When most people think of epic fantasy books they think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Published in 1954-1955, The Lord of the Rings is one of the first epic fantasy novels and remains one of the most popular. But The Lord of the Rings is only one example of this genre. There are many epic fantasy books, both old and new, waiting to be discovered by readers.

Epic fantasy books are a genre of fantasy literature that usually has a large, complex plot and setting. They often include elements of high or epic fantasy, such as worlds or universes where magic and sorcery are commonly used, and larger-than-life characters. They typically employ magic and different supernatural phenomena such as creatures to develop their plot, settings, or theme. The stories 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.

Hence epic fantasy novels often connected to historical fantasy novels, there are also contemporary epic fantasy titles that are worth to mention. In the following list, we collected some great reads from the past years and you will also find the classic epic fantasy series at the end of the list.

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What Are Some Fresh Epic Fantasy Books and Series?

The Altar of My Fate, by Michael R. Schultheiss (2021)

Reading The Altar of My Fate is nothing short of an adventure. Michael has done an excellent job of creating the universe in this book while giving a clear picture of all the incidents. You will love the mature themes and adore this story simultaneously. The unique setting will catch your attention and make you eager to see how the characters use magical powers.

This book is a close relation and a fusion of Game of Thrones, and Conan the Barbarian. If you enjoyed these masterpieces, you are in for a real treat. This is the story of Rosteval. He was trained to be part of the warrior’s path, but he intensely craves going on adventures in unknown lands and being glorified

Rosteval creates a war band and, as the leader, goes on a journey in a formidable desert to fight the rising enemies. He is ready for mounting dangers but not Ghaitta, a gorgeous and secretive slave girl.

As the enemies increase, Rosteval must tackle an immortal foe and the impending defeat apparition. Can he and Ghaitta stave off disaster and get to claim the ancient Shaper Altar’s fateful power?

Witch King, by Martha Wells (2023)

Martha Wells has never been known to disappoint in her series, and I am confident this entry will be a page-turner. If you enjoy a well-structured plot with unique characters, you don't want to miss this book when it debuts. It is a thrilling story about family, betrayal, power, and true friendship.

Kai-Enna, the main character, is imprisoned in a water trap, rendering him hopeless, unconscious, and completely unaware of how time flies. He is a witch king, and he finally wakes up to realize a lesser wizard is willing to take over his magic and use it for their benefit.

With the increasing growth of the Rising World Coalition threatening Kai’s reign and the new changing world since his assassination, he is forced to regroup his allies and answer all the questions as he draws all his pain magic.

A Day of Fallen Night, by Samantha Shannon (2023)

This book will sweep you into the dreamland fantasy world with its intricate and epic storyline. It is carefully mastered with excellent plot twists and captivating characters who are out of this world.

I am a big fan of Samantha's craft and expect nothing less from A Day of Fallen Night.

It narrates the story of Tunuva Melim, who has for fifty years put in work to slay wyrms. She is a sister to the Priory, and as generations go by, they begin to ask about the purpose of the Priory following the non-appearance of wyrms.

Meanwhile, Sabran, the Ambitious in the North, has narrowly saved both kingdoms by marrying the new king of Hroth. Dumai has been trying to wake the Eastern dragon gods, but now someone from her mother's past is coming to overturn her fate.

Following the eruption of the Dreadmount, terror and violence develop. All these women have to find the power to fight tooth and nail to liberate humanity against impending danger. Will they succeed? Find out as soon as this book drops.

The Starless Crown (Moon Fall), by James Rollins (2022)

An enigmatic journey unfolds as they strive to unravel the mysteries of the past and save the world. This epic series is from the New York Times bestselling author James Rollins.

A talented student foretells a nationwide cataclysm, but her reward is a death sentence. Fleeing the unknowns, she chooses a side with outcasts such as a broken soldier he calls upon again to take the weapons he's forbidden to use and find their way back home.

Under constant attack by a variety of both old and new enemies, they must be vigilant and discover ancient secrets to protect them from destruction.

The Lost Metal (The Mistborn Saga Book 7), by Brandon Sanderson (2022)

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series is an adventure-mystery that explores political intrigue and martial arts. This is the seventh book in the series and one of the most awaited epic fantasy book of 2022.

Kelsier collected the innermost underworld crew, to introduce the ultimate heist he planned. Even with the greatest criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks like the eventual longshot, until the on the streets of Flushing come a girl named Vin, who completely opens his eyes.

If you are unfamiliar with Mistborn books, I want to encourage you to start reading the first novel, published in 2006. This great adventure from Brandon Sanderson will certainly hook you in to his detailed exciting world.

The Unholy Realm (True Privilege), by Karyn Darnell (2021)

This is the first book of True Privilege series. The story starts in 1897 and follows the epic adventures of Purity's family.

Purity is a brave heroine, who find herself always of the middle of dangerous events. Her dream is for a better life as maid somehow never becomes reality, she falls in love with the lord of Shadow Brook Estate, Favor Wisedor, but due to unforeseen events she slips into a new reality called “New Earth”.

This is a very entertaining fantasy romance book. I was fascinated by the brilliant blend of adventure, mystery, and romance in the story. Additionally the story is well structured there was a lot of background work on the side of the author. I also loved how Purity's character came through over the course of this book, and how her entire personality evolved.

On The Trail Of The Wind's Tears, by Lynne Armstrong-Jones (2021)

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 (2021)

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 epic fantasy book in the series is a strong start of the Astars's Blade universe, with unique and unforgettable characters and plot.

Waking Magic (The Leira Chronicles), by Martha Carr, Michael Anderle (2020)

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 (Magic of the Lost), by C. L. Clark (2021)

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 (2021)

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 (Shadow Guild: Vampire Bride), by Linsey Hall (2021)

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 (Vampire Nights World Book 10), by K.F. Breene (2017)

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 (2021)

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 (2020)

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 (The Nameless Republic), by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (2021)

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 (2021)

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. 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 (2021)

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 (2021)

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 (2021)

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 (2021)

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.

What Are The Classic Epic Fantasy Books and Series?

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)

The Lord of the Rings is a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in 1954. The book is about the adventures of Frodo Baggins who was given a ring by his uncle Bilbo which turns out to be the One Ring created by Sauron, the Dark Lord. The ring must be destroyed in order to defeat Sauron and his armies.

Hence Frodo Baggins' epic journey seems to be extremely dangerous a bunch of friends and allies are along with the hobbit to protect him from the dark hordes of Sauron.

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular epic high-fantasy in history. The series has been adapted into a movie trilogy and a stage production.

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time), by Robert Jordan (1990)

The Wheel of Time is a series of high fantasy novels written by American author Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, with Sanderson as a co-author for the final three novels. The series is published by Tor Books and consists of 14 volumes, with a 15th volume planned. It tells the story of Rand al'Thor, a young farm boy who discovers he is the reincarnation of the Dragon Reborn and must fight to save the world from the Dark One.

The first novel in the series, The Eye of the World was published in 1990. The most recent novel, A Memory of Light, was published in January 2013. The books have been translated into over 25 languages, with more than 44 million copies in print worldwide.

A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Marton (1996)

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire – the first book of A Game of Thrones series – is a fantasy novels that take place in the fictional world of Westeros. The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was released in 1996.

The story follows several noble families as they fight for control of the Iron Throne. The series feature various strong sometimes noble, sometimes darkly evil characters, including Daenerys Targaryen (the mother of dragons) , Jon Snow (the protector of Wall) or Tyrion Lannister (the leery imp).

The series has been adapted into a successful HBO television series, which is now in its seventh season. The show has been praised for its stunning visuals and complex characters.

The Kingkiller Chronicle, by Patrick Rothfuss (2007)

There is something special about The Name of the Wind, the  first book in the series and it was released in 2007. It's like a spell that can beckon you to enter a story. That's certainly how it felt for Patrick Rothfuss when he was writing The Kingkiller Chronicle.

Rothfuss finished the sequel, The Wise Man's Fear, in 2011. four years after the initial release of the first book.

In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe continues his training at the University, learning more about The Chandrian and other secrets of the world. He also begins his search for them, and comes close to finding them on more than one occasion. Along the way, he makes new friends and enemies, and struggles with his growing power and fame.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis (1950)

Narnia. The very name conjures up images of talking animals, heroic quests, and mystical lands. The Chronicles of Narnia are some of the most beloved children's books of all time.

The first book in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was published in 1950 and tells the story of four children who find their way into Narnia through a wardrobe in their home. They soon discover that they are not the only ones who can see Narnia; others, including an evil witch, can also enter.

The next two books in the series, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader follow the children as they continue their adventures in Narnia.

Conclusion

Epic fantasy books are a genre all their own. They transport the reader to another world, with its own rules and regulations. This is what makes them so captivating and exciting. No two epic fantasy books are alike, as each one creates its own unique universe for the reader to explore. This is what sets this genre apart from others, and is why it is so popular among readers of all ages.

If you also like science fictions, check out our epic selection of the all time best sci-fi novels.