Love fantasy, but can't convince your book club to read anything from the genre? I have 13 great
fantasy novels you can use to get your friends reading tales of swords and sorcery, magic and mayhem, so keep reading to find a book that's right for your next book club selection.
In the event that you have come to this article looking to find your first fantasy novel, allow me to welcome you into the fold. With dozens of subgenres and countless tropes, fantasy holds something for every reader, and I'm happy to help you find the book that's right for you.
There are so many
subgenres hanging out underneath the "fantasy" umbrella, and so unfortunately not all of them are represented in the list below. Although this list is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to choosing your first fantasy novel, I have endeavored to pull books from across the genre. Below, you will find a few classic novels some die-hard fans may recognize, along with several young adult titles and more recent additions to the fantasy bookshelf.
If I did not include
your first or favorite fantasy novel here, be sure to share it with me and our fellow book-lovers on Twitter! Here are the 13 fantasy novels that I think are perfect for introducing your book club to the genre.
'Crown Duel' by Sherwood Smith
Meliara and Bran have just inherited their father's country, which has fallen under the watchful eye of a greedy, backstabbing king. The new nobles mount an uphill battle to protect their people, but Mel's ferocity cannot match the power of the king's armies.
Crown Duel was originally published in two volumes, Crown Duel and Court Duel, but these have since been combined into a single edition. Click here to buy.
'The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' by N.K. Jemisin
Yeine Darr has always been ostracized from the city of Sky, simply because her parents were in an interracial relationship. When she learns that she is the heir to the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Yeine finds herself pitched into a fight for the throne against two new cousins.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy. Click here to buy.
'Sing the Four Quarters' by Tanya Huff
Annice renounced her claim to the throne when she left to study magic at the Bardic Hall, but 10 years after that fateful decision, she finds herself fleeing her former family on charges of treason, which have been brought against her for one reason: she is pregnant.
Sing the Four Quarters is the first of the Quarters novels. Click here to buy.
'A Taste of Honey' by Kai Ashante Wilson
In line to become the top animal handler for the royals of Olorum, Aqib falls in love with Lucrio, a visiting soldier from Daluça. But their relationship is forbidden in Olorum, and running away together as part of a whirlwind romance is a tad frightening, to say the least.
A Taste of Honey is a standalone novel from The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps author Kai Ashante Wilson. Click here to buy.
'His Majesty's Dragon' by Naomi Novik
This historical fantasy novel set during the Napoleonic Wars swaps out airships for talking dragons, and yes, it's just as amazing as it sounds. Captain Will Laurence accidentally bonds with a captured dragon, Temeraire, and is quickly sent through the ringer to learn how to pilot the creature in battle.
His Majesty's Dragon is the first installment of a series that just wrapped up with League of Dragons in 2016. Click here to buy.
Sabriel's father is the Abhorsen, the Old Kingdom's necromancer, but she has grown up on the other side of the wall, in Ancelstierre, where magic holds much less sway. But when her father disappears, Sabriel must travel into the Old Kingdom, take up his bandolier of bells, and follow after him.
Sabriel is the first book in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy. Click here to buy.
'Akata Witch' by Nnedi Okorafor
Being American-born and an albino, 12-year-old Sunny struggles to fit in with the other children in her new hometown of Alba, Nigeria. But a heroic encounter with classmate Orlu reveals that Sunny might be a Leopard: one of a secret society of people born with magical abilities.
Akata Witch was followed by a sequel, Akata Warrior, in 2017. Click here to buy.
'Borderline' by Mishell Baker
After surviving a suicide attempt, filmmaker Millie begins the long process of adjusting to life as an unemployed, double amputee. Then the Arcadia Project shows up, offering her a job as part of its effort to patrol the border between the human and fey realms. Her first job involves tracking down a missing noble in Hollywood, but any slip-up could start a war in both worlds.
Borderlines is the first installment of The Arcadia Project series. Click here to buy.
'The Devourers' by Indra Das
In search of a good story, Alok agrees to gather documents that tell a fantastic story of the werewolves who once lived alongside humans in Mughal India.
The Devourers is Indra Das' debut novel. Click here to buy.
'Sorcerer to the Crown' by Zen Cho
Set during an alternate Regency period,
Sorcerer to the Crown follows Zacharias, a former slave and current Sorcerer Royal, who sets out to investigate why Britain's reserve of magic is going dry. Sorcerer to the Crown is the first of three books in Zen Cho's Sorcerer Royal series. Click here to buy.
'Fire Logic' by Laurie J. Marks
After the witch who protected their land dies without leaving an heir, the Shaftali find themselves occupied by the Sainnites. Weakened, but not broken, Shaftali fighters Zanja, Karis, and Emil band together to save their world and overthrow the invading armies.
Fire Logic is the first of Laurie J. Marks' Elemental Logic series. Click here to buy.
'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne Jones
The basis for the Studio Ghibli film of the same name,
Howl's Moving Castle centers on Sophie, an eldest daughter destined to a terrible fate by the laws of her fairytale world. After she unwittingly offends a powerful witch, Sophie is transformed into an old woman, and must make a pact with the Wizard Howl if she ever wants to return to normal. Howl's Moving Castle is the first book in the series of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. Click here to buy.
'The Book of Three' by Lloyd Alexander
Based on the Welsh Mabinogion,
The Book of Three begins the story of Taran, an assistant pig-keeper whose job it is to care for the oracular pig Hen Wen. But when Hen Wen disappears, Taran sets forth on his first-ever adventure to bring her home. The Book of Three is the first book in Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. Click here to buy.