Top 10 Modern Fantasy Novels
There have been so many fantasy novels written that whittling down the titles into a top ten list are obviously subject and rather challenging. Here are some of the best modern fantasy novels, incorporating the elements we all love from a good fantasy novel (magic, world building, grand story, epic characters), and many with a fun twist to the tropes of some fantasy novels.
"The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss: This captivating novel introduces readers to Kvothe, a legendary figure and gifted musician, as he recounts his journey from a young prodigy to a notorious wizard. Rothfuss's lyrical prose, intricate world-building, and compelling characters have garnered critical acclaim, making it a modern fantasy masterpiece.
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch: Set in the city of Camorr, this gripping tale follows the exploits of Locke Lamora, a skilled thief and con artist who navigates a world of intrigue, danger, and magic. Known for its clever plotting, vibrant setting, and witty dialogue, Lynch's debut novel is hailed for its unique blend of heist elements and fantasy.
"The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin: In a world plagued by catastrophic seismic events, Jemisin weaves a tale of survival, oppression, and power. This novel introduces readers to a cast of characters with extraordinary abilities and explores themes of prejudice and resilience. Jemisin's rich prose, complex characters, and innovative narrative structure have earned it numerous accolades, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel.
"The Way of Kings" by Brandon Sanderson: The first book in the epic Stormlight Archive series, this sweeping tale introduces readers to the world of Roshar, where ancient conflicts, political intrigue, and a magical storm shape the destinies of its inhabitants. Sanderson's meticulous world-building, intricate magic system, and diverse cast of characters have captivated readers, making it a must-read for fantasy enthusiasts.
"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman: In this modern fantasy novel, Gaiman explores the clash between old gods and new gods as ancient mythological beings find themselves forgotten in a world shaped by technology and modernity. With its masterful blend of myth and contemporary themes, Gaiman's storytelling prowess and unique narrative voice have solidified this novel as a modern classic.
"The Broken Empire" trilogy by Mark Lawrence: This dark and gritty series follows the journey of Jorg Ancrath, a ruthless prince driven by vengeance and power in a post-apocalyptic world. Lawrence's morally complex protagonist, atmospheric writing, and exploration of themes like redemption and ambition make this series a standout in the genre.
"The Poppy War" by R.F. Kuang: Drawing inspiration from Chinese history and mythology, this novel follows Rin, a war orphan who discovers her latent powers and becomes embroiled in a devastating conflict. Kuang's blend of historical elements, nuanced characters, and exploration of war and its consequences have garnered praise and established her as a rising star in fantasy literature.
"The City of Brass" by S.A. Chakraborty: Set in 18th-century Cairo, this enchanting novel introduces readers to Nahri, a con artist with hidden magical abilities who inadvertently summons a djinn warrior and becomes embroiled in a world of djinn politics and ancient secrets. Chakraborty's lush world-building, intricate plot, and exploration of cultural identity have garnered acclaim, making it a standout in modern fantasy.
"The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden: Drawing from Russian folklore, this atmospheric novel follows Vasya, a young girl with a connection to the supernatural, as she navigates a world of dark forces and battles to protect her village. Arden's lyrical prose, evocative setting, and compelling protagonist have earned it praise for its enchanting blend of history, magic, and mythology.
"The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon: In this standalone epic fantasy, Shannon weaves a tale of dragons, political intrigue, and ancient prophecies across multiple kingdoms. With its intricate world-building, diverse cast of characters, and exploration of themes like power and identity, this novel has garnered acclaim for its ambitious scope and rich storytelling.
Honorable mention. "The Kan Savasci Cycle" by Chase Blackwood: An epic series told in two concurrent timelines. Written in beautiful prose this series includes grand world-building, a unique magic system, and a diverse set of characters that feel like you know them.
What books would you include for you top ten list?