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How to Find and Buy Comic Books Online

Comic books are a great way to escape into a world of fantasy and adventure. Whether you’re a collector or just looking for something fun to read, buying comic books online can be a great way to find the perfect comic book for you. Here are some tips on how to find and buy comic books online.

Research Online Retailers

The first step in finding the perfect comic book is researching online retailers. There are many different retailers that offer a wide selection of comics, so it’s important to do your research and find the one that best fits your needs. Look for retailers that have good reviews, offer competitive prices, and have a wide selection of comics. You can also check out forums and social media sites to see what other people are saying about different retailers.

Compare Prices

Once you’ve found a few online retailers that offer the comics you’re looking for, it’s time to compare prices. Prices can vary greatly from retailer to retailer, so it’s important to compare prices before making your purchase. You should also consider shipping costs when comparing prices as this can add significantly to the overall cost of your purchase.

Check Out Reviews

Before buying any comic book online, it’s important to check out reviews from other customers. Reading reviews can help you get an idea of the quality of the comic book as well as any potential issues with the retailer or shipping process. It’s also a good idea to read up on any return policies in case you need to return or exchange your purchase.

Buying comic books online can be an easy and convenient way to find the perfect comic book for you. By doing your research, comparing prices, and checking out reviews, you can ensure that you get the best deal on your purchase. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to find and buy comic books online with ease.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


fantasy fiction book reviews

Top 100 Fantasy Books

The 100 fantasy books that we - and other readers - simply cannot recommend highly enough; books that we've all loved reading. Click on a book title to read the full review.

1. A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire)

A Song of Ice and Fire is the history lesson you wish you’d had in school. An immense, incredible work of epic fantasy written by a hugely talented author who has created an effortless, enchanting read that is rich, rewarding and completely enthralling.

Published: 1996 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2012 (A Dance With Dragons), 1997 (A Game of Thrones) | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 2012 (A Dance With Dragons), 2006 (A Feast for Crows)

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2. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series)

Carnegie Medal Winner: 2002 (The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents)

In his Discworld Series, Terry Pratchett, one of Britain’s best and funniest authors created a true delight of modern fiction. Satirical, clever and hilarious the forty-one books that make up the series are a pure and fantastic joy.

Published: 1983

3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

International Fantasy Award Winner: 1957

The Lord of the Rings is unquestionably one of the greatest works of imaginative fiction of the twentieth century. J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic, written using a beautifully descriptive narrative, tells an enchanting tale of friendship, love and heroism. Steeped in magic and otherworldliness, this sweeping fantasy is beautiful, perfect and also timeless. A must read for every  fantasy fan.

Published: 1954

4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a genuinely original story, beautifully told. The Telegraph succinctly says it all with 'an elegant and witty historical fantasy which deserves to be judged on its own (considerable) merit'. It is unquestionably one of the finest historical fantasy books ever written.

Published: 2004 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2005 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 2005

5. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

David Gemmell Award for Fantasy Winner: 2012 (The Wise Man’s Fear)

The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear are the very finest examples of first-person storytelling. It’s comparable to sitting across from someone, in a comfy chair, before a log fire, listening to them recount one of the most intricate and fascinating stories you’ve ever heard. To quote Ursula Le Guin: “It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing... with true music in the words”.

Published: 2007

6. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (The Gentleman Bastard Sequence)

Scott Lynch’s trilogy features wonderful characters, plot and camaraderie, all set within a setting beautifully inspired by ancient Venice. It is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, often shocking but ultimately – and frequently - heart-warming. If you are looking for fantasy novels with relatable thieves and rogues then the Gentlemen Bastards are perfect for you. 

Published: 2006 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2007 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 2007

7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods manages to broach several genre barriers all the while making it look as if Gaiman was creating his own genre. The end result is very much like creating a new species of rose; you take those qualities from other roses that you want, and then splice them all together. The outcome is beautiful.

Published: 2001 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2002 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 2002

8. The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (The Broken Earth)

Reading the Broken Earth trilogy can be a brutal, painful experience. There is much tragedy, despair and the characters’ futures often look nothing but bleak. But these ambitious, heartbreaking books mark a new stage in the evolution of the fantasy genre and their complexity, world-building and themes break new ground.

Published: 2015 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2017 (The Obelisk Gate), 2016 (The Fifth Season)

9. The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula Le Guin (Earthsea Saga)

The Earthsea books can be read by children and enjoyed simply for the magic, wizards, adventure and beautifully imagined world. They can also be read by adults and enjoyed for the thought-provoking ideas and themes that the books conjure. They are truly timeless, exploring human behaviour without being preaching or judgmental, encouraging readers to think deeply and form their own opinions. To quote a reader review: “The wisdom and the quiet ancient beauty of these books grow every time I reread them.”

Published: 1993 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2002 (The Other Wind)

10. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy)

The Realm of the Elderlings is a glorious, classic fantasy combining the magic of Le Guin's The Wizard of Earthsea with the epic mastery of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is a master class of characterisation, imbued with the richest of narratives, all combining to produce one of the very finest fantasy series ever written.

Published: 1995 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 1997

11. Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen)

The ten novels that make up A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are works of great skill, imagination, ambition, depth and beauty. But not for the faint-of-heart, Erikson throws you in at the deep end and encourages you to swim. This series is one of the greatest fantasy literature achievements of the past one hundred years.

Published: 1999 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2000 (Gardens of the Moon)

12. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials)

Carnegie Medal Winner: 1995 (Northern Lights)

Imagine a world that is as alike as it is dissimilar to our own. Where huge zeppelins litter the skyline and a person’s soul is a living breathing animal companion, or 'daemon'. This is the wonderfully engrossing world of Lyra Belacqua. Although written for children it is equally as absorbing for any adult reader, enthralling from its very first page.

Published: 1995 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2001 (The Amber Spyglass)

13. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (New Crobuzon)

Perdido Street Station is a work of art. At times horrific, beautiful, tragic, comic and even uplifting, with a plot which takes unexpected turns and twists and revelations, one of the most unique settings imaginable and above all a style of dark poetry that is truly exceptional.

Published: 2000 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2005 (The Iron Council), 2003 (The Scar), 2001 (Perdido Street Station) | British Fantasy Award Winner: 2003 (The Scar), 2000 (Perdido Street Station)

14. Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson (Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever)

Thomas Covenant is arguably one of the most famous characters in fantasy, but not all who know it love it. Whether it is due to the Covenant character himself, or simply as a response to the series as a whole, readers find themselves divided in their opinions: Some love it, some hate it. But few dismiss it. The Chronicles are a very complex piece of work but at heart a good old-fashioned tale of epic fantasy deserving of being labeled classic.

Published: 1977 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2005 (The Runes of the Earth), The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (1978) | British Fantasy Award Winner: 1979 (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever) | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 1981 (The Wounded Land)

15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling (Harry Potter)

Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Winner: 1999 (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), 1998 (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), 1997 (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)

The seven Harry Potter books are very well-written and laugh-out-loud funny, and it makes for an intoxicating combination. The Philosopher’s Stone is where, for young Harry Potter, it all begins. The Potter books are infused with charm and wit and adored by readers of all ages, the wizarding world a wonderful place for any reader, of any age, to escape to.

Published: 1997

16. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (The Dark Tower series)

Many who have read and enjoyed the Dark Tower series have found a companion for life. The journey for many has been one of years, if not decades. And many will have found within the series parallels to their own lives: It’s not always gone the way they would have liked, many parts were better than others (though upon re-read these conceptions can change). This is King’s magnum opus, he poured everything into its writing and it is a towering achievement.

Published: 1982 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2005 (The Dark Tower)

17. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive)

With The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson clearly stamps his authority as the master of the "Hollywood" style of epic fantasy. It is hard to comprehend just how much stuff is going on and how this book impacts the wider Cosmere (the universe that ties all of Sanderson's books together). Big action set pieces of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things is exactly what many want from their epic fantasy.

Published: 2010

18. The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia)

Carnegie Medal Winner:  1956 (The Last Battle)

With the Chronicles of Narnia cemented himself as a master story teller and perfected writing novels that would survive the test of time and still entertain and educate children and adults everywhere to this day. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is arguably one of the finest stories in English literature from the 20th century.

