Looking for a truly magical story? The best Fantasy books of 2023 are right here.
Let your troubles melt away and be whisked off your feet to explore dazzling new lives full of drama, magic, terror, and—sometimes—fiery passion or sweetest victory.
This year, both romance and war are in the air, as monsters and dragons alike begin to wake. With riveting new mysteries from best-selling authors like Leigh Bardugo, to indie-published epics with glowing reviews and 100,000+ devoted readers, this list will let you glimpse into the greatest fantasy books of 2023.
Featuring new adventures, romances, and mystical tales of dark, burning dedication from authors including Chloe Gong, Martha Wells, Brandon Sanderson, keep reading, and you will escape between the pages of your new, favorite fantasy book.
Alex Stern is going to rescue Darlington from purgatory by breaking into the underworld, even if it costs her future at Lethe and Yale. Unable to call upon her old allies, she must form an unlikely team to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts, to open a portal to the underworld—and to save a soul. But the hand of death follows too close, and Alex is forced to reckon with monsters of her past and the darkness built into the university’s walls. Violent magic, gut-wrenching twists, and a world steeped in history make for a story you can’t put down.
Genres: Urban Fantasy (set in a University), Adult, Thrilling Mystery
In this adult epic fantasy, inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, the games are about to begin in the kingdom of Talin. Each year, the palace hosts a deadly competition for unimaginable riches. Princess Calla Tuoleimi is in hiding after a massacre she committed. Damned and alone, she plots her revenge against the Kingdom that cursed her. Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat, enters the games in a desperate attempt to save his childhood love. The two team up, finding an unexpected ally in King Kasa’s own adopted son. Calla must choose between love, survival, and loyalty to her own monarchy before the games come to a close.
Genres: Romance, Historical Fantasy, Adult
In the second book of the trilogy, Sir Konrad, a powerful and magical Justice of the Empire, returns to a city on the brink of rebellion. Rumors of the Magistratum’s weakening authority and growing unrest in the Senate put the Empire’s future at risk. But when the Emperor’s grandson is kidnapped, Konrad must put aside politics to rescue the missing prince. Alongside allies Helena, Bressinger, and Sir Radomir, he sets out on a perilous quest that leads them to the southern frontier where they confront the puritanical templar knights … and a more sinister power, besides.
Genres: Grimdark Mystery, High Fantasy, and the Judicious Use of Necromancy
In a world where the gods are at war, 18-year-old Iris Winnow struggles to hold her family together amidst her mother’s addiction and her brother’s absence on the front lines. Desperate for stability, Iris competes for a promotion at the Oath Gazette, but her letters to her missing brother are intercepted by her rival, Roman Kitt. As they begin to anonymously correspond, they develop an unexpected connection that leads them to the front lines of the war, where they face the ultimate test of love and loyalty. This epic enemies-to-lovers fantasy, filled with magic and heartbreak, is a must-read for fantasy readers who know that love must conquer all.
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fantasy, Enemies-to-Lovers
5. Witch King
Kai is a powerful mage, and a born killer. So, when he’s assassinated—and finds himself curiously reawakened—he returns with a vengeance. But in his absence, the world has forever changed. The old rules are gone, and new powers gather. With the help of his allies and a unique brand of magic based on pain, Kai must unravel the mysteries of his own death, and confront the harsh truth of this new life. But every answer will come at a high cost. This epic adventure is brimming with friendship, lies, and betrayal. If you love dry wit, dark humor, and chaotic relationships, you won’t want to stop reading.
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Witches and Pain-Based Magic, High Fantasy, Reincarnation
After her infamous career as an Indian Ocean pirate, Amina al-Sirafi is content with her new, quiet life of piety and motherhood. But when she is offered a job to retrieve a kidnapped girl for an obscenely wealthy mother, she cannot resist the chance to have one last adventure with her crew and win a fortune to secure her family’s future. Only, there is more to the girl’s disappearance than she was led to believe. Enter a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas, ruled by pirates and sorcerers who will find one last chance at glory.
