Post your own Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

Bridgefour

Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg
Here's a semi updated list of my favorite and least favorite books/series that I copy pasted

I must say that, with the exception to many of these rules being Sanderson, I prefer books with a bit of love or sex, heavier/more mature content, descriptive language (writing over action all the way for me), mystery in plot or world building, little or no political/religious subtextual messages by the author, and I'm also a sucker for bittersweet/tragic stories.

My favorite books/series in order of preference (if I dont list a whole series I'm only ranking the books of the series listed)

KingKiller chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
Storm light archives by Brandon Sanderson
Game of thrones by GRR Martin
Lies of Locke Lamora and red seas under red skies (third book significantly worse imo) by Scott Lynch
Ravens shadow (didn't like queen of fire tho) By Anthony Ryan
The emperors blades and providence of fire by Brian Staveley
Lightbringer by Brent Weeks
Red rising and golden son By Pierce Brown
Scourge of the betrayer and veil of the deserters by jeff salyards
The lions of al raasan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Malazan (only the first 7 tho, went downhill imo afterwards) by Steven Erikson
The thorn empire by Mark Lawrence
Retribution Falls and The black Lung Captain (rest in progress) by Chris Wooding
Codex alera (have read first four / six) by Jim Butcher
Kushiels Dart by Jacqueline Carey
The night circus by Erin Morgenstern
The first two books of MistBorn by Brandon Sanderson
The first law series by Joe Abercrombie
What remains of heroes
WarBreaker by Brandon Sanderson
The summer tree by GGK (rest in progress)
Sword of shadows (only read first book in series) by Jv Jones
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Thousand Names and The shadow throne by Django Wexler
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson


Several more I'm forgetting or were ambivalent about
...and as a child golden compass, Lotr, watership down, Harry Potter and the chronicles of prydain


Books or series that I utterly despised, were disappointed by, or possibly just quit after ~ 200 pages:

Sword of truth, dragon lance, etc. .... Many of the books on the worst lists. I pretty much can't read most YA books any more I'm assuming.
Magician/all feist books - I'm really unsure why people rank this so high, seemed like the most cliche and shallow fantasy story I've ever read, perhaps I missed out on this as a kid..
Ember in the ashes: just terrible YA cliche garbage.
The third Mistborn novel: became obsessed with promoting religious ideals, no progression of romantic relationships (prudish), lost interest in the mystery/magic of the world. Bad ending.
The third Ravens shadow novel: many reasons similar to above, minus religious part.
The latter Malazan novels: became too militaristic, not enough character development and too much focus on war. Too much to do with gods/too broad also
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: too much about gods. too much time spent in a sappy first person whiny teenage girl pov.


Ambivalent series I quit:
Robin Hobb books: Same exact reason as the latter above. I liked some characters in Liveships which I did finish as a series, but I hated Malta/her mother, brother and gma. I only read assassins apprentice of Farseer and found fitz to be incredibly whiny too.
Black company/the witcher: didn't really give these a fair chance, I think I stopped when I saw vampires or something if I recall correctly.
Riyria: found it kinda bland and YAish
Among thieves: no idea but just didn't capture my attention
Curse of chalion: little magic, unrelatable characters
Dagger and coin: may continue this
Neil Gaiman: weird/too modern
 

David Sims

Warded demons with Arlen
aSoIaF (George Martin)
Malazan (Steven Erikson)
Deverry* (Katharine Kerr)
Farseer (Robin Hobb)
Empire (Feist & Wurts)
Wars of Light and Shadow (Janny Wurts)
Maia (Richard Adams)
Kushiel's Legacy (Jacqueline Carey)
Black Company (Glen Cook)
The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
Saga of Recluce (L.E. Modesitt)
Lyonesse (Jack Vance)

The Long Tomorrow (Leigh Brackett) and A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller) were both pretty good reads, too.

Comment about the quality of the books in the Deverry series, which refers to the death of an important character.
*The Deverry books are good up to the death of Jill, after which the stories take a dive toward so-soism.
 
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Peat

Journeyed there and back again
aSoIaF (George Martin)
Malazan (Steven Erikson)
Deverry* (Katharine Kerr)
Farseer (Robin Hobb)
Empire (Feist & Wurts)
Wars of Light and Shadow (Janny Wurts)
Maia (Richard Adams)
Kushiel's Legacy (Jacqueline Carey)
Black Company (Glen Cook)
The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
Saga of Recluce (L.E. Modesitt)
Lyonesse (Jack Vance)

The Long Tomorrow (Leigh Brackett) and A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller) were both pretty good reads, too.

