Reading lists

The best fantasy book series to escape into new worlds

Want a break from reality? We don't have a magic wand, but these fantasy fiction series – from Terry's Pratchett's Discworld to Katherine Arden's take on medieval Russia – will transport you to faraway lands.

The best fantasy series from Terry Pratchett's Discworld to Marlon James' The Dark Star Trilogy

Fantasy fiction, perhaps more than any other genre, gives us the ability to completely lose ourselves in a different world.

From encountering dragons to accompanying characters on dangerous quests, there's no limit to where fantasy fiction will take you.

And what's better than one fantasy book? A whole series set in the same world. Here are nine fantasy fiction series that will transport you to worlds far, far away.

Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

This trio of books – consisting of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising – is part of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. In this world exist Grisha, people who have powers such as being able to manipulate wind, control heart rate, and produce fire.

Shadow and Bone introduces Alina Starkov, who discovers she’s a Sun Summoner, a very, very rare type of Grisha who can manipulate light. Her power means she has the potential to destroy The Shadow Fold, a huge swathe of darkness full of monsters.

Other books in the Grishaverse are the Six of Crows duology and the King of Scars duology.

The Shadow and Bone series (and Six of Crows duology) has been turned into a Netflix show starring Ben Barnes and Zoë Wanamaker. 

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

This series is, of course, better known by the name adopted for the television adaptation: Game of Thrones.

The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996, and introduces the the continent of Westeros, where a number of families are fighting for control of the throne; a rising supernatural threat in the northernmost area of Westeros; and an attempt by a deposed king’s exiled daughter to assume her dad’s crown.

There are currently five books in the series (two of which are split into two parts each) – A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords Part 1: Steel and Snow, A Storm of Swords Part 2: Blood and Gold, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons Part 1: Dreams and Dust, and A Dance with Dragons Part 2: After the Feast – with Martin working on a sixth. He predicts there will be seven books in total. 

The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy series follows the hobbit Frodo as he journeys with a fellowship made up of fellow hobbits, men, a wizard, a dwarf and an elf to destroy the One Ring.

The trilogy – consisting of The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and The Return of the King – began as a sequel to the children’s book The Hobbit, but became a much larger piece of work.

The books have been adapted a number of times, most famously and successfully as a set of three films directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan and Viggo Mortensen. 

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