Genres: Pirate Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adventure
7. Victory City
14th-century Southern India: a divine encounter sets a young girl’s unique destiny into motion. Pampa becomes a vessel for a goddess who foretells the rise of a great city called Bisnaga, the wonder of the world. Over two hundred and fifty years, Pampa’s life becomes interwoven with Bisnaga’s as she works to give women equal agency in a patriarchal society. But as rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, Bisnaga’s fate remains uncertain. This epic tale of history, power, and the struggle for equality is a must-read for fans of historical fiction.
Genres: Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy, Mythology
In the first book of a new duology, a runaway queen and a reluctant prince are thrown together on a quest that could destroy them both. Atop the Ice Needle Citadel, Lady Nore uses an ancient relic to create monsters, while Suren, the child queen of the Court of Teeth, lives feral in the woods, haunted by her past. When Prince Oak appears, seeking her help, Suren must confront the horrors she left behind and guard her heart against the boy she once knew. A tale of magic, betrayal, and love in the opulent world of Elfhame.
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy Romance, Fae & Magic
Discover the secrets of a fallen kingdom in this epic fantasy series inspired by ancient Chinese mythology and folklore:
Lan, a songgirl in the conquered city of Haak’gong, carries a mysterious mark on her arm that no one but her can see, let alone decipher. But when a practitioner named Zen notices her mark—and recognizes her hidden power—they set out to uncover the truth deep within the Last Kingdom’s pine forests and misty mountains. With the conqueror’s regime on their heels, Lan and Zen must keep their secrets as they climb toward destiny. Will they liberate their land … or destroy it?
Genres: Young Adult, Dragons, Mythology, Romance
Tress lives a blissfully simple life on a secluded island where her days are spent collecting cups gifted by passing sailors and listening to stories spun by her friend Charlie. However, when Charlie sets sail with his father on a perilous journey to find a bride, tragedy strikes. Forced to leave behind her idyllic existence, Tress must take matters into her own hands and embark on a treacherous voyage to find the fabled Sorceress of the Midnight Sea. But in a world of deadly spore oceans and cutthroat pirates, can Tress summon the courage to navigate this perilous path and forge a new destiny for herself? The fate of her entire world rests on her journey – and every single drop of water could spell her demise. Perfect for fans of The Princess Bride, this epic tale is a must-read for anyone who loves swashbuckling adventure and epic fantasy.
Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
From her father’s murder, to a crumbling marriage, to being bound by an ancient demon, Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything. Hoping to forget her sorrows, she flees to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, but a new threat arises with Tatiana Blackthorn’s escape and London’s danger from the Prince of Hell, Belial. Cordelia returns to a London in chaos, and the revelation that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather puts the ones she loves in mortal peril. Facing Belial’s deadly army, Cordelia and her friends must muster their courage, swallow their pride, and trust each other again to save their city and families.
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fantasy
Take a new journey back to the enchanting world of Priory of the Orange Tree. Four women’s lives are intertwined, and their actions shape their world for generations. Tunuva Melim is a warrior of the Priory, training for fifty years to slay wyrms … that may never appear. Sabran the Ambitious hopes to save two realms from destruction with her marriage, while her daughter Glorian follows in the shadows. And Dumai has spent her life trying to wake the gods from their slumber, but when the Dreadmount erupts, must unite with the others to protect humankind from a terrifying threat.
Genres: Fantasy, Adult Romance, LGBT, Dragons
As a godkiller, Kissen loves her job … until she encounters Skediceth, the god of white lies, who Kissen can’t kill because of the god’s connection to a certain noble girl. Meanwhile, Elogast, a former warrior in the god war, is summoned back to the city he helped purge of a thousand shrines. As he travels, he meets a godkiller, a little girl, and a tiny god, who must not discover the true purpose of his journey. This self-contained epic fantasy is an impressive debut with a golden heart.
