While his horror thrillers like The Shining and It are classics you couldn’t forget even if you tried, Stephen King's fantasy books should also not be overlooked.
Known for complex worlds, clever and captivating characters, and mesmerizing storylines, King is a wizard in the dark fantasy genre. He's written both standalone novels and epic series, with characters that often cross over from one work to another.
Read through the list below to discover exceptional fantasy worlds, from the mind of literary giant Stephen King.
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (Revised 2003)
The first novel in an epic series, The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger follows Roland of Gilead, the last remaining gunslinger.
In a barren world eerily reminiscent of our own, Roland sets out after his archenemy, The Man in Black. Tracking The Man in Black across the desert, Roland begins his quest toward the Dark Tower, a nexus to all universes. Despite its power, the Dark Tower is deteriorating, putting quite literally everything in jeopardy.
With a total of eight books in the main series, plus one companion novel and several short stories, The Dark Tower Series is as expansive as it is intricate. It will continue to transport you with each fully-imagined novel.
In Elevation, Scott Carey suffers from a mysterious affliction.
He is losing body fat rapidly, and yet inexplicably weighs the same, regardless of what he wears. Simultaneously, Scott becomes embroiled in a small-town controversy about a lesbian couple who are new in town. While the couple butt heads with Scott, they also struggle to open a restaurant, given the prejudice of Castle Rock locals.
Scott’s puzzling health concerns, the neighborhood rivalry, and Castle Rock's intolerance all fit together in an ultimately uplifting tale that verges on magical realism.
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The Eyes of the Dragon
Elaborate and mystical, The Eyes of the Dragon centers on two royal brothers embroiled in conflict.
Despite being heir to the throne in the Kingdom of Delain, Peter finds himself betrayed, usurped, and framed for his father’s murder – at the hands of his own brother, Thomas.
Imprisoned in a tower, Peter hatches a years-long plan to escape his prison and confront the sorcerer behind Thomas’ takeover.
Filled with adventure, dark magic, and darker secrets that connect this novel to the Dark Tower mythos, The Eyes of the Dragon is a must-read Stephen King fantasy.
Following his wife’s death, Ralph Roberts has become an insomniac, increasingly unable to get any shut eye.
Having given up on sleep, Ralph wanders the town each night, seeing absurd visions. Ribbons pour from peoples’ heads. Dwarves scurry around.
Though his visions at first seem beyond belief, Ralph and his friend Lois Chasse soon find themselves wrapped up in an extraordinary set of events that extends far beyond the dreary happenings of Derry, Maine.
Young Jack Sawyer embarks on a journey from coast to coast across the U.S. to find a talisman to save his dying mother.
But his search for the talisman ends up taking him to an entirely different universe called the Territories.
In the medieval surroundings of the Territories, Jack discovers parallel versions of people he was familiar with in his ordinary world, referred to as “twinners.” His mother’s “twinner” is the Queen of the Territories – and she is ailing, too.
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Both a sequel to The Talisman and closely tied The Dark Tower Series, Black House is a deeply-layered and entirely entrancing read for Stephen King fantasy fans.
In Black House, Jack Sawyer is now a thirty-year-old former police officer living in Wisconsin. Unaware of his journey as a boy to the Territories to save his mother, he is called upon to solve a string of child murders.
But to save the next child, Jack must recall his earlier journey to the mystical parallel universe.
Fleeing from a mishap at a biological weapons facility, one man became patient zero of a rapidly-mutating infection that ravaged the global population.
Those left alive its wake coalesced around two leaders. The weak and corrupted were pulled toward the dark man in Las Vegas. The others choose to follow an elder in Boulder.
Having been warned that their time will come, the good, gathered in Boulder, must fight the evil, in a battle with everything on the line.
Set in Appalachia, in a town dependent on the women’s prison it houses, Sleeping Beauties tells a creepy, entrancing, and mysterious tale.
When women sleep, they become cocooned in gauze as their minds are transported to another world. To wake them is to risk their violent wrath. And as they sleep, men are left alone to fend for themselves.
But one woman, Evie, is unaffected by the sleeping disease. Her peculiarities raise questions and suspicions, in a story written in collaboration between Stephen King and his son, Owen King.
After a series of crises befall him, Edgar Freemantel moves to Duma Key in Florida and finds a passion for painting. Painting complex and vivid pieces, Edgar falls into the ease of life on Duma Key, befriending Wireman and Elizabeth Eastlake.
But a dark secret from Elizabeth’s past and something sinister in Edgar’s paintings converge with the supernatural, as the gang of friends must fight an evil being named Perse.