*The Deverry books are good up to the death of Jill, after which the stories take a dive toward so-soism.
First I've seen anyone mention Deverry on here or anywhere and, well, I think you've got it spot on. I don't think they'd have made my best chart, but the early ones are damn good and tainted somewhat by the weak ending.

I might look up the books you've listed that I haven't heard of now.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
First I've seen anyone mention Deverry on here or anywhere and, well, I think you've got it spot on. I don't think they'd have made my best chart, but the early ones are damn good and tainted somewhat by the weak ending.

I might look up the books you've listed that I haven't heard of now.
I read the series twice now abnd liked it a fair bit. I do think @David Sims is right though when he says that the series goes downhill after the death of 1 particular important character (you might want to spoiler tag that David).

By the way @David Sims, I see Pillars of the Earth in your list. I'd consider that historical fiction rather than fantasy. Sure, it's romaticized, but a lot of the things happening in the book(s) did happen in real life as well.
 

David Sims

Warded demons with Arlen
Pillars of the Earth certainly isn't high fantasy. But there were those fantasy elements in the story such as
the curses by Ellen against the murderers of her lover and, later, against Alfred, which were magically effective.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
I read the series twice now abnd liked it a fair bit. I do think @David Sims is right though when he says that the series goes downhill after the death of 1 particular important character (you might want to spoiler tag that David).
While that's the point I'd pick for it going downhill - gently for a few books, then like a rolling stone - I don't think the death is the reason. I simply think that the ideas and characters Kerr started to introduce as she expanded the series just simply weren't as strong.
 

David Sims

Warded demons with Arlen
Right. That important character's death was just the marker, not the cause of the series' decline.
The mystical reunion of Jill's soul with that of Nevyn in the afterlife was, to me, the most evocative moment in the whole series,
and the remainder (the last seven books, out of 15 total) seemed to be somewhere between wrapping up loose ends and telling an entirely new (and considerably weaker) series with some of the same characters.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
Then we are all in agreement - let us crack open the alcohol and drink to the original storyline.

Thinking about it, the ending of the first series showed some big cold stone ones. Typical happy ever after ending it was not.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Right. That important character's death was just the marker, not the cause of the series' decline.
The mystical reunion of Jill's soul with that of Nevyn in the afterlife was, to me, the most evocative moment in the whole series,
and the remainder (the last seven books, out of 15 total) seemed to be somewhere between wrapping up loose ends and telling an entirely new (and considerably weaker) series with some of the same characters.
I agree. It somehow dragged on for a long time. The whole storyline involving the fight against the Horsekin didn't really interest me.
 

Placida

Owns a Ring of Power
In no particular order but separated by Stand alone and series

Stand Alone
Watership Down
Canticle for Saint Leibowitz
The Stolen Child - Donohue
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – Jemisin (I know it’s a series but I only read the first one)
American Gods – Gaiman
And He Built a Crooked House – Heinlein
Dune – Herbert (Didn’t care for most of the other books in the series)
I Sing The Body Electric – Bradbury (Short stories but great collection)

Series
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Adams
The Belgarad – Eddings
Lord of the Rings – Tolkien
Thieves World – Editor:Aspirin (earlier stuff)
The Bartimaeus Series – Stroud YA
Crystal Cave Series - Stewart
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – Donaldson
ShadowMarch – Williams
Incarnations of Immortality - Anthony
Dragonlance Chronicles – Weis (for all it’s faults)
DiscWorld – Pratchett
Dragonriders of Pern – McCaffrey (earlier ones)
Game of Thrones – Martin (on book 4)
Outlander Series – Gabaldon (earlier books)

I think many series peter out. They either “Jump the shark” (author resorts to gimmicks to keep readers’ interest) or “Nuke the fridge” (author exhausts series of credible story lines but keeps on going).
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
I've over-did it in more than few ways...

1. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson – because all of the characters feel like lifelong friends to me, because their stories are meaningful and because this is the first fantasy series I’ve picked after my LOTR passion took over in the LOTR movie trilogy years.

2. The Kingkiller`s Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss – because Kvothe is bad-ass, his unapologetic attitude makes sense, he is so different from me but I can relate to him and have fun with his adventures, and because the supporting characters( okay, maybe all except Denna) are also very well-done.

3. The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan– because friendship, and love, and loyalty and redemption have never felt so real.

