Ultimate List of Best Adult Fantasy Novels to Read in 2024

Best Adult Fantasy Novels to Read now

Fantasy novels have always been my favorite type of books to read. YA fantasy books have taken the world by storm in recent years. But what if YA fantasy feels too young? We made a list of the best adult fantasy novels.

Even though fantasy may not be for everyone all the time, some of our fantasy picks are so brilliant and readable, I think this list has something for everyone. What are the best adult fantasy novels? We will let you decide!

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Best Adult Fantasy Books to Read Now

Best of 2024 // Best of 2023 // Fantasy Romance // Witch Books // Vampire // Historical Fantasy // Mermaid // Greek Mythology // Magical Realism // Circus // Adult Dystopian // Paranormal // Pirate // Diverse // Fantasy Series // Dark Academia

Best Fantasy Books of 2024

Emily Wildes Map of the Otherlands

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett

The first book in this series was one of my favorites of the year last year and I had high hopes for this book. It did not disappoint!

Emily Wilde is an expert in faerie folklore and has written an encyclopedia on the subject. Now, she is trying to make a map of the realms of faerie in the hope of finding a door to their land.

Brambleby, her colleague turned boyfriend who also happens to be the banished faerie king, is accompanying her on her quest. The only problem is that he is on the run from assassins sent by his mother and Emily cannot understand why now.

Why I Love It: This is a historical fantasy that has the feel of fiction and would be perfect for someone new to the fantasy realm. However, die-hard fantasy lovers will also adore this book. This book has the feel of a historical fiction with the perfect touch of magic. I recommend this book for anyone who loves Alice Hoffman’s book Magic Lessons (the prequel to Practical Magic) #gifted

Find This Book In: Best New Fantasy Books 2024

The Bride

Bride by Ali Hazelwood

Misery Lark is the daughter of a Vampyre councilman who is being forced into marriage with their mortal enemy (the Weres) to form a peace treaty between the two species. She has been living with humans and trying to live her life under the radar.

Now, she must move into Were territory with her husband, Lowe Moreland, the Alpha of the Weres. She also has her reasons for going into Were territory and as long as she can stay under the radar, she should be able to stay alive. After all, the last Vampyre/ Were marriage ended in a deadly and bloody battle. This paranormal romance is SPICY. If Ali Hazelwood’s last books made you blush, this one will give your face a sunburn.

Find this book In: Ali Hazelwood Books / Adult Fantasy Books / New Romance Books 2024/ Best New Fantasy Books

A Fate Inked in blood

A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen

I love Greek mythology retellings and recently have started reading mythology retellings from other cultures too! Outside of Marvel’s Thor movies, I don’t know much about Norse mythology, so I was particularly eager to dive into this book.

The first in a trilogy, the story follows Freya, who goes from being a fishwife to the kingmaker after her goddess blood is discovered. Sworn in oath to one man; but burning with passion for another, Freya is one of the fiercest heroines I’ve ever read.

Why I Love It: This STEAMY romantasy is filled with blood lust, battle scenes, and world-building. I was transfixed by Jensen’s ability to weave such a mythical world. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, especially after the way this one ended!!

Find this book in Fantasy Books / Books set in Winter / Best New Fantasy Books 2024

Best Fantasy Books for Adults 2023

Fourth Wing

Fourth Wing (Empyrean Series Book #1) by Rebecca Yarros

If you have not heard of this book and love fantasy, this is the book for you. Don’t be intimidated by the length of this dragon book for adults, I started and finished this 528-page bad boy in a day and a half. I cannot remember the last time I did that!

Violet Sorrengail had spent her life studying to be a scribe until her father died and her mother, the commanding general, ordered her to join the dragon riders. Violet will become one of the hundreds of candidates who fight to the death to be a part of this elite group.

Unlike the other candidates who have worked towards this their whole lives, Violet is small and brittle and never meant for this to be her path. And other candidates do not have the children of rebel leaders waiting to take revenge.

This adult fantasy book has everything and I loved every second. It lives up to the hype and then some. There are some very spicy parts of this romance toward the end so I would agree with the adult rating on this book!

Find this book in Adult Fantasy Books / Fourth Wing Series in Order / The Best Books Like Fourth Wing / Grumpy Sunshine Romance

starling house

Starling House for Alix E. Harrow

October 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

I read this book from the New York Times best-selling author of Ten Thousand Doors of January and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Opal is a high school dropout who would do anything for her brother Jasper. She is determined to get him out of Eden Kentucky- the small town that is plagued with bad luck.

