Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
I managed to miss last week’s because of everything else going on in the world so today there is a double dose. Mostly because I’m stubborn.
This week (last week) it’s a genre freebie so and as I’m getting back into my hard-core stupidly long fantasy I thought it would be a perfect time to give 10 fantasy books/series that people who like the genre should read. (You will notice a repeat of authors but I’m trying my best)
- The Belgariad – David Eddings (Series)
This series is most people’s introduction to the genre. I read them when I was 11 or 12 and burned through them. It’s full of tropes and a lot of the reveals are fairly obvious to the fantasy reader but it’s fun. Also this series came out in the 80s so the only reason they are so well known is because lots of other authors have used similar ideas since. At some point I plan on rereading these but I worry I won’t enjoy it as much now.
- Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien (Series)
You can’t talk about the epic fantasy genre without talking about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings, similar to the Belgariad lots of the ideas have been used since which might make some things feel old and obvious but this book was pretty much the first of it’s kind and from it the whole genre was born.
- The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien (Book)
For people who can’t deal with adult fantasy series and a surplus of characters and plots then the Hobbit is for you. Written before LotR this is a kids fantasy book and even some of my fantasy hating family have read it and enjoyed it. Yes there are 13 dwarves which seems like a surplus but only a few of them get any amount of screen time apart from the introduction. (Something that you can’t do in a film hence the fact there are 3 of them). This is your basic fantasy quest book and is a great introduction to the genre for kids just reaching double figure. For Christmas one year (I was 10 or 11) I got 3 different copies of the Hobbit, graphic novel, hardback illustrated, and complete LotR collection.
- Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) (Series)
From introductory fantasy to something that is definitely not. This 14 book epic is a beast for any fantasy reader, each book is at least 600 pages long and A LOT happens. Jordan take the idea of multiple plots and characters and turns it into a world with at least 10 main characters and their own plots that intertwine and then separate only to merge with another’s. I love this series and although I’ve only read it through fully once I have started a buddy read/book group with this series of 2 chapters a week, for the next 7 years… I’m loving rereading and noticing things I didn’t before as well as hearing UnSpoiled people say what they think is going to happen and what they think of the various characters. We’ve been doing this since the beginning of Feb – we left the starting village a couple of weeks ago and have just reached our first city. I’ve already got a character list of 16 people and we’re on chapters 14/15.
- Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson (Series, part of a larger interlinking fantasy world known as the Cosmere)
I struggled working out what Sanderson to put on this list. Strictly speaking all of his fantasy series occur in the same world – commonly referred to as the Cosmere. But they are all different series with their own magic rules and putting all of them in here felt more than a bit excessive. This one was my first Sanderson, I read a friends copy after it was announced that he was taking over The Wheel of Time after Jordan died. Set in a world where the big battle has already happened and the bad guy has won this is a series of two parts. The magic and the undercity, and the politics of the higher classes. I’m looking forward to rereading this with friends later in the year because I’m sure there is loads that I missed. What I do remember is the way the magic system worked with different metals.
- Discworld – Terry Pratchett (Series)
These books are a series and there are some recurring chracters (DEATH, Rinceweed, etc) but you can pick any of them out at random and enjoy as a standalone. This world is insane and full of dry humour that you might need to read a sentence twice to make sure you didn’t misread it. (Hint – you almost certainly didn’t, the Librarian is a monkey). Some of my favourites in this series are Mort – Death gets an apprentice which goes about as well as you’d expect; Wryd Sisters – Macbeth; Colour of Magic – just because it’s the first one I read.
- Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Book)
Moving into urban fantasy, I wasn’t sure if I should put this one on my list because it’s not a BIIIG sprawling fantasy but it’s too good to not include. A demon and an angel become friends and try to stop the apocalypse.
Side note: The TV series is amazing, and an almost perfect adaptation probably because Gaiman wrote it.
- Rivers of London – Ben Aaronavitch (Series)
Sticking with urban fantasy for a bit this one does fall into the BIG SPRAWLING FANTASY genre. There are many books with novellas focusing on smaller characters as well as many graphic novels. It’s police procedure and magic and London being just as weird as everyone thinks it is, with rivers having souls and gang warfare between the north and the south, ghosts and so many other weird things.
I’ve met the author multiple times and he’s always great.
- Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin (Book)
This is part of a series (Tales of Earthsea) but this one is one of my comfort reads. It’s very much an intro to fantasy kind of book but has so much in it that at every read I pick something else up that I didn’t notice before. We definitely spoke about it in my lectures at uni and my degree is philosophy.
- Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini (Series)
Who didn’t read Eragon and love it as a kid? Every burgeoning fantasy reader of the 2000s/2010s wanted to be a dragon rider and knows a couple of words in the Old Tongue, even if all we can say is ‘rise’. I think we were all massively disappointed by the film as well. I don’t remember much of what happened in the last book but I remember taking an hour long bus journey from the uni to closest Town (Carmarthen) so I could go to Waterstones and pick it up.