out a risky heist with a considerable reward. He handpicks a team to help, including a convict, excellent sharpshooter, and a spy – six outcasts in total, all trying to pull off the ultimate heist. Bardugo is brilliant at world-building, which is a treat if you’re entering the Grishaverse for the first time and a welcome return for anyone who’s read the Shadow and Bone trilogy or her latest duology set in the same universe, King of Scars . Yes, Six of Crows and the other Grishaverse books are technically YA, but don’t let that put you off.

If anyone deserves to be on this list twice, it’s Neil Gaiman. Stardust is a magical fantasy novel that’s a delight to read at any age. It’s about a young man called Tristran Thorn, who vows to find a star for the woman he loves after they see it fall from the night sky.

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What follows is a fairy tale that weaves in stories, characters and settings that are already embedded in our cultural make-up, like pirates, spells, curses, witches, power struggles, falling stars, otherworldly beings and much more. Gaiman said: “I wanted to write a story that would feel, to the reader, like something he or she had always known” – and that’s the enduring appeal of Stardust. The book was adapted into a movie in 2007 with a star-studded cast, including Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Claire Danes. Once you’ve read the book, you should find it on your go-to streaming service, as it does Neil Gaiman’s original tale justice.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Another award-winning entry, Jade City bagged The World Fantasy Award in 2018 and was shortlisted for many others, including the Nebula Awards and the Locus Awards. It’s an epic story that many have said is reminiscent of classic Hong Kong gangster movies. However, the twist here is that it’s set in Janloon, a fantastical metropolis that Lee describes incredibly vividly.

The central premise of Jade City is, as you might guess, all about Jade. This is a stone that’s the lifeblood of the city and has magical properties as it can enhance a person’s natural abilities. That’s why it’s so precious and controlled by two warring families. But when a new drug emerges that gives anyone the power to take advantage of the mystical energies of Jade, tension rises, and violence ensues. It’s stylish, full of beautiful, gritty descriptions and, despite being a fantasy book, touches on all kinds of relatable themes, like family honour and tradition.

Price: £8 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible trial

Considered one of the best fantasy books ever written, The Last Unicorn is a magical story about a unicorn living in a forest. One day, hunters arrive in the forest and believe it must contain a unicorn because of the magic protecting the creatures there. One of the hunters shouts a warning to the unicorn that she might be the last of her kind, which urges her to embark on a quest to find more unicorns – or learn what’s happened to them.

What comes next is full of sadness, adventure and wonder, with talking animals, witches, a harpy, spells, a magician, and much, much more. It’s another book that’s a trip back into the world of magic and fairy tales for adults, but a firm favourite for children of all ages, too. The Last Unicorn has since been adapted for the screen. In 1982, it was made into a movie featuring the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee.

Price: £16 | Amazon | Waterstones

Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (2018)

Written by award-winning science-fiction and fantasy writer Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death is set in Sudan in a far off, nuclear holocaust-ravaged future. There’s genocide and suffering between two warring tribes and, amidst this immense pain and violence, Onyesonwu is born – her name means “who fears death?” in an ancient language. Onyesonwu is special, displaying all manner of magical powers from an early age. This book is a mesmerising blend of magic, folk tradition, love and spirituality. But read it soon before it hits your TV screen if you’re a book-before-adaptation kind of person. Who Fears Death is being made into a TV series for HBO and George R. R. Martin is set to be an executive producer.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (2020)

Imagine Beauty and the Beast but ramp up the romance and fantasy even more, transform Beauty into a huntress and Beast into some kind of fantastical faerie lord and that’s A Court of Thorns and Roses . Sara J. Maas might have used the classic fairytale as a starting pont for this epic fantasical romance, but it’s a brilliant story in its own right. So much so that it’s the first in a best-selling series of the same name. A Court of Thorns and Roses begins with Feyre, a huntress who kills a wolf to feed her family. But this was no ordinary wolf. In fact, it wasn’t a wolf at all and Feyre has to face the consequences of her violent actions. This is, technically, a YA (young adult) novel, but don’t let that put you off, it has a huge adult fanbase.

Price: £7 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

The Power, by Naomi Alderman (2017)

The Power could also be classed as science-fiction, but we’re including it in our fantasy recommendations because what’s more fantastical than every woman in the land suddenly being able to electrocute men Palpatine-style with their fingertips? That’s the searingly smart and brilliantly-explored premise of The Power , which allows us to imagine what would happen if the present balance in the world – or, more rightly so, imbalance, – was reversed in favour of women. Would we be living in a calm utopia within a fortnight? Would we face the same problems we always have? Or would there be a whole host of new challenges to contend with?

The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin (2016)

It doesn’t feel like there’s a right way to begin explaining the truly monumental premise and proportions of The Fifth Season , so let’s just dive in. This book takes place on a planet with one massive supercontinent called Stillness. Every few hundred years the ‘fifth season’ occurs – a period of catastrophic climate change. The world-building prowess of Jemisin’s The Fifth Season is epic, there are different ethnicities, species, areas and castes with all kinds of powers and conflicts, and plenty of other details that won’t make sense until you read the book – be prepared to be a little overwhelmed when you’re first introduced to this new universe. This award-winning tome is the first in the Broken Earth series, with later books also scooping up prestigious Hugo Awards in their own right.

Riot Baby, by Tochi Onyebuchi (2020)

Set in the near future, Riot Baby might be a story with fantastical elements weaved throughout it, but it explores very real, pertinent and important issues of race and bias algorithms. The riot baby in this book is Kev, a young Black man who’s in prison. His sister, Ella, has a number of special powers – like being able to see into the future. Riot Baby is novella length (perfect for anyone whose concentration span isn’t what it used to be) and written in a fast-paced style that makes us, as readers, feel as if we’re witnessing flashes of memories in a manner that’s wedded to some of the central themes of anger and injustice.

Price: £14 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (2018)

Some might say Octavia E. Butler’s fantastic Kindred is a work of science-fiction or speculative fiction, but it’s in our list because Butler herself called it “a kind of grim fantasy”. This is a time travel narrative, but we’d bet it’s quite unlike any you’ve read before. Kindred follows the story of a woman called Dana who’s transported from 1976 Los Angeles to a Maryland plantation in 1815, where she’s assumed to be a slave. Like all good fantasy and science-fiction, the magical, surreal, time-travelling elements act as a way into a raw exploration of race, power and gender that’s as relevant and urgent now as it was when Butler first published it in 1979.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | Audible

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch (2006)

Renaissance Venice meets fantasy meets the twists and turns of a well crafted crime novel. Scott Lynch builds a fascinating fantasy city with real detail and real grit. No shining heroes and wistful princesses here. Instead criminal gangs, corrupt officials and the high likelihood of being mugged in a back alley. There is almost a sense of Oceans 11 meets venetian masquerade, blink and you’ll miss the sleight of hand! Fantasy is almost an afterthought in this novel and it is really about the character building and storytelling. Sure there are shark matadors and alchemical alcoholic fruits, not to mention the mysterious Elderglass, but these are more a backdrop rather than plot driving and all combine to make, subtle and intriguing read. There are plenty of twists and turns as Locke navigates the underworld of Camorr, but it’s unlikely you’ll see all of them coming!? This is the first book of a trilogy and although it stands alone you’ll want to read the other two to see what happens next in Red Seas Under Red Skies and A Republic of Thieves .

Earthlings, by Sayaka Murata (2020)

Not one for the faint hearted, this dark fantasy comedy from the author of Convenience Store Woman is tricky to pin down into any one category and the final pages will probably leave you gobsmacked. Natsuki and Yuu are cousins who have long prepared to be abducted back to their home planet. So far, so childhood but then they grow up and the plan persists. In the meantime they have to try to function in regular society, securing partners and jobs and not drawing attention to themselves. No taboo is left unturned with Earthlings encouraging minor acts of rebellion from what 'society' tells us we have to do.

Price: £10.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Circe, by Madeline Miller (2018)

Circe, daughter of Titan sun god Helios, finds herself overshadowed in the halls of the gods until she discovers her own, different power: witchcraft. Banished to a deserted island for abusing her magic, and repeatedly let down by the men she puts her trust in, Circe must forge her own path: as a goddess, a witch, and a woman. Miller’s novel offers a new perspective on tales of Greek myth, with Circe’s centuries-long story seeing her appear at the birth of the Minotaur, face off with goddess of war Athena, and host hero Odysseus on his long return from Troy. An accessible read with larger-than-life characters and an adventurous plot, Circe is mythology as you’ve never known it before.

Price: £7 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, by Tad Williams (1988 to 1993)

The three books in this trilogy, The Dragonbone Chair , Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower , are beautifully crafted fantasies that deftly interweave almost comically simple tropes with a rewarding complexity and depth. Game of Thrones fans will find much to enjoy – George R. R. Martin readily admits they were a big inspiration for him – as Williams takes a similarly methodical approach to creating the fictional continent Osten Ard and the races that inhabit it. His tales of the humble kitchen scullion who has great things ahead of him are full of joyful and sorrowful moments that will have you laughing and crying, making them a delightful diversion from life's ups and downs.

Price: £6 | Amazon | Abe Books | 30-day Audible trial

Malazan Book of the Fallen series, by Steven Erikson (1999 to 2011)

Spanning 10 books and over 9,000 pages of brutal, beautiful and complex fantasy writing, Steven Erikson's series delivers world building on a larger scale than Tolkien and Jordan put together. Erikson will have you laughing and crying as you follow the lives of disparate heroes and anti-heroes across a sweeping vista of worlds peopled by a unique set of races and animals. You will fall in love with his characters and you will hate them, either way you will want to know what happens next. Beginning with the Gardens of the Moon , Erikson’s ability to write epic convergence is unparalleled and will leave you unable to stand the tension leading up to the major events he depicts.

The First Law Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombie (2006 to 2008)

Joe Abercrombie writes brilliant characters. Be it the story of an ageing berserker, a crippled torturer or a pompous noble, his The First Law Trilogy immerses you in a bloody mire of violent, visceral and gritty adventures. You will see the glory of battle in all its bowel spilling ineptitude and hopelessness, but there is always someone to root for even if it is not the god blessed heroes and heroines you might usually expect. As an added bonus there are also three standalone books and a collection of short stories that revisit some of the First Law characters and world, something you will be eager to devour once you’ve read the first trilogy.

Price: £17 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Golem and the Djinni, by Helene Wecker (2013)

Helene Wecker's debut novel is an eerie tale of two magical creatures set loose in 19th century New York. A golem – a mythical creature of Jewish lore – awakens during a sea voyage, and is taught to pass as human among the diverse groups of people living in the city. At the same time, a tinsmith in New York accidentally frees a genie from a flask after centuries of imprisonment, but he's trapped in human form seeking a way to return to his full power. The pair meet and become friends, and must team up to counter an evil sorcerer who wants to enslave them both.

Price: £10 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Dune, by Frank Herbert (1965)

Welcome to a desert planet where water is more precious than gold, everyone wears moisture-preserving jumpsuits and giant worm creatures can come out of the earth's floor that can kill you at any moment. This is Dune, a stark wasteland where warring houses scheme against each other in bloody battles that can alter the course of human history. Although it's science-fiction on the surface, Frank Herbert's epic tome features the fantasy tropes of betrayal, redemption and freedom in spades, and is rightly considered one of the most important of the genre. Herbert's masterpiece not only helped to inspire Star Wars – it still resonates today, tackling environmental concerns, the rise of superpowers and rebellion of people exploited on their own land.

The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King (1998)

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." This iconic line kicks off Stephen King's iconic The Dark Tower, which mashes together fantasy, westerns and elements of science fiction. The first of seven books follows gunslinger Roland as he pursues a mysterious, malevolent presence across a strange world that's linked to our own. From there, it sprawls into a rambling epic that highlight's King's imagination as well as his touch for horror.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin (1996)

Fans of the television series have been distancing themselves from Game of Thrones in droves since that disastrous final season, but George R.R. Martin's books remain relatively untainted. A Game of Thrones , the first in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series, sets the tone – with violence and adult themes rarely seen in a lot of mainstream fantasy up to that point. Each chapter follows an individual character's point of view, and although the series does becomes slightly bogged down in later entries, it is gripping – and the ending is still to come.

Price: £8.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (1990)

Both Pratchett and Gaiman feature in their own right on this list and Good Omens , composed in part over answerphone messages three decades ago, delivers on the promise of a fantasy literature titan team up. It's the extremely silly story of an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, played with glee by Michael Sheen and David Tennant in this year's Amazon Prime Video series, trying to stop Armageddon. Most fantasy books ask for a serious commitment but Good Omens is a fully formed, read-in-an-afternoon treat.

Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch (2011)

Set in a lovingly described version of present-day London, the Rivers of London series charts the adventures of Detective Constable Peter Grant, one of two wizards in the Metropolitan Police. It grounds its fantastical elements in the scientific method, and the mixture of flying spells and police jargon gives the ongoing series a unique and enjoyable tone. The first book, Rivers of London describes an encounter with a malevolent spirit that draws Grant into the capital's magical underworld.

Price: £8 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan (1990-2007)

An epic fourteen novel saga, (as well as a prequel novel and two companion books), the author James Oliver Rigney Jr. (pen name Robert Jordan), published the first entry in 1990 and was still writing on his death in 2007. Too vast to summarise, the fantasy world – actually a distant version of Earth – is epic and magical, with a gigantic cast of characters. The series has spawned a video game, a roleplaying game, a soundtrack album and a forthcoming TV series, and the books have sold more than 80 million copies, making it one of the bestselling fantasy series since Lord of the Rings .

Price: £20 | Amazon | Blackwells | 30-day Audible trial

The Gormenghast series, by Mervyn Peake (1946-56)

The first instalment of Mervyn Peake’s epic fantasy series, which features three books and a novella, was published in 1946. It follows the residents of Castle Gormenghast – a giant, gothic castle. In the first book, we meet title character Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the castle and its kingdom. Populated with a host of fantastical creatures, Gormenghast is like a Lord of the Rings that didn’t blow up. Unlike much of the fantasy genre gets high praise in literary circles too: Harold Bloom called the series best fantasy novels of the twentieth century.

Price: £20 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman (1995)

Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights is a children’s book with a depth and complexity that can satisfy adults. We follow Lyra Belacqua and Pantalaimon, her daemon – her inner self given animal form – as she investigates rumours of children being separated from their own spiritual companions. Over the three-book series, this transitions into a battle between humanity and heaven. It functions in part as a retelling and inversion of John Milton's epic Paradise Lost . The second entry of a three-part sequel trilogy was published in late 2019.

The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman (2018)

Philip Pullman has returned with a follow-up to the His Dark Materials trilogy. The Book of Dust is a second trilogy set in the world of Lyra Belacqua and her inner self in animal form, Pantalaimon. At the point of writing two of the trilogy have been released: La Belle Sauvage (2018) and The Secret Commonwealth (2019). The first of these is set before the tumultuous events of His Dark Materials. But the second fast forwards to a decade after their conclusion. There's espionage, spies and frantic attempts to stop the world from vanishing into darkness.

Price: £7.50 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher (2000)

Harry Dresden is a professional wizard in a version of modern-day Chicago where fantastical creatures lurk just underneath the surface. He makes his living as a private detective, solving cases that bridge the worlds of the real and the uncanny. In Storm Front , the first book in long-running series The Dresden Files, he finds himself duelling with vampires, werewolves, and the mob.

Price: £40 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville (2000)

China Miéville's work falls more accurately under the banner of Weird Fiction, an amalgamation of fantasy and horror pioneered by HP Lovecraft. This work, one in a series of books set in the world of Bas-Lag, lies closer to the fantasy genre. As Mieville describes it "it's basically a secondary world fantasy with Victorian-era technology. So rather than being a feudal world, it's an early industrial capitalist world of a fairly grubby, police statey kind”.

Price: £11 | Amazon | Waterstones | 30-day Audible trial

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (2001)

The Amazon Prime series failed to spark, but Neil Gaiman's richly described novel is well worth a read. American Gods pits the abandoned folk deities of the old world against the modern idols we worship now. It follows Shadow Moon, a convict who finds out – days before his release – that his wife has died in a car accident, and falls into the surreal orbit of Mr Wednesday (Odin) and a looming showdown between the old gods and the new.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin (1968)

Ursula Le Guin is one of the titans of fantasy and sci-fi – her books explore political and feminist themes in fantastical settings. The Left Hand of Darkness focuses on an androgynous civilisation, and The Dispossessed is set in anarchist Utopia. The Earthsea series is more traditional but still brilliant – we follow Ged, a teenager at magic school, who causes a disaster dabbling in the dark arts. Readers have pointed to the similarities between Ged’s school and Hogwarts.

The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobbs (1995-1997)

Robin Hobbs' epic fantasy series hero follows FitzChivalry Farseer, or Fitz for short, the bastard son of the crown prince. Raised in a stable and trained as an assassin, the story charts his adventures through the kingdom of The Six Duchies: magic, murder, and political intrigue abound, as well as a zombie curse. Sound familiar? Definitely a good choice for those suffering from Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms.

Price: £9 | Amazon | Waterstones | start a 30-day Audible trial

The Accursed Kings, by Maurice Druon (1955-77)

A curveball: not fantasy (the books cover the French monarchy in the 14th century), but a book for fans of fantasy. Its author Maurice Druon is the hero of George RR Martin, who penned the series that became Game of Thrones . As Martin wrote in the Guardian: “ The Accursed Kings has it all: iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, deception, family rivalries, the curse of the Templars, babies switched at birth, she-wolves, sin and swords, the doom of a great dynasty and all of it (or most of it) straight from the pages of history."

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (2004)

One of the more recent publications on this list, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The book’s premise is that magic has returned: two men, Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange, wield it. Written in a comedy of manners, Jane Austen style, it took its author British writer Susanna Clarke (see Piranesi above) ten years to write and was widely acclaimed on its release in 2004.

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Mort, by Terry Pratchett (1987)

One of the best entries in Terry Pratchett’s inimitable Discworld series, Mort focuses on a teenager who is taken under the apprenticeship of Death. Appearing in nearly every one of the Discworld books, Pratchett’s Death is one of the author’s greatest creations, and the source of some of the series’ most famous quotes ("Don’t think of it as dying, just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush.”) It’s in Mort that Death grows into a sympathetic and likeable character, who loves cats and curry and is continuously baffled by the irrationally of humans.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (2019)

Marlon James, who won the Booker prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings , is not traditionally a fantasy writer, but he dubbed his latest book the African Game of Thrones . (Although he later revealed the comparison was a joke). This book focuses on the political tensions between warring states, in a world populated by a host of magical creatures: cannibals, vampires, witches, ghosts and sorcerers.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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The 50 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

Fantasy is the oldest genre of literature, but its best release ever landed just six years ago.

Fantasy is the oldest genre of literature, pre-dating the invention of bound books by thousands of years thanks to mythology and folklore. Yet even now, readers and critics can’t always agree on what fantasy is and what it isn’t. For some, ancient poetry like Beowulf, The Odyssey, and The Epic of Gilgamesh is fair game. For others, the modern genre for adults began with George MacDonald’s Phantastes in 1858, the story of a thirsty 21-year-old who wakes up in Fairy Land and falls in love with a marble statue sculpted by Pygmalion.

Origins aside, most scholars agree on a basic definition: fantasy is when something we consider supernatural occurs that can’t be explained by technology (as in science fiction) or the macabre (as in horror). Of course, there are no strict borders between these genres, and many books could be reasonably shelved under all three. But for this list, we concentrated on novels that are primarily fantasy, which is why you won’t see genre-straddlers like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time or Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun .

To keep this lineup manageable, we only included books originally published as a bound book on paper—which ruled out classics like Journey to the West and One Thousand and One Nights —and ensured they were currently and easily available in print. We also limited the list to one book per author, to avoid crowding it with multiple titles in the same series.

While all lists are subjective, we emphasized books that brought something new and innovative to the genre—books that inspired other fantasy writers as well as readers. In ranked order, here are the best fantasy books of all time.

Harper Voyager The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty

The first novel in Chakraborty’s trilogy is set in 18th-century Cairo, where a thief-slash-exorcist named Nahri accidentally summons a djinn warrior. Together, they travel to the “city of brass,” a magical metropolis called Daevabad. Nahri’s story continues in two fast-paced sequels, The Kingdom of Copper and The Empire of Gold, while a spinoff story compilation, The River of Silver, is forthcoming this October.

Anchor The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The only book on this list written during National Novel Writing Month, Morgenstern’s debut novel is an atmospheric fairy tale about Le Cirque des Rêves —a traveling magical circus that only appears at night in Victorian England. The nonlinear story is full of surprising secrets that keep coming until the very end.

Vintage The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro

The author of Never Let Me Go has only written one fantasy novel, but he knocked it out of the park. In the Dark Ages after the death of King Arthur, a mysterious “mist” prevents Britons from storing long-term memories. An elderly couple, convinced that a son they can barely remember is missing, journeys across the country to find him, where they stumble upon ogres, a dragon, and Sir Gawain.

Broadway Books The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

Carolyn and her eleven siblings live together in the house of their father, a seemingly immortal man whose library grants them special powers. To say anything else would spoil this riveting, one-of-a-kind novel full of surprises and paced like a thriller.

Tordotcom Ring Shout, by P. Djèlí Clark

In Clark’s harrowing novella, white supremacists summon demonic entities when The Birth of a Nation premiers in 1915. Seven years later in Georgia, three battle-ready Black women armed with a sword, a rifle, and explosives come together at Stone Mountain to stop a demon-infested Ku Klux Klan from bringing about an apocalypse.

Dalkey Archive Press The Other City, by Michal Ajvaz

Translated into English in 2009, The Other City is a challenging but immensely rewarding novel set in Prague, where an unnamed narrator discovers a purple book written in an indecipherable language; he then realizes that there’s another, surreal version of the city existing in the same space as the familiar one. His midnight travels through this “other city” are rich with Borgesian and Dalíesque imagery, resulting in a reading experience you’ll never forget.

Tordotcom The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, by Kai Ashante Wilson

Another strange forest is at the center of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson’s 2015 novella about two men descended from dead gods. They lead an expedition through the Wildeeps, where multiple worlds overlap and magical creatures stalk their party. It’s a captivating world, expanded upon even further in 2016 by a followup novella, A Taste of Honey .

Liveright Publishing Corporation The Unfinished World, by Amber Sparks

Amber Sparks plays with form, genre, and archetypes in this nuanced collection of short stories. An assortment of knights, werewolves, astronauts, librarians, time-travelers, and dinosaurs haunt these pages, but never as tropes—despite their fantastical premises, each story is grounded in emotional realism.

Tordotcom Witchmark, by C.L. Polk

Winner of the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Witchmark is set in a secondary world similar to Edwardian England and ruled by noble families with magical powers. The setup is fantastic and the characters are nuanced, but the book really shines in the latter half, thanks to a series of revelations you’ll never see coming.

Penguin Books Tales of Falling and Flying, by Ben Loory

Ben Loory’s very short stories are almost a genre unto themselves, somewhere between fairy tales, fantasy vignettes, and absurdist sketches. They'll make you think, wonder, and laugh out loud. None of these 40 stories ends like you expect it to—not even the one about the Dodo.

Harper Perennial What Should Be Wild, by Julia Fine

Fine’s debut novel opens with one of the most stunning first lines of all time: “They grew me inside of my mother, which was unusual, because she was dead.” Born with the power to kill and revive living things with a single touch, 16-year-old Maisie Cothay embarks on an adventure through a mysterious forest to find her missing father.

Tor Books A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab

Schwab’s Shades of Magic series begins with this blockbuster, where a few rare magicians have the power to travel between four versions of London—Red London, full of magic; Grey London, our own world in the Regency era; White London, a dying city; and Black London, destroyed by magic long ago. It’s as fascinating as it sounds.

Vintage The Vorrh, by Brian Catling

A dark, polarizing novel filled with passages of exquisite beauty and heartache. Shortly after World War I, an English soldier arrives in the African city of Essenwald—which was transported brick by brick from its original location in Germany—as a base camp for his journey across a vast unmapped forest, armed with a bow made from the bones and sinews of his dead wife. It gets even weirder from there.

Berkley Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay

In the 1970s, Guy Gavriel Kay helped Christopher Tolkien edit The Silmarillion after the passing of J.R.R. Tolkien. In the decades since, Kay has become one of the most prolific fantasy writers of his generation, often setting his novels in worlds that closely resemble historical places on Earth. His most impressive book, 1990’s Tigana , takes place on a planet with two moons, magic, and a culture inspired by medieval Italy’s warring provinces.

Tordotcom The Black Tides of Heaven, by Neon Yang

An epic novella in Yang’s Tensorate series, The Black Tides of Heaven was a finalist for the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards in 2018. The twin children of a brutal empress, Mokoya and Akeha grow up in a monastery where they develop magical powers. After declaring their chosen genders as youths, they fall into opposing sides in the war over their mother’s empire.

Bantam A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

When the first book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series was published in 1996, no one could have predicted that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow would become household names two decades later, courtesy of HBO. While the two most recent volumes have lost some of the momentum Martin built in the first three, there’s no denying that the original A Game of Thrones is a landmark event for turning so many well-worn genre tropes upside down.

Yearling The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman

It’s hard to pick the best book in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The Golden Compass is a fascinating if somewhat arduous introduction to Lyra’s world, full of daemons and airships and armored polar bears, while The Amber Spyglass takes the biggest narrative risks (not all of which pay off). But The Subtle Knife is a fast-paced romp through the multiverse, unburdened by the setup and windup duties that sometimes weighed down the first and third books in the series.

Orbit Queen of the Conquered, by Kacen Callender

A Black woman with the power to read minds, Sigourney Rose seeks revenge on the colonizers who killed her family in Callendar’s adult debut, set in an island world inspired by the Caribbean. It’s a remarkable story of royal intrigue, manipulation, and corrosive power that won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2020.

Small Beer Press Kalpa Imperial, by Angélica Gorodischer

The late Argentine writer Angélica Gorodischer deserves far more attention for this novel-in-stories, translated by none other than Ursula K. Le Guin in 2003. Every chapter in Kalpa Imperial is narrated by a different storyteller and describes the rise and fall (and rise and fall again) of an unnamed empire. It’s a smart, whimsical take on the way power corrupts real and imaginary societies.