Published: 1950

19. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (The First Law)

The First Law trilogy was a real game changer for the fantasy genre. It worked in shades of grey. It makes the reader like characters they should possibly, really dislike. And dislike characters they should possibly, really like. The dialogue is witty and often the cause of out-loud laughter. It’s a captivating read and has everything a fantasy fan could wish for. Any books that can add humour to torture scenes has something special going on.

Published: 2006

20. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time)

The Wheel of Time is one of the most popular and influential fantasy epics ever written. It puts the epic in epic fantasy, a hugely ambitious undertaking that redefined a genre. This skillfully written fourteen book series is filled with unforgettable characters and set in a world steeped in rich history and legend.

Published: 1990

21. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett

Good Omens is one of the funniest works of fiction ever. Pratchett and Gaiman have managed to create a story that weaves together large doses of satire, cynicism, slapstick and wacky unconventional humour into a cohesive yet surprisingly accurate observation of human life all over the world. The characters, one of the biggest strengths in this book, bring a lot of charm and humour to the book. This collaboration between two fine fantasy authors is nothing short of brilliant.

Published: 1990 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1991

22. The Once And Future King by TH White

Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values... The Once and Future King is a serious work, delightful and witty, yet very sombre overall. The volume published as The Once and Future King is actually four works separately composed over about 20 years. 

Published: 1958

23. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven, inspired by the Tang Dynasty of Ancient China, is as beautiful and enriching a novel as you could possibly wish for. Kay is an expert storyteller, his writing style strong and fluid, his exposition always necessary and worked seamlessly into the narrative. He has successfully re-imagined Ancient China in the same accessible and absorbing way that he previously achieved with medieval France, Ottoman Spain and Renaissance Italy.

Published: 2010 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2011

24. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy)

N.K. Jemisin has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Nebula Award for Best Novel, Audie Award for Science Fiction and the Crawford Award. Enough said. You want more? Okay, every now and again books comes out that deserves all the hype they get. N.K. Jemisin writes books that are at times smart, at times funny, and at times downright heartbreaking, all wrapped up in the the most original stories. This is a must for your bookshelf. This book is flat out 10 out of 10.

Published: 2010 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2011 (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms)

25. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn)

In his Mistborn series Brandon Sanderson has written one of the seminal fantasy stories of his generation. Compelling and flawlessly executed with exquisite skill, the enormous magnitude of the story being told showcases the breathtaking imagination at work here. Themes like religion and death are dealt with, power and helplessness, corruption and goodness. Weaved together like a master basket maker, this story lets you grow attached too, love, and lose, characters that you never thought would be lost.

26. The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf (Book of the New Sun)

The Book of the New Sun is a science fantasy classic that improves with every read. Too often overlooked, possibly due to being dense in allegory and symbolism, the joy of coming to understand Wolfe’s craft is part of the joy of reading it. The lead character Severan, is an unreliable narrator, and this adds another layer of complexity. If you’re a fan of both science fiction and fantasy, it is a must-read.

Published: 1980 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1983 (The Sword of the Lictor), 1982 (The Claw of the Conciliator), 1981 (The Shadow of the Torturer) | British Fantasy Award Winner: 1983 (The Sword of the Lictor)

27. Jade City by Fonda Lee (The Green Bone Saga)

Emotionally shocking moments, intricate and otherworldly fight scenes, and lots of loyalty, honour and tradition. Jade City is an epic, unique and often unforgiving gangster fantasy narrative intertwined with glimpses of hope and goodness. The haunting nature of the world is also mixed with betrayals and a huge death toll. Recommended.

Published: 2017 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2018 (Jade City)

28. Magician by Raymond E Feist (Riftwar Saga)

Feist's Magician is one of the best known and well read fantasy books; it is a powerful and memorable book that any reader who derives pleasure from reading epic fantasy should read being classic fantasy imbued with many elements of originality. The character development is excellent and the reading experience effortless. In 2003 Magician was voted the 89th most popular book of all time in the BBC's Big Read Top 100. I found the first read of this book to be one of those special moments when you are reading a book that has shaped the fantasy fantasy landscape as it now appears.

Published: 1982

29. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

I once read an interview with Guy Gavriel Kay where he explained his approach to writing. He said that he wrote what he needed to write and then went over it a second time, adding layers and textures, making improvements, rather like a painter. And then he repeated the process for a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and then eighth time. And this is why his writing is so good, it's not just natural talent, which he has in abundance, but attention to detail and hard, painstaking work. It pays off and in Tigana he wrote a book that influenced me as much as The Lord of the Rings when I was a youngster. It is a book I hold very dear. But Kay is the second Canadian on this list and although they may appear the nicest, politest people on the planet I secretely fear plans for world domination, so I'll keep on eye of the Empire of Canadia's ratio. 

30. The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle

The Last Unicorn is one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time. Its lyrical writing, it’s memorable and very human characters, and its exploration of mortality, immortality, and the meeting of the two never fail to move. The novel deals in a very deep and profound way with love, and loss, and the value of love; which in the case of the unicorn becomes important enough to surrender immortality to possess. There are also recurring themes of loss and grief, and the contemplation of the meaning and purpose of life (and death).

Published: 1968

31. Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a book which will always hold a special place in my heart. It has captivated and moved me for over three decades and I do not believe this will change for what I hope will be a further three. It has the elements that I enjoy in a story: a quest, the journey, plus the bravery, belief and inability to accept defeat. The rabbit characters are glorious: the nerviously intelligent Fiver and his kind, loyal brother Hazel. The no-nonsense Bigwig, the controlling Woundwort and the ingenious Blackberry - all are rich and wonderful to spend time with. Is it fantasy? Google lists it as Fairy tale, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure fiction. Good enough for me. How many talking rabbits have you met?

Published: 1972

32. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (The Magicians series)

The fantasy genre always needs an author to come along a show it in a different light and this is exactly what has Grossman has done with The Magicians. He has injected sexual tension and questionable morals into a school for wizards and the result is a rousing, perceptive and multifaceted coming of age story that is both bright and beguiling. The Magicians is a perfect fantasy book for older teens that will find that the author understands them, and their feelings, possibly better than they do themselves.

Published: 2009

33. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland was Lewis Carroll’s first novel and its fantasy plot, humorous rhymes and brilliant use of nonsense was revolutionary. Nineteenth-century children’s writing usually served moral or educational purpose, but Alice was written firmly and purely for the amusement of children. Critical response was lukewarm, but the book was still a great success, and remains a hugely influential classic of children’s literature.

Published: 1965

34. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

"One of the most laconic, tightly-plotted tales of mythical morality you'll ever read, an anti-establishment satire disguised as a love story, more of a scary tale than a fairy tale" Uncut

"There's nothing fluffy about The Princess Bride. The rocket-powered narrative tricks you without being merely tricksy, and is both modern and timeless" Neon

"A funny thriller for readers who are about ten years of age or wish they were ... Readers of a nervous disposition should be prepared to skim rapidly over the Zoo of Death episode or stick to fiction meant for grown-ups" Spectator

Published: 1973

35. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Legacy)

Within Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy books we find a complex, refined work of fantasy. This skillfully written trilogy stars an unforgettable heroine who finds herself mixed up in a dangerous world of politics, magic and romance. The trilogy begins with Kushiel’s Dart, a tale that will enthrall readers of fantasy fiction.

Published: 2001

36. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

You have to ask yourself… Wouldn’t it be great to believe in magic? I found this book extraordinary, with so much thought put into the story which unfolds like a carefully constructed maze.

Published: 2011

37. Dune by Frank Herbert

Hugo Award Winner: 1966

Nebula Award Winner: 1966

One of the most layered works of fiction produced during the twentieth century. If you are a fan of epic fantasy or large-scale science fiction (and are not afraid to examine weighty issues such as religion and politics) Dune cannot be strongly recommend enough. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of this genre must read it at some point in their lives.

38. Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Sarantine Mosaic)

The Sarantine Mosaic and Lord of Emperors, inspired by ancient Byzantium, tell a magnificent, sweeping story of empire, conspiracies and journeys, both physical and spiritual. One of the very best examples of alternate history merged with fantasy.

Published: 2000 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2001 (Lord of Emperors), (1999) Sailing to Sarantium

39. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (The Divine Cities)

The Divine Cities trilogy is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It treats its audience with the same respect and consideration as it shares with its cast. It is a rich, lovingly-crafted world that is both thematically complex and wonderfully entertaining. Shara, Mulaghesh and Sigrud have all been ensconced in my personal Fictional Character Hall of Fame, and I will miss them dearly. If you’re looking to discover something new, something original, and something memorable, then this is the series you’re looking for.

