The Best Fantasy Books You Must Read: Updated 2020

book on desk
by CJ McDaniel // April 15  

The fantasy genre has been around a long time and contains some of the world’s bestselling series, like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, among many others. Fantasy takes a typical plot, but inserts strange and even supernatural elements grabbed from the furthest reaches of the author’s imagination. Readers take to fantasy to escape from their own world and become enchanted in gorgeous new worlds to fight off the evil that threatens to destroy them.

What Did These Fantasy Books Do To Qualify For This List

Any time you are ranking the best of something the results are usually somewhat subjective but we have did our best to come up with a list the readers of the fantasy genre will truly like. To come up with this list we took into account:

  • quantity and quality of user reviews
  • sales data
  • public perception
  • opinions of readers of this genres
  • commercial success
  • and of course personal opinion

Take a look at the best Fantasy Books you can read right now:

Table of Contents
• Best Fantasy Books

Best Fantasy Books

Here are the best Fantasy books by the experts:

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin! Undoubtedly one of the best fantasy books.
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2) Where the Forest Meets The Stars by Glendy Vanderah

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary:  After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

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3) What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

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4) Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: Among the seven spellbinding pieces there is “The Custom of the Army,” which begins with Lord John Grey being shocked by an electric eel and ends at the Battle of Quebec. Then comes “The Space Between,” where it is revealed that the Comte St. Germain is not dead, Master Raymond appears, and a widowed young wine dealer escorts a would-be novice to a convent in Paris. In “A Plague of Zombies,” Lord John unexpectedly becomes military governor of Jamaica when the original governor is gnawed by what probably wasn’t a giant rat. “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” is the moving story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents during World War II. In “Virgins,” Jamie Fraser, aged nineteen, and Ian Murray, aged twenty, become mercenaries in France, no matter that neither has yet bedded a lass or killed a man. But they’re trying. . . . “A Fugitive Green” is the story of Lord John’s elder brother, Hal, and a seventeen-year-old rare book dealer with a sideline in theft, forgery, and blackmail. And finally, in “Besieged,” Lord John learns that his mother is in Havana—and that the British Navy is on their way to lay siege to the city.

Filling in mesmerizing chapters in the lives of characters readers have followed over the course of thousands of pages, Gabaldon’s genius is on full display throughout this must-have collection of outstanding fantasy books.

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5) Branded by the Black Wolves by Hollie Hutchins

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: I’m on the ground, again.

I have been punched and slammed by someone far bigger and tougher than me.

I can hear the snorts and laughter; I’m the only girl on the training squad.
“This is why someone like you should never be allowed to fight side by side with war brothers.” 

Still, I get up. Not complaining.
This is the life I chose.

So when a stranger challenges me to a duel two minutes later, I don’t hesitate to take him up and agree to his terms that I will do something for him if I lose.

Then it all went black.

I wake up in a cell and realize with terror that I’m probably in werewolf territory, high up in the mountains.

Two hours later, I’m presented to both, the prince’s step-cousin and the prince himself.

“You are lucky, you have been chosen to be our new human concubine. A rare opportunity, given only to the most worthy of women.”

You’ve got to be kidding me?!
This was NOT what I meant by a favor!!!

“Have you bred before?”


“What about sharing? Two, three men, perhaps?”


“Tomorrow will be your first training.”

Next thing I know, I have a royal collar attached to my neck, to denote I belong to them.

“You either walk on your feet or you will be dragged,”  says the prince.

He can’t be serious.
I’m gonna kill them both.

Branded By The Black Wolves is a full-length novel with a HEA. Adult’s only!

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6) Dragon Guard (Earth Dragons Book 1) by Charlene Hartnady

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: When Mountain catches the human he’s been tracking, his excitement turns instantly to shock. She’s not who he thought she would be. Not even close. She’s not even one of the females taking part in the hunt. This female is something else entirely.

He needs to get her back to his lair for questioning. His people will be interested in all she has to say. At least, that would be the logical, responsible thing to do. Only, he’s not feeling particularly logical at the moment. Not when looking into her blue eyes, or taking in her curvy body. Nope! Screw being responsible! He’s going to try and win her. The only problem is, this particular female isn’t looking for a mate. His superiors won’t be happy with his choice either, but he’s going for it anyway.

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7) Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman posing as a doctor’s wife but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world….

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8) Prism Cloud (Harbinger Book 4) by Jeff Wheeler

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: When the emperor is assassinated, Sera Fitzempress is the noble most eligible to inherit the empire. Her upcoming marriage to the prince would cement her position. And as a champion for peace, Sera is the only promise of hope for staving off war between the worlds of Kingfountain and Muirwood. But standing between her and her enemies is just one devastating secret.

Sera’s best friend, Cettie, a girl born of a lower class, has made a shattering discovery: her entire existence has been a lie. Now Cettie must give up the only life she’s known and fought for and leave behind the man she loves to stop Sera’s wedding. For this discovery could bring the whole of Kingfountain to ruin.

As Cettie struggles to determine her true loyalties and loves, her allies fall to wicked plots, and she becomes increasingly alone on her journey to a destiny she never wanted—one that could ignite an unstoppable war. An amazing fantasy read.

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9) Awaken Online: Dominion by Travis Bagwell

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: Following Jason’s evolution into a Keeper, he finds his fledgling city once again in turmoil. A new and deadly enemy threatens the Twilight Throne — one that has no difficulty contending with Jason and the members of Original Sin.

