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The 25 Best Fantasy Books from the 2000s Decade

The new millennium began with these magical reads. 

the 25 best fantasy books of the 2000s

2000-2010 was an amazing decade for fantasy. Popular new fantasy series from the 1990s were drawing more readers to the genre, and the success of film franchises like The Lord of the Rings enticed many new readers to fantasy. This demand opened the door for new authors to debut, and for established authors to launch entire series. 

We combed through the archives and put together a list of the 25 best fantasy books from the 2000s decade. How many have you read?

RELATED: The 25 Best Sci-Fi Books from the 2000s


books like The Magicians

Storm Front

By Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden finds things. And he’s good at it. That’s why, when the Chicago P.D. comes across a case filled with strange or magical things, they turn to him. 

When he's asked to solve a double homicide committed using black magic, Dresden finds himself the next target of the powerful killer—and #1 on the cop's list of suspects. 

Storm Front marks the first novel in the fan-favorite Dresden Files series




By Tim Powers

When Andrew Hale stumbles on a dangerous secret, he spends the next 20 years trying to forget the nightmare he barely escaped. But some truths refuse to stay buried. 

Forced back into the spy game, Hale sets off across the globe in a desperate attempt to stop a deadly, supernatural operation from coming to fruition.

Weaving themes of the occult, religious history, and international espionage, Declare is a richly-imagined alternate history of the Cold War.


artemis fowl eoin colfer book to movie adaptations

Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer

In sticking with Fowl family tradition, Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind. 

After his father’s disappearance, Aremis will do anything to save the family business. Never mind that he’s only twelve years old. But when he kidnaps a fairy, Artemis finds out the hard way that he might be in over his head.

A charming story, Artemis Fowl is a fun adventure filled with unexpected twists.


The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón

After his mother dies, Daniel is comforted by The Shadow of the Wind, a mysterious book he finds in the shelves of his own shop. 

But Daniel soon learns that his copy of The Shadow is the last surviving volume of the author Julián Carax's work. All other copies of all of Carax's books have been deliberately destroyed, and Daniel's search for answers draws him to the darkest, and most enticing, corners of Barcelona. 

The Shadow of the Wind is a fascinating story within a story, with a thrilling mystery at its core.


best audiobooks sci fi fantasy American Gods Neil Gaiman

American Gods

By Neil Gaiman

The award-winning book American Gods imagines a supernatural war in America between the old gods and the new gods of technology, consumerism, and television. 

Shadow Moon has only days left in his prison sentence when his wife is killed. On the way home, he meets a businessman who offers him a job. Together, they go on a journey across middle America, where nothing less than the heart and soul of the country are at stake.

RELATED: 19 Must-Read, Magical Neil Gaiman Books to Bewitch You Right Now


fools errand

Fool's Errand

By Robin Hobb

Fitzchivalry Farseer has isolated himself for 15 years. But when the prince goes missing, Fitz—the only one with the magic necessary to save him—must make his return to society.

The first in a new (at the time) series from Robin Hobb, but the third installment in The Realm of the Elderings megaseries, Fool’s Errand gives familiar characters even more depth and continues a fascinating world for readers to lose themselves in.




By Christopher Paolini

Initially, farm boy Eragon doesn't think much of the unusual stone he finds in the forest. But then the stone hatches a dragon, and Eragon and the hatchling are forced to flee from the cronies of the merciless king. 

With the aid of a powerful sword and an old storyteller, Eragon has to become a legendary Dragon Rider...or doom his world forever.


ink heart


By Cornelia Funke

Meggie’s father is a bookbinder, but he never reads Meggie stories. That’s because he has a gift that brings characters to life in the real world when he reads aloud. 

But before he knew about his gift, he read aloud a story called Inkheart. This brought the villain to life, and trapped Meggie's mother inside Inkheart. Now, the villain is determined to find Meggie's father and to force him to use his gift—and Meggie is the only one who can save both of her parents.

RELATED: Magical Middle Grade Novels


best fantasy books

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke

Mr. Norrell has spent a lifetime collecting and studying the lost and forgotten books of the past. He’s managed to reclaim some of the powers magicians lost over time. When Jonathan Strange appears and can also wield magic, Norrell accepts him as a student, believing they can learn from each other. 

But where Norrell sees magic as something to control, Strange thinks it should be free. As Strange pursues secrets long forgotten, Norrell realizes Strange isn’t just threatening their partnership, but everything Norrell loves.

An enchanting standalone that creates a detailed new vision of historical England, this 1,000-page novel weaves a spell that leaves readers yearning for more.



The Salt Roads

By Nalo Hopkinson

This stunning novel spans centuries and civilizations, all told through the lens of women examining their relationships with family, lovers, and gods. Hopkinson weaves an unflinching yet beautiful narrative that is brutal, sensual, surreal, and devastating. 

Nominated for a Nebula Award and winner of the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, The Salt Roads is a captivating and influential novel.


the book thief

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

In 1939 Germany, Liesel finds a book half-buried at her brother’s grave. It's the first book she steals. 

Soon, she’s stealing books from Nazi book-burnings and breaking into the mayor’s library. But when her family conceals a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel's life becomes infinitely more dangerous.

An emotionally packed and intense story narrated by Death, The Book Thief is a wrenching novel about the power of stories to unite people. 


the lightning tief

The Lightning Thief

By Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson doesn’t mean to get into trouble. And soon, his life gets even more complicated when he learns he’s a demigod, and that his dad is Poseidon. Yeah, that Poseidon. 

She sends him to Camp Half-Blood, the only place he’ll be safe. Except he’s not. Forced on a quest that takes him across the country, Percy might be the only person who can stop war between the gods.

