What do YOU want in your next epic fantasy read? How about epic world-building, detailed characters, backstory, supernatural elements, creative action, and suspense?! We are here to help pick just the right book.
Check out this list of old and new titles, our TOP epic fantasy book club book recommendations for you:
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Why not start with the series that arguably started it all? It’s the perfect time to do it as Amazon is releasing the most expensive television series ever produced this September. It will be based on a lesser known time period of Tolkien’s world, the Second Age, explored in some of the numerous and often dense ancillary texts penned by Tolkien and edited by his son Christopher.
Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson: This series epitomizes the “epic” moniker of epic fantasy. Heavy, complex, and immersive, it’s a masterpiece of the genre. And even better, unlike some series, (looking at you, Game of Thrones and Kingkiller Chronicles) it’s finished, with Erikson cranking out the 10 main books in just 12 years.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, of course, George R. R. Martin'sSong of Ice and Fireneeds to be on this list. It's got everything a fantasy lover wants: an intricate and detailed world with dragons, knights and magic and is also portrayed with such realism that readers actually believe this world could exist. The characters are uniquely interesting and interwoven so as to drive the plot and the interest. And your bookclub can spend hours debating on how the series will actually end, if the HBO rendition was it or if Martin will actually ever give us the ending we've been waiting for.
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare is urban fantasy at its finest. The first series in the Shadowhunter Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments follows Clary Fray whose search for her missing mother leads her to discover her true identity as a Shadowhunter, humans born with angel blood. Shadowhunters are tasked to control demons and other supernatural creatures that roam our world. Grimy and full of action, The Mortal Instruments is set in an alternate NYC called Downworld which is filled with mysterious faeries, hard-partying warlocks, not-what-they-seem vampires, an army of werewolves, and the demons who want to destroy it all. Love this series and there's a whole world of books waiting for your fantasy book club to enjoy for quite some time!
Looking for a standalone fantasy book for your fantasy book club to enjoy? Rebecca Ross' most recent YA fantasy Dreams Lie Beneathis it! Readers get an absolutely unique storyline with some of their favorite parts of fantasy woven throughout: intriguing history and detailed world-building; a curse; magicians; nightmares coming to life; rivalry, secrets, deceit; and an incredible character development with romance too! It has everything fantasy book fans want from a book club book, and readers don't have to commit to a series to find out what happens in the end!
This Golden Flameby Emily Victoria is standalone YA LGBTQIA fantasy novel introducing Karis an asexual and aromantic who has been orphaned and looking for her brother who was long ago shipped away. In her search, she awakens a hidden automaton named Alix who eventually helps her in her quest while questioning its own existence. A refreshing fantasy that focuses on family bonds rather than romance and includes diverse characters without overly focusing on their identifications.
Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson: Sanderson is one of the most prolific fantasy authors working today with an understandably rabid fan base. In fact, he took the time he saved by not traveling during the height of the pandemic to pen four novels in secret. The Stormlight Archive is his magnum opus, taking place in his Cosmere universe that ties in dozens of his other books and characters. There are 10 books planned in the series (broken into two quintets), with four already published. The fifth will be released next year, giving readers time to catch up. His Mistborn series, also set in the Cosmere, is not to be missed, either.
The Shadow in the Glass, another standalone fantasy novel is the debut novel by J.J.A. Hardwood. Hardwood presents readers with a dark and terrifying fantasy on the verge of horror that loosely reimagines the Cinderella story. Set in Victorian London, Ella wishes to be more than a maid, and one night her wish is answered when a fairy godmother appears granting her 7 wishes to use as she pleases, but each wish comes with a price. Murder, mystery, supernatural twists, horrific consequences, this is a great option when your fantasy book club needs a break from the worlds of high fantasy.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: This series starts off just as much hard boiled detective fiction as it is a pinnacle of urban fantasy, but a few books in, it quickly snowballs into so much more. Author Butcher seems to take an almost sadistic approach to narrating Harry Dresden’s personal and professional life (find him under “Wizards” in the Chicago Yellow Pages). There are currently 17 books published in the main series, not including two published anthologies of shorter works. There’s a lot to live here, with a planned 22 “case files” novels that will be capped off by a trilogy finale. For those so inclined, the audiobook narration is top notch. James Marsters *IS* Harry Dresden to many readers.
The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman: Often somewhat reductively labeled as an adult Harry Potter or Narnia, those folks still aren’t too far off. Brakebills is like Hogwarts if it was a college full of horny young adults struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues. It offers a pretty cynical worldview in a “don’t meet your heroes” kind of way, which is honestly kind of perfect for the world we live in today. There’s also a good television adaptation that ran for five seasons and arguably improves upon Grossman’s source material
Wheel of Timeby Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson co-authoring the last three volumes after Jordan's passing in 2007 is a fantastical, epic story that follows Rand and his group of friends on an adventure, as Rand tries to find his true identity, and whether he is indeed the Dragon Reborn. Originally planned as a six-book series, The Wheel of Time spans 14 volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and two companion books. This may be an old series, but absolutely still relevant as an epic fantasy book club read especially with the new television series which started in November of 2021, reviving its fandom.
How did we do? What did we miss? What are you reading right now? Let us know!