The best fantasy books featuring drama and danger

Who am I?

As a kid, I was that scrawny redhead who could never figure out how to fit in. Books were my escape, and even better, they showed me that if you didn’t fit in, it was because you were born to stand out. The more exciting the book, the more determined the character, the better the escape. I know that there are plenty of kids in the world today that desperately need the same message that helped me as a kid, that they matter, that they don’t have to fit in because they are born to stand out. It’s my hope that my books do just that.

I wrote...

Stonebearer's Betrayal

By Jodi L. Milner,

Book cover of Stonebearer's Betrayal

What is my book about?

Forbidden magic compelled Katira to live a lie, but learning the truth is far more dangerous than she ever dreamed.

When an innocent hunting trip turns into an attack, Katira’s world fractures. Her humble parents are actually legendary Stonebearers – immortal, powerful beings tasked with protecting the human world from creatures of the mirror realm. Those cracks widen and shatter apart when the Archdemoness, Wrothe, escapes from her timeless prison and snatches Katira away, intending to use her as bait to destroy not only her family line, but the entire Stonebearer Society. If Katira is to be made whole again, she must learn to trust the young stranger who’s trying to save her while finding the strength to accept not only her parents' power, but her own.

The books I picked & why

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Eragon: Book I

By Christopher Paolini,

Book cover of Eragon: Book I

Why this book?

I’ve always had a soft spot for books with dragons. Eragon not only has dragons, but also the right blend of drama and danger that makes it the kind of story that is hard to put down. One of the things I specifically like about Eragon is that the main character gets to learn how to use magic and struggles with it because it’s difficult, which is a nice change from many books where the main character tends to be naturally good at things. 


By Brandon Sanderson,

Book cover of Elantris

Why this book?

I, like many, started reading Brandon Sanderson when he finished the last few books of the Wheel of Time fantasy epic. I already liked his style, so it was a no-brainer to pick up Elantris, his first published book. As a fledgling author at the time, it was amazing to see how creative his ideas were and how he fearlessly pushed them as far as they could go. Also, the magic system in this story and how it affects the climax is a special kind of awesome.

The Cruel Prince

By Holly Black,

Book cover of The Cruel Prince

Why this book?

The Cruel Prince has that perfect blend of drama, danger, and destruction that tends to grab my attention. Not only is there the inherent danger of being part of a family that is protecting an heir to the throne, but there is no end to all the scheming by all parties to put themselves on the throne at any cost. Add to that a richly developed setting and culture in the faerie world with powerful beings who seem to delight in violence, and I’m sold. 

The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time Book One

By Robert Jordan,

Book cover of The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time Book One

Why this book?

For most fantasy readers, this one is a no-brainer. It’s considered the series that everyone reads alongside Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. But, for many, the length is, well, daunting. For me, this series entered my life when I needed some serious escape from the stresses of the real world so having a massive world with a massive cast to fall into was perfect. All the different plots that weave themselves around the different characters create some pretty intense immersive reading.

The Hero and the Crown

By Robin McKinley,

Book cover of The Hero and the Crown

Why this book?

I like this book for a far more personal reason, you see, as an awkward young teen with red hair who was also adopted, I related to the main character of Aerin who had many of the same struggles. Throughout the story, Aerin carries a deep-seated desire to prove herself, not with the magic that she was supposed to have, but by using her knowledge and willpower instead. I learned from her strength of character that those who keep trying are the ones who earn the greatest rewards.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in curses, dragons, and magic-supernatural?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about curses, dragons, and magic-supernatural.

Curses Explore 44 books about curses
Dragons Explore 94 books about dragons
Magic-Supernatural Explore 322 books about magic-supernatural

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Court of Thorns and Roses, Once Upon a Broken Heart, and Thorn if you like this list.