What Are The Best Fantasy Books to Read - 36 Top Picks

What Are The Best Fantasy Books to Read – 36 Top Picks

Over the years, fantasy literature has produced an array of captivating novels that have enraptured readers and transported them to magical worlds beyond imagination. From epic sagas to whimsical tales, the genre of fantasy offers something for every book lover. In this curated list, we examine into fantasy literature to uncover the top 36 Fantasy books that should not be missed. Join us as we explore the enchanting realms created by some of the most talented authors in the genre and commence on unforgettable adventures filled with wizards, dragons, and otherworldly beings.

1. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Before entering into the mesmerizing world of “Piranesi” by Susanna Clarke, it is necessary to understand the surreal journey that awaits within the pages of this genre-defying book. Published in 2021, “Piranesi” captivates readers with its enigmatic narrative, drawing them into a realm unlike any other.

The story follows the life of a man who inhabits the vast, statue-filled halls of a labyrinthine house known as the House. Surrounded by waves that roll into the halls, birds, and sea creatures, the protagonist grapples with the mystery of his existence. Documenting his encounters through journal entries, the narrator unravels the secrets hidden beneath the surface, leading readers on a twisting and unsettling journey.

Susanna Clarke, renowned for her acclaimed novel “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell,” showcases her literary prowess once again with “Piranesi.” Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, this captivating tale has garnered critical acclaim for its unique blend of beauty and intrigue.

Immerse yourself in the spellbinding world of “Piranesi” as you launch on a journey that transcends traditional fantasy narratives, offering a reading experience that is as enchanting as it is thought-provoking.

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A captivating blend of fantasy and heist, “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo takes readers on a thrilling journey into the Grishaverse. Set in the bustling hub of Ketterdam, the story follows the criminal mastermind Kaz Brekker as he assembles a team of outcasts to pull off a dangerous heist with a lucrative reward.

Bardugo’s world-building skills shine in this gripping tale, drawing readers into a world filled with magic, intrigue, and complex characters. Fans of the Shadow and Bone trilogy will find familiar faces in this novel, adding depth to the already rich narrative.

Despite being categorized as young adult fiction, “Six of Crows” appeals to readers of all ages with its engaging plot, well-developed characters, and expertly crafted twists and turns. Dive into this fantasy masterpiece and prepare to be swept away by the daring adventures and intricate world of the Grishaverse.

3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

While exploring fantasy literature, one cannot overlook the enchanting tale spun by Neil Gaiman in his novel “Stardust”.

This magical fantasy novel follows the adventures of a young man named Tristran Thorn, who commences on a quest to find a fallen star for the woman he loves. Little does he know, this seemingly simple task will lead him into a world filled with pirates, spells, curses, witches, and other fantastical beings.

Gaiman’s storytelling prowess shines through as he creates a world that feels both familiar and entirely new, blending elements of traditional fairy tales with his own unique twists. As the narrative unfolds, readers are drawn into a captivating web of adventure and wonder, making “Stardust” a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast.

4. Jade City by Fonda Lee

The mesmerizing world of “Jade City” by Fonda Lee is a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast. This award-winning novel, reminiscent of classic Hong Kong gangster movies, immerses readers in the fantastical metropolis of Janloon, vividly described by the talented author.

At the heart of “Jade City” lies the coveted stone known as Jade, possessing magical properties that enhance natural abilities. Controlled by two rival families, the city teeters on the edge of tension and violence when a new drug emerges, granting individuals access to the mystical powers of Jade.

This stylish and gritty narrative explores themes of family honor, tradition, and power struggles, creating a gripping and immersive reading experience. Filled with beautiful descriptions and relatable conflicts, “Jade City” is a fantasy gem that should not be missed.

5. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Some fantasy books stand the test of time and continue to capture the imaginations of readers across generations. One such timeless classic is “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle. This enchanting tale follows a unicorn living in a magical forest, her existence threatened by hunters who believe she is the last of her kind.

As the unicorn launchs on a quest to find others like her, she encounters a cast of characters including talking animals, witches, spells, and a magician. The journey is filled with adventure, sadness, wonder, and mystery, making it a captivating read for both adults and children alike.

Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn” has not only captured the hearts of readers but has also been adapted into a beloved animated movie featuring the voices of iconic actors. The story’s enduring appeal lies in its timeless themes and richly woven narrative, making it a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast.

6. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Assuming the role of a seminal work in the world of fantasy literature, “Who Fears Death” by Nnedi Okorafor stands as a beacon of originality and depth in the genre. Set in a ravaged future Sudan, where two warring tribes face genocide and unimaginable suffering, the narrative unfolds with the birth of a remarkable young woman named Onyesonwu, whose name translates to “who fears death?” in an ancient tongue.

Displaying extraordinary magical powers from a young age, Onyesonwu launchs on a mesmerizing journey filled with elements of magic, folklore, love, and spirituality. Nnedi Okorafor weaves a tapestry of enchantment that not only captivates the reader but also probes into profound themes of identity, power, and resilience.

This literary masterpiece takes the reader on a transformative exploration of race, bias, and the enduring strength of the human spirit. With a TV adaptation in the works and the endorsement of acclaimed author George R. R. Martin, “Who Fears Death” is a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast seeking a spellbinding and thought-provoking narrative.

7. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Clearly, when it comes to captivating fantasy reads, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas stands out as a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast. This epic tale takes the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast and adds a thrilling twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In this best-selling series, readers are introduced to Feyre, a huntress who finds herself entangled in a world of magic and romance. As she navigates a dangerous path filled with intrigue and betrayal, readers are drawn into a world where faeries, curses, and forbidden love collide in a mesmerizing blend of fantasy and romance.

8. The Power by Naomi Alderman

For any fantasy book enthusiast looking for a thought-provoking and engaging read, “The Power” by Naomi Alderman is a must on the list. This book, although often categorized as science fiction, captures fantastical elements that challenge traditional power dynamics in society.

Alderman’s premise of every woman suddenly developing the ability to electrocute men with their fingertips opens up a wide range of possibilities and explores the consequences of such a shift in power. The novel probes deep into the complexities of gender, societal structures, and the implications of a newly acquired power.

As you explore the pages of “The Power,” be prepared to question your own beliefs and perceptions of power, authority, and identity. Alderman’s storytelling is gripping, leaving readers on the edge of their seats as they navigate through a world where everything they thought they knew about power is turned upside down.

9. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

For fans of epic fantasy literature, “The Fifth Season” by N. K. Jemisin stands out as a monumental work that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Set on a planet called Stillness with a massive supercontinent, the story unfolds during catastrophic climate change events known as the ‘fifth season’.

Jemisin’s world-building is unparalleled, creating a diverse and complex universe filled with different races, ethnicities, and powerful beings. The narrative follows a gripping tale of survival, power struggles, and the intricate relationships between characters with extraordinary abilities.

This award-winning novel is the first book in the Broken Earth series, a trilogy that continues to captivate readers with its rich storytelling and thought-provoking themes. With prestigious Hugo Awards under its belt, “The Fifth Season” is a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast looking for a truly immersive and engaging literary experience.

10. Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Many fantasy enthusiasts are always on the lookout for unique and captivating stories that investigate into important and relevant themes. In this context, “Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi stands out as a powerful exploration of race, bias algorithms, and social justice in a near-future setting.

The novella follows the story of Kev, a young Black man incarcerated in a system rife with injustice. His sister, Ella, possesses extraordinary powers, including the ability to see into the future. As the narrative unfolds, readers are taken on a journey that investigates deep into themes of anger, injustice, and discrimination.

While the book incorporates fantastical elements, it serves as a poignant commentary on real-world issues that resonate with readers seeking meaningful storytelling. The fast-paced style of writing keeps readers engaged, immersing them in a world where magic and societal challenges collide.

11. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Not sure where to start with your next fantasy read? Look no further than Octavia E. Butler’s masterpiece, “Kindred.” This novel is a true gem in the world of fantasy literature, blending elements of science fiction and speculative fiction in a unique and captivating way.

12. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Despite being published in 2006, “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch continues to captivate readers with its unique blend of Renaissance Venice, fantasy, and crime elements. Lynch masterfully crafts a fascinating fantasy city filled with intricate details and gritty realism, setting the stage for a thrilling story of deception and intrigue.

In this novel, there are no traditional heroes or princesses, but rather cunning criminal gangs, corrupt officials, and back alley schemes. The narrative follows the protagonist, Locke Lamora, as he navigates the treacherous underworld of Camorr, facing unexpected twists and turns along the way. The rich world-building and engaging storytelling make “The Lies of Locke Lamora” a must-read for fans of epic fantasy.

13. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Unlike traditional fantasy novels, “Earthlings” by Sayaka Murata explores into a dark and surreal world that explores real-world issues with a fantastical twist. The story follows the lives of Kev and Ella, siblings who navigate a near-future society filled with bias algorithms and social injustices.

Kev, a young Black man incarcerated in a prison, and his sister Ella, who possesses unique powers including the ability to see into the future, are at the center of this novella. Through their experiences, the book addresses themes of race, anger, and injustice in a fast-paced narrative that leaves readers questioning societal norms and expectations.

14. Circe by Madeline Miller

Not just your average fantasy novel, “Circe” by Madeline Miller is a remarkable piece of literature that explores deep into the world of Greek mythology and brings to life the character of Circe, daughter of Titan sun god Helios. This novel is a magical journey that follows Circe’s transformation from a overlooked goddess in the halls of the gods to a powerful witch in her own right.

Banished to a deserted island for abusing her magic powers, Circe must navigate a world where she is constantly underestimated and overlooked. Through encounters with gods, mythical creatures, and mortals, she must find her own path and reclaim her power. Miller’s narrative weaves together elements of adventure, betrayal, love, and redemption in a way that keeps readers captivated from start to finish.

With larger-than-life characters, an adventurous plot, and a fresh perspective on Greek mythology, “Circe” offers readers a unique and compelling reading experience that is hard to forget. Miller’s storytelling is vivid and immersive, transporting readers to a world where gods and mortals collide in a battle of wills and wits.

15. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams

Unlike many other fantasy series, the “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” trilogy by Tad Williams offers a beautifully crafted blend of almost comically simple tropes with a rich complexity and depth that captivates readers from start to finish. With echoes of traditional epic fantasy woven throughout the narrative, Williams skillfully immerses readers in a world filled with joy, sorrow, laughter, and tears.

Game of Thrones fans will find much to enjoy in this series, as George R. R. Martin himself has acknowledged the influence of “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” on his own work. Williams takes a meticulously methodical approach to world-building, creating the fictional continent of Osten Ard and populating it with a diverse array of races and characters, each with their own unique stories and struggles.

The journey of the humble kitchen scullion who has a grand destiny awaiting him unfolds with moments of pure delight and heart-wrenching sorrow, offering readers a respite from the ordinary and a plunge into a world where magic, mystery, and destiny intertwine in a tapestry of enchantment.

16. Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson

Despite being a relatively newer entry into the fantasy genre, the “Malazan Book of the Fallen” series by Steven Erikson has quickly established itself as a monumental work that rivals even the most revered classics. Spanning 10 books and over 9,000 pages of brutal, beautiful, and complex storytelling, Erikson’s series is a tour de force of world-building on a scale that surpasses even the legendary works of Tolkien and Jordan combined.

Erikson’s storytelling prowess will have you laughing and crying as you commence on a journey through a sweeping vista of worlds populated by a unique set of races and animals. The series introduces you to a diverse array of heroes and anti-heroes, whose lives intertwine in a tapestry of epic proportions that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Beginning with the first book, “Gardens of the Moon,” Erikson showcases his ability to craft epic convergences that will leave you breathless with anticipation. The intricate plotlines, rich character development, and unexpected twists and turns make “Malazan Book of the Fallen” a must-read for any fan of the fantasy genre.

17. The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Now, if you’re looking for a gritty and immersive fantasy experience, look no further. In Joe Abercrombie’s “The First Law Trilogy”, readers are introduced to a world of violent, visceral, and gritty adventures that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Abercrombie’s brilliant character-building and storytelling in this trilogy make it a standout in the fantasy genre. You’ll encounter a diverse cast of characters, from an ageing berserker to a crippled torturer, all navigating a world filled with magic, murder, and political intrigue.

