Being a fantasy fan means you’re often bombarded with the same recommendations over and over again. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Chronicles of Narnia, Tales From Earthsea, Dragonriders of Pern… it can get a little tiring after a while! But here at Bookstr, we look for the obscure as well as the famous. So, here are a few fantasy novels that fall outside of the norm and have just as much magic, action, and world building as you’d crave, just not by typical authors like Tolkien or Martin. Enjoy!
5. The Axe and the Throne by M.D. Ireman
Image Via Goodreads
A grim, dark fantasy tale, this one isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t like violence or a cynical tone but it creates a world that’s vivid as it is brutal. The story follows a man called Tallos as he journeys through a war torn land where the line between good and evil is increasingly blurred as Northmen raid his people’s villages. Much like Game of Thrones characters are killed off without a moment’s notice and disposed of, frustrating some readers but allowing the stakes to be made clear. And it will reward you at the end if you can stick through it. Strongly cautioned but this one is highly recommended, despite the brutal, sometimes unrelenting world it creates.
4. Age of Myth By Michael J. Sullivan
Image via Amazon
Age of Myth begins an epic fantasy saga, telling of a long forgotten age where humans are worshipping a race they call Fhrey as gods. The Fhrey are masters of magic and seemingly immortal but when one falls to a mortal blade, the balance of power shifts entirely. Now humans are spurred into action, ready to rebel against the so called gods that have long dominated them. The book follows three people: Raithe, a boy who slew a god, Suri, a young seer who sees visions of a dark future, and Persephone, a young woman who must lead her people despite personal hardship. This is an epic novel of great scope, crafting the beginning of a great saga.
3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
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Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson is set in a world where the land is ruled by a tyrant called the Lord Ruler and magic is uniquely designed around metal. The three main forms of magic revolve around metal to fuel or steal magic for themselves. The series centers around a thief called Kelsier, who plots to bring down the Lord Ruler for his own personal vendetta. Hunted by the Ruler’s armies, he must use his wits and magic to survive as he fights every step to gain an edge against the huge empire that rules the land.
2. The Black Company by Glen Cook
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This series is very unique, centering around a company of mercenaries called the Black Company in service to a villain. The series esquires traditional tropes to center more gritty warfare, despite epic fantasy battles from the perspectives of grunts, showcasing the deadly sieges, trench warfare, and other dangerous situations they fight in day after day. Combining epic and dark fantasy, The Black Company showcases a fantastical world from a unique point of view, showing what all this looks like from rank and file soldiers.
1. The name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
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The Name of the Wild is an acclaimed piece of work and its easy to see why. Following a young magician named Kvothe, Kvothe becomes a student at an arcane school and begins to set himself down the path to become the world’s greatest wizard. While not much truly happens throughout the novel, this is very refreshing, as this novel isn’t a traditional quest but following the journey of a boy to becoming a man. The prose is magnificent, the world is incredibly developed, and the main character is someone who acts like a real boy, frustrating and delighting readers. It’s not easy to say why this novel works, it just does. Pick it up for yourself and see.
Featured Image Via The Black Company Wiki