Published: 2014 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2015 (City of Stairs)

40. The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

Helene Wecker writes elegantly and fluently, her characters are constantly fascinating and exploring their histories is a joy. The main setting and the narrative evoke wonderful images of nineteenth century New York and we, as the fortunate reader, get to experience Jewish and Arabic folklore fundamental to the book’s being. Many authors have written about a golem, many have written about a djinni, but few have brought them both together in a story so seamlessly. The Golem and the Djinni is first rate historical fantasy fiction that consistently delights; a charming love story with pleasing emotional depth.

Published: 2013 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2014

41. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (The Dragon Rider's Saga)

If you want to see how the Pern saga began, and indeed see how a young writer converted two Hugo winning novellas to form her first steps into a historical world of alien dragons, Dragonflight is for you. Wonderfully descriptive narrative, impressive world building and above all a great story.

42. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

One drowsy summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking....

Published: 2014 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2015

43. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

One of the best known and best loved fantasy books, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit introduced the reading world to the unforgettable hobbit Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the wizard, and Smaug the dragon. A book that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike it is a tale full of adventure, heroism, song and laughter. Many who read this magical tale will find their inner-hobbit.

Published: 1937

44. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (Memory Sorrow and Thorn)

Epic, traditional fantasy of a high standard. At nearly 800 pages it is excellently paced and brings together all the elements that are found in many a fantasy book and re-produces them in a beautiful and endearing way.

Published: 1988

45. The Black Company by Glen Cook (Chronicles of the Black Company)

The Black Company by Glen Cook is the first book of the nine that make up The Black Company series. First published in 1984 this book was responsible for taking the fantasy genre and turning it on its head with his introduction of realistic characters and its complete disregard for fantasy stereotypes and the age-old battle of good versus evil.

Published: 1984

46. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

If you've not read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings this may not be for you. But I honestly don't know, it's such a brilliant book, a book about creation really, that maybe it will work for you regardless. But if you have read Tolkien's masterpieces this is a must-read. If you are as captivated by them as most of the reading world is – the Silmarillion will give you the extra information you crave and answer the questions that the two prior books threw up – Who exactly are Gandalf and Sauron? How did the Orcs come into being? Why are the Elves leaving Middle-earth and where are they going?

Published: 1977

47. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (The Gormenghast Trilogy)

Deliciously dark, Titus Groan is the first book of the Gormenghast trilogy. The book is written in the third person, which allows the characters and events unfold simultaneously. The land of Gormenghast is described in enough detail for you to realise that this is a land unlike any other.

Published: 1946

48. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy)

Long ago, the world of the Four Lands was torn apart by the wars of ancient Evil. But in the Vale, the half-human, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford now lives in peace - until the mysterious, forbidding figure of the druid Allanon appears, to reveal that the supposedly long dead Warlock Lord lives again. Shea must embark upon the elemental quest to find the only weapon powerful enough to keep the creatures of darkness at bay: the fabled Sword of Shannara.

"And while I will agree that Brooks draws inspiration from Tolkien, he doesn't copy him. The reason I linger on this is to hopefully, impress upon you an open mind to reading this book. Do not cross this book off your “to read” list because you've heard people knock it. Similarly, do not go into reading this book attempting to cross reference everything back to some other work. This is a book that deserves being critiqued on its own merit."

Published: 0000

49. Circe by Madeline Miller

A 10/10 book. Sean: ‘This is a beautiful book; it is flawless and intelligent. I do not have a single criticism for this fantastic piece of writing. I loved it! I could not recommend it more highly. I really liked The Song of Achilles though this surpassed it in every way. I really hope to see more from this author in the future’.

Published: 2018

50. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (The Night Angel Trilogy)

Another reader favourite, The Way of Shadows is one of the most entertaining fantasy books available, a rich, engrossing and creative novel. The action sequences are awesome and the plot and characterisation also. If you're looking for all of the above within the framework of a great story, look no further.

51. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files)

Take your standard noir detective with a sarcastic frame of mind and a weakness for helping damsels in distress, add in wizardry, vampires, werewolves, talking skulls, pizza loving fairies and all things paranormal and this is what you get. A quirky, fast paced and thrilling ride through a Chicago you never thought possible. Great characters, a mystery that twists and turns like a corkscrew and above all, Harry, a wizard with a world weary sense of humour, who takes life on the chin.

Published: 2000

52. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London series)

There is something eminently satisfying about coming across a new author and finding that he is utterly brilliant. That is exactly what happened when I received Ben Aaronovitch’s book ‘Rivers of London’. You have to read this book. Whether you like good writing, good fantasy or urban fantasy, good characters, or simply a breath-taking story set in a breath-taking world, this book is for you. Because it is all of those things, and much much more. Aaronovitch has written a book that will surely become a favourite on many shelves the moment they’ve finished it at 3 in the morning.

53. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement: 1983

When Dahl made up James and the Giant Peach as a bedtime story for his daughters Olivia and Tessa, little could he have know that half a century later millions of parents would have read exactly the same story to their own children; a book that fully deserves the accolade of children’s classic.

Published: 1961

54. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Broken Empire)

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence was a book steeped in controversy - a book that seemed to have divided the Science Fiction and Fantasy community with regards to what is acceptable for people to like and enjoy. A confronting story, deliberately so, that follows a 13 year old boy named Jorg who leads a gang of marauders as they pillage their way across the countryside. Jorg is a sociopath, a willing participant, and readers get to experience the world through his damaged viewpoint. Readers get to see, through Jorg's eyes, the cold apathy with which he dispatches his enemies. It is discomforting. But Prince of Thorns is a fantastic tale of one boy’s fight for control in a world threatening to engulf him.

55. Swan Song by Robert McCammon

I would give it a 12 out of 10 if I could. If you could only read one book about the apocalypse this should be it. I have read every post apocalypse book I could get my hands on, old ones, new ones, Kindle only ones. Nothing compares to Swan Song. The hardest part of reading Swan Song was the knowledge that there was no book to follow. But it didn't need one. Thank you Robert, it is the best book I ever read, and about every 5 years I pick it up ad read it again... (Reader review by Lisa from Canada)

Published: 1987 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1988

56. The Stand by Stephen King

If you call yourself any kind of reader of speculative fiction and can appreciate a truly rich and complex book, The Stand is a must read. Even if you’ve never read Stephen King before, even if neither horror nor post-apocalyptic are your usual genre choice, you won’t be disappointed. The writing is excellent, the imagery horrifying and the atmosphere hypnotic. After the first few pages you will either find yourself hooked or repelled… it’s that kind of book. But if you want to read one of the greatest examples of dystopian fiction with a healthy dose of fantasy thrown in then look no further.

Published: 1978 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1979

57. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Ryan: An intimate trip down memory lane to a time when things were much more fantastical than what they are now. This a story that is simple on the surface, but with a depth of immersion that depends entirely on how much you connect with the story. My guess is that the further you are away from your childhood, be it through age or experience, the more you will connect with this story and the more you will fall in love with it.

58. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

All the Birds in the Sky is an intense emotional roller-coaster that flits between genres, using both sci-fi and fantasy to get its message across and although it does pit them against each other, the novel never says one is better than the other, each has its place in this story and it is by both of these working together that the best outcome will be found. All the Birds in the Sky is also a very human story focusing on the confusion and mistrust that can come from not understanding the unknown.

Published: 2016

59. It by Stephen King

It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the town so horribly different. In the storm drains and sewers "It" lurks, taking the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. As the children grow up and move away, the horror of "It" is buried deep - until they are called back.

"As an exploration of childhood, growing up, friendship and facing both real and supernatural fears I still hold It up as a great book. But the ending, and the book’s length in general, will be unpalatable to many readers."

One of the greatest storytellers of our time - The Guardian

A writer of excellence... King is one of the most fertile storytellers of the modern novel - The Sunday Times

Published: 1986 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1987

60. The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy)

Jen Williams “The Ninth Rain” is unlike anything I have ever read. For a fantasy lover, it’s one of those rare books that pulls at your heartstrings but also at the knowledge that it’s okay to be imperfect, inquisitive and slightly mad.