4. The Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch – fun, exciting, amazing, fun, exciting, amazing, fun, exciting, amazing, fun, exciting, amazing…

5. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – I am not sure which I like more, this series or The Gentlemen Bastards, but I am gonna put this one one place below, mainly because I think some of the characters took too much time to evolve and are taking too much time when it comes to decision making. Other than that – it’s probably the most refined and evolved work Brandon ever created, except WoT of course, but WoT was handled to him with 90% of the groundwork ready, so this is the one series where he’ve shown his worth as a writer. And it is very impressive.

6. The three trilogies about Fitz by Robin Hobb – ehm. At first when I’ve finished the first trilogy I’ve kind of hated the author for what she did to the main character. But her writing is so beautiful and meaningful, that after some time I’ve decided to continue with Fitz`es story and it was a very good decision.

7. Mistborn trylogy the Kelsier era by Brandon Sanderson– I am putting this one so high in my list mostly because of the first book. The second and the third books were such a filler and disappointments compared to what they’ve could’ve been. If I have to be completely honest this series deserve to be no higher than 10th place, but I have read it as a teenager and I have fond memories from it.

8. The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham – I am still thinking if this series doesn’t deserve to be at least one place higher in my top 25 list, but let`s just leave it here with the warning that this series is full of awesomeness, very believable characters and story arcs, very fresh take on good vs evil, and extremely satisfying slow-paced enfolding of the events. The prose is just… perfect. The audio version is just… well, it’s better than perfect.

9. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence – I just love that bastard Jorg. I also hate him. His story makes so much sense, his actions too, and the way it is told – magnificent. The end was just… heart-wrenching. Bravo, Master Lawrence!

10. The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman – to be honest I cannot decide which series I like more – that one or the one from Mark Lawrence. I still have to put one of them higher, but both are just great anyway.

11. The Lord of the Rings trilogy + The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – A cup of tea, a glass of wine or whiskey, in cold winter nights or warm summer eves filled with refreshing wind smelling or river, these books are the most relaxing book experience one could find in the world. Not flawless, but perfect.

12. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin – I almost forgot to put this one in the list at all. Great first 2.5 books, extremely disappointing last 2.5 books. Add to it the waiting between each book and you have an author who is doing his best to make an utter disappointment of his work. Still, the series have some merit and I have liked them well enough when I was a teenager and more new to the fantasy genre.

13. The Queen`s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – young-adultish, thief-themed, conspiracy reeking, greek mythology incorporating, series. The third book in this series is one of my most favorite fantasy books as a whole. If Matrim Cauthon had a son, Eugenities would’ve been his name.

14. Mistborn Era 2 by Brandon Sanderson – I was contemplating whether or not to put this series higher in my list, but they are still unfinished, therefore I won’t be too quick to put it where it could be. The characters are mostly enjoyable and I feel that Brandon Sanderson had really made a great choice with the time period which he have chosen for this trilogy. It works great with his magical system. I have liked the books much more than I expected to be honest.

15. The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson – this is not exactly fantasy, but at the same time it is. I’ve enjoyed the trilogy quite a lot, especially the fact that it was different from my usual preferences from the genre.

16. The Raven`s Shadow trilogy by Anthony Ryan – to be honest I am a little bit surprised myself that this particular trilogy is so high up into my list. The prose is just… magnificent, beautiful, mesmerizing. It bring you with it in this beautiful, beautiful world with complex characters and intriguing events, which are later revealed to be part of a mysterious, but unyielding world conflict. It would have been not only in my top 25 but in my top 5, if the author haven’t decided to make a drastic change to where the main story and the chatracters were going after the end of the first book. It’s not that the series are actually bad when it comes to the story, but they could’ve been so much better with his perfect prose. Anthony Ryan – you ought to do better, man.

17. The Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks – it’s strange when all that happens just makes sense in a book, and especially when we are talking about series of books. Believable characters, fascinating world, down-to-world approach to the problems of politics and war, intrigue and triumph.

18. The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks – this turned out to be much more than I expected, story and fun-wise. One of the better assassin-themed series out there. The three books differ in pace and feel, but this kind of enhances the series. However, I must admit that I expected a little bit more of the final book, hence the series lower rank in my list.

19. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – not much to be said here. We all know what this series have done for the fantasy genre. On top of that – it’s extremely interesting and extremely well-written.

20. Discworld by Terry Pratchett – I’ve read only 3 of his books so far, the first three concerning The Watch. The books were really great.

21. The Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron – Urban fantasy. Very well-done urban fantasy at that. I can easily give it 8/10 or 9/10. The only reason it’s so low in my top 25 list is because only two books are out as of yet, but the third one is scheduled for this summer which is nice.

22. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams – I am only almost two book into the series, so I cannot really give it a rate as of yet. So far the story is good, the characters are enjoyable, but most of all – the prose is just awesome.

23. The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley - I’ve enjoyed it a lot, but the three royal characters are making stupid decision after stupid decision, just so that the story could go the way the authors wanted it to – I don’t like that, so he can enjoy this low place in my list. Not that he cares or something, but I do.

24. Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron – somewhat unique thief-themed series. I have finished two or three of the five books in the series, after which I needed a rest from the series. But I really liked them so far.

25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I would give this take on heist fantasy a 9/10 or 10/10 score. However, it’s just one book out so far in this series and I cannot put it higher up before some already well-established series. But if the quality of the next books in the series is the same… that would be more than nice.

26. Raymond E. Feist – If I just took the first 10-15 books about Midkemia he’ve written, the guy would’ve probably been much upper in my top 25 list., But… he kind of over-did it at some point, hence his overall work goes almost to the bottom.

27. Among Thieves by Douglas Hullick – I’ve read just the first book, but it was a solid thief-themed piece of awesomeness.

28. Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett – those are making the list mainly because the Graphic Audio version of the books makes them somewhat more enjoyable than the original 0 I am guessing here, since I’ve only read this version, but I don’t think that my stubbornness to finish all of the books would’ve lasted that long if the performance of the actors wasn’t that impressive. I still feel a little bit ashamed to put the series in a top 25 which isn’t listing disappointing sequels and series that have not fulfilled even half of the potential the first book gave them. Hey, Anthony Ryan, you too.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
Nice Extended, and it is enjoyable reading, especially your reasons. And I REALLY like your placement of Riyria at number 3. Few people appreciate how great it is and the story behind it's writing and publication is the epitome of self-publishing difficulties and then breakthrough.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
I am glad you've liked it, mate! :)

About Riyria... man, the series is like a well and carefully crafted gem. Until the few final chapters it's all fun and awesomeness and non-chalance. And then it all wraps-up and you are like "The clues were in all of the 6 books and I never figured it out even thought it is so obvious now".

Of all the greatly woven secrets at the end, I have managed to figure just one before it was revealed. And it felt okay, because you don't feel as if the author was hiding things from you - he really didn't. He just pulled a magic trick on you playing with your attetion and expectations like a master magician. The series are so rewarding in so many ways. As I've said in other posts about Riyria - it might not be literary cornerstone, but it's so fun and awesome it outweights all of its flaws and inperfections.

To be honest I was surprised of the places of some series in my top 25 list and Riyria was one of the nice surprises - I expected it to be around 7-8th place, but when I was thinking about what I like more - I realized how much I actually cherish it. :)
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
I am glad you've liked it, mate! :)

About Riyria... man, the series is like a well and carefully crafted gem. Until the few final chapters it's all fun and awesomeness and non-chalance. And then it all wraps-up and you are like "The clues were in all of the 6 books and I never figured it out even thought it is so obvious now".

Of all the greatly woven secrets at the end, I have managed to figure just one before it was revealed. And it felt okay, because you don't feel as if the author was hiding things from you - he really didn't. He just pulled a magic trick on you playing with your attetion and expectations like a master magician. The series are so rewarding in so many ways. As I've said in other posts about Riyria - it might not be literary cornerstone, but it's so fun and awesome it outweights all of its flaws and inperfections.

To be honest I was surprised of the places of some series in my top 25 list and Riyria was one of the nice surprises - I expected it to be around 7-8th place, but when I was thinking about what I like more - I realized how much I actually cherish it. :)
Really, good for you then in promoting it so, and well put about it's excellence. Michael was posting to the Amazon fantasy forum while he was writing books two and three of the original Riyria Revelations trilogy, and what a nice guy, outgoing and humble and helpful to other authors. So glad for him that the big contract finally came after a couple decades of work.
 

Zyodes

Knows how to pronounce Kvothe
I'll Make my list a top 10 since I'll be rating series as a single entry.

1: The First Law Trillogy (and it's standalone follow-ups): Logen Ninefingers is the greatest fantasy character ever created. Aside from that many of the other main characters are brilliant as well, such as Glokta. The story is absolutely brutal and there are no real good guys. Since even Logen, who is the closest thing to a good guy we get, turns into a berserker when the going gets tough.

