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Summer is the perfect time to curl up with a good book and escape into another world. Look no further if you're looking for some fantastic fantasy books to read this year. We've compiled a list of the 20 best fantasy novels that will transport you to new and exciting places. From epic adventures to magical fantasies, we have something for everyone in the fantasy genre. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be swept away by these fantastic tales.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. When Laia's parents are killed, she is forced to become a spy for the Resistance. Her first mission: to find their leader before the Emperor does.
Elias is sworn to protect his people, but when he's ordered to kill an innocent girl, he rebels against the Empire. He risks everything to save her life and sets out on a journey that will change both of their lives forever.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Adelina Amouteru survived the blood fever that killed her entire family. Now she is marked by the Godstone that pulses through her veins, a symbol of weakness that makes her an outcast.
But when Adelina's power is revealed to be something more than mere survival, the Elite decide they need to control it. The Emperor sends his Enforcers to hunt Adelina down and bring her into the fold, but she knows they will kill her before they let her become one of them.
Desperate to live, Adelina turns to Teren Santoro, leader of a secret society called the Blackcloaks, who believes that power should belong to those with magic rather than merely hoard it.
But Teren has plans of his own. As Adelina wrestles with her morality, she must decide whether to join the Blackcloaks or remain loyal to the Empire.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to become his next victim.
Shahrzad has been raised to love and obey her father, but she cannot idly stand by as he murders innocent girls. She hatches a plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the countless lives he's stolen. But once she's begun, there's no turning back.
The Atlas Six by Olivia Blake
The Atlas Six is a secret society of six super-powered women sworn to protect the world from evil. But when one of their own is kidnapped, they must put aside their differences and work together to save her before it's too late.
A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thornes and Roses is a bestselling fantasy series. Feyre lives with her family in poverty, hunting in the woods and bartering at the market to stay alive. But when she kills a wolf in self-defense, she sets off a chain of events that will change her life forever.
Feyre is dragged to the Faerie realm, where she learns she is now a prisoner of the High Fae. As she adjusts to her new life, she must decide whether to yield to the demands of the Fae or fight back and risk everything.
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The world-building in this series is magnificent, and the epic fantasy aspect makes it difficult to put down. Between the plot twists and the brilliant storytelling, this is a series you won’t want to miss this summer.
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow is a Red, one of the lower class with no power or magic. But when she discovers she can control electricity, she must decide whether to use her power to help her people or join the Silver elite who seek to control her.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass is another bestselling fantasy series. After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin, Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men, thieves and assassins, and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom.
When one of the other contestants turns up dead…quickly followed by another, Celaena must figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim. As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could have imagined.
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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful and cruel father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away from the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless, she becomes entangled in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
In a world where ash falls from the sky and mist dominates the night, an evil lord called the Lord Ruler had enslaved the people.
But there is hope. A group of rebels called the Skaa have overthrown the Lord Ruler and are fighting for freedom.
Enter Vin, a young woman trained to fight by one of the rebel leaders. She must use her unique abilities to help save her people from destruction.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
It’s 1891, and the world is on the cusp of change.
In Paris, no one cares about what you are—only what you do.
Séverin Montagnet-Alarie is a thief, though you’d never know it to look at him. He’s charming and handsome, with a quick wit and easy smile.
But beneath the surface, he’s a skilled acrobat and illusionist trained to steal things that don’t belong to him.
When Séverin's latest job goes awry, he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that could shake the foundations of Parisian society. He must team up with a group of thieves and con artists to find the person behind it all.
The Gilded Wolves is a fast-paced, thrilling adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by the mad King George, Red London, where life and magic are revered, White London, governed by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, and, once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.
Kell was raised in Red London and serves as its ambassador to Grey London. He also smuggles dangerous magical objects into Grey London—because despite ruling itself, Grey London has no magic of its own.
But when Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, he sets off on a life-changing adventure that will take him to faraway lands and force him to make dangerous choices.
The Chronicles of Narnia (Series) by CS Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic series that has captivated readers for generations.
The story follows the adventures of four children who are transported to the magical world of Narnia.
In Narnia, they must help Aslan, the great lion, save the land from the evil White Witch.
This series is full of magic, adventure, and suspense that will keep you coming back for more.
Harry Potter (Series) by JK Rowling
Everyone knows the story of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.
Orphaned as a baby when his parents were killed by Lord Voldemort, Harry was raised by his aunt and uncle who never told him about his wizarding heritage.
But everything changes when Harry is accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Here, he makes friends, learns magic, and begins his battle against Voldemort.
The Harry Potter series is one of the most beloved stories of all time. With action, adventure, mystery, and romance, there’s something for everyone in this series.
Percy Jackson (Series) by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is a demigod—half human, half god.
He was raised by his single mother until she died when he was twelve. Then he was sent to live with his father, Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.
At Camp Half-Blood, Percy learns that he is not alone; there are other demigods like him.
When Percy's friend Annabeth is kidnapped by the Titans, Percy sets out on a quest to save her. Along the way, he must battle monsters, overcome obstacles, and solve puzzles.
Can Percy rescue his friend and save the world?
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Princess Bride is a classic fairy tale with a twist.
When Buttercup's fiancé Westley is reported dead, she is forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck.
