Goodreads Blog

Top 50 Favorite Fantasy Novels on Goodreads

Posted by Cybil on July 29, 2017

Sponsored by Ready Player One. Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to Middle Earth."
-George R.R. Martin


Within these pages are legends, heroes, myths, and magic. When you really need to escape, is there any better place than an entirely different realm? Always in search of a great book, Goodreads recently set out to uncover readers' all-time 50 most-loved fantasy novels.

These titles were chosen based on reader reviews, so every single book had to meet at least a 4.0 average rating from the Goodreads community. Then, for good measure, we looked at how many ratings each book has received. We also decided to select the first book in a series (although it's worth noting that the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as well as George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire have the rare distinction of being above a 4.0 rating).

It's time to unveil the top 50 fantasy books on Goodreads, conjured up in alphabetical order. How many have you read? Tell us in the comments.

A Darker Shade of Magic
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A Game of Thrones
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A Wrinkle in Time
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American Gods
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Assassin's Apprentice
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Bleach, Volume 01
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Blood Song
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Darkfever
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Dead Witch Walking
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Dragonflight
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Fruits Basket, Vol. 1
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Furies of Calderon
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Good Omens
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Halfway to the Grave
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Magic Bites
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Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
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Moon Called
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Mort
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Neverwhere
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Nimona
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Pawn of Prophecy
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Preludes & Nocturnes
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Promise of Blood
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Storm Front
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The Black Prism
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The Blade Itself
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The Emperor's Blades
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The Eye of the World
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The Fellowship of the Ring
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The Fifth Season
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The Final Empire
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The Golem and the Jinni
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The Green Mile
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The Hobbit
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The Last Unicorn
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The Lies of Locke Lamora
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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
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The Mists of Avalon
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The Name of the Wind
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The Night Circus
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The Painted Man
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The Princess Bride
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The Song of Achilles
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The Stand
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The Way of Kings
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The Way of Shadows
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Tigana
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Uprooted
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Watership Down
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Wizard's First Rule
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Tell us how many you've read in the comments!

See the complete coverage of Sci-Fi & Fantasy Week including:
Top 50 Science Fiction Books on Goodreads
Top 10 YA Fantasy Books
Author Terry Brooks' Guide for Fantasy Readers


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Comments (showing 1-50 of 338) (338 new)


message 1: by Dr Rashmit (new)

Dr Rashmit Mishra Wow , almost every book in this list is on one of my shelf :)


message 2: by Philip (new)

Philip This list could use some editing - The Warded Man and The Painted Man are the same book with slightly different titles.


message 3: by Lauren (last edited Jul 29, 2017 08:38AM) (new)

Lauren Anne McCaffrey herself always insisted her books were science fiction, not fantasy, and I agree with her. Even her Dragonriders of Pern novels.


message 4: by Tyler (new)

Tyler Hill 14 read, 10 on my to--read! I think I'm doing a little better on the sci-fi list, but I love both!


message 5: by Phil (new)

Phil I've read 29. I gave 8 of them 5 stars and 3 of them 2 stars.


message 6: by Haley (new)

Haley Wofford The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is my favorite book of all time. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Princess Bride, A Darker Shade of Magic, and Game of Thrones are also wonderful.


message 7: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K I've read 23. Fantasy isn't my main genre to read, though. To me the most underrated book here, the one that should be read and talked about much more, is Tigana. It was wonderful.


message 8: by D.G. (new)

D.G. Teri-K wrote: "I've read 23. Fantasy isn't my main genre to read, though. To me the most underrated book here, the one that should be read and talked about much more, is Tigana. It was wonderful."

Oh I haven't read that one. I'll add it to my TBR. Thanks for the rec!


message 9: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Cameron I've only read 3 of these.


message 10: by Allayna (new)

Allayna Lauren wrote: "Anne McCaffrey herself always insisted her books were science fiction, not fantasy, and I agree with her. Even her Dragonriders of Pern novels."
I think the first Pern books people end up reading- The Dragonrider and Dragonsong trilogies- are very fantasy-like with Sci-fi hints.


message 11: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Allayna wrote: "Lauren wrote: "Anne McCaffrey herself always insisted her books were science fiction, not fantasy, and I agree with her. Even her Dragonriders of Pern novels."
I think the first Pern books people e..."

