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30 Enthralling Epic Fantasy Books

Let these stories take you to another world.

epic fantasy book series

There’s something so enthralling about epic fantasy. And if you’ve been looking to escape into a magical new world, then you’ve come to the right place! Each book on this list is the first in a larger series, so you’ll be able to stay in the realm of your choosing for a good, long time. So what are you waiting for? Get lost in one of these 30 enthralling epic fantasy books today.

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epic fantasy series

Frostborn Omnibus One

By Jonathan Moeller

This collection contains the first four books in Jonathan Moeller’s thrilling Frostborn Saga. Each book follows the adventures of Ridmark Arban. 

Although he was once the most famous knight in the realm, Ridmark is now considered an outcast and a traitor. Still, only he knows that Frostborn is returning, and he must embark on a perilous journey to stop it.

best science fiction books

The Fifth Season

By N.K. Jemisin

Every few centuries, the residents of the Stillness, a supercontinent, experience an ecological disaster known as the fifth season. This time, the Stillness itself has split, with the giant crack in the earth spewing deadly ash everywhere. 

As a thousand-year-old society collapses, Essun, a woman with a secret power, comes home to discover that her husband has murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Chaos reigns and war is inevitable, but Essun will let nothing stop her from saving her daughter in this award-winning science-fantasy series by N.K. Jemisin.

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hard fantasy books that are both magical and logical

The Dragonbone Chair

By Tad Williams

Tad Williams’ beloved and influential Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series begins with The Dragonbone Chair. 

After the High King of Osten Ard dies, political intrigue abounds as the new king allies himself with the Storm King, an undead ruler who previously reigned over Osten Ard. In response, a group of concerned scholars form the League of the Scroll to protect the realm. 

Unbeknownst to them, castle kitchen boy Simon is serving as an apprentice to a member of the League, who soon sends him on a perilous mission to save Osten Ard.

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Gardens of the Moon

By Steven Erikson

Turmoil plagues the Malazan Empire. Infighting is constant and the war seems to be so endless that even the empire’s fiercest warriors are tired. Still, thanks to her Claw assassins, Empress Laseen remains in power. 

All Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his fellow soldiers want to do after the brutal siege of Pale is to rest and mourn their dead, but there is one remaining free city that has refused to bend to Laseen’s will. 

As the troops march toward Darujhistan, they're not the only forces with an interest in the city. The danger is mounting as divine forces prepare to enter the fray.

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the curse of chalion

The Curse of Chalion

By Lois McMaster Bujold

When Cazaril returns to the employ of the noble household he previously served in, he knows nothing good will come of it. He has been appointed secretary-tutor to the sister of the family heir, but he knows he will end up in the court of Cardegoss, the home of the powerful people who sentenced him to a life in chains. 

If he ever hopes to do right by himself and his pupil, Cazaril will have to find a way to thwart the curse placed on the House of Chalion, but he will have to use deeply-forbidden magic to do it.

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The Way of Kings

By Brandon Sanderson

On the unforgiving terrain of the Shattered Plains of Roshar, multiple armies war against each other for a Shardblade, a powerful sword that can turn anyone who wields it into an unbeatable warrior. 

Every day, Kaladin fights a war he does not understand and does not wish to participate in. Another army is led by Brightlord Dalinar Kholin, who spends his days worried that his visions of the past mean he is going insane. 

Away from the battlefield, a young woman’s research will uncover a shocking truth about the Shardblades, their original owners the Knights Radiant, and the actual cause of the endless war. 

This is the first volume in the sweeping Stormlight Archive series by the great Brandon Sanderson

Lord of the Rings quotes

The Fellowship of the Ring

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Of course, no epic fantasy list would be complete without the most famous series the genre has to offer: J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. 

In the first book, young hobbit Frodo Baggins is saddled with an immense task. His old cousin Bilbo gives him the One Ring, crafted in ancient times by the Dark Lord Sauron to contain all his power. Years ago, the Ring was stolen, but Sauron has never stopped looking for it in order to reclaim his power over all others. 

Now, Frodo must journey to the Cracks of Doom to destroy the Ring and put an end to Sauron’s plans once and for all.

high fantasy books

The Eye of the World

By Robert Jordan

Another legendary series is Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. The first book follows Moiraine Damodred on a quest to save the world from The Dark One, who seeks the person prophesied to take him down.

When a gang of beasts attacks the Two Rivers in the name of the Dark One, Moiraine turns to Rand al’Thor and his friends as possible allies. But joining her will mean leaving everything the villagers have ever known behind.

