BLOG > Book Recommendations

Best Fantasy Books: The 70 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

15 MINUTE READ

Best Fantasy Books

Want A FREE 10-Step Speed Reading Cheatsheet?

How to Read a Book, Mortimer J Adler

Get a FREE 10-step cheatsheet to help you read faster and remember more of what you read based on the classic guide, How to Read a Book.

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Looking for the best fantasy books of all time? You’re in the right place!

From Middle Earth to Narnia; from world-building to world-ending epics, I’ve done the adventuring for you and hoarded the best fantasy series and best fantasy books of all time in one list.

Note: This list of best fantasy books is strictly limited to the fantasy genre. For my top science fiction picks, go check out this reading list of the 70 best sci-fi books of all time. Or click here to explore all TAoL‘s book recommendations.

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…

Best Fantasy Books: The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3)
1. The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3) – J.R.R. Tolkien
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
2. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again – J.R.R. Tolkien
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1)
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1) – C.S. Lewis
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
Best Fantasy Books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) – J.K. Rowling
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
Best Fantasy Books: A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
5. A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1) – George R.R. Martin
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
6. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) – Patrick Rothfuss
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
Best Fantasy Books: Good Omens
7. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
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
Best Fantasy Books: Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8)
8. Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) – Terry Pratchett
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
Best Fantasy Books: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
9. A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) – Madeleine L’Engle
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3)
1. The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings, #3) – J.R.R. Tolkien
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
2. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again – J.R.R. Tolkien
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1)
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1) – C.S. Lewis
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
Best Fantasy Books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) – J.K. Rowling
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
Best Fantasy Books: A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
5. A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1) – George R.R. Martin
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
6. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) – Patrick Rothfuss
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
Best Fantasy Books: Good Omens
7. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
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
Best Fantasy Books: Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8)
8. Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) – Terry Pratchett
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
Best Fantasy Books: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
9. A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) – Madeleine L’Engle
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
Best Fantasy Books: The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3)
10. The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3) – Robert Jordan
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…

11. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2) – Stephen King
Published 1987 // 463 pages // Rated 4.2 over 210,800 reviews on Goodreads
12. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures, #1) – Lewis Carroll
Published 1865 // 96 pages // Rated 4.0 over 232,200 reviews on Goodreads
13. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) – Brandon Sanderson
Published 2010 // 1,007 pages // Rated 4.6 over 286,900 reviews on Goodreads
14. Magician: Master (The Riftwar Saga, #2) – Raymond E. Feist
Published 1982 // 499 pages // Rated 4.3 over 64,400 reviews on Goodreads
15. A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) – Ursula K. Le Guin
Published 1968 // 183 pages // Rated 4.0 over 232,700 reviews on Goodreads
16. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) – Scott Lynch
Published 2006 // 752 pages // Rated 4.3 over 211,700 reviews on Goodreads
17. Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2) – Robin Hobb
Published 1996 // 675 pages // Rated 4.2 over 145,700 reviews on Goodreads
18. Dragonflight (Pern, #1) – Anne McCaffrey
Published 1968 // 299 pages // Rated 4.1 over 122,900 reviews on Goodreads
19. Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) – Garth Nix
Published 1995 // 491 pages // Rated 4.2 over 178,700 reviews on Goodreads
20. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2) – Philip Pullman
Published 1997 // 370 pages // Rated 4.1 over 356,800 reviews on Goodreads
21. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4) – Jim Butcher
Published 2002 // 446 pages // Rated 4.3 over 122,500 reviews on Goodreads
22. The Blue Sword (Damar, #1) – Robin McKinley
Published 1982 // 256 pages // Rated 4.2 over 55,200 reviews on Goodreads
23. Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, #1) – David Eddings
Published 1982 // 304 pages // Rated 4.2 over 91,700 reviews on Goodreads
24. Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1) – Terry Goodkind
Published 1994 // 836 pages // Rated 4.1 over 225,400 reviews on Goodreads
25. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Published 2001 // 635 pages // Rated 4.1 over 742,900 reviews on Goodreads
26. The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) – Andrzej Sapkowski
Published 1993 // 360 pages // Rated 4.1 over 176,000 reviews on Goodreads
27. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
Published 1977 // 386 pages // Rated 3.9 over 212,200 reviews on Goodreads
28. Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) – Joe Abercrombie
Published 2007 // 441 pages // Rated 4.3 over 109,700 reviews on Goodreads
29. The Courts of Chaos (The Chronicles of Amber, #5) – Roger Zelazny
Published 1978 // 189 pages // Rated 4.2 over 20,500 reviews on Goodreads
30. Kushiel’s Avatar (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #3) – Jacqueline Carey
Published 2003 // 702 pages // Rated 4.4 over 33,100 reviews on Goodreads
31. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Published 2008 // 307 pages // Rated 4.1 over 426,300 reviews on Goodreads
32. Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1) – Brandon Sanderson
Published 2009 // 688 pages // Rated 4.3 over 110,200 reviews on Goodreads
33. Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1) – Anthony Ryan
Published 2011 // 591 pages // Rated 4.4 over 70,000 reviews on Goodreads
34. The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) – Peter V. Brett
Published 2008 // 416 pages // Rated 4.3 over 105,500 reviews on Goodreads
35. Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3) – Patricia A. McKillip
Published 1979 // 263 pages // Rated 4.2 over 7,000 reviews on Goodreads
36. Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) – Christopher Paolini
Published 2002 // 503 pages // Rated 3.9 over 1,410,400 reviews on Goodreads
37. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) – N.K. Jemisin
Published 2015 // 468 pages // Rated 4.3 over 135,100 reviews on Goodreads
38. Cugel Saga (The Dying Earth, #3) – Jack Vance
Published 1983 // 347 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,300 reviews on Goodreads
39. The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1) – Brent Weeks
Published 2008 // 645 pages // Rated 4.2 over 145,200 reviews on Goodreads
40. Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay
Published 1990 // 676 pages // Rated 4.1 over 40,500 reviews on Goodreads
41. The Elfstones of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2) – Terry Brooks
Published 1982 // 23 pages // Rated 4.0 over 64,200 reviews on Goodreads
42. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Published 2011 // 391 pages // Rated 4.0 over 663,300 reviews on Goodreads
43. The Sword in the Stone (The Once and Future King, #1) – T.H. White
Published 1938 // 352 pages // Rated 3.9 over 23,000 reviews on Goodreads
44. The Curse of Chalion – Lois McMaster Bujold
Published 2000 // 490 pages // Rated 4.2 over 31,900 reviews on Goodreads
45. The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage, #2) – Brian McClellan
Published 2014 // 596 pages // Rated 4.4 over 27,800 reviews on Goodreads
46. Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3) – Mark Lawrence
Published 2013 // 434 pages // Rated 4.3 over 43,200 reviews on Goodreads
47. The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams
Published 1988 // 672 pages // Rated 4.0 over 60,400 reviews on Goodreads
48. Moreta (Pern, #7) – Anne McCaffrey
Dragonlady of Pern
Published 1983 // 286 pages // Rated 4.0 over 25,800 reviews on Goodreads
49. The Black Company – Glen Cook
Published 1984 // 319 pages // Rated 3.9 over 39,600 reviews on Goodreads
50. Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner
Published 1968 // 672 pages // Rated 4.0 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
51. The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle
Published 2010 // 167 pages // Rated 4.3 over 8,300 reviews on Goodreads
52. The Goblin Reservation – Clifford D. Simak
Published 1968 // 192 pages // Rated 4.0 over 3,100 reviews on Goodreads
53. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, #1) – Naomi Novik
Published 2006 // 353 pages // Rated 4.1 over 75,400 reviews on Goodreads
54. Paladin of Souls – Lois McMaster Bujold
Published 2003 // 470 pages // Rated 4.2 over 21,400 reviews on Goodreads
55. Warbound (Grimnoir Chronicles, #3) – Larry Correia
Published 2013 // 448 pages // Rated 4.4 over 7,600 reviews on Goodreads
56. The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King
Published 2012 // 322 pages // Rated 4.2 over 65,100 reviews on Goodreads
57. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
Published 2004 // 1,006 pages // Rated 3.8 over 191,900 reviews on Goodreads
58. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality – Eliezer Yudkowsky
Published 2015 // 2,184 pages // Rated 4.4 over 13,300 reviews on Goodreads
59. The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy, #1) – Amish Tripathi
Published 2010 // 436 pages // Rated 4.1 over 98,700 reviews on Goodreads
60. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1) – Tomi Adeyemi
Published 2018 // 544 pages // Rated 4.1 over 138,400 reviews on Goodreads
61. Night Watch (Watch, #1) – Sergei Lukyanenko
Published 1998 // 455 pages // Rated 4.0 over 39,300 reviews on Goodreads
62. Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson
Published 1999 // 657 pages // Rated 3.9 over 87,200 reviews on Goodreads
63. Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1) – Orson Scott Card
Published 1987 // 241 pages // Rated 3.9 over 33,100 reviews on Goodreads
64. The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) – Lev Grossman
Published 2009 // 402 pages // Rated 3.5 over 225,800 reviews on Goodreads
65. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
Published 2015 // 435 pages // Rated 4.1 over 157,200 reviews on Goodreads
66. Lord Valentine’s Castle (Lord Valentine, #1) – Robert Silverberg
Published 1980 // 506 pages // Rated 3.9 over 8,600 reviews on Goodreads
67. Tea with the Black Dragon (Black Dragon, #1) – R.A. MacAvoy
Published 1983 // 128 pages // Rated 4.0 over 4,600 reviews on Goodreads
68. Witch World – Andre Norton
Published 1963 // 288 pages // Rated 3.8 over 4,300 reviews on Goodreads
69. The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2) – R.F. Kuang
Published 2019 // 658 pages // Rated 4.3 over 10,000 reviews on Goodreads
70. Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2) – Joe Abercrombie
Published 2015 // 366 pages // Rated 4.2 over 28,800 reviews on Goodreads
Enjoyed this list of the best fantasy books of all time? You might also like…

