20 Exciting Fantasy Books With Sword-Fighting to Read


Fantasy books with sword-fighting promise excitement, thrills, suspense and drama.

Are you looking for a fast-paced adventure tale like this? If so, this post has a whole list of stories that kept readers on the edge of their seats.

Here are 20 exciting fantasy books with sword-fighting to read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book below. 

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


The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Description

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Girl and the Stars. This fast-paced, action-packed novel seized fans’ attention with its survival thriller plot, vivid world-building and likable protagonist, Yaz.

These readers often praised the character cast overall, saying that it was populated with many fascinating and distinct characters. However, several highlighted Yaz in particular. While powerful, she came across as relatable and easy to sympathize with.

Aside from that, readers enthused over the world in The Girl and the Stars. The cultures, politics, aesthetics and more made this an atmospheric and imaginative setting, one that was easy to get absorbed into.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Girl and the Stars?

In general, these readers said that several of the story elements and characters were familiar Young Adult Fantasy ones. Other readers said that the world and magic system were complex, which confused them at times.


For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones

Description

A cross between Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber and The Three MusketeersFor the Killing of Kings is the first in a new fantasy trilogy by Howard Andrew Jones.

Book cover of The Killing of Kings

Their peace was a fragile thing, but it had endured for seven years, mostly because the people of Darassus and the king of the Naor hordes believed his doom was foretold upon the edge of the great sword hung in the hall of champions. Unruly Naor clans might raid across the border, but the king himself would never lead his people to war so long as the blade remained in the hands of his enemies.

But when squire Elenai‘s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery, she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer.

Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisers.

They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.99

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is For the Killing of Kings. With a fascinating murder mystery and world-building revealed layer by layer, it isn’t hard to see why readers might love this novel.

Readers also enthused over the odd couple dynamic between the lead characters: one, an idealistic and promising recruit and the other a grizzled, frequently drunk veteran.

Negative Comments

So what did readers say if For the Killing of Kings wasn’t for them?

Well, several commented that it was the large number of fight scenes. Action sequences populate the novel, which these readers found themselves skimming rather than immersed in.


The Gilded Chain by Dave Duncan

Description

As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall….

Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm — a magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward — if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates — with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was — and is — Sir Durendal.

But a lifelong dream of protecting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king’s orders. Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight — for a mission, a contest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land.

But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treason and foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve. The Blades have ways to protect their own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation — and few ever return unscathed.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.90

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Gilded Chain. This novel grabbed fans’ attention predominantly with its rapid pace and gripping plot.

Several mentioned that once they started reading, they couldn’t put the book down. It was crammed with twists, turns and surprises that kept them guessing. Add to that sword-fighting, magic and dash of romance, and it enthralled readers.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Gilded Chain? Overall, these readers had two criticisms.

The first was that while the plot had breakneck pacing, the characterization lagged. As a result, critics remarked that the character cast didn’t seem to have much depth.

The second centered around the high amount of attention the Blades received from female characters. These readers thought it was unrealistic and made this aspect of the book seem juvenile.


Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton

Description

Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished — and wary — when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him?

And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?

On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden.

Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacing the young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead. 

Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Fourth on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Dragonslayer. This fantasy novel entertained readers with its action-packed and intrigue-filled plot.

Surprises abound, not to mention fast-pacing and betrayals. Fans were delighted, saying that this kept the book twisting and turning, capturing their attention and making them eager to know what would happen next.

Aside from that, fans praised Dragonslayer for featuring both the dragon slayer’s point of view as well as the dragon’s. While the dragon slayer’s story involved a touching tale of redemption, the dragon’s perspective intrigued them.

Fantasy books might have fantasy creatures, but its story is typically told through a human’s eyes. Not so in Dragonslayerwhere readers were treated to a view of the world from a scaled, flying and last-of-their-kind dragon. Moreover, since both were sympathetic characters, it created a bittersweet ending not often seen in ‘slaying’ stories. 

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t like Dragonslayerthey generally said that it was because the book came across to them as over-familiar. Critics said that the overall plot and characters didn’t deviate much from what they expected from the prototypical dragon-slaying story.

In particular, these readers focused on the characters, saying that because they were standard character types, it was difficult to get attached to them.  


The Lost Prince by Paul Edwin Zimmer

Description

Were it not for the awesome power of the Hasturs, the creatures contained by the dark border would overrun mankind.

