10 Fantasy Books With Chosen Ones You Won’t Want to Miss


When we think a classic fantasy tale, fantasy books with chosen ones tend to be what pop up in our minds. Are you in the mood for such a story? If so, this list has you covered.

Here are 10 fantasy books with chosen ones you won’t want to miss:

While many of these books hit all elements of the typical Chosen One story – a literal Chosen One, an extraordinarily gifted protagonist, a quest, and a coming of age tale – some hit most.

I’ve included ratings and a summary of reader comments below. For a comparison of these fantasy novels side-by-side, here’s a chart.


The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Descriptions

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard — for Prester John, the High King, lies dying.

And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king.

Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard. 

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power.

Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Our first fantasy book with chosen ones is The Dragonbone Chair. This fantasy book captivated readers with its rich world-building and great characters.

Consistently, fans described the story’s world as grand and intricate, with each page bringing new lore and depth. The setting seemed to come alive, making them eager to know more.

Other fans praised The Dragonbone Chair for its character development. Simon, the protagonist, grows from what readers occasionally described as a petulant child to a mature warrior. Compelling and believable, this gradual change in Simon kept readers turning the pages.

Many mentioned how attached they became to him and how this made each trial and victory in the novel far more gripping and meaningful.

Negative Comments

What did readers who didn’t enjoy The Dragonbone Chair say? Overall, critics focused on the book’s pacing.

They characterized the book as slow, with a barrage of descriptions centered on small details and long explanations.

Along a similar note, these readers also tended to say that the plot suffered because of this: it came across as meandering and plodding.


The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Description

Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world.

Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revealed that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destroy the world.

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara – Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.76

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Our next fantasy book with chosen ones is The Sword of Shannara, featuring Shea, a part-elven protagonist. Fans of this The Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy novel enjoyed that it was a classic fantasy tale and said it was done beautifully.

Readers remarked that while the world-building is vivid, the characters captured their imaginations. This lovable team inspired them their devotion to each other as well as warmed them with overall themes of friendship, goodness, hope and more. 

Other readers enthused that The Sword of Shannara‘s exciting, action-packed plot was immensely compelling. Especially given how attached they became to the story’s characters, readers said this made it hard to put the book down. The battles in particular gripped them and had them on the edge of their seats.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? For the most part, readers who didn’t enjoy The Sword of Shannara objected to how similar it was to The Lord of the Rings. Several expected some similarities, but found far more than they’d anticipated.

Because of this, these critics perceived the book as persistently filled with over-familiar story elements. Instead of being moved by the story, they found themselves desensitized to it.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Description

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another fantasy book about chosen ones is The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a novel nominated for the prestigious Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Fans fell in love with Elisa, the story’s protagonist and raved about her  portrayal. Many of them were intrigued by how different she is from the typical ‘Chosen One’ character. While most ‘Chosen Ones’ start off as unlikely heroes due to their socioeconomic background, Elisa battles a powerful sense of worthlessness and a sheltered upbringing.

Readers often said that this made her easy to empathize with, especially given how much she has to fight to grow past her weaknesses. Several readers who had battled eating disorders or a negative self-image said they felt a particular connection to her. By the end of the novel, readers of all stripes said Elisa’s growth into a confident and heroic leader inspired them and warmed their hearts. 

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the world-building. In particular, readers praised the book’s multifaceted and respectful inclusion of religion into its setting. Often missing in fantasy world-building, it added a new dimension to Elisa and other characters.

In addition, readers said that seeing characters of different cultural and religious convictions interact was refreshing and made the world come to life.

Negative Comments

Not every reader enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. So, what did critics say?

For the most part, they had two main reasons. Some were upset that Elisa started off overweight but became thinner over the course of her trials. For instance, she trekked through a desert and had far less food available to consume than usual. Critics interpreted this as linking heroism and thinness.

The second criticism is more ambiguous, having to do with the portrayal of religion. Some readers disliked the fact that Elisa was religious or that religion was included as part of the story’s world. However, their distaste didn’t come across as a criticism against The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so much as a dislike of religion in general.

Ironically, others seemed to think that the religious aspect wasn’t delved into deeply enough. For instance, these critics were intrigued by the philosophical questions Elisa ponders. They said, though, that the book only offered surface-level answers.


Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

Description

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry.

Yet Pug’s strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.17

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with chosen ones is Magician: Apprentice. Like several of the prior stories, this novel includes classic fantasy creatures, settings and quests.

Fans mentioned that this book had everything they loved about traditional fantasy while exploring those elements more deeply. However, it also had enough twists to the overall tale that the book didn’t feel over-familiar.

In addition, fans praised the book for its excellent characters and the different fantasy cultures. They immediately connected to all the characters in the cast, whether they be elves, dwarves, or dragons. Experiencing the characters’ coming-of-age stories was a treat, as was walking with them as they explored their world and weathered its turbulent politics.

