Did you know that about 200 new books are published on the German-speaking market every day? 5% of these are fantasy titles. Even the biggest fantasy freak can’t read them all, because that would still be ten books a day! To help you choose, and to show you which fantasy titles are really worth your while, here are our top 100 best fantasy novels of all time. You can be curious!
1. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The title character Alice, while her sister is reading to her, out of curiosity follows a talking white rabbit, equipped with a pocket watch, into its burrow and falls not only down into a room with many doors, but also out of time and space, as it were, into the world of fantasy. Because behind the doors, in a realm called Wonderland, quite abstruse characters cavort, for example, the Cheshire Cat or the Mad Hatter. The characters Alice meets are not only crazy but also not very scary. She meets the King of Hearts, who would like to decapitate someone. In addition, flamingos are used as rackets and hedgehogs as balls in the game of croquet. It’s good that in the end, everything turns out to be a dream – Alice wakes up lying next to her sister.
What makes “Alice in Wonderland” special is that the protagonist’s height is a major theme. At first, she is too big to enter Wonderland and has to be shrunk first. Today, doctors use the term Alice in Wonderland Syndrome to describe a perceptual disorder in which those affected perceive themselves, others, or their surroundings as enlarged or diminished.
2. Song of Ice and Fire 01. The Lords of Winterfell – George R.R. Martin
The Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark, lives with his family in the northern kingdom of Westeros. Winters are cold there and can last for decades. Eddard is to become his king’s closest confidant and must now choose a deputy to rule Winterfell. The choice falls on his heir Robb. But besides his bastard son Jon, there are plenty of powerful enemies who make life difficult for Eddard and his large family. And suddenly not only the future of Winterfell is endangered, but also the kingdom of Westeros threatens to perish.
With “The Lords of Winterfell,” Martin succeeded in kicking off the global success of the “Game of Thrones” series. The associated television series caused a huge sensation worldwide.
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Joanne K. Rowling
The orphan Harry Potter receives an invitation to the Hogwarts boarding school on his eleventh birthday. Even before that, Harry suspected that he was not an ordinary boy, because the strangest things kept happening around him. The family of his aunt, with whom Harry grows up after the death of his parents, has concealed from him that he has magical abilities. For she belongs to the “Muggles”, that is, people without any magical talent. At Hogwarts, however, Harry’s real-world opens up, and as a first-grader, in magic, he learns to wield a wand and a flying broom and meets truly legendary characters.
Harry Potter also shows that in every boy, no matter how much he is belittled by others, there is something unique lying dormant.
4. The Little Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien
The hobbits populating Middle Earth are peaceful dwarf creatures. They could also be described as a little lazy and unadventurous. When Bilbo Baggins is about to retire, he is asked by the wizard Gandalf to help in the fight against the dragon Smaug. This one is said to have stolen the treasure from Gandalf’s retinue.
In the end, Bilbo captures a ring, which is passed on to his nephew Frodo. Thus, “The Little Hobbit” is to be understood as the origin story of the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”, which nevertheless stands alone.
5. The Lord of the Rings. Part One: The Fellowship – J.R.R. Tolkien
In the first book of his trilogy, Tolkien develops around his heroes, the hobbits, a struggle of good against evil. The magic ring, around which everything in the story revolves, must be protected at all costs from falling into the wrong hands. That’s why Frodo is supposed to destroy him in the Doom Gap.
The immersion in Middle Earth is great fun and getting to know the characters of the hobbits is a science in itself.
6. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
The boy Bastian reads in amazement a book about land fantasies. Before he knows it, he himself becomes part of the action, flying with the dragon Falkor and the warrior boy Atreyu through the realm that threatens to be destroyed by “nothingness”. The Childlike Empress has charged Atreyu with saving Fantasia. Along the way, the young warrior also tries to save the Childlike Empress, who is suffering from an unknown disease.
At the beginning of the book, Bastian feels misunderstood and neglected by his father. After he returns to the real world, he tells him about his experiences, and the two become closer.