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Adult, Mythology, Myth-Killers
14. Time Trials
Gifted linguist and former Egyptology scholar, Marty Cohen, leads a content life running a woodworking shop, far from academic strife, until mysterious visions disrupt his sleep, and beckon him back to Egypt. An off-the-grid dig has unearthed ancient texts of immense significance, promising a handsome reward for Marty’s expertise. Despite leaving academia, he can’t resist the temptation—or the money. As he delves into the texts, his visions intensify, leading him and a group of archaeologists on an astonishing journey to a protohistoric North Africa, which is rampant with monstrous adversaries. Here, they must become champions of Earth in a life-or-death struggle for humanity’s survival.
Genres: Egyptian Myth & Monsters, Time Travel, Monster Hunting Fantasy
A fugitive pretends to be an orphan, and lies his way into Catenan Academy. His mission: to solve a murder, find an ancient weapon, and unearth secrets with the power to fracture the Catenan Republic. Determined not to surrender to the oppressive Hierarchy, the fugitive must ascend the Academy’s ranks, maintaining a facade while battling those who seek to control or eliminate him. He must not let anyone know his true identity…
Genres: Epic Fantasy Mystery, Magical School, Underdog Fantasy
Holt and his blind dragon, Ash, are summoned by Elder Dragon of Life, and must embark on a dangerous mission. Through steamy jungles and scorching islands, they encounter ancient magical secrets and dragons that challenge the historical separation of dragons and men.
The Red Queen must keep pirates and mercenaries from closing in on her land. With her empire in turmoil, she must decide whether to unleash her devastating powers against mortal enemies or witness her people suffer. Osric seeks solace alongside his newly-bonded black dragon, healing internal wounds along the frontier. But inner peace still eludes him.
Dark powers creep across the lands, ignored while the clash between Elders and Paragons threatens kingdoms. The dragon riders must unite, or see their world fall into ruin.
Genres: Dragon Riders, Progression Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Professor Emily Wilde is a brilliant scholar of faerie lore, but struggles with social situations (you might call her a curmudgeon) and prefers the company of books and the Fair Folk to people. When she arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik to study the elusive Hidden Ones, she has no interest in making friends with the gruff locals … or her new academic rival, Wendell Bambleby, who is both (insufferably) handsome and great at charming the locals. Yet, as she delves deeper into the faerie secrets of the forest, she finds herself perplexed by another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, really? In this charming and enchanting tale, Emily must navigate both the world of faeries and the complexities of human emotions.
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fae, Historical Fantasy
When she was 13, Lore escaped a death magic cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire, but her power keeps her tethered here. Now, she runs a poison business, but when her magic is revealed during a job, she’s taken by Presque Mort, a group working for the Sainted King. The king wants Lore to use her power to investigate strange deaths in villages, or face death. Lore enters the king’s court, where politics, religion, lies, and romance tangle her path. As she navigates the glittering society, her past in the catacombs—and her oldest enemies—draw near.
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Romance, Courtly Intrigue
In this standalone addition to the Wayward Children series, Antoinette discovers a shop where lost things go. That sock? Your missing headphones? You’ll find them here. Desperate to find her missing father, Antoinette embarks on a journey through infinite worlds, each with its own unique magic and danger. But as Antoinette moves further away from the shop, she realizes that leaving behind her childhood and innocence comes at a cost. Lost in the Moment and Found is a heartwarming and bittersweet tale about the power of love and the pain of growing up.
Genres: Young Adult, Portal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Novella
Elisabeth and Nathaniel are finally enjoying their new life together, when something strange happens at Thorn Manor. The estate’s wards, meant to keep them safe, are acting up and trapping the occupants inside. Elisabeth suspects it’s not a coincidence. With no way to contact the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – must work together to unravel the source of the malfunctioning wards before the Midwinter Ball. But with unexpected secrets lurking in the house, and their growing desire for each other causing, ahem, distractions, this proves no easy task. The house, it seems, requires a price.
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy Romance, Cozy Fantasy
21. Untethered Sky
A thrilling epic fantasy fable about a daughter’s unwavering obsession to avenge her family’s death at the hands of manticores. In her quest, Ester joins the King’s Royal Mews, where she pairs with a fledgling, cold-hearted roc named Zahra to hunt the deadly monsters. Together, they embark on the empire’s most perilous manticore hunt, leading Ester to a journey of perseverance and acceptance that will forever change her life.
