Recommended Fantasy Books

Similar to my list of Recommended Urban Fantasy Books, this is a list of fantasy and high fantasy that I strongly advocate. If you’ve read one on this list, chances are you’ll like the others. If you’re looking to get started in the genre, any on this list will probably do the job. These are shown in no particular order since it’s hard for me to prioritize these books and series. I love them all too much.

Brandon Sanderson (The Mistborn series)
This series uses a unique system of magic where people gain power by ingesting and “burning” a specific metal. Each metal gives different abilities, and the power itself is rare. A small thieving crew gathers together to overthrow the empire.

  1. Mistborn: The Final Empire
  2. The Well of Ascension
  3. The Hero of Ages

Raymond E. Feist (The Riftwar Saga series)
This is about as classic as you can get for classic fantasy. A young country boy grows up to become an amazing magician. Good guys, bad guys, travels between worlds. Very immersive series.

  1. Magician: Apprentice
  2. Magician: Master
  3. Silverthorn
  4. A Darkness at Sethanon

Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle series)
This is about one man’s amazing life and how he’s come about all of his names and nicknames. His life as a troubador, student, friend, lover, fighter and everything in-between. Definitely read these if you haven’t.

  1. The Name of the Wind
  2. The Wise Man’s Fear
  3. The Doors of Stone (forthcoming)

Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time series)
This is the penultimate saga. The author died before he was able to complete the series, so his wife asked Brandon Sanderson (author listed above) to finish the series after Robert Jordan was gone. Prophecies, evil magicians, world travels, wars – this series has it all. The last book in the series is due out sometime soon, so now’s a good time to start or catch up on these books.

  1. A New Spring (Prologue, released around book 5 or so)
  2. The Eye of the World
  3. The Great Hunt
  4. The Dragon Reborn
  5. The Shadow Rising
  6. The Fires of Heaven
  7. The Lord of Chaos
  8. A Crown of Swords
  9. The Path of Daggers
  10. Winter’s Heart
  11. Crossroads of Twilight
  12. Knife of Dreams
  13. The Gathering Storm
  14. Towers of Midnight
  15. A Memory of Light

George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire series)
Now that HBO has made a tv series out of it, everyone knows what this is so I’ll be brief. Political intrigue in a medieval world, with some magic and dragons thrown into the mix. Huge cast of characters and so many unexpected plot twists that you’ll be hooked in no time.

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords
  4. A Feast for Crows
  5. A Dance With Dragons
  6. Winds of Winter (forthcoming)

Greg Keyes (The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series)
This one’s fascinating. It takes place in what would be modern-day America, if the pilgrims settled and instead of finding indians, they found large magical creatures that enslaved the world. The slavers are now gone and magic is once again beginning to rise in the world.

  1. The Briar King
  2. The Charnel Prince
  3. The Blood Knight
  4. The Born Queen

Steven Erikson (The Malazan Book of the Fallen series)
Very gritty, war-like realistic fantasy series. The gods in this series are based off of tarot cards and the cast of characters is incredibly vast. Generally more of a “guy book” than most fantasy books/series tend to be.

  1. Gardens of the Moon
  2. Deadhouse Gates
  3. Memories of Ice
  4. House of Chains
  5. Midnight Tides
  6. The Bonehunters
  7. Reaper’s Gale
  8. Toll the Hounds
  9. Dust of Dreams
  10. The Crippled God

Jim C. Hines (The Jig the Goblin series)
This is my guilty pleasure, so it has to be on this list. This story is told from the point of view of a small goblin living in a cave, constantly harassed by bigger goblins and adventurers disrupting his home looking for treasure. Excellent light reading.

  1. Goblin Quest
  2. Goblin Hero
  3. Goblin War
  4. Goblin Tales

Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle series)
The author wrote the first book in this series when he was as young as the main character. It’s about a young country boy who finds a dragon egg. Big evil tyrants, beautiful women, life lessons – a very traditional but excellent fantasy. The first one or two books can be considered Young Adult Fantasy but the last two are definitely more advanced.

  1. Eragon
  2. Eldest
  3. Brisingr
  4. Inheritance

R.A. Salvatore (The Dark Elf Trilogy)
This is the book series that almost everyone who knows anything about fantasy is familiar with. It’s the literary basis for almost all dark/night/etc elves in rpg video games and set strongly in the Forgotten Realms world. Excellent series.

  1. Homeland
  2. Exile
  3. Sojourn

Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (The Dragonlance Chronicles series)
I read these when I was a teenager, so they will always have a special place in my heart. They’re not as good to me now as they were then, but it’s a good way to get introduced to all the different races and groups of people in the D&D world, as this series follows its conventions closely: evil wizards, shining paladins, elvish archers, gruff dwarves, etc .

  1. Dragons of Autumn Twilight
  2. Dragons of Winter Night
  3. Dragons of Spring Dawning
  4. Time of the Twins
  5. War of the Twins
  6. Test of the Twins
  7. The Second Generation
  8. Dragons of Summer Flame
  9. Soulforge
  10. Dalamar the Dark

Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (The Deathgate Cycle series)
The end of this series, in my opinion, fell flat. I wrote a very spoiler-filled post on this series back in January, so if you’re looking to get the series spoiled for you, feel free to read it. The series is good, it just had potential to be so much better. It’s on this list for the concepts of different worlds connected by what seems to be a black hole. Very interesting idea.

  1. Dragon Wing
  2. Elven Star
  3. Fire Sea
  4. Serpent Mage
  5. The Hand of Chaos
  6. Into the Labyrinth
  7. The Seventh Gate
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