The Best Adult Fantasy Novels That Will Take You To Another World

Fantasy literature has been a beloved genre for readers of all ages, with its unique blend of magic, adventure, and imagination.

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However, adult fantasy novels stand out for their complex and mature themes that captivate readers with their intricate worlds and richly developed characters.

The Best Adult Fantasy Novels That Will Take You To AnotherWorld

We are going to be exploring the best adult fantasy novels of all time that have stood the test of time and continue to enchant readers.

From epic tales of war and magic to intricate character-driven narratives, these books offer a journey into fantastical worlds that will leave you spellbound.

So, whether you are a seasoned fantasy reader or new to the genre, get ready to embark on a literary adventure unlike any other!

A Song Of Fire And Ice Series By George R.R. Martin

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (Song of Ice and Fire Series) (A Song of Ice and Fire)

A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy book series written by George R.R. Martin.

The story takes place in the fictional continent of Westeros and follows several noble families as they vie for control of the Iron Throne, the seat of the King of the Seven Kingdoms.

The series begins with the death of King Robert Baratheon, which sets off a power struggle between the houses of Westeros.

The Starks of Winterfell, the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, and the Targaryens, who were previously overthrown, all become embroiled in the conflict.

As the series progresses, readers are introduced to a vast array of characters, both noble and common, who must navigate the dangerous political landscape of Westeros while dealing with supernatural threats such as the mysterious Others and the dragons of the Targaryens.

The books are known for their complex characters, intricate plot lines, and numerous twists and turns.

Martin subverts many traditional fantasy tropes, often killing off major characters and challenging readers’ expectations.

As of 2021, five books in the series have been released, with two more planned.

The series has also been adapted into the hugely popular HBO television series Game of Thrones, which ran from 2011 to 2019.


  • Complex and multi-layered plot lines that keep readers engaged and invested in the story.
  • Richly developed and memorable characters that readers can root for or against.
  • Engaging and well-written prose that immerses readers in the world of Westeros.


  • Slow pacing in some sections, particularly in the later books.
  • The vast number of characters and plot lines can be overwhelming for some readers.

Stardust By Neil Gaiman


Stardust by Neil Gaiman is a modern fairy tale set in the magical land of Faerie.

The story follows the adventures of a young man named Tristran Thorn, who lives in the mundane world of Victorian England.

Tristran promises to bring back a fallen star to his beloved Victoria, but he soon discovers that the star is actually a beautiful woman named Yvaine.

As Tristran and Yvaine make their way back to the human world, they encounter a variety of strange and dangerous characters, including witches, pirates, and princes.

Meanwhile, in Faerie, a power struggle is brewing between the sons of the dying King, and Yvaine’s presence becomes a key factor in the outcome of this struggle.

Throughout the story, Gaiman weaves themes of love, loyalty, and the power of storytelling.

The magical setting is brought to life through Gaiman’s vivid descriptions and the quirky, memorable characters that populate Faerie.


  • Unique blend of traditional fairy tale elements and Neil Gaiman’s distinctive style and voice.
  • A well-paced and intriguing plot that keeps readers engaged until the very end.


  • The book’s focus on romance may not appeal to all readers.

The Farseer Trilogy By Robin Hobb

The Complete Farseer Trilogy: Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest

The Farseer Trilogy is a fantasy novel series that takes place in a fictional world known as the Six Duchies.

The story follows FitzChivalry Farseer, the illegitimate son of the Prince-in-Waiting, who is trained as an assassin for the kingdom.

As Fitz navigates the complex political landscape of the kingdom, he discovers that not only does he have the telepathic power of Skill- which is common within the royal line-, but that he also possesses a rare ability known as the Wit, which allows him to bond with animals.

This ability is frowned upon by many, and Fitz must keep it a secret while also facing challenges from those who seek to use him for their own gain.

As the series progresses, Fitz becomes embroiled in a larger conflict involving the kingdom’s enemies, including the Red-Ship Raiders and the Outislanders.


  • Intricate world-building that immerses readers in a detailed and compelling fictional world.
  • Engaging and well-paced plot full of twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seats.


  • The use of archaic language and naming conventions may be difficult for some readers to follow.

