Best Fantasy Books Under 300 Pages to Read Today


Fantasy books under 300 pages are far rarer than their 500 or more page counterparts. But sometimes, these quick and thrilling novels are just what we’re in the mood to read.

If that’s what you’re looking for, this list may have a story for you!

Here are 12 short fantasy books under 300 pages to read:

I’ve purposely selected fantasy novels that are geared to either adult or Young Adult fantasy readers. Book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments are below.

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


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Description

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange — to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.42

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages is The Language of Thorns, a collection of story stories by Leigh Bardugo. Fans of this book praised it for its dark, haunting stories and many unexpected plot twists.

These readers appreciated how recognizable fairy tale tropes were subverted, describing the end results as intriguing and moving.

Negative Comments

In general, critics cited two drawbacks. The first was that they couldn’t get invested in the characters; some of them said it may have been the short story form itself that made them seem distant or thin.

The second had to do with familiar tropes. These readers felt that the retellings were typical ones in YA fairy tale stories, with even the plot twists coming across to them as foreseeable. 


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 second on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages. 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.


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Description

Book Cover of A Wrinkle in Time

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book.

A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages is A Wrinkle in Time. This story delighted readers, whether kids or adults. Recently, it has also surged in popularity thanks to a recent movie (2018) and a slew of graphic novels.

Fans cited its atmospheric prose and authentic characterization as major pluses. The main character, Meg, struck them as particularly well-developed when compared to other childrens’ or Young Adult novels. Readers often said she came across as brave, but also reacted realistically to what felt like encounters with true evil.

Negative Comments

Some adults readers, however, weren’t so enthusiastic. They mentioned that while A Wrinkle in Time was a great coming-of-age story, particularly for young girls, it felt too simple for them.

These readers often also mentioned that while Meg is initially sympathetic, she’s later prone to too many overreactions.


Fledgling by Nicole Conway

Description

When Jaevid Broadfeather is given the rare opportunity to become a dragonrider for the king’s army, the 15-year-old boy has no idea that he is part of a conspiracy that will rock the very foundations of the kingdom.

Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage.

He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy — a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal.

But Jaevid’s case is special; no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline.

Lieutenant Sile Derrick, a sternly tempered man with a mysterious past, becomes his instructor and immediately takes a peculiar interest in Jaevid’s future.

While struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping Sile in the dead of night.

When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Fledgling is next on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages. If you’re looking for a fantasy book that adults, young adults and tweens can enjoy, readers say that this novel is it!

A mixture of an underdog story and a coming-of-age tale, readers found themselves inspired and rooting for Jaevid and his dragon throughout the story. In particular, they praised the heartwarming relationship between the two.

By the end of the book, they were eager to hear more about the pair’s adventures.

Negative Comments

What did readers say if they didn’t enjoy the book?

A few of them commented that Fledgling had uneven pacing. Sometimes, critics said, the story seemed to jump ahead too quickly. At other times, it seemed too slow.

On the other hand, others said that they found aspects of the story unconvincing. For example, the training scenes seemed artificially harsh to meet an expected fantasy trope, rather than for practical reasons.


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

Another story on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages 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.


Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce

Description

Jan, the prince of the unicorns, is high-spirited, reckless – and the despair of his mighty father, Korr.

Reluctantly, Korr allows Jan to accompany the other initiate warriors on a pilgrimage. Soon Jan’s curiosity leads him, along with his friend Dagg, and their mentor, the female warrior Tek, into the greatest dangers – deadly gryphons, sly pans, wyverns, pards, and renegade unicorns.

Yet time after time they are rescued, leading Jan to wonder: Am I the heir to a special destiny?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.14

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of incredible fantasy books under 300 pages is Birth of the Firebringer.

Written with lavish and evocative prose, this novel powerfully brought its story to life for readers. Readers consistently praised the book for how beautifully its mythic world, characters and plot were crafted.

Other readers enthused over the storyline. They described the book as rife with twists and an electric pacing. Once they started reading, they found themselves charging through the pages until the very end.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Birth of the Firebringer say? They had two general reasons why they didn’t enjoy the story.

The first was that Birth of the Firebringer struck them as more of a prequel to a story than the story itself. In particular, these readers mentioned that because the book ends on a cliffhanger, they felt that it didn’t have a satisfying conclusion.

Others expressed disappointment that Birth of the Firebringer portrays unicorns without magical abilities. To these readers, this strayed too far from what appealed to them about unicorns in the first place.


