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The 20 best fantasy books of 2021

The experts at the Graff bookstore in Braunschweig tell us every month which new fantasy releases and bestsellers are really worth reading. Here we present our joint top 20 leaderboard of fantasy books 2021:

Anne Buchberger The crown of dragons

Naomi Novik Scholomance: Deadly Lesson

Stefanie Lasthaus Touch of Ink - The legend of the converter

Terry PratchettDiscworld All Stars

Julia DippelCassardim - Beyond the Black Staircase

Margaret OwenCrow magic - The twelve boxes from Sabor

Véronique PetitSix lives

Matt Haig The midnight library

Kevin Hearne Ink and Seal: The Chronicle of the Seal Mage I.

Maya Motayne Nocturna: The Game of the Fox

Michael PeinkoferOrk City

Nova HillThe Woods - The Forgotten Asylum

Susanna ClarkeJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jenny PieperBonfire

Ursula K. Le GuinErdsee - The first trilogy

Akram El-BahayWord Guardian

Antonia NeumayerBetween you and the dark

Luke ArnoldThe last hero of Sunder City

Nathan WinterThe alchemy of the cold fire

Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book


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Who will gain the power of the dragon - Zina or the emperor's son?

 Zina has been in the service of the Sun Emperor for a long time, but that should soon be over. When the ruler's eldest son returns unsuccessfully from his mission to kill the Dragon King, she sees her chance. Because the power of the dragon is very valuable. The emperor sends his next son on this dangerous journey, but also Zina and her best friend Daniel make their way to the Dragon Islands. Look in book

Why I like the novel:

 I think the three main characters of Anne Buchberger's “The Crown of Dragons” are good because they take their predetermined fate into their own hands - and that in a world in which special rules apply and magic plays a major role. "The Crown of Dragons" is a gloomy one High fantasy Story worth reading!

Anne Buchberger The crown of dragons ISBN 978-3-492-70585-1, 384 pages, € 14.00. IVI Verlag Order from Graff

A school full of potentially deadly magical beings

There are only two options at Scholomance: you hold out until your final exam or you die. Because the Scholomance is a deadly school: It is teeming with "Mals" (potentially deadly magical beings), there are no teachers and you have no chance to escape the Scholomance: As a magician child you are automatically drafted and can only leave school again if you die - or if you make it out of the great festival hall alive at the end of 12th grade. It goes without saying that all students try to forge the best alliances. Only El is left behind, because nobody likes her. In order to prove itself, it would have to present a spectacular spell or, best of all, destroy a “mark” in an incredibly powerful way. Unfortunately, the school hero Orion Lake always gets in between ...

Why I like the book:

“Scholomance” is - of course - a school of magicians again. But the school is more like an obstacle course made up of intrigue, deadly traps and a lot of hardened young witches and wizards. El is the focus and she has a dark secret within her. The story becomes all the more interesting when it is repeatedly saved by Orion. Because El is a pretty strong witch and her humor is oozing with sarcasm! Naomi Novik's “Scholomance” is the great start of a new one Dark Fantasy Row and I'm already looking forward to the second part!

Naomi Novik Scholomance: Deadly Lesson ISBN 978-3-570-16609-3, 480 pages, € 20.00. cbj Order from Graff

A mysterious university - and a mysterious tattoo

Ever since she was little, Quinn has wondered what the tattoo on her neck is all about. But this question is never answered because she was abandoned by her parents as a small child. She later moves in with her stepsister to study at Vancouver Island University. There, the attractive Nathan snatches a mini job right under her nose. Quinn immediately notices that not everything is quite normal at this university: the students behave strangely and over time more and more people disappear from town, in the end even their new girlfriend. Nathan is also becoming more and more mysterious. Is he keeping a secret? And why does he know about Quinn's tattoo? Scroll through the book

Why I like the novel:

Exciting, mysterious and romantic! So I can do this Romantasy Best describe the novel. By changing perspectives, you get to know Nathan and Quinn well. I'm really looking forward to the sequel!

Stefanie Lasthaus Touch of Ink - The legend of the converter ISBN 978-3-473-58590-8, 544 pages, € 14.99 Ravensburger. Order from Graff

Death speaks in UPPERCASE - welcome to Discworld!

