It’s a question any genre fan will ask themselves at some point. What fantasy fiction should I read now? There is always a great temptation to revert to the classics and explore the best fantasy books you already know about.
Why not dive back into The Lord of the Rings, explore Westeros for the third time or go for something a little bit out there but still tried-and-tested, like The Lies of Locke Lamora? Well, because while these established legacies are all well and good, every year sees more and more amazing works of new fantasy fiction hit the shelves, and 2019 is going to be no exception.
So, forget about the classics. Forget about those novels you’ve been saying you’ll read for years, because 2019 is all about new and exciting authors, and new fantasy books. But where should you look first? Let’s take a look at the best fantasy books of 2019 so far, and what new fantasy book releases are coming up as well.
New Fantasy Book Releases: What’s Already Out?
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Written by acclaimed author, Marlon James, Black Leopard is the first in a planned trilogy by the writer. Originally touted as being the next Game of Thrones (although this was later said to be a joke by James) the world of fiction was nonetheless buzzing upon this new fantasy book’s release earlier this year. Articles and reviews were topping all the fantasy book news websites. The novel is inspired by African mythology, and draws heavily upon political influences of the continent and tribal culture. The entry point to James’ Dark Star series, the narrative of Black Leopard takes on a unique, almost ethereal quality. Receiving rave reviews and massive amounts of interest right out the gate, this novel has secured itself the title of one of the best fantasy books of 2019, and definitely something any fan of the genre should consider reading.
The Ruin of Kings
“Everything epic fantasy should be” - this is how one reviewer described The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons. The first novel in what promises to be an exhilarating series of new fantasy books, the story tears apart many of the classic tropes we’re used to and offers up a new take on the genre, while still offering a slice of familiarity at the same time. A rich and diverse opener, Lyon’s work is primed to be not only one of the best fantasy books of 2019, but also an introduction to a world that will continue to make list like these for years to come. Now is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor of what is guaranteed to be a journey unlike any other.
It is so rare to see a book series that improves over time. Often, an author seems to drive right out the gate on a high, only for quality to dip over time as they become too familiar with their world, or ideas start to flounder and readers realise they aren’t going to get the answers or conclusions they crave. When it comes to Susan Dennard’s The Witchlands series, this is far from the case. Only getting better as time has gone on, her new fantasy book, Bloodwitch, is the third primary title in the series and has been met with a massive (and incredibly positive) fan and critical response. It’s hard not to describe this book without giving too much away, but let’s just say the third installment alone is enough to make you think about getting on board with the entire Witchland saga.
Best Fantasy Books Coming in 2019: Planned Releases
Crowfall (June 27th)
Ed McDonald’s powerhouse series of dark fantasy novels has gone from strength to strength since the release of Blackwing in 2017. Set in a bleak and often desolate world, these short but sweet new fantasy books aren’t typical of the genre. They are light on their feet, without lots of the meandering world-building many writers fall prey to. Instead, the story-telling is swift, brutal and utterly enthralling, from the first page to the last. June will see the release of the third in the series, Crowfall, and must-read for any fantasy fan.
The Dragon Republic (July 22nd)
R. F Kuang
The Poppy War, the debut novel by grimdark fantasy author R.F Kuang, was a stunning introduction to a truly unique and captivating fantasy world. One of the best fantasy books of the last year, it stormed to the top of many best-seller lists and was welcomed with great critical acclaim. A realm inspired by ancient Japanese dynasties, The Poppy War is crafted around a drug-addled state beset by violence and twisted magic. The beautifully designed story meshed elements of fantasy with darker notes of horror and complex politics. The end left us wanting much, much more, and luckily we’ll be getting exactly what we’ve been craving, with the release of The Dragon Republic in July of 2019.
Bloodchild (August 22nd)
It all started in 2017, with the release of Godblind, carried forward by Darksoul, and now it ends with Bloodchild. Anna Stephen’s bewitching fantasy series has been received to great critical acclaim, but it’s really the creativity and inventiveness behind the world the author has built that should really get you excited for the conclusion to this epic trilogy. Promising to bring together twisting tales of Gods and kingdoms torn to pieces, Bloodchild is guaranteed to be one of the most thrilling new fantasy books coming this year.
A Little Hatred
It’s been eleven long and arduous years since The First Law series concluded. Joe Abercrombie never left the fictional scene, but his new fantasy books were often spin-offs or short story pieces. They might have offered new depth to his world, but what fans have really been clawing for is a true return to the saga of Logan, Ferro, Glockta and the rest. Amongst the new fantasy book releases of 2019, we’ll finally see that return. Slated for September 2019, A Little Hatred seems set to jump into the future, and feature the offspring of some of our most beloved characters, and the resurgence threats better left buried.