Surprise! It’s NOT an ode to Queen. It’s another flaming list.
I’ve said it a couple hundred times before and I’ll say it a couple thousand times more: I love a good list. But you know what I love even more than lists? Books. I can’t get enough of them. I could build a throne of all the books I own. I could crawl up into a fort made of books and lose myself in fiction for days. Have I made my book fetish clear yet? You get it, right? I love books and lists. I can stop banging on about it now. So, this month, I’ve brought the two together again because I clearly have too much time on my hands—and voila: another book list. Specifically, the BEST books, and not just any books but the best fantasy books.
Ode to Fantasy
Now, I could no sooner choose a favourite genre or book than I could choose between Ian Somerhalder, Johnny Depp, and [insert your favourite eye candy here]. I want them all—all the men; all the books. That being said, there’s something special about Fantasy. To sum up what would otherwise be a very long and (for you) laborious declaration of love, I think Brandon Sanderson said it best: fantasy is all of that good stuff (romance, action, drama, etc, etc,) only WITH DRAGONS!
I am OBVIOUSLY paraphrasing here. Mr Sanderson is a damn sight more eloquent than this. But that’s the gist of it. Fantasy hits all the spots, checks all the boxes… I can’t think of a third… So…
On to the List!
Here are ten of the best fantasy books (probably OF ALL TIME), and because everyone and their pet crocodile has heard of the best fantasy books a bazillion times already, I won’t summarise any of these but I AM adding five of my personal favourites. (See my additions at the bottom.)
1. The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings) by J R Tolkien
2. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) George R R Martin
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter) by J K Rowling
4. The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan
5. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss
6. A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb
8. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman
9. The Final Empire (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson
10. The Colour of Magic (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
Five of my Personal Favourites
1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with intriguing mythology and a beautifully vivid nature-based magic system. It follows a girl who is yet to learn who and what she is until she meets the Dragon.
See full review:
2. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
A witch who doesn’t want her magic and a vampire older than the hills, time-travel through history to uncover the mystery behind a mysterious tome. This is rich with history and intrigue and is one of my favourite witchy books.
See full review:
A Discovery of Witches
3. Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Original storytelling with Russian elements, the Grisha Trilogy is rich with detail and depth. The fleshed out world is refreshingly unique in both setting and story, and is centred on an orphan girl who is thrust into power and magic.
4. Witch Child by Celia Rees
A wonderful weaving of fiction and fact, set around the Salem Witch Trials and centred on a girl called Mary as she discovers who she really is and how to survive in her threatening world. Immersive and bewitching and unputdownable.
See full review:
Book One: Witch Child
5. Once Burned (Night Prince) by Jeaniene Frost
Technically an action-packed paranormal series with witty, kick-ass vampires but with enough magic (particularly in the fourth book) to pass as fantasy. Easily my favourite vampire from one of my favourite authors, this crackling (punny!) series will have you binge-reading for days.
Lastly, if you haven’t yet checked out (or heard of) the fantasy romance series by yours truly, I’m adding it to this list, not because it comes anywhere close to the classics of the genre but because it does tick the boxes for magic and adventure in a faraway fictional land. (I visit this land on a basis far too frequently to be considered healthy or sane.)
I’ve added the synopsis below. Have a nosey. Check it out.
If you want to, that is. I’m not the queen or anything. Not today, anyway.
Immisceo: Taken (The Immisceo Series)
In the land of Nosiras, the Duciti’s word is law and their reign is absolute.
Luciana is a powerful witch: independent and wilful as she is strong. But when she is chosen by the Duciti to conceive an Immisceo witch to use as a weapon against Amara and her Outcasts, she has but two choices: obey with her freedom or without. When her Immisceo son is kidnapped, she will stop at nothing to get him back.
Nathaniel was born to the streets, then raised in an environment one rung down from captivity. Guarded by his older brother, he seeks freedom and adventure from his restrained life. Meeting Luciana will grant him one of these and will set him on a path which will test his ties of blood and love.
Caught between two enemies, Luciana and her unwitting companion are against the odds in their quest to save her son from a war that shouldn’t have been his to fight. In the hands of his kidnapper, Eli is as much a weapon as he would be in the Duciti’s—a weapon Luciana created. His life has been predetermined by those who would harm him, and Luciana must now right the wrongs she has dealt her son and save him from his fate—but at what cost?
More about Immisceo
What are your all-time favourite fantasy books? How many of the ‘fantasy classics’ have you read?
Let me know in the comments.