Best Fantasy Books With Knights to Read Right Now


Clad in (generally) shining armor, knights gallop into fantasy books on their valiant steeds and command our attention.

Their courage and unshakable devotion to being a person who does what’s right inspire us. Yes, these characters have their flaws, but seeing them fight to rise higher instead of surrender only makes us admire them more.

Are you curious what some of the best fantasy stories featuring knights are?

Here are 5 of the best fantasy books with knights to read:

I’ve selected fantasy novels with characters that are either outright knights – as opposed to sword-wielding characters in general – or come close to the knightly character type.

For a summary that compares these books’ ratings, reviews and more, here’s a comparison chart.


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

First on our list of fantasy books with knights 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.


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 Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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

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

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

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

Other Notes

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


The 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 knights 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.


Stiger’s Tigers by Marc Alan Edelheit

Description

A nobleman from an infamous family, Ben Stiger finds himself freshly assigned to Third Legion, Seventh Company as a lowly lieutenant in the opening stages of war between the Empire and the Kingdom of the Rivan.

Third Legion has been tasked with pursuing a retreating Rivan army back to the border where the Empire can take the fight into enemy territory. However, a major obstacle stands in Third Legion’s path: the river Hana. The crossing is sure to be contested and dangerous.

Should Third Legion fail to force a crossing, the entire campaign could grind to a disastrous halt. 

This is Stiger’s first military appointment. Inexperienced, young and unsure of himself, Stiger is ostracized by his fellow lieutenants. Worse, he’s been placed under the command of an incompetent officer.

With life and reputation on the line, he must learn to understand men far beneath his station and lead them into battle. Stiger struggles not only against the enemy, but against his family’s history and his own side to prove himself worthy of serving the empire he loves and earning the respect of the men he leads. 

Set amidst the backdrop of an epic war, there are greater forces at work than the young Stiger can even begin to imagine, setting him on the dangerous and lonely path of destiny. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.20

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another great fantasy book is Stiger’s Tigers. Technically, this book doesn’t feature knights, but Roman legionnaires. However, it has similar elements and droves of fans, so I thought I’d include it on our list.

First of all, readers praised this book for its Roman-inspired setting and ability to transport them into its world. Rarely seen in fantasy, this blend of ancient Rome as well as elves, dwarves and more excited readers.

Moreover, they reported that the book sports convincing and intriguing details on Roman military tactics and warfare. Readers who loved military-centric fantasy in particular found this a treat!

Others remarked that this character-focused fantasy book is full of fascinating characters and conflicts between them. Stiger, the protagonist, immediately won them over with his no-nonsense attitude and strong sense of honor and duty. The odds are stacked against him, especially with a treacherous leadership, and readers rooted for him the entire way.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Stiger’s Tigers, what did they say?

Typically, critics expected pulse-pounding battles to riddle the book. Instead, the majority of the novel focused on Stiger’s trials as he won the respect of his soldiers and trained this ragtag group for war.

As such, these readers tended to think that the story’s pacing was slow and that it didn’t have enough action overall. Some of them arrived at the end of the novel with the impression that the book read more like a prequel.


The Legend of Huma by Richard A. Knaak

Description

“To the West Huma rode, to the High Clerist’s Tower, on the back of the Silver Dragon and the path of their flight crossed over a desolate country where the dead walked only, mouthing the names of dragons.”

For the first time in the best-selling Dragonlance® Saga, here is The Legend of Huma, fabled Hero of the Lance: his mysterious origins and his Oath to the Measure; treachery among the Knights of Solamnia; his love for the Silver Dragon; the fated showdown between the Queen of Darkness and the forces of Paladine.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Our final fantasy book with knights is The Legend of Huma.

This action-packed tale tantalized readers with its admirable heroes and mysterious but cruel villains. The Legend of Huma uses classic characterization and plots but adds just enough of a twist to make them refreshing.

In addition, readers said that while this made the story straightforward, it was done in such a way that Huma’s convictions and sense of honor were inspiring and uplifting. Huma is a fleshed-out and convincing version of a ‘knight in shining armor’, an archetype that is notoriously difficult to get right.

Several readers commented on how much the story’s themes of heroism and standing up for one’s principles touched and spoke to them on a deep level, even as they were excited and fascinated by the story’s world.

Negative Comments

Readers predominately awarded The Legend of Huma 5 stars, but not all of them had such warm praise for the book. Critics had two objections, which mainly stemmed from the general premise of the novel: a ‘knight in shining armor’ main character and a classic fantasy story line.

Several readers who preferred principled protagonists nevertheless said that Huma came across as too stereotypical. While these readers knew Huma would be archetypal, they still wanted more differentiation from the standard ‘knight in shining armor’.

Other said that they wished the story was less predictable, even if it emulated a traditional fantasy tale. To them, the story didn’t have enough original aspects to it in addition to the ‘old favorite’ tropes.


Best Fantasy Books With Knights to Read Right Now

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Best Fantasy Books With Knights to Read Right Now


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