As we delve into 2023, we find ourselves captivated by a multitude of incredible fantasy books that have taken us on thrilling, magical journeys. These books aren’t just stories; they are fully realized alternate realities, where we lose ourselves in epic battles, potent magic, and complex, unforgettable characters.
2022 was a great year for fantasy releases and 2023 is shaping up to another powerhouse of a year. This list is mostly going to cover fantasy books from big-name authors and major publishing houses. Here are some of the best fantasy books of 2023 that every fantasy aficionado should consider delving into:
First on the list is the riveting “Hell Bent” by Leigh Bardugo. Drawing on her mastery of dark fantasy and intricate world-building, Bardugo takes readers on a spellbinding journey that is both hair-raising and profoundly moving. With compelling characters and a captivating plot, this book is a worthy addition to any fantasy lover’s collection.
In “A Day of Fallen Night”, Samantha Shannon transports readers into a world of enigmatic darkness and unexpected light. Shannon’s signature, complex storytelling shines in this epic fantasy, filled with unique and thrilling twists that keep you turning the pages.
What’s a best fantasy book list without a book that features magic front and center. Martha Wells’ “Witch King” is that book. Demons. Nations. Politics. This dark tale doesn’t shy away from lighter moments and is definitely for readers that want to experience Wells’ spectacular character work.
“City of Brass” fans rejoice! Just like the other Shannon on this list, “The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi” is a follow-up and/or prequel to Chakraborty’s beloved series. This time, readers can expect sorcery meeting the life of piracy, as this adventure takes place on the high seas. The Daevabad Trilogy has been one of the best trilogies in recent years, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this become the start of yet another.
If you’re a fan of dragon fantasies, you may find yourself attracted to “Untethered Sky” by Fonda Lee. Though you won’t find dragons behind its breathtaking cover, you will find a story akin to one, where a young woman makes a bond with a giant roc to avenge her dead family. Fonda Lee is no stranger to fantasy either, with her The Green Bone Saga being an award-winning fantasy series.
Hannah Whitten’s “The Foxglove King” is a beautifully written story that’ll definitely appeal to anyone who loves “A Court of Thorns and Roses”. As the first book in The Nightshade Crown series, “The Foxglove King” manages to balance death magic, court intrigue, and forbidden romances, all without becoming too overwhelming. If you like your fantasy with a bit of romance, you’ll want to pick up this book.
Though just a novella, “The Lies of the Ajungo” by Moses Ose Utomi begins the epic saga of the Forever Desert. If you’re really looking to discover new worlds this year, you’re not going to want to miss reading this book. Focused on the City of Lies, this book never fails to keep you turning pages, because if you do, you’re not going to know if Tutu ever saves his mother.
A low fantasy book with a circus as the main cast? Sign me up! “The First Bright Thing” is set in the era of World War I, and features a ringmaster as the protagonist. If you’re looking for something a little different with your fantasy, like me, then you’re going to want to give this one a try.
While we’re diving into the best of 2023, we should take a moment to appreciate the classics that have shaped and defined the genre of fantasy. These masterpieces, spanning decades, are testaments to the timeless appeal of the genre.
Tolkien’s epic trilogy, a quintessential fantasy masterpiece, has forever left a mark on the genre. The saga of Frodo and the One Ring is known to almost every fantasy enthusiast. “The Lord of the Rings” is not just a story, but a grand tapestry of lore, language, and a world that feels almost tangible.
The “Harry Potter” series needs little introduction. Its influence has stretched far beyond the world of literature into film, theme parks, and an enduring worldwide fandom. The story of the Boy Who Lived and his journey at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has enchanted readers of all ages.
“A Song of Ice and Fire”, known to many through the popular “Game of Thrones” TV series, is a gritty and realist epic that’s reshaped modern fantasy. Martin’s sprawling tale of political intrigue, war, and ancient threats in the land of Westeros has held millions captivated.
Not sure what you should read? 2023 has been a remarkable year for the fantasy genre so far, with a multitude of books catering to a wide range of tastes. Whether you are a fan of the classics or looking for something new and exciting, there’s a book out there for you.
And that book might be part of the Otherverse, an interconnected series of high fantasy novels that all take place in the same world. Not sure where you should start? Don’t worry because you can download “The Boot Mage” absolutely free! Just click the button below to be taken to my mailing list’s sign-up page. Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive your free copy of “The Boot Mage,” plus some extra goodies.