When Opal finds a job working at Starling House, the home of E. Starling, the author of The Underland who disappeared more than one hundred years ago, it seems too good to be true. The house is steeped in rumors of hauntings and strange things happening. And many of these rumors surround the house’s mysterious owner Arthur Starling.

This is an adult fantasy book that has a little bit of everything. It is part haunted house book, part fairy tale, part love story, and entirely a fast-paced, page-turning delight.

Tress of the Emerald Sea

Tress of the Emerald Sea: A Cosmere Novel by Brandon Sanderson

If you love fantasy books of any kind, stop now and make time to read this fantastic book. This is the book that you would get if The Princess Bride had a book baby that empowered women everywhere to be the heroes in their own story, seek out adventure, and be brave enough to become who they were intended to be.

Tress has grown up on her tiny island with her one friend Charlie, who is also the Duke’s son, to keep her company. When the Duke takes Charlie away and he doesn’t return, Tress sets off to rescue him from the Sorceress who lives on the deadly Midnight Sea. She will encounter pirates, talking rats, betrayal, love, and friendship on her voyage.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. All the stars to this cozy book. While technically this is a fantasy book for adults, it is appropriate for a young adult or teen audience as well.

Find this book in Pirate Books / YA Fantasy / Best of 2023

My Roommate is a vampire

My Roommate Is a Vampire by Jenna Levine

I loved this vampire book. It was an absolute delight to read and very steamy in parts which I was not expecting. This book was so charming, funny, and such a nice change from the usual vampire/ human trope. This adult fantasy novel was a fun and quick read and is a perfect book for fall.

When …. needs a place to live and finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment, she has no choice but to take it. The only other choice is to move onto her best friend’s couch. Soon, she discovers that her new roommate is a vampire who needs someone to teach him how to blend in with the 21st century. #gifted

Spice Level: Graphic Sexual Content
Why I Like This Book: The idea of a vampire needing to be taught how to blend into society is hilarious. The nuances of the relationship made me laugh. The romance is spicy but the story is laugh-out-loud funny.
Find This Book In: Fall Books/ Paranormal Romance / Vampire Books / Adult Fantasy

The Seven Year Slip

The Seven-Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Clementine has had her heart broken one too many times. She has inherited her beloved aunt’s apartment and is constantly mourning her loss. When she comes home one day and finds a man sitting there, she realizes that he exists seven years in the past.

And, the more time they spend together, the more she realizes she is falling for him. But she can never figure out when their paths will collide! This is a fantastic pick if you are looking for romantic comedy books.

Dead Romantics (GMA Book Club Pick July 2022) was one of my favorite books last year and this book did not disappoint! This is such an adorable time travel romance book and is perfect for our ultimate beach reads 2023. I needed to include it in our list of adult fantasy novels as well! And if you are not a fantasy lover, you can definitely call this a magical realism book!

The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Adult Fantasy Romances Novels

assistant to the villain

Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer

What started as a TikTok series, ultimately turned into this unique fantasy romance novel. It’s all about Evie, a down-on-her-luck peasant who stumbles upon the village villain and ultimately becomes his assistant.

Soon, she’s managing the Villain’s day and trying not to fall in love with him as she steps over dead bodies and creepy critters. It’s the ultimate grumpy-sunshine romance that will have you rooting for the bad guys for once!

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

I read this adult fantasy novel just after Halloween and I rather wish I had started it a few days before the holiday. It’s truly a perfect Halloween book!

It’s also a classic retelling as we get to see the story of Dr. Frankenstein with a twist. This story has his younger sister, Angelika, at the heart of the story as she improves upon his creature with an invention of her own.

The problem is that she has fallen for her monster! Will their love be able to survive?

the ex

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

This is the most charming Halloween romance book about witches EVER. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it, but it’s perfect for the spooky season and a perfect book for fall.

Nine years ago Rhys Penhallow broke Viviane Jones’ heart and so she cursed him. Now he’s back in the town his family founded to infuse magic back into the ley lines but everything goes wrong!

As his curse takes over the town, Rhys and Vivi have to work to end the curse and restore the right magic back to the town…if they can keep their rekindled romance at bay long enough!

This is one of the most fun urban fantasy romance books on this list. This is one of the adult fantasy novels you will not want to miss. If you love second chance romance books, this is such a great pick.

court of thorns and roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the world of Prythian. Magical creatures, humans, and fae are all prominent in the book.

When Feyre kills a wolf in the words, a creature arrives to her house to drag her to a magical land that she has only heard about in stories told to terrify children. Now, she is to remain a captor of Tamlin, a fae, as retribution.

