Lists and Challenges · Non-Review Posts

What I’ve Read: 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

I subscribe to Unbound Worlds, a blog/newsletter situation that is all about science fiction and fantasy worlds. I love all the book recommendations, author interviews, and lists (who doesn’t love lists!) that they send out. The most recent email newsletter from them included the following list: The 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time (list in alphabetical order by title).  As they say themselves, this is a totally subjective list, and 100 is definitely not enough to highlight all the best fantasy out there. Take this list with those grains of salt. After looking through this (and adding a number of new books to my TBR), I wanted to see how many I have read! I have loved fantasy for years and it just seemed like it would be fun. Maybe I have a weird sense of fun. Anyways, I know I usually post reviews, but hopefully you enjoy this departure!


Here. We. Go.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – I haven’t read this one but I have read Binti and loved it. Definitely planning to read more by her!

Song of the Lioness: Alanna the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce – YES! This was one of my favorite series growing up. I haven’t read them in years, so the details are vague, but remember loving them and really should think about a reread soon.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll – I read an abridged version as a kid, but never really got into these stories. So…maybe I’ll give myself half credit for this one.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – YES again! Everything by Gaiman is amazing.

Bartimaeus: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud – I totally read this one! And the second one. But I read them so long ago that the third one wasn’t out yet (plus, I wasn’t old enough to get to the store and/or buy books on my own yet anyways) and then years went by and I forgot about it and never finished the trilogy…

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy Book 1) by Robin Hobb – On my TBR for this year. In fact, it’s one of the books I listed on this year’s Beat the Backlist planned reading list. I know Hobb is like, a fantasy cornerstone author, so I am excited to get to this!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – Yup. What a great retelling. I haven’t read the next two in the trilogy yet, but this was a wonderful atmospheric tale and I eventually want to read the rest. Here’s my review!

The Belgariad (Vol 1) by David Eddings

The Black Company by Glen Cook

The Black Tides of Heaven by Jy Yang

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – McKinley is one of those fantasy authors whose name I recognize and see a lot, but I have yet to read anything by her yet. I guess when I’m ready, this is the one I’ll start with.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

The Broken Crown by Michelle West

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle – I have this one on my shelf! Haven’t gotten to it yet, but…I’ll get there. Also one of the ones on my Beat the Backlist plan for this year!

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer – I haven’t read this one, but I just read my first Vandermeer this year. Borne (read my full review) was fascinating and imaginative and weird, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading more Vandermeer too soon. There’s others I’d rather get to.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – Every time I pass this one at the library, I think about grabbing it and don’t I really should just do it next time.

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett – Speaking of scions of the genre that I should have read and haven’t…

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart – Yes and yes. I am all about King Arthur. And I agree, this is a great one.

The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabth Moon

The Devourers by Indra Das

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey – I definitely read lots by McCaffrey when I was a younger, but honestly I cannot remember one from the other at all. So this is another maybe/half credit one.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance Chronicles, Volume I) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The Dreaming Tree by C.J. Cherryh

The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – I tried. I tried so many times. My brother loves them and I seriously just could not ever get into them.

The Fellowship of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien – DUH

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – Currently reading (and another one from Beat the Backlist). I’ve also read another duology by her, Dreamblood, and really liked it!

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – Yup! Read all five books published to date. Would love more.

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – Oh yeaaaaa. Both my husband and I love this trilogy. It’s a childhood favorite of both of ours. Love love love.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – This is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated books ever. I love it so much.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I feel like if you haven’t read these, we can’t be friends. One of my most (only) reread books. All of them. Over and over. Always.

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – It’s been on my TBR for awhile, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I have read other books by Novik though, specifically Uprooted, but I really enjoyed it and definitely want to read more by her.

The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien – Same as with Lord of the Rings…DUH.

The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – Oh yea. Is it about vampires? Then I’ve likely read it.

Jade City by Fonda Lee

The Book of Jhereg by Steven Brust

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This is such a fascinating book! Magic and historical retellings are such a great combo. It’s not fast though, so get into it ready to really sink into the world Clarke creates.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler – Just read it this year! It took me way too long to get to Butler and I will definitely be reading more by her. Here’s my review.

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – This one has been on my TBR for awhile too. I actually checked it out from the library earlier this year but never got around to it. It’ll happen though. It sounds exactly like something I’d love. I just wish there was more time to read!

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – Another Okorafor that I haven’t read. But again, since I loved Binti, you can be sure I’ll be getting my hands on more from her.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Ha – yes! Other people love this one too! It’s weird and creepy and totally awesome. I’ve never read anything like it and I LOVED it.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – Such a good book! I love a magical heist situation. This is like…adult Sic of Crows. Doesn’t get better than that.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Another classic children’s series that you really just…have to love. Read them all!

