Knights, sorcerers, epic quests — these medieval fantasy books have it all. Whether you’re looking for the classic battle between good and evil magic or a quest to save a kingdom, the stories on this list will take you to a magical world far away from the modern world. Let these sweeping tales of mystery and adventure carry you off into lands of myth and legend.
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Alanna the heroine of the story, is an extraordinary revolutionary woman who becomes a knight. After defeating Duke Roger, Alanna goes on an adventure in the desert with the warrior Coram and her faithful cat. She encounters a warrior wielding an evil crystal sword that shatters Lightning and Fire.
Thanks to her courage and bravery, Alanna is named shaman of the Bazhir, a desert tribe where she goes into exile, taking under her protection three young people to pass on this function to them, defying the traditions of the tribe.
Always with new challenges, Alanna must face fateful decisions: will she unlock the secret of the crystal blade, and is she ready to give up her freedom to marry the handsome Jonathan Prince of Tortall?
The Last Kingdom
The Last Kingdom is a historical novel part of the “The Saxon Stories” series by the British author Bernard Cornwell, published in 2004.
In the 9th century, Uhtred was only nine years old when the Vikings massacred his family and plundered the land of his ancestors. The son of a Saxon nobleman is then kidnapped and educated as one of their own.
Uhtred, a lost little boy, will become a powerful man with impressive martial abilities, and soon the only fate of England will depend on him. The young Saxon warrior of noble origins, torn between his adoptive people and his kingdom of origin, must fight a battle against the Danes led by a formidable warrior Ubba.
A Clash of Kings
by George R.R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2
A Clash of Kings is an epic fantasy novel by George R.R. Martin, the second in his award-winning series A Song of Ice and Fire. In this thrilling book, rival factions battle for control of the Iron Throne as Westeros is thrown into chaos following the death of its rulers.
In this part, we get to know Daenerys Targaryen as she seeks the Iron Throne, King Robert Baratheon’s sons Joffrey, Renly, and Stannis as they fight for the throne, and Robb Stark as he fights for his kingdom in the North. As Cersei Lannister takes over matters in the South with her brother Tyrion’s help, the North is embroiled in battles of their own.
The story follows each character’s journey for power as they all try to claim the Iron Throne. There are plenty of plot twists and unexpected endings throughout the novel that will keep you gripped until the very end. I highly recommend the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, starting with A Game of Thrones, as these are also some of the best books like The Hobbit.
The Way of Kings
The Way of the Kings is a medieval fantasy novel written by Brandon Sanderson and published in 2010. It is the first novel in the Stormlight Archive series and tells the story of a war-torn world, full of magical creatures, war, and adventure.
Kaladin, a soldier forcibly enlisted in one of the armies facing the Parshendis, abandons his medical studies, becoming a slave in a senseless war where ten armies fight separately against a single enemy. Dalinar Kholin, a powerful leader who has seen visions of the past, must lead his people to victory against an oppressive force.
In a distant city, a woman named Shallan, heiress of a noble house, seeks to learn magic, she becomes Jasnah Kholin’s apprentice, Dalinar’s niece. This is where she discovers many secrets and information about the Knights Radiant and the real reason for the war. With its thrilling plot and well-developed characters, The Way of Kings is a must-read for fans of the medieval fantasy genre.
The Curse of Chalion
The Curse of Chalion is a medieval fantasy novel, written by the American Lois McMaster Bujold published in 2001, and it is the first volume of the World of the Five Gods series.
The novel follows the journey of Cazaril, a disgraced swordsman who is sent to the royal court at Cardegoss as a page (young attendant or apprentice in the Middle Ages) for Princess Iselle.
But the Royal Court of Cardegoss is an uncomfortable place for Cazaril, full of betrayal and treachery. It is where his enemies occupy the highest positions in the Kingdom.
He discovers that all members of the royal family are affected by a blood curse. The only solution for Gazaril is to resort to black magic which will bring him to Ibra for an alliance between countries. You will be delighted with the amazing story, intricate characters, and unexpected twists.
The Name of the Wind
Patrick Rothfuss is a master storyteller whose first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle series, The Name of the Wind, captivated readers when it was published back in 2007. In this fantasy novel, we follow Kvothe as he navigates his way through a world of magic and mystery.
Kvothe is an extraordinary figure whose many heroic deeds become the subject of local lore. But after experiencing a traumatic event, Kvothe decides to retire as an innkeeper in a small town, hoping to put his past behind him.
That is until he meets Chronicler, a traveling scribe, who is determined to uncover Kvothe’s story. What will follow is an enthralling tale full of heartbreak, adventure, and magical powers.
The Mists of Avalon
The Mists of Avalon is a fantasy novel written by the American Marion Zimmer Bradley. It was published in 1983 and it is a rewriting of the Arthurian legend, told from a woman’s perspective. In this novel, Bradley tells the story of how Morgan le Fay, Viviane, and Igraine lead a rebellion against the oppressive rule of men.
Igraine, who is married to the Duke of Tintagel, struggles with her own identity as she tries to find a balance between her own desires and the demands of family and culture. The arrival of Merlin and Viviane, her sister and priestess of Avalon, will change her life.
In a world where the ancients and the moderns clash, peace can only reign at the cost of many sacrifices. The novel is full of fantasy and adventure, with a strong female cast that makes it enjoyable to read.
The Ruins of Gorlan
The Ruins of Gorlan is a fantasy novel, written by John Flanagan. It was published in 2005, and it is the first book of The Ranger’s Apprentice series, which includes a total of twelve books. In this fascinating story, a young boy named Will is chosen to be a Ranger’s apprentice.
The Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom with their unique skills and abilities, allowing them to be invisible to ordinary people. Meanwhile, an exiled Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night is gathering his forces for a battle against the kingdom.
Will must now use his Ranger training to help protect the kingdom from this impending attack. The entire Ranger’s Apprentice series is full of adventure, mystery, and excitement, and The Ruins of Gorlan is the perfect way to start it off. You won’t want to put it down!
Arrows of the Queen
Arrows of the Queen is a story by Mercedes Lackey about Talia, a young woman chosen to be the Queen’s Own Herald. Through Talia’s journey as a Herald, we learn of her struggles to accept this new life and the trust her Queen and elders have in her. Talia’s path is full of obstacles, including those who wish to see her fail and even attempt to take her life.
Along the way, Talia has the help of her Companion Rolan and her friend Skif as the story becomes more complex and dangerous as details of a conspiracy against the Queen and her daughter, Elspeth, unfold. I highly recommend this book for all fantasy fans.
The Blade Itself
The Blade Itself is a fantasy novel, written by Joe Abercrombie. It was published in 2006, and it is the first volume of The First Law trilogy. Logen, the barbarian from the north, a nine-fingered force of nature, finally sees his last fight coming, he is nicknamed The Bloodthirsty.
Jezal, the handsome, arrogant captain, has only one thing in mind: to scam his friends at cards and win the annual fencing tournament. Glokta the colonel who hates everyone, is a former victim of torture who has become an inquisitor, and his dream is to see Captain Jezal in his hands.
In a world plagued by corruption and on the brink of war, the line that separates heroes from traitors is sharper than the edge of a sword. If you are looking for a thrilling medieval fantasy novel full of action and suspense, The Blade Itself is the book for you.