One and Done Fantasy Novels

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One and Done Fantasy Novels

Fantasy novels generally come as part of a larger series. Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, Discworld, and A Song of Fire and Ice are some of the most popular. So much work goes into creating a new world, it's easy to see why an author would set multiple works in a world they spent so much time creating. For example, there are 14 titles in the Wheel of Time series and 41 in Discworld

It's hard to find a good work of fantasy that isn't part of a larger series. This is a list of some of those stand alone titles. I love a good series, but sometimes I need a break. Sometimes one and done is what I'm looking for.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
This is the story of a girl from a small village in the mountains. Nearby lives a wizard who keeps the town safe from the dark thing in the woods that threatens the village. In return for his protection there is a lottery every decade to choose which village girl will serve the wizard. No one knows what happens to the girls, but the next lottery is quickly approaching.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
This novella tells the story of a caravan of merchants who have to pass through a dangerous wood called the Wildeeps. This wilderness is full of dark and dangerous magic, not to mention a horrible creature of some sort. The caravan hires some mercenaries to protect them on the enchanted road.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The new emperor of the Elflands was not raised to be the emperor, but he inherits the position after his father and half-brothers are suspiciously killed in an airship crash. Amid the plots on his life and diplomatic faux pas, he just wants a friend, and maybe even a girlfriend; if he lives long enough.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
There is no warning or announcement. The circus just arrives. Yesterday it wasn’t there, today it is. The circus is only open at night, and it is a magical experience like you’ve never had before. Two young magicians have been trained since childhood to duel, and this duel is part of the fabric of the circus. This duel can only have one victor. Who will be that victor, and what will this mean for the night circus? 

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The End is neigh. The armies of good and evil are ready. The 4 Horsemen have been seen. All is set; except... nobody can find the Antichrist. An angel and a demon are working together to halt the apocalypse because they like Earth as it is, and they don’t want to see it end.

Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
I recommend this book to most everyone. It is the story of two Englishmen who are attempting to bring magic back to England centuries after it disappeared. It is long, convoluted, and full of footnotes that tell their own story. It requires and rewards your patience.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
A unicorn who believes she is the last of her kind goes on an epic quest to discover what happened to the rest of them. The unicorn gets captured by a witch, rescued in the night, attacked by a red bull and turned into a human. All before she finds the answer to her question.

Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly
Someone is killing vampires in London in the early 20th century. The vampires, understandably, are unhappy about this. What’s different about this is that after the vampire is dead, the killer drinks their blood. A human and a vampire work together to solve the mystery before they all are destroyed.

The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison
This book published in 1922 covers the long war between Witchland and Demonland on the world known as Mercury. It is one of the first masterworks of high fantasy in the modern era. Tolkien acknowledged it as an influence his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Little Big by John Crowley
A man travels to a place called Edgewood, a place that’s not on any map. He travels there to marry into a strange family and live in their equally strange house. The house supernaturally exists on the border between our world and a world of magic that is more felt than seen. This epic covers hundreds of years and several generations of the family and their house.

The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker
A golem and a jinni become friends. Magical creatures from Eastern and Western mythology become unlikely friends. Together they travel through 19th century New York. The jinni attempts to free itself, while avoiding an evil sorcerer who wants to enslave both of them.

The Terror by Dan Simmons
This story is inspired by two ice ships that disappeared in the Arctic Circle in 1845, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. The story features characters from an actual expedition, but tosses a monster into the mix. As if scurvy, starvation and cannibalism weren’t horrifying enough.