12 Great Fantasy Books With Overpowered Main Characters


Fantasy books with overpowered main characters are a beloved genre staple. While deciding which characters are overpowered and which are not involves subjectivity, powerful protagonists in general inspire awe, fear and more.

Are you in the mood for stories featuring these characters? If so, this post should have a story for you.

Here are 12 fantasy books with overpowered main characters:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each one of these fantasy novels. 

On the other hand, here’s a comparison chart if you’d prefer a quick summary.


Free the Darkness by Kel Kade

Description

Raised and trained in complete seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows.

With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bequeathed to him by a dead king, the young warrior relentlessly pursues his only lead.

A single elite warrior escaped during the battle and may have knowledge of who Rezkin is and who is responsible for the slaughter at the young man’s home. 

Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence. His last orders, spoken on the lips of his dying Master, were to “Kill with conscience” and “Protect and honor your friends.”

Living in isolation from the outworld under a strict regimen of training and education, the young warrior has no understanding of a conscience or friends.

Determined to adhere to his last orders, Rezkin extends his protection to an unlikely assortment of individuals he meets along the way, often leading to humorous and poignant incidents. 

As if pursuing an elite warrior across a kingdom, figuring out who he is and why everyone he knows is dead, and attempting to find these so-called friends and protect them is not enough, strange things are happening in the kingdom. New dangers begin to arise that threaten not only Rezkin and his friends, but possibly everyone in Ashai.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.27

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is Free the Darkness by Kel Kade. Blending a fish-out-of-water tale with gripping action and an intriguing main character, this book captivated fans from page one. 

Readers said that the story was full of hilarious moments whenever Rezkin, the protagonist, comes into contact with the outside world. Experiencing his mishaps as well as his growth was a delight.

Aside from that, fans praised the book for its riveting combat. Rezkin impressed them with his mastery of martial skills, and many readers remarked that the fight scenes were amazing overall.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Free the Darkness say? Overall, they said that Rezkin came across as too infallible. They described him as coming across more as wish-fulfillment rather than as a well-developed character. Because of this, these readers found him unconvincing as a protagonist and found it difficult to connect with him.


The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

Description

Paksenarrion wasn’t planning to submit to an unwelcome marriage and a lifetime of poverty, so she left her village with a plan and her grandfather’s sword. And a few weeks later, she was installed as Duke Phelan’s newest recruit in a company of soldiers for hire, her arms training about to begin.

But when Paks sees combat, she’s stabbed with an ensorcelled knife and barely survives. Then the near-misses start mounting up, raising questions about this young fighter. Is she attracting evil because she is a danger to them all? Or is there another reason malignant forces seek her life?

Paks will face the spider-minions of the Webmistress Achrya, orcs and the corrupted men who serve blood mage Liart, Master of Torments.

She will also earn the gratitude of elves and of her Duke. And through conflict she will learn she has powers of her own and a destiny.

To become a gods-chosen Paladin of Gird, and a target for the ultimate torture.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.30

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is The Deed of Paksenarrion. This is a compilation of three different books centering around Paksenarrion (Paks), a future paladin.

Readers reported that author Elizabeth Moon’s background as a Marine shone through. The details she included brought Paksenarrion’s training, camaraderie between the soldiers and trials to life in a fascinating and believable way.

Moreover, readers said that this made Paksenarrion and her upright character even more admirable. Her sincere righteousness, several readers said, was what one of the strongest reasons why they appreciated and bonded with her.

In addition, fans praised the book for its deep and hope-filled take on pain and suffering. Rather than only break and embitter a person, The Deed of Paksenarrion shows how pain and suffering can instead shape one into a better and stronger individual.

Readers applauded the book for its portrayal, especially since the fantasy genre has a reputation for making its ‘knight in shining armor’ characters bland.

Because they were weathering difficult situations in their own lives, some fans even mentioned that Paksenarrion’s struggles and eventual triumph here was particularly meaningful for them.

Negative Comments

What did readers who didn’t enjoy The Deed of Paksensarrion say?

Critics generally said one of two things. Firstly, they said they didn’t feel enough of a connection to Paksenarrion.

Originally published in the 1980s, the novel uses a narration style that puts more emotional distance between the reader and the book’s characters. As such, these readers said that it was difficult to get a sense of Paksenarrion’s personality and emotions. Rather than experiencing her story with her, it seemed they were watching her move through it.

Secondly, critics said that the book’s descriptions lasted too long. On one hand, they agreed that the author’s background as a Marine gave each scene she wrote a great sense of realism. But on the other, they said it eventually bogged down the story.

