What to Read Next: Fantasy


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Miri will steal your heart. There is a certain unevenness in tone; it wavers between absurd and dead-serious, between allegorical and dramatic, that might confuse some readers, and the middle section sags a little. But the sheer exuberance of language and unfettered whimsy of the concept are more than enough to make up for that. Quirky, nerdy-but-hip, eccentric and deeply intelligent, All the Birds in the Sky is a book that, like its author, resists being categorized and is the stronger for it. Not necessarily a book for immovable sci-fi or fantasy purists but an essential one for people who like it when intelligent writers refuse to bow to conventions and create their own.

God, what gorgeous prose. Like, Pacific Rim -sized monsters. There were always jokes, but Pratchett was an even better storyteller than he was a satirist. In Thief of Time , time is something manufactured by the Monks of History. They allocate it as they see fit until some upstart gets it into his mind that time should just be stopped dead in its tracks. Following the very first through-the-portal Fairyland adventures of the too-smart-by-half pre-teen September and her new best Wyverary friend, A-through-L, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is an achingly true meditation on the confusing, exciting pain of growing up, all wrapped up in pure cleverness and whimsy.

And while the plot may at times feel too lullingly gentle, the characters and settings are so thoroughly, gorgeously drawn, and each sentence so meticulously, luminously crafted, that a discerning reader is unlikely to get bored. Adults will find a thousand things to love in this world, but a voracious book-loving kid, for whom this series will feel like a gift from the Universe, will find one billion and four.

Harry Potter was already for grown-ups. Despite its magical school setting, the series owed more to the wonder of C. Magic corrupts as much as it helps pull its practitioners out of their melancholic existences. The loss of that innocence—getting expelled from his own fantastical Garden of Eden—sends Quentin spiraling out of control in a convoluted sequence of events that end up weaving together in unexpected ways. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should.

The Clankers Germans and other Central Powers rely on steam-powered robots and futuristic machines to battle the fabricated animals Darwinists the UK, France, Russia and their allies employ as weapons in the war. Written for young adults, Leviathan and its sequels Behemoth and Goliath are entertaining for all ages. And if Six of Crows is the heist, then Crooked Kingdom is the glorious getaway drive.

Want to read about a grand scheme, involving magic, fighting, and all the joys of fantasy? Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message — one than can either redeem or doom him. Purchase the first book in the series, Broken Blade, on Amazon now. A battle is coming… And in that battle shall be decided the fate of the world. Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object — the Orb — that ended the bloodshed.

As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace.


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But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war. Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew…. Purchase the first book in the series, Pawn of Prophecy, on Amazon now. It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England — a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire.

It is the lost core of a flawless Sphere made by the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon CraeftLords in memory of the one he loved. Her name was Spring and contained in the very heart of this work is a spark from the Fires of Creation. But while humans have lost their belief in such things, the Hydden — little people existing on the borders of our world — have not.

Breaking the silence of centuries they send one of their own, a young boy, Jack, to live among humans in the hope that he may one day find what has been lost for so long. It is only through their voyage into the dangerous Hyddenworld that they will realize their destiny, find love and complete the great quest that will save both their worlds from destruction. Purchase the first book in the series, Spring, on Amazon now. The Chronicles of Narnia have enchanted millions of readers over the last fifty years and the magical events described in C.

For here is a world where a witch decrees eternal winter; where there are more talking animals than people; and where battles are fought by Centaurs, Giants and Fauns. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.

Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge. Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.

Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival. Purchase the first book in the series, The Painted Man, from Amazon now. Purchase the first book in the series, The Mists of Avalon, from Amazon now. In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness. Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just wants to go unnoticed.

Finding herself promoted to a command, she must rise to the challenge and fight impossible odds to survive. Their fates rest in the hands of an enigmatic new Colonel, sent to restore order while following his own mysterious agenda into the realm of the supernatural. A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. Now if Arcadius can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. Purchase the first book, The Screaming Staircase, from Amazon now. Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. But that day will come all too soon.

Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms.

Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star.

Every generation can point to a fantasy book or series that defines their teenage years. Currently, that would likely be Harry Potter; for those now edging towards or into their 40s it would be Dragonlance. Read our review of The Dragonlance Chronicles. For a full list of Dragonlance novels, visit Wikipedia. If you do, do not, or if you have any further recommendations then please let us know by leaving a comment below. Thank you, we hope you enjoyed reading our list. You have some excellent selections listed. But seriously, these should have been the first four on your list. Just a joy to read.