As humans reeled from the constant onslaught only to rebound, the darkness searched for another path to victory. It stole a princeling and raised him in Shadow, teaching him how to command the living and the dead, how to usurp his brother’s throne through magic, and how to turn humans against themselves.

And then it sent him home…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.84

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Lost Prince. This novel grabbed fans with its intricate world, meaningful drama and exciting sword-fights.

Filled with political intrigue, action and a grand-scale war, the book had readers racing through its pages. At the same time, they mentioned that the story’s themes of love, honor and redemption gave it refreshing depth and complexity. Several pointed to the drama between the twin princes as particularly absorbing.

In addition, fans praised its world-building, saying that the cultures, histories, and more were thoughtful and well-fleshed out. Rather than being scenery, they added richness to the story and affected the characters’ decisions.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including The Lost Prince. What did they think?

Overall, these readers said that the book’s writing wasn’t entirely smooth. For instance, some thought the plot had moments that seemed forced. Others said that the ending didn’t seem fully resolved.


The Dark Glory War by Michael A. Stackpole

Description

Four young men come of age in a time of prophecy and war….

In the sacred season of the Moon Month, four young men don the masks that herald their coming-of-age celebration, a time of testing, ritual, festival, and romance.

But for Tarrant Hawkins and his friends Leigh, Rounce, and Nay, their first test becomes a desperate struggle for survival. For they will encounter the vanguard of an invasion force poised to overrun their homeland of Oriosa, and all four will find their lives changed forever when they encounter a legendary weapon that brings its wielder invincibility.

Yet the magic sword may prove more curse than blessing, signaling the arrival of a cataclysmic battle with ancient foes. And in the face of dire sorceries and terrible battles, these youths will come to manhood…or to death.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Dark Glory WarThis fantasy novel kept readers glued to its pages with its mixture of boys’ coming of age story and its fast-paced, action-packed battles. Several readers remarked on how they enjoyed seeing the main characters grow and prove themselves.

Others mentioned that the book’s action scenes captivated them. Fast-paced and harsh, these battles featured throughout the story and kept readers wanting to know the fate of each character.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, these readers had two complaints: an aspect of the characters or the book’s pace.

 In terms of the characters, critics said that they couldn’t connect with them. Some said that this was because the characters didn’t feel multidimensional, while others said that they just didn’t have an aspect that interested them.

On the other hand, other readers mentioned that the story seemed too slow at certain points but too fast at others.


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

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Throne of Glass. What did fans 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.


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

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting 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.


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

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting 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.


A Mark of Kings by Bryce O’Connor and Luke Chmilenko

Description

Despite his youth, Declan Idrys knows of the evils of the world. He knows of the bastards and brigands who plague the King’s lands, of the monsters skulking in the wooded depths of the realm.

Together with his companion, Ryn – a horse of rather peculiar talent – he has spent the last decade of his life beneath the bloody banners of a half-dozen mercenary guilds, hunting precisely such wickedness festering within the borders of Viridian.

Unfortunately, fate is quick to pull on the leash of its favorite children. When one particularly troubling contract goes sideways, Declan and Ryn find themselves thrust into a war thought legend and long-ended, a conflict so old it is synonymous with a time in which dragons still ruled the western skies.

Now, as dead men rise from their graves and the terrible beasts of the northern ranges descend into the kingdom with an appetite for savagery and flesh, Declan is faced with a profane choice. He can turn, can flee an ancient rising horror that would see the realms of man left as shattered death and wind-blown ash.

Or, Declan can face this mounting threat, can come to terms with the fact that his oldest friend might just be more than he appears, and learn to wield an ageless power all his own.

Centuries pass, after all, and the Blood of Kings does not fade…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.30

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is A Mark of Kings. Described by fans as an exciting, action-packed adventure, this novel entertained readers with its suspense, fast-pace and unpredictability.

In addition, fans described each of the characters as unique, intriguing and sympathetic. Several mentioned that they all had their own histories and ways of looking at the world. As the story unfolded, A Mark of Kings made it easy to get absorbed into the characters’ point of views and feel their emotions.

Negative Comments

Critics on the other hand, tended to have two criticisms.

The first was that several of the places in A Mark of Kings reminded them of other famous fantasy books they’d read before.

The second was that the pacing was uneven, with some parts fast while others were slow.


A Storm of Silver and Ash by Marion Blackwood

Description

What would you sacrifice to save your friend? 

Your soul? Your humanity? Your life?

The Oncoming Storm is a name whispered in awe throughout the Underworld. She’s known as a master thief and a lethal knife-wielder – some even say she has the skills of an assassin. All of it is true. She’s also a sarcastic smartmouth with the social graces of a bull. 

