Best Fantasy Books For Beginners

Finding the best fantasy books for beginners was a challenge for me when I started. If you have landed on this page you must be new to the new genre. I am here to help. 

A big problem I found myself running into is all the recommendations being part of a series and requiring multiple books to get the full story. I now believe this is the best option to start with. The goal of this article is to get you to give the genre a try from multiple different directions. Allowing you to say ‘I tried’ if it isn’t your cup of tea. 

What Are The Best Fantasy Books For Beginners?

Mistborn / The Final Empire

Are you interested in seeing the potential impacts a magic system can have on politics and plotline, alongside some of the best character development arcs that can be seen in three books? My first recommendation to you would be Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, specifically The Final Empire. 

Yes, I said I would recommend standalone books. But! I have to point you into the direction of this trilogy. The first book is capable of being read as a standalone without having that dreadful feeling of not finishing a series or trilogy you didn’t like.

A spoiler free summary of the first book: We see a band form to fight back against the villain that has already won and taken over the planet. The books main pull points are:

  • Politics
  • Magic System
  • Characters
  • Readability 
  • Part of a Trilogy but can be read singularly 
  • The trilogy is subtly part of a bigger series that can be ignored or delved deeper into

The Final Empire is a great place to start in the fantasy world and especially the modern epic fantasy scene. The author Brandon Sanderson is currently one of the most prolific and successful authors in today’s game.

The Dresden Files / Storm Front 

Jim Butcher’s perfect fix of urban fantasy, comedy and pop culture references makes you forget you’re reading a scarlet detailed description of Chicago and the people of America. Butcher’s series starts off as the perfect palate cleanser for other chunky books and soon becomes one of your go-to reads when looking for a consistently good series that grows stronger instead of dropping off. 

We follow Harry Dresden, Chicago’s Wizard PI. (Awesome I know!) and his close friends that have some of the best character arcs seen in the genre. As every book is a year we grow with our character over the period of about 18 years (Up to Battle Ground the latest book at the time of this blog post), book 18 Twelve Months Dresden Files is currently in works (as of writing this blog).

With a mixture of religion, fairy tail, low and epic fantasy and pop  culture references my dad understands better than me. I have never felt so attached to an ‘imperfect’ series. As Harry is a typical guy. Many people don’t enjoy reading his wandering eyes and graphic description of EVERY woman (that seems to be perfect) he meets. The series grows out of this as relationships blossom, Harry matures and the character focuses shift. 

The villains in The Dresden Files are some of the most evil, twisted and gripping characters I have ever read.

The Farseer Trilogy / Assassin’s Apprentice 

As mentioned in another blog post, The Farseer Trilogy is one of the most unique feeling books one can read and I can’t wait to dive into more of Robin Hobbs work. I regularly consider picking the trilogy back up just to try experiencing it again. I remember re-reading some chapters due to how good they are.

Assassin’s Apprentice only has a small taste of magic and displays fantasy primarily in the plot and environment. 

The first book comes in at 249 pages (according to Good Reads). With little commitment needed to get through the book it is a great sample to Hobb’s work of art that is her writing. As the best of the two starting points for the Realm of the Elderlings. Assassin’s Apprentice gives you the potential to get your first large scale fantasy series under your belt. The series finished in 2017 and has 16 books in the series.

Early Stephen King Work

A slight curve ball from me is some of the early Stephen King work. Not many people look at King as a fantasy writer. Many of his earlier books’ plots rely on something fantastical (e.g. vampires or a form of magical powers). Here are four titles that I believe have a sprinkling of some sort of magic / fantastical being:

  • The Dead Zone
  • Sakem’s Lot 
  • The Shining 
  • Carrie 

As going into detail on the fantastical elements provides minor spoilers I will let you pick them up yourself. King’s work is an incredibly easy read that can be very much treated as standalones. 

It isn’t until you have finished multiple of his books that you start to see a connection. It takes some digging to really tie up the ‘Multiverse’, something I am yet to do as I look to consume more of his work. 

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