World Fantasy Award—Novel

This is one of the 305 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • The Forgotten Beasts Of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

    This fantasy novel centers around a powerful and reclusive young sorceress who lives alone in her magical sanctuary, surrounded by a menagerie of mystical creatures with whom she communicates. Her life of solitude is disrupted when a baby is brought to her for protection, setting off a chain of events that leads her into the complexities of human relationships and power struggles. As she navigates love, revenge, and the desire for independence, the sorceress must confront her own heart and the consequences of wielding great magical power, ultimately seeking a path that balances her own peace with the world's demands.

    The 2329th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson

    The novel centers around a disenchanted and lonely playwright who, while staying at a historic hotel, becomes captivated by a photograph of a beautiful stage actress from the late 19th century. Obsessively drawn to her, he discovers a way to time travel and meets the actress in the past, where they embark on a deeply passionate and bittersweet romance. As he navigates the complexities of time and love, he must confront the heart-wrenching reality that their time together may be fleeting and that their love, while timeless, faces insurmountable obstacles.

    The 10214th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle

    The book is a darkly satirical novel that takes place in a laboratory where animals are subjected to cruel experiments. The story is told from the perspective of Doctor Rat, a deranged lab rat who has been driven mad by the experiments and now champions the ongoing torture as a necessary pursuit of knowledge. As the animals around him plan a rebellion to escape their fate, Doctor Rat's delusions of grandeur and twisted rationalizations of the scientists' actions provide a chilling reflection on the ethics of animal testing and the nature of complicity in systems of oppression.

    The 10238th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Our Lady Of Darkness by Fritz Leiber

    The novel explores the eerie and supernatural as it follows the life of a recovering alcoholic and writer in San Francisco who becomes entangled in a web of occult horror. After discovering a mysterious book, he is drawn into the world of "paramentals"—sinister entities that feed on the energy of the modern city—and must confront the legacy of a long-dead sorcerer. As the protagonist delves deeper into the arcane, he must unravel the secrets of an ancient mystical theory called Megapolisomancy and face the terrifying forces that lurk in the shadows of urban decay, all while grappling with his personal demons.

    The 3264th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Gloriana by Michael Moorcock

    The novel is a rich tapestry of court intrigue, politics, and personal conflicts set in an alternate Elizabethan England. The story centers around the reign of Gloriana, the Queen of Albion, who is the embodiment of her nation's prosperity and peace. Despite her successful rule, Gloriana is plagued by an inner emptiness and a quest for personal fulfillment. The narrative weaves together the lives of various courtiers and foreign dignitaries, each with their own ambitions and desires, as they navigate a labyrinth of power struggles and secret alliances. The queen's quest for satisfaction ultimately leads to a dramatic and unexpected resolution that challenges the very foundation of her kingdom's society and her role within it.

    The 3361st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn

    In this fantasy novel, the first of a series, a young warrior and a mute slave find their fates intertwined as they embark on a quest to overthrow a tyrannical regime. Set in a world where magic is real but rare, the narrative explores themes of power, loyalty, and the cost of freedom. The warrior, a member of the ruling class, must confront his own beliefs and his family's legacy, while the slave seeks to reclaim his voice and identity. Together, they join a rebellion against the Watchtower, the symbol of the oppressive power that dominates their land, facing both physical and moral challenges along the way.

    The 10305th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

    The novel follows a young apprentice torturer named Severian who is exiled for showing mercy to one of his victims by allowing her to die. As he travels through a futuristic, dystopian world, he becomes embroiled in a series of political and supernatural events, while also grappling with his own moral compass and the nature of his profession. The story is steeped in allegory and symbolism, with a narrative that explores themes of memory, truth, and the nature of storytelling.

    The 3720th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Little, Big by John Crowley

    "Little, Big" is a complex tale that weaves together elements of magical realism, fantasy, and family saga. The story follows the Drinkwater family who live in an eccentric house known as Edgewood, which is somehow bigger on the inside than the outside. The family is connected to the realm of Faerie, and the narrative explores their interactions with this magical world. The book spans multiple generations and intertwines the lives of its characters with the cycles of history and myth, creating a multi-layered narrative about love, family, destiny, and the nature of storytelling itself.

