Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century

Your favorite fantasy books of the 21st century.

Only fantasy books, please do not add science fiction or paranormal-romance books.

*Books originally published before 2000 will be removed*

Some Subgenres:
Best Epic Fantasy
Best Urban Fantasy

Fantasy by Time Period:
Pre-Tolkien Fantasy (Fantasy up through 1937)
Classic Fantasy (Fantasy written before 1980)

Fantasy by Decade:
1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s

Locus Recommended Fantasy:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

Fantasy By Ratings:
More than 100000, 50000 to 99999, 25000 to 49999, 10000 to 24999
1000 to 9999, 100 to 999, Less than 100

Other Fantasy Lists of Note:
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century
Best Fantasy of the 20th Century
Best Forgotten Fantasy of the 20th Century
Popular Highly Rated Fantasy
1

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4.55 avg rating — 495,027 ratings
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2

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4.62 avg rating — 1,953,323 ratings
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3

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4.57 avg rating — 305,303 ratings
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4

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4.55 avg rating — 1,883,593 ratings
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5

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4.54 avg rating — 551,524 ratings
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6

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4.47 avg rating — 1,932,150 ratings
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7

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4.43 avg rating — 260,049 ratings
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8

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4.64 avg rating — 185,095 ratings
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9

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4.53 avg rating — 1,965,801 ratings
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10

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4.11 avg rating — 569,762 ratings
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11

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4.30 avg rating — 150,433 ratings
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12

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3.81 avg rating — 163,429 ratings
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13

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4.23 avg rating — 1,514,374 ratings
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14

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3.87 avg rating — 1,185,345 ratings
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15

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4.11 avg rating — 506,323 ratings
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16

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4.14 avg rating — 116,005 ratings
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17

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4.12 avg rating — 1,311,862 ratings
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18

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4.77 avg rating — 123,363 ratings
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19

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4.15 avg rating — 120,888 ratings
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20

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4.31 avg rating — 448,345 ratings
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21

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4.12 avg rating — 347,535 ratings
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22

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4.46 avg rating — 175,983 ratings
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23

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4.10 avg rating — 313,667 ratings
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24

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4.17 avg rating — 116,837 ratings
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25

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4.50 avg rating — 525,589 ratings
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26

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3.96 avg rating — 283,889 ratings
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27

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4.27 avg rating — 84,119 ratings
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28

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3.83 avg rating — 415,171 ratings
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29

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4.35 avg rating — 187,281 ratings
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30

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4.04 avg rating — 367,992 ratings
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31

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4.23 avg rating — 581,067 ratings
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32

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4.04 avg rating — 59,658 ratings
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33

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4.04 avg rating — 237,884 ratings
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34

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 98,448 ratings
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35

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4.34 avg rating — 664,243 ratings
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36

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4.34 avg rating — 523,917 ratings
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37

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4.27 avg rating — 82,686 ratings
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38

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4.01 avg rating — 161,026 ratings
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39

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4.42 avg rating — 20,134 ratings
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40

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4.21 avg rating — 611,060 ratings
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41

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4.24 avg rating — 83,778 ratings
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42

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4.27 avg rating — 78,155 ratings
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43

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4.35 avg rating — 104,945 ratings
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44

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4.05 avg rating — 58,198 ratings
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45

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4.28 avg rating — 112,936 ratings
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46

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4.48 avg rating — 81,947 ratings
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47

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4.39 avg rating — 51,038 ratings
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48

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4.34 avg rating — 544,599 ratings
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49

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3.97 avg rating — 48,549 ratings
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50

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4.29 avg rating — 60,002 ratings
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51

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4.54 avg rating — 76,728 ratings
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52

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4.24 avg rating — 70,818 ratings
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53

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3.91 avg rating — 98,073 ratings
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54

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4.39 avg rating — 35,414 ratings
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55

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4.04 avg rating — 505,428 ratings
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56

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4.31 avg rating — 448,345 ratings
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57

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4.27 avg rating — 74,264 ratings
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58

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4.02 avg rating — 230,813 ratings
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59

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4.15 avg rating — 113,774 ratings
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60

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4.23 avg rating — 71,992 ratings
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61

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3.79 avg rating — 185,894 ratings
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62

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4.29 avg rating — 72,321 ratings
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63

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4.12 avg rating — 80,642 ratings
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64

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4.46 avg rating — 55,194 ratings
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65

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4.12 avg rating — 139,483 ratings
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66

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4.29 avg rating — 442 ratings
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67

