50 Essential Fantasy Books

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

  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

    In a world where telepathic dragons and their riders protect the land from the destructive Thread that rains down from the sky, a young woman unexpectedly becomes the new Weyrwoman, bonding with the last queen dragon. As the traditional ways of the past clash with the urgent need to defend their world, she and her enigmatic dragonrider ally must rediscover ancient secrets and take to the skies in a perilous quest to unite the dragonriders and save their planet from annihilation. Their journey is fraught with challenges, both political and personal, as they strive to harness the full power of the dragons and ensure the survival of their way of life.

    The 1197th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey

    In this sequel to the pioneering science fiction-fantasy novel set on the planet Pern, the inhabitants continue to grapple with the deadly threat of Threadfall, a spore that devours all organic material in its path. As the dragonriders, who telepathically bond with dragons to fight Thread, struggle with internal conflicts and the challenge of adapting to new technology, the protagonist seeks to unite the old ways with the new to ensure the survival of their world. Tensions rise between the conservative old-timers and the progressive new generation, leading to political intrigue and a quest for harmony between the dragonriders and the rest of the Pernese society.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey

    In a world where telepathic dragons and their human riders protect the land from threadlike spores that rain down from the sky, "The White Dragon" follows the young Lord Jaxom and his unique dragon, Ruth. As the smallest and only white dragon on the planet, Ruth's intelligence and ability to travel through time make the duo an extraordinary pair. Jaxom, caught between his noble responsibilities and his bond with Ruth, must navigate political intrigue and ancient traditions as they work together to prove their worth. Their journey is one of self-discovery, as they embrace their unique roles in a society that values conformity, ultimately playing a pivotal role in the survival and evolution of their world.

    The 4383rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

    This epic high-fantasy novel centers around a modest hobbit who is entrusted with the task of destroying a powerful ring that could enable the dark lord to conquer the world. Accompanied by a diverse group of companions, the hobbit embarks on a perilous journey across Middle-earth, battling evil forces and facing numerous challenges. The narrative, rich in mythology and complex themes of good versus evil, friendship, and heroism, has had a profound influence on the fantasy genre.

    The 17th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

    In "The Dark Is Rising," a young boy named Will Stanton discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, a group of immortal beings who must protect the world from the forces of darkness. As he embarks on a dangerous quest to find six powerful signs, Will must navigate a treacherous battle between good and evil, facing ancient magic, time travel, and his own inner demons along the way. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Will must embrace his destiny and harness his newfound powers to save humanity from the rising darkness.

    The 1217th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake

    The novel is a gothic fantasy set in the bizarre and intricate world of Gormenghast Castle, home to the ancient and eccentric Groan family. The story begins with the birth of Titus Groan, the seventy-seventh Earl, who stands to inherit the castle and its strange traditions. The narrative follows the castle's eccentric characters and their bizarre rituals, including the ambitious kitchen boy, Steerpike, who seeks to manipulate the castle's traditions for his own gain. It's a dark and surreal exploration of ritual, power, and madness.

    The 538th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

    In this gripping fantasy sequel, two fugitives fight to survive and overthrow a tyrannical regime. The former scholar-turned-fugitive and her warrior ally, with the help of a spy and other unexpected friends, embark on a dangerous journey to free the former's brother from a notorious prison. As they navigate through political intrigue and dark magic, they must also confront their own inner demons and the growing feelings between them. With the empire's most brutal forces on their trail, the pair must use all their wits and courage to outsmart their enemies and fan the flames of rebellion, while a prophecy looms over them, threatening to shake the very foundations of their world.

    The 8433rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Eye Of The World by Robert Jordan

    In a high fantasy realm woven with magic, prophecy, and conflict, a group of young villagers is thrust into an epic quest when their tranquil lives are shattered by the arrival of a mysterious stranger and a dark pursuing force. Guided by a wise and powerful mentor, they embark on a perilous journey, discovering that one among them might be the reincarnation of an ancient hero destined to confront a malevolent entity threatening the world. As they traverse diverse landscapes and face myriad dangers, they must come to terms with their own burgeoning abilities and the weight of fate upon their shoulders.