The Lightning Thief is a delightful start to a heart-warming adventure series.


must read fantasy books series his majesty dragon

His Majesty's Dragon

By Naomi Novik

When the HMS Reliant captures a ship in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, life takes a dramatic turn for Captain Will Laurence. 

Forced from his hard-won place in the navy and thrown into the Aerial Corps as a dragon master, Laurence must learn how to work with these extraordinary creatures while facing the enemy in airborne battle.

RELATED: BFFs Over BFs: Author Naomi Novik on the Importance of Female Friendship in YA


best fantasy books

The Lies of Locke Lamora

By Scott Lynch

Orphan Locke Lamora was once taken under the wing of a master con artist. Now, he’s the leader of his own gang, the Gentleman Bastards, who have garnered an infamous reputation. 

But when one of his own betrays him, Locke has to use the traitor's own weapons against him.

A dark, multi-layered story, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a stunning debut that will keep readers riveted as the threads of a spectacular heist unravel.


best fantasy books

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie

A ruthless barbarian who has run out of options. A selfish officer dreaming of glory. A tortured war hero turned torturer. And a wizard who might be a fraud.

These strangers are drawn together as old vendettas and lethal machinations make it impossible to decipher the heroes from the heartless.

The Blade Itself is a grimdark fantasy brimming with light and hiding a tender heart.


the final empire

The Final Empire (Mistborn)

By Brandon Sanderson

The world is ruined, and the Skaa enslaved. Then Kelsier, a half-Skaa thief, finds he has the powers of a Mistborn. He hatches a scheme to not just pull off the greatest heist in history, but to take down the despotic Lord Ruler at the same time. 

A masterfully plotted novel, The Final Empire launched Brandon Sanderson's critically-acclaimed Mistborn series.




By Ursula K. Le Guin

Gavir is a young man with an incredible gift. He has a photographic memory and can sometimes remember things that haven’t happened yet. But Gav was stolen as a child and lives as a slave—and the life he knows is about to brutally end. 

Told with Le Guin’s ability to invoke deep empathy while raising powerful and difficult questions, Powers takes the reader on an immersive journey with unforgettable characters.


The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

Kvothe sits down and agrees to tell the story of his life to the Chronicler. He tells what it was like growing up as an orphan in a crime-ridden city, travelling with a troupe of actors, and somehow defying all odds to enter a notorious school of magic. Kvothe grew from a young boy with magical talent into the most infamous wizard in the world.

A story that reads like a fantasy memoir, The Name of the Wind transports readers into the mind of a wizard.

RELATED: 20 Epic Books Like The Name of the Wind


books like throne of glass


By Kristin Cashore

Katsa is a Graceling, gifted with the rare ability to kill a man with her bare hands. It means that even though she’s the king’s niece, she does his bidding rather than enjoying a life of luxury. But when she falls in love with Prince Po, she learns the truth behind her Grace. And it could destroy the seven kingdoms.

A lush, mesmerizing story filled with adventure and romance, Graceling is the start of a beloved series.


the way of shadows

The Way of Shadows

By Brent Weeks

Durzo Blint is Cenaria City's most brutal magical assassin, and his apprentice Azoth wants to learn from the best of the best. But in order to do so, Azoth must learn not only Durzo's brutal trade, but how to fully immerse himself in his own new identity. 


the big machine

Big Machine

By Victor LaValle

Ricky Rice is doing his best. He’s a recovering drug user, and a traumatized suicide cult survivor cleaning bathrooms in a transit station. Then he gets a letter urging him to the frozen woods in Vermont. When he arrives in the forest, Ricky is abducted by a group of paranormal investigators all claiming to have heard The Voice—a disembodied murmur that might be God.

This is a sharp and imaginative story laced with humor and a hefty dose of surreal fantasy.

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where the mountain meets the moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By Grace Lin

Minli spends her days working the fields in the valley of Fruitless Mountain. At night, her father weaves spellbinding stories about Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. 

When her mother chides him for filling her head with nonsense, Minli sets off to prove that they’re true by asking the Old Man of the Moon to change her family’s fortune.

Filled with Chinese folklore and fairy tales, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a gorgeous novel with beautiful illustrations.


best audiobooks sci fi fantasy The Magicians Lev Grossman

The Magicians

By Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater was obsessed with a magical fantasy series as a child, so he’s surprised when he’s accepted into a secret, exclusive college of magic as an adult. 

There, he’s disappointed to learn that magic isn’t bringing him the happiness he believed it would. Even more disheartening, the fantasy world he loved as a child is real, but not anywhere he wants to escape to. 

A brilliant coming-of-age novel for adults, The Magicians mixes thrilling adventure with piercing psychology to create a tantalizing and complicated world.



The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

By N.K. Jemisin

When Yeine Darr’s mother dies unexpectedly, Yeine is called back from exile to her home city of Sky in the north. 

There, Yeine is shocked to learn she's in line for the throne. But there is a vicious power struggle in play, and many are determined to keep Yeine from her inheritance. 

This magnificent debut launched the spectacular career of a powerful voice in fantasy.


powerful women

Who Fears Death

By Nnedi Okorafor

In far future Africa, the Nuru—following the edict of the Great Book—are determined to eradicate the Okeke. But one woman survives their horrific attack and flees into the desert. 

She births a daughter in the desert whom she names Onyesonwu, which means “who fears death." Onyesonwu eventually discovers that her power and her destiny is to save her people from genocide.

Who Fears Death blends Okorafor’s signature literary prose with a stark post-apocalyptic setting. It won the World Fantasy Award, in addition to receiving many other honors and accolades. 

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