27 Must Read Epic Fantasy Novels

The Kingkiller Chronicles


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The Kingkiller Chronicles
By Patrick Rothfuss

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

The Broken Earth


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The Broken Earth
By N,K. Jemisin

A season of endings has begun.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

Song of Ice and Fire


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Song of Ice and Fire
By George R.R. Martin

Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.

Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.

The Stormlight Archive


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The Stormlight Archive
By Brandon Sanderson

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Wheel of Time


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The Wheel of Time
By Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts— five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

Malazan Book of the Fallen


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The Malazan Book of the Fallen
BySteven Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

The Lord of the Rings


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The Lord of the Rings
By J.R.R. Tolkien

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Grimoire Saga


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The Grimoire Saga
By S.M. Boyce

After a heartbreaking loss, all Kara Magari has left are memories, a grieving father, and the keys to a beat-up old car. But when she accidentally opens an ancient book of dangerous magic, it’s suddenly clear that she’s the only one who can read its enchanted pages. In an instant, her world is shattered, and everything she thought she knew about her “normal” life goes up in smoke.

Overnight, Kara becomes the most coveted magical creature in not just one, but two worlds. Now that her body is bristling with newfound power, everyone wants something from her, and there’s no one she can trust.

Heritage of Power


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Heritage of Power
By Lindsay Buroker

Telryn “Trip” Yert has always been a little odd, with hunches that are too accurate to explain. Magic is feared and forbidden in Iskandia, so he’s struggled his whole life to hide his eccentricities. As a boy, he was forced to watch his mother’s execution. Her crime? Witchcraft.

Understandably, Trip wants nothing to do with the power that lurks within him, always threatening to reveal itself. Instead, he dedicates himself to serving as an officer in the king’s army, to battling pirates and imperial conquerors. He longs to become a soldier as respected and renowned as the legendary General Zirkander.

 

The First Law Trilogy


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The First Law Trilogy
By Joe Abercrombie

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian — leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

The Paladins


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The Paladins
By David Dalglish

Wolf-men, savage creatures given humanoid form in an ancient war, mass along the Gihon River. Led by their packleader Redclaw, they seek to cross the river and claim a land of their own, slaughtering those that would stand in their way. Two paladins, Jerico of the god Ashhur, and Darius of the god Karak, must helm the desperate defense against the invasion. Their friendship will be tested as their gods resume an unending war, and their very faiths call for the death of the other. Together, friend or foe, they must face Redclaw’s horde.

The Burning


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The Burning
By Evan Winter

One in twenty-five hundred Omehi women are Gifted, wielding fragments of their Goddess’ power and capable of controlling the world’s most destructive weapon – Dragons. One in a hundred of their men has blood strong enough for the Gifted to infuse with magic, turning these warriors into near unstoppable colossi.

The rest are bred to fight, ferocious soldiers fated to die in the endless war. Tau Tafari, an Omehi commoner, wants more than this, but his life is destroyed when he’s betrayed by those he was born to serve.

Now, with too few Gifted left and the Omehi facing genocide, Tau cares only for revenge.

Following an unthinkable path, he will become the greatest swordsman to ever live, dying a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill three of his own people.

The Gentleman Bastards


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The Gentleman Bastards
By Scott Lynch

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.

The Broken Empire


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The Broken Empire
By Mark Lawrence

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…

It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him—and he has nothing left to lose.

But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

The Dark Tower


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The Dark Tower
By Stephen King

Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

The Riftwar Saga


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The Riftwar Saga
By Raymond E. Feist

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry.

Yet Pug’s strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

The Death Gate Cycle


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The Death Gate Cycle
By Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

Ages ago, sorcerers of unmatched power sundered a world into four realms—sky, stone, fire, and water—then vanished. Over time, magicians learned to work spells only in their own realms and forgot the others. Now only the few who have survived the Labyrinth and crossed the Death Gate know of the presence of all four realms—and even they have yet to unravel the mysteries of their severed world. . . .

King's Dark Tidings


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King’s Dark Tidings
By Kel Kade

Raised and trained in seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows. With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bestowed upon him by a dead king, Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence.

