Hey, guys today I'm going to be giving you some recommendations The 15 Best Fantasy Books for Beginners to Read in 2022. If you are a first-time fantasy reader and you have no idea where to start. back when I first started reading fantasy it was around the time when the heroes of Olympus were still being published when the immortal instruments were like in their heyday and those were the books that were super popular so those were the ones that I turned to, they're still great books to start out with.
but I think that now there are so many more wonderful stories from different authors of color and you know based on different cultures that I think would be a great place to start as well so I have a list here of some fantasy books for beginners that you will recognize as your like you know basic fantasy series that has been popular fantasy books for a very long time and others that I've really enjoyed that I think you will too that fall under those different categories.
So there are so many places that you can start as a new fantasy reader like so many places the world of fantasy writing has widely opened since you know the 10 years ago it was that I started reading it so there are just so many places that you can start and this list that I'm going to show you is by far like just a tiny pinprick in the entire world of fantasy reading.
Also before we get into it really quick all of these are pretty much why a fantasy except for one which is middle grade so if you're looking for more adult fantasy then I would probably look elsewhere but some of these that are ya really deal with very hard topics, very dark things that you can find also in adult fantasy books so I definitely wouldn't like you to know just shove these off because they're ya like these are really good books.
Best Fantasy Books List: A Beginner's Guide
the first book that I would start with if you're just getting started is one that I feel like everybody tells you to read when you're just starting out with fantasy because it's just kind of like a staple in the book fantasy writing world but that's going to be Graceling by Kristen Cashore.
this is a great story to start out with because the magic system is really not complicated at all essentially the people in this world who have magic are called Graceling and they are easily found out by their eyes being different colors and a gray sling can have a grace which means that they are just very good at doing certain things.
and in this story the very first initial scene that we get following our main character kata just really sets the scene for the story it really sets you to know exactly what this story is going to be dealing with and it also gives you a really good insight into her as a character some people might be intimidated as first-time fantasy readers because it is a relatively long book like it does end up becoming almost 500 pages for like a first book but I just it's so good it's really such a good story and I just really really recommend reading it.
I don't recommend moving on to the second book called fire because it doesn't follow any of these characters and also personally to me was just not a really good book but to each its own if you decide you want to move on because you liked Kristen Cashore's writing then go for it but don't say I didn't tell you that I didn't like it.
2. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
so let's talk about one of my favorite books from last year which was a song of wraiths in ruin by Roseanne a brown. when I was talking earlier about how the world of fantasy has opened up so much more. this book is one of the ones that I was thinking about in a particular song of race and ruin is described as a west African inspired fantasy meaning that the world-building and the world that we're living in is heavily inspired by that sort of culture of that region so not only is it extremely immersive but you are like learning so much as you're reading this story and you're enjoying it.
and you're you know flowing along with the tension and the fast pacing and all of that kind of thing is such a wonderful story and it's even got a really good romance in it too. it's kind of like enemies to lovers sort of story which always keeps tensions high and always makes you want to keep reading more essentially we follow this boy and this girl during this sort of festival over this week and they both want to kill each other without the other knowing but when they meet things don't go exactly according to plan.
so it's a really really great story filled with so much wonderful world-building and the magic is so interesting and I just highly recommend it if you're getting started on fantasy this is definitely one that you should look into picking up if high fantasy is sometimes confusing for you meaning like you know you're jumping into this entirely new world that's made up and you're having to learn every little piece and tidbit of it and it's hard to keep up with just take it to slow it's really not that confusing or complicated.
and I feel like the relationships between the characters and the romance and you know tension will really keep you wanting to read but yeah such a good book and this is her debut and the second one is coming out really really really soon so this would be a great time to hop into this so that you could get to the second one really easily and very quickly without having to wait a full year and a half as I did I wish I didn't have to do that.
3. Throne of Glass
we are we're gonna go back to another basic ya fantasy that I feel like everybody recommends in one of their articles but for me, I really recommend this story because I just really enjoy it even though some other people don't but that book is gonna be the throne of glass by Sarah j maas.
