The best fantasy books that have unconventional elements

Who am I?

Before I was published, I played Dungeons and Dragons for years. I grew up on games involving fantasy, and though my career took me into government, it stayed my passion. I’m well on my way to publishing the last two books in my four-part saga as well as venturing into Kindle Vella, and I can’t wait to see what is next for me in the realm of fantasy. When writing in the genre, it’s easy to fall into the same old tropes and utilize the same creatures. These five books are atypical in this age of overdone plots and monsters. I hope you find your next read among them.


I wrote...

The Last Keeper

By J.V. Hilliard,

Book cover of The Last Keeper

What is my book about?

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad. Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings. Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. 

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action, and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

The books I picked & why

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The Dragon and the Double-Edged Sword

By Allison Ivy,

Book cover of The Dragon and the Double-Edged Sword

Why this book?

The Dragon and the Double-Edged Sword is a fantasy-adventure novel that incorporates rarely used mythical creatures like harpies, aswangs, buso, and even a lava monster. Set in 2599, The novel takes an unorthodox approach to dystopia by asking, “What if humans went extinct?” The story has time travel and an interesting system of magic. What really impressed me about this story is how it started off with a bang and didn’t let up. Even as it switched between two different timelines, there weren’t any filler scenes where the story dragged. Every character had a clear purpose and something to connect with.

The Dragon and the Double-Edged Sword

By Allison Ivy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dragon and the Double-Edged Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the human race gone, mythical creatures roam ...
In the year 2599, Lysandra, mermaid princess of the sea, loves all things human. It’s why she can’t resist helping a dragon who claims to be one. Sixteenth-century Duke Virginio Ormani II is cursed to walk as a dragon in daylight, and he’s stumbled into the twenty-sixth century.
Dragging her elven warrior boyfriend, Cyali, along for the ride, Lysandra and her friends will face conjurers, harpies, and overgrown rats on their journey across the western lands.
And that’s the least of their worries.
When a cabal of witches plans to bring…


Season of the Runer Book I: The Trial of Two

By Abigail Linhardt,

Book cover of Season of the Runer Book I: The Trial of Two

Why this book?

The Season of the Runer series is a great book for fans of The Witcher. It is unique in that it doesn’t focus on western European culture, but rather eastern European or middle-eastern or Eastern. Runers are humans who have committed a crime and been genetically altered. They’re bounty hunters, essentially. It follows Tzarik, a Runer, as he struggles with the will to go on. He meets Sybal, a diamond mine heiress and brand new Runer, and trains her to help him take down a necromancer. I enjoyed everything about this story, and I’d recommend it to those wanting a darker fantasy.

Season of the Runer Book I: The Trial of Two

By Abigail Linhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Season of the Runer Book I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WRITER'S DIGEST AWARDS HONORABLE MENTION WINNER

The endless road and life of a monster-hunting Runer has gone stale for Tzarik and death is the only alternative. Tired of risking his life for the prejudiced people of Al’Myrah, it’s time to just let go. The only thing that stands in his way: A Runer cannot take his own life, breaking his oath to the dark magic that binds him to the hunt. When a warlord from the far east threatens her family, Sybal, a young diamond mine heiress with a lavish lifestyle, takes action to protect her family and estate. But…


Dracula

By Bram Stoker,

Book cover of Dracula

Why this book?

I know what you’re thinking. Dracula isn’t unconventional. Well, at the time it was released, it was. Stoker did an excellent job of incorporating many genres into his vampire novel, including gothic horror and dark fantasy. Dracula is one of the reasons I write dark fantasy. The genre has changed so much over the years that if Dracula were released today, it would be unconventional once more, with Dracula being a true predator.

Dracula

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…


The Dao of Drizzt

By R.A. Salvatore,

Book cover of The Dao of Drizzt

Why this book?

R.A. Salvatore’s work is known by many fantasy fans, and his newest novel, The Dao of Drizzt holds up to the hype. Drizzt is a drow elf in the mythical Menzoberranzan, but what makes this story so unconventional is the introspection. The inner workings of Drizzt’s mind are on display in every page of the book. It’s an incredibly refreshing change of pace for a fantasy novel and is perfect for those wanting to know the main character of the story inside and out.

The Dao of Drizzt

By R.A. Salvatore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dao of Drizzt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For over thirty years, Drizzt Do'Urden has been one of the most important characters in fantasy literature. Throughout his novels, Drizzt has written down his thoughts about life and love, the nature of good and evil, the joys (and frustrations) of family, and so much more. Bound together for the first time, the collected wisdom and philosophy of Drizzt will be a beautifully-packaged gift book-complete with deckled edges, faux-leather cover, and an introduction by bestselling fantasy author Evan Winter-for his biggest fans and readers wanting to learn about this iconic figure.

Growing up in the chaos of Menzoberranzan, one young…


Stalking Jack the Ripper

By Kerri Maniscalco,

Book cover of Stalking Jack the Ripper

Why this book?

I have always been interested in the Jack the Ripper lore. If you feel the same, Stalking Jack the Ripper does not disappoint. The book follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth in Victorian-era England as she hunts Jack the Ripper. Audrey is not the typical Victorian lady. She has a passion for forensic medicine and doesn’t mind the sight of corpses. Maniscalco does a fantastic job of presenting the widely known case details while putting her own spin on it and even adding a few details.

Stalking Jack the Ripper

By Kerri Maniscalco,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stalking Jack the Ripper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A deliciously creepy horror novel with a story line inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

This #1 New York Times bestseller and deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between…


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