I feel most of us are vaguely acquainted with the bestselling fantasy books of all time. In any case, to be bestsellers they should be fairly common. However I’ve additionally discovered that essentially the most well-known fantasy bestsellers are typically center grade or YA. Meaning books like Twilight, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Prince, The Hobbit — perhaps even The Wizard of Earthsea — are the primary ones that come to thoughts. However I gained’t discuss these books right now, as a result of for this checklist I’ve determined to focus solely on grownup titles!
Earlier than we bounce into the checklist, I need to level out that the publishing business continues to be overwhelmingly white. We’ve definitely seen enhancements, and campaigns like #BlackoutBestsellerList have helped extra authors of shade take over bestseller lists, however the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag that took over Twitter in 2020 confirmed simply how biased publishers nonetheless are when selecting which tales to put money into. All that’s to say that when wanting on the bestselling fantasy books of all time, principally all of them are written by white authors.
That’s why I’ve determined to cut this checklist into two. The primary half will check out the bestselling fantasy books of all time specializing in gross sales numbers. That part can be grouped by collection quite than particular person books. The second half can be devoted to fantasy books written by authors of shade which have been featured on bestseller lists — and that I hope in the future can even turn out to be bestselling fantasy books of all time.
With out additional ado, let’s check out these 20 wonderful fantasy books!
Bestselling Fantasy Books of All Time
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
First e-book: The Fellowship of the Ring
Printed in: 1954
Copies bought: +150 million
You in all probability guessed it, however the bestselling fantasy collection of all time can also be the best-known one! Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is a traditional, and loads of folks love its lush world-building and adventurous plot. In the event you’re not that acquainted with the story, it follows a hobbit named Frodo and his companions on their journey throughout Center-earth and their quest to destroy the One Ring earlier than the evil Sauron will get ahold of it.
A Tune of Ice and Fireplace by George R.R. Martin
First e-book: A Recreation of Thrones
Printed in: 1996
Copies bought: +90 million
It’s in all probability no shock that A Tune of Ice and Fireplace is the subsequent collection on this checklist! George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy collection is stuffed with political intrigue — and so many followers are eager on discovering out the way it ends. The primary e-book begins when Lord Eddard Stark is summoned to King’s Touchdown as the brand new Hand of the King. However what he finds there’s that everybody is scheming for energy, and tragedy and betrayal awaits him and his household at each flip.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
First e-book: The Eye of the World
Printed in: 1990
Copies bought: +90 million
The Wheel of Time is one other tremendous common and beloved fantasy collection. It was really concluded posthumously by Brandon Sanderson, who helped write books 12–14 primarily based on Jordan’s notes. This bestselling fantasy collection begins with The Eye of the World, and it follows Moiraine Damodred as she continues her quest to search out the chosen one. This takes her to Emond’s Area, the place she persuades Rand al’Thor and his mates to affix her battle towards The Darkish One.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
First e-book: The Color of Magic
Printed in: 1983
Copies bought: +80 million
The Discworld collection is so huge: it’s made up of 41 books that comply with completely different characters and storylines. No marvel they’re among the bestselling fantasy books of all time! The Color of Magic kicks off wizard Rincewind’s adventures. In it, he’s employed by a naïve vacationer named Twoflower as a information. Twoflower is definitely an insurance coverage agent for the Agatean Empire, and Rincewind should defend him in any respect prices lest his dying provoke an invasion.
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
First e-book: Interview with the Vampire
Printed in: 1976
Copies bought: +80 million
Transferring on to a unique type of fantasy, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles has earned its place as one of many bestselling fantasy books of all time. The story begins with the beloved Interview with the Vampire, which tells the story of a vampire named Louis. He was really turned by Lestat — the collection’ most well-known character. Someday after his unwilling introduction to the vampiric life-style, Louis finds a baby named Claudia and is so taken by her he turns her right into a vampire as nicely. Their seek for belonging will take them across the globe, however discovering different vampires could also be extra harmful than they ever imagined.
