Top 13 BEST Fantasy Books Everyone Should Read [2021 List]

List of The Most Popular Fantasy Books Ever Written. You Can Read The Synopsis Of The Top Selling Fantasy Books And Select The One Which Speaks To You:

If you are an avid reader clamoring for an extraordinary experience, then fantasy fiction is something you should check out.

Fantasy mixes the elements of mythic and urban legends to craft a story that is beyond common human understanding. It often takes real-world issues and puts a fantastical spin on it to make them an easy pill to swallow.

Fantasy Books

Fantasy can be a generic intake of both good and evil like Lord of the Rings. It can tell a tale of an epic adventure through mystical lands and terrains like Harry Potter, or it can tell a tale of power and politics like the Game of Thrones.

Fantasy, albeit for a brief can make your escape to a fictional universe of fantastical creatures, uncanny characters and a mythical universe that can make you feel a range of emotions from joy to sadness.

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History Of The Fantasy Genre

The fantasy genre has existed ever since the dawn of literature. Stories like the Arabian Nights can be traced back to the dark ages. George McDonald in the late 1800s is known to have created the first fantastical piece of fiction.

It was not until the twentieth-century when fantasy gained enormous attention with the release of J.R.R Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. It was this work that vouched for the commercial viability of these genres, thereby paving the way for similar fantasy epics.

Ever since then sword and sorcery, wizardry, fairytale fantasy, magical realism, and dark fantasy became some of the traditional norms of the franchise.

Why Read Fantasy?

It is easy for adults to especially dismiss fantasy books as mere juvenile entertainment. However, good fantasy is a testament of great artistry and it tests the limits of human imagination.

With fiction, a reader gets to experience an entirely new world that is created by an author. He creates a new world, new animals, new languages, etc. This is something that cannot be experienced in any other genre of books.

Some of the most admired authors today are the authors of fantasy novels. The films that make the biggest splash at the box office are the films that were adapted from the fantasy novels.

How Did We Put Together The List Of Top Fantasy Books?

The list below includes the books that we have personally read and those that are very popular among readers. Most of these books are today’s Amazon bestsellers even after decades of their original release.

We have mentioned the books by keeping novice fantasy readers in mind. These are the books that are easily digestible and have a mass appeal. Most of these books have already made their transition to films and tv.

However, TV and movies, no matter how good, can never capture the essence of the original written word.

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List Of The Most Popular Fantasy Books

Enlisted below are some of the popular fantasy books of all time.

Comparing Some Of The Best Fantasy Books

Book TitlePagesPrice ($)Release DateRatingsLink to Buy
Harry Potter416753.66July 1 2009 4.5 / 5Check on Amazon
Lord Of The Rings1504726.17October 24 20144.5 / 5Check on Amazon
Game Of Thrones521634.16October 29 20164.5 / 5Check on Amazon
The Dark Tower424780.46December 6 20114.5 / 5Check on Amazon
American Gods56014.39February 5 20154.5 / 5 Check on Amazon

Let’s explore some of the best fantasy books.

#1) The Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter

Written By: J.K Rowling
Price: $53.66
Pages: 4167
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: July 1, 2009, Originally Published: 26 June 1997
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

A book that most millennials grew up with, The Harry Potter books are coming of age tales wrapped in delicious dark fantasy. The tale of a boy chosen by an eerie prophecy to vanquish a dark lord is age-old lore.

However, what makes Harry Potter great is its magnificent world of witchcraft and wizardry. From the magical streets of Diagon Alley to the genius that is Hogwarts, Harry Potter is a book that is truly a seminal work of fiction.

The book has gone on to spawn 8 films and around 2 spin-offs, with an amusement park in Orlando.


#2) Lord Of The Rings

The Lord of The Rings

Written By: J.R.R Tolkien
Price: $26.17
Pages: 1504
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Oct 24, 2014, Originally Published: July 29, 1954
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

The book that puts the fantasy genre on the literary map, Lord of the Rings is not only considered as the best fantasy book but is also the best book of the period.

Lord of the Rings tells the story of the Hobbit Frodo who needs to venture on a dangerous journey to the mountain of doom to destroy the ring that rules them all, thereby preventing the rise of evil Sauron in the process.

