One and Done Fantasy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all fantasy readers must be in search of the next big series. Well, not I! Although I dearly love fantasy, I do lose steam after one too many books in the same storyline. After working my way through the first seven (there are 17 total) books in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series I remember thinking "I'm exhausted and I'm just the reader! Even chosen ones/superheroes/supreme beings need to rest and regroup, right?" Imagine my joy when I found there were complete books that were as complex, interesting, and wonderfully magical as a multi-volume series. Here are 5 standalone fantasy books for those who want a one-and-done reading experience (or those who are waiting for their favorite author to cough up the next entry in their series of choice).

Sparrow Hill Road

In this story that plays with well-known urban legends, the ghost of a young woman defends roads and highways against harrowing evil. If wonderfully crafted urban fantasy with a twist isn't your cup of tea, Mcguire also wrote the excellent short read Every Heart a Doorway.

The Mountain of Kept Memory

The prince and princess of a beleaguered kingdom both try to stave off war (and avoid arranged marriages); the princess by seeking out secrets at court and the prince by asking for aid from a god-like being who lives in a mountain. Readers who like classic fantasy will really love this standalone.

The Goblin Emperor

Innocent, exiled prince Maia unexpectedly becomes emperor to a kingdom rife with turmoil after his father and brothers are assassinated. Even though this book has popped up on countless lists, I couldn't resist adding it (it's just so good!!). This story is perfect for those who are tired of grim, dark fantasy- in The Goblin Emperor the good get rewarded.


A small band of rebels with unusual skills attempt to overthrow a tyrant and free their homeland from a horrible curse. Guy Gavriel Kay proves that an author doesn't need a series to craft a gorgeously detailed tale of kingdoms and intrigue. This book is great for Game of Thrones fans or those who love to watch the intricate struggle for power.


A prince is stricken with an odd disease and imprisoned inside a crumbling city. Meanwhile, the prince's bride attempts to solve the origins of the plague outside the city walls. Brandon Sanderson is best known for his huge series (Mistborn and finishing off the Wheel of Time books), so it's fun to check out a standalone.