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10 Amazing Fantasy Novels You Need to Read Now

From feminist fantasy to African mythology to Muslim writers inspired by ancient Arabia, we've compiled a list of some amazing (and wonderfully diverse) fantasy novels you need to read if you love the genre. Many on this list are new authors who have recently published their debut fantasy novel, or established authors who have made it to the New York Times Bestsellers list with a fresh foray into fantasy after publishing in other genres.

Whether you're looking for a coming-of-age Young Adult fantasy story or an old-school dive into the Dungeons & Dragons universe, there should be something on this list just right for your tastes. New fantasy authors are subverting and reinventing the genre, opening up a golden age in fantasy writing, so happy reading!

Fantasy authors are subverting and reinventing the genre, opening up a golden age in fantasy writing.
New fantasy authors are subverting and reinventing the genre, opening up a golden age in fantasy writing. Photo by Matteo Kutufa on Unsplash.

The Women's War by Jenna Glass

Praised as an epic feminist fantasy for the #MeToo era, The Women's War is Jenna Glass's debut fantasy novel and is the tale of a revolutionary spell that gives women the ability to control their own fertility. Set in neighboring kingdoms ruled by kings and noblemen, the tale offers imaginative worldbuilding coupled with magic that only women can wield—magic which threatens to tear down the patriarchal structure in which women are nothing more than property and bargaining chips. When a young disinherited daughter of a king and a widowed mother of two adolescent children discover it, their world and experience as women will never be the same.

Getting Wilde By Jenn Stark

As the first book in the 11-volume Immortal Vegas series, Jenn Stark's Getting Wilde has been praised by critics as "hilarious, sexy, and thrillingly high action." This urban fantasy series follows Sara Wilde, a magical artifacts hunter and rescuer of young psychics being sold on the black market. With the help of a Tarot deck, she helps clients find things—magical things, in fact. When a new job offers her a big payday, the stakes include breaking into the Vatican and getting too close for comfort to the Devil.

Enter Sara's most mysterious client, the wickedly sexy Magician, with a job that could yield the ultimate payday. All she'll have to do is get behind Vatican walls... and steal the Devil himself. Complete with an ancient and mysterious magical Council, militant forces seeking to destroy all magic, demigods, twisting catacombs and Rome and Vegas' rowdy nightlife, Sara confronts the underworld of magic in an exciting read that is hard to put down.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Just released this month, Hafsah Faizal's debut fantasy novel, We Hunt the Flame, is hailed as "lyrical and spellbinding" and Paste Magazine listed it in its Top 10 Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2019. With its inspiration drawn from ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame tells the story of Zafira, a huntress who disguises herself as a man while braving cursed forests and feeding her people with her kills.

Living in the same kingdom is a young man known as the Prince of Death, who carries out assassinations for anyone who defies his father, the sultan, and whose compassionate nature must be hidden beneath a brutal exterior and family expectations. As war brews and danger finds them both, these young characters seek an ancient, magical artifact to achieve different aims. It's a story of bravery, self-revelation, and identity set in a lush world full of magic and mystery.

Perfekt Order (The Ære Saga) (Volume 1) by S.T. Bende

Perfekt Order by S.T. Bende is another YA fantasy should be on your list of must-read books, especially if you enjoy witty, well-rounded characters and Norse mythology. It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Mia Ahlström, an engineering student at Redwood State University, who meets an arrogant, overprotective Tyr Fredriksen at her first college party. But Tyr is not what he seems—or rather, is much more than he seems. He's actually the Norse God of War, on Earth to protect a valuable Asgardian treasure, and Mia, too, if she'll let him. The repartee in this book make it a fast, fun read.

Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha) by Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri's debut fantasy novel, Empire of Sand, tells the story of Mehr, an illegitimate yet privileged daughter born to a nobleman father and magical, nomadic mother who she never knew. Inheriting her mother's magical gifts of controlling the dreams of the gods, Mehr captures the attention of the Emperor's mystics, who persuade her to use her magic to help build the Empire. This Mughal India-inspired novel contains a darkly woven story that is as original as it is impressive, prompting one reviewer to state, I am beginning to think that we are at a new golden age of fantasy literature.

A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by V.E. Schwab

Victoria "V.E." Schwab is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books and the first book in her Shades of Magic trilogy, A Darker Shade of Magic, is arguably her writing at its best. Lyrically compelling and haunting, A Darker Shade of Magic tells the story of Kell, a magician and smuggler with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons defined by a color—Red, Grey, White, and Black. Each London has a varying relationship with magic, and those who practice it, and the book is equal parts fantasy, romance, inter-dimensional travel, and adventure combined with a strong female character who is intriguing from the start.

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Having won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award, China Miéville, London-based author of Perdido Street Station, knows how to use equal parts magic and science to build fantastical worlds that are not for the faint of heart. For this novel, he weaves a dystopian society beneath towering ribs of an ancient beast, and inhabitants of it that include both humans and arcane races in a steam-punk inspired, cross-species filled setting. The main character is Isaac, a scientist who conducts experiments for a half-bird/half-human entity, and feeds a growing caterpillar hallucinogenic drugs only to soon discover its true, horrific intent. This novel includes gore, sex, immoral experimentation, and technobabble, but offers plenty for fantasy-lovers to digest (pun intended).

The God Catcher by Erin M. Evans

If you are a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, you should add The God Catcher by Erin M. Evans to your fantasy reading list. Set in the City of Splendors, part of the Forgotten Realms® created by Ed Greenwood, this is a coming-of-age story about Tennora, a bookish yet renegade young lady who desperately wants to be a wizard. She finds the opportunity upon meeting Clytemorrenestrix, who claims to be a dragon, only to later be warned that the dragon woman is not all she claims to be. In fact, she's dangerous, and Tennora's life could be in peril by participating in her malevolent plans.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy) by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Jamaican-born Marlon James is the first novel in James's Dark Star trilogy, combining African mythology and history with unforgettable and fantastical adventure. It is a non-linear narrative revealing the story of Tracker, noted for his hunting skills, who is hired to find a boy who disappeared three years ago. He finds himself in the company of a diverse group of unusual characters with the same purpose in mind, one of which is a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. Questioning who is telling the truth and why the young boy is being sought after so desperately, Tracker learns that there's much more to life than his usual, solitary lifestyle.

Empty Monsters (The Books of Oreyn) by Cat Hellisen

Cat Hellisen's Empty Monsters is a coming-of-age tale of family expectations and finding one's own path as much as it is about the family we're born into versus the family we choose. After discovering a magical lineage—the very lineage his family has sworn to rid the world of for generations—the main character, Aden, immerses himself in an experience that he was once taught to fear. In doing so, he learns a truth about who the real monsters are and his role in their collective story. One reviewer notes, This isn't your typical swashbuckling, sword-and-sorcery style fantasy. It's quiet and introspective, more character study than adventure.

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