    The 723rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Nifft The Lean by Michael Shea

    This fantasy novel follows the adventures of its eponymous protagonist, a cunning and resourceful thief, as he embarks on perilous quests through otherworldly landscapes filled with bizarre creatures and ancient gods. Accompanied by his stalwart companion, the duo navigate treacherous realms, from the depths of the sea to the pits of the underworld, in search of treasure and glory. The narrative weaves together a series of episodic tales, each rich with dark humor, imaginative world-building, and a touch of the macabre, showcasing the protagonist's wit and agility in the face of overwhelming and often surreal dangers.

    The 3690th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford

    "The Dragon Waiting" is an intricate alternate history fantasy novel that reimagines Renaissance Europe as a landscape dominated by vampire-controlled Byzantine Empire and a weakened Christian church. The story weaves together the fates of several characters, including a mercenary, a physician who is also a vampire, a young wizard, and a displaced noblewoman. As they navigate political intrigue and warfare, their paths intersect with historical figures like Richard III, leading to a climactic alteration of historical events. The novel blends elements of fantasy, history, and political intrigue to explore themes of power, loyalty, and identity.

    The 10362nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

    "Bridge of Birds" is a fantasy novel set in ancient China, where a young man named Number Ten Ox sets out to find a cure for a mysterious illness that has befallen the children of his village. Along the way, he enlists the help of a wise and eccentric scholar named Master Li, and together they embark on a series of adventures that take them across the land. Along the way, they encounter gods, demons, and other supernatural beings, all while trying to uncover the truth behind the illness and save the children of the village.

    The 9122nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

    In "Mythago Wood," a man named Steven Huxley delves into the mysterious depths of Ryhope Wood, a forest that holds ancient and mythical creatures known as mythagos. As he explores the ever-changing landscape, Steven encounters his deceased father's mythago, a powerful and seductive woman named Guiwenneth. Drawn into a world of magic and danger, Steven must confront his own desires and confront the dark secrets that lie within the heart of the wood.

    The 1299th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Song Of Kali by Dan Simmons

    The book is a chilling tale of horror set in the labyrinthine streets of Calcutta, where an American poet journeys with his wife and infant daughter in search of a legendary poet who has reemerged with new work after years of presumed death. The city's oppressive heat and mystique envelop the family as they become entangled in a nightmarish plot involving a cult dedicated to the goddess Kali, whose followers may have sinister intentions for them. As the protagonist delves deeper into the city's dark underbelly, he is confronted with the true face of evil and must fight to save his loved ones from the clutches of a terrifying power.

    The 4091st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Perfume by Patrick Suskind

    Set in 18th-century France, this novel tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man born with an extraordinary sense of smell but no personal scent of his own. He becomes an apprentice to a prominent perfumer and learns to create the world's most intoxicating perfumes. However, his obsession with capturing the perfect scent leads him down a dark path, as he begins to kill young women to extract their scent. The book is a chilling exploration of obsession, identity, and the power of scent.

    The 420th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Replay by Ken Grimwood

    The novel centers around a man who experiences an extraordinary phenomenon: after dying of a heart attack, he awakens as his younger self in college but with all his memories intact. He relives his life with the knowledge of the future, making different choices and experiencing alternate paths, only to die again and restart the cycle. As he continues to "replay" his life, he explores the possibilities of love, wealth, and personal fulfillment, while grappling with the existential questions and the psychological toll of his unique situation. The story delves into themes of destiny, regret, and the human desire to correct past mistakes.

    The 2261st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Koko by Peter Straub

    This psychological horror novel centers around four Vietnam War veterans who reunite to confront a series of gruesome murders that eerily resemble war crimes they witnessed. The story delves into the complexities of trauma and the bonds of military brotherhood as the men embark on a harrowing journey to track down the enigmatic figure known only as "Koko," whose identity is as mysterious as the motives behind the killings. As they traverse the globe from the urban landscapes of the United States to the bustling streets of Southeast Asia, the veterans must grapple with their own inner demons and the possibility that the killer they seek may be one of their own.

    The 3608th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Madouc by Jack Vance

    The book concludes a fantasy series with a tale of a young, resourceful princess who discovers that her origins are not as noble as she believed. As she embarks on a quest to find her true parentage, she becomes entangled in a web of intrigue involving magical objects, ancient prophecies, and the fate of her kingdom. Alongside a cast of colorful characters, she must navigate a world of political machinations and eldritch dangers, ultimately playing a pivotal role in the resolution of a long-standing conflict between powerful supernatural forces. Her journey is one of self-discovery, adventure, and the challenge of upholding her sense of justice in a complex and often morally ambiguous landscape.