You will find her running across rooftops, sneaking in the shadows, and breaking into houses. That is, if she’s not busy getting ambushed and blackmailed into a seemingly impossible mission.

Grudgingly caught in a dangerous power struggle, the Oncoming Storm must leave behind the world she knows and maneuver through scheming assassins, calculating elves, and desperate royals. 

Before her adventure is over, she will have loved, saved, killed, and double-crossed those around her. The only question is, who? The clock is ticking, and before time runs out, the Oncoming Storm must decide who to trust and who to betray…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.25

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is A Storm of Silver and Ash. Several fans mentioned that the story mixed all the tropes they loved about fantasy together, while adding a refreshing modern tone. 

Overall, this novel grabbed readers with its fast-pace and engaging main character, Storm. Fans tended to describe her as witty, cheerful and brave. Her personality, background and motives came across clearly to them, and these readers found her easy to bond with.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about A Storm of Silver and Ash?

Overall, these readers said that the book’s tendency to break the fourth wall made it difficult to immerse themselves in the story. Other than that, several didn’t connect with Storm, saying she came across as harsh.


Fatemarked by David Estes

Description

They are the fatemarked.

Misunderstood. Worshiped. Hated. Murdered at birth.

Their time to step into the light has come.

An ancient prophecy foretold their coming, the chosen few who will bring peace to a land embroiled in a century of mistrust and war. When kings start dying, that hope and belief swiftly turns to fear.

Roan Loren is one of the fatemarked, but has hidden his mark of power his entire life, fearing the damage it might cause to those around him.

A great evil is coming. He can’t hide anymore.

In the spirit of fantasy epics like Throne of Glass and The Lord of the Rings, enter a world of magic and dragons, kings and queens, and victory and defeat, during a time when honor and valor still meant something. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.05

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Fatemarked. This fast-paced novel won fans for its epic story line, rich world-building, and captivating characters. Readers mentioned how distinct the character cast was, with each having their own personality and relatability.

Others mentioned that even as the story developed the characters and its world, it also had plenty of action and electrifying battles. This kept the book moving at an intense and thrilling pace the entire time.

Negative Comments

In general, critics of Fatemarked said that the overall tone of the story or its characters. For the former, they described the book as too bleak and heavy. This depress them enough that they didn’t want to continue reading.

In terms of the latter, these readers suggested that the novel’s dialogue and characters came across as either bland or geared to a younger readership. As such, these critics found it difficult to bond to them or get invested in the story.


The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Description

An epic battle between good and evil…

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers.

Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great – until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us.

At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game – a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind – he’s one of the last of the warriors – at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

And next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Warrior Heir. This fantasy novel tantalized fans with its blend of a likable protagonist, action, and a world similar to our own but with intriguing twists. 

In particular, readers were fascinated by the magic system and world-building in The Warrior Heir, saying that the powers the various guilds had and how they vied for power was refreshingly different.

Aside from that many praised the story for its overall epic feel, along with non-stop suspense and adventure.  

Negative Comments

So what did critics say about The Warrior Heir?

Overall, these readers said that the book had several noticeable character types and common plot tropes. Because of this, they thought the story came across as bland and couldn’t get invested in it.


Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Description

Book cover of Theft of Swords

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.

There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure.

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king.

Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.23

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Readers describes this as a lighthearted, exciting and rapid-paced story that kept them on the seat-of-their-pants.

Not only that, but they utterly enjoyed the Royce and Hadrian ‘odd couple’. They enthused that the pair’s jibes, sarcasm and banter was hilarious. These two characters and their adventures hooked them from page one and kept them riveted to the very last page.

Negative Comments

While fans of Theft of Swords considered its lighthearted take on fantasy a highlight, other readers cited this as a drawback. Compared to more serious takes on the fantasy genre, the world-building and the supporting character cast struck these readers as underdeveloped. Because of this, they said they were less invested in what happened.

Other readers said that they enjoyed Royce and Hadrian’s banter, but they ultimately didn’t feel as if they knew them. Because of that, these readers found it difficult to connect with the pair.


Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Description

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. 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 assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills.

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Across the Nightingale Floor, which stars a main character who trains to become an unbeatable assassin.

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.

A coming of age novel, it features plenty of assassination training and lessons, which these readers loved. They also mentioned that while the main characters 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.


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: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Blood of Aenarion. This fantasy novel gripped readers with its fast pace and exciting, grand 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.