This is a fast-paced, addicting, fantasy romance series with a love triangle that develops by the end of the novel. Book two is jaw-dropping! This series is on its way to becoming a classic that you will want to binge in one week.

While this book is technically a YA fantasy series, the books become very steamy and we see this as one of the best fantasy books for adults as well. We are so excited this is going to be one of the Hulu book adaptations.

Find this book in Books Like ACOTAR / Sarah J. Maas Books / Enemies-to-Lovers/ YA Fantasy / Best Romance Novels of all Time.

Best YA Fantasy books every fantasy lover needs to read.

Ultimate List of YA Fantasy

If fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres.

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Adult fantasy Novels, witch books

Witch Books for Adults

discovery of witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop is a witch who accidentally recovers an ancient book that has been missing for hundreds of years. In doing so, she triggers her long-forgotten magic and opens the door for vampires, witches, and demons to search out Diana and the book.

This urban fantasy book about secret societies, witches, vampires, and more is a blend of heart-pounding action, historical fiction, and romance with the perfect mix of fantasy as well.

Why We Love This Book: If you love the witch aspect of Harry Potter, Vampires, fantasy books, or time travel books then you will love The All Souls trilogy. This adult fantasy novel explores the history of witches, demons, and vampires. This series reads like a historical fiction and we are obsessed.
Find this book in Books Like A Discovery of Witches / Best Fantasy Books for Adults / Books About Witches / Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter / Books About Libraries

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

This book for fall is definitely a feel-good book of the season. Mika Moon knows that she must hide her magic and stay away from other witches so their powers do not draw the attention of other people. She also knows that witches are destined to be orphans, a very lonely existence.

When she is asked to come and teach magic to three young witches, she finds the life that she had always dreamed of, even if it is temporary. But, does it have to be? Can she find the life she always wanted?

I listened to this charming witch book in one day and loved it. This adult fantasy book is a delightful pick from our list of ultimate beach reads 2023 and if you were waiting to read this one, it is a great book for fall.

81v0tS IFZL

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

For years, the Owens women have known that their bad luck is because of a curse. This book is the first book in the Practical Magic series. I just adore this tale of magic, family, and sisterhood. At this point, this is one of the best urban fantasy books and it is truly iconic.

Gillian and Sally are sisters who have been raised by their two aunts. They both want to leave their small Massachusetts town. But, when Gillian gets into trouble, she runs to Sally for help.

The trouble comes back to haunt them and when a hunky police chief comes to town, the sisters try hard to cover up their family secrets. The powerful bond between the Owens sisters brings this story to life and is a must for a list of books about sisters. This is the first published book in the Practical Magic series and the one I recommend you read first.

If you love adult fantasy books, check out: Practical Magic Books in Order and More Witchy Books for 2023. This is a must-read if you love witch books and my favorite of all the Alice Hoffman Books.

mists of avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is a fairy tale retelling of the story of King Arthur, featuring the Lady of the Lake, Paganism vs. Christianity, and an epic struggle for power.

Merlin and the Lady of the Lake practice pagan witchcraft, as they try to keep the old ways alive against the new religion gaining popularity, the choices they make for Arthur’s kingdom inspire the tale we know so well.

Why I Loved it: This was my first high fantasy book series, which I routinely think about. I read it in middle school (which I absolutely shouldn’t have) and devoured this tome in days. It captivated my imagination unlike anything I had ever read before.

The mini-series adaptation of this adult fantasy book is wonderful too and well worth the watch! It’s perfect for our list of Cornwall Books. If you love witch books, you will love this pick.

Find this book in Cornwall Books / Fairy Tale Retellings / Lake Books / Adult Fantasy Novels / Witch Books

Weyward and more of the best Summer reads 2023

Weyward by Emilia Hart

This is such a well-thought-out book and one of the best witch books I have read in a while. This adult fantasy book follows three Weyward women. In 2017, Kate is fleeing an abusive partner to her great-aunt’s cottage. In 1619, Altha is awaiting her own witch trial and in 1942 we meet Violet whose father keeps her trapped in her house because she cannot fit into what society expects of her.

Each of these women finds themselves and who they are as the story progresses and I found myself completely sucked in. I loved this debut urban fantasy novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author. It is also a perfect book to read if you love the Practical Magic Series or the All Souls Trilogy. If fantasy books are your favorite, you will love this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023.