But when Westley returns, disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts, he sets out to rescue Buttercup from her impending marriage.
Filled with adventure, romance, and plenty of laughs, The Princess Bride is a story that you'll want to read again and again.
The Lord of the Rings (Series) by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy series that follows the adventures of Frodo Baggins as he attempts to destroy the One Ring.
The Ring was created by Sauron, the Dark Lord, and it has the power to enslave all who wear it.
Frodo must journey across Middle-earth, making allies and enemies along the way, in order to destroy the Ring before Sauron can get his hands on it.
The Lord of the Rings is a complex and enthralling story that will transport you to another world.
The Wheel of Time (Series) by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time is a sprawling epic fantasy series that follows the journey of Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn.
Rand is prophesied to lead the fight against the Dark One, an evil being who wants to destroy the world.
To defeat the Dark One, Rand must gather an army and travel to Shayol Ghul, the Dark One's prison.
Along the way, Rand will face many challenges, and he will need all his strength and courage to prevail.
The Wheel of Time is a complex and thrilling story that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
A Song of Ice and Fire (Series) by George RR Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy series that follows the struggle for power in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
The series begins with the death of King Robert Baratheon and the ascension of his son Joffrey to the throne.
But there are those who believe that Joffrey is not the rightful heir, including Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly.
As war breaks out, the characters are forced to choose sides, and the fate of Westeros hangs in the balance.
A Song of Ice and Fire is a dark and gritty series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is a fantasy novel that follows the story of two young magicians, Celia and Marco.
The two are pitted against each other in a competition, but they soon realize that they are falling for each other.
The Night Circus is a beautifully written story about love, magic, and betrayal.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is a science fiction novel that follows the story of Paul Atreides, the heir to the House of Atreides.
The Atreides are tasked with guarding the planet Arrakis, which is the only source of the spice melange.
But when they are betrayed by their enemies, the Harkonnens, they are forced to flee into the desert.
There Paul will come into his power and learn that he is destined to save his people.
Dune is a classic science fiction novel that explores themes of religion, politics, and power.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe is a fantasy novel that tells the story of the titular character, a witch who is exiled to an island.
There she meets Odysseus, who has been stranded on the island.
The two form a bond, and Circe helps him to find his way home.
Circe is a feminist retelling of the Odyssey that explores themes of power, love, and identity.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach is a children's fantasy novel that follows the story of James Henry Trotter.
James lives with his cruel aunts, who treat him poorly.
But one day, James finds a magic peach that grows to enormous size.
Inside the peach, James meets some friendly insects who take him on a wild adventure.
James and the Giant Peach is a delightful story that will capture your imagination.
The Poppy War by R F Kuang
The Poppy War is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Rin, an orphan who is sold to a school for shamans.
There she learns that she has the rare ability to use fire magic.
When her country is invaded, Rin joins the army and uses her fire magic to help turn the tide of war.
The Poppy War is an epic story of war, magic, and betrayal.
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Nahri, a con artist who can see spirits.
Nahri is forced to flee her home when she accidentally summons a djinn warrior.
The two of them travel to the city of Daevabad, where they must stop an evil plot that threatens the city.
The City of Brass is a fast-paced and action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Zelie, a girl with the power to bring people back from the dead.
Zelie's mother was killed by the king, who wants to exterminate all magic users.
Zelie must use her power to save her people and stop the king.
Children of Blood and Bone is an epic story of love, loss, and redemption.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Kaladin, a young man who is sold into slavery.
Kaladin is forced to work as a bridgeman, carrying supplies across a dangerous battlefield.
But when he discovers his own magical powers, he must find the strength to save his people.
The Way of Kings is an epic story of war, magic, and destiny.
The Mortal Instruments (Series) by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments is a fantasy series that follows the story of Clary Fray, a girl who discovers she is a Shadowhunter.
Shadowhunters are humans with angelic blood who hunt demons.
Clary joins up with the Shadowhunters to stop a powerful demon from taking over the world.
The Mortal Instruments is an action-packed series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Infernal Devices (Series) by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices is a fantasy series that follows the story of Tessa Gray, a girl who can transform into other people.
Tessa is brought to London by the Shadowhunters, who want to use her power to stop a powerful warlock.
But when Tessa discovers the truth about her family, she must choose between duty and love.
The Infernal Devices is an emotionally charged series that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Karou, a girl who can bring people back from the dead.
Karou is raised by demons, but she yearns for the human world.
When she meets Akiva, an angelic soldier, she must choose between her two worlds.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about love and loss.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince is a fantasy novel that follows the story of Jude, a human girl who is raised in the faerie court.
Jude is constantly bullied by the other faeries, but she refuses to give up.
When the king's son is kidnapped, Jude must find him and bring him back.
The Cruel Prince is a fast-paced and action-packed story that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Which Book Will You Choose First?
These are the perfect books to escape reality and get lost in another world this summer. Whether you’re looking for magic, adventure, romance, or all of the above, these books have something for everyone. So curl up with a cold drink and enjoy!
Claire started Femme on FIRE after struggling with the debt cycle and realizing that she had to create better habits to get out of it. She became inspired along this journey and now strives to help others achieve financial freedom as well. When she isn’t working on her blog, you can find her on the couch with a good book, cooking up recipes in the kitchen, or playing outside with her ducks.