    The 1825th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

    This fantasy novel follows the story of a young boy named Ged who lives in a world of islands called Earthsea. Ged discovers he has a natural talent for magic and is sent to a school for wizards on the island of Roke. As he grows and learns, his arrogance leads him to unleash a shadow creature that he must then spend years trying to defeat. The book explores themes of balance, power, and the danger of hubris, as Ged learns to control his abilities and accept responsibility for his actions.

    The 199th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

    Four siblings are evacuated from London during World War II and sent to live with an old professor in the countryside. In his house, they discover a magical wardrobe that serves as a portal to the land of Narnia, a world filled with mythical creatures and ruled by an evil White Witch. The children are soon caught up in a struggle to free Narnia from the witch's eternal winter, aided by the majestic lion Aslan. The story combines elements of fantasy, adventure, and Christian allegory.

    The 210th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Year Of The Unicorn by Andre Norton

    In this captivating fantasy novel, the story unfolds in a mystical land where the peace between humans and the magical Werefolk is maintained through a bride exchange. Every year, thirteen maidens are sent to the Werefolk under the light of the Unicorn, a symbol of purity and magic. The protagonist, a young woman not originally chosen but who takes another's place through a twist of fate, embarks on a journey to the unknown. Her courage, intelligence, and inner strength lead her through a series of challenges and adventures, revealing hidden truths about herself and the mysterious Werefolk. As she navigates this enchanting world, she uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the fragile peace and finds love in the most unexpected of places, all while exploring themes of identity, destiny, and the power of belief.

    The 10670th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Magician by Raymond E. Feist

    The book is a fantasy epic that follows the journey of a young boy named Pug, who rises from humble beginnings as an orphaned kitchen boy to become a powerful magician in the Kingdom of the Isles. His life takes a dramatic turn when he and his friend Tomas are swept into a conflict against an ancient enemy from another world, threatening not only their homeland but also the very fabric of reality. As Pug masters the arts of magic under the tutelage of the enigmatic magician Kulgan, he must navigate a path fraught with danger, political intrigue, and war. Alongside a diverse cast of characters, Pug's destiny unfolds as he becomes a key player in the struggle to save his world from destruction.

    The 1331st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings

    The series follows the journey of a young farm boy who discovers his extraordinary destiny as the heir to a powerful artifact that must be retrieved to prevent a dark god from dominating the world. Raised in a rural village, he is initially unaware of his royal lineage and the prophecy that foretells his role in an epic battle between good and evil. As he travels across diverse lands with a group of companions, including a wise old sorcerer, a fierce knight, a cunning thief, and a beautiful princess, he learns about his true heritage and the magical powers he possesses. Together, they face numerous challenges and adversaries, all while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, culminating in a climactic confrontation with the forces of darkness.

    The 6557th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Daybreak On A Different Mountain by Colin Greenland

    In "Daybreak On A Different Mountain," readers are transported into a richly imagined fantasy world where the quest for knowledge and power takes center stage. The novel follows the journey of its protagonist, who embarks on a transformative adventure across a landscape filled with magic, ancient lore, and enigmatic characters. As the protagonist navigates through this mystical world, they encounter challenges that test their resolve, beliefs, and understanding of the world around them. The narrative weaves together themes of discovery, personal growth, and the quest for a deeper understanding of the self and the universe, making it a compelling read for those who are drawn to stories of adventure and self-discovery in fantastical settings.

    The 10712th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

    This novel introduces readers to a parallel universe where human souls manifest as talking animal companions known as daemons. The story follows a young girl who embarks on a perilous journey to the Arctic to save her kidnapped friend. Along the way, she uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and a mysterious substance called Dust. With the help of a rugged polar bear warrior and a host of other allies, she confronts a series of challenges that test her courage and resolve. This fantasy adventure blends elements of magic, science, and theology, setting the stage for an epic trilogy that explores themes of freedom and the nature of the universe.