The Legend of Eli Monpress: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Description

Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.

Like a king.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.88

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

The Legend of Eli Monpress: The Spirit Thief is another story on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting. What did fans enjoy about this novel?

Well, they praised its tone as just what they were looking for: lighthearted, fun and fast-paced. Several remarked that, when considering the more common gritty takes on thief characters, this book was refreshing.

In addition, other readers said that The Spirit Thief’s world-building and magic system were intriguing and well-fleshed out. Not only did both strike fans as unique, but they said the magic system had the added bonus of staying consistent throughout, never bending its rules to favor Eli.

Negative Comments

We’ve heard the praise, so what’s the criticism? In general, critics tended to have two reasons they might not have enjoyed the book.

First, they cited the characters, saying that they seemed flat and interchangeable. The second reason they gave was that overall, the story struck them as geared toward younger readers, with characters that had simplistic motivations.


The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

Description

Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.

Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern’s jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders.

But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men – or worse, a company of mercenaries – against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.

It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he’s determined to turn a profit.

So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it’s just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can’t deal with.

Only it’s not just a job. It’s going to be a war…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.11

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Red Knight. What did fans say about this novel?

Firstly, they praised the story’s living-and-breathing world-building. The author, Christian Cameron, also writes historical fiction focused around the medieval era. As such, readers praised the story’s details around medieval living, weapons and warfare, which they said was uniquely immersive and refreshing.

Fans also enjoyed the protagonist, who entertained them with both his humor and his impressive martial exploits. Especially when paired with a character cast including mercenaries, knights, nuns and more, seeing him interact with other characters was a delight.

Negative Comments

So what did critics of The Red Knight say? For the most part, the main reasons readers didn’t enjoy the book had to do how it portrayed romance or religion.

In terms of the former, critics said that the Red Knight’s interest in Amicia came across as too sudden. After that, it struck them as a situation where he followed her around to wear down her resistance to his advances. Readers described this as anything from irritating to disturbing.

In terms of the book’s world-building, The Red Knight outright includes Christianity rather than takes inspiration from it. Whether readers shared the Christian faith, had a different one or none at all, they tended to find this jarring or even offensive. On one hand, the story mentioned real religious concepts and people. But on the other, it also had characters throwing fireballs and turning invisible.

While readers’ feelings were mixed, at the very least they tended to say this confused them and broke their immersion in the story.


Twilight Falling by Paul S. Kemp

Description

Erevis Cale – simple butler or much, much more?

The shadows grow long on the mean streets of Selgaunt… and the sun sets on one man’s service to Sembia’s merchant lords.

The day’s end finds Erevis Cale serving a new master, one who is beyond the petty accumulation of wealth.

After all, what is gold to one who trades in souls?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is Twilight FallingThis fast-paced novel delighted fans with its action-packed adventure tale and its fascinating, morally-conflicted protagonist, Cale.

In terms of the action, readers described the book as filled with suspenseful fight scenes and magic. The plot itself also had twists and mystery, both of which kept fans eager to read on.

As for Cale, readers described him as a more mature and deeper version of the standard powerful fantasy protagonist. Twilight Falling takes place in the Forgotten Realms universe, which they described as having many classic fantasy setups. As such, they appreciated that Cale wrestled with his dark past, potential redemption, and who he is and wants to be.

Not only did he strike readers as realistic, but his character development was compelling.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Twilight Fallingwhat were their reasons?

In general, critics tended to say that while they understood Cale and thought he was a well-realized character, they found it difficult to connect with him on an emotional level.


The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Description

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs — once thought of almost as gods — were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them.

Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets.

A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought — and lost — before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Last on our list of fantasy books with sword-fighting is The Shadow of What Was Lost. Fans of this novel praised it for combining their favorite aspects of fantasy, while adding exciting twists and turns. The story kept them guessing, each page filled with intrigue and new questions. 

Others mentioned that The Shadow of What Was Lost delighted them with its detailed, nuanced world-building. Whether it was because of the history, magic systems or more, readers described the story as complex and engaging.

Negative Comments

No book is loved by all, so what comments did critics make?

They generally had two remarks. The first was that they didn’t connect with the characters. These readers  said that they didn’t think that the characters came across as well-fleshed out, either individually or in terms of distinction from one another. The second was that they thought the plot was a well-trodden path. 


20 Exciting Fantasy Books With Sword-Fighting to Read

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20 Exciting Fantasy Books With Sword-Fighting to Read


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