Looking to get into the fantasy genre but don’t know where to start? Then we have the perfect list for you. All of these books mentioned have powerful things to say, and a great story to tell. Most importantly, they’re fun to read. Whether you’re looking for a classic or new taste of where the genre is headed we have a little something for everyone. Here are 5 of the best fantasy books for beginners.
If you’re looking to get into modern fantasy books for beginners no list would be complete without Brandon Sanderson. Easily one of the leading voices in fantasy. Brandon Sanderson In an easy and accessible way for just about anyone to jump in. This book was one of my first introductions to his writing, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The basic premise of this book is “what if a dark lord actually won? And what would it look like?” Not only does it have a great premise, but the book has a great magic system known as “burning metals” that allow for special abilities.
This is a perfect book for both adults and teens that tackles themes such as religion, friendship, ultimate power, and what is the greater good. Choices are made, lives are won and lost, and destiny always comes at a price. Mistborn is one of the best fantasy books for beginners because of its engaging plot and fantastic character work. This is also part one of a trilogy but can stand on its own as a complete story.
Although the Lord of the Rings is considered one of the best fantasy books, it’s not nearly as accessible as The Hobbit. If you’re looking for the traditional hero’s journey story then The Hobbit is a perfect gateway for you. J. R. R. Tolkien left his mark on the genre both with the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Reading The Hobbit first before diving into the Lord of the Rings is best because it’s a prequel following the adventures of Bilbo. The story directly ties into the events of the Lord of the Rings.
If you want to dip your toes into what the genre has to offer then this is a great place to start. You’ll be taken on a quest with Bilbo to help dwarfs reclaim their Homeland, and in the process, find out that Hobbits are more than what meets the eye. If you are ever planning on reading the Lord of the Rings or are a big fan of the movies, start here.
This only fell on my radar after the Good Omens TV show dropped on Amazon, but I’m so glad I picked up the book. Written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, this whimsical adventure is about an angel and a demon trying to raise the Antichrist. If you’re looking for fun characters, laugh out loud jokes, and deep lore to delve into (with twists on Christian mythology), then this is the fantasy book for you. The prose is engaging and thoughtful while still making the characters enjoyable and down-to-earth. Can one demon, and one angel really stop the end of the world? Or are they destined to battle to the death just as foretold? If you’re looking for something a little absurd with great world-building then Good Omens is a great fantasy book for beginners like you.
His Dark Materials, The Golden Compass
Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass Is a great beginner fantasy book for those younger readers, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t talk about mature things. Following the tale of Lyra, you’ll be swept on a quest to find out who is stealing children around the world, and most importantly why? Including a talking bear that has plate armor, a sharpshooter Texan with a hot air balloon, and a mysterious compass that leads to the truth, this tale explores the power of religion. However unlike those mentioned above this book cannot stand alone, and ends on a cliffhanger. So if you want a good series to jump into His Dark Materials is perfect for you.
A personal favorite of mine, this is the story of Kvothe as told by him. After agreeing to tell his life’s story, we find out there is more to this inn-keeper than meets the eye. Whether he’s telling the truth or not, that’s a different story. The prose displayed by Patrick Rothfuss can make you both laugh and weep in the same chapter. Fair warning though, if you are looking for a tight plot that goes from point A to B, this is not the book for you. It is meandering; even Kvothe admits that.
However, the story and character work are so engaging that you want to stay along for the ride. There is an overarching story, but it isn’t solved in this book. It’s a great book to dive into and get lost in, and by the end, you’ll feel as if you know Kvothe personally. If you love great character work, this is a great fantasy book for beginners.
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