While traditional heroes and heroines take a backseat in this series, there’s always someone to root for in the midst of all the chaos. And if you find yourself hooked on this trilogy, there are additional standalone books and short stories that probe deeper into this richly crafted world.

18. The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

All fantasy book enthusiasts must have “The Golem and the Djinni” by Helene Wecker on their reading list. This enchanting novel takes readers on a journey through 19th century New York, where a golem and a djinni find themselves released into the human world. As they navigate their newfound freedom, they must also learn to navigate the complexities of human emotions, relationships, and the struggle to belong.

Wecker’s debut novel combines elements of folklore, mythology, and historical fiction to create a rich and immersive reading experience. The intricate details of the setting, the depth of the characters, and the exploration of themes such as identity, belonging, and the search for purpose make “The Golem and the Djinni” a standout in the fantasy genre.

With a blend of magical realism and historical fiction, Wecker’s storytelling captivates readers from the very first page. The interactions between the golem and the djinni, their individual struggles, and their eventual bond create a narrative that is both compelling and thought-provoking.

19. Dune by Frank Herbert

Keep in mind that when it comes to classic fantasy literature, few works hold as much influence and importance as “Dune” by Frank Herbert. This epic novel transports readers to a desert planet where water is more precious than gold, and giant worm creatures lurk beneath the surface, ready to strike at any moment.

Originally published in 1965, “Dune” is a masterful blend of fantasy and science fiction, featuring themes of betrayal, redemption, and freedom. It is widely regarded as one of the most significant works in the genre, having inspired not only other authors but also popular culture, including influencing the creation of the Star Wars universe.

Herbert’s intricate world-building and compelling storytelling in “Dune” make it a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast, offering a rich tapestry of political intrigue, environmental concerns, and the timeless struggle between power and humanity.

20. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

Now, let’s examine into the captivating world of “The Dark Tower” series by acclaimed author Stephen King. This epic saga combines elements of fantasy, westerns, and science fiction to create a unique and gripping narrative that has captivated readers for decades.

The series kicks off with the iconic line, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed,” setting the tone for a sprawling adventure that spans multiple books. Follow the gunslinger Roland as he pursues a mysterious and malevolent presence across a strange world that is intricately linked to our own.

Stephen King’s masterful storytelling weaves together elements of horror, fantasy, and western motifs to create a rich tapestry of characters and events that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Whether you’re a fan of epic fantasy or looking for a unique blend of genres, “The Dark Tower” series is a must-read for any lover of imaginative storytelling.

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

Your journey into fantasy literature is incomplete without delving into the epic world of “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin. This groundbreaking series has captivated readers worldwide with its complex characters, intricate political intrigue, and richly detailed world-building.

Set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, “A Song of Ice and Fire” weaves a tapestry of noble houses vying for power, dark forces looming on the horizon, and characters who face moral dilemmas that shape the fate of their world.

Each chapter unfolds through the eyes of various characters, offering unique perspectives on the unfolding story. As alliances are forged and betrayals revealed, the narrative keeps readers on the edge of their seats, never quite knowing what lies around the next corner.

Despite its vast scope and multitude of characters, George R.R. Martin masterfully crafts a narrative that remains engaging and gripping throughout the series. From the brutal realities of war to the subtle machinations of court politics, “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a literary masterpiece that continues to enthrall readers of all ages.

22. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

All fans of fantasy literature must explore into the delightful masterpiece that is “Good Omens” by the legendary duo of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This novel is a rare gem that seamlessly blends humor, wit, and profound insights into a captivating narrative.

The story follows an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, who team up to prevent the impending apocalypse. Their quirky camaraderie and the larger-than-life stakes make for a riveting read that keeps readers hooked from start to finish.

With a perfect balance of satire and depth, “Good Omens” offers a refreshing take on the age-old battle between good and evil. The intricate world-building, sharp dialogue, and endearing characters make this book a must-read for any fantasy enthusiast.

23. Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch

To examine into the fantastical world of urban fantasy, one must not overlook the captivating “Rivers of London” series penned by the talented Ben Aaronovitch. This series follows the adventures of Detective Constable Peter Grant, who discovers he is one of the two wizards in the Metropolitan Police. As Grant navigates the magical underworld of a lovingly described version of present-day London, readers are treated to a unique blend of fantastical elements grounded in the scientific method.

The narrative of the first book, “Rivers of London,” immerses readers into an encounter with a malevolent spirit that propels Grant into the mysteries of the capital’s magical realm. The series continues to charm with its mixture of flying spells, police jargon, and a tone that sets it apart from traditional fantasy offerings. Each installment of the series promises a thrilling escapade filled with whimsical creatures and the delightful escapades of a wizarding detective in a modern urban setting.

24. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

All fantasy book lovers must investigate into the epic saga known as “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan. This monumental series spans 14 books, each rich with intricate world-building, complex characters, and gripping storytelling.

Set in a world where time is cyclical, and legends become reality, “The Wheel of Time” follows the journey of various characters as they navigate through a vast and detailed universe filled with prophecies, magic, and political intrigue.

Robert Jordan’s masterful storytelling and attention to detail have captivated readers for decades, making “The Wheel of Time” series a cornerstone of the fantasy genre. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy reader or new to the genre, this series is a must-read for anyone seeking an immersive and engrossing literary experience.

25. The Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake

Your journey into the world of fantasy literature would be incomplete without delving into the intricate and captivating “Gormenghast” series by Mervyn Peake. This series, consisting of three books and a novella, is a masterclass in gothic fantasy storytelling that has stood the test of time since its inception in 1946.

Set within the sprawling halls of Castle Gormenghast, a massive gothic structure, the series unfolds the lives of its diverse inhabitants in a rich tapestry of fantastical elements. At the heart of the narrative is Titus Groan, the protagonist who is destined to inherit the vast dominion of Gormenghast.

Populated with a myriad of fantastical creatures, twisted characters, and intricate plots, “Gormenghast” offers a unique blend of dark fantasy and gothic sensibilities. Mervyn Peake’s vivid descriptions and richly drawn characters create an immersive reading experience that transports you to a realm unlike any other.

26. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Not only is “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman a beloved children’s book series, but it also holds a depth and complexity that can satisfy adult readers as well. Follow the adventures of Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pantalaimon as they explore into a world where children are being separated from their spiritual companions. As the story unfolds over the three-book series, it evolves into a battle between humanity and heaven, offering a unique twist on the conventional narrative of good versus evil. Pullman’s writing style and thematic exploration make “His Dark Materials” a standout series in the fantasy genre.

27. The Book of Dust series by Philip Pullman

After the monumental success of His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman returned to the beloved world of Lyra Belacqua with “The Book of Dust” series. This second trilogy set in the enchanting and complex universe of his previous works has captured the hearts of readers old and new.

Launched with “La Belle Sauvage” in 2018, the series takes fans back in time before the events of His Dark Materials, delving into the rich tapestry of characters and lore that define Pullman’s imaginative realm. The subsequent installment, “The Secret Commonwealth” released in 2019, propels us forward a decade after the events of the original trilogy, promising espionage, intrigue, and the ever-present threat of encroaching darkness.

With Pullman’s signature blend of fantasy, adventure, and deep philosophical themes, “The Book of Dust” series continues to captivate readers with its exploration of love, destiny, and the eternal struggle between good and evil. A must-read for fans of the original trilogy and newcomers alike, this series showcases Pullman’s mastery of storytelling and his ability to create immersive, thought-provoking worlds that linger in the reader’s mind long after the final page is turned.

28. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Once again, we investigate into the mystical world of fantasy literature with “The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher. This captivating series introduces us to Harry Dresden, a professional wizard operating in a modern-day Chicago where supernatural creatures lurk in the shadows.

As a private detective, Harry encounters a menagerie of fantastical beings such as vampires, werewolves, and even malevolent spirits. Each book in the series, starting with “Storm Front,” unravels a thrilling tale of magic, murder, and otherworldly intrigue that bridges the realms of reality and the supernatural.