    The 10473rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Only Begotten Daughter by James K. Morrow

    The novel presents a thought-provoking tale of a young woman who discovers she is the daughter of God, born of a virgin father through a miraculous occurrence. Set in a world that mirrors our own but with a satirical twist, the narrative follows her journey as she grapples with her divine heritage, existential dilemmas, and the expectations of humanity. Along the way, she encounters a cast of characters including a brother who is a semi-immortal sea monster, a satanic figure, and a talking dog, all while exploring themes of faith, free will, and the nature of salvation. Her quest for self-understanding and purpose leads her through a series of adventures that challenge conventional religious notions and the very concept of divinity.

    The 10482nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner

    "Thomas the Rhymer" is a novel by Ellen Kushner that tells the story of a young man named Thomas who is taken to the fairy realm by the Queen of Elfland. There, he is gifted with the power of prophecy and returns to the mortal world to become a renowned poet and seer. However, his supernatural abilities come with a price, and Thomas must navigate the dangerous politics of both the fairy and human realms while trying to fulfill his destiny. The novel is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance, and explores themes of love, power, and the consequences of making deals with the supernatural.

    The 9437th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon

    Set in the 1960s in the fictional town of Zephyr, Alabama, the novel follows the life of 12-year-old Cory Mackenson, whose life takes a mysterious turn when he witnesses his father attempt to save a man from a sinking car. The man is already handcuffed to the steering wheel, dead by strangulation. This event triggers a series of adventures and mysteries that Cory must unravel, all the while dealing with the challenges and joys of growing up. The book is a rich blend of nostalgia, magic realism, and the dark undercurrents of life in the American South.

    The 2223rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Last Call by Tim Powers

    In "Last Call," a gripping blend of historical fantasy and modern-day thriller, the story delves into the mystical underbelly of Las Vegas, where a professional gambler discovers that a high-stakes card game played with a Tarot deck has the power to reshuffle reality itself. The protagonist must navigate a world where magic and mobsters intertwine, facing off against a formidable adversary who seeks to use the arcane game to become the Fisher King and wield control over the fate of the Western world. As he struggles to understand the rules of this supernatural game and the powers at play, he must confront his own past and make perilous alliances to protect himself and those he loves from the consequences of this cosmic gamble.

    The 10517th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Glimpses by Lewis Shiner

    "Glimpses" is a speculative fiction novel that delves into the poignant journey of a man who discovers he has the extraordinary ability to travel back in time through his intense connection to music. Struggling with personal loss and a yearning for what might have been, he uses this gift to attempt to heal the wounds of the past by seeking out legendary rock musicians and helping them complete their most famous unfinished albums. As he navigates the complexities of the past and the intricacies of the music industry, he learns profound lessons about life, loss, and the transformative power of music, ultimately finding a deeper understanding of his own reality and the missed opportunities within it.

    The 10527th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Towing Jehovah by James K. Morrow

    In this satirical fantasy novel, the death of God has left a two-mile-long corpse floating in the Atlantic Ocean, presenting a unique challenge for the disgraced captain of an oil tanker who is tasked with the bizarre mission of towing the divine body to its final resting place in the Arctic. Along the way, the crew must navigate a series of moral and existential dilemmas, as well as confront various fanatics and opportunists who have their own designs on the deceased deity. The novel explores themes of faith, responsibility, and the nature of belief in a world where the ultimate symbol of divinity is now a tangible, decaying entity.

    The 10540th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Prestige by Christopher Priest

    "The Prestige" is a captivating tale of rivalry and obsession set in the world of 19th-century stage magic. The story follows two magicians, Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, as they engage in a fierce competition to create the ultimate illusion. As their rivalry escalates, both men become consumed by their craft, resorting to increasingly dangerous and unethical methods to outdo each other. Filled with twists and turns, the novel explores themes of sacrifice, identity, and the price of obsession, leaving readers questioning the nature of reality until the very last page.

