The topic of the best fantasy books of all time is hotly debated and highly subjective, so we won’t be listing them here. Instead, we’ll assume you’ve already read classics like Lord of the Rings and The Once and Future King and introduce you to five magical titles you may not have heard of:
1. Daughter of Smoke & Boneby Laini Taylor
2. The Way of Kingsby Brandon Sanderson
3. The Never Tilting Worldby Rin Chupeko
4. A Song of Wraiths and Ruinby Roseanne A Brown
5. The Lies of Locke Lamoraby Scott Lynch
Check out the synopses of these lesser-known fantasy gems below. We’re sure you’ll be adding them to your reading pile in no time.
1. Daughter of Smoke & Bone
In Daughter of Smoke & Bone, we meet Karou, a blue-haired art student living in Prague. Karou has a double life: When she’s not drawing monsters or hanging out with her best friend Zuzana at her favorite death-themed café, she’s running dangerous errands for Brimstone, a creature she considers the closest thing to a father.
When Karou meets the alien warrior Akiva, she begins to learn the truth about herself.
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2. The Way of Kings
This 1000-page tome is set on the harsh, war-torn planet of Roshar. This book is a must-read for fans of complex and imaginative world-building. Sanderson’s “cosmere” has multiple magic systems and its own mythology, religions, and sweeping history.
The plot combines the narratives of four main characters—a slave, a prophet, a soldier, and an artist—who each play a role in the ever-expanding story of Roshar.
This is the first book in The Stormlight Archives series. If you like it (and we think you will), you can look forward to several thousand pages of sequels.
3. The Never Tilting World
One half of the planet Aeon is frozen in endless night; the other is ravaged by relentless heat. The young goddesses Odessa and Haidee are tasked with healing their broken world.
This epic tale is told in first person from four perspectives, with each narrator having grown up believing a different version of how Aeon became split. The comparison with our own planet’s plight is inescapable. The story is action-packed and atmospheric, told in fresh prose, with wonderfully satisfying twists.
The Never Tilting World deals with some heavy themes, including mental health and physical abuse. It also contains some pretty violent fight scenes, so it’s not for the faint-hearted.
4. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Inspired by African folklore, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin tells the story of Malik, a desperate refugee whose sister has been kidnapped, and Crown Princess Karina. Malik enters the Solstasia contest to kill the princess to save his sister, but Malik and Karina are drawn to each other despite their murderous course.
Set in a complex, magical world that even has its own zodiac signs, this complicated story explores themes of class prejudice, racism, and crippling real-world fears.
5. The Lies of Locke Lamora
In the mystical island city of Camorr, orphan Locke Lamora joins a gang of thieves known as the Gentlemen Bastards. The brilliant crook soon becomes the city’s most wanted criminal, making dangerous, powerful enemies in the process.
Lynch’s vivid, exotic world-building, irresistibly devious characters, and witty dialog are sure to keep you turning the pages of this underworld gangland tale. A word of warning: while many fantasy books are aimed at teen readers, this one is definitely for adults only. Parts of the book are a bit gruesome, and there’s a lot of swearing.
Hopefully, you enjoy these lesser-known fantasy books as much as we did. And if you manage to stop reading long enough to do any writing of your own, don’t forget that our proofreaders are available 24/7 to check your work for errors. Why not send us 500 words to proofread for free today?