The 15 Best Epic Fantasy Books of 2021
Fantasy literature has been in existence since historical times, and fantasy books make up a unique genre. They typically employ magic and different supernatural phenomena such as creatures to develop their plot, settings, or theme. Fantasy books will also feature mystical beings such as elves, trolls, gods, dragons, and dwarves.
The genre draws its main inspiration from real-world folklore and myths and will normally be rooted in oral traditions.
On The Trail Of The Wind's Tears, by Lynne Armstrong-Jones
The story follows some warriors and two sorceresses who joined together to defend a brutal warlock. Guided by a powerful witch, they manage to complete the mission, but their success turns them into the ideal candidates for a new quest.
Sorceress Veras feels something unusual in the wind – tears. The witch has tried to send a signal that she needs help again. Veras is joined by her husband Nico and another sorceress Creda to face the new challenge.
An unusual force is now aiming to control the weather. Apart from fighting this force, Veras and Nico also have to deal with their marriage. While newly married, they are still trying to get used to this new lifestyle. It sounds like double trouble, but they are not willing to give up.
The Provenance (Astar’s Blade), by Joe Lyon
His lifelong, Almon has been aware that the Plum-Kilmer family was frequented by a ghost. For many decades, the ghost has continually cursed his family except for him. Almon thinking that the family curse is over, believes that he is probably off the hook. However, the moment the ghost shows up, it leads to his sanity’s strain.
Not being ready, he is taken to the mountains by his growing madness, where the ghosts are waiting to lead him towards his doom or save him. The book highlights the ancestry of gods, demons, and ghosts who brought about a defective world. This is a story of tabooed knowledge or the perceived forces that are designed to keep away from mortals. They are aware of being under observation and are also very powerful to curse audacious observers.
The author‘s first book in the series is a strong start of the Astars's Blade universe, with unique and unforgettable characters and plot.
Waking Magic, by Martha Carr, Michael Anderle
For those that like fantasy accompanied by some humor, this book is for you. You will not help being pulled along. The setup is in Austin, where a detective, Leira Berens, a homicide Detective, is going after bad guys and solving crimes. She is very good at her job. Can she solve a murder, rescue her mother, and also stop the ongoing apocalypse? She discovers that there are other worlds around her, sets out on a magical journey, and finds out that her mother is not crazy. Fortunately, she has a foul-mouthed troll on her side.
When the light elf dies, the king breaks an old treaty and seeks her help to find the murderer. The elf’s death is only the start, and tracking down the killer is not only about justice. It is about saving the world too. A lot of twists arise as time is limited too. She is also trying to hide the troll, which can grow to be gigantic. Everything is a real rollercoaster.
The Unbroken, by C. L. Clark
The Unbroken is what modern fantasy should look like. The story is powerfully and thoughtfully written. The book is a political fantasy, a real work of art from the tale of rebellion, espionage, and military might in a crumbling desert empire. This is the first novel in C.L. Clark’s Magic of the Lost trilogy.
The story is about Touraine. A soldier caught up in between two different worlds. Touraine was stolen as a child and later raised to fight for the empire. Her only loyalty is to her Balladairan Empire conscripts. Now, her company has been sent to put an end to a rebellion in her homeland. Her blood ties may be stronger than she may have thought.
Meanwhile, Luca is a backstabber and desperate enough to be ordered into treason. She sways those that rebel into peace and is focused on getting her uncle off her throne. Touraine and Luca will fight over the nation’s price through massacres and assassinations. Some things are, however, not for sale.
For the lovers of epic military fantasy, this one is a must-read. It is compelling and persuasive. It reveals all the ugly, hurtful, and deep personal complexities of an empire revolution.
The Blacktongue Thief, by Christopher Buehlman
The Blacktongue Thief details an adventure filled with unmatched fantasy. The setup features a society with goblin wars, ravens for battle, and assassins that can use tattoos to kill. The story is undeniably a page-turner. Kinch Na Hannack has been educated as a thief and now owes the Takers Guild for his fortune, which is not limited to but includes knife–fighting, lie-weaving, lock-picking, wall-scaling, and also magic. Because of his debt, he lies in wait with a plan to rob the next traveler by the old forest road.
