Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Other Recommended Fantasy Reads

Mulluane | 12:00 AM | 2 Comments so far
This is a list of 23 of my favorite Epic Fantasy, Science Fantasy and High Fantasy Series plus other recommended reads, both Adult and Young Adult. Each series includes a short description. There are plenty of reviews on these in other places so I'm not planning on reviewing many of them myself. Note that the recommended grade levels are subjective and based on scholastic research. They are in no way anything but a suggestion.

(Legend: LG=Lower Grades MG=Middle Grades UG=Upper Grades A=Adult)

Lower to middle grades (but enjoyed by all ages)

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
More Info Here
The Chronicles of Narnia present the adventures of children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the fictional realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good battles evil. Each of the books (with the exception of The Horse and His Boy) features as its protagonists children from our world who are magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon to help the lion Aslan handle a crisis in the world of Narnia .
LG

Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
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UGLIES trilogy follows the high-tech adventures of Tally Youngblood. As an ugly, then a pretty, and finally a special, Tally works to take down a society created to function with perfect-looking people who never have a chance to think for themselves.
MG

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Coffer
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Artemis Fowl tells the tale of a twelve-year-old genius, a criminal mastermind who wants to acquire fairy gold in order to restore his family's fortune. This series is about Artemis' quest for the gold and how the fairies try to stop him from getting it.
MG

Upper Grades:

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
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Lyra and Will, children from different worlds, share two common bonds, the loss of parents and the possession of objects which give them unique access to knowledge. One is an object which communicates truth about any situation to any person wise enough to be able to read it and the other an instrument which can cut open windows to other worlds.
UG

Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini
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Fifteen year-old Eragon discovers his destiny as a Dragon Rider. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and his dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
UG

Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
More Info Here
Fun series full of fantastic creatures, a unique parallel world and a magic system based on puns. Yes I said puns! These are a light read and funny as heck (by the rules of the Adult Conspiracy if I say the other word really bad things will happen.) Anthony has taken puns sent to him over the years by readers and woven them into a tongue in cheek universe where babies are actually delivered by storks and children are kept innocent at all costs. Fun reads.
UG

Shannara Series by Terry Brooks.
More Info Here:
This is epic fantasy (14 books) with LoTR overtones but set in a post apocalyptic world where magic has replaced technology. The first book that was written, The Sword of Shannara, follows Shea Ohmsford in his quest to recover the magical sword and use it to defeat the evil Warlock Lord. When this book was first published it rocketed up the best sellers lists, and with good reason. This is high fantasy at its best and a must read for anyone who loved Lord of the Rings.
UG

Mithgar Series by Dennis L. McKiernan
More Info Here:
The first book was originally written as a sequel to LoTR, but once written the Tolkien family backed out the deal. So in an attempt to save the story, McKiernan rewrote it, changing a few elements, names and so forth to make it unique. But its still an LoTR sequel and that doesn't remove its charm. He went on to write 17 books in this series, and each was better then the last. The battle scenes are better, the characters are portrayed with more warmth and as long as you realize the parallels are intentional, you'll enjoy these as much as LoTR.
They have all of the ingredients of high fantasy, elves, dwarves, warrows (hobbits), orges, trolls (by other names) a group of loyal companions on a quest against evil. I stumbled onto this series late (Hel's Crucible). By then his writing had greatly improved and I enjoyed the books thoroughly. Purists may wish to start at the beginning and watch the story, and the writer, grow but you can start on later books and not really miss out on anything. Fun reads.
UG

Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne Mccaffrey
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Anne Mccaffrey is one of those authors whose books just leave you feeling good once you read the last page. While a combination of Sci-fi and Fantasy (the argument continues about which one it is) they sit on my fantasy shelf. Anyone who has ever dreamed of riding a dragon should read these.
UG

The Belgariad (5), The Malloreon(5), The Elenium (3), The Tamuli(3) by David and Leigh Eddings
More Info Here (Books Tab)
I can't say enough good about these books. They are full of rich content, fantastic worldbuilding and plenty of sorcery. One of my biggest draws is the humor, the interaction between characters can be side splitting at times. They are rift with dry wit, affectionate banter and personal quirks. My favorite books hands down.
UG

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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I've always loved her writing, even her Sci-fi books and I'm not a huge Sci-fi fan. In this book she gives a feminist light on the Celtic era where Merlin reigned supreme. In a topic that has been done to death, somehow she manages to make it all fresh and new, and a great read. there are more books in this series that she wrote with Diane L. Paxton including a prequel called Forest House.
UG

Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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This is a huge series that can be read in any order since each was written to be a stand alone novel. Darkover is a planet that is in a state of permanent Ice Age. The ruling class or Comyn, possess different types of Laran which are psychic powers. There are several unique cultures and alien races. Great reads.
UG

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and the sequels.
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These books are a riot and considered a Sci-fi classic. If you want space travel with a heavy dose of irony and humor I suggest these.
UG

Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist. Start with
Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master
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Pug, an orphan boy is apprenticed to a magician and begins a set of adventures with his friend Thomas as their world is invaded by aliens who enter through a portal. These books were originally created as an alternate D&D world and quickly grew in popularity causing him to write a lot more books to add to the series.
UG

Forgotten Realms books by R. A. Salvatore
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There is no easy way to summarize these books, the scope is just too large. Best I can do is say they are full of adventure, elves, magic, and alternate worlds. Once you start reading these you will find yourself hooked.
UG

Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
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This is a large collection and every book in it is excellent. The concept of being *chosen* by a companion, which is essentially a telepathic horse with amazing powers, is delightful. Once chosen you become one of the elite heralds, protectors of the realm. Start with Arrows of the Queen.
UG

The Wheel of Time (11 in print, 12th book to be written by Brandon Sanderson) by Robert Jordan
More Info Here
This huge sage takes place in a medieval type world where magic is called the One Power and can only be used by women. Men who are born with this ability are fated to go insane, if they live that long as once found are usually killed first. The saga centers around one man who, born with the One Power, is fated to save the world, while trying to save himself from insanity. The first book takes off slow as the extensive worldbuilding begins to take shape but once you get past that part you will never regret it.
UG

Adult:

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson (1 and 2)
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Thomas Covenant is a leper, outcast and misunderstood his disease makes everybody treat him with fear and mistrust. As a result he lives alone, shunning all human contact as much as possible. When he is suddenly transported to a world where he is healthy, where health is a very tangible force, he refuses to believe, afraid that if he does he'll cease to focus on the rituals that keep him alive. This series had a profound effect on me. The angst of Thomas Covenant, the force with which he refused to believe what was happening to him, the tragic events that have shaped his life were all heart wrenching. The first 6 books definitely changed how I looked at things, both inside and outside of myself. (Note I don't care for the new ones written recently, long after the first 2 sets, but thats me.)
A

A Song of Ice and Fire Series (4 in print, 3 planned) by George R. R. Martin
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A ruthless story about a ruthless world where harsh winter like conditions make for harsh and gritty characters. This series has all the typical elements of sword and sorcery; wars, prophecy, dragons (later in the series), invading creatures from another land, treason, betrayal, love, death and loyalty. Martin tells this tale from the viewpoint of many different characters, each bringing a unique perspective on the unforgiving land in which they live. This series is rift with sex and violence and I do not recommend for younger teens.
A

Kushiel Series by Jacqueline Carey
More Info Here
If you want something completely different but with a definite adult theme try these. I recommend them highly for open minded adults. The world centers on a religion that honors sex and love in all its forms from sensual to masochistic. But its not a trash novel, the subject matter is handled in a very mature and reverent way. The story follows Ph├Ędre as first a child in the "Night Court" to her training as a spy and on to her adventures both at home and across the lands. There is a touching love story, high adventure, political intrigue, and a complex world to enjoy. This series is on my favorites list.
A

The Sword of Truth, written by Terry Goodkind
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Set in a medieval type world, Richard Cypher, a woods guide, lends a hand to a stranger who is searching for a nameless Wizard who disappeared many years ago. Along the way Richard is challenged in every way possible, physically, mentally and emotionally. This series showcases the virtue of remaining true to yourself and your morals, regardless of what life throws at you. The author himself says he wrote this series with adults in mind because of the focus on philosophical themes
A

Pre-history (meaning times before recorded history)

Jean M. Auel's series Earth's Children.
More Info Here
This is a series of historical fiction based on archaeological and paleontological research. The magic in these is shamanic based and they are good reads.

The People's books by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear
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Prehistoric north America also based on archaeological and paleontological research.Again these are fictional stories based on what the authors imagine things were like but based on evidence collected at actual archaeological sites.



Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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2 comments :

  1. I would add
    Children:

    Chrestomanci series & the Dalemark series, both by Diana Wynne Jones

    young adult:
    The Abhorsen series; and of course Ursula Le Guin's The Earthsea series, and the newer Gifts, Powers, Voices.

    Adults:
    Gene Wolfe's The original (4) books of The New Sun series

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks!

    I only listed works I had read myself so I definitely appreciate the additions.

    ReplyDelete

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