Death needs an apprentice. But this then does not want to let any people die - which brings the cosmos upside down. The witches Grandma Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Knoblauch have nothing less than to save the land of Lancre. In addition, a dragon threatens the capital of the discworld Ankh-Morpork, which calls the city guard under Sergeant Mumm and Private Carrot on the scene. Every single story in Terry Pratchett's Discworld All Stars is epic in its own right, but when combined, they're phenomenal! Scroll through the book

Why I like the novel:

It's the Discworld! The huge turtle Great A‘Thuin glides through space, carrying four elephants on its back, which in turn carry the Discworld on their backs. The world created by Terry Pratchett is as unique as it is amusing, but at the same time everything is also a metaphor for our world. Anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a cosmos in these times that is not at all like our living space - but also frighteningly similar in parts - receives the three most important starting volumes in one Adventure fantasy Book a value for money!

Terry Pratchett Discworld All Stars ISBN 978-3-492-28229-1, 1,104 pages, € 18.00 Piper. Order from Graff

Julia Dippel's “Beyond the Black Staircase” is the second volume in the Cassardim series

The shadow court is a place of intrigue. But as the future princess, Amaia has to pay him a visit. This is not safe. Julia Dippel's “Cassardim - Beyond the Black Staircase”!

Amaia did it. She defeated Fidrin, but she had to pay a great price for it. During the battle, the jewel of power was destroyed. With the destruction of the jewel, chaos is breaking into the country more and more often. The political order is not yet stable either, because although Katair is alive, has been freed from captivity and is now the rightful emperor, he refuses to recognize Amaia as a daughter. Amaia and Noár also have to keep their love a secret, despite their official engagement, and pretend that it only happened out of coercion.

To the review "Cassardim - Beyond the Black Staircase (Volume 2)"

Julia Dippel Cassardim - Beyond the Black Stairs (Volume 2) ISBN 978-3-522-50698-4 432 pages | € 17.00 Planet! Order now at bücher.de

Margaret Owen's fantasy novel “The Magic of the Crows” is even more exciting than Part 1 of the series

The wicked witch Rhusana appears. It's about power. But the brave stubbornness and her crows fight back! Margaret Owens presents the second volume of the Sabor dilogy with “Krähenzauber”.

She could save Prince Jasimir. But separated from Tavin, Stur - now the winglord of her gang - has to move on. Because crows go where they are called. Meanwhile, Tavin stays with his mother, General Draga, with whom he and Jasimir want to go back to the palace. Beside the crow rott there are also some hawk soldiers traveling at Stur's side, who offer them protection from the oleander junkers. But not only the hawks make them strong: Thanks to the phoenix teeth, Sturdy is almost invincible. This enables them to lead a better life than they could have imagined just a few weeks ago.

To the review "Krähenzauber - The Twelve Boxes from Sabor"

Margaret Owen Crow magic - The twelve boxes from Sabor ISBN 978-3-551-58406-9, 416 pages | € 19.99 Carlsen. Order now at bücher.de


What would you do if you had six lives?

On his 15th birthday, Gabriel learns that he is something very special: He is one of the few people who have six lives. At his school there are some two lives, three lives and even a girl who has four lives - but six! He's the only one there. He throws himself headlong into a dangerous life of parachute jumps and heroism. But when he has already lost three of his six lives within a month, he is beginning to have doubts: Is it really that great to have several lives? And what should they be used for? Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

This Urban fantasy-Book of a special kind raises many questions. If you let yourself get involved with the fantastic premise that people can simply have several lives like that, the story of Gabriel and his path makes you think and reflect; also about what one could possibly achieve in a single life. A great book, not just for young people.

Véronique Petit Six lives, ISBN 978-3-95854-162-7, 218 pages, € 15.00, Mixtvision Order from Graff

The sad Nora ends up in the midnight library

Pretty much everything goes wrong in Nora Seed's life: she loses her job, her cat dies and those around her don't want to know anything more about her. The young woman falls into a deep depression and, out of sheer desperation, decides to take her own life. But instead of going to heaven, Nora ends up in the so-called midnight library. Here it is possible for people to see how their life could have been. Nora can try out the different lives that she has never actually experienced. She can find out what would have happened had she taken another turn. In doing so, Nora finds out a lot about herself and her life. Look into the book

 Why I like the novel

Matt Haig's new one Urban fantasy-Roman really touched me from the start. Even if the story of Nora Seed begins sadly, it is an homage to life in all its diversity. With his humorous but at the same time sensitive writing style, I felt very entertained by Matt Haig. After this wonderful novel, one can appreciate life even more despite its difficulties.