Published: 2017

61. The Poppy War by R F Kuang (The Poppy War)

Simply put, R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War is a towering achievement of modern fantasy. Kuang writes in a descriptive and narrative style that presents many sides of an issue without trying to persuade the reader into thinking which path is the “correct” one, if one such exists. As the book descends into its bleak final act, the connection we’ve built with Rin and her companions is put to the test. It is a testament to Kuang’s skill as a writer to establish such a strong connection with her protagonists that the impact of the events in third act hit as hard as they do.

Published: 2018 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2019

62. A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago is a masterpiece; perhaps the finest work of one of the world’s greatest living storytellers. This story is shocking, devastating, and beautiful. Kay’s language is elegant in its simplicity, yet painstakingly profound as it cuts to the core of what makes us think, and act, and remember. 

Published: 2019

63. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The “feminist successor to The Lord of the Rings” - Laura Eve. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a story told with grace and infused with rich history and lore in its gloriously huge scope: it is magnificent in every regard. It’s all about the girl power here! I recommend this to readers who enjoy female driven fantasy that is also carefully paced like the works of Robin Hobb, Tad Williams and Chris Wooding.

64. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Another 10/10 book and the most recently published book to appear on this list, published as it was in 2019. Ann Leckie first came to our attention with her highly-regarded science fiction books. When she turned her hand to fantasy she produced, in the words of the book's reviewer, Joshua: A magisterial tour de force of subverted narrative expectations that wrestles with what it means to find identity as a human, and as a god. Unlike anything being written, Ann Leckie will likely be remembered as a literary pioneer, and not as similar to someone else. A masterpiece of storytelling that leaves a willing reader humbled, The Raven Tower is quite simply the best book of the year – mighty, subtle, captivating, unputdownable.

Published: 2019 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2020

65. The 10,000 Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

It is a rare thing to relate to a book’s character in such a way that similar situations evoke empathy across your lives. Enough parallels can be drawn to feel almost as if the book is catered specifically toward you in some existential way. I have not read much portal fantasy, but I have always felt a feeling of smothered repression through my youth that has tamped down my will to explore. Instead, my portals to elsewhere revealed themselves in books and stories at an early age, and they’ve been with me ever since. Alix Harrow captures this feeling of finding oneself through the stories we share in her stunning and unforgettable debut novel The 10,000 Doors of January. It is a beautifully written and lovingly crafted adventure about the strength of love, the importance of stories, and the timeless power of words.

66. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I can’t remember the last time I wanted to step into a book so much, be part of a world so desperately. Even with all the danger, with the pain and darkness and death, it’s a place that feels like possibility…

67. Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

Twenty years ago , sixteen year old Tara Martin took a walk into the mysterious Outwoods in the Charnwood Forest and never came back. Extensive searches and police investigations find no trace and her family is forced to accept the unthinkable. Then on Christmas day Tara arrives at her parents' door, dishevelled, unapologetic and not looking a day older than when she left. It seems like a miracle and Tara's parents are delighted, but something about her story doesn't add up. When she claims that she was abducted by the fairies, her brother Peter starts to think she might have lost her sanity. But as Tara's tale unfolds, those who loved and missed her begin to wonder whether there is some truth to her account of the last two decades.

Published: 2012 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2013

68. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb Trilogy)

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Published: 2019 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2020 (Gideon the Ninth)

69. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Although The Book Thief is set in such dark times, when almost unimaginable atrocities were being commited, it manages, by its end, to be an uplifting, life-affirming book due to the kindness, love and bravery of its many characters.

Published: 2005

70. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip

The characterisation is excellent, creating well-formed, sympathetic and most importantly, realistic characters. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea masterpiece, the writing of this generation contains a magic that few modern authors have managed to successfully retain. This is a beautiful, thought-provoking book that will stay with the reader forever.

Published: 1974

71. Duncton Wood by William Horwood (The Duncton Chronicles)

Some authors write beautifuly and can induce an almost meditive state in the reader. Tolkien, Hobb, Le Guin, Martin can achieve this, and so can William Horwood. There are two books on the site that generate an effusive outpouring of love from readers, two books which will be well know to some but perhaps not as widely known as many books on this list, they are Swan Song by Robert McCammon and Duncton Wood. It is the moving love story of Bracken and Rebecca and the trials they must face and overcome to be as one. It is unfortunate that this work must be compared to Watership Down but that is the only book with which I can really compare it to in terms of story-line and excellence. Read my review and the reader reviews below it if you want to get a real sense of how highly this book is regarded.

Published: 1980

72. Legend by David Gemmell (The Drenai Novels)

David Gemmell is unquestionably one of my favourite fantasy authors. For the past 30 years his books have been read and re-read and I am still not weary of them, and I hope that will always be the case. I personally do not think that this is Gemmell's finest but it surely has to be his most important, as without it nothing may have followed. Legend is a great place to start if you have not read any of his work before and a great blend of sword, sorcery and heroism. A MUST read for any heroic fantasy fans.

73. Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (The Sword of Truth Series)

Terry Goodkind has created a consice, intelligent book that is believable from the start. This is fantasy that is definately aimed at the adult. It is evident that Terry Goodkind has strong political and social views that he is keen to get across in his books. Rather than finding this spoilt the narrative, I found it healthy reading a book that makes you think about what the author is trying to say. I found that Ursula Le Guin's works had the same effect on me.

Published: 1994

74. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

If you are a fan of trains, history, or London, then this book is definitely for you. Gaiman once again, just like he did in American Gods, shows an uncanny research ability, matched with his inimitable writing style. We are soon introduced to a mass of underground railway stations, and a group of people that, unbeknownst to London Above, are living rather content lives beneath their feet. A bit of mythology, a bit of fantasy, a bit of urban drama and a whole lot of London makes this book a definite must read.

Published: 1996

75. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book won the Carnegie medal for children’s fiction, and it deserved to win. The writing style, though easy enough for children, is very descriptive and distinctive.

"If asked to put The Graveyard Book into a genre, I'd have to say: this is a Neil Gaiman book. It's in the Genre of Excellence" Fortean Times

Published: 2008 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2009

76. The City and the City by China Mieville

This is a great story. Mieville has delivered and lived up to the hype generated by his early work, in particular the Bas-Lag series. While this is a vastly different book to that epic series, there is no change in quality.

Published: 2009 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2010

77. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Liga raises her two daughters in the safe haven of an alternative reality, a personal heaven granted by magic as a refuge from her earthly suffering. But the real world cannot be denied forever and when the barrier between the two worlds begins to break down, Liga’s fiery daughter, Urdda, steps across it…

"Tender Morsels never once tries to show that life has a happily ever after ending. It shows that life is full of hardship; you will experience hurt, you will watch loved ones die and you will often be afraid. It also shows that live can be full of love, caring and kindness and that it is better to experience something, be it good or bad, than to experience nothing at all." Fantasy Book Review

78. Palimpsest by Catherynne M Valente

Sei, November, Ludov, and Oleg -- four people unknown to each other but united by grief and their obsession with the city of Palimpsest. Located beyond the human realm, Palimpsest is accessible only by those who sleep after generating the energy which comes from sex. Once anyone arrives in the city, they indulge in sense pleasures and are able to obtain their innermost desires -- two things which ensure that Palimpsest visitors return.

"Like other Cathryn Valente books (Orphan's Tales, In the Garden of Coin and Spice), this poignant poetic work is a feast for the mind. Palimpsest is the gift of a fairy tale wrapped in an allegory and tied with a mystical ribbon. A gift that readers can enjoy again and again." Fantasy Book Review

79. The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

Jeffrey Ford throws genuine easy gas with this little semi-autobiographical gem. The book pulls you in, keeps pulling you, yanking you, in fact, but you never feel anything but a slight trace of a tug. So familiar is he with his world - the south shore of western Suffolk County (NY) in the late sixties - and so skilled is he at drawing you into it, that you scarcely notice the creepy, dark water leaking in under your mental door.

Published: 2008 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2009

80. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Published: 1991 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 1992

81. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

The leading man, one Meyer Landsman, is a festival of flaws and possibilities. The characters are alive, dynamically three-dimensional, and refreshingly complicated. Chabon’s world and its collapsing-star reality you completely buy. The analogs of human behaviour are poetic, tenderly ironic and brilliantly designed. Chess is key, but not in such a fashion that it bans the non-chess playing reader. And there is a seemingly self-perpetuating sense of devilish humour that had me choking every other page.