The Shadow And Bone Trilogy By Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Boxed Set: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

The Shadow and Bone trilogy is a young adult fantasy series that takes place in the Grishaverse, a world inspired by Russian folklore and culture.

The trilogy consists of three books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising.

The series follows the story of Alina Starkov, an orphan girl who discovers that she has a rare magical power that can summon and manipulate light.

Alina is taken from her regiment in the Ravkan army and trained as a Grisha, a group of elite magical soldiers led by the mysterious and powerful Darkling.

As Alina trains and learns to control her power, she becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of politics and power struggles between the Grisha, the Ravkan king, and the neighboring countries.

Throughout the series, Alina’s relationships with the Darkling and her childhood friend and fellow soldier, Mal, become increasingly complicated as she struggles to balance her duty to her country with her own desires and motivations.

As Alina fights to save Ravka from the darkness that threatens to consume it, she must also confront the truth about her own power and the sacrifices she must make to save those she loves.


  • The Grishaverse is a richly imagined and immersive world, inspired by Russian folklore and culture, which brings a unique and fascinating setting to the series.
  • The main characters, especially Alina, are well-developed and complex, with layered motivations and realistic flaws that make them compelling and relatable.


  • The series has a heavy focus on romantic relationships, which may not be appealing to all readers or may feel overbearing at times.

The Folk Of The Air Series By Holly Black

The Folk of the Air Complete Paperback Gift Set

The Folk of the Air series is a young adult fantasy series that follows the story of Jude Duarte, a human girl who has grown up in the Faerie world.

The series consists of three books: The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing.

Jude and her twin sister Taryn were taken to the Faerie world when they were young by their mother’s Faerie husband, Madoc.

Growing up in the Faerie Court, Jude faces constant discrimination and abuse from the Faeries due to her mortal status.

She dreams of becoming a knight and gaining the power to defend herself and her family.

As the story progresses, Jude becomes embroiled in a dangerous political game of power struggles and intrigue as she becomes involved with the High Court of Faerie.

She is drawn into a web of deceit and betrayal, as she navigates the dangerous world of the Faeries and struggles to protect those she loves.


  • The Faerie world is rich and immersive, with intricate politics and complex social structures that add depth and interest to the story.
  • The characters in the series are multifaceted and have nuanced motivations, making them interesting and relatable.


  • The pacing of the series can be slow at times, with a lot of focus on character development and world-building that may not be as engaging for some readers.

Red Queen Series By Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen 4-Book Paperback Box Set: Red Queen, Glass Sword, King's Cage, War Strom

The Red Queen series is a young adult dystopian fantasy series that takes place in the kingdom of Norta, where people are divided by the color of their blood.

The series consists of four books: Red Queen, Glass Sword, King’s Cage, and War Storm.

In the world of Norta, those with red blood are commoners, while those with silver blood are the ruling class and possess magical abilities.

The series follows the story of Mare Barrow, a red-blooded girl who discovers she has a unique power that allows her to control electricity.

Mare is thrust into the world of the Silvers and becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of politics and power struggles as she navigates the treacherous world of the ruling elite.


  • The series has moments of emotional depth and intensity, particularly in the way it explores themes such as loss, grief, and sacrifice.
  • The magic system in the series is creative and unique, with different abilities and limitations that add depth to the world-building.


  • The series has been criticized for being derivative of other popular dystopian and fantasy series, with some elements feeling recycled or unoriginal.

The Witcher Saga By Andrzej Sapkowski

The Witcher Saga

The Witcher Saga is a series of books that follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a skilled monster hunter known as a Witcher.

The series consists of eight books: two short story collections and five novels, as well as a standalone novel set in the same universe.

Set in a medieval-inspired fantasy world, the series explores themes such as politics, war, morality, and the nature of humanity.

Geralt is a mutated and trained warrior who is hired by various individuals and factions to hunt down monsters and other supernatural creatures.

Along the way, he encounters a variety of characters, including other Witchers, sorcerers, and political figures.

Geralt becomes embroiled in various conflicts and intrigues, including the ongoing war between the kingdoms of the North and the Empire of Nilfgaard.

He also develops relationships with several women, most notably the sorceress Yennefer and princess Ciri, who become major characters in the later books.


