Seeking an immersive fantasy that will sweep you off your feet and have you reading late into the night? Your quest ends here. These 11 high-stakes sagas span from grimdark fantasy to young adult—and everything in between—but they're all guaranteed to keep you glued to the page. Combining epic battles, powerful magic, incredible creatures, and fully-realized worlds that you'll long to visit, these fantasy adventure books are guaranteed to take you on an unforgettable journey off the beaten path.
This gripping sequel to Godblind continues the tense conflict from the first unforgettable novel in this series. A story of brutal gods and heroes who refuse to give up hope, it's a must-read for fans of grimdark fantasy.
Durdul Koridam—once commander, now crowned King—holds the city of Rilporin strong against the violent invaders. The newly-anointed Durdul is prepared die, rather than see the city surrendered to the forces of the Red Gods and King Corvus' Mireces army.
Outside the besieged city's walls, the Mireces and the forces of Prince Rivil have reached an uneasy truce—for now. But the conflict reaches a breaking point with the arrival of seer Dom Templeson. After being tortured by the Red Gods, Dom may reveal valuable information to the brutal King Corvus.
Amidst the bloody chaos, it may be up to Crys Tailorson—one of the few Rilporin survivors outside the city walls—to make a difficult sacrifice and lead a band of unlikely survivors in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide of the bloody battle.
The Seventh Sword
This epic fantasy series by late, great Canadian speculative fiction author Dave Duncan follows Wallie, a young terminally ill man. After falling asleep in the hospital, Wallie is shocked to awaken in a world he’s never seen before. Stranded in an unfamiliar land, Wallie doesn’t know where he is, who the people around him are, or even if he’s alive—but when he learns the Goddess is in need of a swordsman, he volunteers his services. Each volume in this epic series follows Wallie on his quest to understand how he arrived in this strange new place, and to protect the people he comes to care about from the destructive forces of pure evil.
War in Heaven
War in Heaven is an often-overlooked fantasy thriller that will captivate fans of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia—in fact, Williams was part of the Inkling writer’s group at Oxford with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis themselves. His gripping first novel follows an epic battle between good and evil that begins in the English countryside after the Holy Grail itself is discovered in a church. The legendary relic is stalked by an evil concealed behind the unassuming front of a small-town pharmacy. A book editor, a boy, and a deacon must join forces to prevent their local paranormal struggle from changing the face of the mortal and immortal worlds.
The third book in the thrilling sword and sorcery Book of the Seven Eyes trilogy, Enemy follows the disgraced Draken vae Khellian as he returns to the world of Akrasia. Having lived a life of brutal, bloody misunderstandings, Draken has little patience now that he's returned to the land he was exiled to long ago—and before he can find peace, he has vengeance to exact. A brutal adventure that will grip fans of R.A. Salvatore, Enemy is an unforgettable conclusion to a fantastic fantasy saga.
Songs of Earth and Power
This fantasy duology by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Greg Bear is the story of Michael Perrin, a teenage poet who is transported from Los Angeles to the brutal and beautiful Realm of the Sidhedark after listening to an infamous magical concerto. Michael must adapt quickly to the faerie world in order to survive his new life—and save those he loves when the Infinity Concerto further weakens the boundary between human and faerie lands.
The Sun Wolf and Starhawk Series Books 1–3
This dark fantasy series will thrill readers who crave fantasy stories about female warriors and powerful magic. Notorious mercenary Sun Wolf thrives in a war-torn land, with the aid of his band of marauders and his loyal female first lieutenant Starhawk. In The Ladies of Mandrigyn, the first book in this epic saga, the legendary Sun Wolf is captured by the women of the port city Mandrigyn, and forced to fight against the armies of a greedy, ransacking wizard. With Sun Wolf held captive, Starhawk proves she's as formidable a foe as the legendary mercenary himself.
Three Hearts and Three Lions
Engineer Holger Carlsen is an instrumental player in the Danish resistance against the Nazis. But he soon discovers that his conquests outside of the human world he knows are noteworthy, too. After Hoger is wounded in battle, he wakes up in Middle World, a land of incredible magic. Holger is shocked to learn that in Middle World he's known as Ogier the Dane, a renowned warrior and hero. In this land of dragons, druids, and dreams made real, Holger must rely on his expertise as an engineer to meld science and magic and bring peace to both of his worlds.
One in a series of standalone novels and novellas set in Samuel R. Delany’s fantasy world of Nevèrÿon, Neveryóna centers around the protagonist pryn. Having successfully flown a wild dragon, pryn — a warrior, thief, wanderer, and general jack-of-all trades — finds herself on a series of adventures she never could have anticipated. Her escapades include a quest for a sunken city, and fighting alongside Gorgik the Liberator in Nevèrÿon’s civil war over slavery. From Science Fiction Grand Master Samuel R. Delany, Neveryóna is an exciting and insightful fantasy that explores the nature of language and privilege.
His Majesty's Dragon
His Majesty's Dragon is the first title in a nine-book alternate history series by Nebula Award-winning fantasy author Naomi Novik. The saga follows the profound bond between Captain Lawrence and Temeraire, an impressive, and often controversial, dragon in the Britain's aerial corps.
Before he meets Temeraire, Lawrence is proud of the service he has done the crown in the Napoleonic wars as a captain of the HMS Reliant. When the Reliant successfully seizes a French vessel with precious cargo—a rare dragon egg—Lawrence will do whatever he can to ensure that the dragon is able to serve the corps. When the dragon selects Lawrence as his captain, straight-laced Lawrence abdicates his esteemed post in the Navy for an unprestigious post in the corps.
Throughout the series, Temeraire and Lawrence’s role in the Napoleonic wars takes the unlikely duo across the globe on a series of unforgettable adventures. A perfect fit for fans of dragons and military fantasy, His Majesty’s Dragon is a page-turner of epic proportions.
This tale of a reluctant adventurer who leaves the comfort of his hole in the ground and risks danger beyond the misty mountains is a classic for a reason. In The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again, titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins is convinced by the wizard Gandalf to join a party of dwarves on an adventure to rob the great dragon Smaug, with homebody Bilbo slated to serve as the band’s burglar. Filled with danger, bravery, and unforgettable worlds, The Hobbit is a perfect standalone fantasy read—but is also a great entry novel into the other books in Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, including the incredible fantasy adventure The Lord of the Rings.
Song of the Lioness
Tamora Pierce's debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure, recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. The first book in the Lioness Quartet, as well as the first of many incredible fantasy books set in Pierce's unforgettable world of Tortall, The First Adventure follows young Alanna of Trebon. Alanna disguises herself as a boy and trades places with her twin Thom so that he may study at the convent, and she may train as a knight at the castle of King Roald.
As Alanna struggles to hide her secret from the fellow pages, she encounters skullduggery, staggering magic, and confusing matters of the heart. The First Adventure is just as compulsively readable now as it was 35 years ago—pick it up today and see why Alanna is such a legend, both in the world of Tortall and in the hearts of many fantasy readers.
This post is sponsored by Skyhorse Publishing. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for The Portalist to continue publishing the enchanting stories you love.
Featured image cover art via The Science Fiction Book Club's edition of "His Majesty's Dragon."