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3.77 avg rating — 214,848 ratings
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68

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4.19 avg rating — 458 ratings
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69

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4.16 avg rating — 24,345 ratings
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70

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4.56 avg rating — 261 ratings
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71

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4.17 avg rating — 45,156 ratings
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72

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4.44 avg rating — 79,639 ratings
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73

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4.10 avg rating — 76,376 ratings
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74

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4.18 avg rating — 99,425 ratings
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75

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3.49 avg rating — 178,696 ratings
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76

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4.28 avg rating — 48,938 ratings
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77

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4.16 avg rating — 25,420 ratings
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78

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4.18 avg rating — 120,818 ratings
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79

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3.96 avg rating — 58,319 ratings
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80

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4.39 avg rating — 563,917 ratings
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81

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4.71 avg rating — 183 ratings
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82

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4.01 avg rating — 48,076 ratings
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83

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4.12 avg rating — 78,495 ratings
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84

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4.50 avg rating — 82,170 ratings
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85

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4.42 avg rating — 102,799 ratings
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86

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4.58 avg rating — 34,503 ratings
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87

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4.04 avg rating — 128,204 ratings
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88

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4.15 avg rating — 40,620 ratings
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89

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3.92 avg rating — 81,539 ratings
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90

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3.69 avg rating — 138,525 ratings
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91

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3.98 avg rating — 103,081 ratings
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92

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3.74 avg rating — 62,282 ratings
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93

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3.99 avg rating — 52,913 ratings
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94

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4.13 avg rating — 211,318 ratings
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95

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4.35 avg rating — 250,626 ratings
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96

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3.87 avg rating — 68,790 ratings
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97

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3.96 avg rating — 90,604 ratings
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98

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3.78 avg rating — 15,308 ratings
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99

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3.97 avg rating — 58,847 ratings
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100

by
4.37 avg rating — 26,232 ratings
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2,099 books · 7,464 voters · list created June 25th, 2008 by C.B..
608 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Julie 2649 books
125 friends
Rora 1344 books
40 friends
Wealhtheow 3809 books
652 friends
Jacob 655 books
120 friends
J. 1307 books
120 friends
Kelly 1892 books
423 friends
Ashley 1014 books
45 friends
Karen 1160 books
45 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 115) (115 new)


message 1: by Wealhtheow (new)

Wealhtheow I wish I could vote for Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell a million times.


message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Amen.


message 3: by Donald (new)

Donald If it's the best of the 21st century, why is "Lord of the Rings" on here?


message 4: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather These all were published before the year 2000:

The Lord of the Rings
Neverwhere
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Sandman, The Dream Hunters
Wizard and Glass
The Darkest Road
Support Your Local Wizard
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
The Eye of the World
The Fionavar tapestry
The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Tigana
Winter's Tale
Darkfall
Gardens of the Moon
Daughter of the Forest
The Wood Wife

That's 17 out of the currently 84 books, or 1/5th of the books. Try harder people.


message 5: by Wealhtheow (new)

Wealhtheow Beggars in Spain is not fantasy.


message 6: by Stuart (new)

Stuart I'm pretty sure The Host by Stephanie Meyer is sci-fi, not fantasy.



message 7: by Greyweather (last edited Jul 08, 2009 04:54PM) (new)

Greyweather Had to cut A Clash of Kings as it was published in 1997, The Thief as it was published in 1996, The Light Bearer as it was published in 1994, The Dragon Waiting : A Masque of History as it was published in 1983, The Land of Laughs as it was published in 1980, and Wild Seed because it was published in 1980.

I also removed the Viriconium omnibus as not only was it first published in 1988, but the individual novels it consists of were published in 1971, 1980, 1982, and 1984 respectively.

Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was by Angélica Gorodischer was originally published in 1983 as Kalpa Imperial - El Imperio Mas Vasto. I haven't removed it yet because it wasn't translated to English until 2003, so I thought I'd ask for some feedback before I cut it.

