Genre guide – Fantasy fiction

This page links to recommended reading lists for a range of fantasy fiction sub-genres as well as other fantasy resources. It also lists fantasy authors whose work you may like to try - including familiar names and some that may be new to you.

Fantasy fiction offers the reader possibilities in storytelling limited only by the author's own imagination. From the high fantasy of wizards and elves, to the swords and skullduggery of grimdark, there’s something for everyone and these stories will carry you into wide world of wonder and magic.

Prefer science to magic? Try our Science fiction genre guide.

Authors of Fantasy fiction

Recommended reading

Epic Fantasy

Epic fantasy is one of the biggest sub-genres of fantasy, drawing from ancient epic storytelling, combining legend and myth, and often sprawling with elves and orcs, quests and good pitted against evil with everything at stake. The best epic fantasy is intricately plotted with attention to details in terms of world building and magic systems and cultures.

Fairy Tale Retellings

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. She was practically perfect in every way. She had everything she could possibly desire and lived happily ever after... Just kidding! She rejected the boring Prince and took up witchcraft instead. If you like fairy tales and folklore you might like these tales re-imagined in a truly unique way.

Grimdark Fantasy

Not for the faint of heart, a Grimdark Fantasy drags you into a brutal, dirty, adrenaline-pumping spin. These tales aren’t afraid to show some skin or spill some blood. Although you’ll quickly find yourself rooting for one of the flawed characters that make these works so enjoyable, it is also advised that you steel yourself before diving into the fray… For in the realm of Grimdark Fantasy, nobody is safe.

Historical Fantasy

Set in a period of history and embellished with the author’s own imagination, Historical Fantasy fiction delivers historical realities, complex plots, and some level of magical or other-worldly content. Myths and legends become historical figures and the balance of what really happened vs what could have happened is constantly challenged. Expect vivid setting, good pace, and interestingly different characters.

Humorous Fantasy

Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams are the acknowledged kings of humorous and satirical fantasy and science fiction. Here are some other writers whose books also contain some of the incredibly and lovingly clever silliness that we expect from Pratchett and Adams.

LGBTQIA+ Speculative and Fantasy Fiction 

This list has stories about LGBTQIA+ characters set in Sci-Fi or Fantasy worlds. These stories are often dark and full of drama with life-threatening adventures, or with bright and fantastical settings filled with strange creatures and bursting with magic. If you like stories based around awesome environments, and cool, interesting characters grab one of these and get transported into another world!

Magic Realism

Magic realism, broadly speaking, presents the supernatural, the uncanny, and the magical alongside a view of the world that is otherwise realistic or mundane. Thought provoking and strange, the magical elements interwoven into these narratives can provoke readers to consider and question the nature of their own realities.

The New Weird

Blurring the lines between fantasy, sci-fi, and horror is the New Weird. Otherworldly themes, unusual characters with strange abilities, and an ever-increasing sense of urban dread - that's the world of New Weird Fiction. You'll find these titles breaking conventions and experimenting with what can be done with printed storytelling. 

New Zealand Fantasy/Horror/Sci-fi

A selection of titles celebrating Fantasy, Horror, and Sci-Fi born from the minds of talented, sometimes legendary New Zealand authors. There are epic quests, magical happenings, ghouls, and supernatural creatures from Māori myth, as well as slashers and killers. Some stories have distinctly Kiwi settings, others a more international flavour.

Paranormal Romance

If you like stories about paranormal beings set in a fantastical world with a dose of romance this lustful list is for you! There are vampires, seductive ghosts, lusty werewolves and all manner of naughty beasts to sink your teeth into - all the magical ingredients for supernatural love.

Sci-fi, Horror and Fantasy short stories

A selection of short fiction anthologies by influential authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Consult this list for short but affecting tales of the supernatural, the dark arts, space exploration, alternate worlds, or horrific goings on.

Steampunk Adventure

Imagine the history and intrigue of the 19th century blended with magic, monsters, and mad science.

Swords and Sorcery

Exotic settings, fast-paced adventures and morally compromised protagonists, these works are imaginative and filled with adventure. If you want action and you want it now, then crack open the door to a long-forgotten tomb, cuddle up to your favourite battle-axe, grab a friend to watch your back and venture into the genre that is Swords and Sorcery.

Urban Fantasy

These stories mingle the real world with the “other” - sprawling cities populated by werewolves, witches, faeries and more. Whether unravelling a mystery or completing a quest you never know quite what to expect. 

Award winners

For more Fantasy try:

In the catalogue: