The best epic fantasy novels to deprive you of sleep

David Estes Author Of Kingfall
By David Estes

Who am I?

Growing up and still today, I read a lot of fantasy, including reading the covers right off my copy of The Lord of the Rings boxed set. I’ve also written two major epic fantasy series each more than a million words in length. So I know a thing or two about what makes compelling epic fantasy stories. And these five books (and the series that follow) go above and beyond any measure. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed, but your REM cycle might suffer!

I wrote...


By David Estes,

Book cover of Kingfall

What is my book about?

Be bright but do not burn. Embrace the darkness but do not live in the shadows. 

The powerful godblades were believed to be lost nearly half a millennia ago, when the Godswar ended. Now, however, one has been found by the unlikeliest of wielders: Sampson Gaard, a sheltered prince who's been told he'll never rule Teravainen. As his power grows, the only question is whether he controls the blade or the blade him. With an insidious evil lurking in the shadows, the answer may very well determine the fate of all Kingfall.

The books I picked & why

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The Path of Flames (Chronicles of the Black Gate)

By Phil Tucker,

Book cover of The Path of Flames (Chronicles of the Black Gate)

Why this book?

Tucker not only creates a world you’ll get completely lost in, but his prose is next level. Countless times while reading I stopped to bask in awe of the way he weaved words together into a tapestry that not only told a beautiful story full of pain, hope, love, and triumph but also brought out emotions in a very real way. I felt what his characters felt, I yearned for what his characters yearned for, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire way. Get this book if you want to lose sleep every single night!

Age of Myth: Book One of the Legends of the First Empire

By Michael J. Sullivan,

Book cover of Age of Myth: Book One of the Legends of the First Empire

Why this book?

Melatonin alert! If you start reading this book, you’re going to require a sleep aid to get some shuteye. Sullivan has a way of constructing characters and plotlines that, on their surface, are simple. And yet the more you read, the more complex and three-dimensional they become, until you realize that the characters and their motivations are never what they seem to be until the moment they are revealed, leaving you breathless and satisfied. Losing a little (or a lot) of sleep to read Age of Myth is well worth it!

Chasing Graves

By Ben Galley,

Book cover of Chasing Graves

Why this book?

If you’re in the mood for a darker story to fill the moonlit hours between dusk and dawn, Chasing Graves is what you’ve been searching for. Galley’s writing is nothing short of magnificent, his creativity almost alien in its imagination. Not a second went by while reading this book that I wasn’t utterly lost between its pages, living in the world of the author’s creation, immersed in a story with one of the best twists I’ve ever read. When you begin this book, you might as well forget about sleep altogether, it’s that good. 

A Threat of Shadows (The Keeper Chronicles Series)

By J.A. Andrews,

Book cover of A Threat of Shadows (The Keeper Chronicles Series)

Why this book?

The words I would use to describe Andrews’ writing are as follows: spirit, strength, impact. Not only does each sentence read like melted butter circling a saucepan, but they are written with purpose. Filled with characters so likable you’ll wish they were your real friends, Andrews puts them through hell and back again in a way that makes you want to cheer for them, or even fight by their sides. If you haven’t read A Threat of Shadows and the rest of The Keeper Chronicles, be prepared to count plenty of sheep to fall asleep afterward. 

Six of Crows

By Leigh Bardugo,

Book cover of Six of Crows

Why this book?

I have to admit, I was not a fan of Shadow and Bone, so it was with great trepidation that I picked up Six of Crows based on glowing recommendations from friends I trust. Wow. This book and its sequel had me wishing there were more hours in the day (and night) to read. The characters are an eclectic group so well-defined they continued speaking to me long after I closed the book. (I’m not insane, I swear. Well, mostly not.) And the storyline is so compelling that you must. Keep. Turning. Pages. Read at the risk of your own sleep. 

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