Covering an epic tale of good vs evil, friendship, and sacrifice. Lord of the rings in many ways was an allegory of the men at war during world war 1. Lord of the Rings would be adapted nearly a century later into a series of three films that would wipe the academy awards clean in their respective years of release.


#3) Game Of Thrones

The Game of Thrones

Written By: George .R.R. Martin
Price: $34.16
Pages: 5216
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Oct 29, 2016, Originally Published: August 1, 1996
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Betrayal, backstabbing, scheming, and lots and lots of politics. Game of Thrones sets itself apart by telling the story of medieval politics in the background of fantasy.

After the murder of King Baratheon, and the wrongful decapitation of his trusted hand Ned Stark, the kingdom of Westeros falls into chaos with 5 Kings and a queen who try to grab the coveted iron thrones.

A tale spawning the entirety of Westeros, and told from the perspective of multiple key characters, Game of Thrones is an exciting read from the start to finish. There are moments in this book that leave gasping with shock.

Let’s just say George R.R Martin doesn’t show any mercy to even the most pivotal of his characters.


#4) The Dark Tower Series

The Dark Tower Series

Written By: Stephen King
Price: $80.45
Pages: 4720
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Dec 6, 2016, Originally Published: June 10, 1982
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Stephen King, the people’s king of horror tried to dwell his hands into the epic fantasy genre with these series of seven books.

The result is a blast to read page-turner that unites all Stephen King’s previous works into one universe. The dark tower tells the story of the struggle between the hero gunslinger and the villain Man in Black. One wants to destroy the colloquial dark tower that connects multiple parallel worlds, and the other wants to protect it.

The story is a thrilling cat and mouse game that works in keeping the reader at the edge of their seats. The books also had their movie adaptation which did not work out well for anyone.


#5) The Name Of The Wind

The Name of The Wind

Written By: Patrick Worfhus
Price: $26.99
Pages: 400
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: April 30, 2009, Originally Published: March 27, 2007
Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Fantasy doesn’t need to have good prose. It can work just fine with a good story. But, when both of them are combined you get a book like Name of the Wind.

When you read Name of the Wind, it is surprising to learn that this is the debut novel of the author. The prose is beautiful and poetic.

Part of the charm of Name of the Wind is how it starts the story from the reverse. We first find our protagonist when he is a broken man after the battle that has been fought. The rest of the book is an intriguing tale of how he got there.


#6) American Gods

American Gods

Written By: Neil Gaiman
Price: $14.39
Pages: 560
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Feb 5, 2015, Originally Published: June 19, 2001
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Neil Gaiman is a master at taking religious mythology and turning it over its head to tell an irreverent story of the Battle of new gods with the new.

In the world of American Gods, the old gods are threatened with their imminent irrelevancy when the new gods start overshadowing their popularity.

It’s in the book’s weirdness in which the readers can find its charm. It has some great twists and turns that you might not see coming.


#7) Good Omens

Good Omens

Written By: Neil Gaiman
Price: $7.99
Pages: 512
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Nov 28, 2006, Originally Published: May 1, 1990
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

This is another finest work of Neil Gaiman, and there are very few authors today who understand fantasy in the way Neil does.

Again delving into religious realism, Good Omens tells the story of an Angel and Demon who have to team to stop to the biblical apocalypse. In many ways, the book is an allegory of humanity’s delusional subjugation over the ideologies that they created.

If you are familiar with the Bible, then you will find most of its elements presented here. The apocalypse plays out just as it would in the Bible until it doesn’t.


#8) Weaveworld

WeaveWorld

Written By: Clive Barker
Price: $12.99
Pages: 624
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: Apr 1, 2001, Originally Published: 1987
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Another renowned horror author dips his hands into the fantasy genre. The result is a sprawling epic filled to the brim with colorful characters and gleefully diabolical violence.

Weaveworld is a story of a fantastical world sealed in a carpet. The Battle for its possession begins between a clueless human – the potential heiress of that magical, an evil sorceress and a conniving salesman.