I understand people may see them that way. Anne always insisted they were Sci-fi. The Dragons were genetically created by the inhabitants of Pern, their society built up around Sci-fi tech. The Dragons could travel through time. I think the only reason they're being classed as Fantasy is because of the Dragons, which is a bit of cop out. X


message 12: by Alondra (new)

Alondra These lists are getting me in trouble! Ugh....

*tbr topples over*


message 13: by Cybil (new)

Cybil Philip wrote: "This list could use some editing - The Warded Man and The Painted Man are the same book with slightly different titles."

Excellent catch! Thank you.


message 14: by Cady (new)

Cady I absolutely love A Darker Shade of Magic


message 15: by AlwaysV (last edited Jul 29, 2017 11:07AM) (new)

AlwaysV I read & loved 4 books.♥️ I'm thinking of expanding my horizon by reading one more ➡ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller before the end of 2017.


message 16: by Tiuri (new)

Tiuri No Raymond E Feist ??? Plus, since when is The Green Mile fantasy????


message 17: by Yaniv (new)

Yaniv I'm actually having some trouble. I love Fantasy but can't seem to find my next series. I'm not a big fan of Coming of age (except maybe Ruthfuss).
I Read A darker Shade of Magic and loved it, but heard that the other two weren't as great. Also enjoyed A promise of blood. Read 5 ASOIAF books but 2 are yet to come. Didn't fall in Love with Staveley ,Sullivan or Weeks's works.
Can anyone recommend a few really good series- good quality and strong all the way through?


Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛ It's so strange seeing Bleach and Fruits Basket on the list next to such giants like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings.


message 19: by Reading Faerie (new)

Reading Faerie "When you really need to escape, is there any better place than an entirely different realm?"

My feelings exactly. It's really nice to escape sometimes. : )


message 20: by Lanko (last edited Jul 29, 2017 12:10PM) (new)

Lanko Pretty strange list. Stephen King's Green Mile and The Stand are on it, but not The Dark Tower? There are also 2 mangas and 2 graphic novels, which tends to be media for different audiences in most cases.

The 4.0 rating average also means little. Somehow Harry Potter didn't make it, despite the first book having a 4.44 and more ratings than probably 90% of the list.

Also stuff like The Broken Empire, Malazan, His Dark Materials, The Dark Tower, Temeraire, Conan, Elric, The Black Company, and many others are also out and are probably bigger and more influential for the genre than some of the stuff in there.


message 21: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Reading Faerie wrote: ""When you really need to escape, is there any better place than an entirely different realm?"

My feelings exactly. It's really nice to escape sometimes. : )"


agreed


Charlotte (Buried in Books) I've read 9 on the list and am part of the way through another. Quite a few to read as well.


message 23: by Phoenix2 (new)

Phoenix2 Can't believe Bleach is on the list!! Now I've really got to read it...


message 24: by Pınar (last edited Jul 29, 2017 02:27PM) (new)

Pınar Kaya I checked the list twice to see Harry Potter but still couldn't see. I read seven of the books on the list by the way.


Charlotte (Buried in Books) Pınar wrote: "I checked the list twice to see Harry Potter but still couldn't see. I read seven of the books on the list by the way. And umm I can't remember at all but wasn't A Wrinkle in Time more sci-fci book ?"

It looks like they've counted Harry Potter as YA Fantasy - as it's on the top 10 YA list that they've put together.


message 26: by Pınar (last edited Jul 29, 2017 02:28PM) (new)

Pınar Kaya Charlotte (Buried in Books) wrote: "Pınar wrote: "I checked the list twice to see Harry Potter but still couldn't see. I read seven of the books on the list by the way. And umm I can't remember at all but wasn't A Wrinkle in Time mor..."

Thanks for replying. :) I've just seen that. I still would like to see HP on this list but apparently they preferd using all the books only once.


message 27: by Olivia (new)

Olivia I only haven't read 3 of them...and don't have any intention to read those 3.


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* The Green Mile isn't what I'd call Fantasy either, but overall the list is pretty good


message 29: by Ivy (new)

Ivy Yaniv wrote: "I'm actually having some trouble. I love Fantasy but can't seem to find my next series. I'm not a big fan of Coming of age (except maybe Ruthfuss).
I Read A darker Shade of Magic and loved it, but ..."


