As most people have probably realised, fantasy books usually come in series. Maybe its because the authors get so into their stories that they just want to keep on going! Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining. I quite like fantasy books, and the more there are the better! I have thought about ranking my favourite authors and series for a while now, and I think its time I started.
My first instinct was to say ROBERT JORDAN immediately as the leader. However, I began to waffle when I thought about the more recent Brandon Sanderson. A-mazing. His originality and writing style are simply genius. I have read and re-read and loved Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time for years and years, but its place at the top of my list has been seriously challenged by first the Mistborn series and then each successive novel of Sanderson’s. I cannot stress enough how brilliant his concepts are, and how well-realized. And I’m not even being paid to say that! What a great job that would be. Basically: READ ALL OF THEM.
Anyhow here is the list, though I’m not sure I won’t fiddle around with it more as I continue to think about it.
Although George RR Martin hasn’t written the next book in his series in YEARS (like, 5), and we all keep waiting and waiting and waiting some more, the ones he has written already keep his position on the list. His characters are so human, and the fact that there isn’t much “magic” going on to upset the non-fantasy reader (other than the entrance of some dragons and ghosts) means it would be an easy start-up for those looking into the genre.
I don’t know what to say about Robin Hobb’s various series. They are really good. And they all connect! Its pretty amazing how different bits come into importance in other trilogies later on, and some stories even happen consecutively. The breadth of topics covered, and the detail with which each is described shows great knowledge as well as imagination, and her main characters always garner the reader’s sympathies while also showing their own faults. All her series from that world are well worth reading. However, her Soldier’s Son books are not my favorite. I didn’t even finish the second one- and that is HUGE that I would put down a book. It just didn’t do anything for me and I found it a bit laborious. Maybe others wouldn’t find it the same way, but I only have my own opinions to go on; I haven’t talked to anyone else who has tried it.
So on to the final author on my list. I first tried this series on a recommendation from a friend, and so far this has been the most reliable way of finding new books. Sometimes you just don’t like what Amazon recommends. Oh well, at least it has been tried. Fortunately, I really enjoyed Tad Williams. Well his books at least, I haven’t met the man of course. I wished the series went on for longer! I guess that’s why fantasy authors tend to keep on going! It was very entertaining and should definitely be on any fantasy list.
Some others I considered didn’t make it on for various reasons. I quite like the Modesitt series about the balance of Order and Chaos, but all the novels tended to seem the same after a little while. Though with different protagonists in most, I think only a couple had two novels, the story-lines blended together. They were all good, and all worth reading, but as a whole the series could have done with some more variety. I think my favorite protagonist was Lorn the carpenter, though. In case you were wondering. Maybe it wouldn’t be nearly as obvious if you read them all with big gaps in between. It could do with a more obvious order to the books. I know I ended up reading them out of order because I couldn’t tell which was meant to go first, and that sort of thing tends to annoy me.
I have also begun reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. Although I like it, I can’t sit down and read them back to back- which is something I love to do, and have had no trouble with other series. Maybe its just a bit too gritty? Though I can’t pinpoint anything that makes it that way. I guess its just a feeling I get when I read each book. I just feel like I need a break after finishing one. The first three books had me start to feel for certain characters that then ended up getting killed off! I don’t know if I like that, though I guess its more “realistic.” I am also not quite sure who is good and who is bad. Though I suppose that is also more realistic, and he probably does it on purpose as a comment on people and humanity in general, but its unusual in a fantasy series and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I usually don’t notice the length of a fantasy novel, and often wish they were longer, but with these… I noticed. A lot.
Anyway, there are a bunch more fantasy series I have read over the years, but those 5 are the only ones I consistently recommend to my friends. And no one has ever been disappointed! So now, I recommend them to you. The couple copies of Tad Williams I keep seeing on the shelves downstairs in Oxfam also reminded me that I should do something of the sort! I hope you all enjoy them, too.