During one occurrence, he is awaiting an unusual target, Galva. She is a knight, a handmaiden of the goddess of death, and also survived the goblin wars. She is in search of her missing queen.
He is unsuccessful in his plan and manages to escape but now finds his fate entrapped with that of Galva. They face similar enemies and other unusual threats on their journey, like goblins and krakens. Honor is one thing they cannot afford.
The Blacktongue Thief is a total delight from its start to finish and is filled with crazy magic.
Bite Me, by Linsey Hall
In Bite Me, Linsey has created complex, deep characters filled with mystery, and their world is full of wonder. The book mirrors Mac’s life in Guild City. She is the Guild City’s guardian and barkeeper.
Mac is also finding about her prior life which seemingly, is not what she remembers. The first vampire, Drakon of Dracul, blames her for burying him alive and threatens to kill her if she does not help him with his problem. However, his plans are changed as they become something more and he discovers that she can be helpful. They are fated together, and the bride bond is continually attracting him under her spell. They become closer as they try to solve Drakon’s secretive but precious mystery. As they keep up with their endeavors, Mac starts to wonder if she actually killed him.
This is a story of a mighty hero and heroine and enemies turned lovers. It is a total mystery.
Mentored in Fire, by K.F. Breene
In this book, Breene has creatively created a world that is dominated by natural and intriguing characters. You will be drawn into every moment. Reagan has spent all her life hiding and laying low so as not to get herself trapped in the Underworld. Surprisingly enough, that is where she finds herself having been rescued from the elves’ dungeon. She is in the Underworld together with her father, who is also full of mischievous magic.
While there, she is now finding out more about her magic and is now forming a bond with her father. Is Lucifer just deceiving her into getting what he wants? She doubts herself since things do not really seem as they appear. Is Cahal capable of saving her? On the other hand, Darius has also been making up a plan to rescue her in case the need arises.
Darius, Penny, and Emery try sneaking into the Underworld to get Reagan. Will they get to her on time, or will Lucifer have already manipulated her? Things do not go according to plan.
Mentored in fire is intelligent, fiery, humorous, and intensely touching. This series just keeps getting better.
The Savage and the Swan, by Ella Fields
Ella Fields’ The Savage and the Swan is a romance fantasy. You will not want to put this read down as the characters will remain nested in your brain. The book features two main characters, Opal and Dade. Dade is fierce, consumed by revenge, and dark, while Opal is delicate and full of grace.
The king of the wolves was a lot more than he seemed. He had been raised to avenge his parents, and his heart had been conditioned to hate and violence. Because of their upbringing, their characters are very much unlike when they meet. Their relations in the magical, supernatural world are exceptionally detailed to show how Opal and Dade’s destiny will foster the land’s peace and unity.
With this masterpiece, you will momentarily forget about the real world.
Anomaly One, by Rick Krusky
What would happen if the cure to a fatal disease was found and then lost? Moreover, what if finding the cure again could uplift a species to new heights or threaten its extinction based on who gets to it first? Anomaly One will make you feel like you are in a different world, like a fantasy book should. It looks into a futuristic world in the Princess’s journey to save her from a certain death in which civilization may be wholly extinguished.
Within a planet that exists in a remote system, there is an outburst from its overpopulated seams, and it has now been forced up above into the surrounding space. This has resulted in floating cities and collective cities called “the Conglomerate.”
A rampant incurable disease has caused much suffering, and the Conglomerate’s princess has not been spared. When a young man whose origin is of an unknown species undertakes to meet her, he creates events that offer a potential cure. While unaware, he hands over the makings of a weapon that can destroy the entire population to the Underworld. Will civilization be extinguished entirely?
