The best books to get started with fantasy

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been somewhat of an idiot optimist coming up with new and frivolous ideas. Yet, despite trying to inject my last three books with humour representative of myself, I feel a certain sense of seriousness in them. The fantasy genre has helped me shirk that feeling, allowing me to write uninhibited by regular boundaries. Without becoming captivated by George R.R. Martin and Terry Pratchett, I’d probably still be stuck trying to carve out a place in literary fiction—how serious. Fantasy works better for me—I like to make things up, and I like light-hearted books. 


I wrote...

A Fantasy Novel That Gets Straight to the Point: An Utterly Ridiculous Journey

By James Tyler Ball,

Book cover of A Fantasy Novel That Gets Straight to the Point: An Utterly Ridiculous Journey

What is my book about?

The Holy Stein O’ Kin Beer is missing, the Grand Lord of Beer is dead, and an entire village has transformed into emerald-eyed ogres, but all Ser Bubbles wants is an ice-cold pint. Only, as a result of some terrifyingly dark sorcery, his golden helmet is stuck, preventing him from bringing glass to lip.

Bound by honour and the unfortunate title of being the Grand Lord’s son, Bubbles sets out to retrieve the stein and restore order to the village. This takes him on an utterly ridiculous journey across The Land of Linear, where he meets a snail-loving lord named Papa Escargot, a soulful Jive Turkey with the voice of Marvin Gaye, and a band of not-so-merry thieves, one of whom rides a levitating ass.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Legends & Lattes

James Tyler Ball Why did I love this book?

Legends & Lattes did something unbelievable: it converted me into a fantasy fan.

Sure, I loved the Game of Thrones TV series, but I always saw reading fantasy as a bit nerdy. Yet, the idea of an orc hanging up her sword and leaving a life of dungeon crawling in order to open a coffee shop is one I couldn’t ignore. Legends & Lattes is full of warmth, relatable emotions, and cliches made fresh—it’s an excellent place to start if you’re new to fantasy and aren’t yet ready to fully embrace your nerdy side.

By Travis Baldree,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Legends & Lattes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High fantasy, low stakes - with a double-shot of coffee.

After decades of adventuring, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream - for she plans to open the first coffee shop in the city of Thune. Even though no one there knows what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the past behind her, she can't go it alone. And help might arrive from unexpected quarters. Yet old rivals and new stand in the way of success. And Thune's shady underbelly could make it all…


Book cover of The Colour of Magic

James Tyler Ball Why did I love this book?

The Colour of Magic is the first entry in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and it’s a classic—it being a children’s book should not put you off.

In fact, if you’re new to fantasy, enjoying the light-hearted nature of Pratchett’s work and his appeal to the child’s mind only makes the book more fantastic. I don’t believe I’ve found another fantasy novel that matches the imagination found in The Colour of Magic.


It’s this imagination of Pratchett’s—and his unrelenting self-awareness—that inspired my latest book.

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Colour of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious buy inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course The Edge of the planet...


Book cover of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

James Tyler Ball Why did I love this book?

The sheer size of George R.R. Martin’s books is intimidating, especially for first-time readers.

Despite my love for the Game of Thrones TV series, I ignored his books for years due to their length. However, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms provides a superb introduction to Goerge R.R. Martin’s writing and A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series the TV show is based on.

This book is split into three digestible short stories, but retains the ruddy grit and brilliant character arcs of his longer works.

By George R.R. Martin, Gary Gianni (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A century before A GAME OF THRONES, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros...

A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R.R. Martin's ongoing masterwork, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne there was Dunk and Egg.

A young, naive but courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals - in stature if not experience. Tagging along with him is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg - whose true identity must be hidden from all he and Dunk encounter: for in reality he is Aegon…


Book cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

James Tyler Ball Why did I love this book?

All the Harry Potter books are relatively easy to read, but as the first in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone takes the win as the best introductory fantasy book.

In fact, the Harry Potter series has introduced millions of people to the fantasy genre who wouldn’t otherwise read such books. It’s clear why: the Philosopher’s Stone is light-hearted, funny, relatable, and ten times better than the film. 

By J.K. Rowling,

Why should I read it?

39 authors picked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Galloping gargoyles ... 2022 is the silver anniversary of J.K. Rowling's magical classic Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

The boy wizard Harry Potter has been casting a spell over young readers and their families ever since 1997. Now the first book in this unmissable series celebrates 25 years in print! The paperback edition of the tale that introduced us to Harry, Ron and Hermione has been updated and dressed in silver to mark the occasion. It's time to take the magical journey of a lifetime ...

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping…


Book cover of Mydnight's Hero

James Tyler Ball Why did I love this book?

You either already know Jon Dever and are excited by my mentioning of him or you’re completely unfamiliar with his work.

Jon Dever is the pioneer of choose-your-own-adventure books and Lone Wolf is his flagship series. Mydnight Hero is a stand-alone sequel to the Lone Wolf series and is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to commit to a fantasy series. What’s special about Lone Wolf is that it makes the reader the main character of the story, allowing them to make decisions that impact the story—it even has a playable combat system. 

By Joe Dever, Brian Williams (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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


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Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

By Shawn Michel De Montaigne,

Book cover of Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

Shawn Michel De Montaigne

New book alert!

What is my book about?

A young adult and epic fantasy novel that begins an entire series, as yet unfinished, about a young girl named Melody who discovers that the pier she lives near goes on forever—a pier that was destroyed by a hurricane that appeared out of blue skies in mere moments in 1983.

Melody doesn't know it, but a king has been searching for her for more than twenty years—longer than she's been alive. His kingdom is readying for the day when they may return to the world found beyond the end of that very pier, a world cast into darkness by an…

Melody and the Pier to Forever: Parts Five and Six

By Shawn Michel De Montaigne,

What is this book about?

Melody Singleton is a bright 13-year-old girl who loves math, classical music, her mom, her best friend Yaeko, and her dog. To her classmates that makes her a nerd, and they cruelly treat her as such. After being expelled from the advanced algebra class for not paying attention, she meets her new teacher, Mr. Conor, who gives her a very strange homework assignment. You see, she got kicked out because she was distracted by a symbol that the rest of us can't see, a beautiful sigil that, incredibly, Mr. Conor can see too, because it's on the assignment he gave…


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