    The 3719th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack

    In this fantastical and philosophical novel, the narrative weaves a tale of love, fate, and magic through the lives of two women who are deeply in love. Their world is one where Death personified walks among mortals, and the couple is blessed with a child after making a deal with the enigmatic and powerful figure known as Godmother Night. As their daughter grows, the couple must navigate the complexities of their relationships with each other, their child, and the mystical forces that surround them, all while grappling with the profound themes of life, death, and the nature of existence. The story delves into the realms of myth and the supernatural, exploring the intricate tapestry of destiny and the bonds that transcend even the most immutable of forces.

    The 10560th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Physiognomy by Jeffrey Ford

    In this dark fantasy novel, the protagonist is a morally dubious "physiognomist"—an individual who judges and manipulates people based on their physical features, believing these traits reveal character and destiny. He serves a repressive regime, using his skills to maintain order until a series of events challenges his beliefs and leads him on a surreal journey through bizarre landscapes and encounters with strange creatures. As he confronts the consequences of his past actions and the flawed science he once trusted, he is forced to reckon with his own identity and the possibility of redemption. The narrative blends elements of steampunk and grotesque imagery, creating a unique and thought-provoking exploration of power, science, and human nature.

    The 10569th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich

    The novel weaves a complex tapestry of Native American life, blending contemporary realism with mystical elements. It explores themes of love, family, and cultural identity through the interwoven stories of multiple generations affected by a legacy of trauma and healing. The narrative centers around two Ojibwe families in Minneapolis and the titular Antelope Wife, a mysterious woman with a profound connection to the spiritual and natural worlds. The book delves into the characters' struggles with their pasts, the power of storytelling, and the intricate bonds that tie them together, revealing the resilience and transformations that occur within their community.

    The 10581st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Thraxas by Martin Scott

    In the fantasy noir novel, the protagonist is a down-on-his-luck private investigator and sorcerer living in a city rife with crime, magic, and political intrigue. Despite his penchant for overindulgence in ale and a gambling habit that keeps him perpetually short on funds, he's drawn into a complex case involving a stolen item of great importance, a murder mystery, and a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of society. With his sharp wit, magical skills, and a tough female bodyguard by his side, he navigates through a series of dangerous and humorous encounters, determined to crack the case and restore a semblance of order to his chaotic world.

    The 10593rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Declare by Tim Powers

    In this supernatural espionage thriller, a British intelligence agent uncovers a secret history of paranormal forces and Cold War intrigue. The protagonist is drawn into a world where mythical creatures and occult rituals are entwined with real historical events, particularly those involving the Soviet Union. As he navigates a shadowy battlefield that spans from the ruins of post-war Europe to the deserts of the Middle East, he must confront a demonic entity and unravel a conspiracy that challenges his understanding of reality, all while grappling with personal demons and a complex love interest. The novel blends historical fact with dark fantasy, creating a unique tapestry of suspense and supernatural warfare.

    The 10607th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Galveston by Sean Stewart

    In "Galveston," a once-thriving city is now split between two realities after a magical event known as the Flood. The city is divided between the Mardi Gras-like endless revelry of the supernatural "Fat Tuesday" and the grim existence of "Ash Wednesday," where life is harsh and magic is draining away. The protagonist, a former gambler named Josh Cane, navigates this dual existence, dealing with fantastical creatures, powerful magic, and human desires. As he becomes entangled in the complex politics and struggles of Galveston's inhabitants, he must confront his own demons and make difficult choices that will determine the fate of both realities.

    The 10569th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin

    In this fantasy novel, the last in its series, the narrative follows a former goatherd who has become a powerful mage, as he grapples with troubling dreams of the dead calling to the living. The story explores themes of mortality, the afterlife, and the need for cultural and spiritual reconciliation. As the mage and a cast of diverse characters, including a dragon, a young woman with half-dragon heritage, and a disenchanted princess, embark on a quest to heal the breach between the worlds of the living and the dead, they confront ancient wrongs and seek to restore the balance of magic in their world. The novel delves into the consequences of past actions and the importance of understanding and respecting the natural order.

    The 10622nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Facts Of Life by Graham Joyce

    "The Facts of Life" is a novel that blends historical fiction with magical realism, set against the backdrop of post-World War II England. It tells the story of the Vine family, particularly focusing on Cassie, a young woman with a unique gift that sets her apart from her six sisters. The narrative explores themes of family, love, and the supernatural, as Cassie navigates the complexities of her abilities and the challenges of her time. The story weaves together the personal and the historical, examining the impact of war on individuals and society, while also delving into the mystical and the unexplained aspects of human experience.

