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Best Fantasy Books – The List Compiled By You

jonathan strange & mr. norrellThe discussions on the best science fiction and fantasy books have been so good that I decided to compile a list of the titles that were suggested in the comments, and through subsequent emails that I received.

If you’re looking for good fantasy, the readers here have helped put together a great resource. I had not heard of some of these and look forward to trying them all.

And let me say that if you have not read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, mentioned below, please give it a try. I forgot how much I liked it until someone brought it up.

  • The Death Gate Cycle by Weis and Hickman
  • The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
  • Sunshine by Robert McKinley
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
  • The first two books of the Darkborn trilogy by Alison Sinclair: Darborn and Lightborn.
  • The Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  • The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
  • Just about anything by Terry Pratchett
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salmon Rushdie
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager
  • Stephen King’s Dark Tower series
  • Zelazny’s Amber series
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
  • Anything by Dunsany
  • Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd andMouser stories
  • The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
  • Crown of Stars series by Kate Elliott
  • Marion Zimmer-Bradley’s Darkover novels
  • Anything by Charles De Lint
  • Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Deed of Paksennarion by Elizabeth Moon
  • The Malazan book of the Fallen series
  • The Taltos Series by Stephen Brust
  • The Pendragon Series by D.J. McHale
  • The Eragon Inheritance Trilogy/Series by Christopher Paolini
  • The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers
  • The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
  • Earthsea books by Ursula K. Leguin
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Thanks to everyone who pitched in for the list. Feel free to keep adding. One thing I know about book people is that too much is never enough. Every single one of these fantasy recommendations could probably lead to a dozen others.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brent Partner March 13, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Nice list! I think every fantasy book list should include at least a couple of titles by David Gemmell. My personal favorites: “Wolf in Shadow” and “Waylander”

  • Pauline March 13, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Great list. Many are our favorites to read again!
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell can be daunting because of the very small print size and 782 pages, but well worth the effort.

  • wil March 13, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I’m currently reading “Rumo: And His Miraculous Adventures” by Walter Moers. I highly recommend it.

  • Chris March 13, 2011, 5:13 pm

    How about George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire? Some books are better than others, but fantastic writing overall.

    Also, second vote for Rumo, and everything else by Walter Moers.

    • Jeanette Swalberg March 13, 2011, 6:45 pm

      Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke

    • Amanda March 13, 2011, 7:18 pm

      I second George Martin’s Song of Fire & Ice series.

      This is what Robert Jordan could have done with his Waste of Time series.

  • Pim March 14, 2011, 3:48 am

    That’s quite a list. And here I was thinking that I had read pretty much every fantasy book there was to read.

    Coraline by Neil Gaiman is great, but the one I enjoyed was “American Gods”. Not your standard young boy finds sword and must manifest destiny by trekking across a world acompanied by Dwarfs, Wizards and what have you not, nevertheless very enjoyable.

    I also didn’t see Robin Hobb’s books four trilogies of magic and swords, and a vital ingredient: Dragons!

  • Johan March 14, 2011, 5:36 am

    “Just about anything by Terry Pratchett”, LOL, you’ve got that right.
    It’s good to see Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Mouser stories mentioned.
    I have read so much fantasy, but I still fail to understand why people like Harry Potter. There are so many better books about apprentice wizards: Ursula Leguin’s Earthsea books for example.
    Missing on the list: Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga, Empire Trilogy, Krondor’s Sons, Serpentwar Saga and Riftwar Legacy. Bit like Tolkien: Elves, dwarfs, humans, dark Elves, epic battles, magic, dark forces, even darker forces, coming of age(s) … but more accessible and with more action. The quality of later series quickly went downhill.
    Also missing, and I am a bit surprised by that, Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, Liveship Traders Trilogy, Tawny Man Trilogy, and Soldier’s Son Trilogy. But I am not the first to mention them.

  • Rhamantus March 14, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Erm, that’s Sunshine by Robin McKinley. 🙂

    Great list, thanks! I’ll be looking for the ones I haven’t read as well. 🙂

  • cinderkeys March 15, 2011, 3:07 am

    I second American Gods and The Stolen Child.

    Though I loved the Harry Potter series, it’s not what comes to mind when somebody asks me about great fantasy. The fantasy elements of Harry Potter were secondary to the plot, if that makes any sense.

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