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Beginner Fantasy Books

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The crowd-ranked version of BestFantasyBooks.com's Beginner Fantasy Book list. This list gives books that are easy for first timers to the fantasy genre. The main criteria is that they be simple to read. Quite a few of these books might appeal to children, though adults can still appreciate them too. Note that these are not necessary the "best" in the genre, just the "easiest to read" in the genre with simple sentences, simple often cliched characters, and simple plots.
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Lord Of The Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

4.38 avg rating
The 50th anniversary one-volume edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic
 
"An extraordinary work -- pure excitement." -- New York Times Book Review
 
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

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Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling

4.57 avg rating
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

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Belgariad

by David Eddings

4.33 avg rating
Millions of readers have discovered the magic of David Eddings’ New York Times bestselling series The Belgariad. Now the first three books in this monumental epic appear in a single volume. Here, long-time fans can rediscover the wonder—and the uninitiated can embark upon a thrilling new journey of fantasy and adventure.

It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.
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Chronicles Of Narnia

by C. S. Lewis

5 avg rating

Narnia . . . where a dragon awakens . . . where stars walk the earth . . . where anything can happen.

Experience The Chronicles of Narnia in its entirety in time for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third movie in the motion picture epic. This movie tie-in box contains the rack editions of all seven of C. S. Lewis's classic stories:

  • The Magician's Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle

The box features stills from the movie, and each book inside has cover art by Cliff Nielson and the original black-and-white interior illustrations by Pauline Baynes. The journey begins long before the Dawn Treader sets sail and ends long after its voyage, so don't miss out on any part of this definitive fantasy series of our time!

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Ice Wind Dale

by R.A. Salvatore

Icewind Dale. Windswept passes and forbidding glaciers stand at the top of the world. Below them, in the cold valleys, an evil force broods: the magic of Crenshinibon, the crystal shard.

Now dwarf, barbarian, and drow elf join to battle this evil. Tempered in the furnace of struggle, they form an unbreakable friendship.

A legend is born.

For the first time in one volume, here is New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore's adventure that introduced Drizzt Do'Urden, the heroic dark elf, one of the most beloved characters in fantasy literature.
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Dragonlance

by Margaret Weis

3.86 avg rating
Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world.

No one expected them to be heroes.

Least of all, them.
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The Black Magician

by Trudi Canavan

5 avg rating

"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians' Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

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bartimaeus trilogy

by Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud's critically-acclaimed and best-selling fantasy novels are sure to become classics. For the first time, readers can collect the complete trilogy in paperback, handsomely packaged and specially priced at $24.99.
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percy jackson

by Rick Riordan

5 avg rating
You've read the book. You've seen the movie. Now submerge yourself in the thrilling, stunning, and action-packed graphic novel.

Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

Series creator Rick Riordan joins forces with some of the biggest names in the comic book industry to tell the story of a boy who must unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
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The Name Of The Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss

4.38 avg rating
Discover #1 New York Times-bestselling Patrick Rothfuss’ epic fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicle.
 
“I just love the world of Patrick Rothfuss.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda • “He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.” —George R. R. Martin • “Rothfuss has real talent.” —Terry Brooks
 
OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD!
 
DAY ONE: THE NAME OF THE WIND
 
My name is Kvothe.
 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
 
You may have heard of me.
 
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.  

 
Praise for The Kingkiller Chronicle:
 
“The best epic fantasy I read last year.... He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.”
George R. R. MartinNew York Times-bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire
 
“Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous.” 
Terry BrooksNew York Times-bestselling author of Shannara
 
"It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing...with true music in the words."
Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning author of Earthsea
 
"The characters are real and the magic is true.” 
Robin HobbNew York Times-bestselling author of Assassin’s Apprentice
 
"Masterful.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description." 
Brandon SandersonNew York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn

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the hunger games

by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

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His Dark Materials Trilogy

by Philip Pullman

***** THE BOOK OF DUST, the long-awaited new novel from Philip Pullman set in the world of His Dark Materials, has been hailed by the New York Times as "A stunning achievement"*****


The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are available together in one volume perfect for any fan or newcomer to this modern fantasy classic series that has graced the New York TimesWall Street JournalSan Francisco ChronicleBook Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.


These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted otherworlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.

Phillip Pullman’s spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy has captivated readers for over twenty years and won acclaim at every turn. It will have you questioning everything you know about your world and wondering what really lies just out of reach.