Same issue for Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, published as Nochnoi Dozor in 1998 but translated in 2006.


message 8: by Travis (new)

Travis It really amazes me how so many people, particularly on a site dedicated to reading, seem to lack the ability to comprehend what they read. It's like some people just see a list for fantasy and don't bother to read the rest and just throw whatever fantasy book they love on there whether it fits the list or not.


message 9: by Cutebabys (new)

Cutebabys I would like to say something. Some of these books are not fantasy so I have no idea where they came from. No offence though...


message 10: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather I cleaned out the obvious non-fantasy ones.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The first two volumes of His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife) were both published before 2000.


message 12: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix If it were possible, I would include high on my list Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files taken as a unit. Together, the individual novels are an impressive achievement. Each novel makes up a complete story in itself, but it is also part of an overarching narrative. If Butcher maintains the quality as his project continues, I believe the series is destined to be a perennial classic.


message 13: by Josey (new)

Josey Xenophon wrote: "If it were possible, I would include high on my list Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files taken as a unit. Together, the individual novels are an impressive achievement. Each novel makes up a complete..."

And where is Jim Butcher's Codex Alera??? Butcher is always overlooked in these rankings.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The form to add books is at the right-hand side of the page: "Find/add books to list."


message 15: by Josey (new)

Josey Susanna wrote: "The form to add books is at the right-hand side of the page: "Find/add books to list.""

I figured that out. It was more of a rhetorical question. Thank you though.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Well, I wasn't certain. ;>


message 17: by Minglis (new)

Minglis a storm of swords should be number. easily.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Follow the River isn't fantasy. Its based on a true story.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads What are The Lorax and Charlotte's Web doing on this one?


message 20: by Xenophon (last edited Jun 21, 2010 04:35PM) (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I deleted Good Omens and the The Princess Bride because they both were published before 2000. Edit: Also, Matilda, The BFG, and The Witches by Roald Dahl. C'mon, Dahl died in 1990.


message 21: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix Susanna wrote: "What are The Lorax and Charlotte's Web doing on this one?"

I've deleted those plus Little, Big, Snow Crash, A Wizard of Earthsea, Wizard's First Rule, and Guilty Pleasures. All were published before 2000. Snow Crash, also, is marketed as science fiction, but I wouldn't have deleted it for that reason, for there is room for disagreement, and we are threatened with dire consequences if we delete for non-clear-cut reasons.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Xenophon wrote: "Susanna wrote: "What are The Lorax and Charlotte's Web doing on this one?"

I've deleted those plus Little, Big, Snow Crash, A Wizard of Earthsea, Wizard's First Rule, and Guilty Pleasures. All we..."


Thanks! dire consequences? !


message 23: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix The threat is, "Only delete books from the list that are totally miscategorized. Deleting books that aren't will result in a loss of librarian privileges, and possible deletion of account. We're super serious!"


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Those are dire consequences! I am very surprised.


message 25: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix Writing in a style that might have been used during the time period of the novel's setting is part of the fun. Ms. Clarke does it with such panache and wit that I found myself repeatedly cracking up as I read, especially during the novel's first half.


message 26: by Simeon (last edited Jan 28, 2011 08:47AM) (new)

Simeon It felt inauthentic and contrived, at least to me. Everyone likes different things.


Tabitha (Bows & Bullets Reviews) Wealhtheow wrote: "I wish I could vote for Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell a million times."

Is that book good? I keep running across it at thrift stores


message 28: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Mar 17, 2011 09:57AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's long, and you need to like (or not mind) footnotes. I loved it. The Napoleonic Wars, with magic.


message 29: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix I believe Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is one of the finest fantasies every written, and I've read a lot of fantasy over the years. Be aware that it's told in an old fashioned style reminiscent of Jane Austen. The author even occasionally addresses the reader directly. I thought much of it was funny--it gets darker in the second half--as well as being creative and well written.

My sister, on the other hand, saw not the humor in it, and she didn't like it nearly as much as I did. It might be one of those books that a lot of people just don't get.


Tabitha (Bows & Bullets Reviews) Xenophon wrote: "I believe Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is one of the finest fantasies every written, and I've read a lot of fantasy over the years. Be aware that it's told in an old fashioned style reminiscent o..."

It sounds like something I'd like! I just didn't want to invest my time reading something that long without being sure it's going to be good. Thanks!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads My mother couldn't finish it; but she hates fantasy.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Daughter of the Forest was published in 1999.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Whereabouts on the list did you see it, Emma?


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship #101.