William Morrow & Company Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

Inspired by England’s pre-Tolkien fantasy writers like Lord Dunsany and Hope Mirrlees, Gaiman’s 1999 novel Stardust feels like a timeless classic. A tale of faerie markets, witches, and feuding princes, it’s also a romance between a half-human, half-faerie young man and a fallen star in the shape of a young woman. Bright and breezy, it’s short enough to read in a single sitting.

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The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

This is one of the 254 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

One Thousand and One Nights by Unknown

Cover of 'One Thousand and One Nights' by

This is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled during the Islamic Golden Age. The stories are told by a young woman, who must weave a new tale each night for her husband, a king, to delay her execution. The tales are filled with magic, adventure, love, and betrayal, and include well-known stories such as "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor".

Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory

Cover of 'Le Morte d'Arthur' by Thomas Malory

This classic work is a compilation of stories and legends about the legendary King Arthur, his knights, and the Round Table. It tells of Arthur's rise to power, his quest for the Holy Grail, and his tragic downfall. The book, written in the 15th century, is considered one of the most influential pieces of Arthurian literature and has significantly shaped the modern perception of Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot, and other iconic characters.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Cover of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll

This novel follows the story of a young girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world full of peculiar creatures and bizarre experiences. As she navigates through this strange land, she encounters a series of nonsensical events, including a tea party with a Mad Hatter, a pool of tears, and a trial over stolen tarts. The book is renowned for its playful use of language, logic, and its exploration of the boundaries of reality.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Cover of 'Through the Looking Glass' by Lewis Carroll

This sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland sees the young protagonist, Alice, embarking on another whimsical journey after stepping through a looking glass. In this mirror-image world, Alice encounters talking flowers, living chess pieces, and a variety of eccentric characters, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Red Queen, and Humpty Dumpty. The narrative is structured around a game of chess, with Alice striving to become a queen. The book is filled with clever wordplay, riddles, and fantastical elements, reflecting the author's unique take on logic and language.

Five Children And It by Edith Nesbit

Cover of 'Five Children And It' by Edith Nesbit

The book follows the adventures of five siblings who, while exploring the English countryside, discover a sand fairy known as the Psammead, which has the power to grant wishes. The children are thrilled by the prospect of having their desires fulfilled but soon learn that magic comes with its own set of complications. Each wish granted by the creature only lasts until sunset and often leads to unexpected consequences, teaching the children valuable lessons about the perils of greed, the importance of being careful what you wish for, and the power of imagination and kindness.

Ozma Of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Cover of 'Ozma Of Oz' by L. Frank Baum

In this enchanting continuation of a beloved fantasy series, a young girl finds herself once again swept away from her seaside vacation to a magical realm, this time landing in the peculiar land of Ev. Accompanied by a talking chicken and familiar friends from her previous adventures, she embarks on a quest to rescue a royal family from the clutches of a wicked Nome King. Along the way, they encounter whimsical creatures, confront perplexing challenges, and discover the mysterious Ozma, the rightful ruler of a neighboring fairyland. Together, they must outwit the Nome King and restore peace and leadership to the kingdoms of this fantastical world.

Mary Poppins by PL Travers

Cover of 'Mary Poppins' by PL Travers

In this beloved classic, a magical and enigmatic nanny named Mary Poppins arrives at the Banks' household to care for their mischievous children. With her peculiar and extraordinary abilities, Mary Poppins takes the children on whimsical adventures, teaching them valuable life lessons along the way. As the family learns to appreciate the wonder and joy in everyday life, Mary Poppins proves that even the most ordinary moments can be extraordinary.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Cover of 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe' by C. S. Lewis

Four siblings are evacuated from London during World War II and sent to live with an old professor in the countryside. In his house, they discover a magical wardrobe that serves as a portal to the land of Narnia, a world filled with mythical creatures and ruled by an evil White Witch. The children are soon caught up in a struggle to free Narnia from the witch's eternal winter, aided by the majestic lion Aslan. The story combines elements of fantasy, adventure, and Christian allegory.

The Palm Wine Drinkard And His Dead Palm Wine Tapster In The Dead's Town by Amos Tutuola

Cover of 'The Palm Wine Drinkard And His Dead Palm Wine Tapster In The Dead's Town' by Amos Tutuola

This novel follows the surreal and fantastical journey of an African man with an insatiable thirst for palm wine, who, after the death of his skilled tapster, embarks on a quest to the land of the dead in hopes of bringing him back to the world of the living. Along the way, he encounters a myriad of bizarre and supernatural obstacles, including ghosts, witches, and other mythical creatures, each presenting their own challenges and moral lessons. The narrative, rich with the oral tradition of Nigerian folklore and written in a distinctive pidgin English, weaves a tale that explores themes of desire, loss, and the intersection of the living and the spiritual realms.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Cover of 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia' by C. S. Lewis

The third installment in a fantasy series, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" follows the adventure of Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace, as they are magically drawn into a painting and onto a Narnian ship headed for the edges of the world. Alongside their old friend, King Caspian, they encounter sea serpents, dragons, and new lands filled with strange creatures as they journey to the end of the world. The novel explores themes of courage, friendship, and the struggle between good and evil.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Cover of 'The Lord of the Rings' by J. R. R. Tolkien

This epic high-fantasy novel centers around a modest hobbit who is entrusted with the task of destroying a powerful ring that could enable the dark lord to conquer the world. Accompanied by a diverse group of companions, the hobbit embarks on a perilous journey across Middle-earth, battling evil forces and facing numerous challenges. The narrative, rich in mythology and complex themes of good versus evil, friendship, and heroism, has had a profound influence on the fantasy genre.

My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola

Cover of 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' by Amos Tutuola

The book is a phantasmagorical narrative that follows the harrowing journey of a young boy who, while fleeing from slave traders, becomes lost in a supernatural realm known as the Bush of Ghosts. This mystical forest is inhabited by a myriad of spirits and creatures drawn from Yoruba folklore. As the boy navigates through this eerie landscape, he encounters a series of ghostly domains, each ruled by its own peculiar entities. Throughout his surreal odyssey, which spans several years, he is subjected to bizarre and often terrifying experiences, all the while yearning for a return to his human family and the normal world. The story is a blend of traditional African folklore, myth, and the author's own rich imagination, offering a vivid exploration of the themes of survival, bravery, and the clash between the natural and supernatural worlds.

A Hero Born by Jin Yong

Cover of 'A Hero Born' by Jin Yong

"A Hero Born" is the first installment in an epic martial arts saga set in the Song Dynasty of China, where the story follows the life of Guo Jing, a young boy from a humble background. After his father, a loyal Song patriot, is murdered, Guo Jing is raised by Genghis Khan in the Mongolian steppes. Throughout his adventures, he encounters a diverse cast of characters, learns from legendary martial arts masters, and is imbued with the values of honor, loyalty, and the complex moralities of warfare and brotherhood. His destiny is intertwined with the fate of his nation as he embarks on a quest to become a true hero and to confront formidable enemies that threaten the very fabric of the martial arts world.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Cover of 'The Once and Future King' by T. H. White

This novel is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, from Arthur's childhood tutelage under the wizard Merlyn to his eventual death. The story follows Arthur's journey from a naive boy to a wise and just king, his establishment of the Round Table, his marriage to Guinevere, and his complex relationship with his illegitimate son, Mordred. The narrative explores themes of power, justice, war, and human nature, offering a nuanced and humanizing portrayal of a well-known mythical figure.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Cover of 'James and the Giant Peach' by Roald Dahl

A young boy named James, after being orphaned and forced to live with his cruel aunts, embarks on a magical adventure inside a giant peach. Alongside a group of anthropomorphic insects who also reside in the peach, James navigates through a series of fantastical events, including battling pirate-like creatures and flying across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City. This whimsical journey helps James escape his miserable life and find a new family amongst his insect friends.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Cover of 'The Phantom Tollbooth' by Norton Juster

A young boy named Milo, who is always bored and uninterested in the world around him, unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth. When he drives through it in his toy car, he is transported to the Kingdom of Wisdom. Here, he embarks on a quest to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason, who have been exiled by the warring brothers, King Azaz of Dictionopolis (where words are supremely important) and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis (where numbers are most valued). Along his journey, Milo learns the value of learning and the excitement that can be found in the world around him.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Cover of 'A Wrinkle In Time' by Madeleine L'Engle

The novel follows the story of a young girl named Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe as they embark on a cosmic journey to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father. The father, a scientist, has been missing since he discovered a new planet using the concept of Tesseract, which is a wrinkle in time. Guided by three mysterious celestial beings, the children travel across different dimensions, face evil forces, and learn about the power of love and self-sacrifice.

The Wandering Unicorn by Manuel Mujica Lainez

Cover of 'The Wandering Unicorn' by Manuel Mujica Lainez

"The Wandering Unicorn" is a historical fantasy novel that weaves a tapestry of medieval legends, chivalric adventures, and magical realism. It follows the journey of a young unicorn who, under the guise of a beautiful page, seeks to protect Melusine, a cursed fairy who is half-woman, half-serpent. Set against the backdrop of the Crusades, the narrative intertwines the unicorn's quest for redemption and love with a rich cast of characters, including knights, sorcerers, and mythical creatures. The story delves into themes of immortality, transformation, and the enduring power of myth, all while painting a vivid picture of a bygone era filled with enchantment and intrigue.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

Cover of 'Dragonflight' by Anne McCaffrey

In a world where telepathic dragons and their riders protect the land from the destructive Thread that rains down from the sky, a young woman unexpectedly becomes the new Weyrwoman, bonding with the last queen dragon. As the traditional ways of the past clash with the urgent need to defend their world, she and her enigmatic dragonrider ally must rediscover ancient secrets and take to the skies in a perilous quest to unite the dragonriders and save their planet from annihilation. Their journey is fraught with challenges, both political and personal, as they strive to harness the full power of the dragons and ensure the survival of their way of life.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Cover of 'The Last Unicorn' by Peter S. Beagle

In this enchanting fantasy tale, a solitary unicorn, believing she is the last of her kind, embarks on a poignant journey to discover what has become of the other unicorns. Along the way, she is joined by a bumbling magician and a tough yet tender-hearted woman. Together, they face trials and confront an evil king to unravel the mystery of the missing unicorns. The unicorn must also grapple with the complexities of love, the loss of innocence, and the painful beauty of existence, as she seeks to restore her kind and witness the return of magic to the world.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Cover of 'A Wizard of Earthsea' by Ursula K. Le Guin

This fantasy novel follows the story of a young boy named Ged who lives in a world of islands called Earthsea. Ged discovers he has a natural talent for magic and is sent to a school for wizards on the island of Roke. As he grows and learns, his arrogance leads him to unleash a shadow creature that he must then spend years trying to defeat. The book explores themes of balance, power, and the danger of hubris, as Ged learns to control his abilities and accept responsibility for his actions.

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Cover of 'The Crystal Cave' by Mary Stewart

"The Crystal Cave" is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of Merlin, the legendary wizard of King Arthur's court. The book follows Merlin's early life, from his birth as the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess to his discovery of his magical powers and his journey to become a wise and powerful advisor to the future King Arthur. Set against the backdrop of early medieval Britain, the novel explores themes of destiny, power, and the struggle between pagan and Christian beliefs.

The Tombs Of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Cover of 'The Tombs Of Atuan' by Ursula K. Le Guin

In this fantasy novel, a young girl named Tenar is taken from her home to become the high priestess of the Nameless Ones at the Tombs of Atuan, a labyrinthine and sacred underground complex. As she grows into her role, her life of solitude and ritual is disrupted by the arrival of Ged, a wizard from the archipelago of Earthsea, who seeks a lost treasure hidden within the tombs. The encounter challenges Tenar's beliefs and her allegiance to the Nameless Ones, leading her on a journey of self-discovery and liberation, as she begins to question the darkness that has defined her existence and contemplates the possibility of a life beyond the confines of the tombs.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Cover of 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams

This novel follows a group of rabbits as they flee their warren due to a foreseen catastrophe. The rabbits, led by Hazel and his psychic brother Fiver, face numerous challenges and adventures as they search for a new home. They encounter predators, hostile rabbit communities, and human threats. The book explores themes of leadership, survival, and freedom, all set within the natural world and its inherent dangers.

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

Cover of 'The Dark Is Rising' by Susan Cooper

In "The Dark Is Rising," a young boy named Will Stanton discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, a group of immortal beings who must protect the world from the forces of darkness. As he embarks on a dangerous quest to find six powerful signs, Will must navigate a treacherous battle between good and evil, facing ancient magic, time travel, and his own inner demons along the way. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Will must embrace his destiny and harness his newfound powers to save humanity from the rising darkness.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Cover of 'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman

This book is an illustrated edition of a classic tale of true love and high adventure. It tells the story of a beautiful princess and her one true love. After he is reportedly killed, she agrees to marry a wicked prince instead, only to be kidnapped and face numerous dangers. The story is filled with humor, romance, and swashbuckling action, all brought to life by vivid illustrations.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Cover of 'Tuck Everlasting' by Natalie Babbitt

This novel explores the concept of immortality through the story of a young girl who stumbles upon a family that has inadvertently gained eternal life after drinking from a magical spring. The family, having lived for centuries, shares their experiences and the burdens of their unending existence with the girl, who must then decide whether to keep their secret and live a mortal life or join them in everlasting life. The narrative delves into themes of life, death, and the natural order of things, as the girl grapples with the profound implications of a life without end.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

Cover of 'A Swiftly Tilting Planet' by Madeleine L'Engle

In this science fiction-fantasy novel, the protagonist embarks on a time-traveling quest to prevent a global catastrophe. Guided by a unicorn, the protagonist uses a powerful rune to mentally leap through time and space, inhabiting the lives of different people throughout history who are connected to the present-day threat. As the protagonist influences the actions of these individuals, the narrative weaves a complex tapestry of interconnected events, emphasizing themes of family, love, and the interconnectedness of all things. The story challenges the protagonist to understand the ripple effects of actions across time, ultimately aiming to alter the course of history to save the world from impending doom.

The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories by Angela Carter

Cover of 'The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories' by Angela Carter

"The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories" is a collection of short stories that reimagines and deconstructs traditional fairy tales. The narratives are filled with strong female characters, sexual exploration, and violent and gothic themes. Each story presents a unique spin on classic tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Bluebeard, challenging the typical gender roles and expectations found in the original stories.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Cover of 'The BFG' by Roald Dahl

The book tells the story of a young orphan girl who befriends a benevolent giant, known as the Big Friendly Giant (BFG). Together, they embark on a mission to stop the other evil, man-eating giants from terrorizing the human world. With the help of the Queen of England and her armed forces, they manage to capture the evil giants and bring peace. The BFG and the girl then live happily in England, with the BFG delivering good dreams to children and the girl living in a new home at the palace.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Cover of 'Alanna: The First Adventure' by Tamora Pierce

In this fantasy novel, a young girl defies the expectations of her society by disguising herself as a boy to pursue her dream of becoming a knight. She swaps places with her twin brother and enters the rigorous training program at the palace, where she must prove her worth in combat and magic while keeping her true identity a secret. Along her journey, she makes both friends and enemies, confronts powerful adversaries, and discovers her own unique magical abilities, all while navigating the challenges of growing up and finding her place in a world that underestimates her because of her gender.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Cover of 'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne Jones

In a magical land where witches and wizards exist, a young hat maker named Sophie is cursed by a jealous witch and transformed into an old woman. Determined to break the curse, Sophie seeks refuge in the mysterious moving castle of the feared wizard Howl. As Sophie navigates the castle's enchanting rooms and encounters its eccentric inhabitants, she discovers the power of love, friendship, and self-acceptance. Together with Howl and his apprentice Michael, Sophie embarks on a captivating journey filled with adventure, magic, and unexpected twists that will change their lives forever.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Cover of 'Redwall' by Brian Jacques

In the heart of Mossflower Woods stands Redwall Abbey, a place of peace and sanctuary for its animal inhabitants. However, their tranquility is shattered when the vicious rat, Cluny the Scourge, sets his sights on conquering the Abbey with his horde of vermin. The brave mice and their woodland friends must rally together to protect their home, led by the courageous young mouse Matthias. Drawing inspiration from the Abbey's legendary hero, Martin the Warrior, Matthias embarks on a perilous quest to find the lost sword of Martin, which is the key to defeating the malevolent invaders. Through a series of battles, riddles, and adventures, the inhabitants of Redwall fight for their freedom and the future of their home.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Cover of 'Swordspoint' by Ellen Kushner

Set in a decadent city where the sharp edge of a blade can determine a person's fate, the narrative follows a skilled swordsman known for his prowess in duels that settle the disputes of the nobility. Living on the brink of society with his lover, a scholar with a mysterious past, the swordsman becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue, power plays, and romantic entanglements. As the elite's manipulative games escalate, the swordsman must navigate a dangerous path that tests his skills and his heart, all while trying to maintain his honor in a world where human life is often worth less than the secrets it can reveal or the alliances it can forge.

The Lives Of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones

Cover of 'The Lives Of Christopher Chant' by Diana Wynne Jones

In this enchanting fantasy novel, a young boy discovers his remarkable ability to travel between worlds while he sleeps. Unbeknownst to him, his gift makes him a valuable asset in the eyes of his uncle, who uses him to smuggle magical artifacts. As the boy grows, he learns more about his powers and the ethereal realm known as the Related Worlds. He must navigate the complexities of his family's expectations, his unique abilities, and an impending magical conflict. With the help of a talking cat and other peculiar friends he meets along the way, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and must decide where his loyalties lie and how to use his gifts for the greater good.

The Eye Of The World by Robert Jordan

Cover of 'The Eye Of The World' by Robert Jordan

In a high fantasy realm woven with magic, prophecy, and conflict, a group of young villagers is thrust into an epic quest when their tranquil lives are shattered by the arrival of a mysterious stranger and a dark pursuing force. Guided by a wise and powerful mentor, they embark on a perilous journey, discovering that one among them might be the reincarnation of an ancient hero destined to confront a malevolent entity threatening the world. As they traverse diverse landscapes and face myriad dangers, they must come to terms with their own burgeoning abilities and the weight of fate upon their shoulders.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett , Neil Gaiman

Cover of 'Good Omens' by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

"Good Omens" is a humorous take on the biblical Apocalypse, following an angel and a demon who have grown fond of Earth and its inhabitants, and are not too keen on the impending end of the world. As they try to locate the misplaced Antichrist and prevent the Four Horsemen from bringing about Armageddon, they encounter an array of quirky characters, including witch-hunters, modern-day witches, and the Four Horsemen themselves. The novel combines comedy, fantasy, and philosophical themes, offering a satirical critique of religious prophecy and human nature.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Cover of 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' by Salman Rushdie

The book is a fantastical children's novel that explores the importance of storytelling. It follows the journey of a young boy named Haroun who sets out on a magical adventure to restore his father's ability to tell stories. Along the way, he encounters a vast array of colorful characters and strange lands, including a Sea of Stories. The narrative addresses themes of censorship, the power of storytelling, and the struggle between light and darkness.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Cover of 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon

The novel follows a World War II nurse who accidentally time travels back to 18th century Scotland. There, she meets a handsome and brave Scottish warrior and is torn between her loyalty to her husband in her own time and her growing love for the warrior. As she becomes more entwined in the past, she must navigate the dangers of a time not her own, including political unrest and violence, while trying to find a way back home.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Cover of 'Tigana' by Guy Gavriel Kay

In a land where a ruthless sorcerer has erased the name and history of a once-proud province, a group of rebels fights to reclaim their identity and homeland. The story unfolds in a richly detailed fantasy world where magic and political intrigue intertwine, and the power of memory and the resilience of the human spirit are central themes. The rebels, each with their own personal vendettas and dreams, must navigate complex alliances and confront their own pasts as they strive to restore the name of their province and free it from the grip of tyranny. Their quest is fraught with challenges, as they face not only the sorcerer's formidable powers but also the difficulties of uniting a fractured people under a forgotten banner.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Cover of 'The Golden Compass' by Philip Pullman

The book follows the journey of a young girl in a parallel universe where people's souls exist outside of their bodies as animal companions, called daemons. When her friend is kidnapped by a mysterious organization, she sets off on a quest to rescue him, armed with a truth-telling device known as the golden compass. Along the way, she encounters a variety of characters, including witches, armored bears, and aeronauts, and uncovers a sinister plot involving the children of her world.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Cover of 'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman

In this dark and imaginative fantasy, a young Londoner named Richard Mayhew finds his mundane life turned upside down when he stumbles upon a young woman named Door, bleeding on the sidewalk. After aiding her, he is thrust into the shadowy, parallel world of London Below, a realm of magic, danger, and intrigue that exists beneath the streets of London Above. As Richard journeys through this eerie underworld with a cast of bizarre and fantastical characters, he must confront malevolent forces and unravel a complex conspiracy to help Door discover why her family was murdered, all while trying to find a way back to his old life.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Cover of 'Ella Enchanted' by Gail Carson Levine

In this enchanting twist on the Cinderella fairy tale, a young girl named Ella is cursed with the "gift" of obedience by a well-meaning but misguided fairy. This compulsion forces her to obey any direct command, leading to a life of manipulation and frustration. Determined to reclaim control over her life, Ella embarks on a quest to find the fairy who cursed her and break the spell. Along the way, she encounters ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and a charming prince, weaving a story of self-discovery, resilience, and the power of true love. Her journey is not only about breaking the curse but also about finding her voice and the strength to stand up for herself in a world that tries to define her destiny.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Cover of 'The Subtle Knife' by Philip Pullman

In the second installment of a fantasy trilogy, a young boy discovers a magical knife that can cut through the fabric of reality, allowing him to travel between parallel worlds. As he learns to master the knife's powers, he meets a girl from another universe on a quest to understand a mysterious substance called Dust. Their paths intertwine with a war brewing across the multiverse, involving witches, armored bears, and shadowy organizations, as they uncover dark truths and face grave dangers in their journey to understand the knife's true purpose and the nature of their own destinies.

Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Cover of 'Brown Girl In The Ring' by Nalo Hopkinson

Set in a dystopian future Toronto that has been abandoned by the government and cordoned off from the rest of Canada, the novel follows a young, spirited woman of Caribbean descent who must navigate the perilous, gang-ruled cityscape while harnessing her newfound, ancestral spiritual powers. As she grapples with her identity and the demands of the community that relies on her, she is drawn into a dangerous quest to save her dying grandmother and confronts a malevolent spirit. The story is a rich tapestry of Afro-Caribbean culture, folklore, and tradition, exploring themes of resilience, heritage, and the transformative power of love and family.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J. K Rowling

Cover of 'Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban' by J. K Rowling

In this third installment of the popular fantasy series, the protagonist enters his third year at a magical school, only to find out that a notorious prisoner has escaped from a supposedly inescapable prison and is believed to be after him. As the school year progresses, he learns more about his parents' history, uncovers secrets about his professor, and discovers a magical map. He also learns to summon a powerful defensive spell, confronts the escaped prisoner, and uncovers the truth about his parents' betrayal and death. The book ends with him saving an innocent life and learning a valuable lesson about the complexity of human nature and the importance of true friendship.

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

In this enchanting retelling of a classic fairy tale, a princess is cursed by an evil fairy to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her twenty-first birthday. To protect her, the infant princess is spirited away by a young fairy and raised in a small village, unaware of her royal heritage. As her twenty-first birthday approaches, various forces converge to either save or doom her, leading to a journey of self-discovery, magic, and adventure. With the help of her friends, including animals she can communicate with, the princess must find a way to break the curse and embrace her true destiny.

A Storm Of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Cover of 'A Storm Of Swords' by George R. R. Martin

In this epic fantasy novel, the third installment of a series, the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are engulfed in a brutal civil war with multiple factions vying for the Iron Throne. As treachery and magic intertwine, characters navigate complex political intrigues and battle for survival amidst a landscape where seasons can last for years. The narrative weaves together the fates of noble families, with key figures facing betrayals, forming alliances, and confronting supernatural threats. The book is renowned for its unexpected plot twists, including shocking deaths and strategic marriages, all leading to a climax that reshapes the power dynamics of the realm.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Cover of 'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman

A recently released convict discovers that his wife and best friend died in a car accident. He then meets a mysterious stranger who hires him as a bodyguard. As they journey across America, it is revealed that the stranger is an old god, traveling to rally his fellow forgotten deities to wage a war against the new American gods born from society's modern obsessions with media, technology, drugs, celebrity, and more. The story blends elements of fantasy, mythology, and Americana to explore themes of faith, belief, and the nature of American identity.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Cover of 'The Wee Free Men' by Terry Pratchett

In this humorous fantasy novel, a young witch named Tiffany Aching embarks on a quest to rescue her kidnapped brother, armed only with a frying pan and the assistance of the Nac Mac Feegle—a clan of rowdy, blue-skinned, six-inch-tall pictsies. As Tiffany ventures into the realm of Fairyland, she must rely on her wits, courage, and newfound magical abilities to navigate a world filled with dreams and nightmares, where nothing is as it seems. Along the way, she learns valuable lessons about responsibility, the power of knowledge, and the importance of standing up for oneself and others.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K Rowling

Cover of 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' by J. K Rowling

In the sixth installment of the series, the protagonist returns for his sixth year at a magical school, where he excels in potions class with the help of an old textbook once belonging to the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince". As he delves deeper into his enemy's past through private lessons with the headmaster, he learns more about the Dark wizard's history and his own destiny. Amidst this, the school is no longer the safe haven it once was, and danger lurks within the castle walls. The year ends with a devastating loss, setting the stage for the final showdown.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Cover of 'Mistborn' by Brandon Sanderson

In a grim, ash-covered world ruled by the immortal Lord Ruler, a young street urchin discovers she possesses unique magical abilities—Allomancy, the power to ingest and burn metals to enhance physical and mental capabilities. She joins a group of rebel skaa, the oppressed class, led by a charismatic criminal mastermind, to overthrow the centuries-old tyranny. Together, they devise an elaborate heist to infiltrate the noble houses and spark a revolution, uncovering dark secrets and unexpected truths about their world and the origins of the Lord Ruler's power along the way.

