Best Fantasy Novels

I love fantasy and science fiction. On this page I have gathered together fascinating novels from the fantasy genre – though many have science fiction aspects to them. 

First up – recently deceased Terry Pratchett. I have devoted a previous blogpost to him, so I will limit myself here with saying that his books are hilarious. 

Dark Eden – biblical fantasy

I just could not put this Fantasy / Scifi novel down. It appeared in our bookshops and has raving reviews listed on the cover.

They’re fully deserved. You’ll find a world in which nothing is as you would expect and yet it’s culture derives from our own. Biblical themes combine with anthropological insights and human observation to give the story just that bit more depth. At the same time this is simply another frontier story – a forbidden frontier this time – and a tale about growing up.

The Twilight Saga: meeting and loving a vampire

The Twilight series has almost as many fans (or perhaps even more) as the Harry Potter series. And now that it is available on film, things are getting hot. Literally – unlike the Harry Potter series, in Twilight the central storyline is not about good versus evil, but about relationships. How do we deal with the imperfections of the ones we love? How do we avoid getting hurt? Do we avoid getting hurt, or is love about taking risks? Bella Swan takes such choices to the next level by falling in love with a vampire…

Harry Potter vs Tolkien (The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings)

Too much has already been said about these two classic sagas, so on a previous version of this page I left it up to my readers. Some of what they said about their preferences and the reasons for them (anonymously, unless otherwise mentioned):

I have tried reading Lord of the Rings and although it is detailed and seems to come to life in front of you, it does not have that “can’t put down” feeling that Harry Potter has. I must say Lord of the Rings is more creative, but at times, rather dull. Harry Potter is the perfect blend of fantasy and reality.

LOTR is in all ways superior to Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series are flat books with an boring system of magic (seriously I still can’t figure out why one wizard can be more powerful than another). They lack any sort of swordplay mass combat or other important fantasy elements. The school is not very detailed, as well as the book in general. Tolkien creates a world, Rowling, a underdeveloped castle. Tolkein’s world is vivacious and full of a unique history. Rowling describes history of magic as the most boring subject. Harry Potter is great for young fantasy readers and it is helpful in adding to the ranks of fantasy fans, but it is just an attention grabber. LOTR is the essentials to any fantasy reader. Sorry Potterwatchers, but their is no comparison.

Tolkien will not be denied, none can attempt to match his skill of writing, to even consider that JK Rowling has half the talent he does is preposterous, all that Rowling has is a capturing story, Tolkien is far superior as a writer. For gods sake he created AN ENTIRE NEW LANGUAGE during the writing of LOTR. Give the man his dues.

Although Lord of the Rings is an essential literary series, responsible for all fantasy themes that followed, I found Tolkien’s story telling a bit arrogant. Harry Potter is something that everyone can enjoy. (Mortira)

Tolkien hands down. no one can write with the artistry and linguistic mastery of the master himself, Tolkien. the power of his language and the language used by his characters make the stories come alive. While Harry Potter has a sense of childlike wonder throughout the books, the LOTR’s sense of wonder transfixes all ages with a sense of the majesty of sacrifice, friendship, and courage.

Harry Potter, LTR was a bit too much like the bible for me. Long and drawn out, and I really couldn’t get lost in it like I can with other books. (ayngel boshemia)

HP is brilliant, but pretty much a copy of LOTR…. forbidden forest = Fangorn, death eaters and dementors are both pretty much ringwraiths and Dumbledore is basically the same person as Gandalf…..

I love both of them, but I guess harry potter is easier to understand and harder to put down. LOTR is a wonderful trilogy but a hard read because of this entire new world of elves, dwarves and hobbits to be very mind boggling. Harry Potter I would recommend for any age, LOTR is I won’t say limited to adults, but to those mature enough to understand and imagine the broadness of which Tolkien creates this world.

Harry potter was a decent series. The story is interesting, and the characters are well written. However, the story is almost one dimensional. There are too many archetypes and cliches in Harry potter for it to come close to LOTR, which is not cliched because it is the original. LOTR is a very deep story, and was one of the original fantasy series. Harry Potter just can’t match its epic feel.

Tolkien will always be my favorite. Both series successfully create a detailed and imaginative world, but I find Lord of the Rings is more inspiring. The quest feels more difficult and terrifying and the characters are more appealing to me.

