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…

The books I picked & why

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Magic Bites

By Ilona Andrews,

Book cover of Magic Bites

Why 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.

The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

By Andrzej Sapkowski,

Book cover of The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher

Why 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 Raymond E. Feist,

Book cover of Magician

Why 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.

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why 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.

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?

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.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Dark Lord of Derkholm, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Fellowship of the Ring: The Lord of the Rings: Part One if you like this list.