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Assassin's Apprentice

By Robin Hobb

As the illegitimate son of the prince, Fitz has been cast off to be raised by the court stableman. The only noble who takes him seriously is King Shrewd, who has Fitz trained to become an assassin. 

The king knows that Fitz is gifted with the Skill, a magic power. Once he is old enough to take on his first mission, Fitz also has the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders.

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A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Before there was Harry Potter, there was Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle. The books tell the story of the legendary sorcerer Ged. 

This first book follows Ged in his youth when he was still known as Sparrowhawk, as he grapples with his growing powers. When he lets his ambition get the better of him, he accidentally unleashes a powerful evil on the world, and now Sparrowhawk must find the true power within himself to fix his mistake.

The Blade Itself Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie

The barbarian Logen Ninefingers may have just overplayed his hand enough to get killed. Captain Jezal dan Luthar is grappling with the fact that war means he will have to leave his carefree life behind. And Inquisitor Glokta’s latest brutal crackdown on treason may have uncovered a dangerous conspiracy. 

In this Norse-inspired fantasy, these three men are brought together by a man who is either the most powerful wizard of all time, or a total fraud—on the eve of a war that will change everything.

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A Game of Thrones

By George R.R. Martin

The first book in George R.R. Martin's renowned A Song of Ice and Fire Series, this novel introduces the massive conflict among the Seven Kingdoms for ownership of the Iron Throne. 

books like Lord of the Rings

The Grace of Kings

By Ken Liu

During the uprising, bandit Kuni Garu and erstwhile noble Mata Zyndu made the perfect team as they fought to take down the emperor’s powerful armies. 

But now, as factions battle for power in the wake of the emperor’s defeat, the former best friends find themselves on opposite sides of the debate. 

Which is more important: preserving friendship or living up to their ideals? 

Chronicles of Amber

Nine Princes in Amber

By Robert Zelazny

When Carl Corey wakes up in a New York City hospital, he has no idea who he is or where he came from. His investigations lead him to discover that he is really Prince Corwin of the world of Amber. The world he currently lives in is just a shadow of Amber, the true world. 

Corwin is one of nine possible future rulers of Amber, and now he will have to find a way to prove that he is worthy of the throne...he just has to defeat his brother’s vast armies first. 

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books like Harry Potter

The Color of Magic

By Terry Pratchett

If you haven’t yet experienced Terry Pratchett’s groundbreaking and hilarious Discworld series, why not start with the very first entry? 

Twoflower is a unique presence on Discworld, their very first tourist. He finds a tour guide in wizard Rincewind, butTwoflower quickly comes to realize this was a stroke of bad luck. 

As they explore Discworld with Twoflower’s sentient luggage, he’ll continue to wonder just what he’s gotten himself into.

Call of Madness

Call of Madness

By Julie Dean Smith

In Caithe, magic is forbidden, and anyone born with the ability—called the Lorngeld—is quickly sentenced to death by the Caithan Church. It’s brutal but necessary, as untrained wizards can fall victim to mind-plague. 

So when Princess Athaya discovers that she is developing magical abilities, she knows she’s in trouble. But others seek to convince her that she can use her powers—and her status in the kingdom—to save the Lorngeld. 

Now, Athaya is faced with an impossible choice. Is she more loyal to her family and kingdom, or to her fellow Lorngeld? She will have to decide and act soon...before her powers drive her mad. 

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Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)

By Jim Butcher

For generations, the people of Alera have protected themselves from the outside world by harnessing the power of the elements, called the furies. 

At 15, Tavi should have a good grasp of his powers, yet he can’t even harness fire fury to light a lamp. But when an ancient enemy invades his home in the Calderon Valley, Tavi will have to rely on a different set of skills that may just lead him to become the Alerans’ greatest hero.

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The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind is the first entry in Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle saga. A frame story, the novel follows the life and exploits of Kvothe, a musician and alleged assassin who rose to infamy after a desperate childhood.  

The Rage of Dragons

The Rage of Dragons

By Evan Winter

Dragons, an endless war, and elusive magical abilities: Evan Winter's The Burning series has it all. 

This first novel introduces readers to Tau, an Omehi man with a plan to survive conscription in the war. But after a devastating personal loss, Tau's desire to run transforms into a hunger for vengeance. 

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Camber of Culdi

By Katherine Kurtz

The legend of Saint Camber of Culdi is well known throughout the kingdom of Gwynedd, but at one point, he was just a magically gifted nobleman. 

Camber’s family has begrudgingly served under the usurper Festil family for generations, but everything comes to a head under the rule of the brutal King Imre. The king's mistreatment of humans has always bothered Camber, but he is pushed beyond the brink when Irme and his sister and mistress Ariella cause the death of his son. 

