When some readers think of the fantasy genre, they think of hobbits and magic wardrobes. Others conjure images of a young wizards in far off lands or a gunslinger in a magical Wild West. And that is the beauty of the genre. Fantasy thrives on the creation of new worlds, species and magic systems. It allows for the impossible to occur—for elves to fall in love with humans and for street urchins to wield magic. Fantasy is a genre of boundless strength, epic journeys and incredible beauty.
To celebrate the heritage of the genre, we’ve assembled a great list of fantasy titles that really highlight what it’s all about.
The chronicles of Narnia / C.S. Lewis ; with illustrations by Pauline Baynes. – Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years.
Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone / by J.K. Rowling ; illustrations by Mary GrandPré. – Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Sword of destiny / Andrzej Sapkowski ; translated by David French – “Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.”– Provided by publisher
Child of a mad god / R. A. Salvatore. – . When Aoelyn loses her parents, she is left to fend for herself among a tribe of vicious barbarians. Bound by rigid traditions, she dreams of escaping to the world beyond her mountain home. The only hopefor achieving the kind of freedom she searches for is to learn how to wield the mysterious power used by the tribe’s coven known as the Song of Usgar. Thankfully, Aoelyn may be the strongest witch to have ever lived, but magic comes at price. Not only has her abilities caught the eye of the brutish warlord that leads the tribe, but the demon of the mountain hunts all who wield the Coven’s power, and Aoelyn’s talent has made her a beacon in the night.
The golden compass / Philip Pullman – Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.
The fifth season / N. K. Jemisin. – Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night.
Name of the wind / Patrick Rothfuss – Kvothe, a legendary hero and villain whom is presumed dead, recounts the story of his life and shares the dark secrets that have shaped his life and forced him to take up a lonely existence in a land of strangers.
A darker shade of magic / V. E. Schwab – Kell is one of the last Travelers, a magician with the rare ability to travel between parallel universes. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne and people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London but no one speaks of that now. Perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn.
The lord of the rings / J.R.R. TolkienThe lord of the rings / J.R.R. Tolkien – Presents the epic depicting the Great War of the Ring, a struggle between good and evil in Middle-earth, following the odyssey of Frodo the hobbit and his companions on a quest to destroy the Ring of Power.
Oathbringer / Brandon Sanderson. – . In Oathbringer , the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance. Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans.
Perfect shadow / Brent Weeks. – Gaelan Starfire is a farmer, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He’s also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he’s worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he’s become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble. But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he’s ever believed in.
Blade of empire / Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. – They thought the war was over. They were wrong. Runacarendalur Caerthalien has been a master of battle for hundreds of years, but he found himself on the wrong side–the losing side–in the last war. Betrayed by his brother, trapped in a prophecy he does not understand, Runacar flees the battlefield.Yet Runacar is no coward. In a twist he could never have imagined, the Elven War-Prince finds himself leading a new army into battle–a force of centaurs, merfolk, gryphons, minotaurs, and talking bears who can perform magic.
The Brightest Embers / Jeaniene Frost – You can run from your destiny, but you can’t hide… Ivy thought that she and Adrian had conquered their fates. Yet with thousands of innocents still trapped in the demon realms, she’s determined to locate the final hallowed weapon and harness its unparalleled power to free them.
The Bedlam stacks / Natasha Pulley. – In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg. On the sprawling, crumbling grounds of the old house, something is wrong: a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness. When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine–essential for the treatment of malaria–from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But here he goes.
The Other Wind / Ursula Le Guin – The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.
An unkindness of magicians / Kat Howard. – “There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard. In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney–a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it. Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians”– Provided by publisher.
The Book of swords / edited by Gardner Dozois. – Now, in The Book of Swords , acclaimed editor and bestselling author Gardner Dozois presents an all-new anthology of original epic tales by a stellar cast of award-winning modern masters–many of them set in their authors’ best-loved worlds. Join today’s finest tellers of fantastic tales, including George R. R. Martin, K. J. Parker, Robin Hobb, Scott Lynch, Ken Liu, C. J. Cherryh, Daniel Abraham, Lavie Tidhar, Ellen Kushner, and more on action-packed journeys into the outer realms of dark enchantment and intrepid derring-do, featuring a stunning assortment of fearless swordsmen and warrior women who face down danger and death at every turn with courage, cunning, and cold steel.
The sorcerer’s daughter : the defenders of Shannara / Terry Brooks. – . The mysterious, magic-wielding Druid order has existed for long ages, battling any evil that threatens the Four Lands–and struggling to be understood and accepted by outsiders. But their hopes of building goodwill are dashed when a demon’s murderous rampage at a peace summit leaves their political opponents dead–casting new suspicions upon the Druids and forcing them to flee from enemies both mortal and monstrous.
Shadowheart / Tad Williams – Something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can its young defenders Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age–an age of unending darkness?
The Third Kingdom / Terry Goodkind – “The bloodthirsty Jit is dead, and against all odds Richard and Kahlan have survived. But a new menace has attacked them in the Dark Lands. Infected with the essence of death itself, robbed of his power as a war wizard, Richard must race against time to uncover and stop the infernal conspiracy assembling itself behind the wall far to the north. His friends and allies are already captives of this fell combination, and Kahlan, also touched by death’s power, will die completely if Richard fails. Bereft of magic, Richard has only his sword, his wits, his capacity for insight — and an extraordinary companion, the young Samantha, a healer just coming into her powers. Compelling, fast-moving, and intense, The Third Kingdom is a powerful tale that welcomes new readers to Terry Goodkind’s world, while opening up new vistas of worldbuilding for longtime readers of the adventures of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell”– Provided by publisher.
Fire touched / Patricia Briggs. – “Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer… Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll , they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae. Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost . But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched ?”– Provided by publisher.
In the Labyrinth of Drakes : A Memoir by Lady Trent / Marie Brennan. – In the Labyrinth of Drakes, the thrilling new book in the acclaimed fantasy series from Marie Brennan, the glamorous Lady Trent takes her adventurous explorations to the deserts of Akhia. Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism have heard of Lady Trent’s expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame.
The Bands of Mourning/Brandon Sanderson– With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America. Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. But now a kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate, and along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
A game of thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire Series, Book 1 – 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 buried giant / Kazuo Ishiguro – “An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day. “You’ve long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay. . .” The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war”– Provided by publisher