The best fantasy books that make you want to go on an adventure

Who am I?

Like many people, The Lord of the Rings captivated me as a child. I read those books as well as The Hobbit half a dozen times before I was twelve, and a couple of times more since. What’s more, I was lucky enough to be nine when the first movie came out, which only furthered my childhood obsession. Though I’m less enthralled by the series now, the classic quest it represents still has a place in my heart. I’ve tried to reproduce the grandeur and adventure of that story in my writing, and I’ve found a good portion of it in the books I recommend below. May they take you on captivating new journeys!


I wrote...

A King's Bargain

By J.D.L. Rosell,

Book cover of A King's Bargain

What is my book about?

The legend of Tal Harrenfel is sung across the Westreach—and with each telling, the tales grow taller. But though he's declared a hero by his king, Tal has never claimed to be more than a man…

After three decades of fighting warlocks, killing mythical beasts, and hunting enchanted treasure, Tal has had enough. But when he receives a mysterious visitor, Tal is thrown into a journey across the kingdom and brought into conflict with a fabled sorcerer, one whose mere name makes mortals tremble. Can Tal live up to his legend and overcome the forces pitted against him?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Crimson Queen

J.D.L. Rosell Why did I love this book?

There's a lot to love in Hutson's debut. The setup of our main character is fairly familiar – a nobody from a small fishing village, yet possesses great potential magic – but the rest of the world is fresh and intriguing. From the immortal sorcerers manipulating the course of the world, to the order of self-righteous paladins, and finally to the great creatures slumbering in the Deep, there's a lot to love in The Crimson Queen.

By Alec Hutson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2016 Ink and Insights Competition – Judges’ Favorite
2017 Readers' Favorite Award for Epic Fantasy
2nd in the 2017 SPFBO
#1 Amazon Best Seller in Epic Fantasy

Long ago the world fell into twilight, when the great empires of old consumed each other in sorcerous cataclysms. In the south the Star Towers fell, swallowed by the sea, while the black glaciers descended upon the northern holdfasts, entombing the cities of Min-Ceruth in ice and sorcery. Then from the ancient empire of Menekar the paladins of Ama came, putting every surviving sorcerer to the sword and cleansing their taint from the…


Book cover of Assassin's Quest

J.D.L. Rosell Why did I love this book?

Quest is in the name, and does it ever live up to it! As the culmination of The Farseer Trilogy, it does the previous books justice. The journey is arduous, full of twists and turns, and the reader feels every wound Fitz suffers. Yet as in every good quest, in the end, he achieves what he aims to do though not in the way he expects, and at an unimaginable cost. This is Hobb at her finest, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assassin's Quest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fantasy as it ought to be written' George R.R. Martin

The gripping finale to Robin Hobb's classic Farseer Trilogy.

With the king no longer living and the heir, Verity, missing and declared dead, Prince Regal has treacherously seized the throne.

Regal's torture has left Fitz more dead than alive, and more closely than ever bonded with his wolf. All who once loved him believe him dead: even Molly, now pregnant with his child. But he cannot go to her without placing her in terrible danger.

With nothing to lose, Fitz sets out for Tradeford, where Regal has withdrawn, having heartlessly…


Book cover of The Fifth Season

J.D.L. Rosell Why did I love this book?

While not the typical quest in many ways, The Fifth Season certainly qualifies. All three of its interweaving plots boast characters seeking something, even if it's not always clear what that might be. This is a journey across both land and time, however, and even as the first installment in a trilogy, the intrigue and revelations are wholly satisfying to behold.

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Fifth Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…


Book cover of Rise of the Ranger

J.D.L. Rosell Why did I love this book?

About as classic as modern fantasy gets, Rise of the Ranger nevertheless breathes fresh air into the genre. Both an epic and a quest story, it features characters spread out across the entirety of the world, yet their fates slowly become connected in the grand war that is only beginning. Witness the conflicts between elves, assassins, mages, and dragons all navigated by a host of likable and interesting protagonists, and enjoy a quest as it was meant to be.

By Philip C. Quaintrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rise of the Ranger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Praise for Philip C. Quaintrell’s ‘The Echoes Saga’:

'For lovers of your classic Tolkien, this series has it all' - Alan Coleman - Amazon customer

'Best newcomer to the genre. Philip is up there with Feist and Sanderson' - Philip Spick - Amazon customer

300,000 COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE

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THE ECHOES OF FATE, A PROPHECY UTTERED UNTO THE WORLD A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, CANNOT BE DENIED…

Mankind has lorded over the land of Illian for a thousand years, building on the ruins left by the elves, as if it were their birthright. A thousand years is a long time for…


Book cover of The Hobbit

J.D.L. Rosell Why did I love this book?

No list of quests would be complete without this beauty. The Hobbit was probably the first quest story I ever read, and it's possibly still the best. Each event is poignant, memorable, and has an impact on Bilbo. By the end of the book, the transformation he has undergone is remarkable, yet feels entirely earned. And the ending! I won't spoil it for any who have yet to experience this treat, but stealing from Smaug proves only to be the beginning of Bilbo's final trials.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…


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A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

By Janet Hulstrand,

Book cover of A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

Janet Hulstrand Author Of A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Editor Francophile Minnesotan Once and forever Brooklynite

Janet's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This memoir chronicles the lives of three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel. The story begins in 1992 in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn as the author reads a notebook written by her grandmother nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year search to find her grandmother’s journals and uncover the hidden interior lives of her mother and grandmother.

Her adventures take her to a variety of locations, from a small town in Iowa to New York, Washington, London, and Paris—and finally to a little village in France, where she is finally able to write the book that will tell her own story, intertwined with the stories of her mother and grandmother.

A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

By Janet Hulstrand,

What is this book about?

This story, about three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, begins in 1992, in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn, as a young writer reads journals written by her grandmother as a schoolgirl nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year quest to uncover the hidden lives and unfulfilled dreams of her mother and grandmother. In this coming-of-middle-age memoir, the author comes to realize that the passion for travel and for literature that has fueled her life's journey is a gift that was passed down to her by the very role models she was…


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