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (Vol I) by Diana Wynne Jones

Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist – This one has been recommended to me a few times. Unfortunately, I have yet to follow through on listening to those recommendations. But I will eventually. I promise.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Yes, though I wish I hadn’t. Falsely billed as the next HP and unfairly pulling on lore from Narnia, there just was nothing about this book that was what I wanted it to be. Mostly, just blegh.

Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey – Lackey is another one of those buzzword authors in the genre that I will eventually read something by.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – Another rec from my brother but this time, it was AWESOME. I highly recommend these books. Such deep and wonderful world-building.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – Long ago. But King Arthur legends and strong women, it’s got everything I love. AND I will definitely reread this one.

Monstress, Vol I by Marjorie Liu (Sana Takeda, artist)

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – On my TBR. I’ve heard SO much good. But to be honest, I’m so afraid to start them before the last book(s) are published because I don’t want to get into another Game of Thrones situation.

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern – One of my favorite books of ALL TIME. I recommend it to everyone.

Night’s Master by Tanith Lee

The Once and Future King by T.H. White – As I said earlier, more than once, I’m all in for King Arthur. This was the first one I’d read. And it’s my favorite retelling of the legend, to date.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Marquez is fantastic. I have read a few books by him and they never disappoint. They take effort to read but are totally worth it. Loved this one.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – OMG I cannot get ENOUGH of these books. Read them all. Love everything about them.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente – I have like four books from Valente on my shelves and haven’t read one yet. I really need to get on that.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Never read it. But I have, of course, seen the movie like a hundred times.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – Loved this first one! But I cannot lie, the ending of the trilogy was one of the least satisfying I have ever read. I see what the author did, and I give props, but it really wasn’t for me and kind of colored the whole thing.

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Redwall by Brian Jacques – The Redwall books were my favorites as a kid. I think I read them all. And actually, I still own them. They have a whole shelf of their very own in my home still.

Riddle-Master by Patricia A. McKillip

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley – Ha. Yes! This was a hidden gem and I’m so glad I found it. Fun and fast and full of excitement and drama. Definitely recommend it!

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire – I haven’t read this one. But Every Heart a Doorway by McGuire is one of my favorite recent books. It really hit home for me. Here’s my review for that one.

Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks

Sabriel by Garth Nix – I read a lot of Nix’s books when I was younger. They were a little dark, but I read a lot of them so I must have liked them at least a little!

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay – Been on my TBR for years….still haven’t gotten there. I sound a little like a broken record with that.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Watership Down by Richard Adams – Everyone said I would love this one because I loved the Redwall books but…I just couldn’t get into it. I guess it belongs on the same list as

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower series) by Stephen King – I have never read anything by King before. GASP.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin – Le Guin. Another that I absolutely should have read by now. I have at least one book by her on my shelf…so hopefully soon.

Alright, it looks like I’ve read 31 of these (including my halfsies ones and current read). Not bad really! As far as personal opinion, I felt like this was a pretty good list. There are definitely a lot of older classics though, and not as much representation from more recent ones. For example, I’d have put something on here by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone or Strange the Dreamer), Leigh Bardugo (probably Six of Crows), Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches trilogy), and Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season), V.E. Schwab (pretty much anything she has written). They may be a few more, but that’s what came off the top of my head.

Any books that you particularly agree with? Any you would add? Which ones that I haven’t read yet would you recommend?

If you decide to follow my lead and see how many of these you’ve read – be sure to tag me. I’d love to see!!


14 thoughts on “What I’ve Read: 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

  1. I’ve read 22 by my count (not all of which I would put in a top 100 list).

    The list is pretty good. The biggest flaw, I think, is that it is too heavy on books released in the last few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! Yes, it’s definitely, as they said, a subjective list. I feel like I was on the exact opposite side of things from you though. I thought there weren’t enough more recent releases. Or maybe just…there were a lot of recent ones I didn’t recognize so I assumed they were older. I love lists like this though because it is fun to see what books other people would put on a list like this. There are just so many to choose from and people have such different tastes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There were definitely some contemporary books on there that sold weakly and will probably be forgotten in a few years, although most were well received by bloggers. That also doesn’t mean they’re bad–Sorcerer to the Crown will probably be forgotten in a few years, but it shouldn’t be, because it is fabulous.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantasy is my favourite genre but I have only read 16 of these! There’s so many here I haven’t heard of and you’re right, a lot of classics.
    I think there would be more modern ones but then other modern one are there. It’s a weird mix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – there was definitely some strange representation. But there were also a lot of them that I felt truly belonged. Altogether, it was just fun to see what they felt belonged and to add a bunch of new books to my never-ending TBR! Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to admit I only went through to count the ones I’d read. I was trying to get it done before dinner haha. But I’ve saved the list to go back through and see which one I want to add to my tbr too

        Liked by 1 person

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