Clive Barker who is more famous for his work on horror classics like Hellraiser is having a blast telling a story that turns the conventions of the fantasy genre on its head.

The world created here is crazy, and could only be done justice by Clive’s sadistic vision.


#9) The Chronicles Of Narnia

Narnia

Written By: C.S. Lewis
Price: $27.93
Pages: 1662
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: October 19, 2010, Originally Published: October 16, 1950
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Set in the time of World War 1, Chronicles of Narnia tells the tale of four siblings who find a cabinet that leads them straight into a fantasy world of Narnia which is in the middle of a war between the peaceful creatures of Narnia and the evil forces of the Ice Queen.

Narnia is the imagination of a child that is put into words. It depicts children who are being the unwitting saviors of a world of mythical creatures.

Narnia is also a book that can encourage children into finding the pleasure of reading. It did spawn 6 more books but the magic of the first book is something else and should be experienced first-hand.


#10) Leviathan

Leviathan

Written By: Scott Westerfeld
Price: $29.60
Pages: 1552
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: October 30, 2012, Originally Published: October 6, 2009
Ratings: 5 out of 5

Steampunk is a genre that is often blended with a good fantasy. That is exactly what Leviathan does. It completely reinvents the events of world war 1 and fills with fantastical beasts and robots.

It shows the conflict between our Austria Hungarian protagonist against the German Clankers who use robots to wreak havoc on its enemies.

Leviathan and its sequels Goliath and Behemoth are essential reads for the fans of the fantasy genre.


#11) Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom

Written By: Leigh Bardugo
Price: $8.99
Pages: 576
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: September 4, 2018, Originally Published: September 27, 2016
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

The Crooked Kingdom plays out like a twisted version of Ocean’s Eleven. Needless to say, if you loved the Ocean’s Eleven then you are going to love the hell out of this book.

The second book in the duology that follows the Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom tells the story after the heist is over. The grand scheme that enables the heist involves magic, fantastical creatures and lots and lots of action.

The book has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster. However, until the book makes it to the silver screen, one can find the pleasure of its story in the form of a paperback.


#12) Grace Of Kings

The Grace Of Kings

Written By: Ken Liu
Price: $12.02
Pages: 652
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: August 9, 2016, Originally Published: April 7, 2015
Ratings: 4 out of 5

As you start reading the fascinating story, you can’t help but feel many similarities between this and Game of Thrones. In most cases, this is a severe disadvantage, but in the case of Grace of Kings, it is a huge win.

The Grace of Kings is the story of the charming bandit Kumigaru, who teams up with the heir to a deposed lineage Maya Zyndu to overthrow a tyrannical ruler.

The synopsis may sound generic, but believe us when we say the synopsis does not even begin to scratch the surface of this story which is littered with twists and turns that would even put M. NightShyamalan to shame.

Ken Liu establishes himself as a genius storyteller who knows how to create compelling characters and manage the pace of the plot.


#13) Coraline

Coraline

Written By: Neil Gaiman
Price: $6.66
Pages: 208
Buy now: Amazon
Release Date: April 24, 2012, Originally Published: February 24, 2002
Ratings: 4 out of 5

Coraline is Neil Gaiman’s twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. Every kid wishes to enjoy the freedom that they perceive adults have. They just wish their parents were more complacent of their wishes and were more willing to their juvenile desires.

In this book, the young Coraline has all of her wishes fulfilled only to find that a life of freedom is filled with nightmares that knows no bounds and cannot be solved with childish impulses.

It is in many ways a book that you can read to your child who you want to discipline. The parents with buttons for eyes are truly horrifying. Although aimed at kids. The prose of this book is something that includes parental guidance.


Fantasy In A Nutshell

The world of fantasy is sprawling with wild imaginations that truly test the limits of the human mind. Books allow those imaginations to live forever and transcend generations of readers seeking escape from their unfathomable reality.

If you are someone who is starting with fantasy then we recommend you to start with Harry Potter. If you are an avid fantasy fan then do checkout the epic that is Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings.

If you don’t mind violence and an overall pinch of nihilism in your stories then pick Game of Thrones and prepare to be amazed.

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