The witches of moonshyne manor

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais

I am a huge fan of Ms. Marais’ writing. I read her previous two books and was so excited to read this adult fantasy book because fantasy is my favorite genre. This book did not disappoint. The writing is beautiful and very much Marais’ style and the witches in this book are hilarious. They are witty and funny and there is never a dull moment in the Manor.

The magic in this book is woven seamlessly into the story that has non-stop surprises. The book begins with the people of the town descending onto the manor with a wrecking ball to destroy it and the distillery and leave the witches homeless. They are left with less than two weeks to save their house but in order to do so, they must reveal long-kept secrets.

I do not want to give anything away. This family drama book made me laugh out loud often and shed a few tears as well. I absolutely loved this witch book and it is a definite must-read from our list of adult fantasy novels.

For more adult fantasy books like these, check out our list of Witch Books

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Vampire Novels for Adults

The southern girl's guide to slaying vampires and other vampire books

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

I do not usually like horror but I love thrillers, book clubs, and vampires so I decided to read this urban fantasy book. I absolutely loved every minute- even when I was completely scared out of my wits. This vampire book will have you on your toes.

This book really is Steel Magnolias meets Dracula. Patricia is a housewife with two kids who don’t appreciate her and a husband who travels a lot. She spends a lot of her time caring for her senile mother-in-law who lives with them. When her elderly neighbor attacks her one night, James comes to the rescue. James seems well-read and well-traveled but Patricia is convinced he is a monster in disguise.

Patricia knows what she sees but nobody else agrees with her. The psychological warfare in this adult fantasy book is next-level creepy – it definitely earns its spot on our best books of 2020 list and is one of the best urban fantasy books I have read! Be warned that this pick from adult fantasy novels is scary and creepy but is one of the best books for fall!

Dead until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris

I watched this show before I knew that it was an adult fantasy book series and then I obviously had to read these vampire books as well. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress at a bar in her small town in Louisiana. She is quiet and keeps to herself except for the fact that she can read people’s minds.

When Bill Compton comes into the bar one night, Sookie cannot hear anything he is thinking and she is quickly infatuated. The feeling is mutual. But when murders start taking place and the two suspects are Bill and Sookie’s womanizing brother, Sookie starts to question her choices. There is nothing PG about this steamy urban fantasy romance series.

storm front

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

A friend who is an avid fantasy reader recommended this book to me. I had never heard of this series before but, I really enjoyed it and I cannot wait to read the next one in the series. This is the first book in the 17-book series, The Dresden Files.

Wizards, Vampires, and warlocks are all a part of this book in which Harry Dresden is consulting with the Chicago PD on a homicide committed with magic. This is a dark urban fantasy series that will keep you turning pages. If you love vampires, this is one of the fantasy books for adults that is a must-read.

interview with the vampire

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

This is the story of a 200-year-old vampire named Louis who is telling the story of his life to a reporter. He tells the tale of his life with the Vampire Lestat who was his maker.

Louis’s life has been filled with turmoil as he tries to come to terms with who he is and what he must do to survive. His story is a story of loss, love, and danger. This vampire book is a classic story for a reason. Anne Rice is the queen of adult fantasy books with this book.

For more books like these, check out our list of Vampire Books

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Best Adult Historical Fantasy Novels


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #1)

How do we love Outlander? We cannot count the ways. There is a reason this is one of my favorite books of all time.

This epic story begins in 1945 when Claire Randall and her husband take a second honeymoon to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate being reunited after the war. When Claire touches one of the standing stones, she is transported to 1743.

This is when the real story begins. In order to stay safe as an English woman in Scotland, she must depend on Jamie Frasier for protection. This book is definitely at the top of our list of best romance novels of all time but you will love it equally if you love historical fiction, magical realism, romance, or witches. This is one of the iconic and epic time travel romance books that has it all and is perfect for a list of books like A Discovery of Witches. It was easy to include this on the best fantasy books for adults as well.

The London Séance Society

The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

I was so excited about this new book written by the author of The Lost Apothecary, a book on our Ultimate List of Best Historical Fiction Books, and this newest book did not disappoint!

In 1873, The Seance Society is looking for answers about the death of their leader and turned to a renowned spiritualist for help. Out of loyalty and obligation, she leaves Paris and returns to London with her trainee, a woman seeking answers about her dead sister.

If you love magical realism books, this book is a perfect pick. The story takes twists and turns and kept me turning the pages. It was just too good not to include it in our list of best fantasy books for adults as well. If you are looking for a great fall read, this one is for you.

the world that we knew

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

During WWII, in Germany, Hanni Kohn knows that she must do something to save her daughter from the Nazis  In desperation, she seeks out someone who can make a Golem take her daughter to safety. 