7. Conversation with a Vampire – Anne Rice
The first part of the “Chronicle of the Vampires” tells the story of how young Louis, at the end of the 18th century, meets a vampire. He becomes a vampire in the early twentieth century. His teacher Lestat introduces him to the world of the undead, but he also puts a lot of pressure on him. With Claudia Louis, therefore, tries to kill Lestat, which does not succeed. In the end, the two have to flee from the American southern states to Europe.
Special about this vampire novel is the speed with which the story is told. The tension can hardly be increased!
8. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Marco and Celia become a couple and are infinitely in love with each other. But even more than their feelings they should follow family ties. Both fathers are powerful magicians, but they are at enmity with each other.
In their world, the Night Circus, everything is either black or white. The environment as well as the feelings of others. The suspense of the book is whether both of them will be able to hold their own against this.
9. Grim Reaper – Terry Pratchett
Even death needs a vacation. Therefore, his apprentice Mort must serve as his substitute. However, Mort has his hands full with the procedures surrounding the demise. Especially honorable personalities such as kings or wizards must be visited by the Grim Reaper himself before their last hour strikes. When Mort falls in love with the beautiful Princess Keli, he neglects his duties and refuses to kill her. But in doing so, he completely upsets the structure of the Discworld, where the story is set and gets Death into the biggest trouble.
Rarely has dying been written about so humorously as by Terry Pratchett. “Death” is, therefore, a wonderful introduction to Pratchett’s Discworld, which forms its own cosmos of fantasy literature.
10. Guardians of the Night – Sergei Lukianenko
They are the so titled Others: Vampires, witches, mages, and changelings. Unrecognized, they live in Moscow in the midst of the Guardians of Darkness and the Guardians of Light. These two groups are at war with each other, an agreement that has been in place for ages has so far prevented war and escalation. But now the balance between the two secret societies threatens to tip and turn Moscow into a theater of war.
The book is a successful mixture of fantasy novels and horror narratives, which combines the best of both genres.
11. The Dwarves – Markus Heitz
Tungdil, a journeyman blacksmith, is an extraordinary dwarf. Together with the best comrades of his guild, he wants to forge the Blade of Fire and, with its help, free the world from evil in the end. In the process, he proves himself immortal, which is a big plus in the fight against dark forces, Albae, and false friends who turn out to be traitors.
Markus Heitz’s dwarves touch the reader’s heart, because here, for once, the smallest becomes the greatest.
12. The Name of the Wind: The Kingslayer Chronicle. First day – Patrick Rothfuss
Kvothe is now a very well-known wizard in his world. As a young man, however, he had first devoted himself to music. It’s no wonder because he comes from a family of minstrels. Since his parents were murdered, he tries to find their murderer and risks his life for it. At the University for Magicians, he then learns the art of the name spell and hopes to get behind all the secrets and finally catch the perpetrators.
The story is set in a medieval fantasy world and Rothfuss describes it so well that you can feel, see and smell the Middle Ages.
13. The King of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
“The King of Narnia” is the prelude to the series “The Chronicles of Narnia”. During World War II, siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent away from London to the village for protection from air raids. They live there with an old professor who has a mystical closet: whoever steps through it lands in Narnia where giants and dwarfs, talking animals, nymphs, and other fairy tale characters are up to mischief.
For children and young people, the Chronicles are simply exciting and fairy-tale stories. Adults often see the Christian background in it and can test their bible strength.
14. Eragon Part 1. The Legacy of the Dragon Riders – Christopher Paolini
The teenage orphan boy Eragon one day finds a blue stone, as he believes. The blue something, however, is actually a dragon egg from which a small dragon soon hatches. From now on Eragon is a dragon rider and suddenly finds himself in a world full of elves and monsters and is supposed to fight evil there. But Eragon is not alone, for his dragon Saphira will not leave his side…
The Eragon tetralogy is a truly heroic story, especially suitable for young readers. The author himself was only 15 years old when he started writing Eragon, and thus captures the tone of youth.
15. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
Lyra’s home is Oxford, where she lives in a college and is visited by her uncle Asriel. He’s a strange rascal and wants to find backers in Oxford for an expedition to the far north. That alone would not be strange: however, Asriel firmly believes in finding a fantastic world there. Shortly after he leaves again, the children suddenly disappear. When Lyra’s best friend also disappears, she travels after Asriel and actually meets a bridge to the other world in the north.
The trilogy “The Golden Compass” creates a unique parallel world that closely examines religious traditions and is therefore not uncontroversial among conservative Christians.
16. The elves – Bernhard Hennen
Albenmark is protected from the human world by a gateway. Here live the elves with their queen Emerelle. However, Emerelle’s kingdom is threatened and she appoints Farodin and Nuramon as the kingdom’s saviors. They have to travel through different ages and worlds and Emerelle almost forgot one thing: the two of them are warriors, but above all they are rivals. One, as well as the other, vie for the favor of sorceress Noroelle.
Whoever gets involved with this book would do well to read Hennen’s other elf novels as well, since the plot is mixed and intertwined. Understandably, the first part presented here is also standalone.
17. The Sword of Truth 1: The First Law of Magic – Terry Goodkind
The series “Sword of Truth” has eleven parts. In the first volume, Richard the ranger rescues a young woman who is being pursued. From then on his life is to change completely, because the rescued girl comes from a magical realm, which threatens to be pushed into misfortune by the wizard Darken Rahl.
If you like accurate and entertaining character drawings and also have a thing for romance, this is the book for you.
18. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
Goldman tells the story of the beautiful buttercup. The stable boy Westley is very much in love with Buttercup, but with Prince Humperdinck, there is an adversary who makes their life difficult. In addition, there is everything the fantasy heart desires: good and evil, princes and princesses, miracles and kidnappings, giants, trolls, fairies, and all the rest of the staffage.
The most interesting thing about this book, however, is that the author has not created a standard novel, but a story within the story, so to speak, and as a commentator, he repeatedly addresses the audience himself.
19. The Rebel. The Black Mages Guild 01 – Trudi Canavan
Sonea is a streetwalker living in the city of Imardin. She is not recognized by the mages’ guild. Out of rage, she injures a wizard who until then was considered invulnerable. Only now do the mages become aware of Sonea. Above all, they are afraid that without proper guidance she will not be able to control her magical powers and may cause mischief with them.
The novels about Sonea are real page-turners. Trudi Canavan always manages to surprise her readers with unexpected twists and turns, making it a pleasure to read her books in one go.
20. The heritage of the elves. The Witcher Saga 01 – Andrej Sapowski
In a world shaken by war and crisis, it seems that everyone is fighting everyone else. Sorcerers are the most neutral people in this world, fighting for good. The sorcerer Geralt of Riva finds Cirilla, who is apparently the heiress to the throne of the kingdom. He keeps them hidden to protect them, but soon they are being searched for.
The Witcher saga is so good, it’s been made into a movie for Netflix. Witcher fans should also be captivated by Sapowski’s books.