82. The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N McIntyre

A winner of the 1997 Nebula award for best novel, Vonda N McIntyre’s The Moon and the Sun is a sumptuous work of alternate history. Set in 17th century France, at the court of the Sun King, the book’s attention to detail and flowing narrative help create an absorbing tale of fantasy, romance, science and history.

83. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles)

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life - the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood. Anne Rice's compulsively readable novel is arguably the most celebrated work of vampire fiction since Bram Stoker's Dracula was published in 1897. As the Washington Post said on its first publication, it is a 'thrilling, strikingly original work of the imagination ...sometimes horrible, sometimes beautiful, always unforgettable'.

Published: 1976 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1986 (The Vampire Lestat)

84. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman (Anno Dracula series)

It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel tells the story of vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders. Anno Dracula is a rich and panoramic tale, combining horror, politics, mystery and romance to create a unique and compelling alternate history. Acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London. This brand-new edition of the bestselling novel contains unique bonus material, including a new afterword from Kim Newman, annotations, articles and alternate endings to the original novel.

"Kim Newman's Anno Dracula is back in print, and we must celebrate. It was the first mash-up of literature, history and vampires, and now, in a world in which vampires are everywhere, it's still the best, and its bite is just as sharp. Compulsory reading, commentary, and mindgame: glorious." Neil Gaiman

"The book succeeds not just as horror but also as a thriller and detective novel combining politics, romance and history. Newman has produced an excellently crafted, well-plotted, fast-paced, sure-footed, incident-packed and macabre thrill fest." Fantasy Book Review

Published: 0000 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 1993

85. The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

A brilliant story which from the first chapter is hard hitting and the bleakness of the story brings the action to the fore. Graham Joyce has created in the first chapters a sense of uncertainty that makes it a real page turner. A very good read; a mix of fantasy and love story. It flows well and is well worth reading at least twice.

Published: 2010 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2011 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 2011

86. 11.22.63 by Stephen King

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless... King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

"11.22.63 finds Stephen King on top form. A compelling tale of alternate history and time travel showcasing King’s skill as a storyteller as he effortlessly weaves together fact and fiction, highlighting the benefits of meticulous research." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Published: 2011 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2012

87. The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin (Dreamblood duology)

In the first of her Dreamblood duology, N K Jemisin presents a vivid world of dreams and reality, sanity and insanity, and the stories of the people caught up within it. It’s a compelling tale of corruption and justice and the lengths people will go to in pursuit of both.

88. Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson

He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love. But their relationship has no future - Intisar is promised to another man and her family's honour must be satisfied. As a remembrance, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious book. Entitled The Thousand and One Days, Alif discovers that this parting gift is a door to another world - a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked amongst us. With the book in his hands, Alif finds himself drawing attention - far too much attention - from both men and djinn. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of the Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive in both the corporeal and incorporeal worlds. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that will change everything and everyone - starting with Alif himself.

"I would highly recommend this book to anybody who like a ripping yarn, whether they are into fantasy or not because this is more of a thriller with echoes of the computer acrobatics seen in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, which I find really interesting, but set against an exotic landscape that really comes to life. You can feel and smell the duststorm as it sweeps over the houses, seeping its way in through the cracks, the panic as The Hand, an unbending, alien force, closes in, and the awkwardness of a young American scholar who tries to help Alif but is so clearly out of place. Overall, a sumptuous, colourful and many-layered novel." Fantasy Book Review

Published: 2012 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2013

89. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

This is a book written about the cusp of the 20th century, where so many things were promised and hoped for and so many changes happened. This story focuses on two people, bound together because of a newspaper story: Jack Walser, the journalist sent to write a story on Sophie Fevvers the “aerialiste extraordinaire”, to find out whether she is fact or fiction, as instead of being a typical trapeze artist she has wings that allow her to fly through the air. Angela Carter has written a fantastical microcosm of life.

Published: 1984 | British Fantasy Award Nominee: 1985

90. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

An intriguing “what if?” urban fantasy story that gives a twist to the contemporary world we live in. This story involves animals and magic, that fits into the world of Zoo City. As well as inviting questions as to why people who are different from the norm are treated in different circumstances.

91. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

Susan Cooper is a natural storyteller, and all five The Dark is Rising novels grip the reader tightly, helped in this with copious amounts of mythology and spectacular prose. The prose of the second book in the series, The Dark is Rising, is some of the best in its genre. The sequence is an absolute classic, and should be required reading for children between the ages of seven and fifteen. Those who are older who haven't read them yet are really missing out on something wonderful. Highly recommended.

92. Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Weaveworld is a true epic of a story – a whirlwind of base instincts and heights of imagination that brings together fantasy and horror, whilst grounding the fantastical in a recognisable, mundane, suburban England.

93. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic)

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London...

"Like the best books I have read, V. E. Schwab has left me wanting to read more about these characters that have come alive in my mind."

94. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

From the quietly sad story of a lonely young man out of his depth, to the equally quietly triumphant story of a hero who has accepted himself, learned to cope and promises to do a great deal of good for others, this is a story with magic, airships and elves set around a very ritualistic royal court. In some ways The Goblin Emperor is one of the most grittily hopeful books I’ve read for quite a significant while, and one I’d definitely agree deserves its accolade.

Published: 2014 | World Fantasy Award Nominee: 2015

95. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is an excellent novel, one that looks at complex themes with much more depth before providing a biased social commentary. There is barely any escapism to be found here. This book will engage you with the prevalent social issues of today (mid-2016), making you pause and think about our pursuit of perfection as defined by Hollywood and the mainstream media.

Published: 2016 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2017

96. Blackwing by Ed McDonald (The Raven’s Mark)

This is quite a dark story full of gritty and macabre deaths aplenty with a good, but not an overwhelming amount of adrenaline fueling action. Certain sections are superbly intense though and this book is highly unpredictable. It features twists, betrayal, political disputes and half the time when I thought I had analysed where the story was going, I was then blindsided or completely shocked by a revelation. The publisher stated that this as being "gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch" and I cannot disagree.

97. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Founders)

It’s rare that a story catches me off guard with so many inventive and thrilling ideas, yet still only scratches the surface of the directions it could take. The potential here is so vast; I see these ideas as prime material to turn into its own RPG world, or spinoff novels, or fill-in-the-blank. Great writing, characters of substance, and thoughtful exploration of original ideas elevates Foundryside into rare territory.

98. The Chimes by Anna Smaill

The Chimes is one of the most difficult, and yet most rewarding books I’ve read for quite some time. Breaking so many rules of writing to explore its central premise, yet blending together dark poetry, a truly unique post-apocalyptic world, love, music and memory into one great symphonic whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts, and an experience which you won’t easily forget.

Published: 2015 | World Fantasy Award Winner: 2016

99. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter (The Burning)

The Rage of Dragons explodes at a breakneck pace. Complex characters, dragons, revenge, ALL THE STABBY-STABBY-STAB-STAB. I adored everything about this book! The cover, the chapter titles, the maps, the wee dragon on the spine, the notes from Winter at the back.,. it was just phenomenal. Truly. What a brilliant debut!

100. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Alternate timelines, manifestations, Hands of Glory, alchemy, Doctrine of Ethos and immortality and and and GODDAMN. McGuire provides a clinic in storytelling with Middlegame. This is her magnum opus (so far!) It’s magical... truly magical. I could not love it more!!!

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fantasy fiction book reviews

The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland (Reviewed by Shazzie)

Book review: the invocations by krystal sutherland.

cover of the book The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland

Generation Ship by Michael Mammay (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 book review: generation ship by michael mammay.

cover of the science fiction book Generation Ship by Michael Mammay

A big crew of people leave the Earth and go on a space voyage to find another planet to colonize. It's been 250 years, and their probes give them data indicating the possibility of a suitable planet, and what follows is this story. They left our planet behind, but not all of our problems. Micheal Mammay uses this premise to create a fantastic and engaging novel that follows five of them: a farmer, a scientist, a politician, a security officer and an engineer.

This book is not short by anyone's standards, but it is immersive. I read about a quarter of it before picking up another book, and when this happens, it's very difficult for me to be able to get back to reading the previous one. But in this case, that wasn't an issue at all. Once it got going, I read a big chunk of it in one go. What I loved the most was the tiny little details meticulously dropped in about everyday life on the ship, on the different things experienced by the characters that made it feel so lived in. I lapped up all those mentions, and while I generally express a preference for more compact books, I just want more. 