Brilliant comments Squiggler, completely agree with everything you said. I just finished my second tour of the 10 book series and it was twice as good the second time around. Reading through this list brought back some great memories and sparked some new ideas as inspiration for my reading list — many thanks for that. I believe you skipped straight from Tawny Man to Fitz and the Fool. Cheers though for the rest of the included series.

This books are amazing. I recommend everyone to read them. I was able to read some of them last week. I have added your website in my toolbar so i can return with just one click when i feel the need to read your great posts. I really loved your list. I appreciate the comments and have added a couple of series from the recommendations. The books listed in the comments have nicely rounded out your list. I like this ideas for reading.

They bring fantasy and reality together in way that is compelling. At least I thought so. I do love Jack Forsithe. It is fantasy, but well blended with today. Has all the important elements, love, lust, karma, and offbeat humour. I enjoyed the sword of truth series until I read Faith of the Fallen. It tried to paint charity, compassion and mercy as evil. Not Goodkind by nature! Your disappointment is misplaced as I would assume are the examples of other missing series you could easily have included.

But to be fair, there are others missing I could easily include. I thought they were real page turners. Are they considered too light — or are they young adult? Needs to be on the list! This is clearly stated as a list of favourites that includes more than three books. The Lord of the Rings you will find, hopefully to your pleasure at number one on the trilogy top list. Have you taken Joe Abercrombie off this list?? I can understand including authors because there is a lot of people enjoying their books.

Great authors all of them but wrong criteria for this list. Thank you so much for this list. I get tired of falling in love with a world or character only to have the adventure end all too abruptly for me. I will have tour start looking at some of these. I might add that the Belgariad is a wonderful series by David Eddings and his wife. Easy reading but very enjoyable. Wheres Terry Brooks ermagerd!

Top 10 Fantasy Books

Where is The Lord of the Rings? Any real fantasy-lover should read LOTR. I agree with the mckillop recommendation. As an older teenager this series fired my now 45 year old love for fantasy fiction that and Tolkien. It is a great tale of self discovery. Goodkind is definitely in the top five of all time. This is something that needs to be rectified so you should see reviews appear over the coming weeks and then hopefully we can add the Dragonlance series to this page.

Thanks for your comment. Sword of Truth does have its fans although it is not for everyone. But it has I believe given thousands of readers a lot of enjoyment, and that is why it is listed on this page. Sword of Truth has got to go. Predictable and truly not in league with the other series noted here. These are recommendations after-all, and here is mine, Whispers by Aram Keledjian.


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  7. My new favorite of the year by faaaaaaar. A quarter of those series are nothing more than Dragonlance knock offs anyway. Goodkind is the worst author ever. The fact that this series is on your best list makes me question your judgement about all the other books on this list. Thanks for the list. I am going to check out Duncton Wood. The series that got me into fantasy writing to begin with was Brian Jacques Redwall series. Granted they did get a little repetitive and predictable, but the first 5 books were great.

    The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

    I feel like Michael Moorcock should be on this list somewhere. Elric of Melnibone series is one of my all-time favorites. Yes dragon spindle is pretty good for a self published book I recon it will be picked up by a publisher soon then probably get ruined by big business! I absolutely loved that list… Quick question though: Should the novels by Anne Rice not be included as well?

    I liked a new book and fantasy series which is Dragon Spindle book 1 in the Ningazia Balance series. Definatly worth a look if you like fast paced dragon fantasy with dragons, elfs , orcs and loads of magic. The first book is indeed awesome, but after that, the entire thing goes down the drain. Zero innovation, bullshit character development He might has well had an alien parasite take over Leesha , inconsistent pacing…. Dresden files up but got to say Codex Alera has me coming back for more.

    Mazan Book of the Fallen is so epic, intelligent and unpredictable, near all other fantasy seems childlike in comparison. Good call for having it in the list. I actually have the Rangers Apprentice books on my to-be-read pile and — following your recommendation — will move them up the list and read them soon. A book series that I highly recommend is Rangers Apprentice. It is not your average fantasy novel, it takes place in a world much like middle age England and does not include magic surprisingly.

    You follow the adventures of Will Treaty becoming a Ranger, a legendary warrior using the tools of stealth and archery to guard the crown. This list cannot be considered complete without the Chronicles of Pern! I would also mention The Saga of Recluce by L. Modesitt Jr as being worthy of inclusion, certainly well above the risible Sword of Truth series.