Overall, fans said that Magician: Apprentice was an highly enjoyable classic fantasy, with many feel- good moments. A few commented that, given how many grimdark fantasy books there are, it was refreshing to immerse themselves in this uplifting story and spend time with its upstanding characters.

Negative Comments

What did critics dislike about Magician: Apprentice? Mostly, these readers’ remarks focused on the book’s The Lord of the Rings influence or overall use of standard fantasy tropes. Whether it was the characterization of the main characters, the personalities of the fantasy creatures, or the locations in the story, the similarities came across too strongly to them.

Other critics focused on the characters themselves. Several of them mentioned that they either didn’t seem developed or that they were developed by narration rather than through character-defining actions or dialogue.


Blood of Aenarion by William King

Description

The twins Tyrion and Teclis are the greatest high elf heroes still to walk the earth. They are as different to one another as darkness and light.

Tyrion is an unparalleled swordsman, a superlative warrior and tactician from birth. He inspires courage and loyalty in those around him. Champion of the Everqueen, he is Ulthuan’s greatest protector.

Teclis’s gift is magic. The greatest natural sorcerer of the age, his power rivals that of fabled Caledor. Wise councillor of the high elves, Teclis was amongst those who first taught magic to the race of men and gave them the means to defend themselves against Chaos…

From their humble origin in the wild lands of Chrace, Tyrion and Teclis were meant for a great destiny. They come from the line of Aenarion, the first king of Ulthuan and cursed champion of that magical island…

When the Witch King Malekith learns of the twins’ existence their lives are imperilled and they are taken to Lothern for their protection and to learn the arts of war.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.09

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on the list of fantasy books with chosen ones is Blood of Aenarion. This is not so much a traditional Chosen One story, where there’s a single prophecized Chosen One. Instead, it has two extraordinarily gifted characters.

This fantasy novel gripped readers with its fast pace and exciting, epic battles. Even as the story charged ahead at a breakneck pace, readers reported that it provided engaging and developed main characters as well as a character cast consisting of likable heroes and threatening villains.

The story, readers said, was compelling and a fun, familiar ‘sword and sorcery’ tale done right. Once they picked the book up, fans found themselves glued to the pages.

Negative Comments

Critics of Blood of Aenarion didn’t have a unified reason why they didn’t enjoy the book. For the most part, they characterized this as a light, fun read but not one that astounded them.

What if I had to pick a ‘most common’ criticism? If so, I’d say that critics generally thought that the story came across as a standard ‘coming of age’ fantasy. They seemed to expect a familiar tale, but hoped there would be more twists to it.


Path of a Novice by R.K. Lander

Description

His face would kindle love, garner hatred, inspire loyalty – bring persecution.

An immortal half-blood becomes a novice warrior and joins the ranks of the Silvans as they battle Sand Lords and Deviants. He only ever had one dream; to become a Silvan captain in an army commanded by the dominant Alpine elves, colonizers of the Great Forest.

There had once been another dream though – to know who his father was, but years of unanswered questions later, he told himself it didn’t matter anymore.

Meanwhile, the powerful Alpine lords weave a story of racial superiority, relegating the native Silvans to second-class subjects. Village leaders, Spirit Warriors and Foresters are starting to rebel.

Fel’annár learns the true meaning of warrior hood when he travels as the only novice warrior in a multi-racial patrol into the Deep Forest. As he battles the enemy for the first time, a power unfolds, one he cannot control – does not want.

While friendships are forged, a destiny begins to unravel, one that is tied to a past he knows nothing about. For others though, it is only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and the danger becomes real.

Can Fel’annár overcome his fears, become the warrior he always wanted to be, or will his dreams be stunted by his own shrouded past? By one elf’s lust for absolute power?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.40

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Path of a Novice is another story on our list of fantasy books with chosen ones. This novel tantalized readers with its well fleshed-out main character as well as its rich world.

In particular, fans said that Path of a Novice transported them into its world and intrigued them by continually adding new, beautiful layers and nuances. 

Negative Comments

Critics of Path of a Novice generally mentioned two reasons why they didn’t enjoy this story. The first was that the protagonist struck them more as a vessel for wish-fulfillment rather than a fleshed out character. To them, he seemed too perfect.

On the other hand, the second reason critics gave was the overall story seemed to share too many standard fantasy book elements. As a result, these readers thought the book was generic.


The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono

Description

For high-schooler Yoko Nakajima, life has been fairly ordinary – that is until Keiki, a young man with golden hair, tells Yoko they must return to their kingdom.

Once confronted by this mysterious being and whisked away to an unearthly realm, Yoko is left with only a magical sword; a gem; and a million questions about her destiny, the world she’s trapped in, and the world she desperately wants to return to.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.20

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Finishing off our list of fantasy books with chosen ones is The Twelve Kingdoms. This fantasy novel stunned readers with its impressive portrayal of its protagonist’s growth.

