The 6 Must-Read Fantasy Books of All Time

Posted on Jul 27, 2023

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Written by Jackie Pearce

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Fantasy Books Recomendations

Fantasy is one of those genres that captures people and takes them on mystical adventures.

For this article, we will be looking at some of the best-selling fantasy books of all time, looking at some of the rankings for other books, and trying to combine it all together into one list.

Keep in mind, not every single book can be included, of course, but do not let that stop you from reading other books in the fantasy genre!

What Defines Fantasy Books?

Fantasy books are a hard genre to pin down, mainly because there is a ton of overlap to some other genres (sometimes), but it almost always has some kind of magical element throughout the story.

Along with magic, you will also find heavy influences from mythology and folklore injected into the story, characters, setting, and so on.

It is a popular genre used across a wide variety of mediums such as television and video games. Most of the popular books we will cover below have been used and transformed into a wide variety of mediums.

Best fantasy books

#1 – The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

It would be impossible to include a list of the best fantasy books without including The Lord Of The Rings. While fantasy books have been popular for a long time, this is one of the series that really brought fantasy to the mainstream and made it a popular genre.

In the fictional world of Middle-earth, the Dark Lord Sauron has forged the One Ring to rule all others. The Ring has found its way to the young hobbit Frodo Baggins, who must embark on a perilous journey to Mount Doom in the land of Mordor, the only place where it can be destroyed. Frodo is joined by a fellowship of companions, including the wizard Gandalf, the elf Legolas, the dwarf Gimli, the human Boromir, and his fellow hobbits Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Along the way, they must face many dangers, including orcs, trolls, and Sauron’s servants. But if they fail, Sauron will conquer Middle-earth and enslave its people.

The Lord of the Rings is an epic tale of good versus evil, friendship, courage, and sacrifice. It is a story that has captured the imaginations of readers for generations, and it continues to be relevant today.

It is such a rich story with incredible characters and world-building that few fantasy books have even come close to the world J.R.R. Tolkien built.

#2 – Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Few book series have come close to the level of success of the Harry Potter books. The fan base was one of the most passionate and the books created a reading frenzy among kids and adults alike.

Harry Potter is a young boy who discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard, famous in the wizarding world for surviving an attack by the evil Lord Voldemort when he was just a baby. Harry is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he learns about magic and makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Together, they face many challenges, including the return of Voldemort, who is determined to kill Harry. Harry and his friends must use their magic and courage to defeat Voldemort and save the wizarding world.

As of writing this article, over 600 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold, making it one of the highest-selling books of all time.

#3 – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Originally published in 1950, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe has sold about 85 million copies worldwide.

Four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, are evacuated from London during World War II and sent to live with the eccentric Professor Kirke in the English countryside. One day, Lucy discovers a magical wardrobe that leads to the land of Narnia, a frozen, wintry world ruled by the White Witch. The White Witch has cast a spell on Narnia, making it always winter and never Christmas.

Here are some additional interesting facts about The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe:

  • The book was inspired by C. S. Lewis’s childhood experiences of playing in the wardrobes of his own home.
  • The White Witch is based on the White Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
  • The character of Aslan is a Christ figure, and his death and resurrection mirror the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

#4 – The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (with Brandon Sanderson as co-writer for the final three novels)

The Wheel of Time series has 14 books in total, which is a world of massive proportions.

This epic fantasy series set in a world where magic is real and the forces of good and evil are locked in an eternal struggle. The story follows a group of young people who are destined to play a key role in the fate of the world. They must travel across the continent, facing many challenges along the way, in order to defeat the Dark One, the embodiment of evil.

The Wheel of Time is a complex and engrossing story that has been praised for its rich world-building, complex characters, and epic scope. It is a must-read for fans of fantasy literature.

#5 – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

While Twilight has mixed feelings and reviews across all readers, it is undeniably one of the best-selling fantasy series that sparked an entire era of passionate fans. Tells the story of Bella Swan, a teenage girl who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire. Bella is drawn to Edward’s mysterious and dangerous allure, but she is also afraid of him. Edward, for his part, is drawn to Bella’s humanity and her ability to see him for who he really is. The two of them must face many challenges, including the Volturi, a vampire coven that wants to kill Bella, and Jacob Black, a werewolf who is also in love with Bella.

Twilight is a story about love, loss, and the power of the human spirit. It is a story that has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

#6 – The Dark Tower by Stephen King

While Stephen King is more well-known for his horror novels, he knocked it out of the park with the seven books that make up The Dark Tower series.

You’ll encounter the story of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who is on a quest to find the Dark Tower, a mysterious structure that is said to be the center of all creation. Along the way, Roland meets a variety of strange and dangerous characters, including the Man in Black, a powerful sorcerer who is trying to stop him from reaching the Tower. The series is full of action, adventure, and suspense, and it has been praised for its complex characters, rich world-building, and philosophical themes.

The Dark Tower is a sprawling epic that has been compared to The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time. It is a must-read for fans of fantasy literature, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.

Some interesting facts about The Dark Tower series:

  • The character of Roland is based on King himself, and the character of the Man in Black is based on King’s friend, Peter Straub.
  • The name “The Dark Tower” is a reference to the Tower of Babel in the Bible.
  • The Dark Tower has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling book series of all time.

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