8 Must-Read Adult Fantasy Books for Fans of Artemis Fowl

Cunning characters, dark dangers, and mysterious magics.

adult fantasy like artemis fowl feature

The movie adaptation of the beloved young adult fantasy novel Artemis Fowl is coming in mid-June to the Disney+ subscription service. Hordes of readers grew up with this unique and thrilling dark fantasy world crafted by author Eoin Colfer, following the young criminal mastermind as he caused ripples of trouble through the magic world after kidnapping a fairy for ransom. As his ploy to restore his family fortune pushes the world toward the brink of a cross-species war, his devious cleverness is put to the test.

Like the many readers who have long-since aged out of the target audience of young adult fiction, you may be wishing you could recapture that twisted childhood magic with a new book. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful novels for mature audiences which tackle the themes of a darker morality in a world of magic. Here are 8 of the best adult fantasy series like Artemis Fowl.

Between Two Thorns

Between Two Thorns

By Emma Newman

Did you love the dangerous fairies and their impending threat of war in Artemis Fowl? In Between Two Thorns, two worlds lie close to one another—the human world of Mundanus and the Fae world of Exilium—separated by the Nether, a mirror world of Fae-touched humans which maintains the social structure of 19th-century England. Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver was born in the Nether, but managed to escape into a perfectly boring and normal life in Mundanus. That is, until she’s forced back for an arranged marriage.

But as Cathy is re-entangled in the trappings of Nether society, she meets Max, a man with a dislocated soul who polices the boundaries between worlds. Max seeks out Cathy’s help in an investigation of a kidnapping-spree ending in murder. But neither is prepared for the danger the Fae and their high-society machinations present.

Related: 14 Groundbreaking Female Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

The Secret Books of Paradys

The Secret Books of Paradys

By Tanith Lee

The Secret Books of Paradys include four volumes of novellas centered around a dark, erotic, and mysterious town called Paradys. From a man who was infected with the curse of the Beast by a phantasmic bride to an orphan who stumbles into a nightmare while hunting down his parent’s killer, these twisted tales seamlessly meld corruption and fantasy. For readers who were thrilled by the dark nature of Artemis Fowl’s titular protagonist, this collection dives even deeper into the intricacies of evil minds.

Related: 15 Dark Books for the Literarily Disturbed

What I Tell You in the Dark

What I Tell You in the Dark

By John Samuel

Taking a step away from fairies, What I Tell You in the Dark follows a story in which the occult lives of angels and demons collides with corporate espionage. For 2,000 years a nameless angel has gazed upon humanity as they’ve continually loosened their grip on their morals. Now, as this angel watches a London businessman named Will, he’s intrigued by the man’s attempts to expose his own company’s corruption.

The angel makes a bold and ill-advised choice, spiritually possessing Will’s body to aid him in his task. But when demonic forces push back against him in order to maintain the balance, Will begins to lose sight of where he begins and the angel ends. Is he slipping into a dark delusion, or are there really spiritual forces at play?

Borrowed Souls

Borrowed Souls

By Chelsea Mueller

Callie Delgado isn’t as gleefully criminal as Artemis Fowl, but that doesn’t stop her from getting knee-deep in mob business in order to save her wayward brother. However, in Gem City, illegal and immoral work can be done without the burden of sin—so long as you rent another soul to carry the load. But when Callie doesn’t have the funds to pay the price for such a loan, she accepts a bargain that tosses her into a dangerous world of dark magic. 

Related: 10 Fantasy Books That’ll Give You Chills

the war of the flowers tad williams adult fantasy like artemis fowl

The War of the Flowers

By Tad Williams

Theo Vilmos—the 30-year-old lead singer of a mediocre rock band—is in the middle of a downward spiral. To gain some clarity, he holes up in a secluded cabin, where he reads a family member’s odd memoir about their belief that they traveled through a world of Fairies. But even as Theo tries to dismiss the writing as an act of madness, he’s transported to the magical and dangerous world himself. And now he stands in the middle of a war between the powerful Fairies and the other strange creatures which share their land—and he may be the one who decides the outcome.

storm front jim butcher adult fantasy like artemis fowl

Storm Front

By Jim Butcher

This first novel of the expansive Dresden Files series takes readers into the gritty investigative world of professional wizard Harry Dresden. Harry knows his way around the dark and mysterious creatures of magic who wreak havoc on the human world—and he makes a hard living charging to help humans out of magical binds. But when the Chicago PD hires Harry to help them with a double murder committed with black magic, Harry gets in over his head after the black mage puts him in a vulnerable position by learning the wizard’s name.

Related: The 19 Best Magical Realism Books You Haven’t Read Yet

neverwhere neil gaiman adult fantasy like artemis fowl


By Neil Gaiman

This book by fantasy titan Neil Gaiman follows the extraordinarily ordinary London businessman Richard Mayhew. After trying to help a young bleeding girl on the sidewalk, Richard finds himself plunged into Neverwhere, an underground labyrinth of magic, monsters, and murder. The strange girl he helped—Door—lives there as a powerful noblewoman determined to fight against the evil force out to destroy Neverwhere. And if Richard ever hopes to return to his simple life, he must help her at all costs.

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white stag kara barbieri adult fantasy like artemis fowl

White Stag

By Kara Barbieri

17-year old Janneke is the youngest child in a family full of daughters, raised as a male heir meant to hunt and fight. When a band of goblins destroys her village, the young girl is captured and sent to work in a court of merciless monsters. But every day Janneke spends working under her master Soren, the more she loses her grip on humanity. When the Goblin King’s death pushes Soren to grasp at opportunity, Janneke is left to choose how monstrous or human she can be in the midst of two crumbling worlds.

Related: 13 Books Like Harry Potter for Adult Readers

Featured image from cover of "Artemis Fowl" by Eoin Colfer