    The Dredsen Files is the best fantasy book written by the best author — Jim Bucher. You would definitely agree that The Dredsen Files is the Best Fantasy Series around I have read each book 3 times over just to fully understand the characters and the plot of the series. Hi Lynette, great recommendations! Some we have yet to read and review on the site but I have added them to our to-read list and hope to remedy that very soon. I know this post is a few years old… I have a few new ones to add: I think Inheritance Cycle should be on the list.

    It is an awesome read and its characters are very deep too. Glen Cook wrote an earlier book that has been one of my favorites since my teenage years. The Dragon Never Sleeps. I had to re-purchase the Duncton Chronicles about 5 years ago due to my originals being lost somewhere in the midst of time. But I treasure them as much as any other books, they have character and history. The first Duncton book is a real gem, a worthy companion to Watership Down. Interesting what you say about inconsistencies in the Hyddenworld series.

    I have to admit a few elements of the story did not piece together perfectly, especially the legend of the Peace Weaver and Beormund, but I am very, very forgiving of the authors I hold dearest! Thanks for the nice answer Lee! I found it quite enjoyable — few fresh ideas there!

    Only thing that bugged me was that there was rather a lot of inconsistencies throughout. Guess the author must be even more forgetful than I am! Now, The Name of the Wind and Mr. Read it when it first came out. By the second book it gets a whole lot better though, in my opinion. I want to see Gregor the Overlander on this list. Thanks Milotius, this is exactly the type of comment that provides real value. We have reviewed Lukyanenko, Pehov and Sapkowski on the site, but not enough of a series to get them onto this page. I think the advancement in the standard of translation will open up these books to a wider audience.

    I have read several translated books recently and they have lost nothing in the translation. Now this might be a new series to add. So far, wonderful story, wonderfully told. There are some amazing books out there once you start exploring! Kind of an urban fantasy, modern day, Russian version of Narnia if you will.

    But with so much dark humour, strangeness and sometimes creepiness it should definitely not be recommended for kids.

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    Yet again an urban fantasy and I suppose hope well known. Yet again for its mix of lightheartedness and angst! My only negative note on this list: Wheels of Time… Why, oh why are people so in to it? Could not stomach more after book 6. He seems to have had only two categories for females — evil or annoying or possibly both.

    If not, do it now! Mistborn is on our recommended fantasy trilogies pages. I know it is 4 books now but it just seemed a better fit on there. I understand having Tolkien on the list but I have never been able to read his books. They just bore me and seem to spend too much energy in building the world and races that it is nearly a biography of a fantasy world and less a good fantasy story. Though I would have to say that without LoTR fantasy would still be decades behind where it is now. Really, not a single Brandon Sanderson, I just wanna see one of them although I think they all deserve a spot , Mistborn was an amazing series.

    I am listening to The Dragonbone Chair at this very moment — I first read it decades ago and hope to enjoy it every bit as much second time around! The Dwarves 2. The War of the Dwarves 3. The Revenge of the Dwarves 4. The Fate of the Dwarves 5. And then my absolute favorite: Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. City of Golden Shadow 2.


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    River of Blue Fire 3. Mountain of Black Glass 4. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss!! It is simply amazing. Self published at first, and has become a best-seller on word of mouth alone. I think that most people who like these other series would enjoy these. The first three books were fantastic, interesting world, characters with room to grow and a story to tell. Somewhere though it got off track. It seemed to require story lines that were way to separate and did not seem to come together much. Great series but after starting out to be the best ever, it never quite lived up to that.

    Interesting story and characters. Interesting form of magic. My ESL teacher recommended it to me when I was in high school and I have been in love with it ever since. Now it is sold as 1 thick book, but it is actually composed of 4 books: A good call for Mists of Avalon Luiz and I have been delighted to add it.

    7 Essential Fantasy Series

    I should just note that Diana L. Paxson co-wrote and independently wrote the later novels. One author completely missing from this list and the comments is Peter V Brett — His Demon Cycle series it is now over 3 books so can be included is a fantastic new take on the fantasy genre. Some wonderful characters in a gripping story line. Four have been published and I can hardly wait for the fifth and concluding novel. The Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd.

    Otherwise, all the comments and remarks are very acurate, and although I am a fan of Terry Goodkind, some of the books did stink… Wheel of Time is epic! In fact, he just finished reading the first novel by Jim West called Libellus de Numeros The Book of Math that makes math and science relevant and fun in a story of magic and danger.