Matt Haig The midnight library ISBN 978-3-426-28256-4, 320 pages, € 20.00, Droemer. Order from Graff

More about the book:

Review: Matt Haig's bestseller “The Midnight Library” has a deeply comforting message

The student mage trades in fairies illegally

This is now the seventh student who dies from the seal magician Al MacBharrais. He should be starting to think about it. On the other hand - at least that's how MacBharrais discovers that his student has been involved in an illegal trade in fairies. Should he perhaps find out what this is all about? As a seal mage, MacBharrais finally regulates the traffic between the fairy and human worlds. And if something goes wrong there - who knows whether that is in the spirit of the supreme goddess of poetry? Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

This one comes action-packed and with a damn dry sense of humor Urban fantasyHistory therefore. An absolute plus point for me: The novel is mostly set in Glasgow and is spiced with a hearty pinch of swear words and gin - a lot of gin. A fun, rock-solid novel that won't keep your eyes dry, also because of the excellent quirky characters - I'm just saying Hobgoblin Fuck Boy - er Buck Foi.

Kevin Hearne Ink and Seal: The Chronicle of the Seal Mage I. ISBN 978-3-608-98203-9, 378 pages, € 15.00, Hobbit Press from Klett Cotta. Order from Graff

The game of the fox has begun - and it's deadly

After his older brother Dez disappeared without a trace in an assassination attempt, Prince Alfehr is desperately looking for a way to save him. He hasn't given up on Dez like his parents did, but the more time passes, the more hopeless it is for Dez to return alive and safe. Alfie has to get used to the idea that he is now the Crown Prince, a role he never wanted to have. Due to a mistake on his part, incredibly dark and evil magic is released that threatens the citizens of San Cristóbal. Alfie tries everything to make up for his mistake and protect everyone. On his way he meets the face thief Finn, who has not seen her own face for years and who keeps afloat with thefts. Together they try to fix the evil magic again. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

The novel engages you in a strange world full of magic and dirty stories that have completely cast a spell on me. The Spanish words that the author uses make the story all the more interesting. Lots of changes in perspective give you an insight into the different characters. In addition, a complex magic system is explained, which I find very exciting. An incredibly good one High-Fantasy-Book with a really nice cover.

Maya Motayne Nocturna: The Game of the Fox ISBN 978-3-7341-6188-9, 512 pages, € 15.00, Blanvalet. Order from Graff

Private detective helps beautiful half-mouth and night club singer

It could be a day like any other in Tirgaslan, this juggernaut of a city. Dark, cold and covered with rain, the evening seems to bring little new for private detective Corvyn Rash. But then a special customer is waiting for him in his office: it is none other than the famous nightclub singer Kity Miotara. The beautiful Halborkin clearly stands out from Corvyn's other clientele, which also shows the generous reward that beckons for the job.

Kity tells Corvyn that her manager has disappeared. Most recently he was looking for something mysterious and on this occasion he messed with a dangerous dwarf syndicate. With Kity's generous fee in mind, Rash accepts the case. What he doesn't know: The whole thing is bigger than a little search for missing persons and of course Kity didn't tell the whole truth. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

"Ork City" is the most beautiful Fantasy Noir from the pen of "Die Orks" author Michael Peinkofer. For everyone who has read his previous works, it should be a great journey back into his world. But beginners also get an exciting, unusual one here Low fantasy novel at its finest!

Michael Peinkofer Ork City ISBN 978-3-492-70554-7, 368 pages, € 17.00, Piper. Order from Graff

Lost in the moor forest, they end up in an institution that is haunted

The twins Ira and Vanjo were once inseparable and known only as "Ivana". Those days are long gone - the two have long gone their separate ways. But due to a research project, the twins have to work together again. Together with Vanjo's friend Marius, who is also Ira's boyfriend, they set off into the forest for their project.

However, they soon lose their bearings on their joint expedition through the moor forest and get lost hopelessly. The twins and Marius are already quite desperate when they meet another group in the forest. But the joy of the supposed rescue does not last long. The boot camp group got lost too. Together with them, the friends find shelter in an abandoned pulmonary hospital. But this one is full of secrets, it almost seems to haunt her! And their newly formed friendship will be put to a tough test ... Look at the book

Why I like the novel:

Nova Hill's novel "The Woods" is the start of a new series. The story has captivated me so much that I am eagerly awaiting the second part. “The Woods” is exciting read for everyone Dark mysteryFans!

Nova Hill The Woods - The Forgotten Asylum ISBN 978-3-8415-0656-6, 320 pages, € 14.00, Oetinger. Order from Graff

The Raven King in Other Land - already a fantasy classic

Susanne Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" is a great novel! You could also say - this book is already a classic of fantasy literature!