Honors and Praise for His Dark Materials:
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel

A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time


"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." —The Washington Post
 
"Very grand indeed." —The New York Times

“Pullman is quite possibly a genius.” —Newsweek



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Forgotten Realms

by Richard Baker

4 avg rating

After a hundred years, Jack Ravenwild—thief, sorcerer, scoundrel, and accidental hero—is released from a magical confinement, only to fall into the hands of the marquise Dresimil Chûmavh, ruler of an exiled drow clan who sees an opportunity in Jack.
 
Through guile and subterfuge, the wily Jack escapes the drow to discover a new world waiting in his old stomping grounds, Raven's Bluff, a city equally abounding in fortune and danger. Unfortunately for Jack, he is best at stirring up the latter. His former archenemy the Warlord Myrkyssa Jelan is at large, and she isn't the type to forgive and forget. And worst of all, the drow aren't done with Jack and they mean to get him back.

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Sword Of Shannara

by Terry Brooks

3 avg rating
Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....
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Magician

by Raymond Feist

4 avg rating
A worthy pupil . . . A dangerous quest

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry.

Yet Pug's strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

Praise for Magician: Apprentice

“Totally gripping . . . A fantasy of epic scope, fast-moving action and vivid imagination.”The Washington Post Book World

“Most exciting . . . A very worthy and absorbing addition to the fantasy field.”—Andre Norton

“The best new fantasty in years . . . has a chance of putting its aughor firmly on the trone next to Tolkien—and keeping him there.”The Dragon Magazine

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Uprooted

by Naomi Novik

5 avg rating
WINNER OF THE NEBULA AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL • Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.

HUGO AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR | BuzzFeed | Tordotcom | BookPage | Library Journal | Publishers Weekly

Uprooted is confidently wrought and sympathetically cast. I might even call it bewitching.”—Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Praise for Uprooted

Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I’ve Read Yet This Year. . . . Moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying, Uprooted is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been waiting a lifetime for. Clear your schedule before picking it up, because you won’t want to put it down.”—NPR
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The Chronicals of Pern

by Anne McCaffrey

Travel back to the earliest days of Pernese history in this first-ever Dragonriders of Pern short-story collection!

Join the original survey team as they explore Pern and decide to recommend it for colonization. Share the terror of the evacuation from the Southern Continent as a flotilla of ships, aided by intelligent, talking dolphins, braves the dreadful currents of the Pernest ocean. Learn how the famous Ruatha Hold was founded, and thrill with the dragonriders as they expand into a second, then a third Weyr. And discover a secret lost in time: the rescue of some of the original colonists before the planet was cut off forever!

Building a new life on a distant world, braving the dreaded Thread that falls like silver rain from the sky only to destroy every living thing it touches, flying heroically on the wondrous dragons: The Dragonriders of Pern!
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The Rangers Apprentice

by John A. Flanagan

From #1 New York Times bestselling author John Flanagan comes the story that brings the Ranger's Apprentice series full-circle and ushers in a brand new arc starring Maddie, the Royal Ranger!

Will Treaty has come a long way from the small boy with dreams of knighthood. Life had other plans for him, and as an apprentice Ranger under Halt, he grew into a legend—the finest Ranger the kingdom has ever known. Yet Will is facing a tragic battle that has left him grim and alone. To add to his problems, the time has come to take on an apprentice of his own, and it’s the last person he ever would have expected: Princess Madelyn, the daughter of Princess Cassandra. Will has to win the trust and respect of his difficult new companion—a task that at times seems almost impossible.

John Flanagan returns to conclude the series that has conquered millions of readers worldwide with this pulse-pounding adventure that brings one era to a close,  ushers in the next, starting the series anew starring Maddie, the Royal Ranger.

For fans of Tolkien, Redwall, Game of Thrones, and T.H. White, Ranger's Apprentice delivers fantasy-adventure thrills with real-world historical details.

Praise for John Flanagan:

 “The last few years have seen the publication of many fantasies, but few have the appeal of this original story.” —Booklist, starred review, on The Ruins of Gorlan
 
“Fans of the series will eagerly devour this one and wait impatiently for the next . . . A sure bet for fantasy fans.” —School Library Journal
 
“Flanagan's deft character portrayals and well-paced story will engage readers, and the ending will leave them clamoring for the next volume.” —Booklist, on The Icebound Land
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1 comments
Anonymous | 2013-01-28 02:13:36
Lord of the Rings is the best beginner fantasy book? Wow. Really? How about HP or the original Dragonlance?

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