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Classic Fantasy Books You Need to Read

We all have a few literary blindspots, those novels we’ve heard about or that everyone tells us are classics, but for whatever reason we just haven’t gotten around to reading. When it comes to classic fantasy books, it is sort of understandable. We’re in the middle of a boom in great fantasy at the moment with authors both paying homage to fantasy has been and reimagining what it could be. But even the best of today’s fantasy stand on the shoulder of giants. There are landmarks and wellsprings that led the way for the fantasy scene we see today. These are a few classics that have inspired countless readers and, in some cases, generations of writers.

  1. 1
    The Hero and the Crown Book Cover Picture
    The Hero and the Crown Book Cover Picture

    The Hero and the Crown

    by Robin McKinley

    The Hero and the Crown tells the story of Aerin — born to a witchwoman who had enthralled the king. She was unwanted, her story told and her value apparently found wanting. But there was still more to Aerin’s story waiting to be told. A hero’s destiny awaited her in this beloved fantasy classic.
    The Hero and the Crown Book Cover Picture
    The Hero and the Crown Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

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  2. 2
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture

    The Dragonbone Chair

    by Tad Williams

    The Dragonbone Chair, the first in Tad Williams’ Osten Ard cycle, is a landmark work of fantasy fiction that inspired some of today’s best fantasy writers. Set in the war-torn land of Osten Ard, Dragonbone Chair centers on a kitchen boy who may hold the key to save the realm from total destruction. It’s a masterwork that paved the way for much of what we think of as modern fantasy inspiration for stories ranging from A Song of Ice and Fire to The Kingkiller Chronicle.
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture
    The Dragonbone Chair Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $20.00

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  3. 3
    Mama Day Book Cover Picture
    Mama Day Book Cover Picture

    Mama Day

    by Gloria Naylor

    Gloria Naylor set a particularly high bar for emotional and nuanced storytelling in fantasy fiction with Mama Day. Set on the island of Willow Spring off the coast of Georgia, the story follows Mama Day, a powerful healer who’s skill is tested when the island’s darker forces descend on her great niece Cocoa. It’s a powerful generational saga not quite like any other fantasy.
    Mama Day Book Cover Picture
    Mama Day Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  4. 4
    The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition)

    by J.R.R. Tolkien

    While Tolkien is arguably best known for his genre defining work in The Lord of the Rings, it all began with The Hobbit. The unexpected journey of Bilbo Baggins and his dwarven companions introduced readers to the world of Middle Earth and began the work of positioning Tolkien as perhaps the most influential fantasy writer of the twentieth century.
    The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    Mass Market Paperback
    $8.99

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  5. 5
    The Last Unicorn Book Cover Picture
    The Last Unicorn Book Cover Picture

    The Last Unicorn

    by Peter S. Beagle

    Few other fantasy novels combine the seeming simplicity of the fairytale form with the darker edges of fantasy fiction. The Last Unicorn is both a classic adventure and a powerful meditation on grief and loss centering around a unicorn who discovers all the joy and sorrow the world has to offer, even as extinction looms.
    The Last Unicorn Book Cover Picture
    The Last Unicorn Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  6. 6
    Riddle-Master Book Cover Picture
    Riddle-Master Book Cover Picture

    Riddle-Master

    by Patricia A. McKillip

    Patricia A. McKillip captured the imaginations of thousands of fantasy readers with her Riddle-Master trilogy. It is the epic story of a young prince journeying through a strange land where wizards no longer exist but magic is on the verge of being reborn. The story has been engaging readers for well over twenty years, and this is the perfect time to discover what you’ve been missing.
    Riddle-Master Book Cover Picture
    Riddle-Master Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $19.00

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  7. 7
    The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture
    The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture

    The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition

    by Terry Brooks

    More than 40 years after its initial release, The Sword of Shannara stands as one of the defining pillars of epic fantasy. The Sword of Shannara, the first in The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, spawned a series spanning multiple novels and beloved by readers the world over. With Sword, Terry Brooks introduced readers to Shea Ohmsford, a half-elf who may very well be the key to pushing back the forces of darkness that threaten to envelope the world. This is where it all began.
    The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture
    The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $35.00

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