Recommended Good Fantasy Books
On this page for fantasy novels I have simply put some brief comments and a list - until such time as I can write more completely about them.
There are oodles of great fantasy novelists as you are no doubt aware. The following vary in style, skills and mastery of the genre - but, while perhaps on different levels, none are bad and all are worth checking out - and in most cases re-reading.
I don’t profess to be an expert – this site is about what I have enjoyed – and what others may have – if we get articles. The site won’t cover the whole spectrum of fantasy – mainly those we like.
For example, unless someone else contributes an article Terry Pratchett won’t get another mention as I have never been able to get into his novels.
David Eddings: see comments below
Christopher Paolini: the 3rd in the Trilogy is finally released.
Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time - needs patience, but epic in content.
David Farland: The Sum of All Men - good reading, well plotted
Tad Williams: The Dragonbone Chair Trilogy - well worth it.
Here is an interim list not covered elsewhere on this site.
Some Luminaries of the genre
Guy Gavriel Kay
Allan Dean Foster
R A Salvatore
Ursula Le Guin
Katherine Kerr (The excellent Deverry series)
George R R Martin
Mickey Zucker Reichert
J V Jones
While I haven't read every book by the above, I have read many of their novels and am confident to recommend them on that basis.
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson
In many ways this is a great series - but I found it often very frustrating - as the 'hero' took so long to come into his own.
David Eddings - Great for young adults and older teenagers
Eddings first series, The Belgariad, was my introduction to fantasy novels over 20 years ago – and for a long while was my criterion for assessing what I wanted to read next in fantasy – it took me until the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy to get around to actually reading Tolkien!
The Belgariad all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it
Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.
Eddings manages to breathe a lot of life into what is a fairly archetypical fantasy plot and laces a good deal of banter and humour throughout. I always imagined Angelica Huston as Aunt Pol (Polgara the Sorceress)!
The Belgariad is one of the better fantasy series to come out over the last 20 years – but now that I am older, it no longer holds the high place in my pantheon of fantasy epics it once occupied – it is probably more for younger tastes – being especially good for young adults and teens moving into adult reading.
What has been disappointing is that Eddings has not only used the formula well but has basically used it again and again and again. This has become a repetition without sufficient variation so that now his books are a bit irksome or tired. This is most evidenced in the most recent series “The Dreamers”
It has none of that undiluted first joy that came with reading The Belgariad for the first time. While his books are not as strong in depth or literary creation as some others, the early series are fun, and fun is enough!
I do recommend
The Mallorean 1987ff - sequel series to the Belgariad)
The Dreamer series
was co-authored with his late wife Leigh, as was The Redemption of Athalus - books I must admit to being really lukewarm about – in fact with The Redemption of Athalus I seem to remember being quite put off. The Dreamers was convoluted at times and bordering on the trite.
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