I feel like there have been so many strides made in y a fantasy recently but for me personally, I can't go about talking about how I got into y a fantasy without mentioning Sarah j maas because her books were really some of the like cornerstones of my blog. when I was first starting and some of the high fantasy that I really delved into and really loved and so I just have to mention it and I have to recommend it because I really really enjoy this story, Selena, as a character she's very polarizing in some ways but in others, you can really root for her that's kind of confusing but it's true some people really like her as a main character like I do and some people absolutely cannot stand her because she's annoying and pompous and arrogant and gets on everybody's nerves which I also understand.
but I feel like her journey throughout the first book toward you know the latter books is just it's so good and I was totally not expecting it and all of the other characters as well I love them and I don't the books just get so much better and so much more fast-paced and you know just so much more like, like war more is happening.
yes, this is a very large fantasy series this story does consist of like seven or eight books there is a particular way that you should read them, meaning you should read the first three books and then read the prequel novellas and then read the last four books I think and you should do so in chronological order obviously but once you start getting into the story and you start realizing what has been happening in the background and what these characters are going to have to deal with and face in the future books it just becomes like a whirlwind ride you've never heard of this book in your life and you have no idea what it's about essentially.
we follow this girl named Selena Sardothien who's been a slave for a year and is released from prison only to join this uh tournament to become the king's champion she's an assassin and so she has to basically beat out all of these other criminals and thugs and thieves and mercenaries and things in order to become the king's personal assassin I don't know another way of putting it.
then we have one of my all-time favorite books of all time my all-time favorite series I absolutely love this thing to death I just don't know why I didn't read this sooner and that book series is the arc of a scythe series or just the first book scythe by Neal Shusterman.
It literally took over my life the series was so unexpected for me but I absolutely fell in love with it I am obsessed did I mention that already I'm obsessed if you're unaware or have not heard me rant and rave about the series yet essentially the scythe series is more of a utopian style fantasy, meaning we sort of following a world that is perfect but obviously you know that it's not going to remain perfect or you know nothing can be absolutely perfect so you start finding these little problems with the world and things start kind of crumbling around when people start picking at those problems you know but essentially it's kind of like a utopian fantasy.
we are in our world but it's a different version of our world so in a way you could also call it dystopian but in this world that we follow we have essentially conquered death meaning that people don't just die from random things you know we can cure all illnesses if somebody dies we can bring them back but in order to keep the size of the population under control we have created the cyphedum and so the scythes are the only ones who are tasked with killing they're supposed to be absolutely objective they're not supposed to have any biases but obviously this is not the case otherwise we wouldn't have this series where we have problems and the world starts crumbling around them.
but in a series, we basically follow Citra and rowan or these two kids who get to be apprentices to a scythe though neither really want to be an apprentice nobody wants the job and so you follow them as they are pushed to their limits they learn how to besides and they start picking at these problems in this perfect world and you start uncovering the actual injustice and problems with all of it it's genuinely one of my favorite series of all time I cannot rave about it more so I'm just going to leave it at that you guys can choose.
if you want to pick it up but for somebody who's just beginning fantasy, I would say this is a really good place to start because it's not exactly high fantasy like you're still learning about how we have you know created this new sort of world and how we've gotten to this point and you know things aren't the same in our world as they are in this book but it's enough closely related to our world and to the modern-day that like you won't be very confused all the time so I just have I would highly recommend.
5. Spin the Dawn
Another really good fantasy series is spin the dawn by Elizabeth Lim. this is another one of those stories that I was talking about earlier that sort of branches off from what you usually think about as fantasy yes it's still high fantasy but we have so many different cultural influences that it really takes on an identity of its own and I seriously love this story.
we basically follow this girl named Maya who wants to be the imperial tailor to the emperor so she wants to be the emperor's personal tailor but the problem with that is that only men can have the job so when the emperor's men start knocking on her father's door and being like hey you're a very famous tailor you need to come and compete in this competition to become the new imperial tailor and her dad is too sick to go Maya disguises herself as her brother in order to compete so as not to bring shame to her family but along the way she ends up being tasked with having to sew these three gowns of the gods right and so she's armed with this impossible task and she has to travel across the country in order to figure out how to do these things.
