Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Fantasy Books (34)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 12:00 AM
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This weekly feature has book bloggers write a top ten list based on a bookish prompt. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was "Top Ten Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read X," where X could be any genre you want to choose. I picked…

Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Fantasy Books
It’s hard for me to imagine that there are people out there who have not read fantasy books. I know it’s not for everyone, but it seriously breaks my heart, given that it’s my favorite genre of fiction and my favorite genre period. So, if I were to recommend any books for newbies to fantasy, these would be my top ten. I have so many favorites, so it was difficult just picking 10, but I managed somehow.

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – This one is an obvious choice, but I have to include it on this list. I’m sure I’m in the minority here when I say I’m a bigger fan of The Lord of the Rings series than The Hobbit though I love them all. But for someone who hasn’t read fantasy before, I think The Hobbit is a better place to start, since The Lord of the Rings books are very dense and, well, long. Also, The Hobbit is written with a younger audience in mind and makes for a more light-hearted read overall.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – This is another obvious choice, but I can’t ignore it. These books have followed me throughout my life. I grew up with them, eagerly buying each new release and devouring them immediately, and I hope to reread them soon. I think they are a great start for any new fantasy reader, as I’m sure they’ll become a new favorite for anyone.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I loved the Miyazaki film, but the book, if possible, is so much better. This is a must read for any lover of fantasy, and I think it’s a great first choice for newcomers to the genre. I’d also recommend reading the other books in the trilogy, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways. All of them are fantastic!

4-6. Alanna: The First Adventure, First Test, and Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce – Yes, I’m recommending Wild Magic even though I have yet to read the Immortals series. I own all of the books but just haven’t found the time to read them. Having loved all of the Song of the Lioness and the Protector of the Small series, I am sure I’ll also love the Immortals series, so I decided to include it. I would recommend any of Pierce’s books for a fantasy newbie. The earlier books of these series read almost like middle grade books, and then the later books grow substantially darker in tone as the protagonist matures and grows as an individual, and then there are enemies to contend with. I would also recommend Trickster’s Choice from the Daughter of the Lioness series, but I would suggest reading one of the other series first. The Daughter of the Lioness books are larger in size (though it’s a duology and not a quartet like the others), and in chronological order, they happen much later. And, honestly, I liked the other series just a little bit more though I've loved every book of hers that I've read so far.

7. Sabriel by Garth Nix – An old favorite of mine, I’d recommend Sabriel to anyone who would like to try fantasy. The entire Abhorsen trilogy is simply amazing, and I plan on rereading it soon. It does deal with a darker subject matter, given that there are Necromancers raising the dead, but most fantasy books do have some darker elements so I’d say it’s a good start.

8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Yet another series I wouldn't mind rereading! I need more time. This one has adventure, assassins, magic and romance! So it has a little bit of everything! And I’d also recommend reading the companion book Fire and the sequel Bitterblue if you enjoy Graceling. My favorite of the three is Graceling, with Bitterblue coming in for a close second, and Fire last of all, but you really can’t go wrong with any of these.

9. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – The Girl of Fire and Thorns starts off slow, but once the pace picks up, it’s an incredible read, and the later installments only get better. I just finished the series, and I already want to reread these books. I think the Fire and Thorns series is worth checking out, especially if you’re first trying out fantasy.

10. Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle – I read Tamsin years ago, YEARS, and it still haunts me to this day. This is another book I hope to reread soon, and seriously, I cannot imagine anyone disliking this book. It is such an enchanting read, filled with folklore and ghosts and cats! There’s even a Pooka!

So those are my recommendations for new fantasy readers, but there are many runner-ups I had to leave out. I also considered Finnikin of the Rock, but I think that’s a book to read later on, after deciding fantasy is for you. How about everyone else? What fantasy books would you recommend for someone new to the genre? Did you like any of these?


