Fantasy Books: The 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

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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

Alice in Wonderland: High quality gift edition of the classic children's book by Lewis Carroll (Knesebeck Kinderbuch Klassiker / Ingpen)
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 Song of Ice and Fire 01: The Lords of Winterfell
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

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
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 little Hobbit
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

The Companions: The Lord of the Rings 1
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 Neverending Story: Color Illustrated Jewel Edition
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

Conversation with a vampire. A novel from the Chronicles of the Vampires
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

The Night Circus: Novel
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

Grim Reaper (Terry Pratchett's Discworld): A Novel from the Bizarre Discworld
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

Guardians of the Night: Novel (The Guardians Novels, Volume 1)
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

The Dwarves (The Dwarves 1): Novel
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

The Name of the Wind: The Kingslayer Chronicles. First day
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 Wonder of Narnia / The King of Narnia: The Chronicles of Narnia
“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 Legacy of the Dragon Riders: Eragon 1 (Eragon - The Single Volumes, Volume 1)
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

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Magic Knife, and The Amber Telescope in a slipcase: all 3 volumes in a paperback slipcase
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

The Elves: Elves 1 - Novel (The Elven Saga, Volume 1)
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 Sword of Truth 1: The First Law of Magic
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

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's classic tale of true love and noble adventures
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

The Rebel. The Black Mages Guild 01
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

Heir of the Elves: Novel, The Witcher Saga 1
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
47. Shadowmarch Tad Williams
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
57. Rushed Kevin Hearne
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
64. Black Stephen King
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
79. Elantris Brandon Sanderson
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.

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