Instead of the Rabbi, it is his daughter Ettie who helps and creates Ava. The life of the three women is forever intertwined. This beautiful story about love, life, and friendship is more than I could have hoped for.

I love Alice Hoffman books and for me, this was her best book yet.  Every time I read a book, it becomes my new favorite. If you love fantasies and are looking for historical fiction, this pick from fantasy books for adults is an amazing book. The fact that it is also a book about WWII makes it that much better!

Darker shade of magic

Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel (Shades of Magic Book 1) by V.E Schwab

In this historical fantasy, travel between parallel Londons is possible by powerful magicians known as Antari. Kell is one of the last Antari who lives in Red London and who serves as an ambassador. He is also a smuggler.

When Kell is robbed by Delilah, a pickpocket and petty thief, he is forced to bring her on an adventure she always dreamed of despite the life of deadly peril.

This is London like you have never imagined it before. The characters, while flat at first, begin to have more depth as the story continues. I think this adult fantasy novel is slowly becoming a classic.

a river enchanted

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross’s historical fantasy books are sweeping magical stories. This particular one is about the island of Cadence and its warring inhabitants. It’s also a love story between Jack, a bard who can sing to the elements, and Adaira, the heiress of the East.

The story slowly builds but ends on a cliffhanger, which concludes in the second book of the duology. The story is perfect for fans of books like Outlander because it’s inspired by Scotland. This is one of our favorite books on the list of adult fantasy novels and books set in Scotland.

For more books like these, check out our list of Historical Fantasy Books to Capture your Imagination.

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Mermaid Books for Adults

A hex for Danger

Hex for Danger (An Enchanted Bay Mystery #2) by Esme Addison

I did not read the first book in this series but now I want to go back and read it. It was not necessary to understand and enjoy this cozy mystery that is also an adult fantasy novel.

Aleksandra runs an herbal apothecary with her family in the hall town of Bellamy Bay. Other than the fact that Alex and her family are descendants of mermaids and they can do a little magic, Bellamy Bay is a perfectly ordinary town.

When the town arranges for a well-known artist to paint a mural for the town’s annual mermaid festival and she turns up dead, secrets threaten to spill.

YA fantasy books about witches and pirates! Ahoy matey.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Flora and her brother are pirates on the Dove. In order to protect her identity, she has become Florian and is tasked with protecting Lady Evelyn on the ship until the time she can be sold.

Flora does not intend to fall in love with Evelyn and when the two free a captured mermaid, they change the fate of more than just her.

I am so glad that someone recommended this adult fantasy book to me. It is one of those books that really did not get the visibility that it should have. This book is so well written and is filled with magic while also exploring the power of love.

museum of extraordinary things

Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

Coralie Sardien spends her days in a Coney Island freak show called the Museum of Extraordinary Things. There, appears as the mermaid in the museum run by her father. She is one of many attractions in the show.

One night, Coralie meets Eddie Cohen who has run away from his Orthodox community. What follows is a love story during tumultuous times in New York history.

This historical fiction carnival book is a must-read and one of the best books set in New York I have read. Alice Hoffman writes some of the best adult fantasy novels on this list. This is one of my favorite Alice Hoffman books.

The Mermaid's Daughter and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Mermaid’s Daughter by Anne Claycomb 

Kathleen has always suffered horrible stabbing pain in her feet. There is no explanation for her constant pain. Both her mother and grandmother committed suicide and a young age and now, at 25 with a promising career ahead of her, her girlfriend Harry is worried about her.

This modern retelling of Hand Christian Andersen’s story the Little Mermaid is a powerful adult fantasy novel that you will not want to put down.

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Best Greek Mythology Novels


Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

I’m such a huge fan of historical fantasy stories about the Greek Gods. I find the mythology to be captivating, so it’s not a surprise that I loved Saint’s take on Ariadne’s story.

Ariadne is the child of the king of Crete who goes on to become the wife of the god, Dionysus. The story tells her story, as well as the stories of Theseus, the Minotaur, and Phaedra, all big names in mythology.

If you loved The Odyssey or A Thousand Ships, pick up this pick from adult fantasy novels!


Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe, the nymph who is a footnote in mythology and gets overshadowed in The Odyssey. I was fascinating to see this goddess get her own moment in the sun. I can’t believe I knew so little about her before this story.

Why I Love it: The Odyssey is one of my all-time favorite books and I think I read Du’Laires Book of Greek Myths more than any other book when I was in middle school. I ADORED Circe because it has all my favorite things about Greek mythology but for adults!

