This is a list of books that are the crème de la crème of the fantasy genre. I’ve carefully chosen these top 10 fantasy books from among hundreds of series and thousands of books. In my many years of devouring fantasy books, certain fantasy books have stood out far above the rest. This is a list of those books.
In the Top 10 Best Fantasy Books Lord of the Rings by Tolkien comes first
It’s an obvious choice, but I can’t see how any list like this would be complete without J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy. Tolkien is to blame for modern fantasy’s obsession with orcs, elves, and dwarves, not to mention Halflings (or Hobbits) and Dark Lords whose names should never be spoken aloud.
Still, I find myself returning to Tolkien’s work every so often, and every time I glean something new from the story of Frodo Baggins and the One Ring. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is so well-drawn and rich with song and lore, it’s hard not to get lost in it all. It’s a powerful story of friendship and the corrupting influence of power on the world. If you’ve only seen the movies, you’ll find so much more in the novels. You can buy the series on Amazon at great prices.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
If you enjoy heists, you’ll probably love The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It’s the first book in “The Gentlemen Bastards” series, and it’s a wild ride. It’s a story of thieves taking on daring crimes that occasionally upset the wrong people. At times exhilarating, the first book, in particular, is also surprisingly harrowing.
With dark magic, a fantastic cast of characters and plenty of adventure to keep those pages turning, Lynch’s story is one of the more original modern fantasies I’ve read. The first book is the best in the series and also well worth the read even on its own. Get it here.
My third position in the best fantasy books ever written list; The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Last Unicorn is quite possibly the most beautiful novel I’ve ever read. I don’t say that lightly. There’s something about Beagle’s prose that draws you into this whimsical, sad world. Magic is disappearing and with it the ability for normal people to see magical creatures. This alone makes it one of the best fantasy books ever written for me.
Isn’t a Unicorn synonymous for magic?
The animated movie adaptation of the book was one of my favourites growing up, but the novel itself is so much better it’s required reading for any fantasy enthusiast, and even newcomers to the genre. It’s also quite short, which is a refreshing change from fantasy standards.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series is as much about class warfare as it is about allomancy (the ability to alter metal) and the other fascinating magic systems that make these books unique. You can pick up the entire series quite cheap nowadays.
The Power of Allomancy
The evil Lord Ruler rules over the land with an iron fist, and society is strictly divided between the haves and have-nots. But the brilliant thief Kelsier has discovered the power of allomancy (the ability to burn metals). Along with his crew and the street-rat Vin, a budding allomancer, they take on enormous odds. A book that’s part magic, part caper and excellent from start to finish. The end, in particular, will leave you stunned. The entire Mistborn series is well worth your time but start with Mistborn.