I can only add: I loved Harry Potter enough to reread it several times. The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are both great, but not so good that I want to revisit the story again and again. Also: Harry Potter has actual women who do things. 

99 Coffins: A Historical Vampire Tale
This is an excellent book if your in for a little history lesson and a lot of gory vampire fun. When you compare this book to others in the same genre you will find it lacks a little of the sexy and steamy scenes.

That’s just fine because the leading lady, Laura Caxton, is the regular kick butt human. No magical powers or insane strength. These vampire are also no porcelain skinned lovelies, they will rip throats out and throw cars. This is an action packed thrill ride that will start in the afternoon and end at 3 AM – in other words: You won’t be able to put this book down once you start reading.

What’s the best fantasy?

What Kind of Fantasy Do You Like?

  • 18% Sexy Vampires
  • 3% Scary Horror
  • 23% Witty Wizards
  • 6% Deviant Demons
  • 0% Wicked(wickedly bad or wickedly amazing) Witches
  • 21% Historical fantasy
  • 29% I like them all!

238 people have voted in this poll.

A Small Favor… Jim Butcher at his best

Small Favor (The Dresden Files, Book 10)

A Brief Review of his best book

The Dresden Files is extraordinary both in content and writing. Followers of this series will agree that Small Favor is in fact a HUGE favor (to the reader).

This installment unravels several of the mysteries that left readers grasping for the nonexistent pages in the earlier books. Harry delves into fierce battles and cocky dialog with new and powerful foes from the past and the present. The faerie court makes an appearance as always, leading Harry in circles and demanding too much. If you thought the coin carrying demons had lost their light, no pun intended, then I assure you Small Favor will correct that misconception.

Jim Butcher’s writing, while it has always been excellent, continues to improve. Small Favor is written in a spell binding style: the words are weaved like incantations. They come together into the late night reading we all love.

Marion Zimmer Bradley (or MZB)

My personal favorite fantasy

I am a huge MZB fan. Her Darkover series especially keeps me spellbound. Darkover is a world where paranormal gifts are normal and called ‘Laran’, her characters face a society where women are supposed to be housebound and men strong and fighting with swords. In that world we find strong women and men living life and facing challenges and transforming themselves.

Witchlight, Ghostlight, Heartlight and Gravelight form a series together with ‘The Inheritor’. Set in the 20th century this series mixes today’s world with a fantasy or occult world view.

Bradley really shows she knows the occult and alternative scene and creates stories that you just can’t put down in that strange but familiar world.

Terry Goodkind, Sword of Truth

Phantom: Chainfire Trilogy, Part 2 (Sword of Truth, Book 10)

I started out reading Phantom. In this book Kahlan Amnell, the main female character, has lost her memory through a spell. But not only she has lost her memory: the whole world, excepting a few people here and there, can’t remember her. Literally. Kahlan has become a phantom, because nobody can even remember seeing her when she’s right in front of their eyes.

Aside from that, her husband Richard has to solve some very complex magical mysteries to save the world from a cruel religious dictatorship.

I think the strength of Terry Goodkind’s books is the original way in which magic works in his world – and the problems magic causes. And in the meantime the people in his fantasy novels come alive: their hopes, dreams, emotions – their mistakes and illusions. And again and again: the limitations of magic. Fascinating.

The fact that I could start reading this series at the end (well, the last but one), shows that Terry Goodkind’s novels don’t HAVE to be read in order. Still, I’m sure there’s lots of nuance I missed by not doing so.

I loved most of the books in the series, but I felt the ending was contrived. 

Holy Smokes (Aisling Grey, Guardian, Book 4)

Katie MacAlister delves deeper into the life of Aisling Grey the Guardian, demon lord, and sexy wife to be of the fiery Drake, the wyvern of the Green dragons.

Aisling has become immersed in the Otherworld while maintaining and strengthening her relationship with Drake but with a marriage ceremony that keeps struggling to hold together, an angry demon overlord, and a sixth class demon with a sarcastic mind will she ever really become a bride? With appearances from our old favorites and letting the green dragons do what they do best this book will burn your hands. The delightfully delicious dreams and the burning power of dragon fire will keep you warm into the very early hours of the morning.

Katie MacAlister wins us over with but one more sexy and smoking novel from her repertoire.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you that this book will singe your fingers.

Ender’s Game – The profound mind of a child

The Ender Quartet Boxed Set: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet)

A Brief Review

Orson Scott Card has been a staple in Sci-Fi and fantasy for years. I would argue that this stems from Ender’s Game.

