Where should you start? The first book that made me love the fantasy genre was The Hobbit (#2). But, from The Lord of the Rings (#1) to A Game of Thrones (#5) to Harry Potter (#4) and beyond, you can’t go too wrong with ANY of these best fantasy books.
My advice? Don’t overthink it.
Start at the top, pick the first book that excites you and get reading.
And whatever you choose, I hope you find adventure and wonder and wisdom and I hope you live happily ever after, till the end of your days.
The 70 Best Fantasy Books Of All Time
Why these best fantasy books and not others? The best fantasy books below are the top picks from my long list of hundreds of books, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The aim is to surface what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s proven timelessly relevant.
Note: To maximise diversity I’ve only included the top-ranked fantasy book from any fantasy book series where multiple books from that series would have made the list. Where the book listed below is not the first in a sequence, you may want to click through and start with the first in the series.
Think something’s missing?Leave a comment or email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
Here are the top 10 best fantasy books from my database…
The final instalment in the greatest, genre-defining, high-fantasy trilogy of all time. The Return of the King is a thrilling climax to the journey begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and set in the world of The Hobbit – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1955 // 404 pages // Rated 4.5 over 664,100 reviews on Goodreads
A timeless classic and the fantasy novel that both introduced us to hobbits AND set the standard for all things dwarf, elf, troll, orc and dragon-related ever since. It’s no surprise to see The Hobbit among the best fantasy books of all time – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1937 // 366 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,835,700 reviews on Goodreads
The first of 7 Chronicles of Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a stunning work of escapism that bridges 1940s war-torn England to a magical kingdom locked in an epic contest of good against evil – by best-selling author and theologian, C.S. Lewis.
Published 1950 // 206 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,085,000 reviews on Goodreads
The first of the 7 Harry Potter books. An astonishing 12 clueless muggles rejected the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before it finally launched one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time – by best-selling author and philanthropist, J.K. Rowling.
Published 1997 // 322 pages // Rated 4.5 over 6,867,000 reviews on Goodreads
The first of 7 planned books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The award-winning A Game of Thrones is a carnal, power-hungry, back-stabbing, plot-twisting journey through the heart and the history of Westeros – by best-selling (when he gets round to it) author, George R.R. Martin.
Published 1996 // 835 pages // Rated 4.5 over 1,966,500 reviews on Goodreads
The first of 3 planned books in the Kingklller Chronicles. If you’re into “orphan prodigy coming of age” stories (who isn’t?) then The Name of the Wind‘s superb characters, plot and pacing make this a fantasy must-read – by best-selling fantasy author and end-of-series procrastinator, Patrick Rothfuss.
Published 2007 // 662 pages // Rated 4.5 over 695,500 reviews on Goodreads
The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
A madcap collaboration between two of fantasy’s greatest (and most prolific) writers. You’ll enjoy this fun and simple coming of age/apocalypse story if you want something that won’t test your brain cells and/or you’re a big fan of either author – by best-selling fantasy superstars, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Published 1990 // 491 pages // Rated 4.2 over 525,800 reviews on Goodreads
No list of best fantasy books would be complete without at least one entry from Terry Pratchet’s legendary Discworld series. Clever, funny, creative and unbelievably moreish – Guards! Guards! is as good a place as any to dive into this incredible 40+ novel universe – by best-selling author and hat enthusiast, Terry Pratchett.
Published 1989 // 376 pages // Rated 4.3 over 158,700 reviews on Goodreads
The first of 5 books in the Time Quintet. A Wrinkle in Time is a classic entry in the light vs. dark, good vs. evil and coming-of-age young adult fiction category that’s worth picking up no matter how old you are – by best-selling author and poet Madeleine L’Engle.
Published 1962 // 218 pages // Rated 4.0 over 1,035,500 reviews on Goodreads
The third of 14 books in the Wheel of Time series. The Dragon Reborn is best reached through books one and two of the series as Rand al’Thor’s continues his epic journey through a broken and unforgettable world that just keeps getting bigger and bigger – by legendary fantasy novelist, James Oliver Rigney Jr. (A.k.a., Robert Jordan).
Published 1991 // 624 pages // Rated 4.3 over 208,600 reviews on Goodreads
Books 11-70: More Great Fantasy Books to Read
Here are the next 60 books on my list of best fantasy books of all time…