The best fantasy books of 2020

Looking for the best fantasy books? Check out our picks of the best fantasy books of 2020, the best fantasy fiction of 2019 and the top fantasy novels of all time. 

02/07/2020

The best fantasy books offer readers the perfect escape into another world. Here, we take a look at the best fantasy fiction of 2020, look back at the most loved fantasy novels of 2019 and share some of the top fantasy fiction of all time.  From John Gwynne’s Banished Lands, where angels and demons wage war,  to the magical multi-dimensional universe of Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, if you’re a fantasy fiction fan, we’ve got you covered.

Looking for the very best sci-fi books? Discover our edit, here.

 

The best new fantasy books of 2020

The Lost City

by Amanda Hocking

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Amanda Hocking's return to the magical Trylle universe is one of the best fantasy books of 2020. When Ulla Tulin was abandoned as a baby, like many half-blood trolls she was raised by strangers who hid her away. But she never stopped wondering about her birth parents, and so when she hears about a project to help half-blood trolls she's determined to discover her true heritage. She enlists the help of the resourcesful Pan and must contend with the mysterious Eliana. But as she and Pan fight to unravel the truth they realise that someone – or something – is determined to stop them . . . 

Discover all the books in the Omte Odyssey series here. 

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The Memory of Souls

by Jenn Lyons

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The enthralling third novel in Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons fantasy book series opens with the city of Atrine in ruins. Having discovered Relos Var’s evil plan, Kirin and his friends must convince a king to perform an ancient ritual which will save humanity – but at what price? And all the time, Kihrin’s connection to the monstrous god Vol Karoth is growing. Can Kihrin save his world, or will he destroy it?

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Bloodwitch

by Susan Dennard

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After the epic world-building and fast-paced adventures in Susan Dennard's previous fantasy books, Truthwitch and Windwitch, existing fans won't need much persuading to be very excited about Bloodwitch, the third novel in the Witchlands series.

Find out more about these epic fantasy novels in our introduction to the world of the Witchlands here.

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The Unspoken Name

by A. K. Larkwood

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If you're looking for a new fantasy series to get excited about, A. K. Larkwood's The Serpent Gates is it. In the first book in the series, The Unspoken Name, expect an epic coming-of-age tale that follows Csorwe, who, on her fourteenth birthday will be sacrificed by the dealth cult who raised her. Offered a chance to escape her fate by a sorcerer who wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin, Csorwe spends years living on a knife-edge until she is forced to confront her past . . .

Inspired by the author's longstanding fascination with villainous sidekicks and the question 'what might it take to stay loyal to a boss who is bad news?', this exciting debut is fantasy fiction at its finest.

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A Time of Courage

by John Gwynne

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No list of the top fantasy books would be complete without a John Gwynne novel. One of the most anticipated publications of 2020, in A Time of Courage, The King of the Otherworld is finally free and angels, demons and heroes face their ultimate fight for the Banished Lands. A Time of Courage, the epic conclusion to the Of Blood and Bone series publishes in April 2020. 

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Blood of an Exile

by Brian Naslund

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In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who sentenced Bershad offers him a way out of his forced occupation and exile, Bershad sees a way to earn redemption, but it won't be easy. Blood of an Exile, the first book in the Dragons of Terra series is packed with adventure and of course, lots of dragons. 

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Sorcery of a Queen

by Brian Naslund

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The second book in this unmissable fantasy series is set after the events of Blood of an Exile, as dragon-slayer Bershad and his crew can only hope they have enough strength to face what's in store next. A foreign emperor is raining an army, and he'll stop at nothing to crush the kingdom and take control of its highly-prized dragons. 

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The Tyrant

by Seth Dickinson

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The third book in Seth Dickinson's critically acclaimed fantasy quartet, Masquerade, The Tyrant is the perfect fantasy novel to pick up if you're looking for a page-turner.

After years of service to the corrupt Imperial Republic of Falcrest, Baru Cormorant finally knows how to shatter it. She’s discovered a deadly, weaponized blood plague, that, if she chooses to release, would kill millions. . . not just in Falcrest, but worldwide.

But, as her divided mind turns on itself, Baru's enemies close in and she must choose between genocidal retribution, and a harder path.

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The best fantasy books of 2019

The Ruin of Kings

by Jenn Lyons

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The hugely anticipated debut by Jenn Lyons is the first fantasy book in the A Chorus of Dragons series. Brim-full of big ideas – body-swapping, prophecy, rich worldbuilding and grim commentaries on many aspects of empire – to name but a few, this is the tale of Kihrin, a young prince cursed with bad luck and worse prophecy. The Ruin of Kings is a fantastically complex and multi-layered fantasy book, and characters like Doc and Galen, alongside Kihrin's own well-balanced set of talents and flaws make this a promising new fantasy series. 

