Post your own Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

Annomander Matt

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#63
I'll give this a crack. I've only been reading fantasy since 2012, but I've been on a pretty aggressive reading schedule. This was hard as hell to do. You could ask me in an hour to do this again and the list from 5-20 would be completely different lol

1. Malazan Book of the Fallen - Simply the best. Amazing world and characters. My only gripe would be the ending could've been a little better, but the journey was amazing. 99/100

2. Stormlight - This series is going to be so epic as to leave almost every other series feeling inadequate lol. Great magic system and world building. Character development has been great as well. 98/100

3. LightBringer - Hesitant to put another unfinished series this high on my list, but I've got to get to 25 somehow! Can't wait for the last book. Love the world, characters, and magic system. 98/100

**Added May 2016** 4. Traitor Son Cycle - Not completed yet and frankly I hope Mr. Cameron keeps adding more and more books to the series. Amazing world, attention detail, cool magic, great characters, intriguing story... It gets not nearly enough love. 98/100

5. Acts of Caine - Just fucking read it. Done with description. 97/100

6. Night Angel - I guess I just like Brent Weeks more than most. I read the Omnibus version and it just flew by. I couldn't put it down. 97/100

7. Mistborn - Another great magic system, and a fun cast of characters. The story itself was unique to me and I love how Sanderson had the log excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. 95/100

8. Liveship Traders - Farseer gets the love, but this is my favorite Elderlings novel thus far. 95/100

9. Riyria - I don't think any series has ever surpassed my expectations more than this one. Royce and Hadrian are my favorite duo. 94/100

10. Powder Mage - This was my first Flintlock fantasy series, and I was admittedly a little hesitant. The wariness was unfounded as I loved this series. It actually convinced me to buy the Shadow Campaigns series. 93/100

11. Shadow Campaigns - Another flintlock fantasy that I'm absolutely on pins and needles waiting for the last two books to come out. Some of the most interesting characters around, and after a beginning that was a little heavy on the military aspect, the series is now full steam ahead in the fantasy and magic front. 93/100

12. Faithful and the Fallen - Still two more books to go, but I am an admitted sucker for a coming of age story. I really like the different threads that have been woven together thus far and I am definitely looking forward to how the Fallen appearing in earnest will affect things. 91/100

**Added May 2016** 13. Codex Alera - What can I say? I'm a sucker for a series with a ton of books that move quickly, have a lot of action, sympathetic protagonists, fun magic and a common that throughout. Really enjoyed this.

14. Demon Cycle - Was higher after first book, then lower after the middle two, now moving back towards the top after the 4th book. I love much about the story and a solid ending could make me forgive the middle book lull. 90/100

15. Farseer - A great story told from the first person, which I'd never been a fan of previously. 90/100

16. Rain Wilds Chronicles - For some reason these books interested me a lot more than they did other people. The Elderlings mystery is one of my favorite parts of the Hobb books and this story focuses on it. 90/100

17. Ravens Shadow - Blood Song gets all the praise, and while I agree the second book was a jarring change from first person to a multi cast style, I actually really liked it - especially Frentis. I thought it has a satisfying conclusion as well. 90/100

18. Godling Chronicles - Way surpassed expectations. I'd call it Wheel Of Time without the drivel. 88/100

**Added May 2016** 19. The Chronicles of Lumineia: The Second Draeken War - Have my tastes gown simpler in old age? I don't know. All I know is this tale is a group of undoubtedly NOT gray heroes had my attention as much as any story where the protagonists were the oft-mentioned "gray". I knew the good his would win, but still enjoyed the series immensely. Add in the fact that the author is going " Full Sanderson " and creating a huge overarching series spanning 50k years and I'm very intrigued. 88/100

20. Tawny Man - Another solid Fitz series with a ton more growth and hardship for his character until the final brief glimmer of happiness at the end.88/100

21. Dagger and Coin - Looking forward to reading the finale. I love the arcs of Paliako and Wester. 88/100

22. Tales of the Ketty Jay - My first foray into steampunk and I really enjoyed it. Interesting cast of protagonists and just a ton of fun.

23. Acacia - This was a fun read and in trying to order things I realized even though ASOIF, Long Price, and First Law are all possibly better stories, I wouldn't want to read any of them again before this...88/100

24. Legend of Eli Monpress - Nobody is more shocked than me at how much I've enjoyed this series lol. I love the spirit world and the interplay of the characters and the overall fun vibe. Maybe it's due to the fact is just read about 4 pretty serious and darker series in a row and this just popped up at the right time. 88/100

25. ASOIF - This was the second fantasy series I ever read and it was at the top of my list for a while. Storm of Swords is still one of the best books I've read. But books 4 and 5 completely turned me off with boredom. I'll buy and read the 6th and 7th books when they are released, but at one point I was planning a full reread to catch myself back up. At this point I'm primarily riding with the show...88/100

**Added May 2016 ** 26. The Arinthian Line - Fun books in a relatively formulaic pattern, but I find myself enjoying it. A little more teenage angst than I'd like, but a pretty nice overall story.