I think that it was a great story I think that the second book was very very fast-paced and just keeps you moving constantly so I think that's a really good thing about the story as well I really like Maya as a character and although the romance in this story did take a little bit to grow on me it did grow on me and I do enjoy it now.
so I think that the story is just really fun it's really cool and I really like the aspect of involving a lot of sewing and tailoring into a fantasy story because I haven't seen that before sewing and tailoring makes up a large part of why she can do some of the things that she can and how she does them and I just really like that.
6. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
if you want something a bit more wacky and zany and something that is a bit more out of the comfort zone than the books that I recommend you right now then I would highly highly highly recommend picking up nevermore by Jessica Townsend this is sort of Alice in wonderland Esque high fantasy in a way but it's also a middle-grade series so with middle grade it's much easier to understand and to pick up.
because it's meant for children but that doesn't mean that it's not as good it's still so good there are so many things in this story that I was not expecting so much of like a whirlwind journey you know this book series is supposed to belong and have so many things happen.
and I'm so so so excited for the upcoming books because the first three books have already been released the sort of the first arc of the series has finished and then when going into book four that should be coming out hopefully soon. we'll start a whole new journey in this story so I think now is a great time to pick up this series if you are interested and if you're looking for something that's just really fun really quirky and totally different from your usual ya fantasy this story is essentially about this girl named Morrigan crow who is the unluckiest girl in the world.
because she was born on the unluckiest day of the year and so unlucky children like that who are called cursed children end up actually dying on their 11th or 12th birthday I believe it is and so on that day when she is supposed to die this man called Jupiter north comes in and whisks her off to nevermore. nevermore is this crazy wacky world that I've already you know talked a little bit about um and she ends up having to compete in this competition to become a member of the wondrous society which is this thing in this new wacky world.
in order to stay here so that she doesn't have to go back and essentially die but more than this just being like fun you know the wacky story with all of these you know interesting characters and you know crazy things that happen in this world, this story is really about a girl finding you know friends and finding a home that she feels like she belongs in and even the second and the third books where she knows has to deal with unimaginable things it's really just about her finding who she is and being okay with it and I just love it so much I love it read this series if you haven't I just cannot recommend it enough.
7. The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
my next book on this list is going to be the arrow nuts windlass I'm fairly new to Jim Butcher. I know he wrote The Dresden Files which is a series that I plan on getting to soon but this is actually the only book that I've read by him so far and it was really great and also so easy to read at least in this book.
Jim Butcher has such a digestible writing style he writes things very simply and yet with enough depth to keep you really wanting to read more this book is sort of like candy and that you can read it so fast and you can read a whole lot of it at once and yet it still has so much meat to it meat candy sounds terrible it even has some sort of devices in it that I don't tend to like like, for instance, intelligent talking animals but the way he executed it was so good that I enjoyed a trope that I tend to not go for the characters are really compelling that the magic is interesting the world-building is really well done.
but the plot of the story itself is so fast-paced and the writing is simple yet intricate enough that it's so easy to read and yet incredibly satisfying if you haven't read much fantasy definitely a thicker one but I think it's also really easy to consume a lot of it at once if you're new to fantasy this is a great place to start.
8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by Neil Gaiman
my next recommendation is an author not specifically a book and we're gonna be talking about Neil Gaiman so I've read several of his books I haven't read all of his books but I've read at least four and just in general Neil Gaiman likes to work in where it's the real world it's our world
and it deals with a lot of real-life situations we're in this world but there's just also magic in it too behind the layers and we follow characters that are peeling back those layers usually Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers because he has this ability to write things in a way that is simple and yet it packs such a hard punch he can word things in a way that just cuts through me.
he also is a really intricate writer where what he establishes, in the beginning, is very important in the end I love authors that leave pieces throughout the story, and by the end, you realize that every word really was thought out and mattered and his books do that and that's a large part of why I love them so much because of how beautiful his writing is and because of how intricate his stories and thought out his stories are I end up loving them almost every time.