  1. I haven't read Tamsin, I disliked The Hobbit, and Sabriel has been on my TBR for far too long. Oh, I also am not a huge Tamora Pierce fan. *hides* Phew, those are the confessions I had to make after reading your list but I definitely agree with so many of the titles you've put up here--Harry Potter, Girl of Fire and Thorns, Graceling, Wild Magic. I was introduced to fantasy by Enid Blyton's novels, which I loved, and I later picked up Cry of the Icemark which sucked me further into the series and then it was Harry Potter and The Warriors and Eragon hasn't ended but these are wonderful places to begin. Loving this list, Courtney! :)

  2. OOh fantasy yay! And Harry's there! Excellent picks!!

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  3. LOVE YOUR LIST! Fantasy is my all time FAVORITE genre. Absolutely love Garth Nix and his Abhorsen series, The Hobbit is also a favorite of mine. I have Howl's Moving Castle in my bookcase but have yet to read it. Have you read Melina Marchetta's The Lumatere Chronicles?? AMAZING!! Definitely recommend!
    Thanks for sharing. Check out my TOP TEN!
    Big HUGS xoxo
    My Top Ten @ Book Hangovers Blabs Books

  4. WHY HAVEN'T I READ GRACELING YET, COURTNEY?! WHY?! I know why though - it's because for the longest time I was convinced fantasy was not the genre for me, but then I read Rae Carson's series and a couple others and fell madly in love. And now I have zero excuse not to read Graceling. *runs to Amazon*

  5. I love fantasy books as well. They are my absolute escapism and I love being transported to a new world. I haven't read Tamsin and Sabriel, although they have been sitting on my shelf for the longest time. Hobbit, Harry potter series and Graceling are my favorite ones. Lovely List of Fantasy books, Courtney!! (:

  6. I LOVE Graceling! It's an amazing book, I definitely agree with your list, it's really good. And of course how can you be fantasy fan without reading Harry Potter or The Hobbit :)

  7. haha yeah are there people who haven't read fantasy? If so, I need to introduce myself to them so I can fix their ways. ;)
    As a fantasy primer, however, I think this is a great one! Tolkien's a classic (and The Hobbit is a bit more accessible than Lord of the Rings). Harry Potter is on its way to becoming a classic, as is Graceling. Pierce writes some of my favorite heroines ever and Sabriel is also pretty badass.
    The only one I haven't read here is Tamsin - I will soon! Though I think I'd have The Last Unicorn on this list instead - it's a pretty well-known class and a beautiful story.

    1. While I love Finnikin, I don't think it's the most accessible fantasy. So I agree with you there as well!

  8. I read and loved Graceling and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Awesome list - I can't believe I still haven't gotten to Howl's Moving Castle yet!

    Tanya Patrice

  9. YES! Graceling, Harry Potter and The Hobbit would ALL be on my list. Fantasy is such a beautiful genre, and you've captured some of the very best titles, girl! LOVE this list :)

  10. I would DEFINITELY recommend Harry Potter and Graceling, but Harry Potter most of all. ^^ Those are perfect choices! Haven't read The Hobbit and I don't even think I own it...sacrilège must own it soon!

  11. Loved Graceling and Harry Potter. I loved Bitterblue too, although I thought the ending was a little sad. As far as other fantasy I'd recommend, I love The Burning Sky series, it's one of my favorites! And the Seven Realms series, love that series. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres!! ~Pam

  12. You've listed so many of my favourites! Graceling, Alanna, The Hobbit, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. And Harry Potter, of course! I haven't yet red Howl's Moving Castle or Sabriel, which is pretty terrible, but I hope to be able to finally get around to both later this year. Great list, Courtney! :)

  13. I am new to most of the books in your list. But I'm going to try one or two from your list! :D Happy reading :)
    my top ten tues:

  14. I'm always on the lookout for great fantasy reads, I've only read three of the books that you've mentioned on your list, but I'm glad as I have a quite a few in my tbr pile! I can't wait to get start Carson's series, I have heard such great things. Then same can be said about Pierce's books too! Fab list Courtney! :)

  15. Heh, I agree, it's heartbreaking to think about someone who has never experienced fantasy! Of course I'm well aware that it's not the genre for everyone though. I remember taking my dad to see Chamber of Secrets in theatres and he slept almost the entire time. But anyways! A lot of your picks here are obvious, it's true, but they're obvious because they're classics and they're great and they could turn almost anyone into a lover of fantasy! Of course, (whispers) I've only read the first two on your list.. (shamed) BUT they are ALL on my tbr to get to at some point. Just saving them for a special time! Fantastic list here, Courtney.

  16. I couldn't get through the first book from LOTR, but I managed to finish The Hobbit. I'm not sure I would recommend it to someone else, since I found it quite.. boring, to be very honest. I love the movies though (same with LOTR - it's still a goal to finish those books some day.)

    Harry Potter is without a doubt my number 1 recommendation.

    Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix are high on my list from authors I NEED to 'meet'. I SO agree with Graceling and The girl of fire and thorns. The last series is one of my favorites :)


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