    The 9333rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

    This classic fantasy novel transports readers to the imaginary world of Mercury, where the epic tale of the endless struggle between the noble kingdom of Demonland and the malevolent empire of Witchland unfolds. The narrative, rich in heroic deeds and chivalric adventures, follows the Lords of Demonland as they battle against the sorcery and machinations of the Witchland rulers. Inspired by Norse sagas, Elizabethan drama, and Jacobean romance, the story is renowned for its ornate language, intricate plot, and the philosophical depth of its exploration of power, honor, and the cyclical nature of history, symbolized by the ouroboros, the serpent eating its own tail.

    The 7960th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ship Of Magic by Robin Hobb

    This fantasy novel introduces readers to a vivid world where ships can come alive, embodying the spirits of their figureheads. It centers around the Vestrit family, particularly focusing on Althea Vestrit, who dreams of captaining her family's liveship, the Vivacia. However, upon her father's death, the ship is passed to her brother-in-law, igniting a complex family struggle. The narrative weaves through themes of inheritance, piracy, and slavery, set against a backdrop of a richly detailed maritime setting. As the Vivacia herself awakens, the characters must navigate not only the physical dangers of the sea but also the moral and emotional challenges that come with their intertwined destinies.

    The 10788th Greatest Book of All Time
  • War For The Oaks by Emma Bull

    In this urban fantasy novel, a young musician in Minneapolis finds herself thrust into a hidden world of magic and conflict when she is unwillingly drafted into a war between faerie factions. As she navigates the treacherous politics of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, her human emotions and creativity become powerful weapons in the struggle. Alongside a cast of enigmatic and sometimes dangerous fae allies, she must balance her burgeoning love for a mysterious faerie warrior with the demands of her mortal life, all while fighting to protect her city from the encroaching darkness of the faerie war. This tale weaves together elements of romance, music, and magic, exploring themes of loyalty, identity, and the power of art.

    The 10721st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Taltos by Steven Brust

    This novel is a captivating entry in a fantasy series that follows the adventures of Vlad Taltos, a skilled assassin entangled in the complex politics of a world dominated by the Dragaeran Empire. The protagonist, a human amidst a society of long-lived, elf-like Dragaerans, navigates through a web of intrigue, magic, and swordplay, seeking to understand his place in a world that views him as an outsider. With a sharp wit, a loyal set of companions, and his telepathic familiar, Vlad embarks on a journey that explores themes of loyalty, power, and identity. The narrative combines elements of traditional fantasy with a unique social hierarchy and a richly developed magical system, making it a compelling read for fans of the genre.

    The 10729th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

    This fantasy novel is the first in a series that weaves a tale of five university students from Toronto who are transported to a magical world called Fionavar. Invited as guests to witness the celebration of a pivotal anniversary, they soon find themselves embroiled in a struggle against an ancient evil that threatens the very fabric of all worlds. Central to the story is the Summer Tree, a sacred object of sacrifice and rebirth, where one of the students must endure a harrowing trial that will affect the fate of both Fionavar and their own world. The narrative blends myth, legend, and personal growth, as each character confronts their destiny and the complex moral choices of a world filled with gods, power, and enchantment.

    The 4479th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

    In this fantasy novel, a timid and unadventurous hobbit named Bilbo Baggins is whisked away on a grand adventure by a wizard and a group of dwarves. Their mission is to reclaim the dwarves' homeland and treasure from a fearsome dragon. Throughout the journey, Bilbo grows in courage and cunning, proving himself a true hero as he encounters trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and other perils. The novel culminates with a great battle involving various races of Middle Earth, after which Bilbo returns home, forever changed by his experiences.

