The Best Fantasy Books of 2022

Looking for the best fantasy books of 2022?

Look no further. You will find everything—from cozy romance to YA adventure to grimdark epics—in this list. Adorable dragons, warrior Jinn, insane wizards, and gallant knights await you.  

Let’s fall in love with some truly fantastic stories:

New! Read the Best Fantasy Books of 2023

A Dark Folktale of Heroic Revenge by T. Kingfisher

No one is going to save Marra or her sisters from the evil prince’s abuse. Nobody, except maybe the gravewitch, a blessed/cursed fairy godmother, and a host of other darkly entertaining and eccentric characters. 

Nettle & Bone is a dark tale of revenge that bursts with heroism. Marra refuses to back down, even when faced with the gravewitch’s three impossible tasks. But what begins as a Herculean effort for revenge, becomes something else entirely. 

Be warned: you will love the ending.

Read This if You Love

  • Sweet, sweet revenge
  • Casts of absurdly delightful (and terrifying) side characters
  • Stories about underdog feminist heroes who refuse to quit (and you can’t stop cheering for them)

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2. The Golden Enclaves (Scholomance #3)

A Dark YA Academia/Deadly Magic School Series by Naomi Novik

The finale is finally here! The Scholomance trilogy follows El, who possesses a unique power even among her magical peers, as she tries to survive the deadliest school for the magically gifted. Danger lurks around every test, and even walking down the hallway the wrong way can get you killed. El must gather a group of allies (and even friends?) to unravel the secrets of this place, to change the system, and most of all, to survive.

Read This if You Love

  • The darkest parts of Harry Potter
  • Bittersweet relationships that only grow more bitter and sweeter (so intoxicating to read)
  • Fighting against an inherently evil system, while turning enemies into friends… and maybe lovers

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3. Legends & Lattes

Cozy Fantasy with a Hint of Sweet Romance by Travis Baldree

Want to trade in your old adventuring life—endless trekking, bloody dungeons, and backstabbing allies—for something more meaningful? 

Viv, a slightly famous orc barbarian, is ready to cash out and try her hand at a new dream: she plans to open the first-ever coffee shop in a high-fantasy city. 

Old partners and a gang of underworld bruisers threaten to destroy her dream, but with the help of a few unexpected (and beautifully written) friendships, Viv’s dream might get a chance to grow. This book is heartwarming and sweet and is the perfect cozy fantasy for coffee lovers everywhere.

Read This if You Love

  • Some of the coziest moments you’ll ever read in a fantasy book, ever
  • An orc who refuses to bow to their stereotype in the pursuit of her humble dream
  • A hint of LGBT romance, giant cats, a genius mute baker, and the quietly heroic act of self-actualization

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4. Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3)

An Energetic, Dark Fantasy Brimming with Necromancers by Tamsyn Muir

In the far future, an Empire of necromancers (called the Nine Houses) controls just about everything. Nona lives in the ninth and smallest House, and she just wants to be an ordinary person.

Unfortunately, it seems the entire universe wants something from her. It might have something to do with her power to bring down the Empire.

This series is an outlandish, heartfelt, weird, goofy-and-fun-and-dramatic romp with bright heroines who refuse to let the world keep them down. And under the threat of such a massive Empire, there’s a lot that could keep them down…

Read This if You Love:

  • Action-packed adventures that go really, really off the rails
  • Science Fantasy built on ancient, historical secrets and epic subterfuge 
  • Fiery, outspoken characters who will fight for each other, and maybe also with each other

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5: The Justice of Kings

A New Epic Fantasy about a Magical Detective (and Executioner) by Richard Swan

Sir Konrad is one of the most hated Justices in the Empire. In most cases, this infamy helps him get his job done—that, plus his skill with the blade, his secret magic, and his immense knowledge of the Empire’s legal system. 

But when Konrad finds his authority blocked on a seemingly simple case, his renewed investigation pulls on the thread that might topple the Empire that made him…

Read This if You Love:

  • One of the most addictive tales of swords and sorcery you’ll read this year
  • Mystery, murder, and philosophical questions of the law … sometimes at sword-point
  • A fearsome main character who commands respect (and terror) with his name alone

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6: The Hunger of the Gods (Bloodsworn Saga #2)

A Bloody Norse-Inspired Epic about Myths, Magic, and Revenge by John Gwynne

They say the gods are dead, but their children—strange and magical monsters—still walk the earth. Now, bands of raiders roam the cold northlands, slaying these monsters or, more often, slaying each other.