Find this book in Greek Mythology / Books Set at the Beach / Classic Book Retellings / Best Books 2018

a thousand ships

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

I absolutely loved this take on the traditional Greek stories surrounding the Trojan War. They are all told by the women in the mythology which is certainly a perspective that doesn’t get much play.

Penelope’s chapters in particular had me laughing out loud. I highly recommend this classic retelling to Greek mythology lovers and lovers of adult fantasy books.

The Odyssey 1

The Odyssey by Homer

There is a reason this boat book is one of my favorite books of all time. I find this classic tale to be so entertaining. This is one of the OG adult fantasy novels.

  It’s a classic for a reason. Odysseus’s struggle to get home to his family is truly epic. Those Greeks sure knew what they were doing.

I’m constantly picking up something new and reading it along with A Thousand Ships and The Lost Sisterhood gave me so much to think about.

Find this book in Literary Classics / Long Books / Boat Books

neon gods

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

I was expecting a modern retelling of Hades and Persephone’s love story from the description – I was not expecting a book like Fifty Shades of Grey!

WHEW… this was one STEAMY story! I wasn’t quite prepared for how devious Hades was in this version. I did love seeing Olympus in a modern setting and I really enjoyed how Hades and Persephone outwitted the rest of the 13 in this grumpy sunshine romance.

While I liked the story a great deal, if you aren’t into erotica, you won’t want to pick up this adult fantasy novel. This is the first in a series of Greek mythology retellings and is a great urban fantasy romance book.

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Adult Circus Fantasy Novels

Inheritance of orquidea divina

The Inheritance of Orquidé Divine by Zoraida Córoda

I do not know how to begin to describe this wonderful and complex adult fantasy. The characters are deep and the magic from this story seeps from the pages

The Montoya family are summoned to their grandmother’s house to collect their inheritance. They are hoping to obtain answers from her before she dies. They are used to living with secrets and unexplained phenomenon.

But when Orquidea Divina is transformed into a tree before their eyes, they must seek the answers themselves.

The circus rose and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwall

Rosie and Ivory have grown up in their mother circus and are returning to Port’s End. It is a place closest to any home after years traveling. As the circus prepares for opening night, fundamentalists seek to stop the show for continuing.But, as the show begins, a massive fire strikes the tent and that is only the beginning.

This book is a queer re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red (not to be confused with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). It has been thoroughly reimagined and transformed in this book.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Every word captivated me from beginning to end and I couldn’t put it down. The story was magical- both literally and figuratively and the descriptions are so vivid.

The stage has been set for a magical competition between the pupils of two very powerful magicians. The stage: the night circus. The pupils, a man and a woman, are unsure of the rules, unsure how to win or when the competition will end. As the competition continues, the opponents fall in love- a situation that only complicates their predicament.

This is magic in a way that I never imagined it before. The story has twists and surprises that left me wondering how I didn’t see what was right there all along.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers

Have you ever loved a book so much that you couldn’t put it down but also didn’t want it to end? That is how I felt about book!
⁣In 2004 Lara Barnes’s fiancé disappears on their wedding day. As Lara searches for answers, she starts to unravel a family mystery that goes back to 1925. ⁣This book has everything. It’s a dark fantasy filled with mystery, disappearances, and magic. I don’t want to give more detail because I don’t want to spoil any part of this book- it is my favorite fantasy of 2021 so far!⁣

For more books like these, check out our list of Circus and Carnival Books.

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Magical Realism Books for Adults

The Midnight Library and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I loved Matt Haig’s last book and was so excited to read this one. I loved it even more- it is definitely one of my favorite books of the year and my favorites on this list of adult fantasy novels.   

This is a library that has books filled with the infinite possibilities of the lives not lived.  Have you ever wondered about a choice, or a path not taken? When Nora finds herself in the library she is forced to face the choices that she made in her life- relationships, education, profession…This is a magical book and I loved every minute of it

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I absolutely loved this book and it was one of the first reviews we ever did on the blog. I love the way this book examined the underground railroad with a touch of magical realism.

The story is about Cora and Caesar, two run-away slaves in the south who run away to the underground railroad which, in this book, is an actual railroad.

Each stop along the way is reminiscent of a different place in history and it is interlaced with actual ads placed for runaway slaves. This book is profound and beautiful and a must read.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern and more of the best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgensternir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=a21b6da7b1e904bee65ffc4cce1d99c3& cb=1575161583926

To say that I was excited about Erin Morgenstern‘s new book might be the understatement of the year.  How to describe this book that is an ode to storytelling…..it’s a love story to books, a fantasy within a love story within a fairy tale.

