25 Books For The Fantasy Newbie

I’m known as the “fantasy” girl in my book club because I devour fantasy books like no other. It’s always been my favorite genre. I’ve noticed a lot of hesitance in the blogging community when it comes to fantasy stories. Sometimes the reason is the length, sometimes it’s because so many fantasy stories are series, and other times it seems to be because of a worry that the reader won’t be able to get into a fantasy world. Well, I’m here with a list of stories that are guaranteed to make you fall in love with all kinds of made-up worlds. All the books listed below are epic and wonderful and my own personal favorites. Don’t forget to look up the authors’ backlists, too.

PS. Looking for more reading recommendations? Check out my post on 25 Standalone Books To Read After Series Burnout.

25 books for the fantasy newbie

1. Alanna: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce | Goodreads

2. The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale | Goodreads

3. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones | Goodreads

4. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas | Goodreads

5. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner | Goodreads

6. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads

7. Fly by Night, Frances Hardinge | Goodreads

8. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin | Goodreads

9. Cold Magic, Kate Elliott | Goodreads

10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson | Goodreads

11. Dealing with Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede | Goodreads

12. The City in the Lake, Rachel Neumeier | Goodreads

13. Sabriel, Garth Nix | Goodreads

14. Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier | Goodreads

15. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente | Goodreads

16. The Demon King, Cinda Williams Chima | Goodreads

17. Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta | Goodreads

18. The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley | Goodreads

19. Summers at Castle Auburn, Sharon Shinn | Goodreads

20. Crown Duel, Sherwood Smith | Goodreads

21. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine | Goodreads

22. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, Alison Goodman | Goodreads

23. The Emerald Atlas, John StephensGoodreads

24. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman | Goodreads

25. Over Sea, Under Stone, Susan Cooper | Goodreads

Are you an avid fantasy reader? Have any recommendations? Leave them in the comments!


33 thoughts on “25 Books For The Fantasy Newbie

  1. This was amazing! I’m not huge on fantasy but I’ve been trying to expand my horizons. I love contemp romance so out of these can you tell me which is the most swoon worthy? Or can you recommend me some really swoony fantasy books? I will more than likely start with some of those. Thanks for all the recs!

      1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Daughter of the Forest! Anything by Juliet Marillier is amazing!! Also try “Heart’s Blood” by her

  2. Aaaaah! This is a fantastic list! This comment is going to be pretty huge, I apologise in advance.

    Alanna – YES. Alanna was the one that sealed the deal for me. Shadow and Bone – I personally like the second book better – but Leigh Bardugo is easily one of my favourite authors and I doubt anybody that reads her work won’t be gasping for more at the end of it.

    Fly By Night – is so completely underrated! I am in LOVE with Mosca and Saracen – have you read the sequel? Frances Hardinge just gets better and better.

    His Dark Materials and the Abhorsen trilogy – a YA Fantasy Diet is incomplete without them. 🙂

    I loved the first installment of Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom – Mister Monday. It started to go downhill after, but that first book? Wow.

    I’d add Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina to my list, as well as Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy. Graceling and Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld trilogy, too. Have you read those? 🙂

  3. I don’t really read many fantasy books, but I think I might start. I’m really interested in reading Shadow and Bone, it sounds really good. Thanks for the list! 🙂

  4. Great list. Some I’ve read, others I haven’t and some are on my to-read list. Glad to see Howl’s Moving Castle on your list. It’s one of my all time favorite books and Diana Wynne Jones is a wonderful author.

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  6. So glad to see someone else loved Finnikin of the Rock and put it on a list of great YA fantasy! Melina Marchetta is my favorite author and that series is just fantastic!

  7. This is seriously basically a list of my favourite books hahaha. I’ve loved every book on here that I’ve read (and I’ve only not read a few of these). Ahhhhh I love feeling vindicated about my opinion on things I love! (Well, and don’t love, but it’s a bit nicer with things you love)

  8. Most of these I haven’t read yet. The Blue Sword was one of Robin McKinley’s that I found VERY hard to get into. Very dry. Its prequel, The Hero and the Crown, I found much more readable and compelling. Some suggestions for you and other readers: In the Forests of Serre, by Patricia McKillip, and Engine Summer, by John Crowley. In fact, everything I’ve read by these two authors, I’ve loved. Engine Summer may also qualify as speculative fiction, or post-Apocalyptic. There isn’t any magic, per se, and I think that’s what makes a book fantasy? But please give it a try!

  9. Reblogged this on allthingswordy and commented:
    If you feel curious about the fantasy genre – or want to do a little armchair travelling – then check out this fantasy-themed reading list. I’m pretty sure that you’ll find some gems in this.

  10. Please, don’t recommend Kate Elliott. If a reader really wants painstaking, repetitive, irrelevant worldbuilding details, they can find Elliott and Modisett on their own. But just one of those turgid tomes could put a reader off fantasy for life.

    Replace that with Dreamhunter (and Dreamquake) by Elizabeth Knox. Lovely writing about an alternate colonial New Zealand where crossing over to the other land is right there and everyone knows about it.

    Thanks for including “Summers at Castle Auburn”. That is a seriously underrated book and a delight for new readers. It takes a big list of fairy tale tropes and turns every one on its pointy little head while telling an engaging story.

    “Alanna” is OK, but Tamora Pierce has some lazy writing habits, with Mary Sue characters and gods stepping in when the plot gets stuck. The Circle of Magic books avoid both of those and are her best work.

    “Crown Duel” is another little known great work. You need to have “Court Duel” ready to hand to finish the story. Her Wren series is excellent for middle-grade readers.

    I’m one of the rare people who dislike “The Golden Compass”. It has a very heavy Hand Of The Author pushing the characters around and the hatred of organized religion is a miasma over the story. If it was about Jews instead of not-quite Catholics, it would be filed with “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

    It is hard to go wrong with Diana Wynn Jones. She was a treasure.

  11. I loved the goose girl, it’s one of my favorites! I would also suggest the land of stories by Chris Colfer and Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I also recently read the 1st book of the iron trails by holly black and Cassandra Claire, it was great!:)

  12. Have you ever read Shannon Mayer’s The Rylee Adamson Novels or The Elemental Series? She has some romances and suspense novels as well, but those are her best sellers. Sensational. Here’s the link to the book trailer for Rylee: https://youtu.be/7qkt8R0_R-U

  13. I’m presently in the middle of The Book of Deacon Anthology by Joseph R. Lallo.I found the first book on BookBub for free, but had to keep going! Don’t even know if it’s available in hard copy, but I recommend you seek it out as an e-book if you’re looking for an engaging story with tons of magic and unique characters.

  14. These books seem really interesting. More to add to my to read list.
    One more series to add to your list is The Belgariad, and its sequel series The Mallorean, both by David Eddings.
    It’s a very engaging high Fantasy sort of world. The whole world is really detailed and the different cultures and politics in this land are so detailed! And the best part is, it’s really funny!
    I’d highly recommend it. Really. I’ve read both series about four times each, and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

  15. Anything by Tanya Huff, the Dresden series by Jim Butcher, Simon Green’s Darkside series and the Drood series, Terry Brooks Shannara series.

  16. I have so many favorites. I’ll try to name a few I haven’t seen listed.
    Larry Correia-Monster Hunter Int’l
    Ilona Andrews-Magic Bleeds
    Richard Kadrey-Sandman Slim
    Karen M. Moning-Darkfever
    Simon Green-Something from the Darkside
    Ann Aguirre-Grimspace

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