But there are dark stirrings in the north. A cult seeks to remake an ancient and evil god, who will bring only death and destruction to all human lands.

The Bloodsworn Saga follows a cast of complex, heroic characters who must fight to protect the ones they love (or seek bloody vengeance) in this cold, callous world. Their quests may lead them to make world-shaking bargains with the dead gods.

Read This if You Love:

  • Norse-inspired gods, monsters, and warfare
  • Epic fantasy filled with deeply emotional characters 
  • Bargaining with powers that should never be bargained with

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7: Fairy Tale

A Beautiful, Suspenseful Portal Fantasy by Stephen King

The legendary suspense/thriller author, Stephen King, returns with a book that weaves fairy tales, classic fantasy stories, and his unique, suspenseful storytelling to create something new—and yet familiar at the same time.

Through an odd set of circumstances, a boy named Charlie inherits a pile of gold, a house on a hill, and a portal into another world. But with this inheritance comes a responsibility that might be too much for a 17-year-old to shoulder. 

This book is less about fantasy, and more about using a fantasy world to explore the deeply human characters we meet along the way. Beautiful, joyful, grief-inducing, and so entrancing. King’s prose and dialogue, as always, will drink you in and immerse you in this magical world.

Read This if You Love:

  • Dogs (no seriously, you will love this one if you like dogs)
  • Parallel worlds filled with strange, beautiful, and sometimes savage places 
  • Fairy tales about princes and princesses, gladiators and heroes, and a complex fight between good and evil

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8: The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart #2)

A Young Adult Fantasy Romance by Stephanie Garber

To say Evangeline and Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, have a complicated relationship would be an understatement. Jacks is everything you should avoid in a partner: he lies, he’s full of jealousy, he knows how to say all the right things, and yet…

In this vivid, magical world full of romance, heartbreak, and mystery, Evangeline must trust in the most infamous liar in the world: Jacks. Together, they must put aside their differences and team up to save the world from a terrifying, hope-destroying curse. 

Read This if You Love:

  • Enemies to lovers to enemies (to lovers again?)
  • Deliciously wicked villains who refuse to let you stop reading
  • Pent-up romantic feelings desperate to get out (but you can’t let anyone know) until that sizzling, soaring climax

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9: The Change

A Supernatural Thriller, Rich with Ghosts and Magical Realism by Kirsten Miller

Nessa, who lives alone in her quaint house by the ocean, is in her late forties when she begins to hear the voices of the dead.

Harriett, almost 50, loses everything (her career, her marriage, etc.), yet she gains a powerful new dominion over nature … and death.

The ambitious Jo has wrestled with her own chronic illness for decades, and when menopause arrives it threatens to break her—until she discovers she can channel her rage and hot flashes.

This is a book about an incredible trio of women who discover their supernatural midlife changes and team up to fight an unexpectedly powerful underworld.

Read This if You Love:

  • Supernatural thrillers bursting with magical realism
  • Mysteries that get more dangerous the deeper you dig
  • Badass middle-aged women who finally get the power they deserve

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10: Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky #2)

An Epic Fantasy with Ancient American-Inspired Gods & Magic by Rebecca Roanhorse

Cities will fall. The sun will grow dark. A comet heralds the death of a ruler—and the rise of a new order.

The Crow God sees all this. 

Chaos and change sweep over the lands, toppling emperors and lifting cults from obscurity. Alliances shift as the gods vie for power. And our heroes, some of them living avatars of the gods, must rage against their destinies—or succumb to them.

Read This if You Love:

  • Empires and religions clash while the war in heaven tumbles to the earth
  • Main characters with godlike powers, held back by their deep internal conflicts
  • A massive, built-out world deeply inspired by ancient American empires and mythos

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11: The Girl and the Moon (Book of the Ice #3)

A Grimdark Epic Fantasy by Mark Lawrence

On Abeth, only the strong survive. Yaz has lived in the frozen wastes with her tribe for most of her life, a life steeped in brutal traditions. But Yaz “escaped” that life, and has traded it in for a greater destiny. 

Join Yaz as she builds friendships with outlandish characters and fights to change this brutal world. There is still beauty in this world, if only someone can save it…

Read This if You Love:

  • Exquisitely powerful prose and complex, gritty characters who refuse to stay down
  • Magic built upon extremely-advanced science (but still feels entirely like magic)
  • Prince of Thorns or any of Mark Lawrence’s stories, as this trilogy connects them all together

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12: This Woven Kingdom

A Young Adult Fantasy about Forbidden Romance and Clashing Empires by Tahereh Mafi

The crown prince can’t stop thinking about Alizeh, a lowly servant girl. Obviously, they can never be together—so why can’t he get her out of his thoughts?

