Best Fantasy Books of 2020

Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2020 that we enjoyed most.

The Unspoken Name

by A K Larkwood

A. K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name is among the most creative, exciting, and brilliantly-told epic fantasy novels I’ve read. It is an immersive experience that grabbed my attention early on, then grew at a staggering rate until I found myself being launched through fantastic worlds, meeting wonderful characters, and caught in a magnetic prose that left me spellbound. Larkwood has a tremendous talent for building upon the best parts of what makes fantasy great and elevates it all with her own dash of chaos and wonder. Simply put, it is an outstanding debut I won’t soon forget.

Series: The Serpent Gates #1
Published: 2020

Score: 101

Our rating: 10.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+
10/10

The Once and Future Witches

by Alix E Harrow

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in Alix E. Harrow's powerful novel of magic and the suffragette movement.

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters -- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna -- join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote -- and perhaps not even to live -- the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.


Published: 2020

Score: 98

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

Age of Empyre

by Michael J Sullivan

While Age of Empyre and the whole Legends series may struggle to top ‘The Riyria Revelations’ – for the simple sake that it does not have Royce and Hadrian – it is only by the barest of margins.

Series: Legends of the First Empire #6
Published: 2020

Score: 98

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

The Girl and the Stars

by Mark Lawrence

Only when it's darkest can you see the stars.

East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrown

On the vastness of the ice there is no room for individuals. No one survives alone.
To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is different.

Torn from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her life with, Yaz has to carve a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of danger.

Beneath the ice, Yaz will learn that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. 
She will learn that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she will learn to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it's darkest can you see the stars.

"The Girl and the Stars is more than the start of a new series. It’s the culmination of some of the best ideas of Lawrence’s previous works while promising that amazing things are still to come. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Icepunk book in the Yaz-mere."

"If you like dark you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous." Robin Hobb

Series: The Book of the Ice #1
Published: 2020

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+
10/10

A Time of Courage

by John Gwynne

Heroes shall rise and fall, the earth shall be stained red, and the fate of the Banished Lands will be decided once and for all in A Time of Courage, the final book in acclaimed fantasy author John Gwynne's Of Blood and Bone trilogy.

The demon king Asroth has been freed from his iron prison. Now, alongside his dark bride Fritha, he plans to conquer the whole of the Banished Lands.

In the shadows of Forn Forest, Riv and the surviving Ben-Elim desperately search for a way to unite those who remain against Asroth's vast army.

Far in the west, Drem is with the Order of the Bright Star, besieged by a demon horde. Their fragile defenses are on the brink of shattering, but they know that it is better to fight and die than to live without hope.

And across the Banished Lands, armies are heading south, to settle ancient grudges and decide the fate of humanity.

"Now THIS is the way you end a series. Readers and writers beware, a new standard has been set."

Series: Of Blood and Bone #3
Published: 2020

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

Along the Razor's Edge

by Rob J Hayes

No one escapes the Pit.

At just fifteen Eskara Helsene fought in the greatest war mankind has ever known. Fought and lost. There is only one place her enemies would send a Sourcerer as powerful as her, the Pit, a prison sunk so deep into the earth the sun is a distant memory. Now she finds herself stripped of her magic; a young girl surrounded by thieves, murderers, and worse. In order to survive she will need to find new allies, play the inmates against each other, and find a way out. Her enemies will soon find Eskara is not so easily broken.

"Along the Razor’s Edge will make you mad. It will make you hold your breath, pump your fist, pause and reflect, and swear at 2am. It will do all these things and more, because it is one hell of a great story. For me, it was more than just reading a book. It was an experience."

Series: The War Eternal #1
Published: 2020

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

The House in the Cerulean Sea

by TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

"This is a special book, a story that will break your heart on one page and flood it with hope on the next. In this dark and difficult time in which we are living, it is stories like these that help remind us what we’re doing this all for."