The pacing is even, and all the characters are given equal( ish ) page time, and while I have no affection for any of them, there were times when I did stop reading and ask myself " Is this person right? ", and that is a testament to the skill with which the author deals with real people dealing with problems that are complicated by the implications of any stance they take, and the effect this has on a story that's mainly furthered by a balance of political and personal objectives.

From the beginning, it is clear that this story isn't really about the exploration of the new planet, and that a large part of it takes place in the ship. This I enjoyed, and it paved the way for some unfamiliar beats as the personalities clashed, bickered, made decisions in a way that brought disaster after disaster, as well as makes a lot of points for and against democracy, technocracy, autocracy, as well as the sustainability of a civilisation that wears blinders in its push toward extreme reliance on technology. At the end though, it's a little bit of an unexpected whirlwind with everything that happens, but in a way that makes sense to the characters we follow.

While I was able to appreciate all the manoeuvres of the clashing personalities, at the end of it all, I remember more vibes than plot in a way. For such an intricately woven story, this is not the aftertaste I wish for. While I understand the cases made by all the characters, I felt like I was following the story without any deep investments in any of their successes, and this was a slight dent in my enjoyment of the book.

Never Send Roses by Craig Schaefer (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

fantasy fiction book reviews

Review: The Fractured Dark by Megan E. O'Keefe

fantasy fiction book reviews

Kraken Rider Z by Dyrk Ashton & David Z Estes (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

fantasy fiction book reviews

SPFBO 9 Finalist Review: The Wickwire Watch by Jacquelyn Hagen

fantasy fiction book reviews

  Author website

SPFBO Finalist interview: Jacquelyn Hagen, the Author of The Wickery Watch

fantasy fiction book reviews


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The 50 best fantasy books of all time

Check out our picks of the most exciting new fantasy novels of 2023, the best of 2022, as well as the top fantasy books of all time..

fantasy fiction book reviews

Fantasy books offer readers the perfect escape into another world. Here we share some of the top fantasy books to give you some inspiration for your literary bucket list. From Megan Giddings dystopian The Women Could Fly , to the magical multi-dimensional universe of Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, and the dark academia world of The Atlas Six – if you’re a fantasy fiction fan we’ve got you covered.

  • Best fantasy books 2023
  • Best fantasy books 2022
  • Best fantasy books of all time

The best new fantasy books of 2023

Sword catcher, by cassandra clare.

Book cover for Sword Catcher

Two outcasts find themselves at the centre of world-altering change in the start of an epic fantasy series from author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles. In Castellane, Kel is stolen to become Prince Conor Aurelian’s body-double. As his ‘Sword Catcher', Kel lives for one purpose: to die for Conor. Lin Caster is an Ashkar physician, part of a community ostracised for its rare magical abilities. But events pull her and Kel together and into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King who rules Castellane’s criminal underworld. Together, they’ll discover an extraordinary conspiracy. But can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? 

Bookshops & Bonedust

By travis baldree.

Book cover for Bookshops & Bonedust

From cosy fantasy author Travis Baldree comes the prequel to BookTok sensation Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust. Wounded while hunting a necromancer, Viv, from Rackam's Ravens mercenary company, is sent against her will to recover in the remote beach town of Murk. Who would think she'd end up in a struggling bookshop with a grumpy proprietor as her main company? Despite the seclusion, adventure lurks close with strange visitors, a resentful gnome, a summer romance, and countless skeletons, making Murk more eventful than Viv expected.

Starling House

By alix e. harrow.

Book cover for Starling House

Nobody in Eden remembers when Starling House was built – stories of the house’s bad luck have been passed down the generations. Opal knows better than to mess with haunted houses, or brooding men. But when an opportunity to work there arises, the money might get her brother out of Eden. Starling House is uncanny and full of secrets – just like Arthur, its heir. Sinister forces converge on Eden – and Opal realizes that if she wants a home, she’ll have to fight for it, even if it involves digging up her family’s ugly past. This is a romantic and spellbinding Gothic fairytale from Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award-shortlisted Alix E. Harrow.

by TJ Klune

Book cover for Ravensong

Set in the dreamy backwoods of Oregon, Ravensong is the second book in TJ Klune’s beloved Green Creek series. Gordo Livingstone, scarred by past betrayals, isolates himself from his wolf pack in a mountain town. However, when the wolves return, he teams up with Mark Bennett to face a common enemy and emerges victorious. A year later, Gordo becomes the witch of the Bennett pack, battling his feelings for Mark and a mysterious impending threat. As Green Creek settles, internal turmoil arises. Unbreakable bonds may prove fragile as danger looms.

Stone Blind

By natalie haynes.

Book cover for Stone Blind

The sole mortal raised in a family of gods, Medusa lives with an urgency that her family will never know, and is alone in her ability to experience change and to be hurt. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. Unable to control her new power, she is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest. Shorlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023, this retelling of the famed myth of Medusa asks who the real monsters are, after all.

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A guide to Natalie Haynes' books

He who drowned the world, by shelley parker-chan.

Book cover for He Who Drowned the World

He Who Drowned the World  is the sequel to the  Sunday Times  bestseller  She Who Became the Sun. After triumphing over the Mongol rulers, Zhu Yuanzhang aspires to become emperor. However, her ambitions are challenged by Madam Zhang, who seeks the throne for her husband, and Wang Baoxiang, a scorned scholar craving revenge. To secure her position, Zhu forms a risky alliance with the unstable eunuch general, Ouyang, while all contenders push their limits for power. As desire and ambition clash, the question remains whether even the most ruthless heart can bear the steep price of their pursuits. 

Masters of Death

By olivie blake.

Book cover for Masters of Death

This book is about an estate agent. Only she’s a vampire, the house on sale is haunted, and its ghost was murdered. When Viola Marek hires Fox D’Mora to deal with her ghost-infested mansion, she expects a competent medium. But unbeknownst to Viola, Fox is a fraud – despite being the godson of Death. As the mystery unfolds, Viola and Fox are drawn into a quest that neither wants nor expects. And they'll need the help of a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel and a love-stricken reaper. And it transpires that the difference between a mysterious lost love and a dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as you’d hope.

A Power Unbound

By freya marske.

Book cover for A Power Unbound

Set in an alternative Edwardian England,  A Power Unbound  is the third book in The Last Binding trilogy. Start the series with   A Marvellous Light  and  A Restless Truth . Jack Alston seeks a peaceful life after his twin sister's death forced him to abandon magic. However, a perilous ritual threatens British magicians, forcing Jack back into the magical world. In a London townhouse he joins the owner to find the Last Contract's final piece, enlisting the help of Alan Ross, a money-driven writer and thief. But the alliance will become entangled in a night of secrets and bloody sacrifice as the foundations of magic in Britain risk being torn up. 

Spirits Abroad

Book cover for Spirits Abroad

Drawing inspiration from Asian myth and folklore, Zen Cho's short story collection combines magic, joy, humour and tenderness. We’ll meet an elderly ex-member of parliament, who recalls her youthful romance with an orang bunian. Then a teenage vampire struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love . . . and eating people. A mischievous matriarch returns from the dead to disrupt her own funeral rites and Chang E, the Chinese moon goddess, spins off into outer space – the ultimate metaphor for diaspora. Enjoy this journey into magical new worlds, each with its own meaning. 

The First Bright Thing

By j. r. dawson.

Book cover for The First Bright Thing

Ringmaster, or Rin for short, can jump to different moments in time. With the scars of World War I feeling more distant as the years pass, Rin is focusing on the brighter things in life, like the circus she’s built and the magical misfits and outcasts. But while the present is bright, threats come at Rin from the past as a malevolent shadow looms, and from the future with an impending war on the horizon. The First Bright Thing  by J. R. Dawson is a spellbinding debut for fantasy fans that also asks the difficult question – if you knew how dark tomorrow would be, what would you do with today?

Fall of Ruin and Wrath

By jennifer l. armentrout.