Only the crown prince doesn’t know that Alizeh truly is—an heir to an ancient kingdom, hiding for her life.

Empires will break upon each other, love will burn with heartbreaking desire, and the twists of fate will keep you glued to the page with this new, Persian-inspired epic.

Read This if You Love:

  • Characters that you love to love 
  • Deeply enthralling versions of classic fairy tales
  • Star-crossed lovers who can never be together (and yet yearn for it more than anything else)

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13: Spear

A Queer Re-Imagined Novella of the Arthurian Legend by Nicola Griffith

A girl sees her own destiny, and she learns her fate: to become a knight of the Round Table. She leaves her wild home (and her mother) behind and sets off for Court. She will find her adventure, she will meet great hearts, and she will steal the hearts of many a fair lady. 

And in the end, she will find the place to which her destiny has always led—that fabled lake. 

This is a deep, moving, and imaginative retelling of The Legend of King Arthur that will captivate you with its carefully crafted dialogue, detailed world, and swift pacing. 

Read This if You Love:

  • Arthurian Legends that add depth and meaning above the original tale
  • Enchanting, whimsical adventures with brief touches of sapphic romance
  • Wild-born main characters who walk and weave through nature as if they were a part of it

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14: A River Enchanted

A Mystical Fantasy Full of Romance and Mystery by Rebecca Ross

When three girls go missing from Cadence, an enchanted island, Jack is summoned home to help solve their disappearance. Some people fear they’ve been taken by the island’s spirits. Some believe it’s only going to get worse.

Jack must join up with his childhood enemy, Adaira, despite their antagonistic past and their reluctant attraction. As they stumble through this rocky relationship and progress their investigation, they begin to uncover a much older, darker secret. 

This book is both cozy and thrilling, romantic and mysterious, and absolutely brimming with magic. Simply enrapturing.

Read This if You Love:

  • Childhood enemies that find themselves reluctantly attracted to each other
  • House of Earth and Blood, or Fantasy mysteries that unfold at a steady, almost thrilling pace
  • Grumpy but lovable protagonists, mysterious spirits, feuding Scottish-inspired clans, and fairy tale magic

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15: The Umbral Storm

An Epic Progression Fantasy by Alec Hutson

Long ago, the Heart of the World was shattered, sending the world into chaos.

Warrior factions rose up from the ashes to seek the shards of the Heart, which they shove into their bodies to imbue themselves with divine powers.

This story starts with Deryn, who is sold by his own mother and must suffer at the hands of a cruel slaver. Hopelessly weak and insignificant, Deryn suddenly discovers a piece of godlike power, which will give him the chance to escape his desperate bonds and become a powerful—and shadowy—agent of fate.

Read This if You Love:

  • Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives or Will Wright’s Cradle series
  • Deep worldbuilding full of ancient history and a unique magic system that’s oh-so-addictive
  • Immense tomes brimming with world-sweeping changes, underdog heroes, and that sweet, steady progression of character power

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16: Azarinth Healer

A LitRPG Infused with Dark Humor and Hard Progression by Rhaegar

Ilea’s two favorite things? Punching and eating. Eating fuels the punching, and the punching enables her eating habits. Unfortunately, “punching and eating” isn’t much of a career path, leaving her with no option but to join the rat race …

… until, one day, she finds herself in a world full of fantasy monsters that are trying to kill her. 

In this world, punching and eating is an extremely viable career path (you might even say it’s mandatory). For Ilea, leveling up in this world means she gets to fight increasingly deadly foes—and eat increasingly delicious meals. 

Azarinth Healer is one of the first LitRPG serials to gain massive acclaim, earning over 60 million views on serial sites like Now, the author has re-edited and polished the first book, making this the perfect reading experience for such a legendary story. 

Read This if You Love:

  • LitRPGs or Role-playing video games of any kind
  • Hard magic and spells that come with leveling systems, spell descriptions, and more
  • Slice-of-life fantasy combined with battle-junky heroes who can’t keep their sarcastic mouths shut

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17: The Stardust Thief

An Adult Folkloric Fantasy Inspired by Arab Mythology by Chelsea Abdullah

It was her own fault for saving him—this cowardly prince. This one act of good grace has landed Loullie, an infamous smuggler who hunts and sells “illegal magic,” in hot water with the sultan. 