The Darkish Tower by Stephen King
First e-book: The Gunslinger
Printed in: 1982
Copies bought: +30 million
Stephen King could also be common for his horror tales, however his fantasy books are bestsellers as nicely! The Darkish Tower collection follows Roland of Gilead, a.ok.a. The Gunslinger. In a western-inspired parallel world, Roland is on a quest to catch the enigmatic Man in Black. Relentless in his pursuit, he travels throughout the desert and one of many many individuals he meets is the “Child from Earth” referred to as Jake — who can be his companion on this journey.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
First e-book: Outlander
Printed in: 1991
Copies bought: +26 million
Diana Gabaldon’s historic romance collection will depend on its fantasy parts and it has grown fairly common over time. The story begins in 1945, when Claire Randall visits the Scottish Highlands along with her husband on a second honeymoon. However when she walks via a standing stone, Claire is hurled again in time to 1743. And it gained’t be lengthy earlier than the gallant Jamie Fraser wins over her coronary heart.
Sword of Fact by Terry Goodkind
First e-book: Wizard’s First Rule
Printed in: 1994
Copies bought: +25 million
Terry Goodkind’s bestselling epic fantasy collection is made up of 15 books, the primary one being Wizard’s First Rule. It follows the story of Richard Cypher, who’s attempting to resolve his father’s homicide. This leads him to satisfy a mysterious girl named Kahlan — and the 2 of them workforce as much as discover these magical bins that may assist cease the evil lord Darken Rahl from changing into omnipotent.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
First e-book: Mistborn
Printed in: 2006
Copies bought: +10 million
The Mistborn collection is among the more moderen bestsellers on this checklist, however Sanderson has shortly made a reputation for himself together with his distinctive fantasy books — and these are his hottest ones. The story begins with a person named Kelsier. He has the powers of a Mistborn, and might use metals in an effort to get magical skills. He’s additionally a crafty thief planning what looks like an inconceivable heist. Enter his new apprentice Vin. It seems she’s a Mistborn too, and she or he may be the important thing to his success.
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
First e-book: The Title of the Wind
Printed in: 2007
Copies bought: +10m
Is that this trilogy (in)well-known as a result of there hasn’t been a touch of e-book #3 in years? Sure. But it surely’s additionally fairly the bestseller regardless of its lack of conclusion. The story begins with an older Kvothe. He’s hiding as an innkeeper, regardless of his previous as a talented magician and musician. We don’t actually understand how he went from being essentially the most infamous wizard the world had ever seen to working this small, secluded inn. However when a storyteller discovers who he’s, Kvothe decides to inform him his life story full of affection, music, magic, and betrayal.
10 Extra Bestselling Fantasy Books
The Fifth Season by N.Okay. Jemisin
Collection: The Damaged Earth
The Fifth Season is such a tremendous fantasy e-book and I can’t await it to turn out to be an all-time bestseller! The story begins when a robust orogene breaks the world in half, threatening to trigger the worst Fifth Season within the historical past of the Stillness. In different phrases, the world is ending. On this context we get to see the lives of three completely different girls. Essun, whose husband simply murdered their son for displaying orogene powers. Damaya simply came upon she can also be an orogene, and her household has despatched her to the Fulcrum to be skilled. Final however not least there’s Syenite, a Fulcrum trainee.
Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence by R. F. Kuang
R.F. Kuang’s bestselling historic fantasy is a powerful exploration of colonialism, language and academia. Set in an alternate 1800s, the story follows an orphan named Robin who was taken from his residence in Canton to turn out to be a translator for the British Empire. Professor Lovell skilled him from a younger age so Robin might be a part of the ranks of Oxford’s Institute of Translation, a.ok.a. Babel. And as soon as he will get there, Robin begins to appreciate that this seeming utopia is something however — and that typically it takes violence to enact change.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
Subsequent comes an unforgettable reimagining of the vilified queen from the Ramayana! This e-book tells the story of Kaikeyi, the one daughter of the dominion of Kekaya. She grows up as an missed princess, and regardless of not being significantly near her dad and mom, it comes as a shock to Kaikeyi when her father banishes her mom. Kaikeyi seeks consolation within the texts she used to learn along with her mom, and that’s the place she learns she carries nice energy inside her — an influence that may flip her into an incredible warrior, diplomat, and queen.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a magical household saga that’s completely unputdownable. The story follows the Montoya household, who’ve grown up used to their matriarch Orquídea’s eccentricities and her home’s penchant for magic. However in the future, Orquídea surprises everybody by inviting them to her funeral, during which she turns right into a tree. The Montoyas are left with much more questions — and 7 years will cross earlier than hazard lurks nearer and the solutions are lastly at hand.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Writer’s Weekly bestseller and Sunday Occasions bestseller
Collection: Celestial Kingdom
We’re transferring on to an adventurous fantasy romance impressed by the legend of the Chinese language moon goddess. This e-book follows the story of Xingyin, who has grown up within the moon hidden by her mom Chang’e. The Celestial Kingdom doesn’t know of her existence, till her magic flares and Xingyin is compelled to flee her residence. She really winds up in the course of the Celestial Kingdom itself, and even befriends Prince Liwei. The 2 of them develop and be taught and prepare collectively — however Xingyin hasn’t forgotten her mom and she or he’ll do something to save lots of her from her confinement.
Black Leopard, Pink Wolf by Marlon James
Collection: The Darkish Star
Black Leopard, Pink Wolf is a darkish and deeply imaginative fantasy novel that attracts inspiration from African historical past and mythology. The story follows a mercenary named Tracker who’s employed to discover a boy who disappeared three years in the past. Tracker often works alone, however this time he breaks his rule and joins a ragtag workforce of bizarre characters — which features a shapeshifter named Leopard. Collectively, they are going to search for the lacking baby, a activity simpler mentioned than executed.
The Buried Big by Kazuo Ishiguro
The subsequent e-book is a fantastic fantasy story written by Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro. The Buried Big is the story of an aged Briton couple named Axl and Beatrice. They endure from a selective amnesia they name “mist.” This amnesia really impacts everybody within the post-Arthurian England the story is ready in. Nonetheless, they’re certain they used to have a son. With that certainty, Axl and Beatrice set out on a quest to the subsequent village in hopes of discovering him.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Subsequent comes The Atlas Six, a darkish academia fantasy novel that went viral on TikTok. The story follows this yr’s candidates to affix The Alexandrian Society. They’re magicians and keepers of the world’s misplaced information, and every year they let 5 new folks be a part of their ranks. This yr’s candidates are Libby Rhodes, Nicolás Ferrer, Reina Mori, Parisa Kamali, Tristan Caine, and Callum Nova. The six of them should show themselves to affix the Society — or die attempting.
She Who Turned the Solar by Shelley Parker-Chan
Collection: The Radiant Emperor
She Who Turned the Solar is an excellent literary fantasy that reimagines the rise of China’s Ming Dynasty. The story follows a lady who’s destined for nothingness whereas her youthful brother is destined for greatness. However her complete life modifications when her father is murdered and her brother dies of grief. With them gone, she is determined to outlive. So she takes her brother’s identify and his destiny — and thus turns into the monk Zhu Chongba. On the monastery and later with a insurgent group, Zhu learns that she is able to something to get what she desires.
The E book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
Final however definitely not least comes a darker fantasy novel that’s completely worthy of its bestseller standing. The E book Eaters follows Devon. She is a part of The Household, a clan of e-book eaters that feast on tales. Devon grows up with a gentle weight loss program of fairytales and cautionary tales — whereas her brothers feast on journey and braveness. The clan dictates Devon’s path, however her complete life is turned the wrong way up when her son is born — as a result of he feeds on minds as an alternative of phrases.
Now that we’ve gone via among the bestselling fantasy books, take a look at our picks for the most effective fantasy novels of the final 10 years. Need extra? Take a dive into our Sci-Fi/Fantasy Archives for all types of quizzes, lists, essays, and basic bookish content material!