    The 188th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey

    In this fantasy novel, readers are introduced to a young protagonist, Perry, who embarks on his first mission as a spy to gather intelligence for his kingdom, Valdemar. Accompanied by his magical Companion, a horse-like being with significant powers, Perry navigates through treacherous terrains and faces various challenges. His journey leads him to uncover a plot that threatens not just his mission but the very safety of his homeland. Through courage, wit, and the bonds of friendship, Perry must navigate the complexities of espionage and warfare to protect his kingdom from looming danger. This tale is a blend of adventure, magic, and the timeless struggle between good and evil, set in a richly imagined world.

    The 11025th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

    In "Lord Foul's Bane," a man suffering from leprosy is unexpectedly transported to a mystical land called the Land, where he is mistaken for a reincarnated hero destined to save the world. Despite his disbelief and self-doubt, he is thrust into a conflict against the evil entity known as Lord Foul, who sends him on a quest to deliver a message to the Council of Lords. Struggling with his own inner demons and the physical and moral challenges of his journey, the protagonist must come to terms with his identity and the reality of the Land, all while grappling with the implications of his actions on both the fantastical world and his own condition.

    The 8080th Greatest Book of All Time
  • In The Garden Of Iden by Kage Baker

    Set in the 24th century, "In The Garden Of Iden" follows the story of Mendoza, a young woman who is plucked from her 16th-century Spanish life and transformed into a cyborg by the Company. Tasked with preserving rare plant species from the past, Mendoza is sent back in time to Elizabethan England. As she navigates the complexities of love, loyalty, and the ethics of time travel, Mendoza discovers the true nature of the Company and the extent of her own humanity.

    The 10082nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Sword Of Shannara by Terry Brooks

    In a classic epic fantasy tale, a young man named Shea Ohmsford discovers his royal heritage and embarks on a perilous quest to retrieve the legendary Sword of Shannara. With the guidance of the mysterious druid Allanon, Shea and a diverse group of companions must navigate treacherous lands filled with malevolent creatures and dark magic. Their mission is critical: to use the Sword's power to vanquish the fearsome Warlock Lord and prevent his dominion over the Four Lands. The journey tests their courage and bonds, as they confront the darkness both around them and within themselves.

    The 1876th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

    This novel reimagines the Arthurian legends from the perspectives of the women involved. It centers around Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister, who is a priestess of Avalon, and Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's queen. The story explores their roles in the political and spiritual conflicts that arise as Christianity begins to replace the old pagan ways. It delves into themes of love, loyalty, and power, while offering a fresh take on a classic tale.

    The 637th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay

    This fantasy novel introduces readers to a band of mercenaries known as the Raven, a group renowned for their prowess and loyalty to one another. Tasked with a mission that leads them into the heart of a conflict that threatens the very fabric of their world, they must steal a spell, Dawnthief, designed to banish the Wytch Lords from existence and prevent an apocalyptic event. As they navigate through battles, betrayals, and magic, the mercenaries must confront their own demons and the realization that the use of such a powerful spell could have unforeseen and potentially devastating consequences. The narrative weaves together themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the moral complexities of wielding great power.

    The 10795th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard

    This book is a collection of fantasy stories that introduce readers to Conan the Cimmerian, a character who has become an iconic figure in the sword and sorcery genre. Set in a mythical version of the ancient world, these tales follow Conan's adventures across the continents of Hyboria, from his youth as a thief and a mercenary to his eventual rise as a king. Through battles with monstrous creatures, encounters with sorcerers, and dealings with various civilizations, the stories showcase Conan's strength, cunning, and unwavering will. The collection not only explores themes of power, survival, and destiny but also lays the foundation for much of modern fantasy literature.

