10 Famous Fantasy Authors and Their Legendary Novels You Should Read

The fantasy genre is filled with intricate worlds, complex characters with extraordinary abilities, and, of course, exciting storylines. And these famous fantasy authors are highly lauded by critics and fans. Many of them sold millions of books worldwide, were recipients of prestigious awards, and wrote some of the best epic fantasy series. 

Who are they? In this article, we’ll let you know who these best fantasy authors are, including their legendary novels or collection of short stories.

Robert Jordan

When it comes to famous fantasy authors, Robert Jordan, born in 1948, is an iconic name. Jordan began writing as a teenager and earned a degree in physics. After serving in Vietnam, he worked as a nuclear engineer before turning to writing full-time in the 1980s.

Jordan’s work has many awards, including the Hugo, World Fantasy, and David Gemmell Legend awards. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2019.

Must-Read Book: Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is one of the best fantasy books of all time. Rand al’Thor, the protagonist of the series, is a young man from a remote village. He discovers he is the prophesied “Dragon Reborn,” destined to defeat the Dark One and save the world. Other main characters include Perrin Aybara, Matrim Cauthon, Egwene al’Vere, and Nynaeve al’Meara. These characters seek to find and unite various nations in the fight against the Dark One. Along the way, they encounter many obstacles and enemies.

Must-Read Book: Wheel of Time

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J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) was a British author, poet, and philologist. He is recognized as one of the most influential authors of all Time. Tolkien’s love of language and mythology influenced his writing. He created languages, including Elvish and Dwarvish, which are heavily featured in his books.

Must-Read Book: The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is a legendary and timeless fantasy series (also one of the best books of all time!) that follow the adventures of hobbit Frodo Baggins, who is entrusted to destroy the One Ring, the source of Sauron’s power and the key to his domination over Middle-earth.

Must-Read Book: The Lord of the Rings

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George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin (born 1948) is the author of the popular Song of Ice and Fire series, which HBO adapted into the hit television show Game of Thrones. His achievements in fantasy writing are recognized and won acclaim. He was named the 27th most influential person in the world by Time in 1999 and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2018.

Must-Read Book: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones is the first novel in Martin’s highly coveted fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. And it features a large ensemble cast of characters with distinct personalities and motivations to sit on the iron throne and rule the seven kingdoms.

Must-Read Book: A Game of Thrones

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Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson, born in 1975, is an American fantasy author who writes works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction. He has received multiple awards for his work, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Goodreads Choice Awards. He has inspired and mentored many up-and-coming writers through his writing workshops and online classes.

Must-Read Book: The Stormlight Archive

The series centers on a world called Roshar, where magic and innate abilities are ordinary. There is also an ancient, ongoing war between humans and species known as the Parshendi.

The main character of the series is Kaladin, a soldier in the army of King Elhokar who must keep his men alive in battle. Kaladin must also use his powers to save lives, help people, and heal the wounded. Dalinar is a high-ranking nobleman and warrior who struggles with his kingdom’s past and political intrigue.

The series is praised for its complex characters, storylines, and world-building, with many reviewers citing it as one of Sanderson’s best works.

Must-Read Book: The Stormlight Archive

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Patrick Rothfuss

When mentioning famous fantasy authors, it’s impossible not to say, Patrick Rothfuss. He was born in 1973 in Madison, Wisconsin. Patrick Rothfus is the author of The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy and was awarded the 2007 Quill Award for his novel The Name of the Wind. He is involved in several other charitable projects, including Child’s Play and Heifer International.

Must-Read Book: The Kingkiller Chronicle

The series’ intricate and multi-layered storyline features themes of love, loss, power, and destiny. It tells the story of Kvothe, an adventurer, musician, and arcanist who is highly gifted but also notably paranoid and cynical. He was once the infamous “Kingkiller” but now lives as a humble innkeeper under a different name. The Chronicler seeks him out to record his stories. And through different flashbacks, Kvothe recounts his adventures, hardships, and tragedies.

Must-Read Book: The Kingkiller Chronicle

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C.S. Lewis

C.S Lewis was a British writer and scholar from 1898 to 1963. He was a member of the literary discussion group known as the Inklings, which included fellow writers J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. He was able to achieve awards and acclaim for his fiction. His works are often said to have shaped popular culture, with Lewis’s writings providing the popularity of centaurs, dragons, and magic in popular culture.

Must-Read Book: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia follows the story of several children transported to Narnia, a magical and enchanted world filled with supernatural beings, including talking animals. The protagonists challenge enemies to restore peace in Narnia – a complete showdown between good and evil.

Must-Read Book: The Chronicles of Narnia

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Stephen King

When discussing famous fantasy authors, you can never forget Stephen King. He was born in 1947 in Portland, Maine. He became an internationally successful writer, publishing over fifty books and winning numerous awards.

Must-Read Book: The Dark Tower

This epic fantasy series is centered on Roland Deschain, the last of the knight-gunslingers after his world has “moved on.” In his journey toward the titular Dark Tower, Roland meets many characters with distinct personalities and traits. The series incorporates fantasy themes and “Western” elements such as gunslinging. It also includes elements of mythology and folklore as it depicts a struggle between good and evil.

Must-Read Book: The Dark Tower

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Ursula Le Guin

black and white photo of female author Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin is one of the most famous female fantasy authors. She was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California, and died in 2018. Le Guin’s writing was known for its depth and complexity, exploring themes such as gender, identity, and society through the lens of speculative fiction.

She was a pioneer in the field of feminist science fiction, and her work challenged traditional gender roles and social norms. Le Guin won numerous awards, including multiple Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards. She was the first author to win the Hugo and Nebula Awards for the same novel, with “The Left Hand of Darkness” in 1970.

Must-Read Book: A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea follows Ged, a young boy in school who discovers he is a wizard after being given a magic ring. Along the way, he encounters various magical creatures and navigates the complex politics of the wizarding world. Throughout the series, he makes amends for his mistakes and defeats the evil he has unleashed.

Must-Read Book: A Wizard of Earthsea

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Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American born in 1974 and the author of science fiction and fantasy. She builds on traditional African tales traditions and blends them with modern mythology. She has won many awards for her writing, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.

Must-Read Book: Who Fears Death

Who Fears Death is a novel set in post-apocalyptic West Africa. The story begins as Onyesonwuโ€”which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient African languageโ€”is born to a teenage girl named Ezi, who survives the massacre of her village. Ezi is kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery but refuses to be broken by her captors.

After years of abuse, Onyewu escapes from her captors and discovers that she has developed magical abilities with which she plans to exact revenge on her tormentors. As Onyesonwu uncovers the truth about her origins and the powerful sorcerer who seeks to control the region, she becomes a symbol of hope and resistance for her people.

Must-Read Book: Who Fears Death

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Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb is an American author who writes fantasy and science fiction. Hobb is known for her work’s in-depth character development and exploration of complex emotional and psychological themes. She was born in 1952. Hobb’s writing style is often poetic and focused on world-building and atmospheric detail. She has also won the Endeavour Award and the British Fantasy Society award for her books.

Must-Read Book: The Farseer Trilogy

The Farseer‘s main character is a royal bastard named Fitz, who is taken in by Chade Fallstar, his king’s most trusted advisor. Fitz is taught to be the ultimate assassin in the kingdom and becomes an asset to the royal family. As he travels around the kingdom, he meets and makes friends with various people. He interacts with other factions, and as he gets older, Fitz tries to decide where his life should lead him and discovers secrets about himself and those around him.

Must-Read Book: The Farseer Trilogy

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