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Top 100 fantasy books

View all Recommendations by Subjects > Fantasy book lists; This list was last updated on 6/3/2015
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The Aylesford Skull
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives - brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer - is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a few miles to the north a steam launch has been taken by pirates above Egypt Bay; the crew murdered and pitched overboard. In Aylesford itself a grave is opened and possibly robbed of the skull. The suspected grave robber, the infamous Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, is an old nemesis of Langdon St. Ives. 

When Dr. Narbondo returns to kidnap his four-year-old son Eddie and then vanishes into the night, St. Ives and his factotum Hasbro race to London in pursuit... 

The first new steampunk novel in over twenty years from one of the genre's founding fathers!
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...

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The Feathered Man
In a German town, long ago, lives a toothpuller's boy called Klaus. It isn't Klaus' fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a dead man in Frau Drecht's lodging house, or that Frau Drecht and her murderous son want it for themselves. He has nothing to do with the Jesuit priest and his Aztec companion who turn up out of the blue looking for it, or the Professor of Anatomy who takes such a strange interest in it. No, Klaus doesn't want any trouble. But when he finds himself with the diamond in his pocket, things really can't get much worse - that is, until the feathered man appears. Then they become a matter of life ...and death.
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The Pilo Family Circus
“You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You're joining the circus. Ain't that the best news you ever got?” Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind's greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place—peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous—where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead! Echoes of Lovecraft, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and early Stephen King resound through the pages of this magical, gleefully macabre work nominated as Best Novel by the International Horror Guild.
release date: Jan 01, 2007
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Dune
Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family--and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

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The Hunger Games

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

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The Spirit War
Eli Monpress is vain. He's cocky. And he's a thief.

But he's a thief who has just seen his bounty topped and he's not happy about it. The bounty topper, as it turns out, is his best friend, bodyguard, and master swordsman, Josef. Who has been keeping secrets from Eli. Apparently, he's the only prince of a rather feisty country and his mother (a formidable queen who's every bit as driven and stubborn as he is) wants him to come home and do his duty, which means throwing over personal ambitions like proving he's the greatest swordsman who ever lived.

Family drama aside, Eli and Josef have their hands full. The Spirit Court has been usurped by the Council of Thrones and someone calling herself the Immortal Empress is staging a massive invasion. But it's not just politics --- the Immortal Empress has a specific target in mind: Eli Monpress, the greatest thief in the world.
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Tracato
For two hundred years Tracato has been the center of enlightenment, as the serrin have occupied human lands and sought to remake humanity anew. But the serrin have not destroyed Rhodaan's feudal families entirely, and as Tracato faces the greatest threat to its survival in two centuries, old rivalries are stirring. Sasha must assist her mentor Kessligh to strengthen the Tracato Nasi-Keth, yet with one royal sister siding with the feudalists and another soon to be married to Tracato's most powerful foe, her loyalties are agonizingly divided.

Worse still, from Sasha's homeland the Army of Lenayin are marching to make war upon Tracato. Can she fight her own people? Or must she join them, and fight not only her lover Errollyn, but to extinguish the brightest light of hope in all the land—serrin civilization itself?
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The Sixth World of Men
In this the sixth volume of "The Sixth World of Men", key players in the saga begin to awaken to their destinies. Each person views this awakening differently. Some see the possibilities that are within their grasp while disdain and dread begin to take hold of others. Regardless of the awakening experienced, some will strive toward something better than is currently within them, others will balk at the challenges set before them, while still others will seek to exploit the ones around them to fulfill their desires. This is the way of awakenings. Some awaken to greatness. Some do their best to ignore what they've been shown. Some try to make their greatness out of the ashes of the dreams of others.
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The Stone Key
Friend becomes foe and trust is a thing of the past when the Misfits' most relentless enemy turns Elspeth's world upside down. Through coercion and mind control, Ariel stands on the cusp of his ultimate revenge—and it falls to Elspeth to rescue a former ally whose mind and body have been manipulated to unleash a plague that will destroy all it touches.
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The Abhorsen Chronicles

This paperback collection contains the complete text of the first three beloved bestselling books in Garth's Nix's Old Kingdom series: Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen.

Sabriel
Every step brings Sabriel closer to a battle that will pit her against the true forces of life and death—and bring her face-to-face with her own destiny

Lirael
With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil, which threatens the fate of the Old Kingdom.

Abhorsen
The Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone are missing, and Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the evil Destroyer—before it is too late

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The Elenium
Now for the first time in one thrilling volume–the three magical novels that make up David Eddings's epic fantasy The Elenium.

In an ancient kingdom, the legacy of one royal family hangs in the balance, and the fate of a queen–and her empire–lies on the shoulders of one knight.

Sparhawk, Knight and Queen's Champion, has returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find young Queen Ehlana trapped in a crystalline cocoon. The enchantments of the sorceress Sephrenia have kept the queen alive–but the spell is fading. In the meantime, Elenia is ruled by a prince regent, the puppet of the tyrannical Annias, who vows to seize power over all the land.

Now Sparhawk must find the legendary Bhelliom, a sapphire that holds the key to Ehlana's cure. Sparhawk and his companions will face monstrous foes and evil creatures on their journey, but even greater dangers lie in wait: for dark legions will stop at nothing to reach the radiant stone, which may possess powers too deadly for any mortal to bear.
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.
release date: Jan 01, 2009
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The City & The City (Random House Reader's Circle)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE SEATTLE TIMES, AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
 
When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman's secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.
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Dawnthief
The Raven: six men and an elf, sword for hire in the wars that have torn apart Balaia. For years their loyalty has been only to themselves and their code.