27. Long Price Quartet - A little slow to get into but a great payoff if you stick with it. 88/100

28. Wheel of Time - Gets a deservedly bad rap for books 7-9, but I really liked the beginning and how Sanderson finished out the story. 87/100

29. Broken Empire - I loved the mix of the European past with the magic of the new world. Jorg was a unique anti hero and the story was fast paced and short. Kept my attention the entire way. 87/100

30. Novels of the Malazan Empire - ICE picked up his game a bit after the first few books. Enjoyable but didn't quite grab me like MBOTF. 85/100

31. Lord of the Rings - Good books until I almost gave up during ROTK. It got hard to read at that point. Obviously an amazing world and story, the original epic fantasy. 85/100

32. Chronicles of Amber - Like a fantasy series on mushrooms. I really enjoyed the interplay of the princes. A quick, fun read. 85/100

**Added May 2016** 33. Crown of Stars - This series may need more reflection, but as it stands it is the first series that I've stopped reading midway thru because I was in need of a break. I actually really like the story and a lot of the characters, but it just has too much filler. As a 7 book series it reminds me a lot of ASIOF, very intricately woven and well written, but could be thousands of pages shorter. 85/100

34. Kingkiller Chronicles - Will definitely shoot back up the list with a good ending. I realize I'm punishing GRRM and Rothfus for their most recent books being sub par and taking way too long with their books. At least when Peter V Brett had a couple sub par novels in a row he got the next one out in a timely manner. 85/100

35. First Law - Loved Logen and his Northmen crew, but not many other characters. I know Abbercrombie doesn't really strive for likeable characters, but for me that's important. 80/100

35. Cycle of Arawn - The overall story is actually an intriguing one, but man... the way the dialogue is written and the interplay of the characters bugs the hell out of me. This is my first ever audio book purchase, so maybe that had something to do with it. Still have some chapters left so it could move up or down.

36. Hunger Games - I know, I know, it's YA, but it was the first fantasy type novel I'd read in a long time and got me on my current fantasy kick. I hated it. Couldn't stand Katniss and hated the first person style. Movies are annoying too, but still like them more than the books. 59/100


As for my stand alone novels, not including Novellas:

** Both Added May 2016** 1 (tie). Tigana & Imajica - The subject matter of these two books could not be more different, but certain things intertwine then in my mind. Firstly, I loved both the stories. Secondly, the prose is amazing. Thirdly, the audio book was narrated by the Simon Vance who is possibly the best. But more importantly both books had me amazed at how the author crafted such a full, encompassing story within a single tome. Some fantasy stories are great, but these were completely eye opening. 98/100

3. Uprooted - I really like this short novel. For a standalone I thought it did a great job of world building and character development. The story itself was unique and interesting. 92/100

4. Elantris - I thought it was slow at parts, but would love to see this world revisited. 88/100

4. The Heros - Might be my overall favorite Abercrombie standalone novels. 85/100

5. Warbreaker - Loved the idea of breath as a magic system. A little slow at times though. 80/100

6. Best Served Cold - Revenge I get, but for some reason after a while I stopped rooting for her to win. 78/100

7. Red Country - It had Logen, but he wasn't the same and the story was weak IMO. 75/100
 
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Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#64
@Annomander Matt and other forum members: could you perhaps shed some more light on the Malazan books by Esslemont? I've read some very mixed reviews on them, MBOTF is in my top 3 all-time favorite series. I love everything about it (including the ending). I'd like to read more about the world. I'd like to know if the books by Esslemont are worth reading, what the difference is with the books by Erikson etc.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#65
I'd like to know if the books by Esslemont are worth reading
Yes, they are. Some of them are better than others, but they add quite a bit of info the the main story, and follow some pretty good characters on their on adventures. His biggest fault is that he's not Steven Erikson, but he's a good author. The first one is very simplistic by Malazan standards, but I liked it.The fourth one, Orb, Sceptre, Throne is a fantastic book! If you like the Malazan world, Esslemont's series is well worth the read.
 
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Annomander Matt

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#66
Yes, they are. Some of them are better than others, but they add quite a bit of info the the main story, and follow some pretty good characters on their on adventures. His biggest fault is that he's not Steven Erikson, but he's a good author. The first one is very simplistic by Malazan standards, but I liked it.The fourth one, Orb, Sceptre, Throne is a fantastic book! If you like the Malazan world, Esslemont's series is well worth the read.
Absolutely agree on all counts, especially the fact that ICE gets a bit overshadowed by Erickson, who for my money is at the top of the fantasy author food chain with GRRM, Hobb and the like.

I'd say that Night of Knives was a cool almost "prequel", that his second and third books were OK, but that by Orb, Sceptor, Throne he has improved immensely (I've yet to read his most recent book). From what I've been able to gather from the MBOT boards, when creating this world together, the two authors each had their own characters they claimed as their own. Dassembrae was ICE's and he is one of the most badass characters in the entire Wu world. Likewise the Crimson Guard was his, so he takes them into more depth.