    The story is about Alex, a young precocious girl, who mysteriously gets transported to a strange world where Latin and Math combine in formulas and equations with magical effects. With a cruel council leading the only safe city of its kind in this world, she will have to prove her worth to stay as well as help this city as it is the target for two evil wizards who seek to destroy the city and its ruling council. To help the city and also get back home, she will need the help of the greatest mathematician of all time, Archimedes. In a world where math is magic, Alex wishes she paid more attention in math class.

    Search for the book on Goodreads for reviews. Nice list, glad NOT to see junk like Twilight on it. Hey LuvD, the trilogy list which is a work in progress can be found here: Is it out as yet? If so, can you post a link? This thread has been opened since Gonna finally give WoT a try way too many of you have suggested it. Was probably looking for something new to try out and voila. The story managed to completely draw me in after a couple of chapters. That is one great list of beloved series you got there, so I felt compelled to express a concern and immediately suggest an entry.

    I am not Polish myself so I had to wait for translation but his work is truely masterful and entertaining, for lack of a better word.

    Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

    The subtle references to classic pieces are simply genius while the series follows its own engaging story. Believe me, I would never look at Cinderella or the Beauty and the Beast the same way as I did before! Definitely a recommended read! Thanks for that David, it made me smile, a lot. Very close to my own personal opinions on many points. Would love to know what you think about Wheel of Time though — if you could reply with an answer that would be great. Good call on Saga of the Recluce — we have very positive reviews for it already on the site, so added to this list it shall be!

    After Days of Air and Darkness, it sinks to somewhere between pretty good and so-so. No I take it back. The Belgariad is okay. The Malloreon is so-so. The Elenium is blah. The Tamuli is just plain bad. I really wish that Guy Gavriel Kay would write a series with each book being as good as Tigana was. Farseer by Robin Hobb is great. You have to like a book authored by a liberal where the hero is a guy who murders people for a living. Way to go, Margaret. Mistborn was great-minus, with flashes of great here and there.

    The Saga of Recluce is another great-minus series, with some of the books being marginally great and others being just pretty good. The repetitive use of the boy-from-the-sticks-grows-up-and-does-well theme holds it down half a notch. The real atrocity is that neither Mistborn nor the Stormlight Archives are listed. Hi James, great books but a trilogy. But if enough people think they should be on the list I would be happy to add them. Thanks for the good list. I agreed with most of the picks and got ideas for future reads from the rest.

    I do feel the need to award kudos not only for the Gemmell nods but specifically for the Rigante series. Rarely does a list acknowledge Gemmel and this is the first one to do that and go farther. The Drenai series may be simplistic but the tale of the Rigante is a whole different level of story telling in my opinion, and well worthy of mention. Wheel of Time series has to be in 2nd place after the story of the Middle Earth by J.

    I have read many of the authors in the list and are all great in different ways. One of my favourites however is Robin Hobb, I would urge anyone whose is looking for a great read to consider these. I think when you look at all from a distance, J. Tolkien is the author of all these books and they are all set in the same world.

    So I now think they should be included. Hi Unojoe, thank you for your comment. The Kingkiller Chronicles is — as you say — fantastic. But at the moment the criteria for inclusion on this page is a series consisting of at least 4 books. Thank you for the original list.

    7 Essential Fantasy Series - Nathan B Weller

    I used to read lots of fantasy but what with my career and children etc have only recently got back into it. Just finished WoT after a 7 year break- agree it lost its way in the middle at times and I despaired of it ever finishing; great finale though, a really good fight! I probably ought to re-read them now! I know he writes more stand alone novels, but would like to recommend Guy Gavriel Kay. Interesting comments Batto and Lawler, I tend to agree. Cheers everyone, have a good Christmas!

    I read fantasy fiction to escape and I enjoy it for that purpose, but I have to admit that very little of it is high-quality literature, and I find that the longer series are little more than endless plot, with little substance. Good literature makes you reflect on and better understand something, whether it be history, current events, human nature, love, friendship, pyschology, politics, etc. Fantasy fiction is often heavy on interpersonal relationships and emotions like love and courage, but it often has a very simplistic understanding of society in general. Maybe that is why we read it.

    What I enjoy about fiction fiction as a genre is its world building. I delight in the way the authors construct language, culture, history and myth.

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