The best epic fantasy novels with epic bromances

Who am I?

For me, “bromance'' is simply two (or more) men having a bond that extends deeper than mere friendship. It is usually not romantic (sadly, in some cases), and is often between cousins or even brothers, but I absolutely love it when a hero is willing to die for his friend/soulmate/brother/mortal enemy. Men have been discouraged from saying the dreaded “I love you,” especially to other men, so they have been forced to disclose their feelings through action. I find a special delight in bonds that develop between two people who initially dislike one another; they must first reach “like” before they can achieve real emotional connection.

I wrote...

The Gauntlet Thrown

By Cheryl Dyson,

Book cover of The Gauntlet Thrown

What is my book about?

With a varied cast of characters, bromance, and epic worldbuilding, The Gauntlet Thrown is heavily influenced by an assortment of fantasy novels that feature the same. When Brydon leaves his home to fulfill a quest that will lead to him becoming the next king, Toryn is determined to stop him. When he bungles the job and Brydon spares his life, they forge an uneasy alliance that leads them into a web of deception, magic, unexpected friends…and enemies.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Deryni Rising

Cheryl Dyson Why did I love this book?

Deryni Rising is my top pick for the “bromance genre” due to the strong bond between several characters. These bonds grow deeper and stronger as the characters struggle to overcome growing challenges. This book is not for the faint of heart, as the author has a special talent for putting her characters through emotional torture chambers. I particularly enjoy this series because it focuses not only on physical danger, but also on the mental and emotional aspects. The characters frequently have moral and ethical dilemmas. How the characters navigate such situations reminds me that everyone should be judged on their own merits, and not on outward appearances, titles, or by what society tells us is “wrong” or “evil”.

By Katherine Kurtz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Deryni Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the kingdom of Gwynedd, the mysterious forces of magic and the superior power of the Church combine to challenge the rule of young Kelson. Now the fate of the Deryni -- a quasi-mortal race of sorcerers -- and, indeed, the fate of all the Eleven Kingdoms, rests on Kelson's ability to quash the rebellion by any means necessary . . . including the proscribed use of magic!

Book cover of Theft of Swords

Cheryl Dyson Why did I love this book?

The bromance in this series is between two longtime friends that are also independent thieves. A running joke between them is Hadrian’s insistence on constantly doing “good deeds” instead of simply taking jobs that pay well. Despite Royce’s complaints about Hadrian’s apparent charitable streak, it becomes clear that he also has a penchant for doing the right thing. The banter between them is fluid and speaks of a shared history that keeps me reading, hoping to dig more into their past and discover how they became such a strong team. I also adore books with humor in the midst of drama or stress and this book definitely delivers.

By Michael J. Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theft of Swords as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of…

Book cover of Black Sun Rising

Cheryl Dyson Why did I love this book?

Black Sun Rising is a book with incredible world-building. It is worth a read simply for the unique premise, and then the author populates it with Gerald Tarrant—a horrific, soulless vampire—and Damien Vryce, the priest sworn to destroy him. Through many terrifying trials, the two form a grudging respect for one another that (of course) eventually turns into friendship. This book has so many interesting settings and situations, and it is fun to grow with Damien from despising Tarrant to absolutely adoring him. Those who love vampires should be giddy with this one, as Tarrant is pretty scary and powerful.

By C. S. Friedman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Sun Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over a millennium ago, Erna, a seismically active yet beautiful world was settled by colonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was fraught with perils no one could have foretold. The colonists found themselves caught in a desperate battle for survival against the fae, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself, drawing forth a person's worst nightmare images or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life.

Twelve centuries after fate first stranded the colonists on Erna, mankind has achieved an uneasy stalemate, and human sorcerers manipulate the fae for their…

Book cover of The Amulet of Samarkand

Cheryl Dyson Why did I love this book?

This might seem an unlikely choice for a bromance, especially as the main characters are an ancient summoned demon and a young boy, but despite the young adult genre this book has excellent character growth. Nathaniel is the boy and he starts the book with the emotional depth of a water droplet, so it’s extremely satisfying when the demon mirrors my dislike and expresses the same emotions I feel toward his young captor. It’s even more fun when the demon is wise-cracking and sarcastic. Both characters are unlikeable in the beginning, which made it more satisfying for me when they stopped being jerks and started working together. 

By Jonathan Stroud,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Amulet of Samarkand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first volume in the brilliant, bestselling Bartimaeus sequence.

When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Lovelace, a master magician of unrivalled ruthlessness and ambition. Before long, both djinni and apprentice are caught up in a terrifying flood of magical intrigue, murder and rebellion.


Book cover of Pawn of Prophecy

Cheryl Dyson Why did I love this book?

This is a difficult book to get into as it begins with pages of details about Garian’s idyllic childhood as he grows up on a farm. When an old wizard finally shows up to get the story moving, readers are more than ready to embark on a quest with Garion and his party of adventurers. As a hero, Garion is a trifle boring, so it’s up to the rest of the characters to keep things interesting. The wisecracking friendship between Silk (a short, nimble, unscrupulous spy) and Barak (a huge, burly, noble warrior) delivers. Much of my enjoyment of this book comes from Silk delivering one-liners and Barak is frequently the target of Silk’s glib tongue.

By David Eddings,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Pawn of Prophecy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first part of a saga set against a history of 7000 years of struggles of gods and kings and men. Long ago, the evil god Torak sought dominion and drove men and gods to war. Belgarath the Sorcerer led a quest to reclaim the Orb of Aldur - but so long as it lay at Riva, men would be safe.

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By Bruce Tate,

Book cover of Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

Bruce Tate

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The plan was insane. The trap seemed to snap shut on Bruce and Maggie Tate, an isolation forced on them by the pandemic and America's growing political factionalism. Something had to change.

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For nine months, Bruce and Maggie navigated shallow rivers, bottomless lakes, joy, and loss. Against all odds, they conquered the Great Loop, and along the way, found common cause across political divides with new friends while blowing the walls off their world.

Currently Away: How Two Disenchanted People Traveled the Great Loop for Nine Months and Returned to the Start, Energized and Optimistic

By Bruce Tate,

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