The writing is beautiful- Erin’s signature style of vivid imagery left me completely captivated. I listened with Libro.fm and I read it as well. I truly loved every minute of this novel. It was pointless to predict the story. So, I let it take me away with the lyrical prose. I adored it and recommend it for anyone that loved The Night Circus.

Ten Thousand Doors

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix. E Harrow

I’ve never read a book quite like this and I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is subtle, the plot is driven by character and intrigue rather than action-packed suspense.  It has a feel of historical fiction about it that lovers of this genre may love this book as well. 

When January is seven years old, she stumbles upon a door that leads her to a different place.  When she is reprimanded for lying about the door, she eventually forgets about it until she finds the book “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” years later.  January becomes intrigued and the real story begins. 

The story alternates between the story of January and the book.  The concept is such a fun way to narrate the plot. At times, the plot moved a little bit slowly as one storyline stopped and another began in the alternating chapters.  This is such a unique and wonderful book.

Love Magical Realism? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List Magical Realism!

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Adult Dystopian Novels

Ready player one

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In 2045, most people spent their days in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. When the elusive creator of the OASIS dies and leaves clues behind, the first person to solve the riddles will be in control of the entire OASIS and a massive fortune.

When Wade Watts solves the first clue, he might fight for his survival to win along with his group of misfit friends. Love, a fight for survival, and a group of loyal friends all give me Lunar Chronicle vibes.

Find this book in YA Dystopian Books / Best Sci-Fi Books / Books Like the Hunger Games / Puzzle Books for Adults

klara and the sun

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

March 2021 Good Morning America Book Club Pick

I’m not usually a sci-fi girl, but this book was just so special. It’s told from the perspective of Klara, an artificial friend who starts the story waiting to be purchased.

We see Klara’s life in the store as she waits for a friend, and then what her life is like when she’s chosen to be a companion for a young girl with a mysterious illness.

Klara draws her power from the sun, and so she believes she can use the sun’s healing rays to save her friend too.

Why We Love This Book: This moving story had me caring for a robot in a way I knew would have thought possible. It is definitely on my list of best sci-fi books of all time.
Find This Book In Best Sci-Fi Novels/ Popular Dystopian Novels / Good Morning America Book Club

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Once I got into this is a sci-fi/ fantasy novel, I could not put down. The story takes place in the United States when a fundamentalist has become the president. Slowly, he has removed all rights from women, included the right to speech.

Every woman is given 100 words a day and a bracelet with a counter to ensure to compliance. This book was so well written and creepy. I loved it although I have to say that it was a little close to how I feel these days

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

Paranormal Fantasy Novels for Adults

under the whispering door

Under the Whispering Door by T.J Klune

How many stars can I give? T.J Klune has done it again with the wonderful novel. House on the Cerulean Sea was my favorite book last year and I am not sure that anything will top it. I read it in a day and loved every minute of this wonderful book.

Wallace is dead. When the reaper collects him at his funeral and brings him to a strange tea shop, Hugo is waiting with the promise of helping him cross over. This light fantasy will make you smile until the last page.

sing unburied sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

This book is an award winner and the writing is undeniably wonderful.  The story itself has elements of magic that added to the difficult subject matter.  The story deals with drugs, violence, and poverty- all of which are completely relevant in today’s society. 

The characters did not develop throughout the story as much as I would have liked but, when added with the wonderful writing, this book is a worthwhile read.

lincoln in the bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Strange, but probably one of the most imaginative novels I have ever experienced. It’s about the night that Abraham Lincoln buried this son and takes place entirely in the cemetery.

listened via Audible which was great because they used 166 voices including David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Kat Dennings and Don Cheadle among others.

Tokyo Ueno Station and other books set in Japan

Tokyo Ueno Station by Miri Yu

This book was incredibly well-written, utterly captivating, and rather depressing. Kazu is dead, but he can’t find peace in the afterlife so he haunts Tokyo’s Ueno Station.

We learn about his life, his family, and how they faired during some of Japan’s most important moments in modern history from the Tokyo Olympics to the recent tsunami.

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The best adult fantasy novels to read now

The Best Pirate Fantasy Books

ther wisteria Society

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

A historical fantasy romance about pirate assassins with magical powers? SIGN ME UP!

I gravitated toward this story because of the gorgeous cover, but I was hooked from the first page. I loved all the women in The Wisteria Society. I loved how they could fly around their homes like ships, how they stole and plundered with abandon, and how they did it all while making sure they were the picture of polite womanhood.