But what is it all about? In the 19thIn the 19th century, magic in England was on the ground, because the Raven King left the country a long time ago. The theory of sorcery alone is still studied by some gentlemen. But within a short time two practicing magicians appear: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange could not be more different. What they have in common is their pursuit of knowledge, power and magic. They join forces in the government's battle against Napoleon and set out to discover the secrets of sorcery. Unsuspecting, they dig their own grave with it - because an old prophecy of the Raven King hangs over them. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

Every single page of this novel is worth reading! Susanna Clarke manages to tell the story of two rather less likeable characters with a lot of humor and irony so skillfully that you even sympathize with the conceited Mr. Norrell and definitely want to know how the fight between the two magicians will continue. The waits Urban fantasy Roman also features a whole range of exciting and wonderfully bizarre storylines and supporting characters. Susanne Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" is a real pleasure to read and a novel that I wouldn't want to miss.

Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell ISBN 978-3-453-42474-6, 1,056 pages, € 19.99, Heyne. Order from Graff

A girl who has a dragon's fire in her

With her golden eyes and magical powers, Kindra differs from the other inhabitants of the tidal realm. But these forces endanger their lives; because the neighboring iron dynasty longs for the power that they can acquire through the so-called gold children. Kindra lives in constant fear of being captured. For a moment she seems safe, but soon the gold magicians of the Iron Dynasty destroy their trust in their safety and destroy the village where Kindra met her first great love: Saki. The attack separates the two, Kindra is sold to the king of the iron dynasty and Saki meets the guardians, the protectors of the village. Kindra fights for her life and Saki trains to be accepted as a spy in the castle so that he can save his loved one. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

Jenny Pieper's novel “Bonfire” consists of two journeys, Saki's and Kindra's. Both characters develop in the story and you get to know them better. The love that binds them is not the focus of the story, but it is important for its course. I especially like the insights you get into this strange world. The journey that Kindra goes through makes her a fighter. "Bonfire" is a beautiful one High fantasy Novel with a breathtaking cover.

Jenny Pieper Bonfire ISBN 978-3-95991-511-3, 412 pages, € 14.90, Drachenmond. Order from Graff

THE NEW TRANSLATION OF THE trilogy of high fantasy

Sparhawk is the son of a bronze smith with a magical talent that already develops in adolescence. He attends the magic school of Rokhs, but his ambition and youthful folly bring him time and again to the edge of existence. When, in the course of one of these events, a shadow from the afterlife follows him, Sparhawk is in danger: What if the shadow takes control and escapes into the real world? This knowledge and his experience make Sparhawk a rather reserved, thoughtful magician, whose adventure is only just beginning. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

Yes, it's the typical beginning of a high fantasy novel. Yes, it's about a hero's journey of a blacksmith's son. Yes, actually we know all of this.

But Ursula K. Le Guin's “Earth Sea - The First Trilogy” is also the new translation of the classic “The Magician of Earth Sea” from 1968. Together with Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin founded the High fantasy. If you have not read the book yet, you will find a real gem here. The writing style of Le Guin has a different focus than today's novels and thus “Erdsee” is refreshingly different on the one hand and high fantasy par excellence on the other.

Ursula K. Le Guin Erdsee - The first trilogy ISBN 978-3-596-70405-7, 588 pages, € 18.00, Fischer Tor. Order from Graff

Action, books and a thrilling trip around the world - mega-exciting!

Tom spends his summer holidays with his uncle David in England. Totally desolate - because there is not even internet and no cell phone reception here. Books only.

But on the very first night, Tom makes an incredible discovery. His uncle was kidnapped because he is a reader and Will, the butler, is actually a statue, a stone librarian. In addition, there are life pages that write down the life of each individual and can only be read by readers. And there are writers who want to change the world forever. Tom's only chance to free his uncle? Together with Josephine and Will, he has to find the golden pen the scribes want for his uncle. A race around half the world begins! Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

Akram El-Bahays “Word Guardian” is mega-exciting and is full of surprises right down to the last page! Tom hates books, but suddenly he's catapulted into a world where books and stories are vital and can even change the lives of everyone. This story combines action, books and a gripping trip around the world. It's great that the novel is finally available in paperback!

