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My Favorite Fantasy Series

  • Jun 30, 2010
These are some of my favorite fantasy series.  While there are many that I know others might put on this list (i.e. the Dresden Files, The Wheel of Time Series, etc.), they're not on my list because I either have not read the complete series or because I haven't gotten around to the series as of yet!  So this may be a very different list in a few months.  But for now, these are some of the fantasy series that i return to time and again.  I've listed them in order of importance (read:  how much I love them.).
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy
While this story might seem deceptively simple and the plot is somewhat conventional (find three swords to defeat an unholy alliance), the dense character development turns an ordinary story into a complicated and thrilling read. Tad Williams is also willing to include incredibly moving scenes, which makes the reader become more invested in the lives of the characters and the development of the plot.
Farseer Trilogy
The Farseer Trilogy is one of the most complex and disturbing fantasy series that I've ever read. Not only is the hero, Fitz, at times despicable and spineless, the people around him seem determined to misunderstand and revile him...which is probably one of the reasons why I like it so much! This is no easy read, and I struggled at times to get through it because I wanted to shake some sense into Fitz and some of the other characters. Strangely enough, It was a thrilling read all the more for it.
Inheritance Cycle
This one is kind of a cheat as the series is yet to be complete, but I HAD to add it because of how engaging it is. Christopher Paolini certainly tricked us (or maybe he tricked himself) into believing that this would only be a trilogy. It's a great series. The primary character, Eragon, is a young country boy who finds himself in possession of a dragon's egg. which sets him on a dangerous and exciting adventure to thwart the evil King Galbatorix.
Provost's Dog Trilogy
This is also a bit of a cheat, as the third book in this series is not yet available. I've been reading Tamora Pierce young adult fantasy novels for at least 15 years, and this is by far the best of the bunch. Beka Cooper is a strong willed, intelligent, and observant heroine. At only sixteen, she joins the Provost's Guard, and shows that she is more than willing to get down and dirty in order to protect the people of Tortall. I enjoy strong heroines, and she definitely fits the bill.
The Bridge of D'Arnath Series
Carol Berg is phenomenal. This series is a quartet telling of an epic struggle between the Dar'Nethi and the Lords of Zhev'Na. Sorcery and the characters wielding of magical powers are the driving force of this series. How does power alter the course of a person's life and subsequently a people's history/destiny? Great stuff.
Pern: Harper Hall Trilogy
Menolly is another strong, female protagonist. She takes center stage in the first two novels in this series and makes minor appearances in the third. The story is straight forward, a young noblewoman is unable to cultivate her love for music because the profession is more the domain of men. Yet she resists attempts to curb her desires. Of course, dragons and other fantastic creatures play important roles in this series as they have in every other novel of Pern.
Samaria Series
This is possibly the most unusual of the bunch. There aren't dragons and magic swords, etc. In fact, as more and more of the story is revealed, it would be very easy to classify this as sci-fi...but the reader might not make that decision upon reading the first book in the series. Strange, I know. Essentially, it begins with the story of "angels" who are the keepers of Samaria. They take care of, to some extent, the humans that inhabit the planet, and they make sure that they offer the appropriate conditions for a peaceful, harmonic coming together of the people of Samaria.
The Dark is Rising Sequence
I read, The Dark is Rising, the second book in this series first. It was literally the book that set me on the path to a life long love of books. The Dark is Rising is perhaps the most well known of the series, as it has been made into a movie (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising), and it tells of a young man who learns that he is one of the keepers of the Light. His newfound powers must be used to suppress the Dark. The premise is somewhat conventional, but it's really an interesting read. That it features young people tasked with making clear head and responsible decisions involving very powerful forces makes it a great read for young adults.
The Lord of the Rings (novel)
It's a classic. It's J.R.R. Tolkien. Really, need I say more?
Harry Potter Series
There's not much that I need to say about this series is there. If you haven't read it, you're either living under a rock--or should be! Even if it turns out not to be your "thing," it's at least worth finding out what all the hype is about (especially if you have kids that have read/are reading it.).

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July 04, 2010
I love Tolkien's and Rowling's works, especially because of their depth, the pure creativity they exude, their characters, and the over all scope. Are you familiar with Lloyd Alexander? He's another one of my favorite fantasy authors when I was growing up and I still love his series, "The Chronicles of Prydain".
July 05, 2010
I love "The Chronicles of Prydain." I wrote a pretty neat essay on it during my MA work. My favorite was "The High King." I cried when the saga ended. :)
July 06, 2010
Yeah, Alexander remains the unsung hero of the fantasy genre. I was so sad when he passed away. I was actually going to contact him in the hopes of doing an interview, but alas it wasn't meant to be.
July 06, 2010
Viva la Gurgi!
July 07, 2010
I definitely have to get onto the Lloyd Alexander train. I love young adult/children's fantasy.
July 07, 2010
I hope you will and that you enjoy them. You check on Wikipedia for the order or I can give it to you. There are essentially 5 books in the Chronicles of Prydain which follow Taran and his friends' adventures, then there's another book that takes place before his birth and builds up the history of Prydain.
July 07, 2010
Oh, ok. Do you think it's worthwhile to read the 5 books in the "Chronicles" first, or should I read the book before Taran's birth first?
July 07, 2010
Frankly, I would read the Chronicles first because the other book is just back story for fans. The order of the Chronicles is thus:
I.   The Book of Three
II.  The Black Cauldron
III. The Castle of Llyr
IV. Taran Wanderer
V.  The High King

... and then if you're still interested, the other book is called The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain.
July 01, 2010
Lots of GREAT fantasy series out there ... The Elenium, the Belgariad, Shannara, the Dresden Files, Duncton Wood, the Mad Ship Trilogy, Jim Hines' Goblin series, the Briar King, Joshua Palmatier's Throne series, and MANY more! Great list.
July 04, 2010
I love the Shannara series. I've only read the original 3 in the series, but they're great. The "Mad" Ship? Are you talking about the Liveship books by Robin Hobb? If so, I love those too! She has such a knack for creating lively and interesting stories. Those are some of my favorites! I definitely have to check out the Dresden Files and the Elenium trilogy. Several folks have mentioned them to me. Can't wait!
July 04, 2010
Yes, sorry, I did mean the Liveship series. For those that haven't read this series, the middle title of the trilogy is "Mad Ship".
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I recently graduated with a Master's degree in English. I love reading, writing and researching so much that I hope to make it my life's work! I've taught first year composition and have worked … more
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