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What's the Best Fantasy Series?

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Writer's Answer:
by Richard Peluso (subscribe)
A young writer from Adelaide, Richard loves to entertain people through the written word.
Published August 8th 2011
A Song of Ice and Fire - George R. R. Martin

The recently released fifth volume of the series.

Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has become a benchmark of an entire genre. Set in a world reminiscent of medieval England, proud families strive for power as they forge and sever alliances in the deadliest game of all, the game of thrones. Martin's series has all the required elements of a classic fantasy tale, but he really excels in his stunning complexity and scale. Character's plots are cunningly interweaved, and his cliffhangers will have you tearing the next book off the shelves.
Martin's being hailed as the 'American Tolkien'. I don't think you can get much better than that.

Riftwar Cycle - Raymond E. Feist

The Riftwar Saga - The first three books of the series.

The Riftwar Cycle is actually composed of several smaller 'sagas' covering events in the fictional world of Midkemia - totalling around 25 books. Old Ray sure loves to write. This sprawling series is centred around Pug, the unfortunately-named orphan boy who becomes a powerful magician. He is thrown into a war that will eventually take him on a journey through time and space. All the guilty pleasures of fantasy that are missing in A Song of Ice and Fire end up here - Feist's world is full of sorcery, dragons, demons, and everything in between. Thoroughly recommended for those looking to immerse themselves completely in the world of fantasy.

The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan

The first book of the series.

Another series of staggering proportions, The Wheel of Time series spans 14 books - the latter few completed by another author after Jordan's death. The series has a large host of characters in a detailed imaginary world like Martin's work, and a well-developed magic system like Feist's. Ancient prophecies, a Dark One returning to power, the eternal struggle between good and evil, a Chosen One realising their potential, The Wheel of Time series pretty much covers everything fantasy. Especially worth a read if you have an interest in European and Asian mythology, and concepts of spiritualism and balance.

The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis

Shiny box set.

While it's considered children's literature, sometimes it's good to get acquainted with a classic. The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels written by C. S. Lewis in the 50s. The stories are centred around a group of children who escape into the magical world of Narnia, where they aid a butt-kicking talking lion called Aslan in saving the realm from an evil queen. No doubt you're aware they've been adapted into films recently, so if you enjoyed them, why not take a trip back in time and read what kids were reading 60 years ago?

Obviously I've just scratched the surface - there are so many great fantasy series out there to read. This writer is currently in love with the work of George R. R. Martin. Check out this list if you'd like to discover some more great fantasy for yourself.

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A few less commonly known fantasy series that people might find worth trying:

Kylie Chan's Dark Heavens series - Australian author, Chinese mythology, quite complex.

Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series - dark themes and topics, fascinating worldbuilding, complicated plots.

Lois McMasters Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

Naomi Novik's Temeraire series - the Napoleonic wars...with dragons!

An oldie, but a goodie: Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea quartet. Wizards, labyrinths, dragons, and rents in the fabric of the world.

Melanie Rawn - the Dragon Prince/Dragon Star series: princes, politics, and the plays for power in a world where magic users have rarely married into royalty - until now.

Tanya Huff's Smoke series - a modern wizard...working on the set of a Vampire Detective show in Vancouver...what could possibly go wrong?

Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series - the first trilogy, about Phedre, are the best. Sex, politics, and war - and a god-touched courtesan who changes the courses of nations.

Raymond E Feist & Janny Wurtz's Empire trilogy - a young woman thrust into a position of leadership in a patriarchal society must seek non-traditional ways to keep her family's honour, her family's property, and the lives of those she loves.

For younger readers:

Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain - a hero's journey to manhood through a Wales-that-never-was.

Diane Duane's Young Wizards series - intelligent treatment of the themes of growing up, world building; excellent for young readers with mature minds.
By selde - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 01:11 pm
Song of Ice and Fire is awesome!! I just read the most recent one, so good! I also really enjoyed The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
By Anonymous
Wednesday, 10th of August @ 12:48 am
I absolutely concur with A Song of Ice and Fire. Very few series compare to the immense scope, ruthlessness and dynamic characters in this epic.
By Ellen O'Connor - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 10th of August @ 01:20 am
Fallen, Torment & Passion by Lauren Kate (book 4 out next year)
By amand244 - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 12:31 am
For a young adult audience- Obernewtyn Chronicles, Isobel Carmody
By blowi - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 06:43 am
Terry Pratchet. The Discworld Series.
By ZapGaspix - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 07:20 am
Robert Asprin. Myth Series.
By ZapGaspix - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 07:21 am
I'm just starting A Feast For Crows at the moment, and trying to read it slowly because I'm waiting for A Dance with Dragons to come out in paperback before I buy it. By the end of each of the Song of Fire and Ice books I find myself unable to put them down, devouring them and needing the next one. I can't wait to see the second season of Game of Thrones, and love seeing all of the new cast updates.

I've only read the first three books of the Riftwar Cycle, I have some others but haven't got into them yet.

I also love the Hobbit, but haven't actually read Lord of the Rings yet. One day I'm sure I'll make it through all of them, as I also have that book sitting on my bookshelf. I'd also like to read all of the Chronicles of Narnia, I have the BBC miniseries, but haven't read the books.

By Natasha Stewart - senior reviewer
Thursday, 11th of August @ 01:50 am
David eddings. Elenium series. Tamuli series. Belgariad series. Mallorean series
By gfave - reader
Thursday, 11th of August @ 11:24 am
Raymond E Fiest's Riftwar Saga
By genie0 - reader
Sunday, 14th of August @ 11:20 pm

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