5 Fantasy Series For People Who Don’t Like Fantasy

Fantasy is not a genre I read often; I simply don’t have the patience for it. Magic, adventure, leather pants and moldy cheese (most fantasy characters seem to tote around some all the time) are just really not my thing.

I’m saying this, but some of my all time favourite books are actually fantasy. But they all come with a little twist!

What are these, you ask? Well, let me show you.

The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

Roland, a.k.a. The Gunslinger is on an epic quest to find the mysterious Dark Tower, his progress hindered by the ever elusive Man In Black. He comes from a sort of parallel world where he’s the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, which is their equivalent of King Arthur. His land is a magical version of the American Old West. His joined on his journey by Eddie, Jake and Susannah who all come from the world we know as our own, alas from different times. The story has elements of horror, dark fantasy, sciency bits and western. I might also add, it’s damn delicious, and epic A.F.

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

The books in this series are almost straight up fantasy novels in terms of setting and plot, and yet I found it just so refreshing. Kvothe, our main character is a loveable wiseass, and he’s only around twelve years old when his story begins with the first book, The Name of the Wind. Part of a troupe of Edema Ruh, traveling performers he spends most of his time acting along with his parents, until one fateful night their caravan is attacked by a group of mysterious figures, the Chandrian, and he remains the only survivor. Kvothe sets out on a quest to find out just who or what the Chandrian are and take his revenge.What I particularly loved about the story, apart from the charming, yet relatable main character was how it handled magic. Magic here is a sort of science that talented (and mostly rich) youngsters can learn at the University. The humour is brilliant and the writing is absolutely riveting.

The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Also known as the Game of Thrones series, these books have some elements of fantasy: there are dragons, there’s some magic, giants, and a super creepy undead army, but it’s still feels more like a political story set in a sort of medieval, sort of magical land. There are a ton of characters to keep track of, but they are all amazingly well done, and all the books are pretty suspenseful page turners. Apart from the court intrigue, the adventure and plenty of murder and death there’s also some romance in the background, but nothing sappy or corny about it.

The Reckoners Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Set in a slightly futuristic version of our world, these three books follow a group of ordinary people who fight the Epics: men and women with extraordinary powers. Nobody knows how they came to be, but the Epics are now ruling over everyone and it’s up to the Reckoners to stop them. It’s a YA series, so the main character, David, is a teenage boy, who is set out to destroy Steelheart, the epic who killed his father.
I was totally hooked on this one.

The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg

There’s just something magical about this series, and I don’t only mean the fact that Ceony Twill, our main character is a magic user. The setting reminded me of the Victorian version of England, and the practical side of magic through folding papers, creating glass bits and bobs or bending metal was quite fascinating. Ceony and her mentor Emery Thane had an obvious chemistry, but it was not cringeworthy at all.

Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite fantasy stories?

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @Bionic Bookworm, and this week’s topic was fantasy favourites.


  1. Ova

    Damn right when you say one needs patience to read Fantasy. What happened to : make every word count?
    Fantasy writers seem to compete for writing longer books.

    Great selection, I’ve read all except Sanderson!
    My fav is obviously GOT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was surprisingly good and intriguing.
      I’m still trying to muster up the courage to read other Sanderson stuff. But they are so long! And possibly very much like traditional fantasy…


  2. This is such a great idea for a list! When I read more fiction I could never get that into fantasy but I also liked what I read of the Dark Tower series. You’re so right, it takes patience and commitment to read fantasy but these sound more accessible, especially the Paper Magician series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beware Of The Reader

    Of course you would come up with totally other choices than mine Nortie πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I still need to write mine.and if I have lusted over Brandon Sandetson I haven’t read it so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, i’m curious to see your list!
      I have Mistborn by Sanderson, but it’s so loooong and it’s like proper fantasy, and i have a colleague who keeps asking when i’m gonna read it and i’m like “please kill me now”. πŸ˜€


    • Most of his books are weird for sure!
      I think initially that was their appeal to me, and then i just fell in love with his writing style.

      And you are right, the last one is pretty tame and not too fantasy like. One of the reasons i also enjoy it a lot πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, i need to check that anime out. I don’t know a lot of those, but my BF loves them, so maybe it’s something he’d watch with me πŸ˜€

      Ice and Fire does need patience… the last book came out in 2012 i think? And since then nothing. I’m pretty sure by the time the new one comes i won’t remember a thing, only what happened in the TV version πŸ˜€


  4. I’m not a big fantasy reader, but I always enjoy them when I read them…I’ve not read any of these, but I’m a GoT fan. I love this post because I think these would be β€œsafe” fantasy choices for me. Thanks, Norrie! β™₯️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emily

    I completely agree – all too many fantasy books seem to be wayyyy too long. I’m recently getting back into fantasy and really want to read some of these.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. I think the fantasy genre covers such a huge spectrum of books. Patrick Rothfuss is amazing, I liked George RR Martins books. I also loved Trudi Canavan, Terry Pratchett, Clive Barker’s – Weaverworld, Steve McHugh-Avalon Chronicles, Phillip Pulman…oops sorry got a bit carried away there 😬😁 and then of course there is Tolkien… xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved ASOIAF! Though it still frustrates me thinking of Martin and his writer’s block that I still suspect is fueled by laziness and HBO money. *sigh* Oh well. At least we’ll get an ending! I keep hearing about Sandersonβ€”I need to read his stuff, but I’m not sure if I have the patience for something dense right now. And Lethal White is out now, so I’m afraid that takes priority. Actually, not afraid. Thrilled, because I love that series. Great list! The Paper Magician series sounds interesting. I’ll have to add it to my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a great idea for a list, I love it! πŸ™‚ I haven’t read any of these, but I’ve heard amazing things about Sanderson’s books. Will have to keep these recs in mind πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think Game of Thrones has got to be my top fantasy! (Insert whining that it’s unfinished which is I have to be honest one of the big reasons I haven’t picked up that Patrick Rothfuss series yet.) The Dark Tower interested me more after someone spoiled the ending I found it fascinating but now I’m like do I really want to commit to the books? Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? I didn’t realise when i started reading Name of the Wind that the 3rd book is gonna be like Game of Thrones and i’ll be waiting forever πŸ˜€

      Ah, spoilers. :/ Why would they do that?


