5 Fantasy Tropes with Book Recommendations

book recommendations for fantasy tropes

Who doesn’t love a good trope? All genres have tropes, but fantasy is definitely chock full of some serious classics that have built the genre from the beginning *cough* chosen one *cough*.

Tropes are sometimes overdone as we all know, but they can also make a book memorable and successful. Tropes give readers a place to start when reading, an expectation, if you will. While not all tropes are well done and can often feel cliché when you’re reading them, some authors have mastered them.

I’ve included a mix of middle grade, young adult, and adult fantasy books as these tropes are present for all readers. Also, please note these are all based on books I have read or are familiar with enough to list.

So, here are 5 classic fantasy tropes with some book recommendations to enjoy:

The Chosen One

It wouldn’t be a blog about fantasy tropes without mentioning the most common trope of them all – the chosen one. This trope is everywhere and has to do with a seemingly ordinary person being destined for great things, typically due to a prophecy or dream. Really, I feel like the fantasy genre was built on the backs of farm boys destined to be kings and dragon slayers.

Here’s some examples of books that use the chosen one trope to the letter and others that subvert it a bit with characters that only think they’re the ‘chosen one’:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Percy Jackson & The Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paoilini

The Quest

Or, as quoted by Bilbo Baggins, ‘going on an adventure’. The quest trope is a classic and has been used so many times in fantasy novels over the years. A quest is when the characters set out on a journey in search of a specific goal. Rather it’s a crew of outcasts crossing mountains and deserts to find a magical item, or the chosen one crossing a country to destroy a magical item, a quest is always a fun journey to take in a book.

So, put your comfy shoes on, cause these books cover miles of terrain, action, magic, and pages:

lord of the rings fantasy trope quest

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

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

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Portal World

Come on, don’t lie, you definitely walked into your wardrobe as a kid hoping to find Narnia. Oh. You didn’t? Okay, guess it was just me.

The reason most people read fantasy books is to escape to a world so unlike our own, which is why this trope has always been very popular. In portal fiction, the characters are transported to completely new and magical worlds through magical portals like wardrobes or rabbit holes. Writing this blog has made me realize how much I absolutely love this trope and read a lot of books with portals to other worlds. I think this is a sign I really just want to get out of here…

The Magicians book cover
A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab Book Cover
inkheart fantasy portal

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke

Secret/Hidden/Exiled Heir

Ah, the classic, ‘that’s not a farm boy, that’s the long lost prince’ trope. I mean, do I think it’s one of the most overdone to the point of being a cliche tropes, yes, but that doesn’t stop be from enjoying it when done well.

I’m throwing three tropes together in one here as the secret/hidden/exiled heir all kind of come together. So, here’s some books where the protagonist is the long lost prince or princess of their fantasy world:

sword in the stone fantasy trope secret heir
crescent city by sarah j maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

The Queen of the Tearling by Erik Johansen

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

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

The Crew of Misfits

I love this one! There’s nothing like a cast of characters coming together to take down an evil overlord, save the world, or perform the perfect heist. Done well these characters and their relationships can be unforgettable.

city of bones cassandra clare fantasy tropes

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Black Company by Glen Cook

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare


Are you a fantasy lover, too? If so, which trope is your favourite? Comment below with more recommendations!

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11 Comments

    1. Haha same! I started and never finished Eye of the World a million years ago and really enjoyed it, but I’m not a big fan of long series. It’s too much of a commitment and I never finish series lol. Maybe one day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And same! I love the crew of misfits so much. I think there’s so much opportunity for different relationships to develop and ways for the plot to develop. Characters really make or break a story for me, so a good group of them are a sure way to make me love a book. – Amber

      Liked by 1 person

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