Over the course of the story, Yoko changes from vulnerable and dependent to a brave, confident hero. Readers described this as both convincing and inspiring.

Negative Comments

Not everyone thought that The Twelve Kingdoms was for them, though. These readers typically said that while Yoko grew by the end of the book, her weak character lasted too long. As a protagonist, she grated on them.

Others said that the story itself became repetitive. Yoko goes through many battles, but readers suggested that they seemed too frequent and similar. As a result, instead of grabbing readers, they slowed the book down.


Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Description

One boy…
One dragon…
A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter.

But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power.

With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next up is Eragon by Christopher Paolini. While it doesn’t feature an outright Chosen One, it’s main character, Eragon, and the story’s plot has enough similarities with the classic Chosen One setup that I’ve included it.

In fact, this epic story is known for taking beloved fantasy elements and mixing them into a swashbuckling, dragon-filled adventure.

Readers appreciated that much of what they loved seeing in fantasy books featured in this epic: supernatural abilities, sword-fighting, dragon riders, prophecies, elves, hidden realms and of course, the hero pitted against a seemingly invincible empire.

Readers said that Eragon swept them away into the world of Alagaësia and its many interesting characters. They often commented that fans of Lord of the Rings would find elements to this story that they’d enjoy.

Negative Comments

Unfortunately, the same reason that fans loved this fantasy book was the same reason that critics didn’t: the familiar tropes.

Its similarities to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars frustrated critics. Whereas ‘Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars with dragons’ delighted fans, these readers thought that Eragon was too predictable.

Because of this, several commented that the book might be better suited for first-time fantasy readers.


Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Description

Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil god Torak sought dominion and drove men and gods to war. But Belgrath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

That was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the man without a shadow had haunted him for years.

Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved, but did not truly know.

For yet a little while, his dreams of innocence remained safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while…

Thus begins The Belgariad, an epic fantasy of immense scope set against a history of 7,000 years. It tells of the struggles between ancient gods and mighty Kings, and of men in strange lands facing fated events, all bound by a prophecy that must be fulfilled.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating4.15

Most Common Rating:5

Positive Comments

The next fantasy book with chosen ones on our list is Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings.

You’ve heard the story: an orphan farm-boy or farm-girl survives when a power-hungry villain burns down their hometown. Journeying with their wise mentor, they launch on a quest to defeat the villain while bonding with and learning from powerful warrior companions. Eventually, they discover their secret lineage and part to play in the villain’s downfall.

Well, this is the fantasy book that made that story popular in the first place!

Fans went into the story knowing that by now, these ‘Chosen One’ tropes and twists would be familiar. As such, they described Pawn of Prophecy as classic, comfortable fantasy done at its best. Readers described the story itself as a heartwarming adventure and its detail and epic scope as impressive.

Others said that they enjoyed the characters, whether it be Garion, the protagonist, or the rest of the cast. As they accompanied the characters along the tale, they felt that they grew to know them.

In short, if you want to read the ‘Chosen One’ story at its arguable best, this may be the book for you.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Pawn of Prophecy, it was mostly for the very reasons that others loved it. What fans described as a classic, comfortable story is what critics described as cliché.

All the expected ‘Chosen One’ story elements originate in this book. However, many readers came into it without knowing this. As such, they were understandably disappointed when none of the traditional tropes had a twist to it. The story came across as overly predictable while the characters seemed stock rather than fresh.

Other readers, however, were frustrated by the characters. They described Garion, the protagonist, as purely tugged along by the plot or others instead of initiating actions himself.

His guardians and traveling companions also frustrated them. Rather than likable wise mentors, these characters struck readers as condescending to Garion and sabotaging his growth.

Other Notes

As of this post’s publication, Pawn of Prophecy doesn’t have an ebook version. The price reflected in the comparison chart is for the least expensive format.


The Naming by Alison Croggon

Description

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor.

It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold.

Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Last on our list of fantasy books with chosen ones is The Naming. This fantasy novel captivated readers with its immersive and elaborately detailed world, as well as its classic fantasy tale.

Fans remarked on how similar it was to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in terms of its plot, characters and in its descriptive writing style. While it was similar, the similarities were done very well. In addition, many said that it reminded them of the warm and familiar experience of reading Tolkien’s work, and that it had a similar magic.

Others mentioned that Maerad, The Naming‘s protagonist, was a enjoyable character to read about. Accompanying her on her journey to discover her potential and growing abilities was a delight.

Negative Comments

If critics didn’t enjoy The Naming, they tended to focus on its slow pace. These readers felt that the frequent descriptions of landscapes, cultures and characters felt excessive.

Others mentioned that at one point, the book details Maerad having her first period. Critics said that the story dwells on this for long enough that it was off-putting.


10 Fantasy Books With Chosen Ones You Won’t Want to Miss

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10 Fantasy Books With Chosen Ones You Won’t Want to Miss


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