The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Cover of 'The Name Of The Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss

This fantasy novel follows the tale of a gifted young man who grows from a precocious child into a notorious wizard, known as the most notorious magician, musician, thief, and assassin. His life is one of hardship and danger, as he seeks knowledge and revenge following the tragic murder of his family by a group of supernatural beings. The story is told in retrospect as the protagonist recounts his past to a chronicler over the course of three days, revealing the truth behind the myths and legends that have come to surround his enigmatic persona.

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Cover of 'City Of Glass' by Cassandra Clare

In this urban fantasy novel, the third installment of a series, the protagonist, a young Shadowhunter, travels to the titular city, a place of great significance to the secretive world of demon hunters, warlocks, vampires, and other supernatural beings. She is on a quest to find a cure for her poisoned mother, but her mission quickly becomes entangled with a larger conflict as she uncovers dark secrets about her family's past and the true nature of the Shadowhunters. As the city becomes a battleground, alliances are tested, and the protagonist must confront a powerful enemy who threatens to destroy everything she holds dear, all while grappling with her evolving feelings for her enigmatic companion.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin , Janet Song

Cover of 'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon' by Grace Lin, Janet Song

"Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" is a children's fantasy novel about a young girl named Minli who lives in a poor village at the base of a mountain. She sets out on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon, hoping he can answer her family's prayers for a better life. Along the way, she meets a talking goldfish, a dragon who cannot fly, and other magical creatures. Through her adventures, Minli learns valuable lessons about gratitude, kindness, and the power of storytelling.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

Cover of 'The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' by N. K. Jemisin

In this fantasy novel, a young woman finds herself thrust into a volatile and treacherous world of politics and power when she is unexpectedly named an heir to the ruling family of a vast empire. As she navigates the dangerous court intrigues, she discovers her own latent magical abilities and forms complex relationships with the enslaved gods who are the source of the family's power. With the throne at stake, she must contend with deadly scheming, her own family's dark secrets, and the weight of her potential role in reshaping the kingdom's future.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Cover of 'Who Fears Death' by Nnedi Okorafor

This novel is a coming-of-age narrative set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. It follows the journey of a young woman born from a violent act, who is prophesied to bring an end to a brutal regime. As she grows, she discovers her magical abilities and must learn to control them in order to fulfill her destiny. The narrative explores themes of race, gender, and power, while incorporating elements of African mythology and culture.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Cover of 'Akata Witch' by Nnedi Okorafor

The novel follows the story of a young albino girl of Nigerian-American descent who discovers her latent magical powers and a connection to a secret, mystical world. Struggling with her identity and the challenges of adolescence, she is thrust into a journey of self-discovery, where she must learn to harness her abilities. Alongside a group of friends with their own unique talents, she navigates a world filled with dangerous creatures and dark adversaries, using her newfound magic to uncover her true destiny and combat the threats that loom over both the physical and supernatural realms.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Cover of 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern

The novel tells the story of two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who are unknowingly bound to each other in a lifelong competition set up by their mentors. The stage for their contest is an enchanting, nocturnal circus that travels around the world, known as Le Cirque des Rêves. As the competition progresses, the pair fall in love, which leads to dangerous consequences and threatens the existence of the circus.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Cover of 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller

The novel is a reimagining of the ancient Greek epic of the Trojan War, told from the perspective of Patroclus, an exiled young prince who becomes the beloved companion of Achilles, the greatest warrior of his age. Their deep bond and affection for one another transform into a powerful love that defies the expectations of their society and the will of the gods. As they grow into men, their fates become increasingly intertwined with the legendary conflict at Troy, where honor, sacrifice, and destiny culminate in a poignant and tragic conclusion. The story explores themes of heroism, glory, and the humanizing effects of love against the backdrop of war and the capricious whims of immortals.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Cover of 'Angelfall' by Susan Ee

In a post-apocalyptic world where angels have descended to Earth and unleashed destruction, a resilient teenage girl embarks on a perilous journey to rescue her kidnapped younger sister. With society in ruins and danger at every turn, she allies with a mysterious angel whose motives are unclear, navigating a landscape filled with roving gangs, gruesome creatures, and celestial warriors. As she fights to survive and uncover the truth behind the invasion, she confronts the blurred lines between good and evil, and the potential darkness within herself and her enigmatic companion.

A Stranger In Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Cover of 'A Stranger In Olondria' by Sofia Samatar

The novel explores the transformative power of literature through the eyes of a young pepper merchant from a remote island who, upon visiting the sophisticated and literate land of Olondria, becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate girl. As he navigates the complex cultural landscape, he finds himself embroiled in a political and religious conflict surrounding the nature of literacy, storytelling, and the written word. The protagonist's journey is a rich tapestry of sensory experiences and a poignant meditation on the ways in which stories define and give meaning to our lives.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Cover of 'The Bone Clocks' by David Mitchell

This novel weaves together the lives of diverse characters through a narrative that spans decades, centering on a teenage runaway with psychic abilities. As she becomes embroiled in a covert war between immortal factions, the story explores themes of mortality, power, and the interconnectedness of human lives. The intricate plot moves through different times and places, revealing a hidden world of mysticism and a looming apocalyptic crisis, all while examining the impact of our actions on the future of the planet.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Cover of 'The Buried Giant' by Kazuo Ishiguro

In a mythical post-Arthurian Britain shrouded by a mist of collective amnesia, an elderly Briton couple, Axl and Beatrice, embark on a perilous journey to reunite with their estranged son. Their quest leads them through a landscape of fading memories, where they encounter knights, monks, and mythical creatures, all grappling with their own forgotten pasts. As they confront the remnants of a war between Saxons and Britons, the couple must also face the true nature of the mist and the buried giant it conceals, which holds the key to the fragile peace in their society. Their love and loyalty are tested as they delve into the depths of their own lost memories, revealing the power of forgetting and the cost of remembering.

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Cover of 'An Ember In The Ashes' by Sabaa Tahir

In a brutal, Rome-like fantasy world, a young Scholar girl named Laia goes on a dangerous mission to save her brother from the clutches of the oppressive Martial Empire. To do so, she infiltrates the Empire's premier military academy as a slave, where she meets Elias, one of the academy's finest soldiers, who is secretly as eager to escape the tyranny and corruption of the military as she is. Their fates become intertwined as they both seek freedom and justice, navigating a world rife with violence, betrayal, and dark magic. The story is a gripping tale of resistance, survival, and the quest for personal redemption.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Cover of 'The Fifth Season' by N. K. Jemisin

A woman searches for her kidnapped daughter in a world ravaged by a catastrophic climate change event known as the Fifth Season. Simultaneously, the narrative follows a young girl with destructive powers and a man struggling to control his own similar abilities. The story explores themes of oppression, survival, and the destructive power of nature, all set in a dystopian world where the earth is constantly in flux, and society is strictly divided and controlled.

Get In Trouble by Kelly Link

Cover of 'Get In Trouble' by Kelly Link

"Get In Trouble" is a collection of short stories that delve into the fantastical, surreal, and darkly humorous aspects of human experience. The narratives are populated with a diverse cast of characters, including superheroes, ghosts, and astronauts, all of whom find themselves in bizarre and often unsettling situations. The stories blend elements of magical realism, science fiction, and gothic horror to explore themes of loneliness, desire, and the blurred lines between reality and imagination. With its unique voice and inventive storytelling, the book invites readers to confront the extraordinary lurking within the mundane and to question the nature of their own troubles.

The Grace Of Kings by Ken Liu

Cover of 'The Grace Of Kings' by Ken Liu

In a sweeping fantasy epic set in a world inspired by the historical legends of China, two unlikely friends, a bandit and a duke, lead a rebellion against a tyrannical emperor. Their successful revolution ushers in a new era of chaos and conflict as the two heroes, driven by vastly different visions of justice and governance, find themselves at odds. The novel weaves intricate themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the complexities of power and ambition, as the characters navigate a richly detailed world of gods, airships, and divine interventions. The story is as much about the cost of victory as it is about the bonds of friendship and the unpredictable nature of grace.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Cover of 'Shadowshaper' by Daniel José Older

In the urban fantasy novel, a young Afro-Latina girl from Brooklyn discovers her family's involvement in a supernatural legacy known as Shadowshaping, where they can infuse ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. However, her world is thrown into chaos when she realizes that a malevolent force is hunting the shadowshapers, aiming to destroy her family's cultural heritage and power. As she delves deeper into this mystical world, she must embrace her identity and heritage to harness her newfound abilities, navigate the complexities of her community and friends, and fight to protect the legacy passed down to her by her ancestors.

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Cover of 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo

In a gritty and dangerous city, a notorious gang leader named Kaz Brekker is offered a life-changing heist that could make him unimaginably rich. He assembles a team of skilled outcasts, each with their own unique talents, to pull off an impossible mission. As they navigate through treacherous streets and face deadly enemies, the group must rely on their wits and trust each other to survive. Along the way, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested, and unexpected alliances are formed, all while the fate of their world hangs in the balance.

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Cover of 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by Renée Ahdieh

In this reimagined tale inspired by "One Thousand and One Nights," a young woman volunteers to marry a caliph known for taking a new bride each day only to execute her at dawn. She does this to avenge her best friend, one of his previous victims. However, as she weaves stories night after night to postpone her execution, she begins to see a different side to the ruler and uncovers secrets that could alter the course of the kingdom. Amidst a backdrop of magic, betrayal, and political intrigue, the woman finds herself torn between her mission for revenge and the unexpected feelings she develops for the man she intended to hate.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Cover of 'All the Birds in the Sky' by Charlie Jane Anders

This novel blends science fiction and fantasy, telling the story of two outcasts, a witch and a tech genius, who meet as children and then part ways, only to reunite as adults in a world teetering on the brink of catastrophe. As the planet faces environmental collapse and the threat of war, the pair must navigate their differences and their past to harness their extraordinary abilities. Their friendship becomes the key to survival, as they confront forces that could either save humanity or lead to its destruction, blurring the lines between magic and science in an uncertain future.

A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

Cover of 'A Torch Against The Night' by Sabaa Tahir

In this gripping fantasy sequel, two fugitives fight to survive and overthrow a tyrannical regime. The former scholar-turned-fugitive and her warrior ally, with the help of a spy and other unexpected friends, embark on a dangerous journey to free the former's brother from a notorious prison. As they navigate through political intrigue and dark magic, they must also confront their own inner demons and the growing feelings between them. With the empire's most brutal forces on their trail, the pair must use all their wits and courage to outsmart their enemies and fan the flames of rebellion, while a prophecy looms over them, threatening to shake the very foundations of their world.

The Wall Of Storms by Ken Liu

Cover of 'The Wall Of Storms' by Ken Liu

In this epic fantasy sequel, the realm of Dara is threatened by an invasion of powerful, dragon-like creatures from beyond the fabled Wall of Storms. The young emperor and his subjects must navigate political intrigue, complex family dynamics, and innovative magical technology to defend their land. With a rich tapestry of diverse characters, the story delves into themes of power, progress, and the cost of empire-building, as scholars and warriors alike confront the limits of their knowledge and the brutal realities of war.

Beasts Made Of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Cover of 'Beasts Made Of Night' by Tochi Onyebuchi

In a dark and fantastical city, the young and impoverished are employed as sin-eaters, known as aki, who consume the sins of the wealthy, manifesting them as beasts made of night. These sins take the form of Inisisa—sin-beasts that the aki must slay to absolve the guilt of the sin's original owner, at the cost of bearing the sin's tattooed image on their own skin. The story follows one such sin-eater, a talented but troubled young man, who finds himself embroiled in political intrigue and a deeper, more dangerous plot that threatens the very fabric of his society. As he grapples with his own identity and purpose, he must navigate a treacherous world of power, magic, and monsters—both human and created.

The Black Tides Of Heaven by Neon Yang

In a fantastical Asian-inspired world where the forces of magic and technology intertwine, two twins are born to the Protector, a tyrannical ruler with a powerful grip over the realm. The twins, Mokoya and Akeha, are gifted with prophetic and magical abilities, respectively, and are sent to a monastery to hone their skills. As they grow older, they find themselves at the heart of a rebellion against their mother's oppressive regime. The story explores themes of destiny, freedom, and the complex bonds of family, all while the twins grapple with their identities and the paths they choose to take in a society where gender is fluid and self-determined.

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

Cover of 'The Changeling' by Victor LaValle

The novel is a dark fairy tale that explores themes of parenthood, identity, and the impact of technology on modern life. It follows Apollo Kagwa, an antiquarian book dealer from New York City, whose life is turned upside down when his wife, Emma, commits a horrific act and then disappears. As Apollo searches for answers, he is drawn into a world filled with mythical creatures, secretive societies, and ancient folklore. Along his journey, he must confront his own past and the dark history of his family while navigating a city that seems to harbor magical secrets. The story blends the fantastical with the everyday to create a narrative that examines the fears and anxieties of being a parent in the 21st century.

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Cover of 'Jade City' by Fonda Lee

In a bustling city ruled by powerful crime families, the Kauls, who possess the rare ability to harness the magical powers of jade, struggle to maintain their control amidst rising tensions and rivalries. As the city teeters on the brink of chaos, the Kaul siblings find themselves caught in a dangerous web of betrayal, loyalty, and ambition, where the fate of their family and their city hangs in the balance. With vivid world-building and intricate character dynamics, "Jade City" is a gripping tale of power, honor, and the price of maintaining control.

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

Cover of 'The Stone Sky' by N. K. Jemisin

In this concluding volume of a groundbreaking fantasy trilogy, the fate of a world hangs in the balance as a mother and daughter find themselves on opposite sides of an apocalyptic war. The mother, an orogene with the power to control seismic activity, embarks on a quest to end the perpetual disasters plaguing the earth by harnessing the power of an ancient, mythical obelisk. Meanwhile, her daughter, who possesses similar abilities, is manipulated by forces seeking to use her powers for their own ends. As their paths converge, the complex layers of oppression, survival, and the struggle for freedom are revealed, culminating in a climactic battle that will determine the future of their world.

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Cover of 'Aru Shah And The End Of Time' by Roshani Chokshi

In this enchanting mythological fantasy, a young girl named Aru Shah discovers she is the reincarnation of one of the five legendary Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. When she accidentally unleashes an ancient demon, she must embark on a perilous journey to save the world from an apocalyptic freeze. Alongside a diverse cast of characters, including a talking pigeon and her newfound Pandava sister, Aru delves into her heritage, battles creatures from Indian mythology, and confronts her insecurities to find the courage within herself to prevent the end of time.

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

In this enchanting tale, two sisters, Blanca and Roja, find themselves ensnared in a cruel family curse that has haunted generations: one sister is destined to become a swan. Their bond is tested when two local boys become entangled in their lives—one emerging from a strange transformation, and the other hiding his true identity. As the sisters grapple with the curse's grip, they must navigate a complex web of love, rivalry, and identity, challenging both societal expectations and their own deepest fears. The story weaves magical realism with themes of family, fate, and the power of self-acceptance, creating a lyrical narrative that explores the blurred lines between fairy tale and reality.

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Cover of 'Children Of Blood And Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi

In a world where magic has been suppressed and the maji people have been oppressed, Zélie, a young maji girl, embarks on a dangerous quest to restore magic and bring justice to her people. Alongside her brother and a rogue princess, Zélie must confront her own powers and face formidable enemies, navigating a treacherous landscape of betrayal and sacrifice. As they race against time, Zélie discovers that she may hold the key to not only saving her people, but also to changing the destiny of their entire nation.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Cover of 'Circe' by Madeline Miller

The novel is a reimagining of the life of Circe, a minor goddess and witch from Homer's Odyssey. Born into the house of Helios, god of the sun, Circe is scorned by her family and turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover her powers of witchcraft. After transforming her mortal lover into a sea monster, she is banished to a deserted island by Zeus. Over the centuries, she hones her magical abilities, encounters famous mythological beings, and struggles with her immortality, loneliness, and desire for love and freedom.

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri

Cover of 'Empire Of Sand' by Tasha Suri

"Empire of Sand" is a captivating fantasy novel set in a world inspired by Mughal India, where the protagonist, a young woman of noble descent, possesses an extraordinary magical ability tied to the dreams of the gods. Her heritage draws the attention of the empire's religious leader, who seeks to control her power for his own ends. As she is forced into a cruel bargain to use her abilities to maintain the empire's control over its people, she must navigate treacherous court politics, forbidden romance, and her own conflicted desires. With the fate of the empire and the lives of those she loves at stake, she embarks on a journey of resistance, self-discovery, and a fight for freedom against the forces that seek to use her for their own ambitions.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Cover of 'The Poppy War' by R. F. Kuang

The book is a fantasy novel set in a world inspired by China's 20th century history. The protagonist, a war orphan, defies societal expectations by acing the empire-wide examination and earning a place at the prestigious military academy. However, her triumph is short-lived as she becomes embroiled in a violent conflict, which forces her to delve into the depths of her own magical abilities, inspired by shamanism. The story intertwines the brutal realities of war, mythology, and the exploration of power in a deeply divided society.

Song Of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Cover of 'Song Of Blood & Stone' by L. Penelope

In a world cleaved by war and deeply entrenched racism, a young woman with a mysterious magical gift finds herself at the center of an epic struggle between two nations. She possesses the power to open magical gateways, a talent that could be the key to ending the longstanding conflict. When she rescues a spy from the enemy side, the pair must work together to thwart a villainous plot and unite their divided lands. As they journey through treacherous landscapes and confront their own prejudices, they discover that the true power lies in understanding and acceptance, and that love may be the most potent magic of all.

Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Cover of 'Trail Of Lightning' by Rebecca Roanhorse

In a post-apocalyptic world where rising waters have drowned much of the earth, the story unfolds on a Native American reservation that has survived the cataclysm. The protagonist, a monster hunter with supernatural abilities, navigates a landscape steeped in the lore and gods of her indigenous culture. As she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind a series of brutal murders, she is accompanied by an enigmatic medicine man with secrets of his own. Together, they confront not only malevolent creatures from legend but also the darker aspects of humanity and personal trauma, all set against the backdrop of a world struggling to rebuild from environmental and societal collapse.

Witchmark by C. L. Polk

Cover of 'Witchmark' by C. L. Polk

In a world where magic is both a gift and a curse, a war veteran with secret healing powers must conceal his abilities to avoid being enslaved by his own family. When a fatally poisoned patient reveals a dire conspiracy, the healer is thrust into a dangerous investigation that exposes his hidden heritage and pits him against a powerful and oppressive magical elite. As he delves deeper, he must navigate a complex web of political intrigue, forbidden romance, and family secrets, all while trying to prevent a magical war that could destroy everything he holds dear.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Cover of 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf' by Marlon James

"Black Leopard, Red Wolf" is a gripping and fantastical tale set in a mythical and ancient African world. The story follows Tracker, a skilled hunter with a keen sense of smell, who is hired to find a missing boy. As Tracker embarks on his dangerous journey, he encounters a diverse cast of characters, including witches, giants, and shape-shifters. Amidst the treacherous landscapes and political turmoil, Tracker's search for the truth becomes intertwined with his own personal quest for identity and redemption. With its richly imagined world and lyrical prose, this epic fantasy explores themes of love, power, and the blurred boundaries between good and evil.

Children Of Virtue And Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Cover of 'Children Of Virtue And Vengeance' by Tomi Adeyemi

In this fantasy sequel, the protagonists struggle to unite the kingdom of Orïsha and restore magic to the oppressed maji. After a brutal battle, the maji have regained their powers, but the monarchy and military now possess magical abilities as well. The heroine grapples with her role as a leader and her complex feelings for the enemy prince, while the kingdom is on the brink of civil war. As both sides fight for dominance, the characters must navigate betrayal, ancient mythology, and their own inner demons to bring peace and justice to their divided land.

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Cover of 'The Dragon Republic' by R. F. Kuang

In this dark and gripping fantasy sequel, the protagonist, a young warrior and shaman, grapples with the aftermath of a brutal war and her own harrowing actions. Betrayed by allies and seeking redemption, she aligns with a new military force with the hope of transforming the corrupt empire into the titular republic. As she navigates political intrigue, battles monstrous forces, and confronts her inner demons, she must also contend with the destructive power of the gods and the weight of her burgeoning abilities. The novel explores themes of power, identity, and the cost of revolution in a richly detailed, war-torn world.

Gods Of Jade And Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Cover of 'Gods Of Jade And Shadow' by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

In this enchanting novel, a young woman's life is forever changed when she accidentally awakens the Mayan god of death, setting off on a transformative journey that blends Mexican folklore with the allure of the Jazz Age. As she travels with the deity to restore him to his throne in the underworld, she encounters demons, sorcerers, and otherworldly beings. Along the way, she discovers her own strength and independence, challenging the expectations of her traditional family and society. The story weaves together the rich tapestry of myth with the struggles of the mortal realm, creating a captivating tale of adventure, self-discovery, and unlikely romance.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

The book unfolds in a society that believes it has eradicated all monsters, but when a creature named Pet emerges from a painting, a young girl named Jam learns that monsters still exist. Pet has come to hunt a monster hiding in plain sight, and Jam must confront the reality that not all dangers are as visible as they seem. As Jam navigates this revelation with Pet's guidance, she embarks on a quest to protect her best friend and uncover the truth in a world that prefers to deny the existence of such horrors. The story challenges the concepts of good and evil and the complacency that can arise in a community that believes it has overcome its darkest elements.

Queen Of The Conquered by Kacen Callender

Cover of 'Queen Of The Conquered' by Kacen Callender

Set on a Caribbean-inspired island, the narrative unfolds in a world where colonial powers have subjugated the native population. The protagonist, a woman of mixed heritage, possesses a unique ability to control minds—a power she plans to use to exact revenge on the ruling class that oppressed her people and murdered her family. As she maneuvers through a treacherous web of politics, rebellion, and personal ambition, she grapples with the moral complexities of her quest for vengeance and her own complicity in the brutal system she seeks to overthrow. The story is a gripping exploration of power, justice, and the cost of liberation in a society rife with inequality and prejudice.

The Rage Of Dragons by Evan Winter

Cover of 'The Rage Of Dragons' by Evan Winter

The book is a gripping fantasy tale set in a world inspired by African mythology, where a caste-driven society is locked in a perpetual war with hordes of dragons. The protagonist, born into the lowest caste, discovers an extraordinary ability to summon the power of dragons and seeks to use this power to avenge the injustices done to his people and to ascend beyond his preordained station. His quest for revenge and personal transformation is fraught with battles, political intrigue, and the challenge of overcoming a rigid social hierarchy, all while the fate of the kingdom hangs in the balance.

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Cover of 'We Hunt The Flame' by Hafsah Faizal

In a fantastical world inspired by ancient Arabia, a fierce hunter disguises herself as a man to provide for her people, while a tormented prince is tasked with assassinating those who defy his autocratic father's rule. Their paths converge when both are sent on a perilous quest to retrieve a magical artifact that can restore magic to their cursed world and stop the encroaching darkness. As they journey through treacherous lands and face insurmountable odds, they must contend with their own secrets and the growing attraction between them, all while navigating the complex politics and power struggles that threaten to tear their world apart.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Cover of 'Elatsoe' by Darcie Little Badger

In this young adult fantasy novel, we follow the story of a Lipan Apache teenager with the unique ability to awaken the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her family. When her cousin dies under mysterious circumstances, she sets out to uncover the truth behind his death, delving into a small town's dark secrets. Alongside her ghost dog sidekick, she navigates a world filled with magic, spirits, and creatures from folklore, confronting the intersection of her Indigenous culture and the supernatural realm. Her journey tests her courage and her ancestral gifts, as she seeks justice and upholds her family's legacy.

Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Cover of 'Woven In Moonlight' by Isabel Ibañez

"Woven In Moonlight" is a vibrant young adult fantasy novel that immerses readers in a world inspired by Bolivian culture and politics. The story follows a young woman who serves as a decoy for the last remaining royal of her people. After her kingdom is overthrown, she is sent to the conqueror's palace as part of a peace treaty, where she secretly uses her magical weaving abilities to weave tapestries that come to life. As she navigates a complex web of political intrigue, rebellion, and romance, she must decide where her loyalties lie and how to use her unique powers to shape the future of her divided nation.

Time , 98 Books

With a panel of leading fantasy authors—N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and Marlon James—TIME presents the most engaging, inventive and influential works of fantasy fiction, in chronological order beginning in the 9th century. *note* I combined some of the books here. All the Lord of the Rings books are combined.

This list has a weight of 60% . To learn more about what this means please visit the Rankings page .

  • List: only covers 1 specific genre

If you think this is incorrect please e-mail us at [email protected] .

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best fantasy books to read

The 22 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

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Chris M. Arnone

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media ( Facebook , Goodreads , Instagram , Twitter , website ).

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The best fantasy books of all time? It’s a tall order. Some are set in fictional medieval worlds full of swords, sorcery, and creatures of myth. Some are set in the far future, though still with swords and sorcery. Some pull from mythologies that have existed for centuries, bringing them to life with new vigor. Even some are set in worlds not terribly unlike our own, at least, not until the greater mysteries are revealed.

All of these books are original, well-written, and foundational to the fantasy genre and its many sub-genres. These books have inspired generations of readers and writers and will continue to do so for generations to come. From the old and highly-influential to the new and popular, here are the 22 best fantasy books of all time.

Best Fantasy Books of All Time for Young Readers

cover of Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Young adult and fantasy go so well together. Finding yourself in a world you barely understand is an easy allegory for the bildungsroman central to every YA story. Few do it as well as Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata series, in which a young woman living in Nigeria discovers that she and her friends have magic, and there’s a whole underworld to navigate.

Children of Blood and Bone cover

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This book is a big, epic doorstop of a novel in the classic tradition of epic fantasies. Magic used to be everywhere until a terrible king killed every maji he could find. Now Zelie, who lost her mother during the purge, has a chance to bring magic back. The world is dangerous, though, almost as dangerous as the king.

An Ember in the Ashes cover

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a scholar, going about her life doing scholarly things. But when her brother is arrested for treason, she has to go undercover as a slave in hopes of freeing him. Elias is an unwilling soldier, though undoubtedly one of the best in the Martial Empire. When Elias and Laia meet up, they find their destinies are bound together, as well as the destiny of the Martial Empire.

