Bestselling YA Epic Fantasy Books that make it to the top of the charts are easy to find. Authors, publishers, and booksellers usually market them very well, and your friends often heartily recommend them to you.
They’re hard to miss.
But what if you’ve read all the popular epic fantasy books you’re interested in? (Is that even possible??) Maybe it’s time to find something new, something less popular that’s still getting great reviews.
Here’s a short list of eight epic fantasy titles (found on bestseller lists in November 2021) that you might not have heard of. Some of the authors might be familiar to you, but some are new. Some of these bestselling YA epic fantasy books are published by traditional publishing companies and some are by indie authors.
All of them are epic fantasy in the best sense of the genre: they’re set in a world completely different from our own and they’re full of adventure, battles, heroes and villains. The plots tend to have complex, world-changing implications. And of course, there’s magic.
November 2021 Giveaway
Everyone on our mailing list as of November 30, 2021 will be entered into a draw to win a print edition of one the fantasy books mentioned in this blog post (max. value $20 USD).
by Hafsah Faizal
Okay, you might have heard of this one. It’s hard to get listed as a TIME Magazine Top 100 Fantasy Book of All Time and not get noticed by readers. But this is an epic fantasy set not in a European medieval influenced world but an ancient Arabian influenced world.
Every day, Zafira disguises herself as a man to go out and hunt in a dangerous forest in order to help feed her people. Until one day, the Silver Witch presents her with a quest to bring long-forbidden magic back to her people. She accepts the task but is tracked by the Sultan’s son, Nasir, who must kill her and steal the magical artifact Zafira seeks.
“Lyrical and filled with adventure, a slow-burn romance, and an unforgettable cast of characters in a world based on ancient Arabia, this is a debut series not to be missed.” —School Library Journal
by Adrienne Young
This Viking-inspired epic fantasy tells the story of seventeen-year-old Eelyn, a young warrior who fights rival clans.
When a a ruthless clan thought to be a legend threatens all other clans, Eelyn and her brother’s friend, Fiske, have to unite the clans if any of them hope to survive.
“Drawing on Viking history and lore, debut author Young crafts an exciting, at times heart-wrenching story centered around 17-year-old Eelyn, her Aska clan, and their centuries-old war with the Riki…Young’s often poetic writing forms a stark juxtaposition with her vivid descriptions of battle and bloodshed, creating a clear picture of the brutality of war.” —Publishers Weekly
by Pedro Urvi
This clean, epic fantasy features seventeen-year-old Lasgol, who wants to redeem the honor of his Ranger father, the man who betrayed the kingdom and tried to kill the King. To do so, he enters the School of Rangers, a secret training center where the defenders of the kingdom are trained for four years.
“Epic fantasy full of adventure, action, magic, mystery and some romance for all ages.”
by Elise Kova
You might be familiar with this author’s popular Air Awakens series, but maybe not this series based in that universe.
Vi Solaris is a princess who must choose between doing what’s expected of her by claiming the throne and abandoning those expectations to use her gift of forbidden magic to rescue her people from a plague and political infighting.
Note: you can read this series without having read the Air Awakens series.
“New readers and old fans alike will love this heart-stopping, emotional adventure.” —The Reading Faery
by Tricia Levenseller
In this villain-as-hero epic fantasy, Alessandra plots to take over the kingdom by wooing the Shadow King, marrying him, then killing him so she can rule.
“Alessandra is hardly likable—she is cunning and deceitful, and she loves to toy with others—yet readers will root for her.” —School Library Journal
by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
Here’s a zero-to-hero fantasy adventure complete with magic, mystery, and monsters. The protagonist, Brock, wields a forbidden magic and weasels his way into a school where the Empire’s future leaders are trained. There, he must control his powers or they will destroy him.
“A hidden gem amongst an array of great fantasy books.” —Observant Raven
by Christopher Mitchell
This is the beginning of a lengthy epic fantasy series set in a city ruled by the gods. The tale that brings together the seemingly different stories of Corthie, a champion fighter who helps defend the city against the Greenhides (creepy monsters); Maddie, a young defender who is given a task that leads her to face a dragon.
Be prepared for a long, multi-book series which means you might find book one a bit slow or confusing as the author establishes the characters and the world. But most readers of the series agree that it’s worth the effort. And keep in mind that this is only one series set in the Magellan’s universe. So, if you enjoy the world and the characters (and, of course, the writing style), you’ll have a long reading journey ahead of you.
by David Estes
This is book one in The Fatemarked Epic (at least five books).
The fatemarked are the prophesied chosen few who will bring peace to a land embroiled in war. Roan Loren is one of the fatemarked, but has hidden his mark of power his entire life. But a powerful evil force is coming and he can no longer hide.
“David Estes gives us a broad range of characters in, shall we say, complex situations. Halfway through the first book, I thought I knew where it was going and how the series would conclude. By the end of Fatemarked, I realized I had no idea where this thing was going and I loved it! If you’re tired of paint-by-the-numbers fantasy, then strap into Fatemarked and hold on for the ride.” —AC Cobble, bestselling fantasy author
More Bestselling YA Epic Fantasy Books
Of course, we have to mention our very our Maidstone Chronicles. Although not set entirely in another world, most of the story takes place in the Fourwinds. And it is truly an epic adventure!
If you’ve discovered a lesser known but well-loved epic fantasy book, please comment below.