Fascinating Fantasy Books With No Humans At All

Most fantasy books center around human characters, even when there are plenty of fantasy creatures populating the book’s world.

However, have you wondered whether stories exist that don’t focus on human characters – or may not even have them at all? If so, this is the list for you!

Here are five fascinating fantasy books with no humans:

While most of these books don’t have human characters, those that do have them on outskirts.

Each book’s descriptions and a summary of what readers loved and didn’t are below. For a quick comparison of these book’s ratings, price range and more, here’s a chart.

Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce


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

Birth of the Firebringer is first on our list of fantasy books with no humans at all. 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 Doom Brigade by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin


War can get a fellow killed. 

The fearless draconians of the War of the Lance have retired from the field of battle to a pleasant valley in the Kharolis Mountains. Well, it would be pleasant, if it weren’t for some dwarves, whose irritating feuding prevents the draconians from realizing their greatest hope – the ability to continue their doomed race.

When the dwarves discover a map leading to a fortune buried in the dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin, the draconians are swept up in a feverish race for treasure.

Little do both sides realize that they are part of the strange and terrible destiny descending upon Krynn during the Summer of Flame. 

A destiny that includes the children of Chaos…the fire dragons! 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another fantasy book with no humans is The Doom Brigade. This story charmed readers with its interesting premise, which flips the common fantasy war trope on its head. Instead of enemies threatening one’s existence, they’re instrumental to survival.

Many readers remarked that while they came into the book expecting the premise not to work, The Doom Brigade blew them away with it. The story radiates fun and comedy, and readers found the draconian and dwarf rivalry a delight to read.

In addition, other readers praised the book for its fast-paced and action-packed plot.

Negative Comments

So if readers didn’t enjoy The Doom Brigade, what did they say? Generally, critics said that the story’s plot was relatively basic, with few twists or turns.

On the other hand, some readers said that the story’s slapstick comedy wasn’t their type of humor.

The Dragons by Douglas Niles


“When dragons make war, Krynn can only tremble in the shadow of angry wings.” – Astinus Lorekeeper 

Aurican and Darlantan, mighty serpents of gold and silver, have been nurtured in a world of wisdom, meditation, and sublime faith.

On the other side of Ansalon, Crematia, a dragon of red, inherits the Dark Queen’s legacy of betrayal, violence, conquest, and plunder. 

The advent of a worldwide war sweeps these powerful beings and many more into desperate strife. Battles rage over Krynn with a fury that threatens to annilhilate nations and whole races – even dragonkind.

As campaigns ebb and flow, generations of lesser mortals come and go, and the great serpents are left to determine the fate of the world.

Their triumphs may create a destiny of all-encompassing light or cast the world beneath the shadow of ultimate darkness. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with no humans is The Dragons, a story that’s main cast consists entirely of dragons in brutal, epic wars against each other.

While the novel is sixth in the Dragonlance franchise’s The Lost Histories series, readers reported that this book works as a great standalone as well. Familiarity with the Dragonlance universe isn’t necessary either, but a bonus.

So what did fans say? First, readers said that dragon-lovers have a treat in this book. The story covers several generations of dragons, magnifying the tale to one of epic proportions.

Moreover, fans said that this vast scope didn’t come with a trade-off in character development: each dragon has its own distinct personality, perspective and gave readers a reason to love or hate them.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t think The Dragons was the right story for them, what did they say?

Several critics said that while the story was epic in scope and action, it ultimately lacked tension. Instead of suspenseful or dramatic, the battles felt rote and identical. As a result, the book struck them as slower than they’d expected.

Other readers said that the story’s timescale came at the cost of its characterization. In contrast to fans, these critics either said that the dragons didn’t seem multidimensional or that their characterization wasn’t conveyed through demonstration. Instead, the book informed readers of the dragons’ characteristics.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison


The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it.

But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody.

Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor.

All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.04

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The Goblin Emperor is our next fantasy book. Rather than an action-packed tale about battles and wars, this story captivated readers with court intrigue and a coming of age story.

Readers praised the book for giving them Maia, the kindhearted main character. Especially given the current slew of grimdark fantasy novels around, he stood out to them as a refreshing change.

Maia is a noble and heroic character that readers immediately bonded with and wanted to see succeed. In particular, his efforts to improve his new kingdom him and serve his people endeared him to them.

Other readers mentioned the excellent world-building. For some, this came through in the nuanced way characters spoke to each other, which took into account the social standing of the person they conversed with. Others mentioned the description of court life. But in either case, readers thought the world was fascinating and vividly realized.

Negative Comments

So why didn’t critics like The Goblin Emperor? Overall, readers tended to cite either the plot or the way the author used language to portray court life.

In terms of the plot, critics said that it meandered: there didn’t seem to be a connecting thread between the events or an ultimate point the plot drove toward.

Others, though, were frustrated by the terminology the story used in its dialogue. For instance, Maia would use the royal ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ to refer to himself when he acted in the capacity of a monarch. While this was and is standard protocol for kings and queens, it nevertheless was too off-putting for critics.

Similarly, some were either confused or bothered by how the story used both ‘you’ (formal second person) and ‘thou’ (informal second person). While there’s a historical basis for using the terms, these readers found it grating.

Firstborn by Tonya C. Cook and Paul B. Thompson


When the leader of the Silvanesti elves dies, conflict threatens to drive his sons apart.

While Sithas wishes the elves to withdraw more and more from any contact with other races, Kith-Kanan and his Wildrunners forge connections and trade goods with the humans of Ergoth.

As the world of Krynn watches, a new elven nation rises from the strife.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The final entry on our list of fantasy books with no humans is Firstborn. This story struck readers as classic fantasy done right. It’s a character-driven tale that centers around elves and delighted readers with its rich portrayal of them.

Fans praised the story’s world as well as its well-developed characters. Through an intriguing ‘fish out of water’ setup, Firstborn treated them to both ancient, mythic elven kingdoms as well as classic, nature-loving elven societies.

Along a similar vein, readers also enjoyed the story’s themes – brotherhood, intrigue, war – and the characters that delivered them. Fans found the cast, their development, bond and clashes both thematically and personally gripping.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Firstborn, what did they say?

Typically, critics were those who expected a more plot-driven tale. When the story turned out to be character-driven, the story struck them as slow.

However, other readers said that portions of the story struck them as over-dramatic instead of emotionally captivating. Reading between the lines, it sounds like these critics may have felt this way because story’s plot seemed standard to them. Since the plot was predictable, the events made less of an emotional impression.

Fascinating Fantasy Books With No Humans At All

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?

Fascinating Fantasy Books With No Humans At All

Related: Fantasy Books With Non-Human Protagonists

N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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