The best fantasy series with powerful worldbuilding and characters you’ll love

Who am I?

I grew up reading The Brothers Grimm, Enid Blyton, and any number of stories that would come under the Fantasy umbrella. Later on, I fell in love with Garion and his friends in The Belgariad and The Malloreon. Later, I delved into the literature and Science Fiction of Iain (M.) Banks, and latched onto Terry Pratchett’s Death to navigate the vast Discworld series. I find I always return to Fantasy, and seek to come away from a book feeling as though I’ve made friends within the pages. This, too, was my goal when I took up writing.

I wrote...

Healer's Touch

By Deb E. Howell,

Book cover of Healer's Touch

What is my book about?

The Young Riders meets The Vampire Diaries in this tale of brother versus brother and blood-magic set in a gaslamp fantasy world. Llew has learned to survive the streets of the gold-mining town of Cheer, a hard existence made tougher when her so-called friend accuses Llew of murder, sending her to the gallows. But she doesn’t stay dead for long.

Escaping the hangman’s noose sees Llew fall into the hands of Jonas: the man with the knife and the power to kill Llew’s kind. If Llew can nurture the attraction he has to her, maybe she can keep that knife from her heart. But lurking in the shadows is Braph: the man who has learned to combine Healer and Warrior magics into addictive magical potential.

The books I picked & why

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The Emperor's Edge

By Lindsay Buroker,

Book cover of The Emperor's Edge

Why this book?

If, like me, you want to fall in love with a book’s characters and then stick with them for an entire series, and you feel like a story just isn’t complete without some romantic and/or sexual tension woven through, then I think you may enjoy this one as much as I did. Each book follows Amaranthe Lockdon and one other of the main characters, so you really get to know them well. I love how the books are structured. And Sicarius is a dangerous and compelling love interest.

The Demon King

By Cinda Williams Chima, Larry Rostant (illustrator),

Book cover of The Demon King

Why this book?

While this series is aimed at a younger audience, I found it just as enjoyable as anything aimed at adult readers. Yes, again, it is the fledgling, maturing, and sometimes troubled romance that will likely draw you through, however, the worldbuilding and external conflict is easily as captivating as the internal as you join reformed thief Han Alister on his quest to leave his previous career and reputation behind.

Kushiel's Scion

By Jacqueline Carey,

Book cover of Kushiel's Scion

Why this book?

I read this before I read the preceding trilogy: Phèdre’s Trilogy, and was well drawn in without the background knowledge that may have come from reading the two series in order. I later did read Phèdre’s Trilogy and enjoyed it, but it was Imriel’s Trilogy that really captured me. I love that while most Fantasy series will focus on aggressive politics and war, these series are more about the arts and diplomacy and humans being very human in all their facets. Imriel was a captivating character who I was eager to follow along with as I discovered the world he lived in.

The Black Prism

By Brent Weeks,

Book cover of The Black Prism

Why this book?

If there was ever a book or series that I wish I could put my own name to, it’s this one. Mr. Weeks had me on page 2 with the line “It was the kind of beauty that made you shit your pants” and kept me with the fascinating light-based magic system and the visuals it set off in my head. And then, as the book progresses, you get the sense you’re in the hands of someone with an understanding of psychology and he’s sitting back steepling his fingers with glee as you try to follow where he is taking you. Once again, I grew attached to several of the characters and found myself in awe of the talent on display here.

The Warded Man: Book One of the Demon Cycle

By Peter V. Brett,

Book cover of The Warded Man: Book One of the Demon Cycle

Why this book?

I’m not helping with the tendency for people to get Brent Weeks and Peter V. Brett confused, am I? Oh well… 

This series had a fascinating setup of a world in which demons rise in the night and humans must retreat within a warded perimeter, whether that is a home, a town, or just a space to sleep by the road with wards placed around the edges. Or, you get inventive and ward your own skin. I found myself deeply drawn in and I came to care about the characters… Sensing a theme?

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in worldbuilding, wizards, and war?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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