Published: 2020

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 2 positive reader reviews

12+
10/10

We Ride the Storm

by Devin Madson

You need to pick this book up. From the characters to the world building to the plotting and pacing it’s a masterclass in engaging fantasy. Among the finest debuts I have ever read, We Ride the Storm is a story that can’t be missed. Madson is sure to join the luminaries of the genre in short order.

Series: The Reborn Empire: Book One
Published: 2020

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

The Obsidian Tower

by Melissa Caruso

With this novel, Melissa Caruso solidifies herself as one of my favorite authors. The Obsidian Tower is a masterpiece of character driven fantasy. Set in the same world - but in a different time period than her Swords and Fire series, this story contains all the things we’ve come to love about Caruso’s writing. There are tense political machinations and negotiations. There is witty dialog. There’s magic! And, of course, a touch of romance. Couple all of this with a diverse cast of characters and you have a recipe for a magnificent fantasy novel.

Series: The Gate of Secrets
Published: 2020

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

Age of Death

by Michael J Sullivan

All my previous qualms and equivocation must be taken within the larger experience of Sullivan’s work, and pale into insignificance against what is truly a first-rate reading experience.

Series: Legends of the First Empire #5
Published: 2020

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
10/10

Blight Marked

by Josh Erikson

Gabe escaped the Ether with the ultimate prize, and he thought that meant he was done with deadly cosmic games. But the nightmares infesting his life have different plans, and they’re not asking nicely before dragging him back in. It turns out holding all the power in the universe doesn’t mean much if you have no idea what to do with it.

So together with Heather, he embarks on a frantic race to collect the remaining six Iglas and stave off the coming darkness. And in the process, they discover just how much deeper their problems go. With new threats lashing at them from every side, and old ones tightening their grip, it becomes a contest against chaos to see who will dictate the future of existence: the assorted protectors of Earth, an all-consuming darkness...or a conman who would really rather not.

"Blight Marked ensures that the Ethereal Earth series will continue to be one of my favorite urban fantasy series. The dialog, the character development, the antagonists, the world building, all of these are beyond excellent and I can't wait to see where Erikson takes us next. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Blight Marked - which is currently available for preorder - and enjoy! Or, if you haven't started the series yet, get in on the ground floor with Hero Forged. You don't want to miss these!"

Series: Ethereal Earth #3
Published: 2020

Score: 94

Our rating: 9.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10

Shorefall

by Robert Jackson Bennett

A few years ago, Sancia Grado would’ve happily watched Tevanne burn. Now, she’s hoping to transform her city into something new. Something better. Together with allies Orso, Gregor, and Berenice, she’s about to strike a deadly blow against Tevanne’s cruel robber-baron rulers and wrest power from their hands for the first time in decades.
 
But then comes a terrifying warning: Crasedes Magnus himself, the first of the legendary hierophants, is about to be reborn. And if he returns, Tevanne will be just the first place to feel his wrath.
 
Thousands of years ago, Crasedes was an ordinary man who did the impossible: Using the magic of scriving—the art of imbuing objects with sentience—he convinced reality that he was something more than human. Wielding powers beyond comprehension, he strode the world like a god for centuries, meting out justice and razing empires single-handedly, cleansing the world through fire and destruction—and even defeating death itself.
 
Like it or not, it’s up to Sancia to stop him. But to have a chance in the battle to come, she’ll have to call upon a god of her own—and unlock the door to a scriving technology that could change what it means to be human. And no matter who wins, nothing will ever be the same.

"Shorefall is a slice of genius slathered with unfiltered madness; it is an innovation on invention. I want to scrive in this world, to create and experiment with Berenice and Orso, to scale towers and improvise with Sancia, to fight battles and defend my friends with Gregor. I loved this book. Bennett is one of the brightest talents around. Read the Divine Cities trilogy. Read Foundryside. Read Shorefall. Read whatever comes next." Adam Weller, Fantasy Book Review

Series: Founders #2
Published: 2020

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10

The Lessons Never Learned

by Rob J Hayes

I am the weapon. 

