Top fantasy series

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here's my list for the moment...

You'll see that my preferences are leaning toward "epic" fantasy.

The must read :

1 - The Malazan book of the fallen / Steven Erickson and Ian Cameron Esselmont

top fantasy seriesThis series is a behemoth. It will span 10 books and the ninth iteration is coming out soon. At approximately between 800 and 1000 pages each books, this is some long story. If you add Esselmont 5 books... and 2 future trilogies by Erikson...

The world building and magic system of the Malazan world is incredible (it was created by both Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esselmont). You can't get deeper, more complex and amazingly alive. This is epic fantasy on a completely different scale and even then, it's still about the characters.

The best book of the series for me so far was the third one, Memories of ice.

It may be slightly difficult to get past the first book, but it's worth every page.

Here's the list of the books :

Steven Erikson
Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
The Bonehunters
Reaper's Gale
Toll the Hounds (my review is here)
Dust of Dreams (coming soon in 2009)
The Crippled God (coming in 2010)

Ian C. Esslemont
Night of Knives
Return of the Crimson Guard (my review is here)
Stonewielder (coming soon, 2010?)

2 - A song of ice and fire / George R.R. Martin

top fantasy series
This is probably the most beloved series by a majority of fantasy readers. Martin created a dark and serious world, derived from the medieval era (old chivalry at it's best with a hint of magic). This is a series all about characters and they are extremely well developed. We follow the lives of many protagonists through many years in a world where all the power is in peril.

The only negative point is that the upcoming book, A Dance with Dragons is long in coming.

Here's the list of the books :

A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons (coming soon, 2010?)

3 - The First Law + Best Served Cold / Joe Abercrombie

top fantasy series
The First Law is again a character driven story surrounded by a gritty writing with a touch of humorous lightness.

Best Served Cold is a stand alone set in the same world.

Here's the list of the books :

The Blade Itself
Before they are Hanged
Last Arguments of Kings
Best Served Cold (stand alone)

4 - The Prince of Nothing + The Aspect Emperor / R. Scott Bakker

top fantasy series
The writing of Bakker is awesome. It's philosophical/religious/epic fantasy in a deeply rich world. The story is about a mighty holy war taken in charge by a god-like man. The main protagonists are unforgettable.

The Aspect-Emperor is the second trilogy set 20 years after the first one.

Here's the list of the books :

The Darkness that comes before
The Warrior Prophet
The Thousandfold Thought
The Judging Eye (my review is here)

5 - The Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien

top fantasy series
What can I say? You know about this, the work of the master. Everything comes back to this.

The series I recommend when the top series are done :

- The Wheel of Time / Robert Jordan
- The Mistborn trilogy / Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn review here)
- The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone / Greg Keyes (full series review here)
- Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn / Tad Williams (Dragonbone Chair review here)

And the ones that will challenge those soon I hope :

- A land fit for heroes / Richard Morgan (The Steel Remains review here)
- The gentleman bastard sequence / Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamore review here)
- The kingkiller chronicle / Patrick Rothfuss (The name of the Wind review here)
- Shadows of the apt / Adrian Tchaikovsky
- The black company / Glen Cook
- The Godless World / Brian Ruckley

And better yet, follow my reviews (Index)


Unknown said...

I agree with your top 4 series 100% but Lord of the Rings doesn't make my top 5. Either Brent Weeks Night Angel trilogy or Brian Ruckley's Godless War trilogy for me. I can't decide. I would like to put Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone in there but I thought the Born Queen was a little weak. I just wish the third Gentleman Bastard book would come out. That is shaping up to be a great series.

Phil said...

I think that LOTR is still in my list because of the nostalgia. It's the first epic fantasy I read. Maybe I should call him the 'father' instead of the 'master' :)

I haven't read Ruckley's an Weeks's series but I have their books and will probably get into them soon.

As for Kingdoms, I totally agree with you, I said the same thing in my review.

It's probably too soon for the Gentleman Bastard sequence to make the list but it's a good contender.

I hope new series will shake up this list!

The Fantasizer said...

Well atleast someone agrees with me on the greatness of R Scott Bakker's books!
I'd very much like if you could come up with a post of the top ten epic fantasy series in your opinion currently.
Your blog's great!

Phil said...

The Fantasizer, that's a good idea, I'll think it through and come up with the top 10. Not an easy task :)

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