Jim Butcher skillfully weaves a narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats, blending elements of mystery, suspense, and fantasy into a spellbinding tapestry that captivates both seasoned fantasy enthusiasts and newcomers alike. “The Dresden Files” offers a unique and engaging take on the urban fantasy genre, making it a must-read for those seeking an exhilarating escapade into the mystical unknown.

29. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Your journey into fantasy literature would be incomplete without delving into the intricate masterpiece that is “Perdido Street Station” by China Miéville. This work falls under the genre of Weird Fiction, blending elements of fantasy and horror in a captivating narrative that will leave you spellbound.

In the world of Bas-Lag, where the story is set, you will encounter a unique fusion of fantasy and Victorian-era technology. This setting creates a mesmerizing backdrop for the tale that unfolds within a society that is both gritty and police-state-like. As you immerse yourself in the pages of “Perdido Street Station,” be prepared to be transported to a world where the boundaries between imagination and reality blur, and where the unexpected lurks around every corner.

Experience the magic of China Miéville’s storytelling as he weaves a tapestry of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy unlike anything you have encountered before. “Perdido Street Station” promises to ignite your imagination, challenge your perceptions, and keep you turning pages late into the night.

30. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

To probe into the world of modern fantasy literature, one cannot overlook the seminal work of “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. Published in 2001, this richly woven tapestry of a novel offers a unique blend of myth, mystery, and magic that captivates readers from the very first page.

The story follows Shadow Moon, a convict who finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue and divine conflict after the sudden death of his wife. As he initiates on a journey with the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, who is revealed to be the Norse god Odin, Shadow is thrust into a world where ancient deities walk among mortals, struggling for relevance in the modern age.

Through Gaiman’s masterful storytelling, “American Gods” explores themes of belief, identity, and the power of myth in shaping human consciousness. The novel seamlessly weaves together elements of fantasy, folklore, and Americana to create a narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

With its rich character development, intricate world-building, and profound philosophical underpinnings, “American Gods” stands as a testament to Gaiman’s storytelling prowess and remains a must-read for fans of fantasy literature.

31. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

All fantasy enthusiasts should be familiar with Ursula Le Guin’s masterpiece, “A Wizard of Earthsea.” This iconic novel is a must-read for anyone looking to examine fantasy literature.

The story follows the journey of Ged, also known as FitzChivalry Farseer, a young wizard who attends a magic school and faces the consequences of meddling with dark powers. Set in the world of Earthsea, Le Guin’s world-building is unparalleled, immersing readers in a rich and captivating universe filled with magic, adventure, and coming-of-age themes.

While “A Wizard of Earthsea” is often categorized as a children’s book, its depth and complexity appeal to readers of all ages. The novel explores profound themes such as the consequences of power, the balance of light and dark within oneself, and the importance of accepting one’s own flaws.

For those seeking a classic fantasy tale that combines magic, mystery, and introspection, “A Wizard of Earthsea” is a timeless recommendation that continues to inspire and resonate with audiences across generations.

32. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

For avid fantasy readers seeking a captivating and immersive series, “The Farseer Trilogy” by Robin Hobb is a must-read. This epic fantasy series follows the journey of FitzChivalry Farseer, also known as Fitz, the illegitimate son of the crown prince. Set in the kingdom of The Six Duchies, the story is a masterful blend of magic, political intrigue, and adventure that will keep readers hooked from the very first page.

Robin Hobb’s storytelling prowess shines in this gripping tale of assassins, zombies, and royal machinations that will appeal to fans looking for a rich and complex fantasy world to explore. As Fitz navigates the challenges of his heritage and uncovers dark secrets within the kingdom, readers are drawn into a web of loyalty, betrayal, and ancient prophecies that shape the fate of the realm.

With compelling characters, intricate plot twists, and a touch of magic, “The Farseer Trilogy” stands as a standout in the fantasy genre, offering a deeply satisfying reading experience that will leave readers eagerly turning the pages to unravel the mysteries of The Six Duchies alongside Fitz.