    The 10630th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip

    "Ombria in Shadow" by Patricia A. McKillip is a fantasy novel set in the mysterious city of Ombria, where magic and politics intertwine. After the death of the Duke of Ombria, his mistress, Domina Pearl, takes control of the city and begins to unravel the secrets of its past. As the story unfolds, we follow the lives of several characters, including a changeling prince, a young girl with a mysterious connection to the city's shadows, and a sorceress seeking revenge. The novel is a complex and atmospheric tale of power struggles, love, and the search for identity in a world where nothing is as it seems.

    The 10000th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Tooth And Claw by Jo Walton

    In a Victorian-inspired society inhabited by dragons, the novel weaves a tale of family, inheritance, and societal norms. Following the death of a patriarch, his offspring find themselves embroiled in a struggle over his legacy, confronting issues of class, gender, and power. The story challenges the characters' morality and the very fabric of their draconic culture, where strength and ruthlessness are often valued over compassion and justice. As the siblings navigate their complex social hierarchy, they must also deal with personal ambitions, romantic entanglements, and the harsh realities of their predatory nature.

    The 10644th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    Set in a parallel 19th-century England, this novel tells the story of two practicing magicians, Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Norrell, who aims to restore magic to respectability in England, is initially thrilled by Strange's natural aptitude for magic, and the two form a student-teacher relationship. However, their partnership soon deteriorates into rivalry as Strange, driven by the loss of his wife to the fairy realm, seeks to reintroduce the old, wilder forms of magic that Norrell disdains. Their conflict escalates, culminating in a magical duel that has profound consequences for the future of magic in England.

    The 890th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami

    "Kafka On The Shore" is a surreal and philosophical novel by Haruki Murakami that follows two parallel storylines. The first is that of Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an Oedipal prophecy and searches for his missing mother and sister. The second storyline follows Nakata, an elderly man who has lost his memory but possesses the ability to communicate with cats. As their paths converge, they encounter strange and mystical events that challenge their perceptions of reality and identity. The novel explores themes of fate, free will, and the human psyche, and is a captivating and thought-provoking read.

    The 1969th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Soldier Of Sidon by Gene Wolfe

    In this historical fantasy novel, the protagonist, a soldier with a past shrouded in mystery, embarks on a perilous journey through ancient lands. Suffering from amnesia, he is guided by the gods and accompanied by a cast of diverse characters, including a necromancer and a mysterious woman who may hold the key to his forgotten identity. As they sail down the Nile into the heart of Egypt, they encounter magic, mythical creatures, and the politics of the divine, all while the soldier struggles to reclaim his memories and fulfill his destiny amidst the rich tapestry of the ancient world.

    The 10676th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

    In this contemporary fantasy novel, a teenage boy accompanies his photographer father to Provence, where he becomes entangled in an ancient, recurring struggle involving Celtic and Roman forces, as well as a love triangle that has spanned millennia. As the past and present converge, the boy discovers he has a critical role to play in this timeless conflict, with the help of a mysterious girl and a druid. The narrative weaves together historical fiction with magical elements, exploring themes of love, destiny, and the enduring power of stories.

    The 10683rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

    In "The Shadow Year," a coming-of-age tale is woven around a young boy and his siblings as they navigate the complexities of childhood in 1960s suburban America. The novel captures the essence of innocence and the loss thereof, as the siblings create a miniature replica of their town in their basement, which becomes a fantastical escape from reality. However, their make-believe world is threatened by a series of mysterious and sinister events in their actual town, leading them to confront a creeping darkness that parallels their transition from the simplicity of childhood to the murkier shades of adult life. The story is a poignant exploration of memory, reality, and the shadows that linger at the edges of innocence.

    The 9682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

    "Tender Morsels" is a dark and evocative fantasy novel that explores themes of trauma, healing, and the complexities of human emotion. The story follows Liga, a young woman who, after enduring unspeakable abuse, escapes to a parallel world where she can raise her daughters in peace, away from the horrors of her past. However, the barrier between her safe haven and the real world begins to weaken, and the intrusion of outsiders threatens the sanctuary she has created. As her daughters grow and encounter the challenges of their own desires and the allure of the harsher, real world, the novel delves into the difficult journey of confronting pain, the power of resilience, and the bittersweet process of letting go for the sake of growth and transformation.