Her only way out? She must find the ancient lamp that will allow the sultan to revive his barren lands. Unfortunately, this also means sacrificing all the jinn, including her most loyal bodyguard. 

With rich conflict on every side and the very fabric of reality shifting under her feet, Loullie must decide what she really wants from this dangerous quest.

Read This if You Love:

  • A Thousand and One Nights with a modern storytelling philosophy 
  • Quiet, heart-wrenching moments between your favorite characters
  • Energetic, magical fantasy adventures set in a world inspired by Arab folklore

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18: Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care & Feeding of British Dragons

A Cozy Regency Fantasy with a Generous Helping of Romance, Adventure, and Dragons by Quenby Olson

Miss Percy is a spinster who absolutely does not go on adventures. But when her great-uncle dies and leaves her with an inheritance that includes one dragon egg, she has no choice but to become a caretaker of dragons. 

Miss Percy discovers her self-worth, the power of magic, and more than a little romance, all while learning how to take care of the world’s most mythical creatures. With a healthy dose of humor and a heart bursting with feeling, this book will make you fall in love with life’s greatest changes.

Read This if You Love:

  • The Princess Bride or Pride & Prejudice with dragons
  • A massive, magical change of pace in the middle of one’s life
  • Regency fantasy where the hero only gets better and more empowered with every page

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19: The Thirteenth Hour

A Gothic Gaslamp Fantasy Overflowing with Steampunk & Magic by Trudie Skies

In the steam-powered city of Chime, Kayl just wants to do is help protect her fellow mortals from the cruel gods and their capricious whims. But when she discovers a new power and accidentally destroys someone else’s soul, the whole city wants her punished.

Hunted by a Warden whose only purpose is to kill her, Kayl and her unlikely allies must find a path to redemption—for the city, and for herself. 

If you love magical world-building where gods and steampunk collide, you will adore this new series by the very talented serial author, Trudeau Skies.

Read This if You Love:

  • Myriad species with their own unique cultures and magical powers
  • Steampunk fantasy where the mortals must fight the very gods they worship
  • A densely-packed and deeply immersive world that serves as a hotbed for rich conflict

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20: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

A Revitalized Korean Myth with Romance and Whimsy by Axie Oh

The Sea God, once the protector of Mina’s people, now seems to curse them with death and destruction. For generations, storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland, wiping away villages and forcing them to fight over what few resources remain. 

Each year, a maiden is thrown into the sea in a vain attempt to appease the Sea God. But when Mina’s friend (and her brother’s betrothed) is chosen for this year’s sacrifice, Mina throws herself in, instead. 

Mina is cast into a realm of lesser gods and magical creatures and must find a way to plead her people’s case. But what she finds waiting for her at the bottom of the Sea is not what she expected…

Read This if You Love:

  • Lush atmospheres and plucky, determined heroines
  • Spirited Away or otherworldly journeys to lands of myth and spirits
  • Romance, mystery, and adventure in a magical tale based on Korean folklore

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21. In the Shadow of the Lightning

An Epic Fantasy with Intrigue, War, and Flintlock Magic by Brian McClellan

Magic is dying, and though the guild-families know it, they refuse to do anything but squabble over the remaining scraps. 

Amidst the collapse of civilization, Demir, an outcast who fled his family’s wealth and power, lives out his lonely days, grifting anyone he can. When his mother is murdered, Demir has the chance to reclaim his seat at the head of the family. But this inheritance comes with a responsibility as he uncovers clues to her death and clues that hint at the end of magic. 

Demir must join forces with his oldest rivals and friends, to make ready for the war to end all wars. To prevent it? Or merely to survive…

Read This if You Love:

  • Flintlock fantasy or The Powder Mage trilogy
  • Hyper-competent characters and a magic system based on … glass?
  • Political conspiracies, incredible worldbuilding, and strangely terrifying monsters

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2022 is Brimming with New Fantasy Books!

After combing through hundreds of novels and novellas released this year, I think this list represents the best fantasy books of 2022.

Hopefully, this helped you find a few of your new favorite reads. If absolutely loved any of the books I mentioned, comment below and tell us why you loved them.

Read My Previous “Best Of” Lists:

Interested in writing your own fantastic story?

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Fantastic Characters and How to Write Them

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