Looking to discover new worlds and new characters to fall in love with? Check out our list of the best fantasy books of all-time below.

Good fantasy books have been transporting people to other places and times for hundreds of years. There’s something about quest stories and magical powers that continues to captivate us. There’s also something about seeing your favorite ten-book series lined up on your bookshelf.

Today, fantasy has truly broken into the mainstream with the success of A Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. True fantasy fans have known for decades that fantasy isn’t just for kids, even though most of the world is just realizing this—but true fantasy fans also know that some of the best fantasy writing is children’s literature.

Let’s dig into our list of the top 12 fantasy books for adults below

1. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Set in the Venice-inspired city of Camorr, The Lies of Locke Lamora introduces the quick-tongued Locke and his band of thieves, con artists, and general tricksters. This is an action-filled heist story in a setting that feels earthly and otherworldly at the same time.

Though the second and third books have been received with mixed feelings from fans, the first book stands out as a favorite of many fantasy readers, and the series is planned to be seven books long. There is plenty more to explore in Lynch’s detailed and well-realized world.

2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

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Set in a world filled with magical users and creatures of all sorts, The Dresden Files is told from the perspective of Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator. This series draws on classic fantasy tropes in the best way, pitting Harry against ghosts and zombies, as well as some clever re-imaginings of traditional mythological creatures. These books imagine a world that is both incredibly magical and charmingly familiar. 

For light, humorous fantasy, The Dresden Files is a great choice. And if you enjoy the first book, there are fifteen in total, and more on the way.

3. The Chronicles of the Deryni by Katherine Kurtz

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Kurtz’s Deryni books begin with Deryni Rising, which introduces a land where the magical Deryni people must keep the powers of their bloodline secret. In the first book, Prince Kelson is new to leadership and must master his Deryni powers in order to challenge a powerful foe. Written in the early 70s, Kurtz’s Deryni books managed to avoid an era of Tolkien imitators with an original (at the time) plot. 

There are fifteen Deryni books to dive into, separated into five distinct trilogies.


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