    The 9681st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The City & the City by China Miéville

    In a unique blend of noir detective fiction and speculative fantasy, the book explores the coexistence of two distinct cities occupying the same geographical space, yet remaining invisible to each other due to a strict set of societal rules and the mysterious force of "Breach" that enforces them. When a young woman is found murdered, a seasoned inspector must navigate the complex and often perilous overlap of these two cities to solve the crime. His investigation challenges the rigid separation of the cities, uncovering a conspiracy that blurs the lines between the two and threatens the very fabric of their existence.

    The 3427th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

    This novel is a coming-of-age narrative set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. It follows the journey of a young woman born from a violent act, who is prophesied to bring an end to a brutal regime. As she grows, she discovers her magical abilities and must learn to control them in order to fulfill her destiny. The narrative explores themes of race, gender, and power, while incorporating elements of African mythology and culture.

    The 4868th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Osama by Lavie Tidhar

    In this genre-blending novel, a private detective is drawn into a surreal world where pulp fiction and reality intertwine. Tasked with finding a mysterious woman who appears in countless books and films, the detective's journey takes him across a fragmented landscape, where he encounters alternate versions of historical events and figures. As he delves deeper, the boundaries between his own existence and the fictional world of a notorious terrorist begin to blur, leading to a haunting exploration of identity, myth, and the nature of truth.

    The 10714th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

    In a Middle Eastern city teetering on the edge of revolution, a young Arab-Indian hacker, who goes by the alias Alif, finds himself on the run from the state's oppressive security forces. After his computer-savvy skills and underground network are compromised by a heartbreak, he discovers the existence of the supernatural world of the jinn. With the help of an ancient and mystical book, Alif must bridge the gap between the seen and the unseen, blending technology with ancient Arabic lore, to protect himself and his community from the encroaching forces that threaten to engulf both the physical and the magical worlds.

    The 9995th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Stranger In Olondria by Sofia Samatar

    The novel explores the transformative power of literature through the eyes of a young pepper merchant from a remote island who, upon visiting the sophisticated and literate land of Olondria, becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate girl. As he navigates the complex cultural landscape, he finds himself embroiled in a political and religious conflict surrounding the nature of literacy, storytelling, and the written word. The protagonist's journey is a rich tapestry of sensory experiences and a poignant meditation on the ways in which stories define and give meaning to our lives.

    The 6924th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

    This novel weaves together the lives of diverse characters through a narrative that spans decades, centering on a teenage runaway with psychic abilities. As she becomes embroiled in a covert war between immortal factions, the story explores themes of mortality, power, and the interconnectedness of human lives. The intricate plot moves through different times and places, revealing a hidden world of mysticism and a looming apocalyptic crisis, all while examining the impact of our actions on the future of the planet.

    The 6585th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Chimes by Anna Smaill

    Set in a dystopian future where the written word is forbidden and memories are washed away by the melodic power of the Chimes, the novel follows a young man with a unique gift for remembering the past. He joins a group of memory keepers who are fighting against the oppressive order that controls society through music. As he embarks on a journey filled with danger and discovery, he uncovers the truth about his own past and the potential to change the future. The narrative weaves a tale of resistance, the importance of memory, and the power of music to both dominate and liberate.

    The 10236th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Sudden Appearance Of Hope by Claire North

    The novel centers around Hope Arden, a woman who is afflicted with a peculiar condition that makes her unmemorable to everyone she encounters, effectively rendering her invisible in society. Despite her unique challenge, Hope becomes a master thief, capitalizing on her ability to slip through the cracks of people's consciousness. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she steals a piece of jewelry that ties her to a sinister technology company with a global influence. As she delves deeper into the company's operations, she uncovers a conspiracy that threatens her anonymity and the very fabric of her existence, leading her on a journey that challenges the nature of identity, memory, and what it means to be truly seen.

