Do you like reading about wizards and dragons or lands far, far away? If you do, here are some of the best fantasy titles of all time.
Fantasy fiction is a literary genre, where magic, myth and supernatural beings, dominate in story and setting. That’s a very dry explanation of what fantasy fiction really is. Fantasy novels takes the reader, into worlds, the like of which have never been seen before. Meet dragons, trolls, wizards and the like, some pure evil, others good.
Fantasy novels are the best novels to read, as they inspire us in some unique ways. In the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn puts aside his doubts and fear, to become a king and lead his people to victory. Harry Potter fights an invincible enemy, to keep love and peace alive. Nobleness, bravery and a strong will to fight against the odds, that’s the stuff fantasy characters are made of. So read on to see a collection of the best fantasy books of all time, and see if your favorite has made the list.
Top Fantasy Books of All Time
For Adult Readers
Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
Consists of three volumes
“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness, bind them.”
The lord of all fantasy novels, LOTR is Tolkien’s magnum opus. Set in Middle Earth, rings of power were created to be given to all races, as a symbol of true leadership and power. But the dark Lord Sauron created a master ring, filled with his evil will and hate, to rule all the rings and take over Middle Earth. The trilogy starts with the hobbit Frodo, who is left the ring. The first book deals with his journey to the City of Elves, accompanied by fellow Hobbit Samwise and wizard Gandalf. There, the task of destroying the ring is undertaken by the Fellowship, with Frodo becoming the ring keeper. The storyline then divides into 2 main plots. One is the story of Sam and Frodo, as they journey to Mordor to destroy the ring. An unlikely aide in their quest, is the odd Gollum, who is not what he seems. The other plot involves the kingdoms of men, elves and dwarfs, uniting together to face Sauron’s mighty army.
Consists of 22 novels
“It’s a long hard road ahead for you, little warrior. Enjoy a happy day while you can.”
An animal world, set in ancient Britain, this series describes the struggles of one species against their enemies. Each book in the Redwall series has a different timeline and animal class. For example, Mattimeo is the adventure of young mouse, Mattimeo, as he seeks to defend his beloved Redwall Abbey, against the evil machinations of Slagar the Fox. All the Redwall novels are noted for their rich and detailed prose and characters, interesting and vivid backgrounds and the underlying inspiring messages.
The Last Unicorn
Peter S. Beagle
“It’s a rare man who is taken for what he truly is … There is much misjudgment in the world. … We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.”
Alone in her magical forest, a unicorn learns she is the last of her kind. So she sets out on her own to find out what happened to the rest of the unicorns. On the way, she meets a bumbling but friendly magician and Molly Grue, a lonely outlaw’s wife. Together, they journey to the dark, empty castle of King Haggard, evil master of the infamous beast, the Red Bull. The unicorn slowly unravels the truth about her kin’s disappearance and also experiences the emotion of love.
A Song of Ice and Fire
George R.R. Martin
Consists of 7 volumes, currently 5 have been published
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
In the land of Westeros, the seasons of winter and summer last for years. Seven mighty houses reside in the land, ruled by one king, who sits on a throne made of swords, the Iron Throne. But the right to rule is never easily obtained. The powerful House Lannister is behind all intrigues and deceit. Members of the House Baratheon feel they have the right to rule, as the last king was from their house. The loyal and honor-bound House Stark family do not want to get involved in the game of thrones but are forced to. Lesser houses such as Greyjoy and Martell are starting to assert their stand for the throne. Across the ocean, the sole member of the forgotten and fallen house of Targaryen, is struggling to adapt to a new land and a new destiny. How these families come together in an epic war for Westeros, makes for a captivating fantasy read.
Book 4 in the Discworld series
“Tragic heroes always moan when the gods take an interest in them, but it’s the people the gods ignore who get the really tough deals.”
The magical realm Discworld is home to many fascinating creatures, of fantasy and myth. Mort is an average but very clumsy teenager, who cannot seem to do anything right. In an effort to straighten him out, his father leaves Mort at a hiring fair. Mort lands up as an assistant to the most unlikely of all employers, Death. Now deciding who gets to die and who doesn’t, isn’t really Mort’s job. But when a princess is Death’s next target, chivalrous Mort comes to the rescue and causes unseen and interesting consequences for everyone involved.