  • The Witcher Saga features a wide cast of complex and nuanced characters, including Geralt himself, who is both a skilled fighter and a thoughtful philosopher.
  • The series subverts many traditional fantasy tropes and features a more morally ambiguous and gritty approach to storytelling.


  • Some books in the series are considered weaker than others, with certain plot lines or characters feeling less developed or compelling.

The Sword Of Truth Series By Terry Goodkind

Sword of Truth

The Sword of Truth series is a high-fantasy epic written by Terry Goodkind.

The series spans 21 books and follows the adventures of Richard Cypher, a woodsman who discovers that he is the prophesied Seeker of Truth.

Richard is tasked with using his magical abilities and the Sword of Truth to defeat the evil tyrant Darken Rahl and save the world of the Midlands from darkness.

Throughout the series, Richard must navigate complex political landscapes, battle dangerous enemies, and confront his inner demons.

Along the way, he is aided by a diverse cast of characters, including his love interest Kahlan Amnell, a powerful confessor, and his mentor Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, a wizard known as the “First Wizard.”

The series is known for its blend of action, romance, and philosophical themes.

Goodkind explores themes such as free will, individualism, and the nature of evil, often through extended philosophical discussions between characters.


  • The series is a sweeping epic that spans multiple books, allowing for complex and detailed world-building.
  • The series combines thrilling action scenes with philosophical discussions and exploration of complex themes.


  • The series has been criticized for its sometimes didactic approach to philosophy, with characters engaging in long, drawn-out discussions that can feel preachy.

The Poppy War By R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War: A Novel

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is a dark and intense fantasy novel set in a fictionalized version of China.

The story follows the journey of Rin, a poor and orphaned girl from the Nikara Empire who is determined to escape her fate as a child bride and attend the prestigious Sinegard Academy.

While at the academy, Rin discovers that she has the power to call upon the gods and unleash their devastating powers.

As the war between the Nikara Empire and the neighboring Federation of Mugen escalates, Rin is thrust into the front lines of the conflict.

Along the way, she discovers the true nature of her powers and grapples with the moral implications of using them to win the war.

As the violence and destruction escalate, Rin must confront the darkest parts of herself and the world around her.


  • The Poppy War takes place in a fictionalized version of China, offering readers a fresh and unique setting within the fantasy genre.
  • The novel features well-developed world-building that immerses readers in the world of the Nikara Empire and the conflicts that shape it.


  • The novel features graphic depictions of violence and torture, which may be triggering or disturbing for some readers.

The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue By V. E Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

This fantasy novel tells the story of Addie LaRue, a young woman living in 18th century France who makes a deal with a god-like figure to live forever, but in exchange, she will never be remembered by anyone she meets.

In 1714, Addie is living in a small village in France and is desperate to escape a life of poverty and an arranged marriage.

She prays to the gods for freedom and is answered by “Luc,” a dark and mysterious figure who offers her a deal.

In exchange for her soul, Addie will live forever, but no one will ever remember her.

Addie accepts the deal, and the story follows her through the centuries as she navigates the challenges of her immortal life.

She travels the world, experiencing everything from the French Revolution to the Jazz Age of New York City.

She becomes an artist, a muse, and a thief, but she always has to be careful not to be caught, as her curse makes it impossible for people to remember her.

Everything changes when she meets a young man named Henry in a bookstore in modern-day New York City.

For the first time in centuries, someone remembers her. The novel explores their relationship and the struggles that come with Addie’s curse.


  • The novel has a unique and intriguing concept of a woman cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
  • The author does an excellent job of exploring the themes of loneliness, immortality, and the importance of human connection.


  • The novel’s non-linear narrative structure may be confusing for some readers, as it jumps back and forth between different periods in Addie’s life.

The Hunger Games Trilogy By Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay

The Hunger Games is a dystopian young adult novel series set in a post-apocalyptic world called Panem.

Panem is divided into 12 districts and ruled by a totalitarian government based in the Capitol.

The series follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young girl from District 12 who is forced to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual event where one boy and one girl from each district are selected to fight to the death in a controlled arena.

In the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the Hunger Games.

Along with her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark, she must navigate the brutal arena and fight to survive while also dealing with the complex politics of the Capitol.