    The 10827th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Walk Out Of The World by Ruth Nichols

    This enchanting novel follows the adventures of two siblings who, while wandering in the woods, stumble upon a magical threshold that transports them into a fantastical realm. In this otherworldly place, they embark on a perilous journey to help save the kingdom from dark forces threatening its existence. Along the way, they encounter a variety of mystical creatures and face numerous challenges that test their courage and resolve. As they navigate this enchanting but dangerous land, the siblings learn valuable lessons about bravery, loyalty, and the power of imagination. This captivating tale weaves together elements of fantasy and folklore, creating a timeless story that explores the boundaries between reality and the realms of the extraordinary.

    The 10670th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Serpent Mage by Greg Bear

    This novel is the second installment in a science fiction series that delves into the complex relationship between humans and an ancient, advanced race known as the Sidhe. After the catastrophic events that unfolded in the first book, the protagonist, a young man with a unique heritage, finds himself navigating the perilous waters of both human and Sidhe politics and power struggles. As he comes to terms with his own identity and abilities, he embarks on a quest that challenges the boundaries of reality, delving into realms of magic and advanced science. The narrative explores themes of transformation, the nature of consciousness, and the possibility of coexistence between vastly different beings, all set against a backdrop of vividly imagined otherworldly landscapes and technologies.

    The 10718th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Phantastes by George McDonald

    This novel is a seminal work in the fantasy genre, introducing readers to the adventures of a young man who, upon turning 21, inherits a mysterious fairy land from his father. The narrative follows his journey through this enchanted realm, where he encounters various beings, faces challenges, and undergoes a profound personal transformation. The story is rich in allegory and symbolism, exploring themes of temptation, redemption, and the quest for true understanding and love. Through its intricate blend of fantasy, philosophy, and spirituality, the book invites readers to reflect on the nature of reality, the power of imagination, and the depths of the human soul.

    The 10670th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Swords And Deviltry by Fritz Leiber

    This book introduces readers to the adventurous and often perilous world of two iconic characters, a nimble and cunning thief alongside a towering and skilled swordsman. Their unlikely friendship forms the core of this narrative, set against a backdrop of a richly imagined, dark fantasy world filled with magic, malevolent creatures, and ancient gods. Through a series of daring escapades and encounters with the supernatural, the duo embarks on a journey that not only tests their skills and courage but also forges a bond that becomes legendary. The story masterfully blends elements of action, humor, and dark fantasy, marking the beginning of a saga that has captivated readers for generations.

    The 10670th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dun Lady's Jess by Doranna Durgin

    This novel blends the enchantment of fantasy with the thrill of adventure, telling the story of a horse, Jess, who is magically transformed into a human woman. Thrust into a world vastly different from her equine existence, Jess must navigate the complexities of human society, language, and emotions, all while trying to find a way to return to her original form. Alongside a cast of diverse characters, she embarks on a journey that explores themes of identity, loyalty, and the deep bond between horse and rider. Set against a backdrop of magic and intrigue, the story delves into the challenges of adapting to a new form and the quest for understanding across species barriers.

    The 10749th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Well Of The Unicorn by Fletcher Pratt

    The book is a high fantasy novel that follows the journey of Airar Alvarson, a young man from a conquered land who becomes embroiled in a complex struggle for freedom against an oppressive empire. As he navigates through political intrigue and war, Airar discovers an ancient artifact, the titular well, which is believed to grant immense power to those who possess it. Throughout his quest, he encounters a diverse cast of characters, including rebels, sorcerers, and warriors, all while grappling with the moral ambiguities of rebellion and the true cost of liberty. The narrative delves into themes of power, leadership, and the nature of good and evil, set against a richly detailed fantasy world with its own history, culture, and magic system.

    The 3400th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Well At The World's End by William Morris

    The book is a pioneering fantasy novel that follows the adventures of a young prince named Ralph of Upmeads, who embarks on a quest for the fabled Well at the World's End, believed to grant eternal life and wisdom. Along his journey, Ralph encounters various characters including enchantresses, knights, and maidens, and faces numerous challenges and perils. Set in an archaic, chivalric world, the story explores themes of heroism, love, and the pursuit of an ideal. The protagonist's quest is as much about personal growth and understanding as it is about the literal goal of finding the mythical well.

