Core Best Fantasy Lists
- Top 25 Fantasy Books
- Top 100 Fantasy Books
- Best Fantasy Series
- Best Stand Alone Fantasy
- Best Young Adult Fantasy
- Top 50 Coming-of-Age Fantasy
- Top 25 Best Indie Fantasy
- Best Fantasy Audiobooks
- Best Fantasy You've Never Read
- Most Influential Fantasy
- Best Non-English Fantasy
- Great Fantasy Books
- Good Fantasy Books
- Worst Fantasy Books Ever
Best Yearly Lists
- Best Fantasy of 2017 (SO FAR)
- Best Fantasy of 2016
- Best Fantasy Books of 2015
- Best Fantasy Books of 2014
Best Decade Lists
- Best Fantasy Since 2010
- Best Fantasy Books of the 90's
- Best Fantasy Best of the 80's
- Best Fantasy Books of the 70's
- Best Fantasy Books of the 60's
- Best Early Modern Fantasy (30's to 50's)
- Best Pre-Tolkien Fantasy
Best Thematic Lists
- Best Anti-Hero Fantasy
- Best Asian Fantasy
- Best Feel Good Fantasy
- Best of the Tolkien Clones
- Best of the Dresden Clones
- Fantasy That Will Blow Your Mind
- Best Fantasy Books for Women
- Best Fantasy Books by Female Authors
- Best Fantasy Books for Children
- Best Vampire Books for YA
- Best Vampire Books for Adults
Best Subgenre Lists
- Top 50 EPIC Fantasy
- Best Heroic Fantasy
- Best Grimdark Fantasy
- Best Gritty Fantasy
- Best LitRPG Books
- Best Military Fantasy
- Best Vampire Fantasy
- Best Urban Fantasy
- Best Dark Fantasy
- Best Assassin Fantasy
- Best Steampunk Fantasy
- Best Literary Fantasy
- Best Sword and Sorcery
- Best Fantasy Mystery Books
- Best Romance Fantasy
- Best Paranormal Romance Fantasy
- Best Vampire Romance
- Best Dragon Fantasy
- Guide to Fantasy Genres
- How to Find Your Next Read Here
- Guide to Vampire Books
- Beginner's Fantasy Guide
- Best Science Fiction Books
Best Fantasy Games
Best Fantasy Movies
- Epic Fantasy
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- Gods & Demons / Shenmo Fantasy
- Grimdark Fantasy Books
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- Military Fantasy
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- Legend-Retelling Fantasy
- Allegorical Fantasy
- Fables/Fairy Tale Books
- Anthropomorphic Fantasy
- Dragon Fantasy Books
- Bangsian Fantasy Books
- Assassin Fantasy Books
- Arabian Fantasy Books
Lawrence's newest book in a completely new setting (not tied to his Broken Empire or Red Queen's War). With 'Assassin' fantasy subgenre all the rage right now, Lawrence puts his own brutally dark stamp on the genre with Red Sister.
Red Sister not as twisted as his Broken Empire books, which by most standards is not saying much since it's likely darker and far more brutal than most of the other happy-go-lucky 'Assasin' fantasy you'll read.
It also just might be Lawrence's best work, masterfully combining the deep, exotic world building of the Broken Empire with the nuanced characterization of his Red Queen's War series. Quite simply, Red Sister makes for a startlingly good read and certainly one of the must-read fantasy books of 2017.
If you love Grimdark or Lawrence, or simply some of the best fantasy that's come out this year, don't miss this one. Red Sister is in the running for Lawrence's best work.
McClellan starts up another trilogy set in the same universe as his 'Powder Mage' trilogy, but ten years after.
I daresay it's also the author's best work so far, with complex social themes, an interesting setting, compelling and developed characters, a unique magic system, and breathtaking action scenes.
It's full of some old and new characters, but still maintains the overall same vibe of the a wild west landscape on the verge of an industrial revolution, with the push and pull of the frontier struggling to stave off the encroachments of civilization.
McClellan is pioneering a newly developing subgenre called Gunpowder fantasy which is a variation of steampunk, but one that merges the aesthetics and setting of the American wild west with gunfighting, magic, and mayhem.
I suspect you'll really find a lot to love in this one if you were fans of Sanderson's Mistborn series (specifically, his Wax and Wayne series).
Sins of Empire one of the most enjoyable steampunkish action fantasy books I've read this year. Read this one and you get a gritty, action-packed ride that's hell of a lot of fun to read. Despite the action-heavy, there's a lot of depth between the pages: troubled characters, a world in the midsts of civil upheaval, themes of revolution social class struggle, and of course, a deep mythology and interesting magic system.
What more can I say? Absolutely read this one. If anything, it's a better book than McClellan's last effort (which was an impressive series already).
Books in Gods of Blood an... Series (1)
Another new entry by an author who's book won our best award a couple years ago, starring our favorite character, Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, stoic warrior, exiled prince, and merciless killer of men and monster.
City of Miracles is the third and final book of the Divine Cities trilogy (starts with the outstanding City of Mirrors)
City of Miracles is a sad farewell to what I consider one of the best fantasy trilogies written in the last decade. It's also a unique take on the classic 'epic fantasy' genre and a breath of fresh air in a perennially popular genre that's grown a bit stuffy and stale.
Robert Jackson Bennet is one of the more most talented, imaginative, and gifted wordsmiths in the fantasy genre (I put him right up there with other greats like Guy Gavriel Kay and Tad Williams) who always focuses on telling a strongly plotted tale, driven by powerful, complex characterization.