The second book, Catching Fire, follows Katniss and Peeta as they are forced to participate in a special edition of the Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell.

As rebellion stirs in the districts, Katniss becomes a symbol of hope and resistance, putting her life and those she loves in danger.

The third book, Mockingjay, continues the story of the rebellion and the fight against the Capitol, as Katniss becomes the face of the revolution and must confront the devastating consequences of war.


  • Features a strong and complex female protagonist, which is important for representation in literature.
  • The series creates a detailed and vivid post-apocalyptic world that is both fascinating and terrifying.


  • Some readers criticize the series for the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, which they feel detracts from the main plot.

The Last Unicorn By Peter S Beagle

The Last Unicorn (Cover print may vary)

The Last Unicorn is a fantasy novel by Peter S Beagle, first published in 1968. The story follows a unicorn who sets out on a quest to discover what has happened to all the other unicorns.

She is accompanied by Schmendrick, a hapless magician, and Molly Grue, a practical woman who has longed for unicorns her entire life.

As they journey through a land ruled by King Haggard and his monstrous Red Bull, the unicorn discovers that the other unicorns have been captured and are being held captive by Haggard.

With the help of her friends and a host of other characters, the unicorn sets out to rescue the other unicorns and defeat Haggard and the Red Bull.


  • Engaging storytelling
  • Beloved characters


  • The Last Unicorn is not an action-packed novel, which may disappoint readers who are looking for more adventure and excitement

Mistborn Series By Brandon Sanderson


The Mistborn series is a trilogy of epic fantasy novels written by Brandon Sanderson that take place in a dark world ruled by an immortal emperor named Lord Ruler, who has been in power for a thousand years.

The main character, Vin, is a young girl who has grown up on the streets and possesses the ability to use Allomancy, a magic system that allows her to manipulate metals.

With the help of a group of rebels, including the charismatic Kelsier, who is also an Allomancer, Vin learns to control her powers and works to overthrow Lord Ruler and his oppressive regime.

Vin uncovers dark secrets about the world and her past that threaten to tear apart everything she has fought for.

The series is known for its unique magic system, engaging characters, intricate plot twists, and thrilling action sequences.


  • The Allomancy system is unlike any other magic system in fantasy literature, which makes the story captivating and engaging.
  • The plot is well-crafted, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader engaged.


  • The story is complex and can be difficult to follow at times, which may make it less accessible to some readers.

The Lord Of The Rings Series By J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-known adult fantasy book series in the world, made up of a trilogy of epic high fantasy novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The story follows a hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who is entrusted with the task of destroying a powerful magical ring that has the power to control the entire world.

Along with his friends and fellow members of the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo sets out on a dangerous journey across Middle-earth to destroy the ring and defeat the evil lord Sauron, who seeks to reclaim it for himself.

Throughout their journey, the characters encounter a variety of creatures, from fearsome dragons to mischievous hobbits, and must navigate through treacherous landscapes and political intrigue.


  • Tolkien created a vast and detailed world with rich history, cultures, and languages, which has inspired countless works of fantasy literature.
  • The story is grand and sweeping, with high stakes and dramatic action sequences that keep the reader engaged.
  • The Lord of the Rings has had a significant impact on the fantasy genre and popular culture as a whole.


  • Tolkien’s writing style is very descriptive, which can make some parts of the story feel slow and dense.

The Wheel Of Time Series By Robert Jordan

Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels set in a fictional world where magic exists and is wielded by certain individuals known as channelers.

The story follows a group of characters, including Rand al’Thor, who discovers that he is the Dragon Reborn, a legendary figure prophesied to save the world from great evil.

Along with his friends, Rand sets out on a journey to fulfil the prophecy and defeat the Dark One, an evil force seeking to destroy the world.


  • The series has an extensive and detailed world, complete with unique cultures, religions, and magic systems
  • The story is told from multiple perspectives, providing a well-rounded view of the world and its characters.


  • Some readers have criticized the series for its repetitive elements, such as the constant use of certain phrases or descriptions.

The Name Of The Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle By Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1

The Name of the Wind is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss.