Seeking justice, Camber leaves on a quest to find the true ruler, the last of the deposed Haldane family. The heir is extremely hesitant, but as the land itself begins to suffer, he and Camber have no choice but to work together to take down the Festils once and for all.

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The Waterborn

By Greg Keyes

Hezhi’s family line can be traced back all the way to the god River, which has given every family member magical powers that do not manifest until they approach adulthood. 

As her powers start to appear, Hezhi faces an uncertain future. Either the court will accept her, or deem her unworthy and cast her out of the palace. But a ritual judgment becomes the least of her worries when her cousin is kidnapped by priests and taken into the darkness of the River. 

Determined to rescue him, Hezhi joins forces with the barbarian Perkar, who is already on a mission of his own to fight the River and rescue his love.

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The Way of Shadows

By Brent Weeks

After a childhood spent in the slums, Azoth is willing to do anything it takes to survive. So when the opportunity arises to apprentice with master assassin Durzo Blint, he takes it. 

He takes the name Kylar Stern and enters Blint’s complex world of political intrigue, dark magic, and of course...death. 

RELATED: 12 of the Greatest Grimdark Fantasy Books

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The Lens of the World Trilogy

By R. A. MacAvoy

Nazhuret was born an orphan and pariah. But when a reclusive stranger sees the powers brewing in the low-born boy, Nazhuret begins a journey that will tear the realm of Velonya apart. 

must read fantasy books series legend

Legend

By David Gemmell

After a lifetime of fighting and becoming the stuff of legend, Druss, Captain of the Ax, decides to retire and live out the rest of his life in his mountain lair. 

But when he gets word that the Nadir barbarians are rapidly marching toward the Drenai people, Druss knows he must return to the battlefield. The fight seems like a lost cause, but those odds have never stopped Druss before.

Divinity's Twilight

Divinity's Twilight

By Christopher Russell

Almost 700 years have passed since the Battle of Har’muth, when order triumphed over chaos and despotism. But that doesn’t mean that war has ended. 

In an age where technology has rendered magic irrelevant, three Terran states battle for dominance in the region. But an ancient evil is stirring beneath Har’muth, and the sins of the past may overwhelm all the progress of the present.

Foundryside Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside

By Robert Jackson Bennett

Gifted thief Sancia Grado doesn’t think much of her latest mission to rob a warehouse on the docks of Tevanne. What she doesn’t know is that the object she is supposed to steal is a powerful artifact that gives anyone who uses it the ultimate power of scriving. 

The ability to give sentience to everyday objects isn't new to Tevanne. But with the artifact, they could bend the entire world to their whims. 

Once Sancia gets the artifact, the Merchants place a target on her back. In order to save herself and the city, she will have to use its power for herself.

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

By Dave Duncan

In Dave Duncan's The Cutting Edge, the kingdom of Krasnegar is threatened by uprisings on the borders of the Pandemia Impire after 15 years of prosperity. 

While Prince Emshandar tries to put down rebellions of djinns and gnomes, the imperor grows increasingly more tyrannical. King Rap of Krasnegar doesn’t think much of the faraway violence until a god tells him that Pandemia is destined to fall.

 It seems a mistake that the King and secret sorcerer made in his youth is now threatening to plunge the whole realm into chaos. Now, Rap must embark on a quest of his own to prevent catastrophe. 

return-to-neveryon_samuel-r-delany

Return to Nevèrÿon

By Samuel R. Delany

This fantasy series by Grand Master Samuel R. Delany subverts sword and sorcery genre expectations. The saga follows a former slave who leads a rebellion against the monarchy of Nevèrÿon. One of the books in the series, The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals—found in the volume Flight from Nevèrÿon—was the first novel-length work from an American publisher to explore the subject of AIDs. 

Riddle in Stone

Riddle in Stone

By Robert Evert

To everyone around him, Edmund seems like just a librarian. But unbeknownst to them, he knows a secret that holds the key to true power in their world. 

This secret makes Edmund an unlikely hero, and the only person who can stop the Undead King and his goblin army as they plan to destroy humanity.

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Wizard's First Rule

By Terry Goodkind

In New World, Westland forest guide Richard Cypher becomes a Seeker of Truth. When he is asked for help by the intriguing Kahlan Amnell, he is given the Sword of Truth. 

Now, Richard is the only one who stands between the evil wizard Darken Rahl and the powerful Boxes of Orden. But it will take more than a powerful sword to take down true evil. What Richard must truly rely on is his noble heart.

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