The Golden Compass Book Cover

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which begins with this book, is an atheistic retelling of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not only is it a compelling tale of Lyra’s adventures through her and parallel worlds, of gods and daemons, but it proves that YA fantasy can, in fact, be literary as well.

cover of Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This classic of children’s fantasy has turned into an Academy Award–winning animated movie. Sophie has long been told that misfortune will befall her if she ever leaves her village. Through tragic accident, a witch transforms her into an old lady. Now, Sophie must leave and find the moving castle of the Wizard Howl.

Cover of Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This novel and its sequels are a great example of one of YA fantasy’s best trope: teen who doesn’t realize that they’re magical. In this case, Percy is an Olympian. Or at least, the child of Olympians. And he’s not the only one. He’ll learn a great deal about himself and the magical world at a summer camp just for these special children.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe cover

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’s classic of children’s fantasy is the ultimate in wish fulfillment. A group of bored children discover that through the back of a wardrobe in their home, there’s a portal to a magical world. Not only that, but these children are key to saving that world from a dark fate. This isn’t the only book from the Inklings that’s one of the best fantasy books of all time.

THE READER book cover

The Reader by Traci Chee

Sefia has been well trained as a survivalist. Her aunt Nin made sure of that after Sefia’s father was murdered. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia discovers that she needs more than these skills. She finds a strange object left behind by her father: a book. In an otherwise illiterate world, this object is a magic of its own, and might be the only way of saving her aunt and solving her father’s murder.

A Wizard of Earthsea cover

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Here’s another classic, this one of the YA variety before YA was really a defined genre. Ged used to be the greatest sorcerer on Earth back when he was called Sparrowhawk. But he made mistakes back then. Big mistakes. Now he will have to do everything in his considerable power to undo those mistakes and bring balance back to the world.

The Best Fantasy Novels of All Time for Adults

Book cover of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I don’t care if this book is more than 20 years old, I refuse to call it a classic. Now a hit series, this book imagines that the old gods of every pantheon like Norse, Egyptian, and Greek are real. Without followers, their powers are diminished. And there are new gods: shopping, Internet, and technology. A war is coming between the old and new gods, and a man named Shadow is right in the middle.

the cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas has taken the book world by storm with this series that starts right here in this magical, romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Faeries, enemies-to-lovers, and all sorts of other great fantasy staples populate this series. And there are much larger threats than close-minded villagers.

Dragonflight cover

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

On Pern, life has been good and peaceful for a long time. An ancient and terrible myth is about to rear its head, though, threatening to destroy and ruin everything. Lessa is an outcast, robbed of her birthright and her parents. As this huge threat rises, so does Lessa. Her deep telepathic bond with a dragon makes her a dragonrider, and maybe they can stop the rising evil.

Book cover of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Yes, I’m not a fan of the Wheel of Time series , as I’ve said before. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the huge influence that Robert Jordan’s seminal series has had on the fantasy genre. The darkness was long ago sealed away, but it’s threatening to emerge again. Now, only the Dragon Reborn can stop this evil, whoever that is. Maybe it’s one of the young people from Two Rivers.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin book cover

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

This novel is absolutely incredible and starts a trilogy in which every book won the Hugo Award for best novel. In this world, magic users are enslaved and controlled. They’re feared for their ability to break the world, but needed for those same skills. A murdered son and stolen daughter will send one such woman on a quest of revenge and love, and lead to much bigger things.

A Game of Thrones cover by George RR Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Do I really need to give a setup for this novel and the series that follows? The HBO series of the same name is one of biggest cultural phenomenons ever. Even the recent follow-up, House of the Dragon , is huge. This fantasy novel of political machinations, huge battles, dragons, and white walkers is vast and intricate. It also seems like every modern fantasy writer is trying to replicate Martin’s magic.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu book cover

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Ken Liu coined the term “silkpunk” to describe this very series. Kuni and Mata seem thoroughly incompatible. Kuni is a smooth bandit. Mata is the adamant son of a deposed duke. When a rebellion begins against the emperor, though, they find kinship in one another as the battles start. In the aftermath of the rebellion, they rise up to lead opposing factions vying for power, and have to redefine their volatile relationship.

Book cover of Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Great writing, a cool Asian metropolitan setting, and a unique blend of magic and kung-fu make this one of the best fantasy books of all time. On the island of Kekon, jade is everything. It is not only the island’s most valuable resource, but a select few have the magical power to wield it. After a terrible war, the market for jade is worse than ever. When a new drug emerges that allows anyone to wield jade, what was once a cold war turns hot and violent.

cover of The Lord Of The Rings: One Volume by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

While this book isn’t the first fantasy book or even Tolkien’s first, it defined the modern fantasy genre. An epic quest in a medieval setting, grand magic, ancient lore, and overwhelming villains populate this lush world. One little Hobbit has the one item sought by great evil, and only he and his fellowship can save the world. Classic.


Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is synonymous with modern fantasy. While this wasn’t his first book, it’s the one that put him on the map and defined his approach to fantasy writing. For 1000 years, the world has been under the tyrannical rule of the Lord Ruler, the Skaa enslaved under the regime. Now, a half-Skaa orphan has discovered he has the powers of the Mistborn. He’s gathering a following, a talented group of allomancers to his side, all in the hopes of overthrowing the Lord Ruler.

cover of The Palm-Wine Drinkard

The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola

Here’s a classic of the fantasy genre that far too few people have heard of. Part autobiographical and heavily based in Yoruba folklore, it tells the tale of an alcoholic man searching for his dead palm-wine tapster. Wildly imaginative and deftly crude, it’s a classic and was the first novel that Tutuola had translated into English.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang book cover

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

This series is one of the best for blending classic tropes of epic historical military fantasy with racism, misogyny, and chosen-one problems. Rin is a poor, dark-skinned girl. There’s no expectation of her. But then she aces the Keju, the test for youth in the empire, which means she’s going to the most elite military school in the Empire. But once there, her gender, skin color, and poverty make her a target. The incredible power emerging in her, however, are about to more than balance those scales.

cover of The Shadow of the Torturer

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

This one is a personal favorite of mine, a book that starts a strange blend of fantasy and science fiction in a post-apocalyptic world. Severian is an apprentice in the torturer’s guild. But one day he commits the greatest crime in his guild: showing mercy. Banished with a deadly and specific set of skills, Severian wanders the countryside. He soon finding himself embroiled into the political machinations of the land and finds that war is as good a place as any to ply his trade.

Only 22 books, but they’re the best fantasy books of all time. Need more? How about the most influential fantasy , the top fantasy books on Goodreads , or a focus on the best fantasy books of the last decade?

best fantasy books to read

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The 50 best fantasy books of all time

Check out our picks of the most exciting new fantasy novels of 2024, the best of 2023, as well as the top fantasy books of all time..

best fantasy books to read

Fantasy books offer readers the perfect escape into another world. Here we share some of the top fantasy books to give you some inspiration for your literary bucket list. From Megan Giddings dystopian The Women Could Fly , to the magical multi-dimensional universe of Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, and the dark academia world of The Atlas Six – if you’re a fantasy fiction fan we’ve got you covered.

The best fantasy books of 2024

The atlas complex, by olivie blake.

Book cover for The Atlas Complex

In The Atlas Complex Olivie Blake offers a riveting conclusion to the internationally acclaimed The Atlas Six trilogy. Following a dramatic incident at the library, the Alexandrians must navigate their dangerous recruitment terms. With alliances crumbling and ethical dilemmas concerning their exceptional abilities, the initiates are split. Meanwhile, global forces are plotting their downfall, and Atlas Blakely, their Caretaker, might be planning something catastrophic. As they face decisions about power and betrayal, everyone is in a desperate race for survival.

by TJ Klune

Book cover for Heartsong

Heartsong , the third book in the Green Creek series, is a queer, paranormal romance set in Oregon's enchanting wilderness. Robbie Fontaine, having moved from pack to pack following his mother's death, yearns for a place to belong. His journey brings him to Caswell, Maine, where he experiences pack life as Michelle Hughes's trusted deputy. But when a mission incites doubt about his place and exposes whispers of treachery and magic, Robbie seeks answers, especially concerning Kelly Bennett, a wolf he believes may be his mate, and a rumored traitor. With the inevitable revelation of truth, everything stands to fall apart.

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A tempest of tea, by hafsah faizal.

Book cover for A Tempest of Tea

Vampires. Secrets. Tea. What more do you want?! Already causing a ruckus on TikTok, in  A Tempest of Tea , Hafsah Faizal takes us to Arthie Casimir's prestigious tea establishment in the city of White Roaring. Tearoom by day, illegal bloodhouse by night, Arthie caters to both humans and vampires – but this arrangement is under threat, and Arthie can't save it alone. . .

by Lucy Jane Wood

Book cover for Rewitched

Such is the excitement around YouTube star Lucy Jane Wood's cosy fantasy, that when she announced it, it flew to number one on the Amazon book chart on pre-orders alone. Balancing work at her beloved Lunar Books and concealing her witchcraft from the non-witches around her has left Belle burnt out. But when her thirtieth birthday brings a summons from her coven, and a trial that tests her worthiness as a witch, Belle risks losing her magic forever. With the month of October to fix things, and signs that dark forces may be working against her, Belle will need all the help she can get – from the women in her life, from an unlikely mentor figure, and even an (infuriating) watchman who’s sworn to protect her . . .

The best fantasy books of 2023

Sword catcher, by cassandra clare.

Book cover for Sword Catcher

Two outcasts find themselves at the centre of world-altering change in the start of an epic fantasy series from author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles. In Castellane, Kel is stolen to become Prince Conor Aurelian’s body-double. As his ‘Sword Catcher', Kel lives for one purpose: to die for Conor. Lin Caster is an Ashkar physician, part of a community ostracised for its rare magical abilities. But events pull her and Kel together and into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King who rules Castellane’s criminal underworld. Together, they’ll discover an extraordinary conspiracy. But can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? 

The Serpent and the Wings of Night

By carissa broadbent.

Book cover for The Serpent and the Wings of Night

In Carissa Broadbent's series opener, a human-vampire survival game akin to The Hunger Games, unfolds. Oraya, an adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, battles for more than mere survival in the Kejari, a legendary contest run by the goddess of death. To win, Oraya must ally with perilous Raihn, a deadly vampire and fierce competitor. Despite being an enemy to her father's reign, Oraya is irresistibly drawn to Raihn. In the merciless Kejari, compassion is scarce, and love could prove fatal.

Bookshops & Bonedust

By travis baldree.

Book cover for Bookshops & Bonedust

From cosy fantasy author Travis Baldree comes the prequel to BookTok sensation Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust. Wounded while hunting a necromancer, Viv, from Rackam's Ravens mercenary company, is sent against her will to recover in the remote beach town of Murk. Who would think she'd end up in a struggling bookshop with a grumpy proprietor as her main company? Despite the seclusion, adventure lurks close with strange visitors, a resentful gnome, a summer romance, and countless skeletons, making Murk more eventful than Viv expected.

Starling House

By alix e. harrow.

Book cover for Starling House

Nobody in Eden remembers when Starling House was built – stories of the house’s bad luck have been passed down the generations. Opal knows better than to mess with haunted houses, or brooding men. But when an opportunity to work there arises, the money might get her brother out of Eden. Starling House is uncanny and full of secrets – just like Arthur, its heir. Sinister forces converge on Eden – and Opal realizes that if she wants a home, she’ll have to fight for it, even if it involves digging up her family’s ugly past. This is a romantic and spellbinding Gothic fairytale from Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award-shortlisted Alix E. Harrow.

Book cover for Ravensong

Set in the dreamy backwoods of Oregon, Ravensong is the second book in TJ Klune’s beloved Green Creek series. Gordo Livingstone, scarred by past betrayals, isolates himself from his wolf pack in a mountain town. However, when the wolves return, he teams up with Mark Bennett to face a common enemy and emerges victorious. A year later, Gordo becomes the witch of the Bennett pack, battling his feelings for Mark and a mysterious impending threat. As Green Creek settles, internal turmoil arises. Unbreakable bonds may prove fragile as danger looms.

Stone Blind

By natalie haynes.

Book cover for Stone Blind

The sole mortal raised in a family of gods, Medusa lives with an urgency that her family will never know, and is alone in her ability to experience change and to be hurt. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. Unable to control her new power, she is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest. Shorlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023, this retelling of the famed myth of Medusa asks who the real monsters are, after all.

A guide to Natalie Haynes' books

He who drowned the world, by shelley parker-chan.

Book cover for He Who Drowned the World

He Who Drowned the World  is the sequel to the  Sunday Times  bestseller  She Who Became the Sun. After triumphing over the Mongol rulers, Zhu Yuanzhang aspires to become emperor. However, her ambitions are challenged by Madam Zhang, who seeks the throne for her husband, and Wang Baoxiang, a scorned scholar craving revenge. To secure her position, Zhu forms a risky alliance with the unstable eunuch general, Ouyang, while all contenders push their limits for power. As desire and ambition clash, the question remains whether even the most ruthless heart can bear the steep price of their pursuits. 

Masters of Death

Book cover for Masters of Death

This book is about an estate agent. Only she’s a vampire, the house on sale is haunted, and its ghost was murdered. When Viola Marek hires Fox D’Mora to deal with her ghost-infested mansion, she expects a competent medium. But unbeknownst to Viola, Fox is a fraud – despite being the godson of Death. As the mystery unfolds, Viola and Fox are drawn into a quest that neither wants nor expects. And they'll need the help of a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel and a love-stricken reaper. And it transpires that the difference between a mysterious lost love and a dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as you’d hope.

A Power Unbound

By freya marske.

Book cover for A Power Unbound

Set in an alternative Edwardian England,  A Power Unbound  is the third book in The Last Binding trilogy. Start the series with   A Marvellous Light  and  A Restless Truth . Jack Alston seeks a peaceful life after his twin sister's death forced him to abandon magic. However, a perilous ritual threatens British magicians, forcing Jack back into the magical world. In a London townhouse he joins the owner to find the Last Contract's final piece, enlisting the help of Alan Ross, a money-driven writer and thief. But the alliance will become entangled in a night of secrets and bloody sacrifice as the foundations of magic in Britain risk being torn up. 

Spirits Abroad

Book cover for Spirits Abroad

Drawing inspiration from Asian myth and folklore, Zen Cho's short story collection combines magic, joy, humour and tenderness. We’ll meet an elderly ex-member of parliament, who recalls her youthful romance with an orang bunian. Then a teenage vampire struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love . . . and eating people. A mischievous matriarch returns from the dead to disrupt her own funeral rites and Chang E, the Chinese moon goddess, spins off into outer space – the ultimate metaphor for diaspora. Enjoy this journey into magical new worlds, each with its own meaning. 

The First Bright Thing

By j. r. dawson.

Book cover for The First Bright Thing

Ringmaster, or Rin for short, can jump to different moments in time. With the scars of World War I feeling more distant as the years pass, Rin is focusing on the brighter things in life, like the circus she’s built and the magical misfits and outcasts. But while the present is bright, threats come at Rin from the past as a malevolent shadow looms, and from the future with an impending war on the horizon. The First Bright Thing  by J. R. Dawson is a spellbinding debut for fantasy fans that also asks the difficult question – if you knew how dark tomorrow would be, what would you do with today?

Fall of Ruin and Wrath

By jennifer l. armentrout.

Book cover for Fall of Ruin and Wrath

From the author of  From Blood and Ash,   Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a scorching romance with high stakes, breathtaking magic and a searing enemies-to-lovers romance. In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by vengeful gods, nine surviving cities thrive under pleasure-seeking rulers. Calista, possessing infallible intuition, hides as a courtesan. She rescues a prince, triggering warnings of joy and doom. As the prince and her protector vie for power, she navigates rebellion, danger, and desire, torn between intuition's safety and heart's risk. Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a captivating romantic fantasy from a mega bestselling author and global sensation.

The Thousand Eyes

By a. k. larkwood.

Book cover for The Thousand Eyes

The epic sequel to The Unspoken Name – could you sacrifice your dreams to escape a nightmare? Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal survey abandoned Echentyr worlds to make a living. The empire’s ruins seem harmless but fascinating. Yet disaster strikes when they stumble upon ancient magic during a routine expedition. This revives a warrior who’d slept for an age, reigniting a conflict thousands of years old. And the soldier binds Csorwe to her cause. Shuthmili is desperate to protect the woman she loves. However, as events escalate, she’s torn. Can she help Csorwe by clinging to her own humanity or by embracing her eldritch powers? 

One For My Enemy

Book cover for One For My Enemy

In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand in Olivie Blake's new fantasy fiction. The Antonova sisters and their mother, Baba Yaga, are the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants while the Fedorov brothers and their crime boss father, Koschei the Deathless, dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. For twelve years, the two families have been in stalemate, but that is about to change. While fate draws together a brother and sister from either side, the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. 

A guide to The Atlas Six and Olivie Blake's books

By genevieve cogman.

Book cover for Scarlet

Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocrat vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty. For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. Revolution's a bloodthirsty business . . .  Scarlet  is a thrilling reinvention of the tale of  The Scarlet Pimpernel  with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.

A Taste of Gold and Iron

By alexandra rowland.

Book cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron

Kadou, the modest prince of Arasht, has no plans to wrestle for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he is in conflict with the father of queen's new child, who is a powerful ambassador at the court. Then a hunting expedition goes badly wrong, and Kadou finds himself accused of murder. This sensual tale of courtly intrigue, backstabbing politics and romance set against the backdrop of an Ottoman Empire-inspired world, is a must-read.

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

By t. l. huchu.

Book cover for The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

Ghostalker Ropa Moyo and her rag-tag team of magicians are back in The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle, the third book in the spellbinding Edinburgh Nights series. Ropa Moyo is no stranger to magic or mysteries. But she’s still stuck in an irksomely unpaid internship. So she’s thrilled to attend a magical convention at Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, where she’ll rub elbows with eminent magicians. For Ropa, it’s the perfect opportunity to finally prove her worth. Then a librarian is murdered and a precious scroll stolen. Suddenly, every magician is a suspect, and Ropa and her allies investigate.

Fourth Wing

By rebecca yarros.

Book cover for Fourth Wing

Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last . . . Violet, destined for a quiet life among books, is forced by her commanding mother to become a dragon rider, despite her fragility. With dragons rarely bonding with humans like her, danger looms. Amidst a deadly war and failing protective wards, she suspects a dark secret among the leadership. Forming alliances and facing treacherous foes, Violet fights for survival. Romance and betrayals intertwine as she navigates this perilous path. Graduation or death awaits in the world of dragon riders. 

Immortal Longings

By chloe gong.

Book cover for Immortal Longings

In the kingdom of Talin, the deadly games held in the capital twin cities of San-Er attract thousands, offering unimaginable riches to those skilled enough to jump between bodies and enter the fight to the death. Princess Calla Tuoleimi seeks to take down her tyrannical uncle, King Kasa. To achieve her goal, she must win the games, where Anton Makusa, desperate to save his comatose childhood love, enters to secure the prize money. An unexpected alliance between Calla and Anton forms, leading to a consuming partnership. As the games near their end, Calla faces a crucial choice: her lover or her kingdom.

by Frances Hardinge

Book cover for Unraveller

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and his closest ally. But the Unraveller carries a curse himself and, unless he and Nettle can remove it, Kellen is a danger to everything – and everyone – around him . . .

The Women Could Fly

By megan giddings.

Book cover for The Women Could Fly

Part fantasy, part dystopia,  The Women Could Fly  is a powerful novel that speaks to our times. In a world where witches are real and unmarried women over the age of thirty must be monitored by the state, Josephine Thomas is twenty-eight, ambivalent about marriage and on the cusp of losing autonomy over her own life. It's been fourteen years since her mother's disappearance, and Jo has heard ever possible explanation from kidnapping to murder . . . to witchcraft; but all these years later, she feels she's never understood her mother more. So when she's offered an opportunity to honour one last request from her mother's will, she takes it . . .

Book cover for Wolfsong

When Ox Matheson was twelve his father taught him that he was worthless, destined to be misunderstood, and then he left him. Four years later, the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change his life forever: they are shapeshifters, and can transform into wolves at will. Drawn into an unimaginable new world, Ox found a friend in Joe, the youngest Bennett brother, but when the pack was pulled apart by tragedy and murder, Joe left town . But now, he has returned, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Origins of The Wheel of Time

By michael livingston.

Book cover for Origins of The Wheel of Time

This companion to Robert Jordan's internationally bestselling series, The Wheel of Time, will delve into the creation of a masterpiece, drawing from interviews and an unprecedented examination of his unpublished notes. Michael Livingston tells the behind-the-scenes story of who Jordan was (including a chapter that is the very first published biography of the author), how he worked, and why he holds such an important place in modern literature.

The best fantasy books of all time

The atlas six.

Book cover for The Atlas Six

Dark-academia fantasy novel  The Atlas Six  was originally self-published by Olivie Blake, and was then snapped up for re-publication after it shot to fame on TikTok. The story follows six young magical practitioners as they compete to join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places. Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

Legends & Lattes

Book cover for Legends & Lattes

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually  is . But old rivals and new stand in the way of success, and Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more. If you've already read Legends & Lattes then Bookshops & Bonedust , the highly anticipated prequel, is available to pre-order now. 

The Invisible Library

Book cover for The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is the astounding debut fantasy book by Genevieve Cogman, and the first novel in The Invisible Library series. Professional spy Irene works for the mysterious Library, along with her enigmatic assistant Kai. Their mission is to steal a dangerous book from an alternative London. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. And to make things more complicated, this alternative world is infested with chaos, full of supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic.

The Invisible Library books in order

A marvellous light.

Book cover for A Marvellous Light

For fans of Bridgerton who'd like to welcome magic into their lives. Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance. Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he's actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, and he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his adversarial magical-society counterpart, as together they discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

Empire in Black and Gold

By adrian tchaikovsky.

Book cover for Empire in Black and Gold

This epic fantasy novel is the first book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s critically acclaimed fantasy series The Shadows of the Apt. The Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades, but now an ancient Empire is conquering city after city, and the Lowlands are next . . . Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, sees the threat, but can he convince his people of the danger that is coming? 

Adrian Tchaikovsky's books in order

Blood of an exile, by brian naslund.

Book cover for Blood of an Exile

In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who sentenced Bershad offers him a way out of his forced occupation and exile, Bershad sees a way to earn redemption, but it won't be easy.  Blood of an Exile , the first book in the Dragons of Terra series is packed with adventure and of course, lots of dragons.

The Lord of the Rings

By j. r. r. tolkien.

Book cover for The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy is a classic of fantasy fiction and is a must-read for all fantasy fans. The story of the hobbit Frodo and his epic quest to reach Mount Doom and defeat the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying the One Ring, Tolkien’s epic fantasy was adapted into three of the most popular films of the 2000s. One of the best fantasy books ever written. 

by Susan Dennard

Book cover for Bloodwitch

The brilliantly imagined coming-of-age fantasy series, Witchlands, continues with  Bloodwitch . The Bloodwitch Aeduan and Iseult the Threadwitch race for safety, desperate to evade the Raider King. His attempts to subdue the Witchlands are gaining momentum, as his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing goals, Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet trust is a tenuous bond . . .


Book cover for Witchshadow

Susan Dennard’s  New York Times  bestselling fantasy series continues – with the story of Iseult, the Threadwitch. The Witchlands have been on the brink of war, and in the fourth book in this epic fantasy series, it arrives. Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

The Witchlands series books in order

By lucy holland.

Book cover for Sistersong

This folklore-inspired tale of betrayal, magic and murder is a 2022 must read. King Cador’s children inherit a land abandoned by the Romans, torn by warring tribes. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. And Sinne dreams of love, longing for adventure. All three fear a life confined within the hold, protected from Saxon invaders. But when Myrdhin, meddler and magician, arrives, the siblings discover the power within themselves and the land.  

Fury of a Demon

Book cover for Fury of a Demon

The third and final instalment in Brian Naslund's Dragons of Terra trilogy has come to paperback this year. Osyrus Ward has subdued most of Terra, but to finish the job and annihilate the dragons he must add to his huge army of skyships and create a machine that possesses unheard-of power. Rebels Bershad and Ashlyn are doing every everything they can to prevent this, but they have been captured in Dainwood by Ward's mercenaries. Ashlyn employs her dark magic against the terrifying forces massing around them, and Bershad summons his history of victory in battle. But will their combined energies be enough to save the world?

The Empire's Ruin

By brian staveley.

Book cover for The Empire's Ruin

In the first book in Brian Staveley's epic fantasy trilogy, Ashes of the Unhewn, the great Annurian Empire is on its last legs, and its elite soldiers – the Kettral – are dwindling. Kettral soldier Gwenna Sharpe is given a quest, in order to restore the hawk-riding battalion. She must travel beyond the known world, to the place where the mighty war hawks nest. She will face obstacles along the way, from poisoned land to a monk turned conman to sinister forces massing against the empire. Gwenna's quest to save it is fraught with danger, but full of potential for recovery and renewal.

by Neil Gaiman

Book cover for Stardust

In the tiny town of Wall, young Tristan Thorn is madly in love with the beautiful Victoria Forrester. When she agrees to marry him if he retrieves a fallen star he doesn’t hesitate. But to find the fallen star he’ll need to cross the ancient wall which the town is named for, into a world of magic and danger. This charming fairytale fantasy will delight fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver . 

The Colour of Magic

By terry pratchett.

Book cover for The Colour of Magic

Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully inventive fantasy fiction series Discworld begins with  The Colour of Magic . Set in a flat world resting on the back of four elephants who are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle, this is a parallel time and place full of magic. When the first-ever tourist arrives, their survival is charged to a comically inept wizard who must face robbers, mercenaries and Death himself. Terry Pratchett is the author of some of the most-loved fantasy books of all-time.  

The Star-Touched Queen

By roshani chokshi.

Book cover for The Star-Touched Queen

Maya's world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges her marriage for political advantage. She becomes the Queen of Akaran and the wife of Amar despite a horoscope that promised a marriage of death and destruction. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire. But Akaran has its own secrets. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger, but who besides her husband can she trust? Steeped in Indian folklore and mythology The Star-Touched Queen is an enthralling fantasy read.

A Game of Thrones

By george r.r. martin.

Book cover for A Game of Thrones

No list of the best fantasy fiction is complete without George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy fiction series, universally acknowledged to be some of the best fantasy books of all time. The first book in the series gave its name to the TV series that became one of the most talked-about in history. In a world where summers span decades and winter can last a lifetime, the battle for the Iron Throne has begun. The breakout success of A Game of Thrones means the series will feature on best fantasy books lists for years to come.