33. The Accursed Kings by Maurice Druon

After delving into the realms of fantasy literature, one cannot ignore the timeless masterpiece that is “The Accursed Kings” by Maurice Druon. While not traditionally classified as fantasy, this historical series offers a compelling narrative that can captivate fantasy enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Set against the backdrop of the French monarchy in the 14th century, “The Accursed Kings” weaves a tapestry of iron kings, strangled queens, battles, betrayals, and political intrigue. Maurice Druon’s storytelling prowess brings this tumultuous period of history to life, creating a gripping tale that resonates with readers.

George R.R. Martin himself, the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” holds Maurice Druon in high regard, citing “The Accursed Kings” as a significant inspiration for his own epic fantasy series. The richness of characters, intricate plots, and historical authenticity of Druon’s work have solidified its place as a must-read for those seeking a compelling blend of fantasy and historical fiction.

34. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Not all fantasy books are set in distant lands or mythical worlds. Some, like “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke, bring magic right into the heart of 19th-century England. This novel takes readers on a journey where magic is not just a thing of the past, but a reemerging force that ignites a rivalry between two magicians, Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange.

Written in the style of a comedy of manners, reminiscent of Jane Austen, Susanna Clarke’s debut novel is a meticulously crafted tale that blends historical fiction with fantasy elements. It took the author a decade to write this captivating story, which was widely acclaimed upon its release in 2004.

As readers research into the pages of “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell,” they witness the reawakening of English magic, the complexities of power dynamics, and the enduring struggle between tradition and innovation. The interplay between the two titular characters, each with their own approach to magic, creates a rich tapestry of intrigue and suspense that keeps readers captivated until the very end.

35. Mort by Terry Pratchett

Many consider “Mort” by Terry Pratchett to be one of the best entries in his iconic Discworld series. This fantasy novel focuses on a teenager named Mort who is taken under the apprenticeship of Death himself. Pratchett’s portrayal of Death in the book is both memorable and unique, showcasing the author’s unparalleled imagination and wit.

In “Mort,” readers are introduced to a world where Death becomes a sympathetic and relatable character, complete with quirks and a sense of humor that sets him apart from traditional literary representations. The interactions between Mort and Death provide comedic relief while also delving into deeper themes surrounding life, mortality, and the human experience.

With its blend of fantasy elements, sharp dialogue, and philosophical undertones, “Mort” stands out as a must-read for both longtime fans of Terry Pratchett’s work and newcomers to the Discworld series. The book’s exploration of themes such as identity, purpose, and the nature of existence make it a timeless classic in fantasy literature.

36. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Marlon James, known for winning the Booker Prize for “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” examines into the genre with his novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf.” Dubbed as the African Game of Thrones, this book explores political tensions between warring states in a world filled with a diverse cast of magical creatures such as cannibals, vampires, witches, ghosts, and sorcerers.

Marlon James introduces readers to a rich and immersive fantasy world, where the dynamics of power, intrigue, and mysticism intertwine to create a gripping narrative. Through vivid storytelling and intricate world-building, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” offers a fresh and unique perspective on traditional fantasy themes, making it a standout addition to the genre.


Drawing together 36 of the best fantasy books everyone should read showcases the incredible diversity and talent within the genre. From classic works like “The Lord of the Rings” to modern masterpieces like “Piranesi” and “Six of Crows,” each book offers a unique and thrilling journey into fantastical worlds filled with magic, adventure, and powerful storytelling. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy reader or just stepping into the genre, these selections have something to offer everyone, from intricate world-building to complex characters and gripping plotlines. With authors like Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, and Ursula Le Guin gracing the list, it’s clear that the world of fantasy literature continues to captivate and enthrall readers of all ages.

Related Articles:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best fantasy books for beginners?

For beginners in the fantasy genre, some highly recommended books include “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling, “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, and “Mistborn: The Final Empire” by Brandon Sanderson.

What are some classic fantasy book series that every fantasy enthusiast should read?

Classic fantasy book series that every fantasy enthusiast should read include “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien, “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, and “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis.

Can you recommend some underrated fantasy books that deserve more recognition?

Some underrated fantasy books that deserve more recognition are “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon, “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden, and “The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang.