20 The Best Fantasy Books of the Last Decade: Fantasy fiction has always been a beloved genre, filled with magical worlds, epic battles, and unforgettable characters. In the past decade, the fantasy genre has exploded with new authors, fresh ideas, and imaginative storytelling. From dragons and wizards to faeries and mythical creatures, there’s no shortage of fantastical elements to explore in these worlds. With so many amazing books to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. In this article, we will take a look at 20 of the best fantasy books written in the past 10 years.
1. “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss – This novel follows the story of Kvothe, a legendary figure and the greatest magician of his time. Kvothe narrates his own life story to a chronicler over three days, detailing his upbringing, his time at a university of magic, and his eventual downfall. Rothfuss is a master of world-building, and this book is richly detailed with a complex magic system and well-drawn characters.
2. “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch – Set in a world inspired by Renaissance Italy, this book follows the exploits of a group of thieves led by the charismatic Locke Lamora. Lynch’s writing is witty and fast-paced, and he balances action and humor with moments of genuine heart and emotion.
3. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin – This novel takes place in a world plagued by natural disasters, where certain people possess the ability to control the earth’s movements. Jemisin’s world-building is unparalleled, and she masterfully weaves together multiple points of view and timelines to create a complex and gripping narrative.
4. “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson – This epic fantasy novel takes place in a world ravaged by war, where magic is based on the ability to use different types of storms. Sanderson’s world-building is intricate and imaginative, and he expertly balances multiple storylines and characters to create a truly epic tale.
5. “The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang – Inspired by Chinese history and mythology, this novel follows a young woman named Rin who enlists in a military academy to escape a life of poverty. But when war breaks out, Rin must confront the brutal reality of battle and her own powers. Kuang’s writing is visceral and intense, and she doesn’t shy away from exploring difficult themes.
6. “The City We Became” by N.K. Jemisin – In this urban fantasy novel, cities come to life as human avatars, and New York City is under threat from an otherworldly invasion. Jemisin’s writing is vivid and imaginative, and she weaves together themes of gentrification, racism, and the power of community to create a thought-provoking and engaging story.
7. “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – Set in a fantastical circus that only appears at night, this novel follows the intertwined fates of two young magicians who are forced into a magical competition. Morgenstern’s writing is lyrical and atmospheric, and she creates a richly-drawn world filled with wonder and enchantment.
8. “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell – This novel follows the interconnected lives of six characters spanning several decades and locations, with elements of fantasy and science fiction woven throughout. Mitchell’s writing is clever and inventive, and he weaves together different genres and timelines to create a masterful and intricate narrative.
9. “The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern – This novel takes place in a magical underground library and follows the story of Zachary, a graduate student who stumbles upon a mysterious book that leads him on a journey of self-discovery and adventure. Morgenstern’s writing is immersive and dreamlike, and she creates a richly-detailed world filled with wonder and enchantment.
10. “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown – Set on a colonized Mars, this novel follows a young man named Darrow who infiltrates the ruling class in order to overthrow their oppressive regime. Brown’s writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and he expertly balances elements of science fiction and fantasy to create a thrilling and engaging story.
11. “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen – This novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a young woman named Kelsea is thrust into the role of queen and must navigate political intrigue and supernatural threats. Johansen’s writing is immersive and suspenseful, and she creates a compelling and complex protagonist in Kelsea.
12. “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab – This novel follows the story of a young woman who makes a deal with a god in order to escape a life of conformity, but in doing so, she becomes immortal and unable to be remembered by anyone she meets. Schwab’s writing is lyrical and poignant, and she explores themes of loneliness, identity, and the human desire for connection.
13. “The Star-Touched Queen” by Roshani Chokshi – Set in a fantastical version of India, this novel follows the story of a young woman named Maya who is cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction. Chokshi’s writing is lush and atmospheric, and she creates a richly-drawn world filled with magic, mythology, and romance.
14. “The Shadow of What Was Lost” by James Islington – Set in a world where magic has been outlawed, this novel follows a young man named Davian as he discovers his own magical abilities and becomes embroiled in a battle for the fate of the kingdom. Islington’s writing is immersive and suspenseful, and he expertly crafts a complex and intricate plot filled with political intrigue, magic, and betrayal.
15. “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden – Set in medieval Russia, this novel follows a young woman named Vasya who possesses the ability to see magical creatures and must navigate the dangerous politics of her patriarchal society. Arden’s writing is richly-detailed and atmospheric, and she expertly weaves together elements of folklore, history, and fantasy to create a captivating and immersive story.
16. “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker – Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, this novel follows the unlikely friendship between a golem, a creature made of clay and brought to life by Jewish magic, and a jinni, a creature of fire and legend from Arab folklore. Wecker’s writing is evocative and richly-detailed, and she expertly blends elements of mythology, history, and fantasy to create a unique and engaging story.
17. “The City of Brass” by S.A. Chakraborty – Set in 18th century Cairo and a fantastical version of the Middle East, this novel follows the story of a young woman named Nahri who discovers her own magical abilities and becomes embroiled in the dangerous politics of the djinn. Chakraborty’s writing is richly-detailed and immersive, and she expertly weaves together elements of history, mythology, and fantasy to create a captivating and engaging story.
18. “The Library at Mount Char” by Scott Hawkins – This novel follows a group of librarians who possess godlike powers and must navigate the dangerous and unpredictable world outside of their library. Hawkins’ writing is inventive and suspenseful, and he creates a unique and captivating world filled with magic, mythology, and complex characters.
19. “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alix E. Harrow – This novel follows the story of a young woman named January who discovers a hidden world of doors to other worlds and must navigate the dangerous politics of those who seek to control them. Harrow’s writing is evocative and immersive, and she expertly blends elements of fantasy, history, and romance to create a captivating and engaging story.
20. “The Bone Witch” by Rin Chupeco – Set in a world inspired by East Asian mythology, this novel follows the story of a young woman named Tea who discovers her own magical abilities and becomes embroiled in the dangerous politics of the magical world. Chupeco’s writing is immersive and atmospheric, and she expertly weaves together elements of fantasy, mythology, and political intrigue to create a gripping and engaging story.
The past decade has been an exciting time for fantasy fiction, with authors pushing the boundaries of the genre and creating new and imaginative worlds for readers to explore. From the magic of Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” to the epic world-building of N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season,” these books have captured the hearts and imaginations of readers around the world. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the genre or just dipping your toes into the world of fantasy, there’s never been a better time to discover these amazing books and lose yourself in the wonder and magic of their pages. We hope you enjoyed our list of the 20 Best Fantasy Books.