    The 6630th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

    This fantasy novel follows the tale of a gifted young man who grows from a precocious child into a notorious wizard, known as the most notorious magician, musician, thief, and assassin. His life is one of hardship and danger, as he seeks knowledge and revenge following the tragic murder of his family by a group of supernatural beings. The story is told in retrospect as the protagonist recounts his past to a chronicler over the course of three days, revealing the truth behind the myths and legends that have come to surround his enigmatic persona.

    The 1891st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore

    "Graceling" is a young adult fantasy novel set in a world where certain individuals are born with special abilities known as "Graces." Katsa, the protagonist, is a Graceling who possesses the ability to kill anyone with her bare hands. She is used as a weapon by her uncle, the king, until she meets Prince Po, another Graceling who challenges everything she knows about herself and her world. Together, they embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the kingdoms. Along the way, Katsa learns to embrace her Grace and use it for good, rather than as a tool for violence.

    The 6429th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

    "Good Omens" is a humorous take on the biblical Apocalypse, following an angel and a demon who have grown fond of Earth and its inhabitants, and are not too keen on the impending end of the world. As they try to locate the misplaced Antichrist and prevent the Four Horsemen from bringing about Armageddon, they encounter an array of quirky characters, including witch-hunters, modern-day witches, and the Four Horsemen themselves. The novel combines comedy, fantasy, and philosophical themes, offering a satirical critique of religious prophecy and human nature.

    The 916th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White

    This novel is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, from Arthur's childhood tutelage under the wizard Merlyn to his eventual death. The story follows Arthur's journey from a naive boy to a wise and just king, his establishment of the Round Table, his marriage to Guinevere, and his complex relationship with his illegitimate son, Mordred. The narrative explores themes of power, justice, war, and human nature, offering a nuanced and humanizing portrayal of a well-known mythical figure.

    The 232nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini

    In a fantastical realm where dragons and their riders are the stuff of legends, a young farm boy stumbles upon a mysterious stone that hatches into a dragon, binding their fates together. Thrust into an ancient legacy of dragon riders, the boy and his dragon must navigate a perilous world of dark magic, tyrannical rulers, and hidden allies. As he learns to harness his newfound powers and the wisdom of the dragon, the boy embarks on an epic quest to overthrow a corrupt empire and fulfill his destiny as the last hope for freedom in his war-torn land.

    The 2264th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

    The book revolves around a young girl named Meggie and her father Mo, who possesses a unique ability to bring characters from books to life by reading aloud. This gift, however, comes with a price, as they are entangled in a dangerous adventure when a villain from a fantasy book called "Inkheart" is accidentally summoned into the real world. As they struggle to fix the chaos caused by this crossover, they must navigate a treacherous world of magic and betrayal, while attempting to thwart the villain's sinister plans and protect the balance between reality and the fantastical realms of literature.

    The 3185th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    The novel follows the story of a young girl named Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe as they embark on a cosmic journey to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father. The father, a scientist, has been missing since he discovered a new planet using the concept of Tesseract, which is a wrinkle in time. Guided by three mysterious celestial beings, the children travel across different dimensions, face evil forces, and learn about the power of love and self-sacrifice.

    The 203rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

    In a magical land where witches and wizards exist, a young hat maker named Sophie is cursed by a jealous witch and transformed into an old woman. Determined to break the curse, Sophie seeks refuge in the mysterious moving castle of the feared wizard Howl. As Sophie navigates the castle's enchanting rooms and encounters its eccentric inhabitants, she discovers the power of love, friendship, and self-acceptance. Together with Howl and his apprentice Michael, Sophie embarks on a captivating journey filled with adventure, magic, and unexpected twists that will change their lives forever.

