The best fantasy for getting lost in a world of magic and monsters

Nicholas Woode-Smith Author Of Part-Time Monster Hunter
By Nicholas Woode-Smith

Who am I?

I’m a South African fantasy and sci-fi author. I’ve been reading, watching, and playing fantasy since the gods deigned to send me to this world. Since school, I’ve been crafting fantasy realms for my friends to play in for D&D. Fantastical worlds, wondrous magic and brutal monsters fill all my books. I also adore history and philosophy, and let both permeate my fantasy and sci-fi novels.

I wrote...

Part-Time Monster Hunter

By Nicholas Woode-Smith,

Book cover of Part-Time Monster Hunter

What is my book about?

When a ghost from another world possesses Kat Drummond, she could be forgiven for being upset. But instead, she takes the chance to become a monster hunter in the darkness-infested Hope City.

With the help of her ghostly companion, and a pair of swords she bought on the internet, Kat will stop at nothing to become the greatest hunter in the city. Those bills aren’t going to pay themselves after all…

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The books I picked & why

Magic Bites

By Ilona Andrews,

Book cover of Magic Bites

Why did I love this book?

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews combines an epic magical apocalypse with one of the snarkiest and most badass heroines in urban fantasy. While the first book is not the best in the series, it is necessary to appreciate the rest of the series. And oh boy, what a series it is!

Kate Daniels is one of those formative urban fantasies for me, as it didn’t balk from having magic out in the open. It explores the interaction of the supernatural with the world we know without escaping into hidden worlds and the masquerade so prevalent in most urban fantasy—and for that it stands as one of the best urban fantasies out there.

By Ilona Andrews,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Magic Bites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kate Daniels is about to enter a world of gritty magic and dangerous mystery! Vampires, necromancers and mages abound on the city streets, with one kickass heroine in the middle

Future Atlanta is an interesting place to live: one moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters.

Here skyscrapers topple under the onslaught of magic; the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst for knowledge and wealth, pilot…

The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

By Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok (translator),

Book cover of The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

Why did I love this book?

While Henry Cavill’s depiction of Geralt is stellar, the Netflix series is no substitute for the dark, engrossing, and morally grey tale that is The Witcher. For me, The Witcher games and novels were the exact combination of monster hunting, moral quandaries, and somber contemplation that I needed.

It’s no wonder that people describe my books as a modern Witcher! While the main novels are excellent, the short story anthology that started it all is legendary and is a must-read!

By Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Wish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Magician: Apprentice

By Raymond E. Feist,

Book cover of Magician: Apprentice

Why did I love this book?

While I grew up on Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and His Dark Materials, I still credit Feist’s Riftwar Saga for sparking my true love of fantasy. This epic spans a total of 31 books, crafting a multigenerational tale of a world of magic, cataclysm, monsters, and continuously rising stakes that never feel trite.

Through all my years reading, nothing has topped it. It’s high time I start a re-read.

By Raymond E. Feist,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the westernmost province of the Kingdom of the Isles, upon the world of Midkemia, an orphan kitchen boy named Pug was made apprentice to the magician Kulgan.

Here starts an adventure that will span lifetimes and worlds. Discover where the story begins.

The world had changed even before I discovered the foreign ship wrecked on the shore below Crydee Castle, but it was the harbinger of the chaos and death that was coming to our door.

War had come to the Kingdom of the Isles, and in the years that followed it would scatter my friends across the world.…

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why did I love this book?

Any fantasy book list would be incomplete without this classic. While some may complain about pacing, dryness, or that they should have just taken the eagles to Mordor, The Lord of the Rings has still stood the test of time as not just an enjoyable classic, but a foundational text in fantasy in general.

While the magic is subtler than what we’re used to in modern fantasy, it seeps into every pore of the text, crafting a world of wonderment filled with horrific monsters, glorious heroes, and time-tested importance and morals. It is truly an epic work.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…

The Eye of the World

By Robert Jordan,

Book cover of The Eye of the World

Why did I love this book?

The Wheel of Time gets a bad wrap as a slog, and it may be so further in the series. But I never found it boring. Rather, what I found while reading Jordan’s epic was a magical world that I could become fully engrossed in. What starts as a thin Lord of the Rings clone soon becomes its own unique tale of prophecy and adventure incomparable to any other fantasy.

The monsters and the magic are also both in top form! Trollocs are like orcs on steroids, with the magic of the Aes Sedai being one of the first hard magic systems that really made me start thinking about, well, magic systems.

By Robert Jordan,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Eye of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master's enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al'Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light .

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel…

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