Have you read the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson? Although Vin is young in the first book, I wouldn't classify the series as a coming of age story.


message 30: by Zohal (new)

Zohal Only 8 :(


message 31: by Karen M (last edited Jul 29, 2017 03:32PM) (new)

Karen M I've read only 6 but I own a copy of The Eye of the World but it's a TBR. Hmmm...no Harry Potter?????


message 32: by Marta (new)

Marta I read 15 but I am only interested in reading one more. I love fantasy that has a lot of character (like Discworld or Game of Thrones) but high fantasy is not my favorite. I just love a good story and I don't really care what genre it is.


message 33: by Nyssa (new)

Nyssa I have either read, purchased but not yet read, or wish-listed the majority of these selections.


message 34: by Cody (new)

Cody Yaniv wrote: "I'm actually having some trouble. I love Fantasy but can't seem to find my next series. I'm not a big fan of Coming of age (except maybe Ruthfuss).
I Read A darker Shade of Magic and loved it, but ..."


i recommend the malazan series. it is on a different level than most books i have read. there has not been a series where i have had to put the book down and digest what has happened so often.

a lot of people dislike them though, you are basically dropped in to the middle of it and dont get any explanation, you just need to accept that things are happening and work it out (i dont think the system of magic is explained until book 3 or 4)


message 35: by Gleep-chan (new)

Gleep-chan Surprised not to see Zelazny or Norton on either this list or the Sci-Fi one.


message 36: by Cody (new)

Cody If you count GoT as a series, i am not sure how it is in this list.

I have read them all twice and after book 2, the series is just turgid until the final book (to confirm i mean the book that was published as part two of the same book) which is fun but has a lot of issues

half of feast of crows is brienne walking through a field, you can safely skip half of this book without missing anything.

sorry if my second paragraph is muddled, it is gone 1 am here and i checked goodreads before going to bed, i hope you understand what i mean


message 37: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie ooooooo 31 :D


message 38: by Chris (new)

Chris 28 - and another 9 that I want to read - there are no urban fantasy here - that was a surprise - expected Mercedes Lackey to make it or Patricia Briggs - maybe Patricia is more paranormal than fantasy and there were a few classics that didn't make the list either...oh well. Got a few more titles to read out of the list!!


message 39: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Why isn't the ocean at the end of the lane on this list??


message 40: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Tiuri wrote: "No Raymond E Feist ??? Plus, since when is The Green Mile fantasy????"

John coffey has unknown magical powers


message 41: by Andrea (new)

Andrea To all fans of this genre, I highly recommend the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. It's up to par with the Fever series.


message 42: by Helen (new)

Helen Connault Richard Adams Watership Down always seems to make these lists, (and it is a fine book), but my favorite of his is Maia, a stand alone fantasy book that's well worth the read. Beautiful world building - and very detailed for just one book!


message 43: by SFF (new)

SFF Lover Thank you for not adding Throne of Glass on the list.


message 44: by Sharon (new)

Sharon I've read only 4 of those titles.


message 45: by Sharry (new)

Sharry Read about 20 of these titles! A lot of my favorites are up there!


message 46: by Abby (new)

Abby Yaniv wrote: "I'm actually having some trouble. I love Fantasy but can't seem to find my next series. I'm not a big fan of Coming of age (except maybe Ruthfuss).
I Read A darker Shade of Magic and loved it, but ..."


Robin Hobb - All of it!


message 47: by Sharry (new)

Sharry Introvert wrote: "Thank you for not adding Throne of Glass on the list."
AMEN!


message 48: by Elisa (new)

Elisa Should I read the Belgariad series by David Eddings ? Is it good ?


message 49: by Lexie (new)

Lexie Only read 1
7 on my want to read list.

Oh my God I am so angry right now...

I think they make sure books that were in the top 10 are not here on this list, but that doesn't excuse THIS!

How in the WORLD is Six of Crows not on this list?! It has a 4.46 average rating, and then there's its sequel which has an average rating of 4.62! HOW IS IT NOT ON THIS LIST???!!!

And moreover, how did The Lies of Locke Lamora beat it out when it only has a 4.30 average rating - Don't get me wrong Locke Lamora is the one book on this list I've read and I actually liked it but this is my point!)

Like where is Six of Crows....?

This makes me so sad... :(


message 50: by Jan2bratt (new)

Jan2bratt I've read 17 of these listed books but just today I happened to buy The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. At over 1200 pages, it might take me awhile to read it, and since it is only the first of a series, I have lots of hopefully great reading ahead!


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