9. The City of Brass: A Novel
The City of Brass: A Novel by S. A Chakraborty
The next book is the city of brass and not only is this a good intro to fantasy but it's also a good intro adult so if you tend to read young adult books and you're interested in trying out more adult books city of brass is technically an adult book but it's one of those books where a lot of people call it why a because it does feel very why a for a lot of it.
if I'm not mistaken this book takes place in Egypt and it's completely surrounded by Middle Eastern mythology which made it a really fun setting the main character is a young girl who is a thief and she gets into a situation where she starts dealing with Ginnis I think is how the proper way to say it and the Djinn and their entire world and mythology it was such a cool world and such a cool concept the execution was a little bit disappointing for me and I think in part just because I've read so much fantasy and so I wanted this book to deliver a little bit more that is unique to it and a little bit less than I've read several times before but don't let that dissuade you if you're a new fantasy reader
because there's so much that happens in this book that would feel so fresh if this weren't a genre that you were as used to as I am and just the mythology and the lore around it is enough to make me want to keep reading and just hope that you know the next books get even more creative and unique.
10. The Name of the Wind
The next book I'm going to talk about is the name of the wind and I've called this book a good book for beginners several times and people argue with me about it a lot so I know that not everybody agrees that this is a good book for beginners and I'm gonna keep saying what I think it's not because the story is simple at all because it's not but it's just because the story is so digestible Patrick Rothfuss writing style is very easy to read and it's easy to let it consume you and read in large chunks and yet it's so beautiful that it's easy to be swept away by the beauty of it as well as the simplicity of it.
Rothfuss is a phenomenal writer he does such a good job of making his writing easy to read and yet beautiful and unique the story itself is also at the same time both simple and very complex the story feels very simple as you're reading it but as you get deeper into it again you realize how much planning was put into it I remember finishing the name of the wind and just feeling like thought was put into every sentence and every word mattered and I love that as a reader
it's a book that I started out feeling like wow this is really easy to read I'll finish this in a week it's fun and ended with a holy cow I did those things and it was fun but also so much thought was put into this world magic and characters I did end up not loving book 2 as much as book 1. so disclaimer there but again readers are individuals tons of people love book 2.
but I do think that this is a great introduction to fantasy not because it's simple and not complex just like every other book on this area in this article I'm telling you about books that I love not books that I think are not good but just because it's so digestible and yet it really shows you how incredible worlds can be.
11. Duel of Fire
next, we'll talk about duel of fire which I'm pretty sure my niece still has I lent it to her and I don't see it on my bookshelves. doula fire is a young adult series and it is primarily dealing with Fire Magic it's set in a world where there are a few people that have the ability to wield fire and then there are the cold figures.
I'm pretty sure they're called everybody else the fire wielders are being sorted of oppressed and overused by the kingdom and there is an uprising and I don't want to say too much the books are really short but their so much fun to read it does a great job of really difficult into magic and really interesting magic and specifically elemental magic.
and it also has a story that comes off really typical especially for the way why a fantasy usually works it comes off really typical but it ends up going in a direction that's so unique for this series and I love it.
12. Harry Potter
of course, I have to put the Harry Potter series on this list. Harry Potter is a great place to start you guys already know it's about once again it is a real-life world yet removed from real life and we're exploring the Wizarding World fun plots interesting magic it's a good time had by all.
13. Foundryside: A Novel
Foundryside: A Novel by Robert Jackson Bennett
next, I'll talk about the Foundryside this is a recent read for me and if I'm not mistaken I think this is also a Middle Eastern setting it's about a girl who is a thief she has these magical abilities where if she touches an object she can read what the structure and layout of the object are so for instance if she touches the floor she gets the floor plan of the building if she touches a wheel she knows where it's been and where it's going.
this doesn't set her up for great social situations because she can't touch people without her senses being overwrought but it makes her a great thief there's also magic in this world called scribing where you can essentially write a very rare language into an object and then force that object to act differently from itself a wheel can be scribed to believe that gravity is constantly pulling it's constantly going downhill so that it will move on its own and then once it gets to the location that scribed into it the scribing will turn off and it will stop really really really an interesting magic system.
the way this author writes it he almost over explains it he reminds you of the rules of the magic frequently so if you're new to complex and unique magic systems this is a great book to start with because he won't leave you trying to figure it out he'll really tell you about it probably the only problem I had with this book who was the writing the author definitely hold your hand over explains his descriptions are very on the nose not a lot of nuances which isn't my favorite.
but if you're new to fantasy it's perfect for understanding the world and the magic this will give you a great taste for how interesting magic systems can be but it'll do it in a way that's super easy to track with and wrap your mind around there's also an inanimate object that's sentient and has a lot of attitudes which is just one of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy tropes.
