Fantasy books are dense, intense, hard-edged, packed full of dragons, magic, enchanted forests, and everything fun, exciting, and enough to expand our imagination.
When you pick a fantasy book to read, you prepare yourself to seek new adventures that take you to fantasy lands, exploring places that sadly only exist in books. So when you are bored of all the ordinary novels that have been lying around your table, you should go for a fantasy book for a refreshing change.
Here are 21 of the best, most popular books that every fantasy fanatic must read at least once in their lifetime and add a little color to their ordinary lives:
The Harry Potter series
By J.K. Rowling
All seven books in the multi-award winning, internationally bestselling Harry Potter series, available as one. Enjoy the stories that have captured the imagination of millions worldwide.
A Song of Ice and Fire
By George R.R. Martin
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
The Gormenghast series
By Mervyn Peake
Titus is expected to rule this extraordinary kingdom and his eccentric and wayward subjects. But with the arrival of an ambitious kitchen boy, Steerpike, the established order is thrown into disarray. Over the course of these three novels—Titus Groan,Â Gormenghast, andÂ Titus Alone— Titus must contend with a kingdom about to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation, and murder.Intoxicating, rich, and unique, The Gormenghast Trilogy is a tour de force that ranks as one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable feats of imaginative writing.
Or What You Will
By Jo Walton
Or What You Will is an utterly original novel about how stories are brought forth from Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Jo Walton.
He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god.
But “he” is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years.
But Sylvia won’t live forever, any more than any human does. And he’s trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he.
Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he’s got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her.
A Land Fit For Heroes
By Richard K. Morgan
A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one young woman. Grim sorceries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of the Aldrain, a race of widely feared, cruel yet beautiful demons. Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.
The Vanished Queen
By Lisbeth Campbell
A stunning blend of vivid fantasy and political drama, The Vanished Queen is the timely story of a young resistance fighter working to overthrow a totalitarian ruler’s regime of terror and lies. “[G]ripping…this is the novel the world needs now” (Kate Hearfield, Nebula Award–winning author of Armed in her Fashion).
The Book of Lost Things
By John Connolly
New York Times bestselling author John Connolly’s unique imagination takes readers through the end of innocence into adulthood and beyond in this dark and triumphantly creative novel of grief and loss, loyalty and love, and the redemptive power of stories.
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother. He is angry and alone, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in his imagination, he finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a land that is a strange reflection of his own world, populated by heroes and monsters, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book… The Book of Lost Things.
The Inheritance Trilogy
By N.K. Jemisin
After her mother’s death, a young woman is summoned to the floating city of Sky to claim a royal inheritance she never knew existed in this epic fantasy trilogy from the NYT bestselling author of The Fifth Season.
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus includes the novels: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and a brand new novella set in the same world: The Awakened Kingdom.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
By Susanna Clarke
In the Hugo-award winning, epic New York Times Bestseller and basis for the BBC miniseries, two men change England’s history when they bring magic back into the world.
In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England – until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an overnight celebrity.
Another practicing magician then emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil, and the two join forces in the war against France.
But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wild, most perilous forms of magic, and he soon risks sacrificing his partnership with Norrell and everything else he holds dear.
Susanna Clarke’s brilliant first novel is an utterly compelling epic tale of nineteenth-century England and the two magicians who, first as teacher and pupil and then as rivals, emerge to change its history.
Alif the Unseen
By G. Willow Wilson
“[A] Harry Potter-ish action-adventure romance” set during the Arab Spring, from the New York Times–bestselling author of the Ms. Marvel comic book series (The New York Times).
In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker, who goes by Alif, shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, revolutionaries, and other watched groups—from surveillance, and tries to stay out of trouble.
The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state’s electronic security force, putting his clients and himself on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the “Hand of God,” as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.
When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.
This “tale of literary enchantment, political change, and religious mystery” was a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (Gregory Maguire).
“Wilson has a deft hand with myth and with magic.” —Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods
The Riftwar Cycle
By Raymond E. Feist
This book contains the entire trilogy The Riftwar Saga by bestselling author Raymond E. Feist, master of magic and adventure.
The book includes Magician, Silverthorn, and A Darkness at Sethanon.
At Crydee, a frontier outpost in the tranquil Kingdom of the Isles, an orphan boy, Pug, is apprenticed to a master Magician – and the destinies of two worlds are changed forever.
Suddenly the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as mysterious alien invaders swarm the land. Pug is swept up into the conflict but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, an odyssey into the unknown has only just begun.
Tomas will inherit a legacy of savage power from an ancient civilization. Pug’s destiny will lead him through a rift in the fabric of space and time to the mastery of the unimaginable powers of a strange new magic.
And so the Riftwar begins…
The Lord of the Rings series
By J. R. R. Tolkien
From Book 1: The first volume in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
“A unique, wholly realized other world, evoked from deep in the well of Time, massively detailed, absorbingly entertaining, profound in meaning.” – New York Times