Son of the Storm, by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
This is the first book in The Nameless Republic series and the one where you get to become familiar with all the main characters. The action takes place in Bassa, an ancient city. Danso is a local scholar who is expected to achieve everything in life. But then, he does not really want it – he just wants a normal life.
His main passion is chasing banned stories and myths outside the city. According to the elite of the city, there is nothing really interesting out there. Everyone around – including immigrants – seems to have a secret though.
Things change when Danso finds a warrior wielding magic. This is when the story becomes interesting. Pushed into the dark history of Bassa, Danso is about to begin a journey that will change his life. Moreover, to make things even worse, chaos is just around the corner.
The Empire's Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne), by Brian Staveley
The general idea is fairly simple to understand – the Annurian Empire is about to fall. Its resources and advantages are almost gone. Some of its gates can no longer be used and the Kettral army is no longer what it used to be. Then, one of the remaining Kettral must save everything.
However, as you dig deeper into it, it becomes one of the best epic fantasy books of 2021. The surviving Kettral must travel over the edge of the empire and explore a new world full of dangers. The mission? Finding the nesting area of the war hawks.
Then, a plot twist kicks in. A monk who is now a con artist may know a few things that will put the empire back on track. Time is limited and every second matters. However, what the two will discover can change everything to 180 degrees – if they survive, of course.
The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn), by John Gwynne
John Gwynne has come up with a masterpiece – no wonder this is only the beginning of the longer Bloodsworn Saga series. It is a story that takes place in a different time – a time when gods warred themselves and almost became extinct.
As a result, the land of Vigrið is likely to become history as well. The world is different now. The hungry are always attacking, while monsters roam freely around the land. Gods’ remains still hold power and using it wisely can change everything though.
There is chaos everywhere and the world is expected to go to war anytime soon. Three people have a different fate though. A noblewoman, a thrall and a huntress end up teaming up to change the fate of the world – different purposes, but one common fate.
The Jasmine Throne (The Burning Kingdoms), by Tasha Suri
Malini’s life is not the best. While she is the dictator’s sister, she is imprisoned and ends up spending her time fully isolated in an ancient temple – the Hirana. It used to be a source of magic and power, but it is nothing but a ruin these days.
Priya, on the other hand, is a servant. Her role is to travel to Hirana every single evening to make sure Malini’s chambers are clean. She has an anonymous job, but she also hides a few secrets – as long as she can keep them away, she is happy.
One day, Malini discovers Priya’s real nature by mistake. Their destinies are then bound together. One of them is a princess aiming to take the throne back and the other one is actually a priestess trying to find her family. Their goals are bound to the same fate.
Empire of the Vampire, by Jay Kristoff
The sun was last seen 27 years ago. Vampires have managed to take the humanity over. It is a world of darkness now and things are less likely to change too soon. However, there are a few sparks of light out there.
Gabriel de Leon is what most people would refer to as a silversaint. He is part of a brotherhood and his role is to keep the church safe from vampires and other similar creatures. But then, the order has failed overtime and Gabriel is the only survivor.
Gabriel is now imprisoned and forced to tell the story that took the world here. There is one hope left for humanity though – the Holy Grail.
The Councillor, by E. J. Beaton
Iron Queen Sarelin Brey is now dead and everything seems to fall apart. The queen’s closest friend and local scholar Lysande Prior is meant to choose the next monarch. However, her hidden goal is to figure out who killed the queen – and she suspects magic was involved.
Lysande sticks to her goal in a quiet and organized manner. She believes that everything has a place and time. She is addicted to drugs though and as she digs deeper, an unusual will grows up inside her – the will of power.
She ends up stuck in a sophisticated game of strategy with other leaders in the city, but especially Luca Fontaine, an erudite prince. Meanwhile, in a different world, an enemy knows about the city struggles and aims to attack at the right time. This is only the first book in The Councillor series and one of the best epic fantasy books of 2021.
The best fantasy books will depict the world differently, with each one creating its own universe. It is these aspects that make this genre delightful, provocative, and exciting.