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 under 300 pages 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.


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Description

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night.

But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others.

She meets Schmendrick the Magician – whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended – when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions.

They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men.

Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages is The Last Unicorn.

Readers who raved about this cherished classic said that it was imaginative, magical and unexpectedly profound. Beagle’s poetic prose wove a spell over these readers, who said the novel immersed them in its world and characters.

Others mentioned how much they appreciated the story’s message. Brimming with themes of hope even in despairing circumstances, the story touched and inspired them.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t think The Last Unicorn was their cup of tea said the book was slow-paced and didn’t grip them. Moreover, several readers mentioned that the plot itself seemed episodic and disjointed.

The story didn’t seem to build up toward anything, while the individual events came across more as a happening rather than a step along a larger narrative journey.


The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Description

Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn’t exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world.

With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kingdom of Prydain safe from them. But who would find her first?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.99

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages is The Book of Three. While this book is targeted to younger readers, many adults reviewed this book and said it was a great classic fantasy novel regardless of age.

Several of them mentioned that they enjoyed watching the main character, Taran, grow from a childish boy to a mature man. Others mentioned that while the story itself may be familiar, its Welsh-inspired world-building, epic storyline and humor made it a treat to read.

Negative Comments

As for critics, they generally said that they disliked Taran as a character. These readers found him frustrating because of his childishness, but also because the story seemed to reward him too often. For example, a few of them mentioned how convenient coincidences contributed to his success or his easy mastery of skills.


Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adam

Description

Her solo is a death sentence.

Deep within the world of Leira flows a melody that was sung at the beginning of time by Emhran, the Master Singer. Now it is broken, buried, forgotten. But in each generation, a Songkeeper arises to uphold the memory of the Song against those who want it silenced forever.

When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her own mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people.

Forced to flee for her life, she must decide whom to trust – a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or a mysterious creature who claims to know her past.

With enemies at her heels and war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie soon discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on one orphan’s Song.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.26

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages is Orphan’s Song. This novels’ fans praised it as a fun read for younger readers in particular (the main characters are 13 and 14). They also described the character’s inner journey and growth as sweet, moving and inspiring.

Negative Comments

On the other hand, readers who didn’t rate Orphan Song highly commented that the story had unanswered questions by the end, even for a first book in a trilogy.


Red Rope of Fate by K. M. Shea

Description

In a land where humans and elves find it difficult to communicate, Tari — an elf — is bound to Captain Arion — a human military officer — in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between the two races.

When the ceremony is over the pair discover that the impossible has happened: they can understand each other in spite of the language barrier.

Thrown into a storm of politics, Tari and Arion are put in danger by those who want humans and elves to remain separate.

To make matters worse, Tari realizes she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both societies dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings.

Unfortunately the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari’s well being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her.

If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries’ alliance, or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.19

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

And another on our list is Red Rope of Fate. Fans praised this book for its sweet, clean romance. Heartwarming and tender, the story was also filled with likable characters, court intrigue, and entertaining culture-shock moments.

Negative Comments

In general, critics of Red Rope of Fate tended to focus on two areas. The first was that they thought the story was mostly straightforward, without swerves or complications. Others, though, thought that the romance came across as overly sweet.


The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Eragon

Description

A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course.

Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves.

Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure.

Included is an excerpt from the memoir of the unforgettable witch and fortune-teller Angela the herbalist…penned by Angela Paolini, the inspiration for the character, herself!

Relish the incomparable imagination of Christopher Paolini in this thrilling new collection of stories based in the world of the Inheritance Cycle.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.83

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

What’s last on our list of fantasy books under 300 pages? It’s The Fork, the Witch and the Worm, a collection of tales by Christopher Paolini.

Readers who enjoyed this book were mostly also fans of the Inheritance cycle, but mentioned that they didn’t need to be familiar with series to enjoy The Fork, the Witch and the Worm. Reuniting with favorite characters was a treat, but fans also said that the book completely immersed them.

Full of tales of empowerment, revenge and more, the story gripped and moved them to the very last page.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? For the most part, their comments fell into two camps.

In the first, critics said that they wanted the stories to relate more directly to the characters they knew from the Inheritance cycle.

The second group, though, said that the transitions between the stories was abrupt and occasionally made the book confusing.


Fantastic Fantasy Books Under 300 Pages to Read Today

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?




Best Fantasy Books Under 300 Pages to Read Today


Similar Fantasy Books