Book cover for Fall of Ruin and Wrath

From the author of  From Blood and Ash,   Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a scorching romance with high stakes, breathtaking magic and a searing enemies-to-lovers romance. In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by vengeful gods, nine surviving cities thrive under pleasure-seeking rulers. Calista, possessing infallible intuition, hides as a courtesan. She rescues a prince, triggering warnings of joy and doom. As the prince and her protector vie for power, she navigates rebellion, danger, and desire, torn between intuition's safety and heart's risk. Fall of Ruin and Wrath  is a captivating romantic fantasy from a mega bestselling author and global sensation.

The Thousand Eyes

By a. k. larkwood.

Book cover for The Thousand Eyes

The epic sequel to The Unspoken Name – could you sacrifice your dreams to escape a nightmare? Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal survey abandoned Echentyr worlds to make a living. The empire’s ruins seem harmless but fascinating. Yet disaster strikes when they stumble upon ancient magic during a routine expedition. This revives a warrior who’d slept for an age, reigniting a conflict thousands of years old. And the soldier binds Csorwe to her cause. Shuthmili is desperate to protect the woman she loves. However, as events escalate, she’s torn. Can she help Csorwe by clinging to her own humanity or by embracing her eldritch powers? 

One For My Enemy

Book cover for One For My Enemy

In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand in Olivie Blake's new fantasy fiction. The Antonova sisters and their mother, Baba Yaga, are the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants while the Fedorov brothers and their crime boss father, Koschei the Deathless, dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. For twelve years, the two families have been in stalemate, but that is about to change. While fate draws together a brother and sister from either side, the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. 

A guide to The Atlas Six and Olivie Blake's books

By genevieve cogman.

Book cover for Scarlet

Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocrat vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty. For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. Revolution's a bloodthirsty business . . .  Scarlet  is a thrilling reinvention of the tale of  The Scarlet Pimpernel  with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.

A Taste of Gold and Iron

By alexandra rowland.

Book cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron

Kadou, the modest prince of Arasht, has no plans to wrestle for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he is in conflict with the father of queen's new child, who is a powerful ambassador at the court. Then a hunting expedition goes badly wrong, and Kadou finds himself accused of murder. This sensual tale of courtly intrigue, backstabbing politics and romance set against the backdrop of an Ottoman Empire-inspired world, is a must-read.

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

By t. l. huchu.

Book cover for The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle

Ghostalker Ropa Moyo and her rag-tag team of magicians are back in The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle, the third book in the spellbinding Edinburgh Nights series. Ropa Moyo is no stranger to magic or mysteries. But she’s still stuck in an irksomely unpaid internship. So she’s thrilled to attend a magical convention at Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, where she’ll rub elbows with eminent magicians. For Ropa, it’s the perfect opportunity to finally prove her worth. Then a librarian is murdered and a precious scroll stolen. Suddenly, every magician is a suspect, and Ropa and her allies investigate.

Fourth Wing

By rebecca yarros.

Book cover for Fourth Wing

Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last . . . Violet, destined for a quiet life among books, is forced by her commanding mother to become a dragon rider, despite her fragility. With dragons rarely bonding with humans like her, danger looms. Amidst a deadly war and failing protective wards, she suspects a dark secret among the leadership. Forming alliances and facing treacherous foes, Violet fights for survival. Romance and betrayals intertwine as she navigates this perilous path. Graduation or death awaits in the world of dragon riders. 

Immortal Longings

By chloe gong.

Book cover for Immortal Longings

In the kingdom of Talin, the deadly games held in the capital twin cities of San-Er attract thousands, offering unimaginable riches to those skilled enough to jump between bodies and enter the fight to the death. Princess Calla Tuoleimi seeks to take down her tyrannical uncle, King Kasa. To achieve her goal, she must win the games, where Anton Makusa, desperate to save his comatose childhood love, enters to secure the prize money. An unexpected alliance between Calla and Anton forms, leading to a consuming partnership. As the games near their end, Calla faces a crucial choice: her lover or her kingdom.

The best fantasy books of 2022

Legends & lattes.

Book cover for Legends & Lattes

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually  is . But old rivals and new stand in the way of success, and Thune’s shady underbelly could make it all too easy for Viv to take up the blade once more. If you've already read Legends & Lattes then Bookshops & Bonedust , the highly anticipated prequel, is available to pre-order now. 

The Atlas Six

Book cover for The Atlas Six

Dark-academia fantasy novel  The Atlas Six  was originally self-published by Olivie Blake, and was then snapped up for re-publication after it shot to fame on TikTok. The story follows six young magical practitioners as they compete to join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places. Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

Guns of the Dawn

By adrian tchaikovsky.

Book cover for Guns of the Dawn

For generations, peace reigned over Denland – until revolutionaries assassinated their king. Next, they clashed with Lascanne, their neighbour. Both countries are now locked in fierce war, pitching war machines against warlocks. Genteel Emily Marshwic has lost much to the war. Then the call for more soldiers comes for her. Alongside other conscripted women, she finds herself on the battlefield, braving the harsh reality of warfare. But she begins to doubt her country’s cause, and her choices could determine the fate of these two nations.

The Discord of Gods

By jenn lyons.

Book cover for The Discord of Gods

The unmissable conclusion to the epic A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons, containing the final battle between gods, demons and dragons. As Kihrin seeks an eleventh-hour reprieve for the universe – with Relos Var and the demon Xaltorath continuing to wage war on each other – his body threatens to betray him. Reeling from the aftereffects of a corrupted ritual, one that twisted both him and the last dragons. Worse, he’s now bound to the avatar of a star, a form that’s becoming catastrophically unstable. All of which means he's running out of time. One curse. One man. One destiny.

Jenn Lyons on world-building in her fantasy novels

By frances hardinge.

Book cover for Unraveller

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and his closest ally. But the Unraveller carries a curse himself and, unless he and Nettle can remove it, Kellen is a danger to everything – and everyone – around him . . .

Fury of a Demon

By brian naslund.

Book cover for Fury of a Demon

The third and final instalment in Brian Naslund's Dragons of Terra trilogy has come to paperback this year. Osyrus Ward has subdued most of Terra, but to finish the job and annihilate the dragons he must add to his huge army of skyships and create a machine that possesses unheard-of power. Rebels Bershad and Ashlyn are doing every everything they can to prevent this, but they have been captured in Dainwood by Ward's mercenaries. Ashlyn employs her dark magic against the terrifying forces massing around them, and Bershad summons his history of victory in battle. But will their combined energies be enough to save the world?

The Empire's Ruin

By brian staveley.

Book cover for The Empire's Ruin

In the first book in Brian Staveley's epic fantasy trilogy, Ashes of the Unhewn, the great Annurian Empire is on its last legs, and its elite soldiers – the Kettral – are dwindling. Kettral soldier Gwenna Sharpe is given a quest, in order to restore the hawk-riding battalion. She must travel beyond the known world, to the place where the mighty war hawks nest. She will face obstacles along the way, from poisoned land to a monk turned conman to sinister forces massing against the empire. Gwenna's quest to save it is fraught with danger, but full of potential for recovery and renewal.

The Women Could Fly

By megan giddings.

Book cover for The Women Could Fly

Part fantasy, part dystopia,  The Women Could Fly  is a powerful novel that speaks to our times. In a world where witches are real and unmarried women over the age of thirty must be monitored by the state, Josephine Thomas is twenty-eight, ambivalent about marriage and on the cusp of losing autonomy over her own life. It's been fourteen years since her mother's disappearance, and Jo has heard ever possible explanation from kidnapping to murder . . . to witchcraft; but all these years later, she feels she's never understood her mother more. So when she's offered an opportunity to honour one last request from her mother's will, she takes it . . .

A Marvellous Light

Book cover for A Marvellous Light

For fans of Bridgerton who'd like to welcome magic into their lives. Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance. Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he's actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, and he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his adversarial magical-society counterpart, as together they discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.


By susan dennard.

Book cover for Witchshadow

Susan Dennard’s  New York Times  bestselling fantasy series continues – with the story of Iseult, the Threadwitch. The Witchlands have been on the brink of war, and in the fourth book in this epic fantasy series, it arrives. Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

The Witchlands series books in order

Book cover for Wolfsong

When Ox Matheson was twelve his father taught him that he was worthless, destined to be misunderstood, and then he left him. Four years later, the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change his life forever: they are shapeshifters, and can transform into wolves at will. Drawn into an unimaginable new world, Ox found a friend in Joe, the youngest Bennett brother, but when the pack was pulled apart by tragedy and murder, Joe left town . But now, he has returned, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Origins of The Wheel of Time

By michael livingston.