But, that time is over. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, searching for the location of Dawnthief. It is a spell created to end the world, and it must be cast if any of them are to survive.

Dawnthief is a fast paced epic about a band of all-too-human heroes.
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Dreams and Shadows

Screenwriter and acclaimed film critic C. Robert Cargill makes his fiction debut with Dreams and Shadows, taking beloved fantasy tropes, giving them a twist, and turning out a wonderful, witty, and wry take on clash between the fairy world and our own.

Something is missing from Ewan and Colby's lives. Residing in the corners of their memories is their time in Limestone Kingdom, a realm filled with magic and mystery, a world where only some may travel amongst the menagerie of mystical souls and sinister demons.

Cargill offers well-crafted characters and an absorbing, intricate plot that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Lev Grossman. Dreams and Shadows pulls you into an extraordinary universe of darkness that exposes the magic and monsters in our world, and in ourselves.

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The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy Hardcover Gift Set
The perfect gift for readers who want to be swept away.

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy Gift Set includes three hardcovers: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy series about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade.
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Blood and Feathers
"What's the first thing you think of when I say 'angel'?" asked Mallory. Alice shrugged. "I don't know... guns?"

Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angels who claim everything about her life is a lie.

"What's the first thing you think of when I say 'angel'?" asked Mallory. Alice shrugged. "I don't know... guns?"

Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angels who claim everything about her life is a lie.

The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; the age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. If the balance is to be restored, the angels must act - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever.

That's where Alice comes in. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem and a whole load of secrets - Alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell.

What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side?

Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn't just hell's demons that Alice will have to defeat...
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Dodger

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett's Dodger, a Printz Honor Book, combines high comedy with deep wisdom in a tale of one remarkable boy's rise in a fantasy-infused Victorian London.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger is content as a sewer scavenger. But he enters a new world when he rescues a young girl from a beating, and her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd, to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

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The Killing Moon
The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt.

But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city's Gatherers - must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is murdering dreamers in the goddess' name, stalking its prey both in Gujaareh's alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

The Broken Earth series
The Fifth Season
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Cirque Du Freak
Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers-- Mr. Crepsley-- is a vampire!

Stever remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire-- but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his forrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.

This is Darren's story.
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Swan Song
An ancient evil roams the desolate landscape of an America ravaged by nuclear war.
He is the Man with the Scarlet Eye, a malevolent force that feeds on the dark desires of the countless followers he has gathered into his service. His only desire is to find a special child named Swan -- and destroy her. But those who would protect the girl are determined to fight for what is left of the worldŠand their souls.
In a wasteland born of rage, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, the last survivors on earth have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity....
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Eon
Read Alison Goodman's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

Eon--the award-winning crossover fantasy that soars!

Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.

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The Riven Kingdom (The Godspeaker Trilogy)
The King of Ethrea is dying. His only surviving heir is the Princess Rhian. But if her enemies have their way, Ethrea will not be ruled by a woman.

Dexterity Jones is a toymaker. To protect Princess Rhian and his country, he must place his trust in an exile from Mijak. Yet, as Ethrea comes ever closer to civil war, a greater danger awaits.

Across the sea, an Empress has already slaughtered millions in the name of her god. And the war will not end -until the world kneels before her.
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Acacia

“David Anthony Durham has serious chops. I can't wait to read whatever he writes next."
—George R. R. Martin

Welcome to Acacia . . .
 
Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever.
 
Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

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The Reapers Are the Angels

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

release date: Dec 01, 2005
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Homeland
The paperback edition of the first book in Salvatore's classic dark elf tales.
 

This is the paperback version of the stunning new release of the classic R.A. Salvatore novel that begins the tale of his signature dark elf character, Drizzt Do-Urden™.
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The Judging Eye

Widely praised by reviewers and a growing body of fans, Bakker has already established his reputation as one of the smartest writers in the fantasy genre--a writer in the line stretching from Peake to Tolkein.

Now he returns to The Prince of Nothing universe with the long-awaited The Judging Eye, the first book in an all-new series.

Set twenty years after the end of The Thousandfold Thought, Bakker reintroduces us to a world that is at once familiar but also very different than the one readers thought they knew. Delving even further into his richly imagined universe of myth, violence, and sorcery, and fully remolding the fantasy genre to broaden the scope of intricacy and meaning, R. Scott Bakker has once again written a fantasy novel that defies all expectations and rewards the reader with an experience unlike any to be had in the canon of today's literature.
release date: Sep 01, 1998
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The Moon and the Sun
New York Times bestselling author Vonda N. McIntyre proves she is "blessed with both vision and genius" (BookPage) in this breathtaking tale-- part adventure story, part legend, and part Gothic novel-- what Publishers Weekly calls "a marvelous alternative history fable". In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateau at Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune, principles, and even the sacred bond between brother and sister. Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her adored brother in the scientific study of the rare sea monsters the king has commissioned him to seek. For the honor of his God, his country, and his king, Father Yves de la Croix returns with his treasures, believed to be the source of immortality: one heavy shroud packed in ice... and a covered basin that imprisons a shrieking creature. The living sea monster, with its double tail, tangled hair, and gargoyle face, provides an intriguing experiment for Yves and the king. Yet for Marie-Josephe, the creature's gaze and exquisite singing foretell a different future... Soon Marie-Josephe is contemplating choices that defy the institutions which power her world. Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions-- even at the cost of changing her life forever. A sensitive investigation of the integrity in all of us, "The Moon and the Sun" is destined to become a visionary classic.
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