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The Name of All Things

by Jenn Lyons

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The Name of All Things is the second book in the A Chorus of Dragons fantasy series. Kihrin D'Mon is a wanted man, so he heads to Jorat where he comes into direct opposition to his old enemy Relos Var. Var owns one of the world's most powerful objects, The Name of All Things, and he uses it to get what he wants most in the world – Kihrin.

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The Secret Chapter

by Genevieve Cogman

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The Secret Chapter is the sixth book in Genevieve Cogman's much loved fantasy series, The Invisible Library. The series is full of adventures across parallel worlds, magical beings and an invisible library maintained by dimenion-hopping librarians. The sixth book in the series, sees professional librarian spy Irene and her assistant Kai team up with an unlikely band of misfits to pull off an amazing art heist. They must steal a painting from Vienna in exchange for a book held by the secretive Fae villain Mr Nemo – a book which is needed to save the world where Irene grew up. 

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The Monster

by Seth Dickinson

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Published in paperback in 2019, The Monster is the sequel to Seth Dickinson's critically acclaimed debut novel The Traitor.

In the second installment in the Masquerade series, the traitor Baru Cormorant  has betrayed everyone she loved to become the cryptarch Agonist – a secret lord of the corrupt Empire of Masks that she vowed to destroy, and in doing so has gained the power to shatter it . . . but at a great cost. 

Now, Baru is hunted, haunted by her past and her own heart is broken. It’s her best and perhaps only chance to trigger a war – one that would consume the Masquerade . . .

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A Time of Blood

by John Gwynne

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A Time of Blood is the second fantasy book in John Gwynne's epic Of Blood and Bone series. The series is set in the same world as the Faithful and the Fallen quartet, and in the first installment, the Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, rule the Banished Lands yet the mighty demon horde they once vanquished threatens to return. The second epic fantasy book in this series sees protagonists Riv, a young soldier, and Drem,a trapper, battle alongside the Bright Star save their land, as demonic forces gather to destroy them and the rule of man.

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The True Queen

by Zen Cho

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Set between Regency London, Fairyland and the Malay Archipelago, The True Queen is the second volume in Zen Cho's award-winning fantasy series, The Sorcerer to the Crown. When Muna and her sister Sakti wake on the shores of Janda Baik (long the home of witches), they discover that they've been struck by a curse that has stolen their memories. They must head to Britain, where their only hope lies in the academy for female magicians. But they must travel through the Fairy Queen's realm, where Sakti disappears without a trace . . .

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Best fantasy books of all time

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

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Tomi Adeyemi’s YA fantasy book is the first in her West African-inspired fantasy fiction series Legacy of Orisha. Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . .

 

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King Rat

by China Miéville

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Blending eerie Pied Piper-influenced fairy tale with the ‘90s South London Drum and Bass scene, China Miéville’s debut is a thrilling urban fantasy novel. When Saul’s father is murdered, in a London where mysterious forces prepare for a showdown, Saul is left to pay for the crime. But help comes in the unlikely form of King Rat, who leads him to freedom where he confronts his inheritance at the gathering of the Junglist Massive.

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The Tiger and the Wolf

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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The Tiger and the Wolf is the British Fantasy Award-winning novel from Adrian Tchaikovsky and the first book in his Echoes of the Fall fantasy fiction series. Maniye is an outcast, the daughter of the chieftain of the Wolf clan and the queen of the Tiger clan, clans which have been deadly enemies for generations. Hiding a deadly secret, the power to shapeshift into the form of both a wolf and a tiger, she escapes. But Maniye is crucial to her father’s plan to rule the north, and he is determined to get her back. As she flees, priests foresee danger and rumours of war spread . . . 

Discover all the books in the Echoes of the Fall series here

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The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy is a classic of fantasy fiction and a must-read for all fantasy book fans. The story of the hobbit Frodo and his epic quest to reach Mount Doom and defeat the Dark Lord, Sauron, by destroying the One Ring, Tolkien’s epic fantasy was adapted into three of the most popular films of the 2000s.

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A Game of Thrones

by George R.R. Martin

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No list of the best fantasy books is complete without George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy fiction series. The first book in the series gave its name to the TV series that became one of the most talked-about in history. In a world where summers span decades and winter can last a lifetime, the battle for the Iron Throne has begun.

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The Colour of Magic

by Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully inventive fantasy fiction series Discworld begins with The Colour of Magic. Set in a flat world resting on the back of four elephants who are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle, this is a parallel time and place full of magic. When the first-ever tourist arrives, their survival is charged to a comically inept wizard who must face robbers, mercenaries and Death himself.

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If you're still looking for your next read, find our full selection of fantasy books here