Books series to read if you love Game of Thrones

The fifth season, by n. k. jemisin.

Book cover for The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is the first fantasy novel in N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. In a far-future Earth, a continent known as the Stillness is plagued by apocalyptic natural disasters known as Seasons, that can last for generations. Book one follows the story of Essun, a woman living an unremarkable life in a quiet town until three tragedies strike in one day. Her husband murders their beloved son in cold blood and kidnaps their daughter, a world-spanning empire falls, and a great rift has been torn into the Stillness throwing ash into the sky and blocking the sun's light for years to come. And so Essun's fight to save her daughters in this dying land, begins . . .

Sorcerer to the Crown

Book cover for Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown is the first book in Hugo Award-winning author Zen Cho’s fantasy series. In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, whose duty it is to keep the levels of magic stable   – but they're failing. The supply of magic is being disrupted by the Fairy Court, and war with France means the government wants to drain this scarce resource even further. When Zacharias meets ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman they find that her recent magical discovery might just change the nature of sorcery forever.  

by John Gwynne

Book cover for Malice

Malice is the first book in John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series , from bestselling author Conn Iggulden. Set in the Banished Lands where armies of men and giants clash in battle, Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Ruin of Kings

By jenn lyons.

Book cover for The Ruin of Kings

The hugely anticipated debut by Jenn Lyons is the first fantasy book in the A Chorus of Dragons series. Brim-full of big ideas – body-swapping, prophecy, rich worldbuilding and grim commentaries on many aspects of empire – to name but a few, this is the tale of Kihrin, a young prince cursed with bad luck and worse prophecy.  The Ruin of Kings  is a fantastically complex and multi-layered fantasy book, and characters like Doc and Galen, alongside Kihrin's own well-balanced set of talents and flaws make this a promising new fantasy series. 

Children of Blood and Bone

By tomi adeyemi.

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi’s YA fantasy book is the first in her West African-inspired fantasy fiction series Legacy of Orisha. Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . . Tomi Adeyemi is the author of some on the best fantasy books for YA readers in recent years.

She Who Became the Sun

Book cover for She Who Became the Sun

A Number One  Sunday Times  Bestseller, this absorbing historical fantasy novel from Shelley Parker-Chan reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor. In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule, and when a bandit raid wipes out her home and her brother perishes, Zhu resolves to overcome her destiny by taking her dead brother’s identity. Can Zhu escape what’s written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother’s greatness – and rise as high as she can dream?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By marlon james.

Book cover for Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf  is the first fantasy novel in Marlon James's Dark Star Trilogy. A New York Times bestseller, National Book Award finalist and Ray Bradbury Prize winner, it's no stranger to accolades. Set in an African-inspired fantasy world, the first book in the series follows Tracker, a mercenary with an extraordinary ability to follow scents, as he hunts down a missing boy. On his journey Tracker's crosses paths with strange companions, from shapeshifters to giants, who seek the same child and hide their own secrets . . .

We Hunt the Flame

Book cover for We Hunt the Flame

A TikTok sensation, We Hunt the Flame  is a brilliant YA fantasy debut about exploration and claiming your own identity. Zafira is a Hunter, who disguises herself as a man to try to provide for her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, a notorious assassin in thrall to his sultan father. Both are reluctant legends, and both are on dangerous missions. As they embark on these perilous tasks, a long buried evil begins to stir. We Free the Stars is the epic sequel in Hafsah Faizal's duology.

The Buried Giant

By kazuo ishiguro.

Book cover for The Buried Giant

Booker Prize-winning author Kazou Ishiguro does not disappoint in his first fantasy book, The Buried Giant . The book begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, this is a novel about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Howl's Moving Castle

By diana wynne jones.

Book cover for Howl's Moving Castle

Now also a movie from Studio Ghibli, this beloved modern classic follows Sophie Hatter from the land of Ingary as she catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell. Deciding she has nothing more to lose, Sophie makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above her town, Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl, whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls . . . 

Northern Lights

By philip pullman.

Book cover for Northern Lights

First published in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first book in the Hid Dark Materials series is a must-read for all fantasy fans. Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world. 

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28 Fantasy Books That Will Transport You to Other Worlds

Nothing sweeps you off your feel like a novel about an imaginary world—preferably one with a few mermaids or dragons or powerful yet unappreciated sorcerers.

fantasy books

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There was a time, in recent memory, when fantasy lovers hid their affection for sword and sorcery from the world, when talk of wizards and warlocks was relegated to comic book conventions and groups of sweaty teens huddled around card tables in suburban basements. That time is long, long over: Game of Thrones was the most popular TV shows of all time, Amazon has thrown tens of millions of dollars at fantasy IP, and Dungeons and Dragons is proudly played by celebrities like Vin Diesel and Aubrey Plaza.

In terms of books, fantasy might be the oldest literary genre, dating back to ancient texts like the Illiad and Beowulf . The most moving stories use magical devices as a foil for the real world, speculating on how society would act and react if the rules of reality were different. Others establish elaborate universes and characters that span generations and multiple volumes.

Though coming up with 28 was tricky, here’s a selection of the best of the best of the genre, from YA all the way to treasured literary classics. May you fall under the spell of each and every one.

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi, by Shannon Chakraborty

Adventures are typically for young men, unencumbered by responsibilities or maturity. Unless you’re Amina al-Sirafi, a kick-ass pirate mom who used to sail the Indian Ocean in search of treasure, and is now on a desperate mission to find a young heiress in the company of an unscrupulous sorcerer. This middle-aged woman is in her prime and showing the kids how it’s done: fighting monsters, outwitting demons, and exploring islands drenched in dangerous magic. When things are at their toughest, you want Amina al-Sirafi at your back, with a sharp sword and a clever remark at the ready. This book has some great stuff about being true to yourself versus fulfilling your family obligations, and it’s based on solid historical research on medieval seafaring in the area, but what it mostly is, is fun. —Amy Goldschlager

Be Sure: Wayward Children, Books 1-3 , by Seanan McGuire

The Hugo Award–winning Wayward Children series ( Every Heart a Doorway , Down Among the Sticks and Bones , and Beneath the Sugar Sky, all collected in Be Sure ) is set at a school for children who have visited magical worlds of dancing skeletons, strawberry-soda seas, and deep-diving mermaids and can’t quite readjust to their old life on Earth. Some are so desperate to find a door back to their fantastical adventures that they’re willing to do anything—even murder. McGuire uses a fantasy lens to compassionately explore the struggles of young people looking for that place where they finally fit, despite societal pressure that demands that they pretend to be “normal.” If you used to be that “weird kid,” hiding in corners and inside books, this series is for you. —A.G.

The Eye of the World , by Robert Jordan

The Dark One, an evil force imprisoned inside a weakening cell, threatens the world. The Dragon Reborn, a reincarnated savior with powerful magical abilities, is born to a dying warrior woman on the slopes of a snowy mountain. Accompanied by a band of village youths, he seeks to defeat the Dark One, in The Wheel of Time, the sprawling, 14-book series. The depth of world-building is incredible, the characters indelible, and it comes to satisfying conclusion. —Sam McKenzie

Witch King, by Martha Wells

Kaiisteron, a body-swapping demon, and his good friend, the Witch Ziede, escape from captivity in an underwater tomb. Picking up companions along the way, the two set out to discover who put them there, rescue Ziede’s kidnapped wife, and explode a conspiracy that has roots in their mutual past, when they fought a massive invasion from a genocidal army of unknown origin. Here you’ll find multiple magic systems, believably self-serving political intrigue, tender moments of found family, and really interesting exploration of gender identity (but in a pleasantly matter-of-fact, not preachy, way). While fairly self-contained, there are sufficient dangling threads at the end that lend themselves comfortably to a series, if Wells is so inclined; let’s hope so. —A.G.

Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

A civil war breaks out in the kingdom of Westeros, and House Stark finds itself embattled in a bitter conflict with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Meanwhile, a displaced queen gathers an army to retake her former home while an evil force from the icy North threatens to wipe out humanity. A Song of Ice and Fire is a gritty, realistic fantasy series where magic and mythical species take a back seat to political machinations and impeccable character development. —S.M.

The Way of Kings , by Brandon Sanderson

An assassin from a faraway land murders the Alethi King, Galivar. Five years later, Galivar’s brother, Dalinar, leads a war of attrition against the race of monstrous creatures known as the Parshendi who are blamed for the killing. Meanwhile, Kaladin, a disgraced former soldier turned slave, and Shallan, a noblewoman from a powerless family, seek to improve their fortunes in seemingly disconnected ways, while an ancient force of power intent on exterminating the world of men pulls the strings. —S.M.

The Fellowship of the Ring , by J.R.R. Tolkien

The armies of Men, Elves, and Dwarves square off against Sauren, a god-like villain who leads a tide of Orcs and Trolls bent on consuming the world. Frodo Baggins and his loyal friend Sam embark on a quest to deliver a magical ring to the fires of Mordor, guided by the wizard Gandolf. The Lord of the Rings is required reading for fantasy fanatics, notable for its rich and detailed world, satisfying story of loyalty and courage, and fanciful characters. —S.M.

Dune , by Frank Herbert

On the unforgiving desert planet Arrakis, where water is more valuable than gold and giant worms eat mining rigs whole, House Atreides attempts to ally with the local Fremen people to battle their historical foe, House Harkonnen, for supremacy. Paul Atreides is the young heir to his house, prophesied to lead humankind to a better future. Combining political intrigue, environmentalism, and mysticism, Dune remains relevant to conversations about consumption and stewardship of our planet nearly 60 years after publication. —S.M.

Sourcery , by Terry Pratchett

A magical staff wielded by a powerful sorcerer leads a hostile takeover of Unseen University and subverts its wizardly faculty into a campaign of world domination. The cowardly Rincewind, a wizard incapable of performing magic, and Canina the Hairdresser (daughter of Conan the Barbarian) attempt to come to the rescue with mixed, zany results. Terry Pratchett’s hilarious, inventive, and rich Discworld novels are an interconnected series of 41 books that can pretty much be read in any order. —S.M.

The Fifth Season , by N.K. Jemisin

In a dark, brutal world where magic users are feared and hated, those lucky enough to avoid being lynched by ignorant townspeople are forced to live as slaves, part of the Fulcrum, an organization tasked with limiting the damage caused by the frequent tectonic shifts that wrack the land. Meanwhile, three women in disparate stages of life, all of whom possess the forbidden gift of Oregeny, embark on dangerous journeys. The Fifth Season is a tragic and beautiful post-apocalyptic yarn. —S.M.

The Name of the Wind , by Patrick Rothfuss

A chronicler records the story of a washed-up hero turned innkeeper; an orphaned boy named Kvothe who comes from humble beginnings becomes a wizard university’s most talented pupil, attracting enemies with the speed of his rise. Obsessed with escaping poverty and discovering the mystery behind his parents’ murder, Kvothe pushes his luck and talent to the limit. Rothfuss constructs a compelling world with richly detailed economies, cultures, and history that is home to a thrilling story. —S.M.

The Lies of Locke Lamora , by Scott Lynch

The island of Camorr is a city divided between powerful criminal gangs and a mercantile nobility. A sticky-fingered young orphan named Locke is raised by a con-man priest to lead a band of thieves, known as the Gentlemen Bastards, who pull off one elaborate scam after another, living above the law until a dark and violent competitor threatens everything Locke has gained. Lynch’s writing is fast-paced and witty, and readers will be drawn into the action from page one. —S.M.

Assassin's Apprentice , by Robin Hobb

A young boy is born, the bastard son of a prince, growing up in the shadow of his legitimate family at the king’s court. Raised by the reticent keeper of hounds and mentored by an assassin, young Fitz learns he has a larger-than-expected role to play in the fate of the kingdom. The setting is engaging and vibrant, the characters jump off the page and pull the reader in, and the plot moves at breakneck speed. —S.M.

The Blade Itself , by Joe Abercrombie

The Union is threatened by the incursions of the self-styled King of the North and the sadistic Emperor to the South. A barbarian with a violent past, an arrogant, spoiled nobleman, a twisted torture victim turned inquisitor par excellence, and a vengeful former slave find themselves in the thick of it, while an old, cantankerous wizard hides big plans for them all. The Blade Itself is dark and plain old hilarious at times, each POV dripping with personality. —S.M.

The Once and Future King , by T.H. White

T.H. White’s fanciful retelling of the beloved Arthurian legend is full of humor and wit, following the life of England’s most famous knight, from his childhood adventures fighting alongside Robin “Wood” to being transmogrified into fish and fowl to his coming-of-age finding of Excalibur and ascension to Knight of the Round table and king of all the land. At times tragic, undoubtedly epic, and always funny, The Once and Future King belongs on any fantasy lover’s bookshelf. —S.M.

Redwall , by Brian Jacques

A rat named Cluny and his army of vermin lay siege to the walls of Redwall Abbey, a peaceful monastery populated by talking mice. A young hero Mattheus fights to defend the abbey, befriending a warlike clan of sparrows and battling an evil serpent along the way. Each Redwall installment features a battle between benevolent woodland creatures fighting evil “vermin” in a formulaic yet comforting series that spans hundreds of years, jumping forward and backward through time. —S.M.

Gardens of the Moon , by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Empire, a militaristic, expansionary society, is in the midst of a 100-year campaign to conquer the world. A company of soldiers fighting for the empire known as the Bridgeburners attempt to infiltrate the last remaining Free City and undermine it from within. However, as the Empress grows more and more tyrannical, the Bridgeburners are forced to reconsider their true loyalties. Gardens of the Moon is a complex and interesting novel packed with magic, gods, assassins, and war. —S.M.

American Gods , by Neil Gaiman

The old gods are living beings who walk the Earth and draw power from those who worship them, increasingly finding themselves endangered as the world turns toward newer gods like Technology, Media, and Conspiracy Theories. Shadow gets out of jail early when his wife is killed in a car accident, setting off on a road trip with his mysterious new employer, Mr. Wednesday. American Gods is packed with Americana and fascinating tidbits of lore alongside ample humor and wit. —S.M.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell , by Susanna Clarke

In an alternative England during the early 19th century, true magic once existed but now belongs to scholars who cannot practice it. Two magicians reveal themselves and attempt to restore magic to its rightful place. The relationship between Jonathan Strange and his tutor, Mr. Norell, degrades as rivaling techniques to pursue a common goal drives a wedge between them. A dense yet playful take on the supernatural that channels authors like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen with expertise and flair. —S.M.

Perdido Street Station , by China Miéville

New Crobuzon is a decrepit and sprawling city where races of humanoid creatures coexist uneasily together. When a human scientist named Isaac takes on the task of healing a bird-man’s wings, he accidentally unleashes a monster loose on the city. Meanwhile, his insectile girlfriend, Lin, entangles herself with a powerful mob boss who drags the couple into an underworld of crime and corruption. Perdido Street Station is a perversely unique Victorian steampunk blend of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. —S.M.

Sam McKenzie is a tech employee by day and fantasy author by night. He writes about fiction, technology, and culture. Follow him on Twitter @samckenz 

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The Best Fantasy Books to Read in 2024

Lose yourself in these fantastical reads.

The Best Fantasy Books to Read in 2024 - IGN Image

Looking for something fantastical to read this summer? Well, you're in luck. Here at IGN we adore all kinds of stories but many of the games and films that are closest to our hearts hail from the epic realm of fantasy. From the Lord of the Rings books to the kingdoms of Game of Thrones novels all the way through the Star Wars universe, we spent a lot of time excavating and exploring the best that fantasy has to offer. That's why we're perfectly suited to lay out a list of the best fantasy novels to read in 2024. From Arthurian reimaginings to unique portal stories, faustian pacts to tea-steeping magic and more, these books will sate your fantasy appetites.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

The first entry into McGuire's wonderful Wayward Children novella series, Every Heart a Doorway is a fantasy story like no other. Taking on the classic portal trope, the story takes place at a boarding school for young people who have been rejected by the magical worlds that once welcomed them. When a spate of violent murders begin to occur within the academy's walls a group of students have to come together to discover who is killing their classmates and why. Filled with well-defined characters you'll quickly grow to care about, McGuire has created a world that you'll want to revisit again and again, and luckily you can.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Tracy Deonn delivered one of the best Arthurian reimaginings in decades with this immersive, complex, and moving fantasy adventure. After the shocking death of her mother, Bree Matthews is ready for a new start. Hoping that an academic programme will offer up the change of pace she needs, Bree heads to UNC–Chapel Hill and her new life. But the school has a secret, one Bree discovers on her first night when she comes across a young man named Merlin who just so happens to be battling a demon. Deonn's intricate world building and enchanting magic system will immediately hook fantasy fans whether they're familiar with Arthurian lore or not.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by VE Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

Centuries ago Addie Larue made a deal with the devil. Her wish: to live forever. The cost: that everyone she'll ever meet will forget her after a single day. It's a choice that haunts Addie as she traverses the globe, always alone, living like a ghost at the edges of other people's lives. But when she meets a young man who remembers name. Schwab has long proven her talent for character-driven fantasy with books like A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious, but this is her masterwork. Heartbreaking, life-affirming, and endlessly readable there's a reason this unforgettable fantasy book sold over a million copies in its first year of release.

House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

One of the loveliest novels of the last decade — if not longer — this charming fantasy takes place in a near future world where certain children are born with superpowers. Linus Baker has spent his life dedicated to his bureaucratic job in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Making sure that the institutions that look after the special children tick all of the department's boxes has always been simple. That changes when Linus is sent to determine whether or not Arthur Parnassus' orphanage and the children who live there are a threat to existence as we know it. Linus isn't expecting his life to change but that's exactly what happens in this charming and utterly unique story about finding home, family, and where you belong.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lim

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lim

This debut novel marked Lim as a writer to watch and you'll see why when you pick up this dynamic and deeply original historical fantasy yarn. Ning is a shennong-shi — a student of the ancient and magical art of tea-making — but a great personal loss sets her on an unexpected journey into the heart of the Imperial City and the backstabbing dangers of the Royal Court. With a magic system that you've likely never seen before, a furiously determined lead, and a world that you'll want to lose yourself in, this is a fantastical tale of court intrigue and tea-steeping that'll have you reaching for the sequel as soon as you reach the last page.

The City We Became by NK Jemisin

The City We Became by NK Jemisin 

Multiple Hugo-Winning author Jemisin once again pushes the boundaries of what we think fantasy can be with this inventive and ambitious love letter to New York. The interconnected lives of six strangers collide in this epic and fantastical tale about the nature of a city and those who live within it. It's hard to try to summarize the tale without spoiling its secrets but if you're someone who likes your fiction to feature locations that feel like vital characters you'll fall instantly in love with this tale about the power of city, community, and coming together.

The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang

The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang

Reimagining the famed Chinese novel Water Margin, this epic Wuxia fantasy will blow you away. Lin Chong knows her place, she's a skilled weapons master who has worked her way up to a secure position training the Emperor's armies. Though she knows in her heart that the Imperial rule is cruel and oppressive, she keeps her head down, sticks to her training, and plays it safe. But when her structured life is devastated by the actions of a violent man, Lin Chong finds herself on the run and soon becomes entangled in a world of bandits, warriors, and mountain outlaws. Can she find her place and purpose among them? And will she escape the Imperial Marshall on her tail? Huang's dynamic prose and animated action will keep you hooked 'til the very last page.

More Popular Fantasy Books

For those who want to add some of the most popular fantasy books out there to their reading list, there's quite an excellent variety to choose from. The Lord of the Rings books and Game of Thrones books both offer thrilling fantasy stories for readers. Alongside those, there's also The Name of The Wind and The Wheel of Time series that are worth adding to your book collection as well. Though don't expect a third book in the Name of the Wind series any time soon. There are also plenty of books like Harry Potter that are absolutely worth diving into at any time.

For more, dive into: 7 best mystery books and see if you have read any of the best-selling books of all time.

Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN covering everything from anime to comic books to kaiju to kids movies to horror flicks. She has over half a decade of experience in entertainment journalism with bylines at Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and more.

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100 Best Fantasy Series Ever

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100 best fantasy series ever.

100 Best Fantasy Series Ever

Reading ( or listening to! ) fantasy is the ultimate escape: from stress, work, and indeed all of life’s more mundane realities. Because what’s the opposite of reality ? Fantasy!

That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive mega-guide of the 100 best fantasy series of all time: to enable your escapism as much as possible. With so many titles to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like — urban , paranormal, epic , and classic fantasy , we’ve got it all. Get ready to dive in!

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the number of great fantasy books on hand, you can also take our 30-second quiz below to narrow it down quickly and get a personalized fantasy series recommendation 😉

Which fantasy series should you read next?

Discover the perfect fantasy series for you. Takes 30 seconds!

1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Before the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones , there was A Song of Ice and Fire . George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series takes place on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, and revolves around three central plotlines: familial feuds for control of Westeros, the looming threat of the northern-based “Others,” and of course the grand political ambitions of Daenerys Targaryen — perhaps better known as the “Mother of Dragons.”

2. The Abhorsen Trilogy Box Set by Garth Nix

The Abhorsen series centers around Sabriel, a girl from Ancelstierre (an alternate version of England) who becomes the protector of the mysterious, reality-bordering “Old Kingdom,” leading herself and her descendants down a path of dark, unpredictable magic.

3. Acacia by David Anthony Durham

When Leodan Akara, peaceful ruler of the “Known World,” passes away, his children must take up his responsibilities… and soon find that their father’s kingdom isn’t quite as harmonious as they thought. The Acacia series follows them in their attempts to preserve peace and keep the Known World from crumbling, not just for their own reputations, but for the good of the people.

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4. Alex Verus by Benedict Jacka

After a schism with the mages’ Council, future-seer Alex Verus just wants a quiet life, running his magic shop and staying out of trouble. But that’s not what fate has in mind for him — ironically, getting tangled up again in the world of Light vs. Dark magic is something this diviner never saw coming.

5. Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny

The little-known but much-praised Amber Chronicles weaves tales within the two “true” worlds of the series, Amber and Chaos, as well the “Shadow” worlds in the middle, born from the tension between them. Zelazny’s incredible worldbuilding plus his fascinating characters — including superhuman royalty — make this series truly worthy of its “epic” label.

6. The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud

This imaginative four-book sequence follows a teenage magician named Nathaniel and his djinni (or genie), a lively spirit called Bartimaeus who enjoys disobeying his master above all else. Though technically a children’s series, the Bartimaeus Sequence will no doubt entertain readers of all ages with its skillful balance of speculative fiction and magical fantasy.

7. Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

For those craving an out-of-the-box take on fantasy, these are the books for you. Glen Cook’s military fantasy series, Chronicles of the Black Company , deals with both an unusual branch of the genre and unusually nuanced questions of morality: the two sides of the main conflict have been described as “evil vs. evil,” and readers may be surprised who they end up rooting for.

8. The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan

The Black Magician trilogy tells the story of Sonea, a girl from the slums of the magical country Kyralia. Though normally only upper class-citizens have the capacity for magic, Sonea soon discovers she possesses magical gifts — leading to her capture by the Magician’s Guild of Kyralia and, once she escapes, the necessity of teaching herself how to control her abilities.

9. Boreal Moon by Julian May

Military and political tensions are high among the four kingdoms in Boreal Moon — but one Prince Conrig, in the kingdom of Cathra, plans to unite them with the help of his lover, Princess Ullanoth of Moss. However, are their motives purely diplomatic, or do they have something else up their sleeves?

10. The Bounds of Redemption by M. D. Ireman

As Tallos ventures to the north to recover what he believes will be the corpses of his friend’s children, he only hopes his mission will be swift. He never expects to find something worse than corpses: something that will unleash a much greater struggle for him and his people. Ireman is especially famous for his plot twists, and the flabbergasting turns that take place in this series are “bound” to leave readers gaping.

11. The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

The title of this inventive series refers to a catastrophic climate change that wreaks havoc on the world every few centuries. The change is brought about by powerful “orogenes,” who can control energy and are persecuted in society for their impact. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy follows three prominent female orogenes throughout history, and how each of their destinies is intertwined with the others.

12. The Broken Empire Book by Mark Lawrence

Prince Jorg Ancrath lived a perfect life until his mother and brother were killed, prompting him to run away and join a band of savages — but he’s not done with the throne just yet. This series tracks Jorg’s dogged pursuit to re-ascend the throne of his “broken empire,” using his street-learned violence to change the rules of the monarchy game.

13. Cassandra Palmer by Karen Chance

Cassie Palmer can see the future and speak to the spirits of the past. But her skills don’t make her immune to danger: it still follows her everywhere she goes, especially in the form of a vampire mobster who wants her dead. Join Cassie on seven nail-biting adventures to elude and defeat her foes, prudently trading her wits and skills for help from the most unlikely of sources.

14. Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill

When grad student Merit is transformed into a vampire, she has to seriously retool her five-year plan into, well, an immortality plan. A light alternative to some of the darker fantasies on this list, the Chicagoland Vampires series will still grip readers with the very real challenges of Merit’s life-adjustment crisis.

15. Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Even though you’ve all surely heard of it, we couldn’t leave this absolute legend off the list. An unassuming exploration of an old professor’s house leads to a fantasy saga of epic proportions: full of unforgettable moments , unexpected twists, and mind-bending questions about the universe’s infinite possibilities.

17. Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

Thomas Covenant is the emblematic antihero of the fantasy genre , reluctant to do anything that doesn’t directly benefit him. But he does have an “antihero’s journey” of sorts — over the three impressive trilogies in this series, he becomes much more altruistic and admirable. For those who tire of the standard “valiant hero swoops in and saves the day” storylines, this original series will reignite your fantasy-loving flame.

18. Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley

This debut trilogy from Staveley involves three royal children, separated at birth, who grow up to become a monk, a soldier, and a politician respectively. If that sounds like the beginning of a joke, they don’t all walk into a bar — rather, they reunite to get to the bottom of an inter-kingdom conspiracy, coming into contact with mysterious gods and unknown magic along the way.

19. Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

From the author of the acclaimed Dresden Files (#30 on this list) comes Codex Alera , another coming-of-age series about a young man called Tavi. Interestingly, Tavi’s plight is the reverse of one of the most common tropes in fantasy: instead of being the “chosen one,” he’s more like the unchosen one. As in, everybody else in Alera has powers except for him. But that only makes his fight to protect his family from danger all the more a thrilling and courageous risk.