Divine Cities is the perfect blend of strong characterization, a layered plot, deep mysteries, and brutal action. Read this for an example of how to do epic fantasy refreshingly right.
With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.
In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it.
From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable.
No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale.
Yes, by THAT guy, the guy who's books made our Best Fantasy of 2015 and 2016 lists.
Staveley burst out of nowhere back in 2015 with his indelible 'The Emperor's Blades' and quickly rose to the top as one of the best new fantasy writers, taking the trappings of the classic coming-of-age epic fantasy design and weaving together something new and grand from the old design.
This one is Staveley's own vision of the Assasin fantasy tale but entirely reworked into a blood-soaked coming-of-age swan song that you won't easily forget. A tragedy, a romance, and tale of murder.
Set in the same universe as his last trilogy, this one has a lot of blood, angst, and monsters to kill.
One of the best books I've read this year so far. Staveley has done it again. Pick this one up now.
Sequel to his last book Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, this one delivers in every way.
While this series sings a different song than your typical 'epic fantasy', it's absolutely worth partaking of.
Beaulieu is one of the more talented wordsmiths writing fantasy and his descriptions and settings are captivating. The characters are compelling, deeply driven by complex motives and motivations and the world building is impressive.
If you are expecting a simple actional tale of swords & sorcery, this series is not that. But if you want a well-written, intricately plotted novel set in an exotic landscape bound by exotic magics, this series is something you'll need to read.These books are on the forefront of a new fantasy subgenre called silk road fantasy, one that features exotic landscapes of desert and wind.
Captivatingly different, but an outstanding read. If you've read the first on the series, picking this one up is a no brainer. And if you haven't read the first book, then make sure you do.
Bound, newest Alex Vera book, is a great continuation to what I like to call 'The Dresden Killer' series. It's a series that takes all the elements that Dresden Files great but gives it a much darker, more brutal edge.
And right now, the Alex Vera is taking some serious market share away from The Dresden Files, bettering the series that inspired it in almost every way. The characters are more complex, more realistic, and not always idealists.
Bound is one of the best, if not the best, book in the series. At this point, if you've made it this far in the series, you'll probably read this one no matter what I say; but what I say is this: pick this one up as Jacka cooks up one of his best books in the series so far, delivering on the slightly failed promise of the last two in the series.
The third book in the Red London book series. I didn't have much expectation when I started reading these, thinking the story yet another YA fantasy trying to become the next Harry Potter.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by A Darker Shade of Magic which builds up a fascinating premise where parallel versions of London exist in different worlds, crossable only by a select few travelers with a magical gift. There are 4 Londons, each more magical than the next.
Despite my complaints, the magic system, unique world building, and over-the-top adventure tale was just a lot of fun to read.
A Conjuring of Light is the concluding book in the trilogy and, for the mosts part, delivers a win for the author. It's not quite as good as the first book but better than book 2, which was a low point for the series.
Overall, one of the better new epic fantasy series that's come out the past couple years. It's not quite as strongly written as efforts by the best in the genre but stands tall as worth-reading tale.
And hey, if you love the whole 'Magical London' theme (a theme explored by many authors such as China Mieville and Neil Gaiman), this is your perfect fit.
A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.
We all know the tale of Prospero\'s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?
In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the cointhe dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.
Always under Prosperos jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.
Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Careys gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeares masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play\'s iconic characters.
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyards bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl\'s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother\'s web in an attempt to maintain control over his countryand his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare\'s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fireleaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.
A LitRPG novel (an emerging fantasy/science fiction genre right now) and probably the best traditional LitRPG series. This is book two which follows the first in the series Awaken Online: Catharsis.
LitRPG is usually translated from Russian authors or sloppily written indie fiction, but there are a few good reads in the genre that non-hardcore readers of the genre might enjoy. The Awaken Online series is one such (perhaps one of the only LitRPG's I would recommend to regular fantasy readers who are not exposed to the genre).
The premise is basically about a bullied on, socially awkward, loner high school kid who picks up a new immersive virtual reality game (an MMORPG) and almost accidently, ends up becomes the dark lord villain of the game.
If this sounds a bit cheesy as a plot, it certainly is, but such is the premise the entire LitRGP genre is founded on in which the events mostly or partly take inside an ultra-realistic virtual reality world video game. See my Best LitRPG Books list.
Ironically, one of the great fantasy writers (Tad Williams) in fact pretty much founded the LitRPG genre (before it existed) way back with his Otherland series.
If you are interested in LitRPG or want to see what the fuss is about, start with Awaken Online. As reading goes, it makes for a pretty compelling read that does pull you into the story. If you like this one, then chances are, you'll like some of the other good LitRPG that's available.
Our Version of the List
At a Glance
- 1 Red Sister (Mark Lawrence)
- 2 Sins of Empire (Brian McClellan)
- 3 City of Miracles (Robert Jackson Bennett)
- 4 Skullsworn (Brian Staveley)
- 5 With Blood Upon the Sand (Bradley P. Beaulie...
- 6 Bound (Benedict Jacka)
- 7 Tyrant's Throne (Sebastien de Castell)
- 8 A Conjuring of Light: A Novel (V. E. Schwab)
- 9 Miranda and Caliban (Jacqueline Carey)
- 10 King's Cage (Victoria Aveyard)
- 11 Silence Fallen (Patricia Briggs)
- 12 Awaken Online: Precipice (Travis Bagwell)