Determined to adhere to his last orders, Rezkin extends his protection to an unlikely assortment of individuals he meets along the way, often leading to humorous and poignant incidents.

As if pursuing an elite warrior across a kingdom, figuring out who he is and why everyone he knows is dead, and attempting to find these so-called friends and protect them is not enough, strange things are happening in the kingdom. New dangers begin to arise that threaten not only Rezkin and his friends, but possibly everyone in Ashai.

The Witcher


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The Witcher
By Andrzej Sapkowski

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world – for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all – and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Sovereign of the seven isles


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Sovereign of the Seven Isles
By David A. Wells

When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin’s arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended two thousand years ago.

Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade. Seven were forged by the first Sovereign of the Seven Isles and bound to the bloodline of each of the seven Island Kings in exchange for their loyalty to the Old Law. Each sword is as long as a man’s arm, as wide as a man’s thumb and so thin it can’t be seen when viewed from the edge. Thinblade is the epic fantasy adventure story of Alexander’s quest to find the ancient sword, claim the throne of Ruatha and raise an army to stand against the enemy that has awoken to claim dominion over all of the Seven Isles.

The Faithful and the Fallen


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The Faithful and the Fallen
By John Gwynne

The world is broken…

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, but now giants are seen, the stones weep blood and giant wyrms are stirring. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. For if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust…

…and it can never be made whole again.

The Sanctuary Series


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The Sanctuary Series
By Robert J. Crane

The world of Arkaria is a dangerous place, filled with dragons, titans, goblins and other dangers. Those who live in this world are faced with two choices: live an ordinary life or become an adventurer and seek the extraordinary.

Cyrus Davidon leads a small guild in the human capital of Reikonos. Caught in an untenable situation, facing death in the den of a dragon, they are saved by the brave fighters of Sanctuary who offer an invitation filled with the promise of greater adventure. Soon Cyrus is embroiled in a mystery – someone is stealing weapons of nearly unlimited power for an unknown purpose, and Sanctuary may be the only thing that stands between the world of Arkaria and total destruction.

The Books of the Raksura


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The Books of the Raksura
By Martha Wells

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.

Blades of the Fallen


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Blades of the Fallen
By Ryan Kirk

In a feudal land, a Kingdom is at risk. With no heir to the fragile throne, its future rests with the powerful members of the dying king’s Council, including Minori, a nightblade warrior, and Kiyoshi, a dayblade healer. The two men are bound by the sword but divided by two opposing principles: rule the land, or serve it. In their challenge for supremacy, a spark has been lit.

Her name is Asa. Her creed is revenge.

The Cycle of Galand


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The Cycle of Galand
By Edward W. Robertson

When Dante Galand was just a boy, his father Larsin sailed away to make his fortune. And never returned. Since then, Dante has become a great sorcerer. A ruler. A destroyer of kings. And he’s just learned that his father is living on a forbidden island at the edge of the known world.

Where he’s dying of a mysterious plague.

In the company of his friend, the swordsman Blays, Dante travels to the island. There, his magic can do nothing for his father. As Dante and Blays quest for a cure—beset by strange beasts, angry spirits, and violent coastal raiders known as the Tauren—Dante falls sick, too.

The Kingsmen Chronicles


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The Kingsmen Chronicles
By Jean Lowe Carlson

A nation’s elite warriors vanished. A throne in jeopardy on the heels of murder. War flamed by a shadowy magical cabal.

And the five friends who can stop it, banished as traitors.

Accused of treason, Kingsman Elohl den’Alrahel seeks the truth of a betrayal that caused his people to disappear a decade ago. Now, he must give everything to shatter a hidden sect that usurps power from the throne.

Nations burn and kings are brought to their knees in this dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from Amazon bestselling and award winning author Jean Lowe Carlson. A complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic, readers who enjoy Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, or Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive will love this fantastic adventure.

The Dagger and the Coin


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The Dagger and the Coin
By Daniel Abraham

Marcus’ hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody’s death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.

Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation’s wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.

Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.

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