20. Coldfire by Celia S. Friedman

The Coldfire trilogy takes place on the planet Erna, where sorcery is conducted through a magical energy source called the Fae. The Fae is also extremely dangerous, however; it destroyed the first waves of colonists on Erna and still poses a constant threat. Priest Damien Vryce wants peace between humans and the Fae more than anything — but how can one man control such a potent force? You’ll find out in this dark and heart-pounding series.

21. Crimson Moon by L.A. Banks

Special Ops soldier Sasha Trudeau is a werewolf attack survivor, serving on an elite team with other survivors to keep paranormal activity out of the public eye. But what Sasha doesn’t realize is that some things are too powerful to be contained — both within herself and out in the world. Lycanthropy, vampirism, and other supernatural forces abound in the Crimson Moon series, as Sasha comes to terms with who she is and what she can do to help protect others.

22. Crown of Stars Book by Kate Elliott

Crown of Stars takes place in Novaria, a Westeros-esque alternative Europe in which tension persists from a long-ago rift between elf-like creatures and humans. The former (called “Ashioi”) have since been banished to another plane of existence by sorcerers, but Novaria continues to struggle. As our human heroes soon figure out, the Ashioi are still closer to them than anyone thinks… and they’re about to unleash a new cataclysm that may destroy all of Novaria in its wake.

23. Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham

Nations clash, factions struggle, and individuals strive in this mesmerizing tale of power and control. Though countless plotlines and themes are wrapped up in Abraham’s quintet, the question at the heart of it is: what truly wins wars, the militant (dagger) or monetary (coin)?

24. Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

This series brings together countless age-old sources, from Arthurian legends to Celtic and Norse mythology to English folklore. It features Will Stanton, who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is an “Old One” and destined to battle forces of evil for the preservation of the “Light.” You might think of it as the 1970s precursor to Harry Potter — kids taking matters into their own hands, getting into trouble, and pretty much always magicking their way out just in time.

25. Dark Tower by Stephen King

This dark fantasy series from the indisputable king of horror follows Roland Deschain, the last member of an Arthur-descending knightly order called the gunslingers. Roland must find the “dark tower,” where all universes are said to meet, before his own crumbles into nonexistence. King really plays with the boundaries of reality and disbelief throughout the series so that both Roland and the reader must interpret and deconstruct the setting for themselves.

26. Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

In Elizabeth Moon's epic trilogy, Paksenarrion, aka Paks, finds herself locked into an undesirable arranged marriage. She has no choice but to flee — and what better way to protect herself than by joining a company of mercenaries? Paks soon realizes that she herself is a gifted paladin, and uses her skills to help her comrades and instate the rightful heir to the throne: her friend and commander Kieri.

27. The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

The Demon Cycle has raged on for centuries: every night, supernatural demons called corelings arrive to attack and destroy humans, who shrink from them in fear. But humans once fought valiantly against the corelings, and so they will again. In this series, three young survivors of demon assaults stand to take back the realm of the living.

28. Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Just when you think there’s nothing else fresh in the fantasy genre, along comes Discworld . This series pokes fun at classic fantasy tropes : there’s a talentless, cowardly wizard who’s constantly forced into adventures, a skeletal personification of death who rides a horse named Binky, and the entire story takes place on a disc-shaped planet atop four elephants… which themselves stand on top of a turtle. So if you ever get tired of Chosen Ones and medieval-ish settings, just remember there’s always Discworld .

29. Dreamblood by N.K. Jemisin

Ehiru is a peacekeeper in the city of Gujaareh, amassing the city’s collective magic and using it as a shield against the corrupt. Yet when people start dying in their dreams, allegedly in sacrifice to the “dream-goddess” Hananja, Ehiru must go above and beyond the call of duty to discover who’s responsible and what their end goal actually is. Dreamblood is a powerful story by a master fantasist.

30. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Wizard Harry Dresden works with the Chicago P.D. to solve their most unsolvable, supernatural cases. From magically mutilated bodies to vampire and werewolf witnesses, this series is a unique whirlwind of hardboiled detective fiction and dark fantasy.

31. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

From one of the most renowned fantasy and science fiction writers of all time comes the Earthsea series, a classic yet visionary tale. It tracks the journey of Ged, who grows from a young, immature boy to the greatest magician of his generation, and who must use his powers to save his home of Earthsea from imminent decline.

32. Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep

Gin Blanco may be a professional assassin, but her skills are by no means limited to stabbing and shooting. No, Gin is an Elemental Assassin ; she can control the elements of Ice and Stone, using them to kill when needed. And after a betrayal from one of her associates sets her down a road of vengeance, others would be wise to stay out of her way.

33. Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts

The Empire trilogy takes place in a fascinating amalgam setting of medieval Europe and Asia, and stars Mara of the Acoma, the newest Ruling Lady of her empire. Not everyone is happy for her, however; many of those close to the throne want her dead. Even besides the juicy political drama and feminist overtones, there’s another great reason to read this series: it’s part of a mega-verse called The Riftwar Universe, which includes a whopping twenty-seven more books!

34. Farseer by Robin Hobb

Contrary to what his name would suggest, Fitz Farseer can’t see the future, but he does have other talents. Namely, he is an assassin in the land of the the Six Duchies, adjacent to a war being waged by his royal uncle. But who is truly in the right, and with whom will Fitz side in the conflict? The Farseer books answers these questions with wit, intrigue, and a touch of magic.

35. First Law by Joe Abercrombie

If you fast-forward through all the sex and dialogue in GoT to get to the battle scenes, First Law is definitely the series for you. This seriously bloody (and bloody good) trilogy focuses on barbarians and warriors fighting it out in an elaborate medieval European/Mediterranean world.

36. Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay

Think Chronicles of Narnia, but older, and in Canada. The Fionavar Tapestry series involves five University of Toronto postgraduates who get sucked into the “first world of the tapestry,” Fionavar. There they discover that they are magical leaders, each based on different legendary figures and roles, and must determine what purpose they will serve within Fionavar — and whether that purpose is worth giving up all they had in the “real” world.

37. Folk of the Air by Holly Black

Jude and her sisters have lived among faeries (aka the Folk of the Air ) for years, but they’re still not accepted as part of their world — until Jude makes up her mind to boldly defy the beautiful, cruel Prince Cardan, and succeeds. Now Jude has just as much power as faerie royalty, but she has to figure out how to use it… with Cardan looming over her shoulder all the while.

38. Greywalker by Kat Richardson

This urban fantasy series stars Harper Blaine, a Seattle P.I. with unusual perceptive abilities, even for a P.I. That’s because she’s a “greywalker,” one who can traverse between the human and supernatural worlds and see things happening on both sides. But is being a greywalker a gift or a curse? Harper’s going to have to find out the hard way.

39. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

What more can be said about Harry Potter ? Rowling’s worldbuilding is wondrous to behold, her characterization so extensive that you’ll feel like Harry, Ron, and Hermione are your very own best friends. Not to mention that her stories involve some of the most masterful plot twists you’ll see in any book, from any genre (Prisoner of Azkaban, anyone?). So if for whatever reason you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, just know that it’s never too late to experience the magic .

40. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

And for those who have read Harry Potter and are itching for something similar, you could do much worse than His Dark Materials . Twelve-year-old Lyra Belacqua and her spiritual “dæmon” travel across the many different worlds of this series, on a variety of imaginative missions that will ultimately help save the entire multiverse.

41. The Hollows by Kim Harrison

The Hollows is full of alternative history combined with magical elements, so try to keep up: genetic engineering gone wrong has killed off much of the human population, and supernatural species now live openly among them. Half-mortal, half-magic detective Rachel Morgan is a partner at “Vampiric Charms,” a security/bounty hunting service for this unpredictable new world — and indeed, the assignments she receives are anything but ordinary.

42. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Fun fact: Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon when he was just a teenager, and initially self-published the book — so it’s a testament to youthful determination if nothing else! The series ' plot is also pretty exciting, however: farm boy Eragon finds a mysterious stone in the mountains near his home, only to realize when it starts to crack that it’s actually a dragon egg. And when you’ve just hatched an unexpected dragon, there’s bound to be trouble ahead.

43. The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

Not to be confused with Paolini’s series, Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy details the story of Yeine, a powerful woman of the Darre tribe, who becomes heir to the throne of all the Arameri people. However, despite her power, she’s still forced to battle the expectations and ill wishes of those against her. Not to mention the struggle to hold on to herself, when the soul of a mystical god is placed inside her mind.

44. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

This accompaniment to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (#67 on our list) is just as imaginative and action-packed as its predecessor, if not more so. Infernal Devices follows Tessa Gray, an orphan girl who discovers she can shape-shift and goes to live at the Shadowhunter Institute in nineteenth-century London, where she must learn to control her abilities.

45. Georgina Kincaid Book by Richelle Mead

Georgina Kincaid 's titular star may be a succubus, but that doesn’t mean her job doesn’t suck — if she’s not dreading her repulsive clients, she’s arguing with the middle-manager demon who’s her boss. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), there’s always a bit of deadly drama to be found in the realm of the supernatural… and it usually finds Georgina first.

46. Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch

The titular “gentleman bastards” of this series start off pretty much true to their name: Locke Lamora is their gang leader, and thieving and trickery is all he’s ever known. But what happens when someone else tries to con the con man? As their battles of wits and wiles escalate, Locke and his fellow bastards take a journey of both worldly and personal discovery.

47. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

The widely praised Gormenghast series has oft been called a “fantasy of manners.” Rather than a life-or-death battle between massive forces, the books centers around the bizarre dynamics of the Groan family, who live in Gormenghast Castle. It’s The Addams Family meets a Jane Austen novel! In any case, if you’re looking for a total break from the sometimes-exhausting tropes of epic fantasy, you’ll be delighted to pick up Gormenghast .

48. Joe Pitt Casebooks by Charlie Huston

If Gormenghast is dark fantasy Jane Austen, Joe Pitt is vampire Mario Puzo. Joe Pitt is a New York City vampire living among factions of other vamps, unwilling to commit to a single clan — but being pressured by each of them to join, since he has exclusive underworld connections they all want. In any case, Joe had better watch his back, because their tolerance could turn into suspicion at any moment… and things get messy pretty quickly when you have fangs.

49. Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Carter and Sadie Kane have been raised apart all their lives. But when their Egyptologist father is captured by Set (the Egyptian god of evil), the two siblings must band together to try and understand their shared history, as well as how they can use it to save their family. The Kane Chronicles offer another spellbinding tale from the celebrated author of the Percy Jackson series.

50. Kan Savasci Cycle by Chase Blackwood

This ongoing cycle details the exhilarating journey of Kan Savasci, the “Bane of Verold” (his native land) who steps into his fate as the most powerful, feared warrior of his time — only to disappear when the world needs him most . If you’re looking for a not-too-daunting intro to epic fantasy, this series is the way to go, as only two books have been released so far and you can easily catch up before the next comes out.

51. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has magic in her blood, but she doesn’t want anyone to know. Not least because the world she lives in has been wrecked by it: other humans resent magic for taking down their technology in the “magic apocalypse,” while supernatural creatures hunt humans whom they see as a threat. However, after Kate’s guardian is killed, she realizes she can no longer remain passive in her world, and sets off with her sword on her back to become a ruthless mercenary.

52. Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

Keys to the Kingdom , by the same author as the Abhorsen series, similarly focuses on a young mage coming into their destiny. However, in this case it’s Arthur Penhaligon, who’s to become the heir of “the House” — the focal point of the universe. Arthur must quickly grow into his role as heir and in the process defeat the “Morrow Days” council, who wish to corrupt the House.

\n I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. \n \n

\n You may have heard of me. \n \n

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature--the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

53. Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

An unusual format, the Kingkiller Chronicle consists of its protagonist, Kvothe, narrating his life to the scribe who will record it. Kvothe delves into the trauma that befell his childhood and the many battles that wore him down in adulthood… but all the while, his scribe (dubbed “the Chronicler”) takes a slyly active role in the story, knowing it’s not over yet.

54. Kitty Norville by Carrie Vaughn

Closeted werewolf Kitty Norville starts “The Midnight Hour,” a late-night radio show devoted to dissecting supernatural phenomena — not realizing that by shining the spotlight on things that go bump in the night, she’s leading her enemies closer and closer to finding her.

55. Phèdre Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey

Phèdre nó Delaunay is born with a red mote in her eye, marking her as one pricked by “Kushiel’s dart,” an anguissine who derives pleasure from pain. As Phèdre matures, she must figure out how to balance her personal relationships with her cosmic purpose: to provide balance to the universe. This original and provocative trilogy is also just the beginning of the Kushiel's Legacy series, which comprises nine books in total.

56. Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi

Though only one book in this anticipated trilogy has been released so far, Children of Blood and Bone was no doubt the breakout YA fantasy of 2018. It tells the story of Zélie, a young diviner who must restore magic to the land of Orïsha — before its tyrant ruler King Saran destroys her, just as he did her magical ancestors.

57. Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks

Another ongoing series, Lightbringer centers around “the Prism,” the most powerful man in the world of the Seven Satrapies, where magic is channeled through light and color. The Prism of this series, Gavin, contends with stormy relations between the Satrapies, a treacherous brother trying to undercut him, and a secret son whose existence threatens Gavin’s way of life.

58. Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham

The Long Price Quartet begins in the wealthy, seemingly utopian city-state of Saraykeht, where a sorcerer called Heshai stokes the fire beneath the surface. But Heshai grows weak, and Saraykeht becomes vulnerable to attack; the fate of the metropolis now rests in the hands of outsiders, who will use unknown forms of magic to protect it.

59. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The revolutionary magic of Lord of the Rings has united generations, incited epic movies, and probably inspired every series on this list in one way or another. Join Frodo, Sam, Aragon, Gandalf and the rest of the glorious gang in their quest to obliterate the One Ring — facing massive questions of friendship, morality, and what truly lies within each of them along the way.

60. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinderella’s a cyborg, Rapunzel’s a hacker, Snow White has “Lunar Sickness,” and they all hang out in space. If steampunk interstellar princesses is your thing, the Lunar Chronicles are just the series you’ve been looking for. (Plus, for a dose of writerly inspiration, the whole thing started out as a NaNoWriMo project !)

61. Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance

In this Dark Ages-era trilogy, King Casmir is the ruthless and twisted ruler of Lyonesse, intent on marrying his own daughter to consolidate his power. But Princess Suldrun is just as sly as her father, and finds the perfect accomplice to thwart him when a mysterious prince washes up on her shores. Together, they embark on a plan to unite and stabilize all of the Elder Isles, and push Casmir off the Lyonesse throne.

62. Magic Ex Libris Book by Jim C. Hines

If you loved Inkheart as a kid, you’ll love Magic Ex Libris as an adult. It follows the adventures of Isaac Vainio, a “Libriomancer” who can summon objects and other elements from books into the real world. But when Isaac is attacked by fictional vampires brought to life, he sees firsthand how dangerous libriomancing can be, and must learn how best to control it — even if that means giving up his abilities forever.

63. Magicians by Lev Grossman

Another great mature alternative to a popular kids’ fantasy series is the Magicians trilogy, often described as “grown-up Harry Potter.” Quentin Coldwater attends Brakebills, a magical university where he and his classmates learn the grueling theory and practice of sorcery. Yet despite Quentin’s excitement to become a full-fledged magician, a lurking threat jeopardizes not only his success at Brakebills, but his whole life.

64. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Malazan Book of the Fallen is another deeply iconic fantasy series, often cited as one of the best high fantasies in recent years. Its exhaustive narrative spanning multiple continents and thousands of years is too complex to effectively describe here, but all eventually comes back to the Malazan Empire and who gains (as well as who deserves) power within it.

65. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams

Young kitchen worker Simon becomes an apprentice to the League of the Scroll, and dedicates himself to protecting his land of Osten Ard from its formidable enemies. This masterfully plotted, impressively detailed trilogy is also one of George R.R. Martin’s greatest influences, so if you’re looking to write your own HBO-worthy fantasy series , you might want to start here.

66. Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson is just your average mechanic — who also happens to be a shapeshifter in a world full of vampires, werewolves, and other such creatures. When Mercy realizes that some of her supernatural fellows are in danger, she jumps into action, using both her human and superhuman skills to save their lives as well as her own.

67. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn trilogy commences with a prophecy about a hero, as so many fantasies do… only this hero, after repelling “the Darkness” centuries ago, has now come to embody it himself in the form of a tyrant king. Now it’s up to our dark horse champion, Kelsier the Mistborn, to reclaim the world of Scadrial in the name of the Light — but will he be able to resist the pull of darkness, or will he suffer the same fate as the first hero?

68. Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black

Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales series imagines modern heroines in mythical situations. Such as sixteen-year-old Kaye, who accidentally becomes entwined in an age-old conflict between two rival faerie kingdoms. Both darkly themed and written with a light touch, this series is perfect for YA readers who love getting lost in Black’s enchanting world of faeries.

69. Monarchies of God by Paul Kearney

This fast-paced series details a violent war among five nations, with a central narrator who’s at sea, trying to sway the battle in his nation’s favor by colonizing a lost land. Kearney injects a great deal of his own sailing knowledge into the narrative, resulting in vivid descriptions that will make the reader feel like they’re practically at sea themselves.

70. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Perhaps the best-known urban fantasy series of the twenty-first century, Mortal Instruments follows the path of NYC teenager Clary Fray, who discovers she’s a Shadowhunter — one with the power to hunt demons. Clary is plunged into an underground world full of magical secrets, with demonic danger around every corner and other Shadowhunters who may or may not be trying to sabotage her missions.

71. Night Angel by Brent Weeks

From the author of Lightbringer comes the Night Angel trilogy, another inventive tale about a world of hierarchies and life-defining positions. Over the course of this series, protagonist Azoth rises from lowly “guild rat” to assassin and finally to the destructive Night Angel, ultimately using his immense power to punish those who deserve it.

72. Oath of Empire by Thomas Harlan

Four colorful stories come together in this intricate series about Rome in 600 AD, but with sorcery. Brutal battles are being waged for control of the empire, fought through both military and magical force, and our four central characters each play a surprisingly vital role in the final outcome.

73. October Daye Book by Seanan McGuire

This urban fantasy series is full of suspense. When an old faerie friend is murdered under strange circumstances, jaded October “Toby” Daye is forced to return to the world she once resolved to leave behind, renewing former alliances and wondering who among them she can really trust.

74. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has become one of the best-known children’s fantasy series in recent years, and with good reason. Between kids finding out they’re related to Greek gods and having to go on modern-day odysseys to save themselves (and also the world, no big deal), what’s not to like? Even if you’re long past childhood, you’ll still enjoy every minute of Percy and his friends’ mythologically inspired adventures.

75. Powder Mage by Brian McClellan

The Powder Mage trilogy is a “flintlock fantasy,” meaning it’s set during the early stages of the industrial revolution. The titular powder mage, Taniel, is able to extract magic from gunpowder, and uses his supernatural abilities to aid his father in overthrowing the monarchy. But Taniel has no idea about the true consequences of his father’s plans — especially when an ancient curse called “Kresimir’s Promise” comes into play.

76. Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

“If Blue ever kisses her true love, he will die.” Such is the prophecy that kicks off the Raven Cycle : a four-book series revolving around young Blue and the mysterious “Raven boys,” an alluring quartet of private school boys on a highly unusual mission.

77. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In the Red Queen series, people are divided by blood: red is common and lower-class, while silver blood indicates royal lineage. Mare Barrow is a red-blooded commoner, but with powers that threaten the control of the Silvers. To placate her, they allow her into their upper ranks, calling her a “lost princess” and bettrothing her to a prince. But Mare isn’t in it for the celebrity; little do the Silvers know, this Red princess is about the become the queen of insurrection.

78. Redwall by Brian Jacques

Another landmark children’s fantasy series, Redwall revolves around the animals of Mossflower Woods.These mice, squirrels, badgers, foxes, ravens, snakes and more must live together in harmony, or else fight for the fate of the forest and their own lives. This lively, detailed portrait of the animals’ many generations will delight anyone who’s ever imagined kingdoms out there in the wilderness.

79. Riddle-Master by Patricia A. McKillip

In this Celtic-inspired world of lands ruled by mystical leaders, an evasive figure called “the High One” binds all kingdoms together. This trilogy follows the quest of Morgon of Hed and Raederle of An, two other land-leaders, as they attempt to discover the High One’s identity and how his purpose intertwines with theirs.

80. Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

The Riftwar Cycle originated with Feist and his friends creating a Dungeons & Dragons alternative: a tabletop/role-playing game based on their own world, Midkemia. Later, Feist expanded the stories of Midkemia and another land, Kelewan, into the Riftwar Universe. The thirty books (yes, you heard that right) of the cycle detail the escapades of people and creatures in many different lands, with all the rollicking excitement and suspense of a live-action game.

81. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

This inventive series mixes fantasy with police procedural. After witnessing a ghost on the job, Peter Grant of the London Metropolitan Police joins their supernatural specialty branch, becoming an apprentice wizard in the process — the first one in seventy years. As he discovers more about the supernatural realm, he understands that with his new position comes great responsibility, to both humans and the gods and creatures they fear.

82. Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

Riyria Revelations centers on Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, partners in crime. One of their greatest talents is flying under the radar — until they’re swept up in an assassination plot and sentenced to death. In order to escape, they must run, and the unwitting journey they embark upon is both mythic in scale and very intimate in human emotion.

83. Saga of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

In the Recluce universe, magic exists in two forms: order and chaos. “Black” mages can channel order, “white” mages can channel chaos, and “gray” mages can do both, though they are extremely rare. This series, which spans two thousand years, involves a variety of heroes and villains trying to harness their powers and find their fortunes as mages — despite the grave personal costs that magic accrues.

84. The Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker

Bakker’s The Prince of Nothing series is fascinating because the main character’s powers aren’t derived from a magical source, but rather from logic and reasoning. Warrior Anasûrimbor Kellhus has incredible abilities of prediction and persuasion, leading him to be labeled a diviner. But as Kellhus’s influence grows, those close to him realize that he may not be a force of benevolence after all, and indeed may bring about the “Second Apocalypse” of their universe.

85. Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Told from the perspectives of several generations’ daughters, the Sevenwaters series is a refreshingly female-focused fantasy series. It begins with Sorcha, daughter of Lord Colum, who must save her father and brothers from the spell of an evil enchantress — even after being kidnapped herself. From there Sorcha’s legacy multiplies, with each of the Sevenwaters books focusing on a new daughter and her own unique challenge to fulfill her destiny.

86. Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

In Shades of Magic , magician Kell has the ability to travel among four different parallel Londons: Grey, Red, White, and Black. His life has always been one of transition, always relying on a variety of Londons to serve him… until one day he meets pickpocket Delilah Bard. The two of them soon become embroiled in a plot that could either save or dismantle not just one, but every London they know.

87. Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

Another epic series from the man who inspired George R.R. Martin, Shadowmarch is full of great detail and even more dramatic action. It depicts the struggling province of Southmarch: the true king is imprisoned, his son has just been killed, and his twin children have no idea how to handle their new duties. Things only become more difficult as the twins, Briony and Barrick, learn more about their true ancestry and old enemies who threaten their already-tenuous rule.

88. Shannara by Terry Brooks

In the post-apocalyptic world of the Four Lands, the Sword of Shannara wields ultimate power. Young Shea Ohmsford is the only living descendant of Shannara blood, meaning he is the only the one who can use it — and use it he must, if he is to defeat the Warlock Lord and save the Four Lands from imminent destruction. This pentalogy chronicles Shea’s quest, as well as those of his descendants, to protect their nation with mysterious age-old magic.

89. Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce

If Mulan lived in the kingdom of Tortall, she and Alanna of Trebond would be best buds. Alanna may be a young lady, but she knows it’s her destiny to become a knight — so when her twin brother gets sent to knight school against his will, they hatch a plan to secretly switch places. “Alan” then begins the long uphill battle of proving herself to her peers and countrymen: first in disguise, but eventually as her true self, the lioness with a battle cry in her heart. The series that recounts her journey is full of wonder and excitement.

90. Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris

A Song of Ice and Fire may have inspired Game of Thrones , but what inspired the equally dramatic (if perhaps less critically acclaimed) HBO series True Blood ? The answer is the Sookie Stackhouse series. Charlaine Harris weaves an intricate saga of bloodlust and actual lust in the American South, centering around telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who gets caught up in the many complexities of the supernatural world.

91. SPI Files by Lisa Shearin

This series centers on the Supernatural Protection & Investigation agency, which handles New York’s most sensitive cases — supernaturally sensitive, that is. From subway monsters to hellfire designer drugs to dragon eggs at the Met, there’s never a dull moment in the life of Detective Makenna Fraser and her SPI associates.

92. Swan's War by Sean Russell

Not to be confused with Proust, though almost as elaborate, Swan’s War is about a kingdom in turmoil. One king’s failure to name his heir has resulted in a War of the Roses-type scenario, with two families brutally battling for control… yet some still desire peace, believing the houses can be united. What they don’t know is that there are much deeper, malevolent forces at work that conspire to keep the people dying and the kingdom in chaos. And if no one puts a stop to them, not only will peace be impossible, but so will survival in this realm.

93. Sword of Shadows by J. V. Jones

In Sword of Shadows , Ash March and Raif Sevrance have always known they are different — not least because their abilities prevent them from connecting with their families and clans, leaving them perpetual outsiders. But it’s these abilities that will ultimately bond them together, allowing them to rescue each other and potentially save everyone in their land from the wrath of the horrific “Endlords.”

94. Temeraire by Naomi Novik

The Temeraire series reimagines the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century upon the backs of — what else? — dragons. The true feat of this series, however, is not imagining the dragons themselves but the societal milieu surrounding them: where they’re based, how they’re viewed in different cultures, and most importantly, the delicate individual relationships between dragons and humans, especially when it comes to working with each other.

95. Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

These twenty-one epic fantasy novels are absolutely perfect for readers looking to really dive into the classic fantasy experience. The heroes of Sword of Truth are on a continuous quest: that quintessential pursuit of evil’s defeat — evil that appears in countless incarnations but is always slain in one thrilling way or another. Though it may not be the most unpredictable series, it’s a great romp to return to time and time again.

