20 of the Best Fantasy Books of All Time

There are so many wonderful fantasy books that have been written over the years. We know it can be hard to rank them, so we’ve selected 20 of the best fantasy books of all time for you!

The Best Fantasy Books of All Time: How did we decide?

While Fantasy books have a variety of subgenres, they do have certain elements: magic, world-building, characters, conflict, and a power system. While the fantasy genre has been written throughout history, it can be hard to say which ones are better than the rest! But we’ve got you covered because we’ve done our research to find the 20 best fantasy books of all time for you. From paranormal to dark or young adult to children’s, all of these fantasy books are must-reads for all readers!


best fantasy books of all time - Game of Thrones

1. A Game of Thrones

by George R. R. Martin

Don’t miss out on the #1 New York Times Bestseller that started the entire Game of Thrones franchise and became the HBO Hit series! While it has both dark fantasy and epic fantasy themes, this series is definitely worth the read!

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best fantasy books of all time - The Lord of The Rings

2. The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Another iconic classic that has become a cultural phenomenon! Join the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Sam, Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor, and Strider on their quest.

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best fantasy books of all time - A Defender Rises (Magic City Chronicles)

3. A Defender Rises (Magic City Chronicles)

by TR Cameron, Martha Carr, and Michael Anderle

A classic indie bestseller by Michael Anderle, TR Cameron, and Martha Carr. Join Ruby Achera in the world of Magic City which is full of magic, martial arts, and mystical creatures! Read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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best fantasy books of all time - Rosemary and Rue (October Daye)

4. Rosemary and Rue (October Daye Series)

by Seanan McGuire

A beloved paranormal series perfect for fans of Patricia Briggs. October ‘Toby’ Daye completely rejected the fae world, instead opting for a normal life in the human world. But when Countess Evening Winterrose is murdered, Toby is forced to jump into the faerie world she hoped to leave behind.  Start reading the bestselling and Hugo award-winning October Daye Series today!

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best fantasy books of all time - The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

5. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle)

by Patrick Rothfuss

Join Kvoth who has stolen princesses back from kings, burned down the town of Trebon, talked with Gods, and more! Join the story of a hero from his point of view in this bestseller that George R.R. Martin calls, “bloody good.”

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best fantasy books of all time - good omens

6. Good Omens

by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The bestselling collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman that was turned into a TV Series! This dark comedy also doubles as a fantasy fan-favorite! Perfect for readers who love apocalyptic fantasy.

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best fantasy books of all time - the golden compass (his dark materials)

7. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials)

by Philip Pullman

The first book in the bestselling children’s fantasy by Philip Pullman. Set in a steampunk parallel universe with witches, magical bears, and more, this fantasy is suitable for both children and adults! As of 2021, it is an HBO Original Series too!

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best fantasy books of all time - The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga)

8. The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga)

by Andrzej Sapkowski

Noticing a theme yet? Just like a few other books on this list, the Witcher was so popular it was turned into a Netflix series. Before you sit down to watch the series, read this collection of stories first!

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best fantasy books of all time - harry potter and the sorcerer's stone

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by J.K. Rowling

Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter? This series is so good that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and languages. Start the internationally bestselling series with the Sorcerer’s Stone!

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best fantasy books of all time - the way of kings

10. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive)

by Brandon Sanderson

The first volume of the New York Times Bestselling epic fantasy series that’s perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Be prepared to be committed to this series, once you start reading you’ll be hooked for life!

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best fantasy books of all time - the sword or shannara

11. The Sword of Shannara

by Terry Brooks

While this book was written in the 1970s, it is still recognized as an international bestseller today! This book literally inspired parts of Dungeons and Dragons. What are you waiting for? Read this legendary fantasy today!

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best fantasy books of all time - the magician's nephew (the chronicles of narnia)

12. The Magician’s Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia)

by C.S. Lewis

The first book in the Chronicles of Narnia has become an iconic classic fantasy perfect for people of all ages! While in recent years other books in the series have overshadowed the popularity of The Magician’s Nephew, we recommend starting with the classic!

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best fantasy books of all time - the once and future king

 

13. The Once and Future King

by T. H. White

A classic Arthurian Fantasy that is a must-read for medieval fantasy lovers! Don’t miss out on this essential fantasy read.

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best fantasy books of all time - circe

14. CIRCE

by Madeline Miller

An iconic book perfect for those who loved The Song of Achilles or any other Greek-inspired novels. Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the Washington Post, People, Time, and many others, this is worth the read!

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best fantasy books of all time - moon called (mercy thompson)

15. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson)

by Patricia Briggs

The perfect series to read if you enjoyed the October Daye series! Mercy Thompson is a literal lone wolf, her shapeshifting pack has exiled her for a love affair. But when a newly changed teenage werewolf arrives on her doorstep, her life becomes more complicated than ever before.

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best fantasy books of all time - Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha)

16. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha)

by Tomi Adeyemi

A West-African inspired award-winning young adult epic fantasy that is filled with female warriors. This is the perfect book for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

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best fantasy books of all time - the poppy war

17. The Poppy War

by R. F. Kuang

A debut epic historical military fantasy inspired by China in the 1900s filled with both suspense and magic. This and its sequel were both listed in TIME‘s The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. Don’t miss out on this epic fantasy book.

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best fantasy books of all time - a little hatred (the age of madness)

18. A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness)

by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Fantasy author that you must read! While it can be hard to decide which fantasy series to start with, we think the Age of Madness is worth the read!

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best fantasy books of all time - american gods

19. American Gods

by Neil Gaiman

This novel was so good it was turned into a Starz series! Recently released from prison, Shadow takes a job from the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. Life as Wednesday’s helper is far more interesting than Shadow could have ever imagined, as it takes him on a strange road trip and introduces him to a cast of weird characters whose fates are somehow intertwined with his.

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best fantasy books of all time - starlight enclave

20. Starlight Enclave

by R.A. Salvatore

This start to a new trilogy by New York Times Bestselling Author, R.A. Salvatore, is perfect for fans of Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms. Two different journeys in one book! Jarlaxle and Zaknefein are looking for a way to salvage Menzoberranzan, while Drizzt seeks salvation for his soul.

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Conclusion

We hope you enjoy these fantasy books! Looking for more fantasy book recommendations? Check out The Best Fantasy Books of 2021 or sign up for the Freebooksy newsletter to receive daily fantasy book freebies!