You can transport across magical lands, introduce them to mystical creatures, and take them on mythical adventures by reading the best fantasy book series for adults. It can be hard to contain a great fantasy story in one book. So book series let you revisit favorite characters and worlds as they take on new enemies, discover new powers, and even fall in love. The recommendations on this list aren’t just amazing novels. But also they make great gifts for the fantasy reader in your life. Many of them come in stunning box sets and gifting the whole series means they can pick up the next book as soon as they close the last.
Best Fantasy Book Series for Adults
|Book Name & Author
|The All Souls Trilogy Boxed Set (All Souls Series) by Deborah Harkness
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|The Poppy War: A Novel (The Poppy War, 1) by R. F Kuang
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|The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) by S. A Chakraborty
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|Trail of Lightning (1) (The Sixth World) by Rebecca Roanhorse
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|The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy) by Katherine Arden
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1. The All Souls Trilogy (All Souls Series)
The All Souls Trilogy is a series of books written by American scholar Deborah Harkness. It consists of A Discovery of Witches (2011), Shadow of Night (2012), and The Book of Life (2014).
A Discovery of Witches
In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life.
Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana soon realizes it is somewhat impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.
Shadow of Night
Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar, and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them. They are drawn to one another despite long-standing taboos, and in pursuit of Diana’s spellbound powers, the two embark upon a time-walking and dangerous journey.
The Book of Life
Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present facing new crises and old enemies.
At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches, with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.
2. The Poppy War: A Novel (The Poppy War, 1)
A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies. It was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan was even more surprising.
Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power and an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
3. The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy)
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.
But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.
Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
4. Trail of Lightning (1) (The Sixth World)
The setting in this is wonderful and one of the great things about this book. You will love apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic stories anyway, and this nailed all of those feelings wonderfully. It’s never really explicit what went down to cause a cataclysm except for some sort of environmental disaster which has restructured the U.S.
We’re presented with the world as it is now and the past is mostly inferred, which is totally fine. The author brings a lot to the table by setting this within her own culture as well, and You will enjoy all of the Diné aspects of the story.
The plot sort of meanders a bit and you wonder where it’s going as characters wander around at points without much of a plan. I think some UF fans that are used to a more straightforward ‘solve the mystery’ plot point A to plot point B structure may struggle a bit with this one. But the meandering didn’t bother me much because I became really invested in the characters which are so wonderfully nuanced.
The dynamics between Maggie and Kai are great. Kai is a mysterious character and Maggie is naturally distrustful. And yet she extends to him some trust, tentatively, due to a character between them that they both have mutual trust in. So there’s this lovely dance of ‘what is your deal, I don’t want to like you, I’m not sure about you, maybe you’re ok and maybe you’re not’ thing between them.
Kai definitely appears to be more open and welcoming than Maggie, but he’s a charmer and he may or may not have all his cards on the table either. As a reader you find yourself in a similar position as Maggie, wanting to trust Kai, wanting her to trust Kai, but maybe not a hundred percent sure if it’s a good idea to do so. For me, the mystery of both Maggie and Kai’s pasts was much more intriguing than the overall mystery they were trying to solve in the main plot.
5. The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy)
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and on the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.
But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The story opens on a late winter night in Rus’ with children demanding a story. And they hear about the frost demon, the winter king Morozko, also known as the death god who froze bad children in the night. In the fairy tale, a stepmother sends her stepdaughter into the winter forest to marry Morozko.
The girl was nonplussed by the demon and he sent her home with dowry gifts. The stepmother was jealous of her good fortune and sends her own daughter to the Frost King, expecting her to return with riches. But her spoiled daughter was ungrateful and complained. Morozko did not save her.
One of the children listening, Vasilisa, has inherited her mother’s and grandmother’s gift of recognizing the spirit world. Vasya is happier in the stable or the woods than she is in the house, and bristles against the limited life laid out for a girl child. She understands that the spirits are languishing, which means they cannot protect the hearth, home, or stable, and she befriends them in secret. Else, she would be called a witch or a mad woman.