Now the next two books that I have to share with you are ones that I think are just a bit more advanced than these stories that I already shared they're the ones that I would say that if you like feel pretty comfortable in the fantasy genre and you're like yeah I wanna you know try something new I wanna try something a bit more you know dense in a way that I would recommend these two books right here.
14. An Ember in the Ashes
the first one that I have is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir these books are also very large but they are so so good it's basically a high fantasy story based on the roman empire it's very dark at times very violent and the world-building is uh it's not too much to handle but it is I would feel like a bit more than some of the other ones that I've already shared.
and I also think just because of some of the themes in this story it is a bit more I'm not going to say advanced but just like like I would say feel comfortable in the fantasy genre and some of the themes that they explore in those books before you pick up this one because if you're not used to liking blood and gore and torture then I wouldn't read this one just yet.
but in the story, we follow this girl named Lya whose brother is arrested for treason and she goes to the rebels for help they basically say oh we need you to be a spy and so she goes into the marshall empire right which is like the harsh government of this world and she poses as a slave in order to you know to spy on what they're doing on top of that we follow this boy named Elias who is attending the school at the marshall empire or where Leah is going undercover as and he is training to become a mask.
this is like enemies to lovers romance almost in a way and we kind of have a million other things that happen including all the blood and gore and violence and torture that I've already talked about so there's just there's something about the story that I absolutely love even though I have yet to be able to finish the entire thing which still makes me mad but it's just it's such a good series it's really really a good series so I would just highly recommend if you're looking for something you know the next level up definitely pick up the series it's so so good.
15. Mistborn Trilogy
and then finally we have what is probably another staple and everybody's you know beginner guide to fantasy article that they make but I have to mention it because it's just an incredible series it's one of my favorites of all time and it is a sort of borderline y.a adult I would say but it's definitely for people who have already sort of dipped their toes into fantasy and feel pretty comfortable with high fantasy and are able to kind of like soak up a lot of information.
because this book will give you a lot of information about this world but the story that I'm talking about is the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. this is such a staple in fantasy reading especially in you know why a reading because this book is possibly classed as that but I've always considered it toeing the line between young adult and adult because again it deals with a lot deeper sometimes darker themes a lot heavier things and a lot more detail like this world is so detailed and the magic system is you know completely different from anything that you know you've ever read before and there's just so much that goes on in this story and it's just it's so good.
if you can get into it and understand what's going on and you just fly through it even though it's big it's a lot you just really fly through it it's so good the story is essentially about this girl named Vin who is a street urchin she's been you know hiding with this thieving crew and she knows she can do some kind of magic but she hides it because she's not supposed to be able to do it and then in walks this guy named Kelsie who rescues her from this crew and has her join his own crew in which they are planning to basically overthrow the entire empire it's somewhat of a heist book and it's somewhat of a found family story in a way and it's just so good all around so so so good.
Conclusion of the Best Fantasy Books for Beginners
so there you go those are some fantasy books that I think are great for beginners, great for people that are just starting out with this genre and want to dip their toes in and see how they like it. I did not focus on books that I think aren't as good some of my favorites are on this list.
what I focused on primarily are authors that do a good job of writing things very plainly and explaining things very clearly there are a ton of fantasy series that I love but the author does in no way hold your hand so it would be a tough way to start out these are awesome books too.
but what we talked about too are our books that I think are easy to track with if you're not used to tracking with the fantasy that still has awesome stories. if you're new to fantasy and you want to try some of these I'd love to hear which ones you want to pick up.