The best progression fantasy books

The Books I Picked & Why

Unsouled

By Will Wight

Unsouled

Why this book?

Unsouled (Cradle #1) by Will Wight has extremely clear, strong, and defined characters. I love characters. No story is good for me unless I love the cast, and thankfully, this book delivers. The progression of Lindon's (the main character) soul throughout the Cradle series is key to the story and thoroughly thought out. His counterpart, Yerin, has less progression, but is extremely key in teaching and protecting Lindon (and their gradual love subplot is perfect!). 

There are epic fights, great mentors (I’m looking at you, Eithen), and an amazing tournament. By the 10th book in the series, you’re hooked and can’t wait for more. Trust me.


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Iron Prince: A Progression Sci-Fi Epic (Warformed: Stormweaver)

By Bryce O'Connor, Luke Chmilenko

Iron Prince: A Progression Sci-Fi Epic (Warformed: Stormweaver)

Why this book?

The Iron Prince by Bryce O’Connor and Luke Chmilenko is the gold standard for academy-style adventure fantasy. And it’s the only one on my list that has definite sci-fi elements, which I adore!

The progression in this novel is litRPG in that we have numbers/letters used to denote power levels. If you’ve never read a litRPG, think Dragonball Z or a video game level-up system. The whole point of this story is following Reidon’s ascension to godhood (or at least, the start of it) since his special power is to have the highest rate of gain stat ever seen! He starts with the lowest starting stats, but that quickly turns around. 

A fantastic start to what should be an amazing series.


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Dungeon Born

By Dakota Krout

Dungeon Born

Why this book?

Dungeon Born by Dakota Krout is another litRPG style novel (with numbers/letters that denote the progression) only this time we find ourselves following the tale of a sentient dungeon named Cal. The dungeon’s goals are what you would expect: kill adventures, gain experience, make loot to lure more powerful adventures, and have great boss monsters.

The story is also partially told from an adventurer named Dale. He ventures into the dungeon, and you can see the progression of him and his fellow adventurers as he braves Cal’s monsters and traps. This is the book that introduced the concept of “dungeon core” to the world, and while it’s not for everyone, it does have one of the most clear-cut progression stories ever told. Well worth the read.


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Into the Labyrinth: Mage Errant Book 1

By John Bierce

Into the Labyrinth: Mage Errant Book 1

Why this book?

Into the Labyrinth by John Bierce is another academy-fantasy tale where the main character, Hugh, studies magic alongside others. This is a great story for emotional development and plot twists! At first, things seem like they don’t add up, but by the end, you get a satisfying sense of “ah-ha!” as most of your questions are answered (not all, though!).

This is a great coming-of-age story where Hugh finds great mentors, deals with his first love, and struggles with magic where others excel. It’s a great entry point for younger readers, too. Just well worth the read.


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The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga

By Aleron Kong

The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga

Why this book?

The Land by Aleron Kong is the third litRPG on this list, and probably the most famous. Every litRPG uses a few ways to denote progression, but this book has an almost unending series of charts, numbers, rules, and powers for everything. And I do mean everything.

Character growth. Weapon quality. Town building. To career building. Even dungeon building.

Everything progresses. Everything has level-ups. The world is huge, and the events feel extremely epic. This is also the longest series on the list, with books so massive, you could knock a fool out with one.

Definitely worth the time, though. Don’t miss out.


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