In an effort to read more fiction in 2020, I’ve been thinking about fun fantasy novels that made reading a joy. Today, I’m going to share some of those novels in hopes that it will help you read more too.

Fun Fantasy Novels to Make Reading a Joy Again | Looking for some fun fantasy novels to fall in love with? I've got your back. Check out this list!

Original photo by Casey Horner 

I’m a nerd. I know most of you know this.

But one of the hallmarks of my nerdery is the love I have for fantasy.

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Admittedly, I haven’t been as much of a fantasy fan since high school, but it’s the genre I cut my teeth on. And when I was choosing to major in creative writing, I thought I would be a fantasy writer.

That still may happen, though I think I prefer writing supernatural thrillers much more these days.

But when it comes to reading, I know fantasy is something that I will always enjoy.

So, with that in mind, I thought I would share these fun fantasy novels. Some of them are books I’ve read in the past, and others are books I plan to read this year.

In either case, I recommend these wholeheartedly, especially if you like a little bit of fun or flippancy in your fantasy fiction.

(And don’t forget to check out these fun reads or these escapist books! Lots of good novel recs in those posts!)

Fun Fantasy Novels

001: The Woods Outback by R.A. Salvatore

The premise of this book is that a young man comes home to his parents’ house and falls asleep against a tree in the woods behind his parents’ home. When he wakes up, he’s on an epic fantasy adventure that includes a Scottish leprechaun. (Yes, a Scottish leprechaun.)

This is one of those books that’s just fun to read. I love the fish-out-of-water protagonist trying to make his way in this fantasy world.

And I have to be honest — I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to find portals to fantasy worlds. I would love for this scenario to happen to me.

And R.A. Salvatore is a fantasy titan, so you know it’s going to be good.

002: The Misadventurers: An (Almost) Epic Tale by Steven Partridge

I had the extreme honor of beta reading this bad boy, and I loved every second of it.

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Steven Partridge takes his knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons and uses it to create a very fun adventure with an amazing cast of characters.

I think this book is great for any fantasy fan, but especially for those who enjoy funny character interactions and good pacing.

And it’s worth mentioning that this book doesn’t fall prey to the tired and overused fantasy tropes and traditions. Partridge made sure to represent a wide array of races, genders, sexual orientations, and personalities in this book.

It’s a fun read as a DnD fan, but you don’t have to know anything about the game to enjoy this book.

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003: Heroics for Beginners by John Moore

Who doesn’t love a little absurdity in their fantasy?

While it’s been a long while since I read this one, the thing that stuck with me is that our heroes use the ventilation system in the castle, and then escape through the gift shop.

Honestly, I feel like that’s all you need to know.

004: Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David

Fair warning: If you don’t like puns, you won’t like this one. And know that this book starts a series, and every book in that series has a very punny name.

But if you do like puns and fantasy novels with a more modern sense of pacing, then this one is for you.

I read this one while I was in undergrad working on an English degree, and it was a nice change of pace from all the critical theory and Canterbury Tales.

005: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Everyone’s familiar with The Princess Bride as a movie, but have you ever read the book?

The book has the same tone and pacing as the movie, but there are so many more details to fall in love with. Also, the ruse of S. Morganstern is kept up really nicely throughout — sorry if you thought that was the original writer of the story and I just ruined it for you.

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Also, if you’re in anyway interested in metafiction, get on this. Goldman creates a fun publishing feud between him and Stephen King, and like none of it ever happened.

006: The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino

I’m currently reading this one, and I gotta be real. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it.

If you ever had to read The Canterbury Tales, then you know it’s about a band of travelers telling each other tales on a pilgrimage. That’s what this book is like, only not.

The premise of this book is that a group of medieval travelers have arrived at a castle to rest and recuperate before going on their way, but they are all rendered incapable of speech.

In order to tell their stories, they must use a deck of tarot cards.

So far, it’s interesting, but I also don’t think it would appeal to a lot of people.

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007: The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny

This is a whole big beast of a book that actually contains 10 novels.

There are two story arcs, each made up of five novels.

I have not started this bad boy yet, but it’s on my to be read pile this year because it was on a list of tarot-inspired fiction.

I feel like I’m going to have to vlog the experience of reading this it, just because I know I’m going to need to chat about it, and no one I know has read it.

009: His Majesty’s Dragon: A Novel of Temeraire by Naomi Novik

This novel is very pleasant. There are large portions of it where you get to know the characters, and there isn’t a big plot push.

I like that a lot in fiction, though I know not everyone else does.

The premise of this one is that during the Napoleonic Wars, Britain had an air force that rode dragons. And while I’ve only read this one, I’ve heard the whole series is a delight.

010: The Lost Years of Merlin Series by T.A. Barron

I found this series in my middle school library when I was like 12, and loved devouring them. Since that was 22 years ago, I guess I’ve missed the later additions to this series, but I still recommend it wholeheartedly.

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Merlin has always been my favorite character in Arthurian lore, and I love that this series focuses on his beginnings.

Barron also has a book series about a girl named Kate who plays softball and goes to stay with a family member in Oregon, where some magical adventures happen with redwood trees, and I recommend that series too.

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011: Deep Water and Other Stories by Kathryn Trattner

My very awesome friend Kathryn Trattner compiled some of her amazing short stories and put them together in those book. All of them are very subtle and poetic, and I love everything about Katie’s style.

These stories are both fantastic and fabulist, and I will say they lean more to the literary side of the spectrum. But I think even the most diehard genre fantasy fan would love these, simply because they are so well written, and so easy to devour.

Also? I have a signed copy. Suck it, haters.

012: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

It’s a bit weird that this is the only urban fantasy on the list of fun fantasy novels, but here we are.

This story is about a private investigator who gets called in to investigate a murder at a magical school where her sister teaches.

I won’t say anything else because I need you to read it, and also I need you to know that everything Sarah Gailey touches turns to gold. Her American Hippo novellas are great, and I can’t wait for her upcoming novel, Upright Women Wanted.

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What Are Your Fav Fun Fantasy Novels?

Which novels would you recommend? What’s your favorite fantasy trope? How do you find new fantasy novels to read? Any fantasies I didn’t mention that you think I should read?

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