The best first books of fantasy trilogies that will keep you up all night

Who am I?

I have a great passion for fantasy books and from a very early age spent any time I could with my nose in a fantasy book traveling to fantastical worlds. In my teens, I got into dungeons and dragons and began creating my own worlds and stories until I took the next step and decided to write my own stories. I work as a prison guard and while too busy during the day to write or read much I have many nightshifts that allow me ample reading and writing time. I still run role-playing games once a week and am always searching for that next great book to read.

I wrote...

The Severing

By Troy Church,

Book cover of The Severing

What is my book about?

Blamed for his father’s death and struggling to come to terms with the power he carries within, Ishmael wants answers but the time to find them has passed. Now those who fight to return the magic that was lost in the Severing are hunting Ishmael and all who hold the key to its arrival, the coterie of the heart.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Black Stone Heart

Troy Church Why did I love this book?

I chose this book because it is simply one of the best Fantasy books I've read so far and literally kept me up reading all night. The world building is highly immersive, and the prose is beautiful and dark in this grimdark tale told in the first person POV, which adds great self-reflection of the protagonist as an anti-hero who is trying to discover who he once was and whom he is becoming. I really loved this gripping tale that has a solid magic system and many twists and turns throughout. I must include a trigger warning because the book does have elements that some readers may find upsetting. This book literally kept me up reading all night.

By Michael R. Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Stone Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was. He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.

There was a woman.

There was a sword.

There was an end to sorrow.

Khraen walks the obsidian path.

"Honestly, this is my favourite book. Best one I've read in my life, alongside (and on a par with) Prince of Thorns." —

"Insanely brilliant. Fletcher did it again."…

Book cover of Kings of Paradise

Troy Church Why did I love this book?

If you are like me and enjoy grimdark novels, then this one is for you. This coming-of-age story has it all. Politics, magic, and an amazingly rich setting that explores multiple cultures told by three great protagonists. The story gripped me at the start and didn’t let me go until the very last word. Richard Nell’s breathtaking storytelling ability is made even more impressive due to Kings of Paradise being his debut novel. This is another book that needs a trigger warning.

By Richard Nell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kings of Paradise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2018 IRDA for fantasy / 2018 Reader's Favorite Gold Medalist
#1 Best Seller in Canadian Dark Fantasy
99% liked it (Goodreads)
A deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age, finding a power he never imagined. Two worlds will collide. Only one can be king.

★★★★★ "This dark fantasy epic will be held up against George R.R. Martin's masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. Read this book now so you can act pompous around your friends when HBO turns it into a television series." - Goodreads

★★★★★ "Kings of Paradise…

Book cover of The Rage of Dragons

Troy Church Why did I love this book?

I chose this book because I love fantasy novels that explore different cultures and I had heard the book described as Game of Thrones meets Gladiator. This book is an African-inspired revenge story with a protagonist that is easy to become invested in and relate to as his intimate story of revenge unfolds. With a really cool magic system and truly memorable battles, I found this complex novel hard to put down as it tackled themes such as revenge, love, inequality, and war. Oh, and it has dragons.

By Evan Winter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this blockbuster debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people's only hope for survival.

Winner of the Reddit/Fantasy Award for Best Debut Fantasy Novel

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger,…

Book cover of Jade City

Troy Church Why did I love this book?

I chose this book because I have a love of Asia, especially Japan and this story has a rich Asian setting with martial arts, yakuza-like elements, and a magic system based around the precious stone, jade that provides the wearer with special abilities. I also like how the story is centered around a family and the complex relationships between the different members which you don’t see very often in fantasy novels. This complicated family saga had me engrossed as it racked up the tension with great pacing, awesome characters, and dialogue.

By Fonda Lee,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Jade City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'An epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but set in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you'll forget you're reading a book' KEN LIU

'Gripping!' ANN LECKIE, author of Ancillary Justice and The Raven Tower

'Lee's astute worldbuilding raises the stakes for her vivid and tautly-described action scenes' SCOTT LYNCH, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora

*****Shortlisted for the Nebula Awards, the Locus Awards, the Aurora Awards, the Sunburst Awards and an Best Book of the Month*****


Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Troy Church Why did I love this book?

I chose this book because of a comment written by Charles Stross. "Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space." This book intrigued me from page one and is a mystery built around necromancy and love. It is a story that is slow to get going but the complex protagonist and the amazing world building were enough to hold me riveted until the story really explodes. The mystery is expertly told with twists, false leads, and a cast of characters that you won’t easily forget. The main character is irreverent, sarcastic, and damaged and I really grew to love her through this book. This book was unlike any other fantasy novel I have ever read.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…

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By Laci Barry Post,

Book cover of Songbird

Laci Barry Post Author Of Songbird

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Group fitness instructor Mom of two Travel consultant Hiker

Laci's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It's 1943, and World War II has gripped the nation, including the Stilwell family in Jacksonville, Alabama. Rationing, bomb drills, patriotism, and a changing South barrage their way of life. Neighboring Fort McClellan has brought the world to their doorstep in the form of young soldiers from all over the country and German POWs from halfway around the globe.

Songbird is an inspirational, historical fiction novel, dealing with family, faith, strong women, and the American home front. It explores many historical elements of the World War II era, such as women's aid groups, the writings of Ernie Pyle, D-day, radio and music of the 1940s, and the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


By Laci Barry Post,

What is this book about?

When the perils and social changes of World War II confront a small southern town, faith, family, and love sustain the lives of one young woman and her family. Can those left behind endure?

"I'm waiting for my life to begin. Waiting for the train to come in," Ava Stilwell, a young woman eager for life, sings a popular song with the big band that reflects her heart. In the midst of a world at war, Ava finds love, a passion for her music, and new opportunities, but the war still looms over her, threatening to take it all away.…

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