The book tells the story of Kvothe, a legendary hero and musician, as he recounts his life story to a chronicler known as Chronicler.

Kvothe grew up in a troupe of travelling performers, but after a tragedy befalls his family, he becomes a street urchin.

He eventually gains admittance to the prestigious University, where he learns magic and becomes embroiled in a series of adventures and mysteries.

Along the way, he encounters a variety of characters, including friends, enemies, and a mysterious woman named Denna.


  • The book has a compelling narrative that draws the reader in and keeps them invested in Kvothe’s story.
  • Kvothe and the other characters in the book are well-developed and have rich backstories that make them feel like real people.


  • Like some other fantasy novels, The Name of the Wind can be dense and descriptive, which may not appeal to all readers.

Dune By Frank Herbert

Dune (Penguin Galaxy)

Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, first published in 1965.

The novel is set in the distant future, where humanity has spread across the galaxy and is ruled by a feudal system of nobles and emperors.

The story follows young Paul Atreides, whose family is tasked with taking control of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, which is the only source of the valuable spice mélange.

Paul and his family become embroiled in a power struggle with other noble houses, as well as the native people of Arrakis known as the Fremen, who have their own plans for the planet and its resources.

As Paul learns more about the planet and its people, he discovers that he may be destined to become the messiah-like figure known as the Kwisatz Haderach, with the power to change the fate of the entire universe.


  • The world of Dune is meticulously crafted, with a detailed history, ecology, and culture that make it feel like a real place.
  • The novel features a glossary of terms and uses invented words and concepts, such as the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and the spice mélange, which add to the richness of the world.


  • While the novel features some strong female characters, such as Lady Jessica and the Bene Gesserit, they are limited in number and their actions are often driven by their relationships with male characters.

The Dark Tower Series By Stephen King

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower is a series of eight books written by Stephen King that follows Roland Deschain.

Deschain is a gunslinger from a parallel world known as Mid-World, who is on a quest to find the Dark Tower, a mythical structure that is said to be the nexus of all universes.

Roland is joined on his journey by a group of allies, including the young boy Jake, the junkie Eddie, the tough-talking Odetta Holmes, and the billy-bumbler, a raccoon-like creature named Oy.

As they go, the group must confront a variety of foes, including the Man in Black, a shape-shifting demon, and a group of deadly robots known as the Wolves.

The series draws on a variety of genres, including westerns, horror, and science fiction, and explores themes of destiny, free will, and the nature of reality.


  • Stephen King creates a vivid and imaginative world with Mid-World and the other dimensions it connects to, filled with strange creatures and unique cultures.
  • The Dark Tower series draws on multiple genres, including horror, western, and fantasy, which keeps the story fresh and unpredictable.


  • The overarching plot of the series can be convoluted and difficult to follow, with multiple timelines and dimensions to keep track of.

Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch By Neil Gaiman And Terry Pratchett

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is a novel written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

The story follows an angel named Aziraphale and a demon named Crowley, who have both lived on Earth for centuries and have found themselves developing a grudging respect for each other.

They team up to prevent the apocalypse, which has been foretold by the accurate prophecies of the witch Agnes Nutter.

The two team up to stop the antichrist from bringing about the end of the world, and along the way they encounter a variety of colorful characters, including a witch-hunter, a witch, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

The novel is known for its humor, wit, and irreverent take on religion and mythology.



  • The novel touches on religious themes and mythology, which may not be appealing or comfortable for all readers.

Rivers Of London By Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London

Also known as the Peter Grant series, this collection of urban fantasy novels follows the adventures of Peter Grant, a young police constable in London who becomes involved in the world of magic and supernatural beings.

Peter Grant discovers that he has a talent for magic and is recruited by Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England, to become his apprentice.

Together, they investigate a range of magical crimes, from ghosts haunting the underground to malevolent spirits wreaking havoc on the city.


  • The series mixes elements of urban fantasy, police procedural, and dry humor to create a distinct and entertaining style
  • Fast-paced and entertaining


  • While the series is generally well-paced, some books may feel slower or more plodding than others

The Daevabad Trilogy By S.A. Chakraborty

The Daevabad Trilogy

This trilogy of adult fantasy novels is set in a richly imagined world inspired by Islamic mythology and history.