2: The Gentlemen Bastards: I really love that this series is essentially one big series of heists. There is plenty of fighting going on but the major focus is thieving, and the characters themselves are so pitfully weak in comparison with their adversaries that it makes their successes incredibly satisfying.

3: A Song of Ice and Fire: I think it is pretty much obligatory to have this on here. I reread this series in 2016 however and there is a good reason it is on everyone's lists. The writing and world building is superb overall, and Martin's infamous disregard for his characters lives means every threat in the books feels real.

4: The Stormlight Archives: Sanderson is well versed in writing exiting action and creating fantastic worlds with clearly defined rules. The buildup towards the magic of this world being revealed is great and very satisfying when it finally pays off. The action is excellent and both the protagonists and antagonists are interesting and morally grey.

5: Mistborn (and the Wax and Wayne series): While the final book in the trillogy was sort of a let down, Sanderson picks up the momentum with his followup series. The steampunk-ish world of Wax and Wayne lends itself better to the powers that are being used and the less powerful protagonists rely more on guile than Vin had to in the first trilogy. Both series are great fun to read however and full of well written action, and what I personally think is the best magic system in fantasy.

6: The Powder Mage Trillogy: This was my introduction to Flintlock Fantasy and I have to say it was a great one. The magic in this book is incredibly interesting and rather well thought out. The action and characters are great and most of the cast is morally grey.

7: The Broken Empire Trillogy: This series is as dark as it gets. The protagonist is rotten to the core, and that is precisely why it is interesting to follow his story. If he can accomplish his goals through treachery and deceit he will. The setting is fantastic as well and the nature of the world is slowly revealed to the reader, which makes for a very interesting journey.

8: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Like pretty much everyone I was blown away by the first book. It was a joy to read in terms of worldbuilding and character development. The almost complete lack of action was barely noticed (something that I usually want in spades in my fantasy). The second book had enough of that mixed with some action to keep me interested. I fear that a 3d book might never come however, so I've tried to put this series out of my mind, which is a real shame.

9: The Dresden Files: For the first two books this series didn't really get my attention. The lore seemed to be all over the place and there was no real connection between the books apart from the protagonist. That changed with the third book and the series really dragged me in after that. With the exception of Ghost Story I've loved all the books since then and it seems to be headed to an epic conclusion.

10: The Shadow Campaigns: The relative lack of magic in the first two books bothered me a bit. I wasn't reading a fantasy novel to only read about Napoleonic warfare in a made up world after all. Magic became much more prevalent in the next two books however and the series became better with it. The story and characters are progressing nicely and the diverse nature of its magic system makes for a very interesting read.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
THE REDRAFT V2.0 -

[TIER 1 - Timelessly Without Peer]

1: Discworld [-} - The most inventive, most thought provoking, and most entertaining books I've ever read. If I was to do this as *just* single books, I reckon a good half of it would be Discworld books.

[TIER 2 - Without Meaningful Flaw And Permanently With Me]

2: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Tex Ox [-] - Master Li may have a slight flaw in his character, but this book has none. Its funny, its endearing, its a great mystery and has some outstanding action scenes. Edit: Updated to be full series having now read two of them.

3: Tigana [+1] - A gobsmacking book. Sometimes a little too up itself for its own good, but heartbreaking and grandiose and absolutely riveting.

4: Rigante [+5] - Yeah, Gemmell gets two. Yeah, he basically gets in twice for Ravenheart. The other books are cool enough to tag along as the series rather me just saying Ravenheart, which I did consider doing. edit: Actually Gemmell's greatest work

5: The Traitor Baru Comorant [NE] - May have permanently ruined me for other books. Coruscating.

[TIER 3 - Touching Greatness Except For]

6: The Wounded Kingdoms [NE] - Books 1 and 3 belong a tier up, book 2 I'd only read again for completion's sake

7: Drenai Chronicles [-4] - The best action fantasy books I've ever read. Not shying away from the cost of violence all while admitting its thrill. Some really great characters and a few hits in the feels. edit: A few books are weak, they're a little repetitive after a while, and the later ones are kinda meh for me.

8: The Craft Sequence [NE] - Such a cool idea. So stylishly written. A little thin after consuming a lot.

9: Deverry Chronicles [+5] - Keeps getting better with rereading. Not in love enough with the later work to consider a higher ranking, which I'm not entirely sure the early books completely merit.

10: Dominions of the Fallen [NE] - Very cool ideas. GKKesque in a lot of ways. Just a little slow in the plotting in places.

11: Fionavar Tapestry [+8] - I knew it should be higher when I first did this list.