Places 21-100 of the best fantasy books of all time:
|Place:||Novel:||Author:||Link to book:|
|21.||The Way of Kings||Brandon Sanderson|
|22.||The Name of the Wind||Patrick Rothfuss|
|23.||Who fears death||Nnedi Okorafor|
|24.||The Bear and the Nightingale||Katherine Arden|
|25.||The Time Thief||Terry Pratchett|
|26.||The wheel of time||Robert Jordan|
|27.||Servants of the ancient power: novel||Robin Hobb|
|28.||The whisper of the night||Peter V. Brett|
|29.||The daughter of the woods||Juliet Marillier|
|30.||Princess Academy, Volume 1: Miri’s Gift||Shannon Hale|
|31.||The Fear of the Wise||Patrick Rothfuss|
|32.||Souls of the Night||Deborah Harkness|
|33.||The King at Camelot||T. H. White|
|34.||The dark heart of the forest||Naomi Novik|
|35.||Elias & Laia – The Reign of the Masks||Sabaa Tahir|
|36.||Storm Sounds||Brandon Sanderson|
|37.||Belgariad – The Companions||David Eddings|
|38.||Children of the mist||Brandon Sanderson|
|39.||All the birds under the sky||Charlie Jane Anders|
|40.||Song of the crows||Leigh Bardugo|
|41.||Brood of dragons||Naomi Novik|
|42.||Blades of Fire||Joe Abercrombie|
|43.||Yelena and the Magician of the South||Mary V. Snyder|
|44.||Prince of darkness||Mark Lawrence|
|45.||Down by the river||Richard Adams|
|46.||The Black Mages Guild – The Rebel||Trudi Canavan|
|48.||The Stand||Stephen King|
|49.||Dragon Riders of Pern||Anne McCaffrey|
|50.||The Legend||David Gemmell|
|51.||The eyes of the dragon||Stephen King|
|52.||The Lies of Locke Lamora||Scott Lynch|
|53.||The City of a Thousand Stairs||Robert Jackson Bennett|
|54.||Black prism||Brent Weeks|
|55.||In the shadow of the sky||Guy Gavriel Kay|
|56.||The recipient||Kristin Cashore|
|58.||Sandman – Preludes and nocturnes||Neil Gaiman|
|59.||Song of Darkness||Peter V. Board|
|60.||Torn Earth||N. K. Jemisin|
|61.||The Walking Castle: Novel (The Howl Saga)||Diana Wynne Jones|
|62.||The Gift||Alison Croggon|
|63.||The Magicians of His Majesty||Zen Cho|
|65.||In the Shadow of the Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles 1||Michael J. Sullivan|
|66.||The Lies of Locke Lamora||Scott Lynch|
|67.||The Colors of Magic||Terry Pratchett|
|68.||The Age of Five: Priest||Trudi Canavan|
|69.||Throne of Glass||Sarah J. Maas|
|70.||Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Between the Worlds||Laini Taylor|
|71.||Blades of War||Joe Abercrombie|
|72.||The Lies of Locke Lamora||Scott Lynch|
|73.||City of Bones||Cassandra Clare|
|74.||The Children of Húrin||J. R. R. Tolkien|
|75.||Woven world||Clive Barker|
|76.||The Cloud Atlas||David Mitchell|
|77.||The mists of Avalon||Marion Room Bradley|
|78.||The Night Watchmen||Terry Pratchett|
|80.||The Swords of Dara: Silk Warrior||Ken Liu|
|81.||The Song of Blood (Blood Song)||Anthony Ryan|
|82.||Swans Song: After the end of the world||Robert R. McCammon|
|83.||The last unicorn||Peter S. Beagle|
|84||Serafina – The Kingdom of Dragons||Rachel Hartman|
|85..||Bartimaeus: The Amulet of Samarkand||Jonathan Stroud|
|86.||Sisters at Arms||Mark Lawrence|
|87.||The Winter King||Bernard Cornwell|
|88.||The seventh gate||Garth Nix|
|89.||Leviathan – The Secret Mission||Scott Westerfeld|
|90.||The Sword of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara)||Terry Brooks|
|91.||The Sword of Dawn||Saladin Ahmed|
|92.||The realm of the seven courts – thorns and roses||Sarah J. Maas|
|93.||Revenge of the Dark Elves: The Legend of Drizzt||R. A. Salvatore|
|94.||The Black Sorceress||Laurie Forest|
|95.||Game of Love (The Shadows of Valoria 3)||Marie Rutkoski|
|96.||The Way to the Shadows||Brent Weeks|
|97.||Fillory – The Wizards||Lev Grossman|
|98.||Outlander – Fire and Stone||Diana Gabaldon|
|99.||The Lost Throne||Brian Staveley|
|100.||The Republic of Thieves||Scott Lynch|
Fantasy authors, as you have seen, have a lot to tell. The fewest titles are self-contained. Most of them are multi-part series. So if you like one title, you have a lot of reading material with the remaining volumes.