  11. When you said “moldy cheese” I immediately thought of Alistair from DA:O. πŸ˜€ And these are great picks!! AOIAF definitely feels more historical than fantasy and there were times when I went, “oh I forgot, there are dragons and ice zombies in this.” And the Reckoners is like the one sanderson series I haven’t checked out. Which I should probably remedy…:D

    Liked by 1 person

  12. emmareadstoomuch

    some of these series have daunted me in the past so good to know! also, how is the moldy cheese thing so real? i’m reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman right now and it’s so real. why are all fantasy characters always packing knapsacks for long journeys and filling them with bread, cheese, and apples???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Stardust was good!
      I’m pretty sure they are trying to imply a medieval setting where people had no access to other kinda fruits, but then again, why all fantasy have to be based on medieval europe?
      And why can’t they have fresh cheese and nice bread? πŸ˜€ Like normal people…
      I need to see a fantasy character eating a mango or something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch

        oh my god yes! there just needs to be fantasy where there are more foods. that’s also one of the fun parts of good world-building in fantasy anyway!! so it’s a win win

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m not a huge fan of Fantasy novels either but I think I’ll add the Paper Magician series to my TBR, I love the covers and they sound really interesting and light-hearted. Thanks for sharing!

    I did read all of the Miss Peregrine’s novels and am anticipating the next one coming out soon! I surprisingly enjoyed them all a whole lot. β™‘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, i hope you’ll like Paper Magician. It is indeed quite light and entertaining, nothing deep or heavy πŸ˜€

      I haven’t read Miss Peregrine yet – also want to see the movie so i’m not sure if i should watch it or also read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t even know there was a book series at first, I just found out after I had already watched the film! Both are equally good but quite different from each other– I do wish I had been able to read them all first!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I am that person who doesn’t generally pick fantasies on regular basis. In fact, I have read only a little in that genre.
    The Game of Thrones show is my all time favourite but I am afraid to pick up the books just because of their size πŸ˜€ Large books intimidate me πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have the first dark tower book but so far I have not started it yet. Stephen King and I have not gotten along as of yet (it was one book and I dnf-ed). I had highter expectations of The Reckoners because everyone hyped Brandon Sanderson so much and so those kind of fell miss for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, i had 2 friends who borrowed my copy of Dark Tower 1 and they both said it was boring and not what they expected and they basically DNFd it. It’s defo a different style to what King normally does, but he was quite young when he came up with that story and since then there’s a new / improved edition.

      I haven’t read anything else by Sanderson, so i had nothing to compare it to πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! πŸ˜€
    I absolutely looooove A Song of Ice and Fire. ❀
    The Kingkiller Chronicle is on my TBR list and I just recently purchased The Paper Magician so I was excited to see those on your post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great list of fantasy! You have all types. I think any one could start with any of these series as an intro to fantasy. Love The Dark Tower series by King. One of my favorite fantasy series is The Others by Ann Bishop. Written in Red is the first book. Fantasy is set in an alternate earth. Thanks for sharing. β™₯️β™₯️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Big fantasy fan, though it’s hardly the only genre I read (they are SO epically long, I’d finish like 20 books a year!), and I love that you love Martin and Rothfuss. As fantasy goes, I think they are top shelf, not just enjoyable reads, but beautifully written. Perhaps that’s why they appeal to a wider audience. I keep meaning to get to something by Sanderson. Fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. CG @ Paper Fury

    Oh I completely love Game of Thrones and Name of the Wind!! The latter was really different for me, too?! Which I loved. Like magical university and precious little upstart who means well but is a genius who always puts his foot in it?! LOVED KVOTHE SO MUCH. I still have no idea how to say his name though.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ah, I loved The Name of the Wind – such a great fantasy book, but I have yet to read the next books in the series. I am bad with series. Also, I should really check out The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg because it looks awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Absolutely awesome list of books/series here. I still need to get around to reading the GoT series, but I can’t tell yet if I want to keep it for after the final season of the TV series or start before. And gosh, I need to read everything Brandon Sanderson wrote. His ideas are truly… magical and formidable! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Yesterday, someone tweeted about A Song of Ice and Fire, and today, I see this! The world is sending me a bunch of signs that I have to read this series already. πŸ˜‚ Anyway, I AM a fantasy fan, but I have trouble with the ~heavier~ fantasies. BUT!!! These books do sound fantastic, so I’ll keep them in mind. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

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  24. I have to say, I am a huge fantasy fan. It’s, like, my favorite genre so it was SUPER cool to see a list from someone who isn’t as crazy as I am. BUT. I WANT TO READ THE FREAKIN’ PAPER MAGICIAN SERIES SO BADLY. ARGH. I JUST CANNOT.

    Liked by 1 person

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  26. What a nice selection! I haven’t read any of these. Paper Magician is in my Kindle. It’s just, they are too long! But, we shall start from somewhere πŸ™‚ Thanks Norrie!


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