More Best Books of All Time (by Type)

These are some lists of overall best books to read...

More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)

These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...

More Best Fiction Books (by Genre)

These are some lists of best fiction books to read...

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur Worsley
Arthur Worsley
Arthur is a thinker and writer who helps people who want more from their lives learn to be more productive, find more balance and live life more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want A FREE Character Traits Cheatsheet?

Character Traits List

Send Yourself A FREE Printable Cheatsheet Of 800 Positive, Neutral & Negative Character Traits...

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want A FREE Printable Weekly Planner Template?

Weekly Planner Template Preview

Send yourself a FREE printable weekly planner template you can use to set every week up for success...

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want 6 FREE Interactive Memory Templates?

Memory Templates

Get 6 FREE templates & master the same tools used by Dominic O'Brien to become the 8-time World Memory Champion.

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want A FREE 10-Step Speed Reading Cheatsheet?

How to Read a Book, Mortimer J Adler

Get a FREE 10-step cheatsheet to help you read faster and remember more of what you read based on the classic guide, How to Read a Book.

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want 5 FREE Printable Productivity Templates?

Productivity Templates

Includes: Wheel of Life, Habit & Value Trackers, Goal Setting Worksheet, Daily Planner and Guided Reflection...

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want A FREE Language Learning Toolkit?

Save thousands of dollars and hours with this FREE 8,000-word language learning guide and toolkit...

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.

Want A FREE 10-Step Speed Reading Cheatsheet?

How to Read a Book, Mortimer J Adler

Get a FREE 10-step cheatsheet to help you read faster and remember more of what you read based on the classic guide, How to Read a Book.

The Art of Living will never share your email. Unsubscribe easily anytime.