8 Modern Fantasy Authors You Might Have Missed (And Why They’re Great)

Need to catch up on the fantasy book genre? Here are the best fantasy authors from the past few years you need to know about.

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The fantasy book market has become a monolith. Modern authors have built up the ability to craft entire worlds with distinct characters, unique creatures, and fascinating magic systems.

Today’s fantasy books can pull you in and hook you in ways that older fantasy books simply can’t. The hard part is sifting through the excessive number of fantasy books published every year, which makes it tougher to find the real hidden gems of fantasy.

Who are the heavy hitters of today’s fantasy books genre? Here are the best modern fantasy authors who you should check out right away if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!

1. Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is a huge name in the genre right now. She’s completed two successful fantasy book series so far: The Throne of Glass and A Court of Mist and Fury. She’s currently in the middle of the Crescent City series, the first book being House of Earth and Blood.

Her series are a lot of fun to read, with strong female characters in their leading roles. There are elements of a love story in each story, but the main focus rests on them just being great, badass warriors who fight for what’s important to them.

In Crescent City, Bryce Quinlan attempts to bring those who murdered her friends to justice—and, in the process, gains the help of Hunt Athalar, a Fallen Angel with a cranky attitude. They must find a way to work together, and in doing so, draw nearer to each other.

2. Melissa Albert

Melissa Albert presents a wholly unique world in her trilogy, The Hazel Wood. The first book in the series, eponymously title The Hazel Wood, introduces us to Alice and the world of the Hinterland, where the stories from her grandmother’s book are set.

When her mother warns her against returning there, she (of course) does return to enter a world of dark fairy tales. Her story ebbs, flows, and continues into The Night Country, with the dark fairy tales expanding out in the final book, Tales from the Hinterland.

Albert’s world pulls you in with creepy tales and a strong heroine, and it’s clear that she has what it takes to become one of the best modern fantasy authors with a few more books under her belt. 

3. Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is no stranger to the worlds of fantasy and magic. She’s penned five different book series—including Hidden Legacy, Innkeeper Chronicles, Ryder, Kate Daniels, and The Edge—and she brings unique worlds and characters to each of them.

You will not be disappointed in her imagination and all the ways she uses magic to frame her stories. The Innkeeper Chronicles series in particular has a wonderful premise about an inn that fronts as a bed-and-breakfast while housing otherworldly visitors.

4. Emily R. King

As of this writing, Emily R. King has completed two fantasy book series and just released the first book in her third.

Her first two series are The Hundredth Queen (about an orphan girl who competes with a rajah’s 99 wives and courtesans) and The Evermore Chronicles (about a girl with a clock for a heart, living on borrowed time as she seeks revenge before it runs out).

As for her current fantasy series? It’s called Wings of Fury, which begins with the same-titled Wings of Fury that was released earlier this year, and continues with Crown of Cinder in October.

5. Holly Black

The Folk of the Air series is what turned Holly Black into a well-known name among fantasy book fans. This trilogy consists of The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing, centering on the story of Jude and her adventures in faerie court.

She deals with the wicked Prince Cardan, who both repels and attracts her. Their relationship—and the magic around them—pulls you in and keeps you hooked for all three books.

She also has other fantasy series worth checking out, including The Curse Workers Books and Modern Faerie Tales.

6. Laura Sebastian

Laura Sebastian’s Ash Princess series—which contains the books Ash Princess, Lady Smoke, and Ember Queen—follows the story of Theodosia. She must fight to reclaim her lost throne, which was taken from her when her mother was murdered and she was imprisoned.

Theodosia is a strong female character who fights for what she believes is right. This story will captivate you and make you eagerly await what Sebastian may have in mind as the series progresses.

7. Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard caught the notice of fantasy book fans with her four-book Red Queen series. It centers on Mare Barrow, a strong heroine who discovers that she wields a special power, and uses that power to free others from oppression.

While Mare leads a rebellion and helps her people, she attracts the attention of two princes who each have conflicting motives, and that complicates matters for her. The stakes are high, and you wonder if she will be able to rise to the challenge that puts her life on the line.

8. Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber’s three-book fantasy series—consisting of Caraval, Legendary, and Finale—is a magical ride through mysteries, a dangerous game, and illusions.

Sisters Scarlett and Tella dream of leaving their small island in search of adventure, namely to see the once-a-year performance of Caraval. Caraval involves the audience as participants, and if they win the game, they also win something they deeply desire.

All three of these novels have strong hooks, which make you become obsessed to discover the truth along with the sisters.

Inspirational Quotes by Fictional Characters

One of the best things about fiction is that it can change lives. A profound scene with profound characters can often reach deeper—and be more meaningful—than any nonfiction book can.

Here at whatNerd, we’ve experienced our own share of amazing fictional characters who have blessed us with their wisdom.

And we’ve compiled all of those inspirational quotes into a simple PDF that can be printed and pinned to a wall as a reminder. Download the printable PDF below and let fiction change you:

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