Immerse yourself in another world with our fantasy book recommendations.
"Take a giant step back and you can’t help but notice that the greater part of all human literature is fantasy"
—Lev Grossman discussing his choices of the best fantasy of the last century.
Our selections include the classic fantasies of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as well as some more recent authors like George R.R. Martin, (Game of Thrones), Neil Gaiman (Norse Mythology, American Gods), Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell), China Miéville (The City & the City) and Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials).
If you prefer where the boundaries between the enchanting and the everyday blur, embark on a journey into the captivating realm of enchantment with magical realism books.
Discover the most recent books with our list of the best fantasy books of 2023.
We tell ourselves fantastical stories to account for all that cannot be explained, says Seanan McGuire, the multi-award winning author of the October Daye, InCryptid, and Indexing series. Here, she selects five of the best urban fantasy books—fabulous novels that help us find the magical in the mundane.
What makes fantasy worlds so ripe for comedy? Hugo nominee Travis Baldree points toward our shared humanity, our love of anti-heros, and the power of back-to-front archetypes. He recommends the five best fantastical adventures to get us laughing – mostly at ourselves.
The best kind of love involves supporting each other in battle with magical beings, says bestselling fantasy author Valerie Valdes. She recommends the five best fantasies where the couples that spar together star together.
There’s nothing better than discovering an exciting new writer at exactly the moment they break onto the scene. Here novelist Yume Kitasei recommends brand new sci-fi and fantasy (SFF) novels by debut authors coming out in 2023.
Visionary storytelling, or fantasy, is part of our cultural DNA. Far from being simply fantastical or facile, we can use the fantasy realm as a testing ground for important ideas, argues Brian Attebery, a leading scholar of the genre. He talks us through five key works that demonstrate fantasy’s many uses, from 1922 through 2010.
Fantasy inspired by West Africa is taking the literary scene for teens and young adults by storm. These books have strong world-building and all the usual fantasy ingredients. At the same time, drawing on rich seams of mythology and magical traditions such as juju, they bring something entirely fresh to the genre. Author Efua Traoré talks us through her pick of West African fantasy novels for teenagers.
Fantasy writers often create vivid, intricately detailed worlds in which their stories unfold. Rich mythmaking of this kind often features alternative religions, languages and cultures, and is known among fans and scholars as ‘mythopoeia’. Here, Samantha Shannon—author of the internationally bestselling The Bone Season sequence—recommends five of the best mythopoeic fantasy books.
We’re living through a golden age for fantasy fiction, says the author of The Magicians. Here, he tells us what makes for a good fantasy novel, and who’s staking out the future not just of fantasy but of fiction as a whole.
In his latest book, fans from around the world chose which of Neil Gaiman’s writings they liked the best, a great introduction to his writing for anyone not familiar with his work. Here the prolific, genre-bending author recommends some of his own favourite books: comfort reads to turn to in difficult times.
Fantasy novels, with their limitless scope for possibility, appeal to children with vivid imaginations. Here 14-year-old Zoe, who lives in the US and is a big fan of the genre, recommends her current favourites.
Award-winning author Philip Reeve talks us through the science fiction and fantasy books that shaped him and his work in profound ways; among indubitable classics are vibrant lesser-known works awaiting discovery.
The Romanian-born poet tells us about his love for fantastic and magical tales – particularly bloody ones with cannibalism, necrophilia and alienated heroes.
Ken Liu, the multi-award winning author of The Paper Menagerie, explains how using elements of fantasy and science fiction can help us examine deep truths about the human condition, as he recommends the best of contemporary speculative fiction.
From wizards to alchemy and fairies to folklore, Cressida Cowell reveals the magical stories that were most important to her as a child (and which she now delights in sharing with her own children), and her own inspirations for writing about magic and magical worlds today.
Alan Lee, illustrator of such classics as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, talks to Five Books about his favourite stories drawn from myth and fairy tale, what they mean to him, and how important it is for young readers today to experience these ancient stories.