Best Forgotten Realms Books: A Reading Guide for DND Enthusiasts

What are the best Forgotten Realms novels? Let’s dive into the fantastical world of Faerûn, a land of high fantasy, mighty heroes, and monstrous threats. We’re on a quest today – not for treasure, no, but for tales. Specifically, the greatest tales to be woven in the legendary domain of the Forgotten Realms.

So gather round, brave adventurers, as we traverse forgotten forests, delve into enchanted edifices, and trawl treacherous tomes – all in search of the greatest narratives. As a long-standing Dungeon Master, I assure you, these epic tales are not just glorified doorstops. They bring Faerûn to life in page-turning, scintillating fashion.

So, let us cast ‘light’ on my pick of 10 Forgotten Realms books that every Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast should read.

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore

Widely acknowledged as the crowning jewel of the Forgotten Realms canon, “Homeland” gifts us the introductory chapter in the life of our beloved dark-elf, Drizzt Do’Urden.

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Delightfully detailed, with characters that encompass the ambiguous edge of morality, there’s no better starting point for your journey into Faerûn.

Brace yourselves for an emotionally charged roller-coaster ride through menacingly magnificent Menzoberranzan.

Spellfire by Ed Greenwood

Yes, indeed! We can’t forget Ed Greenwood, the original creator of Forgotten Realms. While he’s written many Forgotten Realms novels, I really enjoy this one.

“Spellfire” shines conspicuously in Greenwood’s arsenal of works – a giddily gripping tale of Shandril Shessair, a lowly servant girl turned wielder of ultra-destructive magical energy.

There is a veritable stew of plot twists, high stakes, and dizzying displays of power, it’s a saga that leaves you whimpering for more and is a great introduction to the world of the Forgotten Realms.

Siege of Darkness by R.A. Salvatore

Returning to the effervescent epic of Drizzt Do’Urden, “Siege of Darkness” masterfully captures a literal and metaphorical dark time in Drow history. Marvelously churned out by Salvatore, the story slithers excitingly through betrayals, battles, and a whole lot of Drizzt. Honestly, folks, any addition to a D&D bookshelf that doesn’t include this daring doozy is, in my humble opinion, woefully incomplete.

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Azure Bonds by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb

“Azure Bonds” is one of those terrific tales that showcases the essence of Forgotten Realms – good old fashioned adventuring with a healthy dollop of magic. The amnesia trope soars here, with the protagonist Alias waking up with a mysterious tattoo, and a quest to figure out its origin. Today’s word of the day, children, is ‘engrossing’, because by Tymora, this book’s captivating, cliff-hanging plot will keep you relentlessly riveted.

Shadows of the Avatar Series

Okay, I’m cheating a tad with this one. Technically three books – “Shadowdale,” “Tantras,” and “Waterdeep” – they are such a neatly woven trinity that I must insist you inhale them as one. This enchantingly epic series, set during the Time of Troubles, is replete with larger-than-life quests and divine intervention. You’ve got angry gods roaming the earth and villains you’ll love to hate, honestly, what more could a strapping young adventurer ask for?

The Pools Series by James Ward and Anne Brown

Ah, another series, I hear you groan. Fear not, friends, for the “Pools Trilogy” is simultaneously light and deep (pun fully intended), an excellent choice for those requiring respite from weightier allegories. Follow the thrilling trajectory of a band of friends-turned-heroes as they navigate perilous quests revolving around mysterious magical pools. It’s an assiduously written and superbly satisfying series that expertly balances action and humor.

Elminster: The Making of a Mage by Ed Greenwood

Where would the Forgotten Realms be without good old Elminster? In Greenwood’s hands, Faerûn’s most famous wizard comes to life triumphantly. We get to tag along on his humble beginnings and ascension into wizardry, carving a story that is as much a rousing human tale as it is about a deity-touched mage’s ascension. If you want to peek behind the beard of this legendary character, don’t pass this up.

Canticle by R.A. Salvatore

A brilliant beginning to the quintet known as the “Cleric Quintet.” “Canticle” introduces us to Cadderly, the priestly hero who’s (refreshingly) searching for knowledge, not treasure. I can’t guarantee that you won’t endure a few late nights with this page-turner, but I can promise incredible characters, engaging plots, and a world that’s painstakingly painted to life.

The Moon Elves Trilogy by Elaine Cunningham

Even more elves! Elaine Cunningham weaves a fabulously immersive story within the elven realm, chronicling the struggles and triumphs of the Moon Elves. The first book, “Evermeet: Island of Elves,” provides a lush deep-dive into the elves’ history. Beware: once you start reading these gripping tales, you might just find yourself elvishly enchanted.

The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore

Rounding out the list (and yes, another Salvatore entry), “The Crystal Shard” offers a swirling spectacle of action, adventure, and an engaging antagonist in the form of an insidious sentient crystal. It’s a Faerûnian tale of epic proportions, where loyalty, perseverance, and friendship are put to the ultimate test.

Best Forgotten Realms Novels?

So there we have it, my bold bookworms. A colossal cornucopia of captivating chronicles. And, while these ten are but a tiny fraction of the countless captivating stories set in the Forgotten Realms, I fervently hope they help springboard your bibliophilic journey.

Remember, intrepid readers, that every page turned is another step taken on the road into the fantastical world we all adore – so charge forth undaunted, and let your imaginations soar. Stay magical, stay creative, and most importantly, stay adventuring, my friends! Till we meet again, over the rolling dice and under the flickering torchlight.

Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.