Akram El-Bahay Word Guardian ISBN 978-3-7641-2001-6, 384 pages, € 12.95, Ueberreuter Order from Graff

Evocations of demons and devil rides in the middle of Munich

Sera and her flatmates Mark and Jo have been making YouTube videos about the myths and secrets in and around Munich for some time. So far, nothing supernatural has happened, but during the filming in the Frauenkirche suddenly the devil's kick lights up and the wind howls through the walls. Sera wants to know whether the devil really has his hands in the game and ends up in shady circles during her research, where summoning demons seems to be part of day-to-day business. And suddenly she is caught up in things that she would never have dreamed of ... look at the book

Why I like the novel:

In her novel “Between You and the Darkness”, Antonia Neumayer takes up many Munich myths and stories that actually exist. For everyone who knows the Bavarian capital or wants to visit it, this book has a special charm. Besides, this is Urban fantasy The story of Sera is so dark and exciting that you don't want to put it down before reading the last page.

Antonia Neumayer Between you and the dark ISBN 978-3-453-32102-1, 381 pages, € 14.99, Heyne Verlag Order from Graff

Imagine if the magic of the world has been destroyed and it is your fault

Once the world was a place full of magic and magic. Magical creatures, centaurs, unicorns, elves and vampires ruled the world. But people also wanted a piece of the magic cake. In their greed and the war that followed, the human soldiers destroyed magic. Now the old order collapsed and chaos spread. Without magic the land was suddenly desolate, the magical beings degenerated into pitiful beings.

One of the people is particularly plagued by guilt: Fetch Phillips lives his lonely life full of remorse in Sunder City. As a private detective addicted to alcohol, he tries to make amends because he is particularly responsible for the disaster. One day he seems to come across a case that would really allow him to do good. Will his wrestling be successful? Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

"The Last Hero of Sunder City" is a dark and exciting one Low fantasy A novel that is strongly based on "film noir" in terms of setting. It's just fun to accompany the protagonist Fetch Philips on his self-imposed reparation campaign. Absolute recommendation for everyone who likes somewhat dark fantasy literature!

Luke Arnold The last hero of Sunder City ISBN 978-3-426-52616-3, 320 pages, € 14.99, Droemer KnaurOrder from Graff

The girl with the dagger, the old knight and the genius

Oslic is the illegitimate descendant of Tsharen, the ruler of Vaistopol, and at the same time a scholar of alchemy. He lives far from home and only learns of his father's fate when everything is too late. Now Oslic must save his people. At his side is the old, but by no means active, honorable owl knight Vargen. There is also Testri, an eleven-year-old street girl whose verbal power competes with her dagger skills. In the course of the plot, Oslic plunges deeper and deeper into the fantastic world and is thus forced to open up to new knowledge. Look into the book

Why I like the novel:

In “The Alchemy of the Cold Fire”, Nathan Winter eloquently describes a well-known one Science fantasy Story. But he is sure to find a trick or two to make his version worth reading. The knight Vargen's diary inserts in particular offer a new perspective that has seldom been read before. So this thriller is suitable for everyone who likes to be entertained in an exciting way - and also for all science nerds who appreciate stories told against solid factual backgrounds.

Nathan Winter The alchemy of the cold fire ISBN 978-3-7341-0801-3, 700 pages, € 12.00, blanvalet Verlag Order from Graff

Little nobody has to live in the cemetery - but he wants to get out

It's the middle of the night when little Nobody Owens loses his family forever. His only refuge is the nearby cemetery. Here he is safe from the evil that lurks in the real world. Soon he has many friends among the ghosts, ghouls and undead of the cemetery who lovingly raise him. Only one thing is strictly forbidden to him: Under no circumstances should he leave the cemetery. Because the deadly stranger who destroyed Bod's entire family is still lurking for him. But the day when Bod will leave the cemetery is drawing closer and closer.

Why I like the novel:

Exciting, a little bit scary, and quite funny - this story has it all! Nobody Owens is a great boy who, together with his best friend, tries to defeat the evil in the world. I loved reading Neil Gaiman's “The Graveyard Book” and it was not uncommon for me to get really shuddered!

Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book ISBN 978-3-401-51186-3, 312 pages, € 12.00, Arena Verlag Order from Graff


Learn more about:

• The best fantasy books for adults and children

 The 43 best fantasy books of 2020

The 14 best fantasy books of 2019

• The best science fiction books to date in 2021

• The 23 best science fiction books of 2020

• The 14 best science fiction books of 2019

The boundaries between the literary genres fantasy and science fiction are fluid. The fantasy experts at the Graff bookstore explain how the genres differ: from urban fantasy to comic science fiction. What is fantasy and what is science fiction?

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