Combined with the distance they felt toward Paksenarrion, this resulted in readers saying the book seemed episodic rather than a seamlessly progressing story.


Nightblade by Ryan Kirk

Description

Ryuu is a boy orphaned by violence at a young age. Found by a wandering warrior, he learns he may have more strength than he ever imagined possible. 

A quiet child, Moriko is forced into a monastic system she despises. Torn from her family and the forest she grew up in, she must fight to learn the skills she’ll need to survive her tutelage under the realm’s most dangerous assassin. 

Young, beautiful, and broke, Takako is sold to pay for her father’s debts. Thrust into a world she doesn’t understand and battles she didn’t ask for, she must decide where her loyalties lie. 

When their lives crash together in a Kingdom on the brink of war, the decisions they make will change both their lives and their Kingdom forever. 

If they can stay alive. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating4.04

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is Nightblade. This novel intrigued fans with its supernatural, Eastern-inspired fantasy world and captivating plot. 

Fans praised the book’s immersive quality and its world-building. With its evocative writing, the story’s atmosphere and setting came vividly alive.

Other readers said that they were captivated by the story itself from the start. In particular, they said that the personal journeys that the main characters went through fascinated them, and seeing them learn and grow was a treat. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, readers who didn’t enjoy Nightblade had two reasons.

The first was that they were either drawn out of the story due to editing-related issues. Some of them mentioned that the book had repeating phrases, for instance, that broke their immersion. Others said they detected spelling or grammar mistakes.

On the other hand, others said that they didn’t feel like they got to know the characters. This made it difficult to connect with them, especially during climactic moments.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Description

Book cover of Throne of Glass

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating.

But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead…quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What did readers who loved Throne of Glass say? These readers came in expecting a Young Adult fantasy book alive with lighthearted adventure. They weren’t disappointed!

Many enthused about the story’s wonderful humor, romance and action. These fans characterized Throne of Glass as an exciting tale that delighted them with its formidable, highly-skilled assassin protagonist.

Negative Comments

Throne of Glass readers who expected a darker and serious take on the premise, though, didn’t enjoy the story. According to the author, the book’s inspiration was Cinderella and the story’s light take on being an assassin and its romance reflects these roots.

In particular, these readers disliked the fact that Celaena’s brutal past as a slave at the start of the novel didn’t seem to effect her significantly. They also mentioned that the trials and battles weren’t enough of a focus, with several skipped rather than shown through action.


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, a epic fantasy book with a powerful protagonist. This 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 for their taste.

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


The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Description

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted.

As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.16

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Next on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is The Way of Shadows. A powerful protagonist, Azoth is the best-of-the-best at what he does, and readers loved that.

In addition, fans often praised the story’s fast-pace and gritty and brutal setting. Yet at the same time, it didn’t glamorize the violence and cruelty of Azoth’s world.

Readers also appreciated that Weeks took character types familiar to them and gave the characters nuance through their personal and moral struggles.

Negative Comments 

Readers who didn’t rate The Way of Shadows highly commented that they thought Weeks’ use of familiar character types made the characters too similar to other fantasy stories.

On the other hand, others mentioned that they thought that Weeks’ plain writing style made it difficult to get drawn into the story.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Description

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life.

I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature — the story of a hero told in his own voice.

It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.54

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is The Name of the Wind. This novel is predominately a coming of age story, but a search for answers and a mystery is involved.

It also has legions of raving fans. In fact, as of this writing, 69% of Goodreads reviewers rated this story a 5.

Why did this story captivate so many people? Readers suggested that its power came from a convergence of several great strengths. First off, fans praised the nuance and believably of the main character’s, Kvothe’s, point of view.

Kvothe felt real and so very human to these readers, who immediately bonded with him. They described The Name of the Wind‘s character portrayal and development as incredible.

Other readers pointed to the story’s simultaneously intricate and expansive world-building, as well as the poetic prose used to describe it. The Name of the Wind details legends, religions, magic systems and more in a vivid and engaging manner. All of this happened without ‘info-dumping’ on or confusing readers.

Negative Comments

If so many readers adored The Name of the Wind, what made readers who didn’t feel this way?

Those who didn’t enjoy the book had two main reasons. The first was that they came into the story expecting a fast-paced, thrilling ride with clear direction and purpose. Instead, The Name of the Wind is a character-driven story that focuses on immersing the reader in its characters and world. Because of this, critics described the story as slow and found themselves asking, ‘Where is this story going?’

The second main reason had to do with the main character, Kvothe. Unlike fans, critics simply didn’t like him.

Some attributed this to his extraordinary skills across multiple disciplines. At some point, they thought that this wasn’t just unrealistic, but irritating. Kvothe stopped seeming like character to them and started seeming like a wish-fulfillment tool.