12: A Brightness Long Ago [NE] - GGK is the greatest living fantasy writer and I will brook little argument.

13: Dresden Files [-8] - I wish Dresden was solving a few more crimes these days but great characters and some great plotting (even if a bit formulaic) equals some really powerful moments. The burned hand teaches best. Edit: Wow, fall. Maybe I feel different when there's a new book? Also recognition of weak start.

14: Kushiel's Legacy [-4] - I liked these books enough to recommend them to my mum. I am generally quite militantly against handing over books full of BDSM sex scenes to my mum. It just doesn't need to happen. Its basically like a trilogy of Tigana only a bit less awesome. Edit: Technically a fall but more a case of having found some books that really hit my sweet spot. Actually a promotion if you don't count the NEs.

[TIER 4 - I Really Like Them But They're A Little Short Of The Above Somehow]

15: Earthsea [-2] - Need to re-read

16: Lies of Locke Lamora [-1] - Cool but never felt need to get sequel

17: The Fire Stealers [+6] - Really enjoyed the sequel to The Goddess Project, very cool take on fantasy to me.

18: Wheel of Time [-10] - Another big fall for me; still hugely influential to me, but I guess the weaknesses weigh on me the further I get away from reading it. The Shadow Rising would be in Tier 2 by its own though.

19: Daughter of the Empire [+6] - Shoulda been higher. Would be higher if not for clunky romance.

20: Lord of the Rings [-4] - Knocked down by NEs. Re-read some parts recently, still feels epic as bleep.

[TIER 5 - Not Here To Make Up The Numbers But...]

21: The Golem and the Jinni [NE] - Very charming, very well written, just missing that special something for me

22: Mythago Wood [NE] - See above, really

23: Anansi Boys [NE] - Cracks me up

24: Riftwar/Serpentwar [-12] - Cheating because I really like both and Feist doesn't deserve two mentions. Just fun standard epic fantasy with characters I really like. edit: but I guess that old time fantasy is finally wearing thin with me...

25: Elenium [-14] - Re-read recently. The mistakes, oh gods, the mistakes. Still fun but the worse written book I like.

---

Beyond 25...

American Gods fell because, I dunno, it's cool and revolutionary but I've no particular wish to read it again and I feel others have stolen its ideas and moved on. Conan is in similar "others have stolen its ideas and moved on" territory. SoIaF has had no new book in forever and the bad show ending has me alarmed. Harry Potter, good but not a series I want in my 25. Night's Master more fun to think about than read. Good Omens, thinner than I recall. Best Served Cold... hmm, probably 26. The Brentford Trilogy, good but a little thin.

Other books I considered for the top 25 include The War Hound and the World's Pain - very good, just doesn't quite capture me; Turning Darkness Into Light - ditto; and The Horse Lord, an old school fantasy that should have got more love than it did. Oh! And I just realised that if I counted The Warlord Chronicles as fantasy like I usually do, that's totally in there. Always something eh? Book of Skulls could have easily made it too.

Also, if I was to include comics then this list would deffo have The Invisibles, Sandman, and Lucifer; and RPG APs, then The Soul Cages.

Old books that I really appreciate but just feel a little out of touch with and therefore aren't on the list include The Gods of Pegana, The Worm Ouroboros, The King in Yellow, Swords And Ice Magic, Stormbringer, The Eternal Champion, The Deep, Ageypt, Shadow of the Torturer. Legends of the Condor Heroes is similar but missing due to cultural gap

Books of that 80s/90s ilk that deserve a shout out but aren't cracking the 25 in a month of sundays include War for the Oaks, Valdemar, Dragonriders of Pern, Belgariad, Shannara, Bedlam's Bard

More modern fare that's also decent enough but isn't cracking this list even includes Prince of Fools, Temeraire, Dreamblood, The Red Knight, The Crimson Campaign, The Ninth Rain, Lord of Shadows, The Poppy War, The Night Circus, The First Law ... probably a bunch of other stuff

In with a shout depending on how the rest of the series goes is The Tiger and the Wolf, Rivers of London, The Woven Ring

Finally, definite bounces... The Faithful and the Fallen, The Fifth Ward, The Pendulum Sun, Mistborn, The Black Company, Malazan, The Bear and the Nightingale, Red Country and so many others
 
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David Sims

Warded demons with Arlen
The effect is almost comical when some of the characters act so nonchalant about doing evil things
One of the main characters in The Black Company quips "the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out" during a discussion of the contents of certain graves.

Edit: It's in Shadow Games on page 21.
 
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