Genres: High Fantasy, Epic Adult Fantasy, Novella
After conquering Carthage, Alexander struggles with the aftermath of war. He’s mentally exhausted and demonically corrupted. In his desperation, he turns to a mysterious, enigmatic prisoner who offers him a unique, risky form of power that could help him further his goals. On a journey to secure trade routes for Venice before the pirate threat returns, Alexander must confront his inner demons and find a way to heal his mind and body. Can he overcome the challenges ahead and claim the resources of the frontier?
Genres: Portal Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Adventure & Magic, Self-Published
Reborn after a murderous betrayal, Theo is given a second chance at life—and a second chance to enter the Nine Worlds. Armed with the knowledge of his past life, he sets out to unravel the deception that cost him everything. As he climbs the ranks to Authority, Theo must navigate old rivalries, impending war, and a dangerous new material created by the Asplundat Movement: bloodcrete. No one truly knows how its use will change the worlds.
Genres: Reincarnation Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Return to the realm of Terre d’Ange in Cassiel’s Servant, a retelling of Kushiel’s Dart from the perspective of Joscelin, a warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive as they journey together to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange. Joscelin’s journey shatters his body and mind but also brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep, even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul. This epic hero’s journey is a must-read for fans of Kushiel’s Dart and new readers alike.
Genres: Adult Fantasy, Adult Romance, LGBT
In a kingdom held hostage by a cruel king, Keera, the king’s most trusted Blade, must navigate a world of political scheming and backstabbing as she works with Prince Killian and his Shadow to take down the oppressive regime from within. But with secrets and enemies lurking around every corner, Keera finds herself in more danger than she ever thought possible. As she battles her own grief and navigates the complexities of love, Keera must decide what she’s willing to risk in order to save her kingdom and those she loves. Will she be able to survive the high stakes of rebellion, or will she lose everything she’s fighting for?
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fae
In Ancient Greece, a queen knows that she is either hated or forgotten. Born to a king but married to a tyrant, she has suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of her husband, including the sacrifice of their child. As she watches him wage war, she plots her revenge. But when her husband returns in triumph, she must become a woman of unparalleled strength and cunning to get what she wants. Full of power and prophecy, love and hatred, this novel blazes with passion, and thrilling retribution.
Genres: Mythology, Historical Fantasy
An epic tale of sacrifice, courage, and resilience, written for fans of dark fantasy and bloody adventure.
The city of Kingspass burns, but Calen refuses to give up hope. With a new ally at his side, he must fight his own demons and find the strength to lead those who need him most. Meanwhile, Ella struggles to understand the power that flows through her veins and the changes it brings. The Blood Moon rises, the balance of power shifts, and Epheria will never be the same.
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Adult Fantasy, Dragons, Self-Published
As Wu Ying, a cultivator on a journey to grow his god-like powers and reach the heights of the Heavens, ventures beyond the kingdom of Shen, he discovers that not all the governors and sects of the Middle Kingdom exist in harmony. As Wu Ying chases the traces of the Heaven’s Wind, grasping at the truth it so elusively dangles before him, he must also contend with his own place under the Heavens … or among them.
Genres: Cultivation, Xianxia Fantasy, Progession Fantasy, Indie-Published
The medieval nations of Angall are on the brink of a Holy War, and the four Illborn face massive challenges as they try to understand their growing powers and their true, supernatural identities. Arion and Allana find themselves on opposing sides, while Leanna becomes a target of the Holy Church (and the killers are already closing in). Corin must face a deadly new peril while coping with the aftermath of an attack on his wife. With mysteries still to unravel, the Illborn must navigate their choices and actions to shape their destinies.
Genres: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adult, Indie-Published
Find Your New Favorite Fantasy Book in 2023
This year is already bursting with wondrous tales, dazzling characters, and jaw-dropping worlds. Whether you’re looking for a new romantic thrill, stories of war-torn empires, or a curious, mystical mystery, read this list, and I think you’ll find something to love or inspire or help you live a new, magical life somewhere far away.
If I missed one of your favorite new fantasy books, let me know in the comments below.
Happy reading 🙂