Eskara is free of the Pit, but far from safe. She is beset by the ghosts of those she has killed, and plagued by the ancient horror that possesses her. Enemies dog her heels, determined to see the last Orran Sourcerer dead. Worse still, there is new player in the game, one far more dangerous than anything she has faced before.

But there is one place that might offer her both the safety she needs to survive, and the power she needs to strike back; Ro’shan, the flying home of a God.

Eska will soon learn that all power comes with a cost, and some prices are too high.

"Hayes has won several awards over the course of writing career, most recently the Booknest novel of the year, and is once again a finalist for this year’s SPFBO, which he won in a previous year. But through all his accolades and experiences in the self- and trad-published industries, there is no doubt in my mind that ‘The War Eternal’ is the crown jewel of his writing career. There is more going on beyond Eska’s endeavors that will be revealed in From Cold Ashes Risen, and I can hardly wait to find out how this story will pan out. All I know for sure is that it’s going to be fantastic, and you'll be plotting your own mission of vengeance if you miss it." Adam Weller, Fantasy Book Review

Series: The War Eternal #2
Published: 2020

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10

Kings of Heaven

by Richard Nell

Kings of Heaven concludes one of my all-time favorite series in riveting fashion. My expectations were exceeded and my anxieties were dismantled. It surprises and it saddens, and it gives the cast the ending they deserve. When I turned the final page, I was elated and drained, yet entirely fulfilled. Kings of Heaven does everything a good finale should do, while still leaving me craving for more stories from this era.

Series: Ash and Sand #3
Published: 2020

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+
9/10

The Midnight Lie

by Marie Rutkoski

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society's pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colours. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters id, a rakish traveller from far away, who whispers rumours that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

"By far the most impressive part of The Midnight Lie is the writing, the author playing with lyrical or prosaic language in turn. Each sentence is cleverly crafted and beautifully evocative, emphasising the tone of the scene or clashing with it in arresting discord. It has sentences that stop you in your tracks; more than the weirdness of this imagined world, it is the enchantment of the words that take you somewhere magical. It’s this poetic style which makes the book stand out."


Published: 2020

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+
9/10

The Shadow King

by Alec Hutson

Scarred by what transpired on the island of the sorceress Niara, Keilan and his companions journey north, bearing a weapon forged to end the unnatural existence of the Chosen. But the sand is trickling through the hourglass, as the demon-children are laboring to bring about a second Raveling and end the age of man...

In the shattered city of Nes Vaneth, Cho Lin struggles to survive her imprisonment by the vicious Skein, while in Dymoria the Crimson Queen prepares to reveal her school of sorcerers by bringing them into the Frostlands to confront the Chosen and their allies...

Meanwhile, the immortal sorceress Alyanna schemes to restore her lost glory and destroy those who have wronged her...

"Hutson’s The Shadow King is a wonderful conclusion to his epic trilogy. It has a perfect classic fantasy feel. A wonderful epic fantasy to read curled in a blanket on a snowy morning sipping coffee. The way the various plot threads come together in a satisfying way is a masterful achievement. It's epic fantasy comfort food in the best sense of the term."

Series: The Raveling #3
Published: 2020

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10

The Bard's Blade

by Brian D Anderson

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she's a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together.

Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?

"The Bard's Blade delivers modern fantasy at its finest. While it has definite vibes of classical, chosen-one fantasy, (which, come on, though overused is popular for a reason) Brian D. Anderson has suffused the tale with his own fresh take on this well-loved staple, successfully composing an enthralling first entry in The Sorcerer's Song series. The second book is named A Chorus of Fire, and it has emphatically claimed its place as one of my most anticipated reads of 2020."


Published: 2020

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10

Peace Talks

by Jim Butcher

This new perspective provides the opportunity for a fascinating exploration of what Harry expects from himself, and what we expect from him as a result. Grown up Harry is much more dangerous, and that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It’s a fun read and a great set up for Battle Ground in September.

Series: The Dresden Files: Book 16
Published: 2020

Score: 88

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+
9/10