For Young Readers
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book Three in the Harry Potter series
“Bodies everywhere. Muggles screaming. And Black standing there laughing, with what was left of Pettigrew in front of him . . . a heap of bloodstained robes and a few – a few fragments . . .”
The life of a teenage wizard isn’t easy. Just ask Harry Potter, who is in his third year at Hogwarts. A vicious mass murderer, Sirius Black, famed servant of Lord Voldemort, has escaped from Azkaban. And he is heading straight to Hogwarts to take down his lord’s enemy. Worse, someone close to Harry is helping Sirius. Harry also has to deal with Hagrid’s dangerous teaching methods, dementors chasing him around the corner and difficult third-year subjects. Things are never tame at Hogwarts.
First book in the Inheritance Cycle
“It is your wyrd that shapes you. Every age needs an icon -perhaps that lot has fallen to you. Farm boys are not named for the first Rider without cause. Your namesake was the beginning, and now you are the continuation. Or the end.”
Once upon a time, man lived with dragons. The way of the Dragon Riders was a sacred magical bond between man and beast, both working together to destroy evil. But the evil desires of one man destroyed that bond and banished the dragons. Until fifteen-year-old Eragorn discovers a mysterious rock in the mountains of Spine. This rock turns out to be the last dragon egg in known existence. Eragon and his new dragon companion, Saphira, learn that they are the last hope against a great tide of evil. In their first adventure together, they learn the art of dragon fighting and set out to discover their true destiny.
“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you, digger, listener, runner. Prince with a swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.”
This fantasy novel involves the most unlikely of creatures, a warren of rabbits, in a thrilling journey across the English countryside. When Fiver, a member of the Sandleford warren, receives a vision of his warren being destroyed, he and his brother, Hazel, try to warn their leaders of the danger. But their warnings go unheeded. So the brothers set off on their own, along with a small band of followers. Their goal: to find a safe place to found a fair and free society for the rabbits to live in peace. The road to a new home is filled with predators, the deadliest of them all, being man. And even though they reach a perfect new place to establish a home, they face a new threat in the form of an evil warren, led by vicious General Woundwort.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!'”
A spunky young heroine, a beautiful but crazy land and the most unique and interesting characters ever, Alice in Wonderland is the original, one-of-a-kind fantasy novel. One afternoon, Alice notices a white talking rabbit and follows it down a hole, to find herself alone in Wonderland. At first, she meets a number of talking strange animals, like the Dodo and the White Rabbit, who are equally astonished at her appearance. Then she stumbles from one crazy encounter to the other, from meeting the grinning curious Cheshire Cat to answering the Hatter’s riddles at a mad tea party. Finally she has to deal with mad monarchy in the form of the Queen of Hearts court. To add to her dilemma, how does Alice get home?
The Princess Bride
“While he was watching the ships, Buttercup shoved him with all her strength remaining…down went the man in black…”You can die too for all I care,” she said, and then she turned away. Words followed her. Whispered from afar, weak and warm and familiar. As…you…wish…”
In the desolate but beautiful countryside of Florin, love blossoms between a young man and a woman on a farm. Westley and Buttercup are meant to be together, but the path of true love never runs smooth. Westley sails across the ocean to seek his fortune. But he is killed at sea. So Buttercup is forcibly engaged to a cruel prince. But a surprising turn of adventurous events follows, involving pirates, outlaws, a mysterious masked man in black and evil counts with torture machines. The Princess Bride is a fantasy classic with its elements of adventure and intrigue, a swashbuckling hero and a spirited heroine.
Fantasy allows our imagination to sprout wings and fly away, while we stay on the ground. The creatures in the dark, under your bed, they all came from a novel, where they were vividly detailed. Visions of charging upon a dragon, on a white horse, blame the novel again. The best fantasy books keep the reader occupied and enthralled, till the very last page and often yearning for more!