Go back in time with these medieval fantasy books.
One thing is certain: there’s never a shortage of fantasy books set in the medieval era (especially medieval Europe).
And frankly, I love it.
So, what is medieval fantasy? This genre is pretty much as described: fantasy stories that are inspired by the Middle Ages (roughly from 500 – 1500 CE). You’ll find knights, kings, medieval culture, sword-fights, and travel by horse carriage. But with a dash of fantasy of course: magic, elves, dwarves, dragons, you name it.
Below you can find a selection with some of the best medieval fantasy books.
Best Medieval Fantasy Books
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
The One Ring, crafted by Sauron, The Dark Lord, has resurfaced as it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit. He entrusts the Ring to his cousin, Frodo Baggins, who then must leave his home to make a perilous journey across Middle-earth, to destroy the Ring once and for all and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. Before the Dark Lord finds him, as he is ever searching for his Ring. And the Ring wants nothing more than return to his master.
I can’t have a list with medieval fantasy and not mention one of the most influential books of all time.
So, The Lord of the Rings had to be mentioned.
It’s also one of my favorite fantasy series (if only for the nostalgia), and a must-read for any lover of epic fantasy.
If you’re more in the mood for a standalone, The Hobbit is also phenomenal.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. Winter is coming. In the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell.
Far off, a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne. And a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. There are plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror. the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs in the balance, as each endeavors to win the game of thrones.
As with A Lord of the Rings, this list also wouldn’t be complete without the A Song of Fire and Ice series. While it’s not yet finished (I’m still holding on hope that we will get those final books), you can already get started with the first five of the series.
And the books are quite big, so trust me, it’ll take some time to get through them all. Who knows, perhaps by that time, George will have released the next book. (I refuse to be satisfied with just having the ending through the TV-show.)
The Belgariad by David Eddings
Long ago, the evil god Torak sought dominion over the land and drove men and gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led mankind to reclaim the Orb that protected the West. As long as the Orb remained in Riva, the world would be safe.
But that was only a story. Garion didn’t believe in magic, even though the dark man without a shadow has haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that there was a plan to awake Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger?
The Belgariad is a classic quest fantasy, where you’ll go on a journey with the characters through different continents. It’s a great coming-of-age adventure, well-suited for YA readers.
Or if you enjoy reading YA medieval fantasy books.
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
In a land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one boy will become a walking enigma.
Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. His magical link with animals—known as the Wit—is the only thing that gives him solace. However, the Wit is a perilous magic when used too often, and one abhorred by the nobility.
When Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners, and how to kill a man secretly.
I absolutely love these books. But I have to admit: they’re not for everyone.
They build very slowly and are character-driven. But it’s also because of that, that I’ve never felt closer to any characters in a book ever.
Don’t even get me started on the prose (which is freakin’ amazing).
But if you’re looking for something fast-paced with a lot of action, then these books aren’t what you’re looking for.
Ranger's Apprentice Series by John Flanagan
In the past, the Rangers always scared him—with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. But now, 15-year-old Will has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice.
In fact, the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before they reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, a large battle is brewing. The exiled Morgarath is fathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom.
From an assassin’s apprentice to a ranger’s apprentice. Fair warning: starting this medieval fantasy book series takes some dedication. There are a total of 11 books.
But if you’re up for the challenge, they’re great books. There’s action, adventure, and good twists. It’s suspenseful and heartwarming, perfect for Middle Grade/YA readers.
There are themes of bullying, how hard work and discipline pay off, and to do what is right.
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
One day, Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, thinking he can sell it to buy his family meat for the winter. But as it turns out, the stone brings a dragon hatchling, and Eragon realizes he’s stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight he’s thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller, Eragon and the dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by an evil king.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?
While the movie may not have been that great, the books are wonderful for young readers and those who haven’t read a lot of fantasy yet. The book has a lot of tropes (which certainly isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but all-in-all, it’s very impressive when you consider the author was still a teen himself when he wrote the thing.
I do have to add that you might not enjoy it as much if you’re already well-read into fantasy, as there’s a lot of explaining going on of magic systems and the like you’ll usually already be quite familiar with.
And, considering the inspiration was the Lord of the Rings & Star Wars, you may be reading something that seems very familiar.
However, if you want your kid to start reading fantasy, this is a perfect introduction.
The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend, fading into myth, and then long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Five villagers flee into the night after the Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a tribe of half-men, half-beasts. They run into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting both in the shadows and in the light.
This one’s a classic, and also a time commitment: there are a total of 14 books.
However, if you’re looking for medieval fantasy, then this is a great series to read. Especially since now it’s turning into a show (on Amazon, I think?), it may be good to get a head start with reading the series.
As I said, it’s a classic epic fantasy, meaning we have a company traveling the road, a chosen one, an awakened evil… you get the point. If you’re looking for originality, this may not be the best pick. Also don’t read this if you’re looking for a fast read.
BUT if you want amazing writing, impeccable worldbuilding (yep, lots of details), and a wonderful set of characters, you can’t go wrong with this series.
Those were the Best Medieval Fantasy Books!
I hope you’ve found a great pick from this book list to add to your medieval fantasy book collection.
Have you read any of these?
Is there a book you would add to this list?
Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below!