Book cover for Origins of The Wheel of Time

This companion to Robert Jordan's internationally bestselling series, The Wheel of Time, will delve into the creation of a masterpiece, drawing from interviews and an unprecedented examination of his unpublished notes. Michael Livingston tells the behind-the-scenes story of who Jordan was (including a chapter that is the very first published biography of the author), how he worked, and why he holds such an important place in modern literature.

by Lucy Holland

Book cover for Sistersong

This folklore-inspired tale of betrayal, magic and murder is a 2022 must read. King Cador’s children inherit a land abandoned by the Romans, torn by warring tribes. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. And Sinne dreams of love, longing for adventure. All three fear a life confined within the hold, protected from Saxon invaders. But when Myrdhin, meddler and magician, arrives, the siblings discover the power within themselves and the land.  

She Who Became the Sun

Book cover for She Who Became the Sun

A Number One  Sunday Times  Bestseller, this absorbing historical fantasy novel from Shelley Parker-Chan reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor. In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule, and when a bandit raid wipes out her home and her brother perishes, Zhu resolves to overcome her destiny by taking her dead brother’s identity. Can Zhu escape what’s written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother’s greatness – and rise as high as she can dream?

The best fantasy books of all time

The invisible library.

Book cover for The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is the astounding debut fantasy book by Genevieve Cogman, and the first novel in The Invisible Library series. Professional spy Irene works for the mysterious Library, along with her enigmatic assistant Kai. Their mission is to steal a dangerous book from an alternative London. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. And to make things more complicated, this alternative world is infested with chaos, full of supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic.

The Invisible Library books in order

Empire in black and gold.

Book cover for Empire in Black and Gold

This epic fantasy novel is the first book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s critically acclaimed fantasy series The Shadows of the Apt. The Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades, but now an ancient Empire is conquering city after city, and the Lowlands are next . . . Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, sees the threat, but can he convince his people of the danger that is coming? 

Adrian Tchaikovsky's books in order

Blood of an exile.

Book cover for Blood of an Exile

In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who sentenced Bershad offers him a way out of his forced occupation and exile, Bershad sees a way to earn redemption, but it won't be easy.  Blood of an Exile , the first book in the Dragons of Terra series is packed with adventure and of course, lots of dragons.

The Lord of the Rings

By j. r. r. tolkien.

Book cover for The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy is a classic of fantasy fiction and is a must-read for all fantasy fans. The story of the hobbit Frodo and his epic quest to reach Mount Doom and defeat the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying the One Ring, Tolkien’s epic fantasy was adapted into three of the most popular films of the 2000s. One of the best fantasy books ever written. 

Book cover for Bloodwitch

The brilliantly imagined coming-of-age fantasy series, Witchlands, continues with  Bloodwitch . The Bloodwitch Aeduan and Iseult the Threadwitch race for safety, desperate to evade the Raider King. His attempts to subdue the Witchlands are gaining momentum, as his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing goals, Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet trust is a tenuous bond . . .

by Neil Gaiman

Book cover for Stardust

In the tiny town of Wall, young Tristan Thorn is madly in love with the beautiful Victoria Forrester. When she agrees to marry him if he retrieves a fallen star he doesn’t hesitate. But to find the fallen star he’ll need to cross the ancient wall which the town is named for, into a world of magic and danger. This charming fairytale fantasy will delight fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver . 

The Colour of Magic

By terry pratchett.

Book cover for The Colour of Magic

Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully inventive fantasy fiction series Discworld begins with  The Colour of Magic . Set in a flat world resting on the back of four elephants who are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle, this is a parallel time and place full of magic. When the first-ever tourist arrives, their survival is charged to a comically inept wizard who must face robbers, mercenaries and Death himself. Terry Pratchett is the author of some of the most-loved fantasy books of all-time.  

The Star-Touched Queen

By roshani chokshi.

Book cover for The Star-Touched Queen

Maya's world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges her marriage for political advantage. She becomes the Queen of Akaran and the wife of Amar despite a horoscope that promised a marriage of death and destruction. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire. But Akaran has its own secrets. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger, but who besides her husband can she trust? Steeped in Indian folklore and mythology The Star-Touched Queen is an enthralling fantasy read.

A Game of Thrones

By george r.r. martin.

Book cover for A Game of Thrones

No list of the best fantasy fiction is complete without George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy fiction series, universally acknowledged to be some of the best fantasy books of all time. The first book in the series gave its name to the TV series that became one of the most talked-about in history. In a world where summers span decades and winter can last a lifetime, the battle for the Iron Throne has begun. The breakout success of A Game of Thrones means the series will feature on best fantasy books lists for years to come.

Books series to read if you love Game of Thrones

The fifth season, by n. k. jemisin.

Book cover for The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is the first fantasy novel in N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. In a far-future Earth, a continent known as the Stillness is plagued by apocalyptic natural disasters known as Seasons, that can last for generations. Book one follows the story of Essun, a woman living an unremarkable life in a quiet town until three tragedies strike in one day. Her husband murders their beloved son in cold blood and kidnaps their daughter, a world-spanning empire falls, and a great rift has been torn into the Stillness throwing ash into the sky and blocking the sun's light for years to come. And so Essun's fight to save her daughters in this dying land, begins . . .

Sorcerer to the Crown

Book cover for Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown is the first book in Hugo Award-winning author Zen Cho’s fantasy series. In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, whose duty it is to keep the levels of magic stable   – but they're failing. The supply of magic is being disrupted by the Fairy Court, and war with France means the government wants to drain this scarce resource even further. When Zacharias meets ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman they find that her recent magical discovery might just change the nature of sorcery forever.  

by John Gwynne

Book cover for Malice

Malice is the first book in John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series , from bestselling author Conn Iggulden. Set in the Banished Lands where armies of men and giants clash in battle, Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Ruin of Kings

Book cover for The Ruin of Kings

The hugely anticipated debut by Jenn Lyons is the first fantasy book in the A Chorus of Dragons series. Brim-full of big ideas – body-swapping, prophecy, rich worldbuilding and grim commentaries on many aspects of empire – to name but a few, this is the tale of Kihrin, a young prince cursed with bad luck and worse prophecy.  The Ruin of Kings  is a fantastically complex and multi-layered fantasy book, and characters like Doc and Galen, alongside Kihrin's own well-balanced set of talents and flaws make this a promising new fantasy series. 

Children of Blood and Bone

By tomi adeyemi.

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi’s YA fantasy book is the first in her West African-inspired fantasy fiction series Legacy of Orisha. Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . . Tomi Adeyemi is the author of some on the best fantasy books for YA readers in recent years.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By marlon james.

Book cover for Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf  is the first fantasy novel in Marlon James's Dark Star Trilogy. A New York Times bestseller, National Book Award finalist and Ray Bradbury Prize winner, it's no stranger to accolades. Set in an African-inspired fantasy world, the first book in the series follows Tracker, a mercenary with an extraordinary ability to follow scents, as he hunts down a missing boy. On his journey Tracker's crosses paths with strange companions, from shapeshifters to giants, who seek the same child and hide their own secrets . . .

We Hunt the Flame

By hafsah faizal.

Book cover for We Hunt the Flame

A TikTok sensation, We Hunt the Flame  is a brilliant YA fantasy debut about exploration and claiming your own identity. Zafira is a Hunter, who disguises herself as a man to try to provide for her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, a notorious assassin in thrall to his sultan father. Both are reluctant legends, and both are on dangerous missions. As they embark on these perilous tasks, a long buried evil begins to stir. We Free the Stars is the epic sequel in Hafsah Faizal's duology.

The Buried Giant

By kazuo ishiguro.

Book cover for The Buried Giant

Booker Prize-winning author Kazou Ishiguro does not disappoint in his first fantasy book, The Buried Giant . The book begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, this is a novel about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Howl's Moving Castle

By diana wynne jones.

Book cover for Howl's Moving Castle

Now also a movie from Studio Ghibli, this beloved modern classic follows Sophie Hatter from the land of Ingary as she catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell. Deciding she has nothing more to lose, Sophie makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above her town, Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl, whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls . . . 

Northern Lights

By philip pullman.

Book cover for Northern Lights

First published in 1995, and acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, this first book in the Hid Dark Materials series is a must-read for all fantasy fans. Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world. 

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