    The 1100th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Rise Of The Dragons by Morgan Rice

    In a fantasy realm filled with magic, dragons, and ancient prophecies, a young farmer's life is turned upside down when he discovers he is destined for greater things beyond his simple village life. As evil forces threaten the kingdom, he embarks on a perilous journey, gathering allies, mastering his newfound powers, and uncovering secrets about his true identity. Along the way, he must navigate treacherous landscapes, confront fearsome creatures, and rise to become the hero prophesied to unite the realm and wield the power to stand against the darkness. This epic tale weaves together themes of destiny, courage, and the battle between good and evil, capturing the hearts of readers who revel in the rich tapestry of high fantasy adventure.

    The 10953rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman

    The book follows a young man with a deep-seated love for a series of fantasy novels, who discovers that the magical world he's always dreamed of is real when he is unexpectedly admitted to an elite college of magic. As he learns to navigate the complexities of spellcasting and the social dynamics of his fellow magicians-in-training, he struggles with the darker sides of this fantastical world and his own desires. The story is a coming-of-age tale that blends the wonders of magic with the painful journey into adulthood, exploring themes of disillusionment, desire, and the search for identity and meaning in a world where even the impossible can happen.

    The 10084th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J. K Rowling

    The story follows a young boy, Harry Potter, who learns on his 11th birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, he meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents' mysterious deaths, the dark wizard who wants to kill him, and the magical stone that holds immense power.

    The 134th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

    A woman searches for her kidnapped daughter in a world ravaged by a catastrophic climate change event known as the Fifth Season. Simultaneously, the narrative follows a young girl with destructive powers and a man struggling to control his own similar abilities. The story explores themes of oppression, survival, and the destructive power of nature, all set in a dystopian world where the earth is constantly in flux, and society is strictly divided and controlled.

    The 1261st 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
  • A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

    This novel unfolds the tale of Diana Bishop, a young scholar and descendant of witches, who stumbles upon a bewitched manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Her discovery pulls her back into the world of magic, propelling her into the heart of a dangerous mystery. Alongside Matthew Clairmont, a mysterious vampire and geneticist, Diana is thrust into a forbidden alliance and an enchanted journey through time. As they seek to understand the manuscript's secrets, they must navigate the perilous waters of forbidden love and the age-old enmities among witches, vampires, and daemons, unraveling a history that threatens the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans.

    The 10913th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The White Tower by Michael Wisehart

    This fantasy novel unfolds in a world where magic is both a gift and a curse, centering on the lives of several characters drawn together by fate and the looming threat of a dark sorcerer. At the heart of the story is a young boy with untapped magical abilities, who finds himself on a perilous journey to the legendary White Tower, a place of learning for mages. Alongside a band of unlikely allies, including a thief, a soldier, and a young girl with secrets of her own, he must navigate a world filled with danger and intrigue. Their mission is not only to reach the safety of the White Tower but also to thwart the plans of the dark sorcerer whose ambitions threaten the very fabric of their world. The narrative weaves together themes of friendship, courage, and the struggle between light and darkness, making it a compelling tale of adventure and heroism.

    The 11020th Greatest Book of All Time
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    A recently released convict discovers that his wife and best friend died in a car accident. He then meets a mysterious stranger who hires him as a bodyguard. As they journey across America, it is revealed that the stranger is an old god, traveling to rally his fellow forgotten deities to wage a war against the new American gods born from society's modern obsessions with media, technology, drugs, celebrity, and more. The story blends elements of fantasy, mythology, and Americana to explore themes of faith, belief, and the nature of American identity.

    The 1051st Greatest Book of All Time
About this list

Abe Books, 51 Books

Abe Books lists 50 Essential Fantasy books you should read. Here's what the description says on the website:

If you haven't read any fantasy since reading the The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien in school, you might still think it's a genre for kids. Think again. While you'll still find plenty of elves, knights, and magi, fantasy is now also home to gunslingers, poets and literary detectives. This selection of recommended fantasy books runs the gamut - it's time to discover fantasy all over again.

Added 2 months ago.

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