Best Literary Fantasy Books

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The crowd-ranked version of the Best Literary Fantasy Books list. This list contains fantasy books that an English English professor would be proud to read. Literary fantasy might feature superb prose, intelligent ideas, deep thematic frameworks, and other literary devices. Vote on the items and/or submit your own literary fantasy suggestions to share with the public
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Mythago Wood

by Robert Holdstock

Myth and Terror in the Forest Deeps

The mystery of Ryhope Wood, Britain's last fragment of primeval forest, consumed George Huxley's entire long life. Now, after his death, his sons have taken up his work. But what they discover is numinous and perilous beyond all expectation.

For the Wood, larger inside than out, is a labyrinth full of myths come to life, "mythagos" that can change you forever. A labyrinth where love and beauty haunt your dreams. . .and may drive you insane.
BSFA
World Fantasy

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The Crystal Cave

by Mary Stewart

Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys -- or as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon . . . and the conception of Arthur -- king for once and always.


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The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

5 avg rating

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.


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Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb

5 avg rating
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin 
 
Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
 
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
 
Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice
 
“A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”Publishers Weekly
 
“This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven Brust
British Fantasy Society
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5
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The Fear Of A Wise Man

by Patrick Rothfuss

Discover #1 New York Times-bestselling Patrick Rothfuss’ epic fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicle.
 
“I just love the world of Patrick Rothfuss.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda • “He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.” —George R. R. Martin • “Rothfuss has real talent.” —Terry Brooks
 
DAY TWO: THE WISE MAN’S FEAR
 
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
 
My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.
 
So begins a tale told from his own point of view—a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.
 
 
Praise for The Kingkiller Chronicle:
 
“The best epic fantasy I read last year.... He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.”
George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire
 
“Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous.”
Terry Brooks, New York Times-bestselling author of Shannara
 
"It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing...with true music in the words."
Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning author of Earthsea
 
"The characters are real and the magic is true.”
Robin Hobb, New York Times-bestselling author of Assassin’s Apprentice
 
"Masterful.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description."
Brandon Sanderson, New York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn
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The Witcher Series

by Andrzej Sapkowski

5 avg rating
The New York Times bestselling introduction to the Witcher series that inspired the Witcher video games.

*Look out for Season of Storms in May 2018*

Geralt is a witcher.

Yet he is no ordinary killer-for-hire.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.




Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny

Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake

The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)


Translated from original Polish by Danusia Stok
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The Blood Of Elves

by Andrzej Sapkowski

The New York Times bestselling series that inspired the international hit video game: The Witcher.

*Look out for Season of Storms in May 2018*

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world - for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt's responsibility to protect them all - and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Blood of Elves is the first full-length Witcher novel, and the perfect follow up if you've read The Last Wish collection.


Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake

Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny

The Malady and Other Stories: An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler (e-only)


Translated from original Polish by Danusia Stok
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The Magicians

by Lev Grossman

3.67 avg rating

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

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A Song Of Ice And Fire

by George R. R. Martin

4.25 avg rating

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child?and the ice dragon who loved her?could save her world from utter destruction.

This new edition of The Ice Dragon is sure to become a collector's item for fans of HBO's megahit Game of Thrones.

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The Heroes

by Joe Abercrombie

3.5 avg rating
They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

THE HEROES

For glory, for victory, for staying alive.


First Law Trilogy
The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings

Novels in the First Law world
Best Served Cold
The Heroes
Red Country
British Fantasy Society

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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

by Robin McKinley

A strange imprisonment

Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.

When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.

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Nine Princes in Amber: Book One

by Roger Zelazny

One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels.

Now officially licensed by the Zelazny estate, the first book in this legendary series is now finally available electronically.

Carl Corey wakes up in a secluded New York hospital with amnesia. He escapes and investigates, discovering the truth, piece by piece: he is really Prince Corwin, of Amber, the one true world of which our Earth is just a shadow. He is one of nine men who might rule Amber, if he can fight his way past the armies of his older brother Eric.
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The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

by Angela Carter

From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.
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Paradise Lost

by John Milton

Milton's great 17th-century epic draws upon Bible stories and classical mythology to explore the meaning of existence, as understood by people of the Western world. Its roots lie in the Genesis account of the world's creation and the first humans; its focus is a poetic interpretation "Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit / Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste / Brought death into the world, and all our woe / With loss of Eden."
In sublime poetry of extraordinary beauty, Milton's poem references tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid. But one need not be a classical scholar to appreciate Paradise Lost. In addition to its imaginative use of language, the poem features a powerful and sympathetic portrait of Lucifer, the rebel angel who frequently outshines his moral superiors. With Milton's deft use of irony, the devil makes evil appear good, just as satanic practices may seem attractive at first glance.
Paradise Lost has exercised enormous influence on generations of artists and their works, ranging from the Romantic poets William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley to Joseph Haydn's oratorio The Creation and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
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The Michael Moorcock Library Vol.1: Elric of Melnibone

by Roy Thomas

Collecting the first volume of the classic 1980's comic adaptation of the Elric of Melniboné novels by fantasy legend Michael Moorcock!
     
Bear witness to the story of Elric, Lord of Melniboné; his dark cousin - the evil Yyrkoon; their dark magics; and their terrible struggle for rule of the fabled Emerald Isle!
Based on Michael Moorcock's most popular work.
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The Chronicles Of Ara

by Joel Eisenberg

4.5 avg rating

When J.R.R. Tolkien is summoned to authenticate a recently-discovered "lost" book of Beowulf, events are set in motion that years later will unveil an imminent tragedy: The entirety of the world's art and invention has been inspired by a corrupted muse, who has implanted a series of codes within the works of history's most influential authors, warning of humanity's end and a new dawn of time.

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The Divine Comedy Of

by Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense recreation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.

Mandelbaum’s astonishingly Dantean translation, which captures so much of the life of the original, renders whole for us the masterpiece of that genius whom our greatest poets have recognized as a central model for all poets.

This Everyman’s edition–containing in one volume all three cantos, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso–includes an introduction by Nobel Prize—winning poet Eugenio Montale, a chronology, notes, and a bibliography. Also included are forty-two drawings selected from Botticelli's marvelous late-fifteenth-century series of illustrations.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

ITEMS 20 - 38 of 52

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