The series follows Nahri, a con artist and healer from 18th-century Cairo, who inadvertently summons a djinn warrior named Dara and discovers that she is descended from a powerful family of djinn healers.

As Nahri navigates the treacherous political landscape of the magical city of Daevabad, she becomes embroiled in a power struggle between the djinn tribes: the shafit, mixed-blood descendants of djinn and humans, who have been oppressed by the pure-blooded djinn; the fiery and vengeful Ifrit; and the powerful but secretive marid.


  • The Daevabad Trilogy features a richly imagined world inspired by Islamic mythology and history. The setting is detailed and complex, with intricate political structures and magical systems that add depth to the story.
  • The series deals with themes of colonialism, oppression, and revolution, and offers insightful commentary on issues that are relevant to our world today.


  • The series is dense with information about the world and its history, which may be overwhelming for some.

The Scholomance Series By Naomi Novik

The Scholomance

The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik is a fantasy series set in a magical school that trains young wizards to defend against deadly monsters.

The first book in the series, A Deadly Education, follows the story of Galadriel (El for short), a young sorceress who has spent most of her life in the Scholomance.

El is a loner who struggles to make friends due to her immense magical power, which tends to cause disaster wherever she goes.

When she is forced to team up with a group of other students to survive a deadly monster attack, she begins to develop a tentative friendship with Orion Lake, a powerful and charismatic boy who is known for his monster-slaying abilities.

In the second book, The Last Graduate, El is in her final year at the Scholomance and is determined to make it out alive.

As she and her friends face new challenges and threats, El must confront the dark secrets of the Scholomance and the true nature of her power.


  • The Scholomance series offers a fresh take on the magic school trope, with a darker and more dangerous setting and creatures.
  • A well-developed and intriguing magical world, with a rich history and unique rules and lore.


  • While the world-building is a strength of the series, it can also be overwhelming at times, with a lot of information to keep track of.

Earthlings By Sakaya Murata

Earthlings: A Novel

Earthlings is a thought-provoking and surreal novel that follows the story of Natsuki, a young Japanese girl who believes she is an alien from a distant planet.

As a child, Natsuki befriends her cousin, Yuu, who shares her belief in extraterrestrial life.

They create a shared mythology, developing elaborate stories about their alien identities and their mission to save the Earth.

As Natsuki grows older, she struggles to fit into society and conform to social norms.

She marries a man she doesn’t love to please her parents but finds solace in her close relationship with her childhood friend, Yuu.

When the two reunite as adults, they embark on a journey that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, leading them to question their identities and their place in the world.


  • Thought-provoking
  • The book is well-written, with beautiful prose that captures the emotions and experiences of the characters in a powerful way.


  • The book contains graphic descriptions of violence, sex, and other disturbing content that may be difficult for some readers to stomach.

The First Law Trilogy By Joe Abercrombie

The First Law Trilogy

This next choice is a dark, gritty fantasy series that follows a diverse cast of characters as they navigate political intrigue, betrayal, and violence in a world where magic is rare and brutal warfare is commonplace.

The series consists of three books: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings.

In The Blade Itself, readers are introduced to a cast of characters including a disgraced warrior seeking redemption, a torturer with a dark past, and a nobleman with a secret mission.

As they are drawn together, they become embroiled in a plot that threatens to destroy the kingdom.

In Before They Are Hanged, the characters continue their journey as they venture into the northern territories in search of a powerful magic user who may hold the key to victory in the upcoming war.

Along the way, they encounter dangerous enemies and face personal demons.

In Last Argument of Kings, the characters are embroiled in a final battle that will determine the fate of the kingdom.

Betrayals and revelations abound as the characters face their ultimate test.


  • Abercrombie’s characters are multidimensional and often morally ambiguous, making them compelling and unpredictable.
  • The world of The First Law trilogy is violent, dirty, and cruel, but also realistic and immersive.


  • The trilogy can be quite bleak and depressing at times, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

The Gormenghast Novels By Mervyn Peake

The Gormenghast Novels (Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone)

This trilogy of gothic fantasy novels includes the books Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone, Titus Awakes, and Boy in Darkness, and the series is set in a vast, decaying castle called Gormenghast and follows the lives of its inhabitants, including the noble House of Groan, as they navigate a complex web of power struggles, secrets, and ancient rituals.