96. Theatre Illuminata by Lisa Mantchev

Beatrice Shakespeare has grown up in the Theatre Illuminata , where all the world literally is a stage. And while Beatrice has always enjoyed her lifestyle of drama and entertainment (again, a very literal description), in this series she realizes that dark magic plagues the theatre, and that she may be the only one who can sate it.

97. Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron

The Red Knight is the hero of this medieval-era series, and a worthy one at that: not only is he genetically gifted and expertly trained, he’s also notoriously lucky and shrewd when it comes to picking his battles. Or at least he always has been — until the day he and his company venture to protect a nunnery from wyverns, which sets off a sequence of dark disasters.

98. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

While it may not be the most sophisticated of fantasy plots, the Twilight saga still has a place on this list for its mesmerizing character dynamics and surprisingly lyrical prose. You all probably know the classic “girl meets vampire” story by now, but if you haven’t read the books, just know they hold up better than you think.

99. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In this fantasy series, the stakes are personal. After being imprisoned for a year, young assassin Celaena Sardothien has the chance to get her life back — if she’s willing to risk her death first. She’ll be pitted against other assassins in a competition to serve the king, and if she wins, her crimes will be pardoned. If not, however, she’ll wind up six feet under. Celaena’s just desperate enough to take the deal… but does she have a chance at winning, or is someone out to sabotage her before the contest even begins?

100. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

We’ve really saved one of the best for last with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. The colossal cast of characters, masterfully developed magic system, and creative timeline (or should we say time-wheel) of these books make for an absolutely unforgettable read, even if you’re already a seasoned fantasy enthusiast. Wheel of Time is often ranked next to a A Song of Ice and Fire as one of the most iconic epic fantasy series ever — and it’s especially poignant knowing that, after Jordan passed away in the midst of writing the last installment, friend and fan Brandon Sanderson took over for him in order to finish the series with justice.

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The 30 best fantasy book series for escaping to another realm

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Fantasy novels transport readers across magical lands, introduce them to mystical creatures, and take them on mythical adventures. It can be hard to contain a great fantasy story in one novel, so book series let readers revisit their favorite characters and worlds as they take on new enemies, discover new powers, and even fall in love. 

The recommendations on this list aren't just amazing novels — they also make great gifts for the fantasy reader in your life. Many of them come in stunning box sets and gifting the whole series means they can pick up the next book as soon as they close the last. 

Whether the reader in your life loves classic fantasy tales or gripping new fantasy adventures, here are the best fantasy series to gift in 2022.

An enthralling dystopian fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Legend" trilogy by Marie Lu, available on Amazon and Target .

"Legend," the first book in the series, available at Amazon .

In this dystopian fantasy series set in a future Los Angeles now known as the Republic, 15-year-olds June and Day may never have crossed paths, as she is a prodigy groomed for success and he is the country's most wanted criminal. But when June's brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect, the two are set on a collision path toward each other until the truth of what really brought them together is revealed.

A dark academia fantasy trilogy

best fantasy books to read

"The Scholomance" series by Naomi Novik, available on Amazon .

"A Deadly Education," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble .

This series kicks off with "A Deadly Education" where readers are introduced to Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted that students can't leave unless they graduate or die. Full of monsters, magic, and creepy dangers, this trilogy follows El as she navigates her dark powers, finds allies, and tries to survive.

A fantasy series well-known for its TV adaptation

best fantasy books to read

"Game of Thrones" series by George R.R. Martin, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"A Song of Ice and Fire," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Now wildly famous after the hit HBO series of the same name, George R.R. Martin's high fantasy series of dragons, seven kingdoms, and deadly winters began with the first novel — "A Song of Ice and Fire" — published in 1996. In this series, families are in a centuries-long power struggle for control of the Iron Throne while protecting the kingdoms from the supernatural creatures that lay beyond the Wall.

A delightfully witchy YA trilogy

best fantasy books to read

"Serpent & Dove" trilogy by Shelby Mahurin, available on Amazon .

"Serpent & Dove," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble .

"Serpent & Dove" is a young adult fantasy trilogy about Louise le Blanc, a witch that fled her coven, abandoned her magic, and settled in Cesarine, a town where witches are feared and burned if discovered. But when Louise is forced into a marriage with a witch hunter from the Church, she must choose to face her enemies, her true feelings, and her magic if she hopes to live.

This fantasy series that ties in epic science fiction elements

best fantasy books to read

"The Broken Earth" series by N.K. Jemisin, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Fifth Season," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Broken Earth" series debuted with the Hugo Award-winning novel "The Fifth Season," titled after the apocalyptic-level climate change endured every few centuries. In the first novel — known for its intense plot twists — Essun is on a mission to track down her husband who killed her son and kidnapped her daughter as the world deteriorates into devastation.

A fantasy series of magical parallel Londons

best fantasy books to read

"Shades of Magic" series by V.E. Schwab, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"A Darker Shade of Magic," the first book in the series, available on Amazon .

V.E. Schwab is a renowned fantasy writer, most well-known for her "Shades of Magic" series, where readers cross parallel universes with varying degrees of magic alongside a talented smuggler and a cunning thief. The series begins with "A Darker Shade of Magic," where readers inevitably fall in love with the story of Kell and Lila, two brilliant heroes who must save the worlds from a dangerous rise of magical power.

A seven-book childrens' fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Chronicles of Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Chronicles of Narnia" is a seven-book fantasy series first published in 1956 that begins with a young girl named Lucy discovering a magical, wintry world in the back of a wardrobe in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Trapped under a spell from the evil White Witch, Lucy and her siblings team up with a magical lion to free Narnia from the curse in this series that's been loved by children and adults for nearly 70 years. 

A historical, military fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Poppy War" series by R.F. Kuang, available on Amazon .

"The Poppy War," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Poppy War" is the first novel in this historical military fantasy series inspired by the second Sino-Japanese War in 20th-century China. When Rin aces the test to attend the Empire's prestigious military school, she thinks defying everyone's expectations is the last of her problems. While trying to survive at the academy, Rin finds she holds the magical and spiritual gift of shamanism — the ability to interact with spirits — and discovers a Third Poppy War may be closer than they imagined.

An adrenaline-inducing fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"Blood and Ash" series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available on Kindle .

"From Blood and Ash," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

The "Blood and Ash" series has captured readers' hearts since the first book, which has over 150,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads. In "From Blood and Ash," readers meet Poppy whose upcoming Ascension means the future of her kingdom rests on her shoulders — until a stunning guard named Hawke makes her question what she thought was her destiny. Readers love this series for its action-packed plot, strong heroine, and cliffhanger endings that force them to immediately grab the next book.  

An engrossing fantasy series from Stephen King

best fantasy books to read

"The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Gunslinger," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

In this primarily dark fantasy series, Stephen King blends magical storytelling with elements of westerns, science fiction, and horror in this eight-book story which follows Roland of Gilead, the final gunslinger, on his mission to reach the Dark Tower and save the universe. Though King is mostly known for suspenseful horror, this fantasy series has proven a gripping must-read from "The Gunslinger" through the final installment, "The Dark Tower."

An emotional fantasy novella series

best fantasy books to read

"Binti" series by Nnedi Okorafor, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"Binti," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, "Binti" is the first in a series of fantasy novellas featuring earthling Binti, who's been offered a place at the finest university in the galaxy. She must travel through space to reach the school, surviving a furious alien race during her emotional journey.

A fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling

best fantasy books to read

"A Court of Thorns and Roses" series by Sarah J. Maas, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"A Court of Thorns and Roses," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Sarah J. Maas is adored for her many sexy and action-packed fantasy series, including "A Court of Thorns and Roses," a bestselling young adult fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling. Feyre is a hunter dragged into a magical kingdom, accused of murdering a faerie. Closely guarded, she begins to discover the secrets of this dangerous land, her mysterious captor, and an ancient curse. 

An epic and beloved fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Lord of the Rings" series by J.R.R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Fellowship of the Ring," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Although "The Lord of the Rings" series begins chronologically with " The Hobbit ," "The Fellowship of the Ring" kicks off this epic, high-fantasy adventure with young hobbit Frodo Baggins and his journey across Middle-Earth. Entrusted with the task to destroy a powerful ring, Frodo, along with his hobbit, elf, and wizard companions, sets out to reach the Cracks of Doom and thwart the rise of the Dark Lord.

A dystopian urban fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Bone Season" series by Samantha Shannon, available on Kindle .

"The Bone Season," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Chosen as the first-ever TODAY Book Club pick, "The Bone Season" transports readers to 2059 where dreamwalker Paige Mahoney is scouting the criminal underworld for information by effectively intruding on people's minds. When she's kidnapped and taken to Oxford, a secret city ruled by a race of beings from another world, she must fight to regain her freedom in this original dystopian fantasy brought to life with elements of science fiction.

A captivating high-fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"An Ember in the Ashes" series by Sabaa Tahir, available on Kindle .

"An Ember in the Ashes," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"An Ember in the Ashes" is a four-book dystopian fantasy series where Laia is a slave in a brutal and tyrannically ruled world under the Martial Empire, living in constant fear. When Laia's brother is arrested, she hatches a plan to rescue him by attending the Empire's military academy and teaming up with Elias, a soldier desperate to be free.

A classic young adult fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"Earthsea Cycle" series by Ursula K. Le Guin available on Amazon .

"A Wizard of Earthsea," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"Earthsea Cycle" is a high-fantasy series of six books and nine short stories beginning with "A Wizard of Earthsea," where readers meet Ged, now the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea but once known as Sparrowhawk in his youth. In the first novel, readers follow Sparrowhawk's story of accidentally releasing a shadow over the world and his journey to right his mistake. 

A historical, magical, and whimsical fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Daevabad Trilogy" by S.A. Chakraborty, available on Kindle .

"The City of Brass," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Set in 18th century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman who gets by on what seems like magic, though she's never believed any of it to be real. When she accidentally summons a mysterious warrior during a con, Nahri becomes bound to a legendary city laced with enchantments — and her schemes could leave her facing deadly consequences.

A dramatic fantasy series set in an Asia-inspired metropolis

best fantasy books to read

"Green Bone Saga" series by Fonda Lee, available on Kindle .

"Jade City," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Winner of the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Fonda Lee's "Jade City" is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy about the Green Bone warriors who use jade to enhance their magic and defend the island of Kekon. Four siblings of the Kaul family battle rival clans as a powerful new drug emerges, allowing anyone to wield the coveted jade and resulting in a violent (and lethal) clan war.

A magical and romantic fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"Earthsinger Chronicles" series by L. Penelope, available on Kindle .

"Song of Blood & Stone," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Selected as one of "TIME Magazine's Best Fantasy Books of All Time, " "Song of Blood & Stone" is a romantic fantasy novel where a crack in a magical vial threatens to tear two kingdoms apart. Jasminda and her Earthsong gift seem to be the only hope to heal the nation and prevent a rising war.

A mythological fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series by Rick Riordan, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Lightning Thief," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

In "The Lightning Thief," fantasy lovers meet Percy Jackson, a young boy who learns he's a demigod and the son of Poseidon. He sets out with the daughter of Athena across the United States to catch the thief who stole Zeus' lightning bolt and prevent a war between the gods. The Percy Jackson mythological fantasy series has thoroughly engrossed readers of all ages across its five books.

A series of witches, wizards, and romance

best fantasy books to read

"The Kingston Cycle" series by C. L. Polk, available on Kindle .

"Witchmark," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Kingston Cycle" is an award-winning queer fantasy romance series starring Miles Singer, who tried to escape his troubled past and darkly destined future by joining the war efforts, faking his death, and reinventing himself as a doctor. When a tragedy forces Miles to expose his magical healing powers, he risks his freedom to investigate the murder in this series of magical battles, betrayals, and heartwarming romance.

An intense fantasy faerie series

best fantasy books to read

"The Folk of the Air" series by Holly Black, available on Amazon .

"The Cruel Prince," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"The Folk of the Air" series begins with "The Cruel Prince," where human Jude and her sisters live amongst the fey in the High Court of Faerie, taken against their will to live there after their parents' murders. Desperate to be one of the fey regardless of her mortality and their hatred of humans, Jude attempts to live among them, navigating their violence — and her complicated feelings for their prince.

A gripping fantasy series about demon hunters

best fantasy books to read

"The Mortal Instruments" series by Cassandra Clare, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"City of Bones," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" series kicked off with the bestselling "City of Bones" in 2007, a paranormal fantasy novel where 15-year-old Clary Fray meets the Shadowhunters, a group of warriors who purge demons from the Earth. There are six books and three companions to the series through which readers experience dramatic betrayals, unsuspected evil, and exhilarating love.

A fantasy series set in a Dungeons & Dragons realm

best fantasy books to read

"The Legend of Drizzt" series by R.A. Salvatore, available on Kindle .

"Homeland," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

Drizzt Do'Urden is a dark elf who is destined to defend the world after emerging from an Underdark where his family wants him dead in this epic fantasy series with over 50 novels, companions, and short story compilations. This series takes place in the Forgotten Realm, a dimension in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, making this series a perfect collection for any high fantasy fan.

A fantasy series of good vs evil

best fantasy books to read

"Sword of Truth" series by Terry Goodkind, available on Amazon .

"Wizard's First Rule," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

In this 21-book epic adventure fantasy series, each novel can act as a stand-alone book, but reading them in order takes readers on an epic high fantasy adventure that begins after Richard Cypher sets out to investigate his father's murder. As he navigates the woods, he meets Kahlan Amnell, who is being hunted by assassins. Together, they embark on a dangerous and magical journey of destiny, nightmarish creatures, and bending morality.

A destined faerie fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Iron Fey" series by Julie Kagawa, available on Kindle .

"The Iron King," the first book in the series, available on Amazon  and Bookshop .

In "The Iron Fey" series, Meghan is living a seemingly normal life until a dark stranger unveils a twisted secret: That she is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in their deadly war. Action-packed and gripping from the start, this faerie series is full of romance, mystery, humor, and features characters from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

A paranormal fantasy series with angels and vampires

best fantasy books to read

"Guild Hunter" series by Nalini Singh, available on Kindle .

"Angel's Blood," the first book in the series, available on Amazon .

With 12 books, four novellas, and 13 short stories published since the series launched in 2009, the "Guild Hunter" books are set in a world where angels rule over humans and vampires. When vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the powerful archangel Raphael, she's tasked to find an archangel gone rogue. Though the mission is dangerous and potentially impossible, Elena knows failure is not an option in this inaugural book of a gripping urban/paranormal fantasy series. With 12 books, four novellas, and 13 short stories published since the series launched in 2009, the "Guild Hunter" books are set in a world where angels rule over humans and vampires. When vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the powerful archangel Raphael, she's tasked to find an archangel gone rogue. Though the mission is dangerous and potentially impossible, Elena knows failure is not an option in this inaugural book of a gripping urban/paranormal fantasy series.

A post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"Penryn & the End of Days" series by Susan Ee, available on Kindle .

"Angelfall," the first book in the series, available on Amazon  and Bookshop .

In 2020, "Angelfall" — the first book in the "Penryn & the End of Days" series- ranked as one of " TIME Magazine's" Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time . In this paranormal and post-apocalyptic fantasy series, Penryn is 17 when the angels of the apocalypse descend upon the earth and capture her little sister. She teams up with a wounded enemy angel — her only hope for survival and finding her sister.

A romantic historical fantasy series

best fantasy books to read

"The Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon, available on Amazon .

"Outlander," the first book in the series, available on  Amazon  and  Bookshop .

The "Outlander" series was originally a practice novel for Diana Gabaldon in the 1980s, yet quickly became a bestselling historical fantasy series, with the ninth book due to be published later this year. It's about a woman named Clare who, while on a romantic trip with her husband after World War II, accidentally time travels to Scotland in 1743 where she embarks on an unprecedented journey and falls in love with a Highland warrior. 

A fantasy series with an elaborate and dangerous heist

best fantasy books to read

"Mistborn" series by Brandon Sanderson, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

"Mistborn: The Final Empire," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop .

The "Mistborn" saga is a high fantasy series made up of the original trilogy, a four-book additional series set 300 years later, and a third trilogy comprising books 8-10 which is currently in the works. The series' first book is "Mistborn: The Final Empire," where readers are introduced to the land of Scadrial, ruled by an immortal and unyielding Lord Ruler. Kelsier is a famous thief who leads an elaborate heist with a team of rebels to overthrow the emperor.

best fantasy books to read

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50 Best Fantasy Book Series (Must Read Before you Die)

50 best fantasy books everyone should read

Dive into realms of wonder, where magic dances with the imagination and heroes embark on quests that challenge the very fabric of reality. Fantasy literature, with its intricate tapestries of lore and legend, has always held a special place in the hearts of readers. It offers an escape, a doorway to worlds where dragons soar and kingdoms rise and fall on the whims of wizards. From timeless classics to modern masterpieces, the genre has given us countless tales that linger long after the last page is turned. In this compilation, we journey through the 50 best fantasy book series ever penned , inviting you to lose yourself in sagas that redefine the boundaries of the imaginable. Join us, and let the adventure begin!

Pointers that were considered during the selection process of the “50 Best Fantasy Book Series”:

  • Literary Merit: The series’ writing quality, showcasing intricate plots, profound character arcs, and a captivating narrative, setting it apart in the vast sea of fantasy literature.
  • World-Building: The series’ ability to craft immersive, detailed universes, making readers feel they’ve stepped into another realm, rich with history, culture, and unique landscapes.
  • Reader Reviews: Feedback from the reading community, reflecting genuine reactions, praises, and critiques, ensuring the series resonates with its intended audience.
  • Awards and Recognitions: Accolades the series has garnered, indicating its excellence and standing in the literary world, and validating its place among the best.
  • Re-readability: The series’ enduring charm, enticing readers to revisit its pages multiple times, discovering new layers and nuances with each read, showcasing its depth and complexity.

50. The Divine Cities

  • Logline: Gods have fallen, and their once-magical cities navigate a new era of politics and power.
  • Author Name: Robert Jackson Bennett
  • First Book Published: “City of Stairs” (2014)
  • Total Books in Series: 3

The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett

49. The Moontide Quartet

  • Logline: Every twelve years, a bridge emerges, igniting war, trade, and intrigue between continents.
  • Author Name: David Hair
  • First Book Published: “Mage’s Blood” (2012)
  • Total Books in Series: 4

The Moontide Quartet by David Hair

48. A Pattern of Shadow & Light

  • Logline: Five strands of power weave a tapestry of war, treachery, and hope.
  • Author Name: Melissa McPhail
  • First Book Published: “Cephrael’s Hand” (2010)
  • Total Books in Series: 5

The A Pattern of Shadow Light by Melissa McPhail

47. The Books of Babel

  • Logline: A man’s search for his lost wife in a towering, mysterious structure.
  • Author Name: Josiah Bancroft
  • First Book Published: “Senlin Ascends” (2013)

The Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft

46. The Sevenwaters Trilogy

  • Logline: Ancient magic, love, and family ties shape Ireland’s fate.
  • Author Name: Juliet Marillier
  • First Book Published: “Daughter of the Forest” (1999)
  • Total Books in Series: Originally a trilogy, but expanded to 6 books.

The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier

45. The Sword of Truth

  • Logline: A woods guide is thrust into a battle between good and evil, wielding a powerful sword.
  • Author Name: Terry Goodkind
  • First Book Published: “Wizard’s First Rule” (1994)
  • Total Books in Series: 15

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

44. Valdemar Series

  • Logline: In a magical kingdom, Heralds and their telepathic companions uphold justice and face challenges.
  • Author Name: Mercedes Lackey
  • First Book Published: “Arrows of the Queen” (1987)
  • Total Books in Series: Over 40 (including trilogies and standalone)

The Valdemar Series by Mercedes Lackey

43. The Pern Series

  • Logline: On the planet Pern, dragonriders combat a deadly spore with the help of telepathic dragons.
  • Author Name: Anne McCaffrey
  • First Book Published: “Dragonflight” (1968)
  • Total Books in Series: 24

The Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey

42. Book of the Ancestor

  • Logline: In a convent, young girls are trained to be assassins, mages, and warriors.
  • Author Name: Mark Lawrence
  • First Book Published: “Red Sister” (2017)

The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

41. The Winternight Trilogy

  • Logline: In medieval Russia, a girl bridges the mortal world and mythological realms.
  • Author Name: Katherine Arden
  • First Book Published: “The Bear and the Nightingale” (2017)

The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

40. The Demon Cycle

  • Logline: Humanity battles nocturnal demons using magical symbols and the power of daylight.
  • Author Name: Peter V. Brett
  • First Book Published: “The Warded Man” (also known as “The Painted Man”) (2008)

The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

39. The Red Queen’s War

  • Logline: A prince and a Norse warrior embark on a perilous quest in a post-apocalyptic Europe.
  • First Book Published: “Prince of Fools” (2014)

The Red Queens War by Mark Lawrence

38. The Shadow Campaigns

  • Logline: A blend of military strategy and ancient magic shapes the fate of an empire.
  • Author Name: Django Wexler
  • First Book Published: “The Thousand Names” (2013)

The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler

37. The Books of Pellinor

  • Logline: A young girl’s destiny unfolds amidst ancient prophecies and magical gifts.
  • Author Name: Alison Croggon
  • First Book Published: “The Naming” (2002)

The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon

36. Powder Mage Trilogy

  • Logline: In a world of gunpowder and gods, a coup threatens an established order.
  • Author Name: Brian McClellan
  • First Book Published: “Promise of Blood” (2013)

The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan

35. The Chronicles of the Black Company

  • Logline: A mercenary band navigates wars, dark sorcery, and shifting allegiances.
  • Author Name: Glen Cook
  • First Book Published: “The Black Company” (1984)
  • Total Books in Series: 9

The Black Company by Glen Cook

34. The Licanius Trilogy

  • Logline: In a land of prophecy and war, the past confronts the future.
  • Author Name: James Islington
  • First Book Published: “The Shadow of What Was Lost” (2014)

The Licanius Triology

33. The Inheritance Cycle

  • Logline: A farm boy and his dragon embark on a quest against an evil empire.
  • Author Name: Christopher Paolini
  • First Book Published: “Eragon” (2002)

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

32. The Temeraire Series

  • Logline: The Napoleonic Wars reimagined with intelligent dragons as aerial combatants.
  • Author Name: Naomi Novik
  • First Book Published: “His Majesty’s Dragon” (2006)

The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

31. The Magicians

  • Logline: A brilliant student discovers magic is real, and reality is painful.
  • Author Name: Lev Grossman
  • First Book Published: “The Magicians” (2009)

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

30. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

  • Logline: An orphaned scullion’s fate intertwines with an ancient, malevolent force.
  • Author Name: Tad Williams
  • First Book Published: “The Dragonbone Chair” (1988)
  • Total Books in Series: 3 (Original trilogy)

The Memory Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams

29. Codex Alera

  • Logline: A young man’s journey in a land where elemental spirits fuel powerful magics.
  • Author Name: Jim Butcher
  • First Book Published: “Furies of Calderon” (2004)
  • Total Books in Series: 6

The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

28. The Broken Earth Trilogy

  • Logline: A shattered world’s fate hinges on its most despised inhabitants.
  • Author Name: N.K. Jemisin
  • First Book Published: “The Fifth Season” (2015)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

27. Abhorsen Series

  • Logline: In a world of necromancy, one family stands against the dead’s return.
  • Author Name: Garth Nix
  • First Book Published: “Sabriel” (1995)

The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix

26. Bartimaeus Trilogy

  • Logline: A young magician summons a sarcastic djinni, sparking adventures and political intrigue.
  • Author Name: Jonathan Stroud
  • First Book Published: “The Amulet of Samarkand” (2003)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

25. Night Angel Trilogy

  • Logline: An assassin’s path intertwines with dark magic and destiny.
  • Author Name: Brent Weeks
  • First Book Published: “The Way of Shadows” (2008)

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

24. Riyria Revelations

  • Logline: Two thieves find themselves embroiled in kingdom-wide conspiracies.
  • Author Name: Michael J. Sullivan
  • First Book Published: “Theft of Swords” (2011)

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

23. Gentleman Bastard

  • Logline: Con artists navigate a world of danger, politics, and revenge.
  • Author Name: Scott Lynch
  • First Book Published: “The Lies of Locke Lamora” (2006)
  • Total Books in Series: 3 published, with more planned.

The Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch

22. The Chronicles of Amber

  • Logline: A royal family’s power struggles span parallel worlds.
  • Author Name: Roger Zelazny
  • First Book Published: “Nine Princes in Amber” (1970)
  • Total Books in Series: 10

The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

21. The Inheritance Trilogy

  • Logline: Gods, mortals, and power dynamics shape a complex world.
  • First Book Published: “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” (2010)

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

20. The Earthsea Cycle

  • Logline: A young wizard’s journey in a world of islands and magic.
  • Author Name: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • First Book Published: “A Wizard of Earthsea” (1968)

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

19. The Liveship Traders

  • Logline: Sentient ships, sea serpents, and traders’ tales in a rich maritime world.
  • Author Name: Robin Hobb
  • First Book Published: “Ship of Magic” (1998)

The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

18. The Farseer Trilogy

  • Logline: A royal bastard becomes an assassin in a kingdom of intrigue.
  • First Book Published: “Assassin’s Apprentice” (1995)

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

17. Lightbringer Series

  • Logline: Magic based on light’s spectrum shapes empires and destinies.
  • First Book Published: “The Black Prism” (2010)

The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks 1

16. The Broken Empire

  • Logline: A prince’s ruthless journey to power in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • First Book Published: “Prince of Thorns” (2011)

The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

15. The First Law

  • Logline: War, magic, and politics collide in a gritty fantasy world.
  • Author Name: Joe Abercrombie
  • First Book Published: “The Blade Itself” (2006)
  • Total Books in Series: 3 main books, with additional standalones and a new trilogy set in the same world.