Jason must work quickly to consolidate his city’s power. That means securing the villages within the Twilight Throne’s influence, finding a steady stream of income, and growing the city’s military strength. Even as the group grapples with these changes, they notice that something is stirring up the native undead around the city, although the source of this strange influence is uncertain.

One thing is clear, however. Jason might have evolved, but his enemies have adapted with him. If the Twilight Throne is to survive, the group must grow stronger and Jason must learn to control his newfound abilities.

Otherwise, the darkness may very well claim them all.

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10) Shadow Sun Survival: Shadow Sun Book One by Dave Willmarth

  • Best Fantasy BooksBook Summary: Allistor is a gamer geek who has spent most of his life indoors, playing virtual reality MMORPGS and reading classic LitRPG books. But when Earth is seized by an ancient race wielding incredibly advanced tech, who transport the entire planet to a new location with twin suns, he finds himself fighting to survive in real life. The human race is declared a contaminant, and the new overlords decree that 90% of us will be exterminated. Creatures out of myth and legend are sent to do the killing. Dragons, titans, alien creatures big and small, all with a hunger for human flesh. Humans who survive the first year will be rewarded.

After seeing his family killed in the first week, Allistor leads a small group of survivors in their struggle to stay alive. Not satisfied with simple survival, he strives to make himself and his people stronger. The new ‘magic’ RPG system that now governs the planet is something he can work with, and teach others to exploit. Thrust into a leadership position, and with vengeance in his heart, Allistor aims to establish a stronghold, then take the fight to the monsters who seek to enslave his people.

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Best Fantasy Movies

If you enjoyed the best fantasy books, why stop there? Take a look at our list of best fantasy movies and witness these marvelous films from the big screen.

1)The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King

91qFI5SscjL._AC_UL436_Starring: Vebjørn Enger , Eili Harboe , Mads Sjøgård Pettersen , et al.
Directed by: Mikkel Brænne Sandemose

Movie Summary:Espen “Ash Lad”, a poor farmer’s son, embarks on a dangerous quest with his brothers to save the princess from a vile troll known as the Mountain King – in order to collect a reward and save his family’s farm from ruin.

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81GY4VSogjL._AC_UL436_Starring: Tom Albanese , Lucas Royalty , Will Hawkes , et al.
Directed by: Tom Albanese

Movie Summary:Prince Charming recounts his disastrous search for true love in a re-imagining of classic fairytales with a contemporary touch in this award-winning short film (“Best Short Film” at the 21st International Family Film Festival, “Best Romantic Comedy” at Sydney Indie Film Festival).

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3)Fire In The Sky

61gGvIPCF7L._AC_UL436_Starring: Craig Sheffer , Peter Berg , Robert Patrick and D.B. Sweeney
Directed by: Robert Lieberman

Movie Summary:In 1975, logger Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) and his co-workers discovered a hovering UFO. Walton’s pals fled, but Walton was not so fortunate. Whisked aboard the strange craft, he was subjected to a painful, unearthly medical study.

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4)7 from Etheria

81yxzvxxE1L._AC_UL436_Starring: Najarra Townsend , Elizabeth Debicki , David James , et al.
Directed by: Karen Lam , Heidi Lee Douglas , Arantxa Echevarria , et al.

Movie Summary:Etheria is the world’s most respected showcase of the best new horror, comedy, science fiction, fantasy, action, and thriller films made by emerging women directors.

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5)I Am Dragon

81wJFGG39bL._RI_SX300_Starring: Matvey Lykov and Mariya Poezzhaeva
Directed by: Indar Dzhendubaev

Movie Summary:In the midst of her wedding, Princess Miroslava is kidnapped by a dragon and carried away into his castle on a remote island. Now the only things Mira has are a stone cage and a mysterious young man named Arman… but who is he and what is he doing on that island? Miroslava will know the truth too late: loving a dragon will reveal the bitter truth.

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Best Fantasy Books in Audio

Now that you’ve seen our list of the best fantasy books and movies, I’m sure you’ll be interested in trying out more of the best fantasy books in audio!

1)Storm Glass: (Harbinger, Book 1) by Jeff Wheeler, Kate Rudd, et al.

61WPLnwKwxL._SX342_Book Summary:Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.

Book Reviews: 

2)Eragon: Inheritance, Book 1 by Christopher Paolini, Gerard Doyle, et al.

51JCXMwZufL._SX342_-1Book Summary:Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes he is merely a poor farm boy – until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now, his choices could save – or destroy – the empire.
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3)The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, Rosalyn Landor, et al.

61AlI4-hUbL._SX342_Book Summary:History has all but forgotten…

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her..
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4)The Amber Project: The Variant Saga Volume 1 by JN Chaney and Alexander Edward Trefethen

51U4-V0M0xL._SX342_Book Summary:In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery, and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant. Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine – and what he will become is far more dangerous.
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5)Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, Josh Clark, et al.

61cbNH7UIL._SX342_Book Summary:In the year AD 3000, Earth is a barren wasteland, plundered of its natural resources by the millennium-long regime of taloned, gas-breathing, nine-foot alien conquerors from the planet Psychlo. Fewer than 35,000 humans survive in a handful of communities scattered across the face of a postapocalyptic Earth.
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What do you think about our list of best fantasy books? If you have another genre that you prefer to read we have probably compiled a list of our favorites for that genre too. So if you are looking for something other than the best fantasy books you can find other genres here.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!