The novels are known for their vivid imagery, intricate prose, and unique characters, such as the tormented hero Titus Groan, the sadistic Steerpike, and the eccentric Dr. Prunesquallor.


  • The Gormenghast novels create a unique and vividly imagined world, with a complex history and culture that feels fully realized and immersive.
  • Mervyn Peake’s writing style is often described as baroque or ornate, with a richness and complexity that elevates the novels beyond simple genre fiction.


  • The novels can be slow-moving at times, with long descriptions and digressions that may not appeal to readers looking for a more action-packed story.

The Dark Star Trilogy By Marlon James

The Dark Star Trilogy

Consisting of the books Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Moon Witch, Night Devil and an upcoming third book, the Dark Star trilogy is set in an imagined world inspired by African mythology, folklore, and history.

The series follows the adventures of Tracker, a skilled hunter who is hired to find a missing boy.

Along the way, Tracker teams up with a diverse cast of characters, including a shape-shifting leopard, a witch, and a giant, as they navigate a dangerous and often violent world of political intrigue, war, and magic.


  • The Dark Star books are set in an imagined world inspired by African mythology and folklore, which is a refreshing departure from the more commonly used European-inspired settings in fantasy novels.
  • The series features a diverse cast of characters with complex personalities and motivations, who come from different cultural backgrounds and have different experiences of power and oppression.


  • The narrative structure of the series is non-linear, which may not appeal to all readers who prefer a more straightforward storytelling approach.

Temper By Nicky Drayden

Temper: A Novel

Temper is a standalone science fiction and fantasy novel set in a fictional city in South Africa that explores a world where each person is born with two souls, a white one and a black one.

The story follows twin brothers, Auben and Kasim, who are born with a unique combination of three souls, and their struggles to navigate their complex identities and the societal expectations that come with them.

The novel also explores themes of power, corruption, and the consequences of unchecked ambition, as the brothers become embroiled in a dangerous game of political and magical manipulation.


  • Temper creates a unique and vividly imagined world, where each person is born with two or more souls, and explores the societal implications and ramifications of this concept.
  • The novel explores themes of identity, race, power, and free will, and does so in a thought-provoking and nuanced way.


  • The novel has a chaotic narrative structure that jumps around in time and between different characters’ perspectives, which may be disorienting for some readers.

What To Look For When Choosing An Adult Fantasy Novel


A good adult fantasy novel should have well-developed and immersive world-building.

Look for a book that creates a unique and detailed world that draws you in and sparks your imagination.


Characters are an essential component of any story, and adult fantasy novels are no exception.

Look for characters who are complex, multidimensional, and engaging, with motivations that are believable and relatable.


The plot of a fantasy novel should be engaging, with twists and turns that keep you guessing and wanting to read more. Look for a book with a well-structured plot that is well-paced and satisfying.


Adult fantasy novels often explore complex themes such as power, morality, and the human condition.

Look for a book that explores these themes in a nuanced and thought-provoking way.

Writing Style

The writing style of a fantasy novel can significantly affect your enjoyment of the book. Look for a book with writing that is engaging, clear, and immersive.


A good fantasy novel should feature diverse characters and perspectives, reflecting the diversity of the real world.

Final Thoughts

The world of adult fantasy novels is vast and varied, with countless books to choose from.

From the classic works of J.R.R. Tolkien to the modern epics of George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson, there is no shortage of amazing stories to explore.

The best adult fantasy novels offer immersive worlds, complex characters, engaging plots, and thought-provoking themes that can transport readers to new realms and leave them longing for more.

Whether you’re a die-hard fantasy fan or a newcomer to the genre, there’s something out there for everyone.

So take a journey into the unknown and discover your next favorite book today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes A Fantasy Novel An Adult Fantasy Novel?

Adult fantasy novels typically feature more mature themes and content than young adult or middle-grade fantasy novels. They often contain more complex characters, world-building, and plot lines.

What Is The Best Selling Adult Fantasy Novel Of All Time?

The best-selling adult fantasy novel of all time is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, with over 150 million copies sold worldwide.

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Noah Burton