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

14. Discworld Series

  • Logline: A satirical fantasy series set on a flat world balanced on elephants.
  • Author Name: Terry Pratchett
  • First Book Published: “The Colour of Magic” (1983)
  • Total Books in Series: 41

The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett

13. The Witcher

  • Logline: A monster hunter navigates political intrigue and ancient evils in a war-torn world.
  • Author Name: Andrzej Sapkowski
  • First Book Published: “The Last Wish” (1993, English translation)
  • Total Books in Series: 8 (including short story collections)

The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

12. His Dark Materials

  • Logline: Parallel universes, a powerful substance, and a girl’s journey to understand her destiny.
  • Author Name: Philip Pullman
  • First Book Published: “Northern Lights” (1995) (Published as “The Golden Compass” in North America)

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

11. The Dark Tower

  • Logline: A gunslinger’s quest to reach a mysterious tower in a world blending fantasy and the Old West.
  • Author Name: Stephen King
  • First Book Published: “The Gunslinger” (1982)
  • Total Books in Series: 8

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

10. The Dresden Files

  • Logline: A wizard detective in modern-day Chicago battles supernatural threats.
  • First Book Published: “Storm Front” (2000)
  • Total Books in Series: 17

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

9. The Malazan Book of the Fallen

  • Logline: An epic tale of empires, gods, and magic spanning continents and millennia.
  • Author Name: Steven Erikson
  • First Book Published: “Gardens of the Moon” (1999)

The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

8. The Stormlight Archive

  • Logline: Heroes, magic, and ancient evils clash on the storm-ravaged world of Roshar.
  • Author Name: Brandon Sanderson
  • First Book Published: “The Way of Kings” (2010)
  • Total Books in Series: 6 (with more planned)

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

7. Mistborn

  • Logline: In a world where ash falls from the sky, rebels aim to overthrow a dark lord.
  • First Book Published: “Mistborn: The Final Empire” (2006)

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

6. The Kingkiller Chronicle

  • Logline: A legendary figure recounts his life, from orphaned child to famed magician and adventurer.
  • Author Name: Patrick Rothfuss
  • First Book Published: “The Name of the Wind” (2007)
  • Total Books in Series: 2 main novels (with a third planned)

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

5. The Chronicles of Narnia

  • Logline: Children discover a magical land where they battle evil and fulfill prophecies.
  • Author Name: C.S. Lewis
  • First Book Published: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (1950)
  • Total Books in Series: 7

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

4. The Wheel of Time

  • Logline: A destined savior and his allies confront the Dark One in an epic battle of fate.
  • Author Name: Robert Jordan (and later Brandon Sanderson)
  • First Book Published: “The Eye of the World” (1990)
  • Total Books in Series: 14

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and later Brandon Sanderson

3. A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Logline: Noble houses vie for the Iron Throne in a brutal, intricate game of power.
  • Author Name: George R.R. Martin
  • First Book Published: “A Game of Thrones” (1996)
  • Total Books in Series: 5 published, with 2 more planned.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

2. The Lord of the Rings

  • Logline: A hobbit’s quest to destroy a powerful ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron.
  • Author Name: J.R.R. Tolkien
  • First Book Published: “The Fellowship of the Ring” (1954)

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

1. Harry Potter

  • Logline: A young wizard battles the dark lord Voldemort while discovering his own destiny.
  • Author Name: J.K. Rowling
  • First Book Published: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (1997)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Guide: How to Select the Perfect Fantasy Book Series to Read

With so many captivating worlds, intriguing characters, and epic adventures to explore in the realm of fantasy literature, it can be overwhelming to decide which series to dive into next. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy reader or just starting your journey, this guide will help you make an informed choice and discover your next favorite read.

1. Know Your Preferences

Before you start your search, it’s essential to understand your reading preferences. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you prefer high fantasy (complex magical worlds) or low fantasy (magic in a real-world setting)?
  • Are you interested in character-driven stories or intricate world-building?
  • Do you enjoy epic quests, political intrigue, or a combination of both?
  • Is a fast-paced plot or lyrical prose more appealing to you?

Knowing your preferences will help narrow down your choices.

2. Explore Subgenres

Fantasy is a vast genre with numerous subgenres, such as:

  • Epic Fantasy : Grand adventures set in expansive worlds.
  • Urban Fantasy : Fantasy elements in contemporary urban settings.
  • Magical Realism : Fantasy elements seamlessly integrated into the real world.
  • Steampunk : A mix of fantasy and technology in Victorian settings.
  • Sword and Sorcery : Action-packed tales with sword-wielding heroes.
  • Grimdark : Dark and morally complex fantasy.

Exploring these subgenres can lead you to books that align with your specific interests.

3. Read Reviews and Recommendations

Research is your best friend when choosing a book. Look for book reviews and recommendations from trusted sources, including friends, online book communities, and literary websites. Pay attention to reviews that mention elements you enjoy in a fantasy novel, and consider both positive and negative feedback to make an informed decision.

4. Consider Book Length

Fantasy books come in various lengths, from standalone novellas to multi-book epics. Consider how much time you’re willing to invest in a story. If you prefer shorter reads, look for standalone novels or series with manageable book lengths.

FAQs: Common Questions About Choosing Fantasy Books

Q1: Can I start with a classic fantasy book even if I’m new to the genre?

A: Absolutely! Classic fantasy books like “The Hobbit” or “A Song of Ice and Fire” are excellent starting points.

Q2: What if I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of fantasy books available?

A: Start with recommendations from friends or online communities. It’s a great way to discover hidden gems.

Q3: Are there any fantasy books suitable for young readers?

A: Yes, many fantasy books are suitable for all ages. Look for Young Adult (YA) or Middle Grade fantasy novels.

Q4: How can I find diverse and inclusive fantasy books?

A: Seek out book lists and recommendations that focus on diversity and inclusivity in literature. There are many excellent options available.

Selecting the perfect fantasy book to read is an adventure in itself. By understanding your preferences, exploring subgenres, reading reviews, and considering factors like book length and series status, you can make an informed choice and embark on a literary journey that will transport you to magical realms and unforgettable adventures. Happy reading!

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Rajat Mehta

Meet Rajat, the coolest cat at The Serial Binger! This writer is all about that Manga/Manhwa and Book life. With an unbreakable love for the lovely stories, Rajat hooks readers up with the freshest and mind-blowing updates. Get ready to groove and geek out with Rajat's funky articles!

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Best Fantasy Books To Read If You’re A D&D Fan In 2024

D&D fans and players will love these enchanting and immersive fantasy novels, evocative of popular Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings and tropes.

Are you a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast looking to immerse yourself in epic adventures beyond the tabletop? Then you just rolled a nat-20 on your luck check. With the books featured here, D&D enthusiasts can delve into the world of fantasy literature with titles that, like their favorite D&D campaigns, transport readers to realms filled with magic, mythical creatures, and daring quests.

Whether you're a seasoned D&D player or Dungeon Master seeking new inspiration or a newcomer eager to fully cannonball dive into fantastical realms, these captivating novels are sure to ignite your imagination and fuel your passion for the genre. So, put down your favorite tabletop dice and pick up your reading glasses while we review the best books a D&D player can read while they wait for their campaign members to finalize their schedules.

The Priory of the Orange Tree (The Roots of Chaos)

A stranger in olondria, dragon age 5 books series collection, six of crows paperback, the collected stories: the legend of drizzt (forgotten realms: the legend of drizzt), must-read books for d&d fans.

The start of an exciting new fantasy series.

The Priory of the Orange Tree is the first entry in The Roots of Chaos series by New York Times bestselling author Samantha Shannon and tells a fantasy epic about dragonriders defending their at-risk realm.

  • Rich world-building will excite D&D lovers.
  • Dragons galore!
  • A very long and dense fantasy novel.

If you're a D&D fan looking for your next epic fantasy read, look no further than The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. This enchanting novel weaves dragons, magic, and political intrigue together to bring forth a captivating world steeped in its own mythology, perfect for transporting D&D players to other realms between tabletop sessions. With strong, dynamic characters and a gripping storyline, Shannon's book will inspire players during play or character creation alike and is a must-read for anyone craving a fantasy adventure beyond Dungeons and Dragons.

Author Sofia Samatar will delight D&D players with fully-realized worlds.

A recent release didn't stop Time Magazine from placing A Stranger in Olandria on the list of the Best 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, so it's easy for this one to shoot to the top of your reading list. While grieving his father's death, Jevick encounters the ghost of an illiterate girl who alters his path - and destiny - as a traveling merchant.

  • Modern classic, ranked among the best fantasy novels of all time by Time Magazine.
  • First of a growing series for book-lovers to dive into.
  • Floral language for the prose-averse.

Cast the jump spell on A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar so it can leap to the top of your reading queue. This enchanting novel is already ranked among Time’s top 100 fantasy books of all time despite its relatively recent 2013 release, which speaks to its undeniable quality. World-building aficionados will appreciate (and marvel at) Sofia Samatar's popular work as she takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through a land of mysterious languages, ancient spirits, and unforgettable adventures - familiar fun for D&D players. With exquisite prose and intricate in-world culture, A Stranger in Olondria will transport you to a realm where magic and intrigue collide in the most spellbinding, brain-tickling of ways.

Dive into the world of Nimona with this compendium.

Nimona combines Noelle Stevenson's web comic, also titled Nimona, into a comprehensive compilation. Newcomers will recognize the title for its recent Oscar-nominated adaptation, but the book is a genuine article and deserves its own look! Featuring an exclusive epilogue, concept sketches, and updated pages, the Nimona compilation gives a fresh experience even for long-time Nimona readers.

  • Full compendium complete with exclusive special features and content.
  • Epic story with a sense of humor not unlike most D&D storytelling.
  • A compendium is a big commitment for a first-time reader.

Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, is a delightful blend of fantasy and humor that evokes the whimsy of a well-rounded D&D campaign. Captivating readers with its delightful characters, engaging storyline, and unique art style, Nimona follows the adventures of a shapeshifter who teams up with a villain to wreak havoc on an oppressive kingdom. As the story unfolds, readers are drawn into a world filled with magic, action, and unexpected twists that will keep them on the edge of their seats the same as they would on a fate-deciding roll of the dice. Not to be outdone by other popular comic and manga omnibus collections , this edition of Nimona compiles not only the entire story but also epilogues, revisions, and exclusive illustrations that more fully realize the total story.

Dive into the world of Dragon Age like never before.

The rich lore of the Dragon Age games runs deeper than ever with this impressive collection of five books. With deeper insight into BioWare's cherished gaming universe authored by David Gaider - an experienced developer at the Dragon Age studio for over two decades - this is a must-have for lovers of the video game franchise and high fantasy stories alike.

  • Penned by David Gaider - a Dragon's Age Developer - this adaptation is in good hands.
  • Fleshes out lore and understanding of Dragon's Age franchise.
  • Tabletop loyalists may prefer avoiding video game adaptations.

Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts might be familiar with Dragon Age , as it’s a well-liked video game series that shares many fantastical elements with the iconic tabletop game. Whether you're a veteran of the Dragon Age games or completely new to them, exploring the Dragon Age book series would still be a blast. Authored by the game creators, these books intricately delve into the rich mythology and multifaceted characters of the Dragon Age video game franchise. They are brimming with political intrigues and magical clashes against sinister foes that will captivate D&D players who otherwise regularly engage with these themes in their games.

This Shadow and Bone spinoff is accessible for everyone.

After the events of Shadow And Bone, Six of Crows introduces Kaz Brekker as their team embarks on the ultimate heist. It's a high-stakes mission that could lead to unimaginable wealth or certain death - it's quite the high stakes roll, something D&D players will appreciate!

  • Accessible but descriptive storytelling eases in Shadow and Bone completists and newcomers alike.
  • Isolated heist plot evokes classic D&D scenarios.
  • Completists may prefer starting with Shadow and Bone.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a must-read for any D&D fan looking for additional fully realized fantasy worlds to exist outside their Dungeon Master’s campaign. This gripping tale spins off Shadow and Bone, following a diverse group of characters embarking on an intricate heist - a plot with Dungeons & Dragons tropes that will resonate with longtime players.

With its meticulously developed setting, morally gray characters, and intricate schemes, Six of Crows offers a perfect blend of action, magic, and intrigue with all the potential to captivate D&D players-turned-readers who appreciate the strategic gameplay and camaraderie found in their favorite D&D campaigns.

Officially associated D&D adventures.

The Legend of Drizzt compiles a collection of officially licensed short stories, all set within the D&D world of the Forgotten Realms and written by renowned fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore.

  • Comprehensive collection of multiple short stories.
  • Prolific New York Times Best Selling author RA Salvatore puts his own spin on the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
  • D&D fans may want a new, unexperienced world to dive into when reading fiction, as opposed to one that takes place in the world of D&D.

If you're a D&D fan looking to dive into an epic fantasy world, look no further than the beloved Legend of Drizzt series by renowned fantasy scribe R.A. Salvatore. Filled with thrilling battles, intricate plots, and unforgettable encounters, this series follows the adventures of the iconic dark elf ranger, Drizzt Do'Urden.

An officially licensed D&D-set collaboration, it's no surprise that Drizzt's journey is a rollercoaster of excitement. With myriad short stories stuffed with lots of fan service and easter eggs for D&D diehards to enjoy, from the deadly Underdark to the treacherous surface world, the Legend of Drizzt series is arguably the most accessible read of the bunch.

Are the official Dungeons & Dragons fantasy novels only for fans of the TTRPG?

While fans of the game may find extra enjoyment in the novels due to their familiarity with the Dungeons & Dragons universe, books set in the Forgotten Realms and published in association with the D&D intellectual property are also accessible to readers who are new to the world of tabletop role-playing. The novels stand on their own as exciting and immersive fantasy stories that can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a thrilling read.

What are the most common tropes in fantasy novels?

Fantasy novels typically involve magic, mythical creatures, imaginary worlds, or supernatural elements that are not found in the real world.

Best Dungeons & Dragons Plushes In 2024

best fantasy books to read

6 Best fantasy romance books to read in 2024

F antasy romance books hold a special allure, blending enchanting elements of magic with captivating love stories that capture readers' hearts. These books transport readers to a world with mythical creatures, magical powers, and epic adventures, all while exploring the central theme of romance.

This genre, fantasy romance, is exciting as it transports readers to magical worlds through the power of its words. Fantasy romance books consist of characters with unique abilities who help add depth to every romantic relationship. The themes of fantasy romance books revolve around hope and transformation.

If someone is looking for where to begin their experience with fantasy romance books in 2024, here is a list of 6 books that one can read in 2024!

6 must-read fantasy romance books in 2024

Fantasy romance books offer a vast array of themes and magical worlds, from dragons and witches to enchanting forests. However, choosing the perfect book to read can sometimes be a daunting task. Well, the team at Sportskeeda has created the perfect list of 6 fantasy romance books that one can read in 2024.

  • A Cursed Son (Remnants of the Fallen Kingdom #1) by Day Leitao
  • A Fate Inked in Blood (Saga of the Unfated, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • Call of the Sea by Emily B. Rose
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

1) A Cursed Son (Remnants of the Fallen Kingdom #1) by Day Leitao

A Cursed Son (Remnants of the Fallen Kingdom #1) by Day Leitao stands out as a captivating fantasy romance book, delving into themes of destiny, magic, and forbidden love. This book is set in a world filled with enchantment, and the story follows the protagonist's journey.

In this engaging romantasy tale (as fantasy romance is christened by readers), vivid dreams connect a royal princess to her dream man. But what goes wrong is that her carriage is attacked by a disgraced fae prince in the real world, revealing him to be the man from her dreams. This perfect balance of magic, destiny, and love makes it a delightful read for fans of fantasy romance.

Price: $5.99 (Amazon)

2) A Fate Inked in Blood (Saga of the Unfated, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

This book revolves around an unwanted marriage. Freya is the main protagonist, who spends her day gutting the fish but dreams of becoming a warrior. She dreams of putting an axe in her husband's back, and abruptly, her dreams become a reality when her husband betrays her for a region jarl.

This lands Freya in a fight to the death against his son, Bjorn. This beautiful book captures the themes of betrayal, romance, and strong feminism. Freya is a shield maiden who is bled by battle gods to unite the nation.

Price: $20.98 (Amazon)

Read more: How to read Outlander books in order?

3) Call of the Sea by Emily B. Rose

Call of the Sea is a brave take on the Little Mermaid. The story follows Princess Kenna, who, despite her status, dreams of a life filled with adventures in the ocean. Trapped in the castle forever and married to someone she doesn't love, Kenna dreams of exploring the ocean.

While trapped in a castle, she dreams of a life filled with adventures at sea. She wants to explore the beauty of the oceans and look for mermaids, magic realism, and romance.

Price: $18.99 (Amazon)

4) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This is the story of a mortal girl named Feyre. She is intertwined between the mystical and perilous worlds. The novel explores themes of love, sacrifice, and self-discovery.

Feyre takes turns understanding the intricate relationships and unfolding a background of magic and danger. What makes it a standout choice is its rich and interesting characters. It has rich storytelling that helps transport readers to a captivating world.

Price: $10.37 (Amazon)

5) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride by William Goldman blends adventure and humor. The story revolves around Westley's quest to rescue Princess Buttercup from an unwanted marriage to Prince Humperdinck. Filled with memorable characters and witty dialogue, the novel is a timeless classic that captivates readers with its charming narrative and enduring appeal.

Price: $16.20 (Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

Read More: 7 Best Agatha Christie books to read in 2024

6) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife is a romantic fantasy novel about Henry, who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare, his wife, linearly experiencing their love story. The book delves into the challenges and emotions of their unique relationship, exploring love and loss amidst the unpredictability of time.

Price: $16.98 (Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

Read more: How to read the Bridgerton books in order?

In 2024, for those seeking the perfect blend of magic and romance, here are six best-selling fantasy books to consider. Whether one is drawn to timeless classics or modern tales, these books promise enchanting stories that transport readers into fantastical worlds of love and adventure.

6 Best fantasy romance books to read in 2024 

Trending Post : Books Made Into Movies

Imagination Soup

16 Picture Books to Teach Children About the Four Seasons

This post may contain affiliate links.

Children can learn about the four seasons at any time of year. One way to do that is to start with picture books like these to spark further discovery.

You’ll notice that many of these books talk about observing a tree throughout the four seasons. These books lead to a wonderful hands-on way to observe nature’s changes — watching a tree all year. I recommend keeping a tree journal with illustrations or photos to compare the similarities and differences .

As you observe the trees in your area, you’ll also want to notice the animals . These picture books also talk about what different animals do during different seasons. What are animals doing during each of the four season? The book The Squirrels’ Busy Year can help get you started with this.

Older readers can use poetry books to inspire their own seasonal nature poems .

Four seasons picture books

Picture Books to Teach Children About the Four Seasons

best fantasy books to read

these leaves fall forever my Broom awaits

best fantasy books to read

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons  by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad Beautifully written and illustrated poems capture the beauty of each season in verse. december 29 and i woke to a morning that was quiet and white the first snow (just like magic) came on tip toes overnight

TREE Nature Celebration With Earth Day Books

Poetry Comics written and illustrated by Grant Snider Starting with spring, a girl shares her feelings of fresh possibilities — if she were a tree, thoughts on an empty lot, balloons, and tadpoles, and other topics. For summer, she ponders her inner life, other oceans, best friends, and more. Each season is captured in short poems which are illustrated in comic panels. Readers will be able to flip through this poetry book and read the poems that grab their attention.

best fantasy books to read

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Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, former teacher & literacy trainer, and freelance education writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Penguin Random House's Brightly website, USA Today Health, Adobe Education, Colorado Parent, and Parenting. She is passionate about matching kids with books that they'll love.

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March Madness 2024: Reseeding the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 teams from UConn to NC State

Hitting reset on the 2024 ncaa tournament field with a reranking of the 16 teams remaining.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Northwestern vs Connecticut

The first two rounds of the 2024 NCAA Tournament are in the books. It was an epic opening weekend that saw four games go to at least one overtime and enough thrills to fill up a "One Shining Moment" highlight on first- and second-round games alone. But now it's time to look forward, reshuffle the deck and take a wide-angle view of teams remaining in contention for the national championship. 

On paper, the tournament has been kind of chalky so far. This is just the fifth time since 1979 that every No. 1 seed and No. 2 seed have made the Sweet 16 (1989, 1995, 2009, 2019). In that collection of wins were plenty of lopsided results, and the tournament as a whole has already matched the record for 25-point wins (11, 1993). But the opening weekend also saw No. 1 Houston pushed to overtime and narrow four-point wins for No. 2 Tennessee and No. 2 Marquette. Right now, the closest thing we have to a Cinderella is the magical run of No. 11 NC State, which needed seven games in 12 days to claim an automatic bid to the tournament and march on to the program's first Sweet 16 since 2015. 

But, within the group of 16 teams remaining, we have certainly seen some changes to our pre-tournament expectations. Some favorites have shown vulnerability in wins while others have seemingly saved some of their best performances for March Madness. Some of what we saw is repeatable, but as we stack the Sweet 16 up against each other, it's important not to focus exclusively on the results of the weekend but also consider the information obtained from an entire season of basketball. 

So with new information based on two NCAA Tournament wins weighted heavily but the regular season not ignored, it's time to rerank the remaining field as the Sweet 16 looms ahead this week. 

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  1. The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

    The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. With a panel of leading fantasy authors—N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and ...

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    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. (4.63 avg rating; 305,994 ratings) Sanderson is arguably one of the most prolific fantasy writers working in the genre today. In a genre where readers are used to waiting years between series installments, that's very refreshing. I can't overstate this fact.

  3. The 60 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

    23. The Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart (1984) Buy on Amazon. Add to library. In an era when "fantasy" was synonymous with "fake medieval Europe," The Bridge of Birds gave us something wonderfully original: a novel set — as its subtitle explains — in "an ancient China that never was.".

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    The Last Unicorn, Peter S Beagle (1968) Considered one of the best fantasy books ever written, The Last Unicorn is a magical story about a unicorn living in a forest. One day, hunters arrive in ...

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    Open Preview. WINNER 105,718 votes. House of Sky and Breath. by. Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads Author) Fantasy queen Sarah J. Maas takes home her seventh Goodreads Choice Award and her third in a row in the category with House of Sky and Breath the latest in her popular Crescent City series. Angels!

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    Vintage The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Now 22% Off. $14 at Amazon. The author of Never Let Me Go has only written one fantasy novel, but he knocked it out of the park. In the Dark Ages after ...

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  8. TIME 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

    TIME 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. With a panel of leading fantasy authors—N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and Marlon James—TIME presents the most engaging, inventive and influential works of fantasy fiction, in chronological order beginning in the 9th century.

  9. The 22 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

    Jade City by Fonda Lee. Great writing, a cool Asian metropolitan setting, and a unique blend of magic and kung-fu make this one of the best fantasy books of all time. On the island of Kekon, jade is everything. It is not only the island's most valuable resource, but a select few have the magical power to wield it.

  10. Best Fantasy 2021

    WINNER 111,498 votes. Prolific author Sarah J. Maas notches her sixth GCA prize with this fourth installment in the insanely popular series A Court of Thorns and Roses. Maas' imaginative world-building is something to behold—a kind of fractal blossoming of fantasy, romance, and adventure in the realms of the fae.

  11. The 50 best fantasy books of all time

    Discover our edit of the best new fantasy books, including our top picks for 2024, a look back at 2023, and the best fantasy books of all time. ... In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who ...

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    The 46 best classic and new fantasy books to read in 2022: ... This is in TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, which is a huge deal. Advertisement. A captivating vampire fantasy novel.

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    3. The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. Shop at Amazon. The Dark One, an evil force imprisoned inside a weakening cell, threatens the world. The Dragon Reborn, a reincarnated savior with powerful magical abilities, is born to a dying warrior woman on the slopes of a snowy mountain.

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    The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang. 10% off $28.99. $26.09. See on Amazon. Reimagining the famed Chinese novel Water Margin, this epic Wuxia fantasy will blow you away. Lin Chong knows her place, she ...

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    Embark on a journey through realms of magic, adventure, and intrigue with our list of the top 25 best fantasy books of all time. From epic sagas to standalone wonders, discover the novels that have enchanted readers and shaped the fantasy genre. ... For more recommendations, read the (new) Top 100 Fantasy Books list that directly continues ...

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    Authored by Steven Erikson. First published in 1999. 657 pages — 3.91 on Goodreads. Buy on Amazon. Buy on Bookshop. Try Audiobook. Take a break from reality and immerse yourself in these awesome fantasy books for adults. That's right—fantasy isn't just for kids.

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    100 Best Fantasy Series Ever Reading (or listening to!) fantasy is the ultimate escape: from stress, work, and indeed all of life's more mundane realities. ... You all probably know the classic "girl meets vampire" story by now, but if you haven't read the books, just know they hold up better than you think. 99. Throne of Glass by Sarah ...

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    1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. 5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by. J.K. Rowling. 4.58 avg rating — 4,169,120 ratings. score: 13,566 , and 144 people voted. Want to Read. saving….

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    First Book Published: "Mage's Blood" (2012) Total Books in Series: 4. View More Details. 48. A Pattern of Shadow & Light. Logline: Five strands of power weave a tapestry of war, treachery, and hope. Author Name: Melissa McPhail. First Book Published: "Cephrael's Hand" (2010) Total Books in Series: 5.

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    Best Fantasy Books To Read If You're A D&D Fan In 2024. By Nic Guastella ... This enchanting novel is already ranked among Time's top 100 fantasy books of all time despite its relatively recent 2013 release, which speaks to its undeniable quality. World-building aficionados will appreciate (and marvel at) Sofia Samatar's popular work as she ...

  24. Best Books of the Year

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  25. 6 Best fantasy romance books to read in 2024

    6 must-read fantasy romance books in 2024. Fantasy romance books offer a vast array of themes and magical worlds, from dragons and witches to enchanting forests. However, choosing the perfect book ...

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    Goodreads voters in the Fantasy category tended toward the dark and sticky side this year, and the 2020 win goes to House of Earth and Blood, author Sarah J. Maas' introduction to her new Crescent City series.Stitched through with threads of romance and suspense, the novel follows complex heroine Bryce Quinlan and fallen angel Hunt Athalar as they track a lethal demon through the city.

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    The tree stands tall throughout the seasons. Each of the tree's changes brings new peek-through illustrations of animals and bugs in the tree's foliage… until it snows. Bright illustrations and peek-throughs make this seasonal book one of my favorite read alouds. Added to: Best Books for Kids About Trees. Seasons by Blexbolex

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