Categories
List Strong Heroine

25 Best Fantasy Books with a Strong Heroine

Fantasy literature has come a long way since the boys club of The Lord of the Rings (which I’m a fan of, but let’s be honest here), but there’s still work to be done.

Categories
List Literary

19 Best Literary Fantasy Books

 

Cover art for “Art For Movies – Episode 4 – Fantasy Landscapes” a tutorial by artist Jonathan Berube | ArtStation

Literary fantasy is simply fantasy that’s better-written, has more realistic characters, and is more ambitious in exploring deep ideas than other books. Instead of just wizards zapping each other with blue lightning and smart-mouthed goblins, literary fantasy can contain wrenching emotions that look at what it actually means to be human.

Its polar opposite would be something pulpy like Hunky Vampire Witch Lust Prom Night or Battle Vixens in Improbable Armor.

Fortunately, there’s room for many styles in fantasy.

Categories
List Summer reading

Summer 2020 Fantasy Reading List

With very few of us on vacation at the beach right now, diving into someone’s deep blue imagination can be just as thrilling as a splash in the ocean.

With an emphasis on more recently-written books, this list should provide fun, thoughtful fare.

Categories
Fae List

16 Best Fae and Fairy Books

The word fairy come from the Old French words faie or fee, which meant a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs. Our definitions have evolved since then, but most fairies are still dangerous (if diminutive) females.

Many of these stories are YA and feature dangerous teen romance. If you’re looking for magical mayhem sans adolescent crushes, jump straight to Nyx or Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Categories
Graphic Novel List

23 Best Fantasy Graphic Novels

Sandman, © Vertigo Comics

There’s still a stigma to reading graphic novels. As a grown man, I wouldn’t do it in public. However, at home, I love them and I encourage my kid to read every one he gets his hands on.

At their best, graphic novels combine deep, thoughtful storytelling with real works of art. I’m glad to see that great comics are still being written and drawn (and inked and colored).

Categories
List Mystery

23 Best Fantasy Mystery Books

We like mystery because life is mysterious, and storytelling exists to help us figure out how to live. Mysteries help us figure out how to deal with the unending avalanche of unknowns in our own lives (probably not directly, unless you deal with dead bodies a lot).

Some say that mysteries are popular because people like puzzles. Well, I like a certain kind of mystery, but I’ve never been a puzzle person.

I like Raymond Chandler mysteries, the hard-boiled detective who fights to stay alive while prowling dark alleys and darker minds. Often, I don’t care that much about the final reveal of who the real criminal is. It’s the journey, the tortuous path that I like.

In fantasy especially, the who-dunnit can easily become a what-dunnit.

Categories
For kids List

36 Best Fantasy Books for Kids

Fantasy can be vital for kids.

“Fairy tales are more than true—not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”
—G. K. Chesterton

And the world these days has its share of dragons.

Categories
List Military

13 Best Military Fantasy Books

The best military fantasy isn’t just a bunch of castle sieges and knights hacking at each other (although those are fun). The most interesting books also examine what life in the military actually involves, and what combat can do to a person’s mind.

Categories
High Fantasy List

27 Best High Fantasy Books

High fantasy overlaps with epic fantasy to the point where distinguishing between the two depends entirely on how one defines “high” and “epic.”

For the purposes of this list, high fantasy has distinctly fantastical setting. These books are more about the journey of a protagonist through an exotic landscape. No vampires strolling through downtown Manhattan here.

Categories
List Magic Realism

27 Best Magical Realism Books

 

Hoisting Our Dreams Into the Light of Another Sun by Paul Bond

Stories with magical realism tend to take place in the real world with a few life-changing fantastical elements thrown in. Magical realism usually involves intensely personal journeys instead of epic sword-and-sorcery quests. They also tend to be stand-alone books, instead of series (which fantasy readers tend to love). Book series often rely on the protagonists not changing very much from book to book, while in magical realism books, protagonists usually undergo profound transformations.