    The 10295th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Changeling by Victor LaValle

    The novel is a dark fairy tale that explores themes of parenthood, identity, and the impact of technology on modern life. It follows Apollo Kagwa, an antiquarian book dealer from New York City, whose life is turned upside down when his wife, Emma, commits a horrific act and then disappears. As Apollo searches for answers, he is drawn into a world filled with mythical creatures, secretive societies, and ancient folklore. Along his journey, he must confront his own past and the dark history of his family while navigating a city that seems to harbor magical secrets. The story blends the fantastical with the everyday to create a narrative that examines the fears and anxieties of being a parent in the 21st century.

    The 8147th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee

    In a bustling city ruled by powerful crime families, the Kauls, who possess the rare ability to harness the magical powers of jade, struggle to maintain their control amidst rising tensions and rivalries. As the city teeters on the brink of chaos, the Kaul siblings find themselves caught in a dangerous web of betrayal, loyalty, and ambition, where the fate of their family and their city hangs in the balance. With vivid world-building and intricate character dynamics, "Jade City" is a gripping tale of power, honor, and the price of maintaining control.

    The 6587th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Witchmark by C. L. Polk

    In a world where magic is both a gift and a curse, a war veteran with secret healing powers must conceal his abilities to avoid being enslaved by his own family. When a fatally poisoned patient reveals a dire conspiracy, the healer is thrust into a dangerous investigation that exposes his hidden heritage and pits him against a powerful and oppressive magical elite. As he delves deeper, he must navigate a complex web of political intrigue, forbidden romance, and family secrets, all while trying to prevent a magical war that could destroy everything he holds dear.

    The 8498th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Queen Of The Conquered by Kacen Callender

    Set on a Caribbean-inspired island, the narrative unfolds in a world where colonial powers have subjugated the native population. The protagonist, a woman of mixed heritage, possesses a unique ability to control minds—a power she plans to use to exact revenge on the ruling class that oppressed her people and murdered her family. As she maneuvers through a treacherous web of politics, rebellion, and personal ambition, she grapples with the moral complexities of her quest for vengeance and her own complicity in the brutal system she seeks to overthrow. The story is a gripping exploration of power, justice, and the cost of liberation in a society rife with inequality and prejudice.

    The 8651st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Trouble The Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

    Set against the backdrop of New York City on the brink of World War II, this novel weaves a tale of magic, danger, and moral ambiguity. It follows the lives of three individuals: a talented African-American woman who passes for white and possesses the uncanny ability to discern people's deepest secrets, her lover who is drawn into the underworld, and her best friend who harbors her own hidden powers. As they navigate a world rife with gangsters and espionage, their magical gifts will either be their salvation or their downfall. The story delves into themes of race, power, and the cost of redemption, painting a vivid picture of a society where the lines between right and wrong are blurred and the stakes are life and death.

    The 10831st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

    In this epic fantasy novel, a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic form an unlikely alliance to overthrow a tyrannical regime. Set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, the story weaves together the fates of these two women who must navigate treacherous court politics, ancient prophecies, and their own burgeoning powers. As they fight against the oppressive structures of the empire, their bond grows deeper, challenging the societal norms and the very foundation of the empire. The novel explores themes of resistance, sacrifice, and the complex nature of power and love.

    The 10848th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Saint Death's Daughter by C. S. E. Cooney

    In this darkly whimsical fantasy, a young woman with an unusual talent for necromancy navigates a perilous world of political intrigue and family secrets. As the daughter of a feared assassin and a powerful necromancer, she inherits a legacy of death that she must come to terms with. With her ability to communicate with the dead, she finds herself caught between the living and the deceased, while trying to carve out her own path and protect those she loves in a realm where magic is both a gift and a curse. Her journey is one of self-discovery, resilience, and the quest to understand the true nature of her powers amidst the machinations of those who seek to use her lineage for their own ends.

    The 10874th Greatest Book of All Time
About this list

World Fantasy Awards, 55 Books

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in
English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a
"prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards.
The World Fantasy Award—Novel is given each year for fantasy
novels published in English or translated into English. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novel if it is 40,000
words or longer. The Novel category has been awarded annually since 1975.

Added 3 months ago.

How Good is this List?

This list has a weight of 12%. To learn more about what this means please visit the Rankings page.

Here is a list of what is decreasing the importance of this list:

  • List: only covers 1 year (yearly book awards, best of the year, etc)
  • List: only covers 1 specific genre

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