The love story was charming, but it was the antics of Cecilia and her quest to save her fellow society members that kept me turning the pages.

darling girl

Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski

This classic fairy tale retelling of Peter Pan is anything but innocent and whimsical. In this adult fantasy novel, Holly Darling, the Granddaughter of Wendy, runs a very successful skincare company. She is a single parent to Jack after a terrible accident killed her husband and Jack’s twin.

When she gets a call that her daughter Eden is missing from the home where she has been hidden away in a coma for a decade, she knows that Peter Pan is the one responsible.

Peter Pan is dark, sinister and grown-up. Holly must get Christopher Cooke to help her find her daughter and defeat Peter. Like all retellings of classic novels, this story is different from the original!

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Adult Fantasy Novels to Read Now

Diverse Adult Fantasy Novels

the other black girl

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

June 2021 GMA Book Club Pick

Wow. I’m still processing this genre-defying novel. It’s a social commentary and a thriller all in one. It makes me want to sit down and discuss it with everyone.

Nella is the only black girl at her publishing house until Hazel is hired. Thinking she’s found an ally, instead, she begins to wonder if Hazel might be an enemy instead.

As Hazel’s career soars, Nella is left questioning her identity, her ideals, and what it means to be a black woman in the business world, while trying to uncover who is behind the scary notes she keeps receiving.

exit west by mohsin hamid

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I have so many thoughts about Exit West by Mohsin Hamid but, I am not sure how to express them all. I am not even sure that I can express them coherently.  

This is not a long book but it doesn’t need to be to make a profound statement about the world that we live in.  Part love story, part melancholy of a war-torn world, and part magical realism, this story will carry the reader through a rainbow of emotions before the end.

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Adult Fantasy Novels to Read Now

Best Fantasy Book Series for Adults

crescent city

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood is the first in a new series by Sarah J. Maas, of ACOTAR fame. It’s an urban fantasy – which is new to me. 

There were skyscrapers, cellphones, and video surveillance, but also fairies, werewolves, angels, demons, and witches with history and power.⁣ It was a wild ride.

My initial turn off of too many names/places/tribes/species types was quickly overcome by the insane world-building. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

game of thrones

A Game of Thrones: Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

This is a book that I learned about after I watched the series on HBO. In my case, watching the show first helped me remember (and put a face to) the plethora of characters within this series.

Truth be told, I still needed reminders now and then. Winter is coming. The House of Stark is preparing for winter after a centuries long summer. They must prepare to defend themselves from the creatures behind the wall.

There is no way to briefly summarize this epic world building historical fantasy with powerful women and an intricate, captivating story.

Lord of the Rings and more of the best long historical fantasy books over 500 pages

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein

It is hard to believe that this trilogy was published in 1954. This epic fantasy has definitely withstood the test of time. Hobbits and elves, humans and wizards join together in Middle-Earth to destroy a ring.

This is the ultimate story of the fight between good and evil and the fight to overcome the evil within.

If you love fantasy and have not read this book, it is an absolute must.

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Adult Fantasy Novels to Read Now

Dark Academia Novels

The Atlas

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

There are so many twist and turns to this dark academia fantasy, I am not sure where to begin. I do know that I will be reading the next book!

The alexandrian Society are the guardians of knowledge from the greatest civilizations that have ever existed. Six of the most brilliant magical academicians are chosen every decade. Five will go on the secure a life filled with all the wealth and power they could dream of.

When the candidates of this decade are chosen, they each have powerful and abilities that could lead to greatness or destruction. When the society may not be everything it appears, will they have to knowledge and the ability to recognize it before it is too late?

Ninth House and 21 Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Alex Stearn is the sole survivor from a horrible homicide. While recovering in the hospital, she is offered a chance to go to Yale on a full scholarship. What she finds are the Secret Societies of Yale that each practice a unique type of magic. Can anyone say Hogwarts University?

The magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is a high school student obsessed with the made up world of Fillory.  He finds himself admitted to a magical college that is both secret and elite. If you are looking for books set in college, this one has an almost cult-like following.

The best way I can describe this series is if Harry Potter was admitted to Hogwarts in College.  It has a different, darker feel but it is fun, imaginative, and entertaining. The magic in this school is definitely a little bit dark and steamy and for this reason, is perfect for a list of dark academia novels. If you love urban fantasy books, you must read this series of books like Harry Potter. This is a witch book unlike any other.

For more books like these, check out our complete list of Dark Academia Books

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What is your favorite on this list of Adult Fantasy Novels?

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