The Chronicles of Narnia are also on there a few times, on page 2 and 3 I think.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed, for being first published before 2000:

Daughter of the Forest
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Return of the King
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Two Towers
Elfstones of Shannara
The Silver Chair
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Magician's Nephew
A Game of Thrones
The Neverending Story
Watership Down
The Sword of Shannara
The Once and Future King
King of the Murgos
Belgarath the Sorcerer
The Last Battle
Sorceress of Darshiva
Seeress of Kell
Polgara the Sorceress
Guardians of the West
Pawn of Prophecy
Queen of Sorcery
Enchanter's End Game
Castle of Wizardry
A Clash of Kings
Magician's Gambit
The Silver Gryphon
The White Gryphon
The Black Gryphon


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Why hunger games is in the list? Last time I checked it was science-fiction not fantasy.


message 37: by Eunice (new)

Eunice Why is Twilight on here? I didn't realise this was a 'Sexual Fantasy' list...


message 38: by Nathan (last edited Jul 14, 2012 01:02AM) (new)

Nathan Krueger This could be such a great list, but needs a more consistent moderator.


message 39: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix Finding books outside the parameters is a constant game of whack a mole. Add in that it's volunteer work. Add in that each book has to be deleted individually; there is no mass delete function. Add in that each book has to be looked up to make sure that the deletion is justified. Add in that some lists require a lot of judgment to moderate and that the owners of the site clearly want the moderators to use a light hand.

That people volunteer to look after the lists at all is a wonder.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Listopia lists don't have "moderators"; some of us step in sometimes to try to herd cats, on a volunteer basis. And some lists are easier to "keep" than others (like ones for winners of particular prizes).


message 41: by Julien (new)

Julien V Paranormal is not fantasy... I wish people would get it. If it's set in New York City, it's not fantasy.


message 42: by Eunice (new)

Eunice Julien wrote: "Paranormal is not fantasy... I wish people would get it. If it's set in New York City, it's not fantasy."

Exactly. It's meant to be set in a different universe/world/accessed through a Portal.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Urban fantasy is still fantasy. Harry Potter is set on Earth, and surely you're not claiming that isn't fantasy?


message 44: by Eunice (new)

Eunice Emma wrote: "Urban fantasy is still fantasy. Harry Potter is set on Earth, and surely you're not claiming that isn't fantasy?"

If you think about it, Hogwarts is essentially accessed through a portal...it's completely hidden from muggles.
Paranormal is where immortals go to school - because if I were immortal, I would totally re-live the worst years of my life (high-school) over and over again to stalk mortal school kids.


message 45: by Julien (new)

Julien V Fantasy should describe an alternate reality. So, yes, Harry Potter fits the fantasy 'tag'. Again, if the action is set in *our* world, and our world only, it's not fantasy.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Well then, would you argue that War for the Oaks isn't fantasy? Or Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell? It would be hard to characterize those as "portal" books. Or with the "alternate reality" definition, well, anything with fantasy elements, including vampires and such, could be called "alternate reality."

I think you're both trying to distinguish fantasy from paranormal romance through the setting, where the main difference between the two is whether the book is primarily a romance or primarily fantasy in its focus.

At any rate, Goodreads wants librarians to use a light hand with these lists, as mentioned above, so if something doesn't fit your personal definition of fantasy but is labeled that way by others, it should stay on the list. The parameters exclude books categorized as paranormal romance, but not anything set in our world.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Ah, another list that makes me despair for the future of the human race.

Magneto was Right!


message 48: by Eunice (last edited Sep 14, 2012 10:03PM) (new)

Eunice I would kill myself if I had to consider Twilight 'fantasy' - because the only fantasy in it is the sexual fantasy of a middle-aged woman.
I don't want to live in this world any more.


message 49: by Chance (new)

Chance Eunice wrote: "I would kill myself if I had to consider Twilight 'fantasy' - because the only fantasy in it is the sexual fantasy of a middle-aged woman.
I don't want to live in this world any more."


I'm sorry, but not liking a novel/series doesn't change what it is. As was mentioned before, it is considered fantasy by some/most/even a single person. If dragons were suddenly not "in" would that make a novel with dragons in it something other than fantasy? (Yes, I understand that there could be an example of a book with dragons that fits another genre, but I'm trying to make a point.)


message 50: by Chance (new)

Chance Some people mentioned how the list needs a more active moderator, right? Well, think about this. They might have an easier time of things if people would pay attention to what they add, for one. Also, at the time of this post, there are some two thousand books on this list. When they go through and find things that don't belong, they are volunteering their time to search out little details about thousands of books... And you expect them to do this every... what? Minute? Hour? Day? I think we're lucky people try to keep a handle on these things at all. Not to mention they are also under pressure from the site to "use a light hand," as they explain in earlier posts. You should always be kind to people. That goes without saying, when few things do. But to criticize someone trying to do something nice? For you and others? For FREE? That's just silly.


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