In hopes to not give away too much I definitely recommend this to any literate adult or teen who wants to learn about themselves and be entertained.

The story of a brilliant child with the world set upon his shoulders. His actions are dictated with logic, emotion, and compulsion. He is the type of child we all strive to be as adults and his endeavors to save the world with only but his mind. The true value of this book is found within every single page as I have learned from the 11 readings I have already done.

Imagine a child with brilliance that is unparalleled among the entire world. He is kind hearted and caring but when pushed his viciousness is terrifying. Then pull this child away from everything he knows and put him in command of several other elite children to battle it out with one another to see who will survive. Those who survive will fight the greatest battle they or anyone has ever known.

Doris Lessing:  Canopus in Argos: Archives

I grew up on my parents’ library, which contained Marion Zimmer Bradley as well as Doris Lessing. I did not like Doris Lessing’s better known books (though I’m currently enjoying her biography very much), but I did love her Canopus in Argos series, which starts with ‘Re: Colonized Planet 5 – Shikasta‘. 

It’s a re-imagining of the history of our planet, from the perspective of a wise race of aliens that guide civilizations, but is thwarted in guiding our own. In light of recent political events, I find that Doris Lessing is once again very relevant. 

This series is somewhere between fantasy and fiction, with elements of both. 

Can anybody tell me: what’s the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

Fantasy has no basis in fact, no possibility of existing, while science fiction has the, if only we were more advanced this could happen scenario, The Kushiel’s Legacy series by Carey is an example of impossible fantasy at its highest level. (Harriet)

I think Science Fiction has a ‘science’ base. Back in the day of Asimov, etc., it really was just far reaching science. Nowadays, with science so far advanced, there’s really no place to go so it’s all been covered under the scifi/fantasy label. Fantasy is more ‘fun’ based, more imagination like ‘if fairies existed’ type of things rather than teleporting to other planets.

Simply put, science fiction is a theory about what something can be in the future (extrapolation) while fantasty originates from myths/legends and lies in the common imaginary. (justholidays)

Difference, what? 😉 I’ve been told that science fiction is supposed to be extrapolated from fact, but I don’t think any of the space opera books out there are heavy on fact, heh. I kind of like the science fantasy stuff that mixes the two and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. (WritingforYourW)

Truly, Science Fiction is a type of Fantasy whereas Fantasy is not a type of Science Fiction. Fantasy then is the Genre and Science Fiction a sub-Genre. Fantasy does not have to involve magic or trolls or elves or anything like that. High Fantasy is set in the Tolkien style with elves, dwarves, man, etc.

Star Wars is a Fantasy and a Science Fiction.

Harry Potter is a Fantasy, if you want you can call it a Modern Fantasy

Lord of the Rings is a Fantasy

Magic and science–only real difference I could ever see between the two. Both of them use a fictional background as a canvas on which to paint human behavior, but fantasy uses magic as the device to force (or allow) us to view human foibles with some distance and objectivity, and science fiction uses science or a futuristic setting to achieve the same objective:-)

For fantasy. it is magic, for scifi, it is – theoretically – science (often undifferentiable from magic by the casual onlooker)…

That’s it.

True, the majority of scifi will have robots and AIs and spaceships, and most fantasy will be mages and dragons – but urban fanatasy vs some kid with telekinesis (which is scifi) can be indistinguishable. McCaffrey’s Pern series, on the face of it alternate-universe fantasy turns out to be gene-splicing, starfaring science fiction.

Some common features – space armour, for example, and laser guns – usually only turn up in one or the other, but they usually have fantastical or science equivalents. Goblins under the bridge are fantasy. Until they’re actually just popping in from an alternate universe in their bridge shaped spaceship. Light sabre or magic sword? The Force? Or mmaaaagggic *wiggles fingers* (FlynntheCat1)

More fantasy novels I liked

  • Spiritual fantasy: The Curse of the Tahiera
    Gillissen created her own world, though heavily using themes from the myths and history of Great Britain. In this world three races of people have lived together for centuries, mixing yet always in conflict. Our main character young ‘Rom’ is of mixe
  • Science fiction inspired by the apocalypse
    End of the world science fiction is a genre in itself. However, some of these novels stay closer to the biblical apocalypse than others. On this page I review a few such novels.
  • Fantasy for teens
Posted on Categories Books, Fantasy and Science Fiction