Along the same lines, another reason these critics cited was Kvothe’s character flaws. It wasn’t that he had flaws that bothered them; instead, these readers were frustrated because they didn’t feel that Kvothe’s arrogance was portrayed negatively. Instead, they saw it as another instance of the story unduly favoring him.


Shadow by K. J. Parker

Description

A man wakes in the wilderness, amid scattered corpses and inquisitive crows. He has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.

The only clues to his former existence lie in his apparent skill with a sword and the fragmented dreams that permeate his sleep.

Alone in a hostile world he moves from village to village, masquerading as a god to obtain food and shelter.

But the shadow of his past pursues him relentlessly. It whispers to him a riddle far more complex than he could ever have imagined – and a truth he may not wish to believe.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.75

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next is Shadow, one of our fantasy books with overpowered main characters that dazzled readers.

A blend of fantasy and mystery, this novel struck fans as a smart, subtle  story. It piled on enigma on top of enigma, often leaving the truth of events ambiguous. This both intrigued and puzzled fans, who were eager to learn more and unravel the mystery.  

In addition, fans praised Shadow for its world-building. They mentioned that its sword-fighting as well as its descriptions of surroundings, were vivid and immersive.

Negative Comments

Critics, on the other hand, tended to expect and want a straightforward story. Because of this, they were frustrated by Shadow, and described it as confusing and overly complicated.  

Others said that they found the main character difficult to relate to. Since most of the answers to who he is are ambiguous, critics felt like they didn’t get to know him. As a result, they weren’t deeply invested in what happened.


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

Another story on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is The Sword of Shannara. 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. While Shea is the story’s powerful protagonist, the character cast formed a lovable team that inspired fans with their devotion to each other. The cast also warmed readers’ hearts 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 Gunslinger by Stephen King

Description

Book cover of "The Gunslinger"

In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil.

In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake.

Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is The Gunslinger by Stephen King. Readers who raved about this novel frequently mentioned the beautiful, poetic prose.

They also enthused over how intriguing Roland was as a character. While Roland starts off as the classic ‘strong and silent type’ so common in Westerns, he’s reveals a unique and multifaceted character.

Other readers mentioned how much they appreciated the distinctiveness of the world itself: it’s part Western, fantasy and post-apocalyptic.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Gunslinger, they often said that there wasn’t much background information in the beginning of the book. Because of this, the story confused them until they progressed through a good portion of the novel.


Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Description

Book cover of Across the Nightingale Floor

In the black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the war-lord lida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of human feet. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace.

But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assasin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraodinary, preternatural skills.

When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he to possesses the skills of the Tribe, and with this knowledge he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the nightingale floor and to his destiny within the walls of Inuyama.

Overcome by the intensity of first love and conflicted by split loyalties and his own divided nature, Takeo realizes that he must make his own way on this journey of revenge and treachery, honor and loyalty, betrayal and love.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is Across the Nightingale Floor. This book transported readers into its world through its beautiful, evocative atmosphere. As for its story, fans praised the book for being both heartfelt and brutal.

This coming of age novel features plenty of assassination training and lessons, which these readers loved. They also mentioned that while the protagonists are teenagers, the storytelling and themes made it more of an adult-targeted fantasy novel than a Young Adult one.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t give Across the Nightingale Floor a high rating, they had two consistent comments.

The first was that they didn’t like the fact that the romance between the two protagonists started with love at first sight. As the story progressed, it didn’t develop much beyond that.

The second comment readers made was that they wanted an even stronger portrayal of Japanese culture. These readers came into the reading experience saying that they expected a historical fiction setting. Instead, they came across the supernatural elements and found it jarring.


Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw

Description

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. 

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself. 

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations.

Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.35

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Last on our list of fantasy books with overpowered main characters is Dawn of Wonder. Inspired by classic fantasy coming of age tales, this novel delighted readers with a compelling story and lovable characters. 

Fans often said that the novel’s pace was excellent as well, drawing them into action, character-development moments and world-building experiences with graceful ease. 

Many also praised the story itself, saying that it was a powerful and epic adventure. Several of their favorite fantasy book elements featured in the novel: daring escapades, ancient mysteries and charming humor.

With likable characters leading the way, these readers flew through the pages, eager to see what would happen next. 

Negative Comments

In terms of what critics said, most tended to say that Dawn of Wonder struck them as a relatively standard fantasy book. These readers said that they had this impression in terms of the plot as well as the characters.  


12 Great Fantasy Books With Overpowered Main Characters

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Great Fantasy Books With Overpowered Main Characters


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