If you like MBOT it isn't a question of whether you 'should' read the Novels of Malazan Empire, it's that I think it actually might be illegal not to read them in some states :)
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#67
Absolutely agree on all counts, especially the fact that ICE gets a bit overshadowed by Erickson, who for my money is at the top of the fantasy author food chain with GRRM, Hobb and the like.

I'd say that Night of Knives was a cool almost "prequel", that his second and third books were OK, but that by Orb, Sceptor, Throne he has improved immensely (I've yet to read his most recent book). From what I've been able to gather from the MBOT boards, when creating this world together, the two authors each had their own characters they claimed as their own. Dassembrae was ICE's and he is one of the most badass characters in the entire Wu world. Likewise the Crimson Guard was his, so he takes them into more depth.

If you like MBOT it isn't a question of whether you 'should' read the Novels of Malazan Empire, it's that I think it actually might be illegal not to read them in some states :)
I'm also in the 'ICE fan' camp, although I really did feel that Blood and Bone was a big let down, one of the worst of the Malazan books. I went in with such high expectations as well, with OST being one of the Malazan books that I enjoyed the most .. certainly in my top 3! I'll read Assail (it should be out in paperback soon I think), but I'm certainly not going into it with such high expectations.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#69
I'm also in the 'ICE fan' camp, although I really did feel that Blood and Bone was a big let down, one of the worst of the Malazan books. I went in with such high expectations as well, with OST being one of the Malazan books that I enjoyed the most .. certainly in my top 3! I'll read Assail (it should be out in paperback soon I think), but I'm certainly not going into it with such high expectations.
I liked Blood and Bone well enough. Spite roaming around naked in the woods!!! Assail was a let down for me, and I'm not sure why. I have some thoughts, but they would require major spoilers to discuss.
What the hell ever happened to Kallor? I though he was going to be in this book. The whole series is over, and that ass hat just goes on doing his thing? I wanted something horrible beyond my imagination to happen to him.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#70
Thanks for the comments guys, although... I now have to buy another 5 books that will rot away on my to-read shelf for at least a year before I can get to them (got the Hyperion series to read, as well as the Gentlemen Basterds, First Law, the Kingkiller Chronicles and the Stormlight Archive...)
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#71
Thanks for the comments guys, although... I now have to buy another 5 books that will rot away on my to-read shelf for at least a year before I can get to them (got the Hyperion series to read, as well as the Gentlemen Basterds, First Law, the Kingkiller Chronicles and the Stormlight Archive...)
Well if you rule out the unfinished series (like I do) that list gets a hell of a lot shorter!

So plenty of time for Malazan, after all. :)
 

Ser Pounce

Journeyed there and back again
#72
Thanks for the comments guys, although... I now have to buy another 5 books that will rot away on my to-read shelf for at least a year before I can get to them (got the Hyperion series to read, as well as the Gentlemen Basterds, First Law, the Kingkiller Chronicles and the Stormlight Archive...)
Same here, except replace Kingkiller Chronicles with Mistborn, Lightbringer series, Dagger & Coin, Tawny Man trilogy, etc, etc, etc....this To-Read pile never bloody hell goes down. Oh, and the entire MBotF universe. :eek: Sorry Tom, had to steal one of your British terms. Sorry Silvion for my potty mouth. :sorry:
 
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Jakyro

Journeyed there and back again
#74
Well if you rule out the unfinished series (like I do) that list gets a hell of a lot shorter!
I'm doing the same; there are currently a lot of series I have on my TBR list, but the ones that aren't finished yet will need to wait until the final book(s) comes out. ASOIAF is an exception as it's the first fantasy I've read in a long while. I haven't been waiting all that long on the new book, but I already hate it now that I can't finish the series, I think it's best not to start any other unfinished series soon. There are plenty of great finished series I can start into

Malazan series is one I'm especially looking forward to read and one that I want to like very much. I already started GOTM at the end of April, but I have been focusing on other books since then; currently I'm only 120 pages into it. I'm not yet sure how I'll continue; on the one hand I want to dive into it and read the series from start to end, but on the other hand this will also mean a huge time investment. Other great series would be put on hold for a long time I'm afraid. Probably I will switch once in a while to another series, but once I really start into MBOTF, it will be my main focus.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#75
once I really start into MBOTF, it will be my main focus
I think that's probably the best way to do it. If you don't, it will take FOREVER to get to The Crippled God, and I'm sure many of the little things will be forgotten by the time you reach that point (which wouldn't be a problem in most series, but the little things count for something in Malazan!!).
 

Annomander Matt

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#76
Same here, except replace Kingkiller Chronicles with Mistborn, Lightbringer series, Dagger & Coin, Tawny Man trilogy, etc, etc, etc....this To-Read pile never bloody hell goes down. Oh, and the entire MBotF universe. :eek: Sorry Tom, had to steal one of your British terms. Sorry Silvion for my potty mouth. :sorry:
I'm jealous of your TBR list. Those 4 series you mention are all awesome and I wish I could read them again for the first time!
 

Annomander Matt

Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry
#77
I'm doing the same; there are currently a lot of series I have on my TBR list, but the ones that aren't finished yet will need to wait until the final book(s) comes out. ASOIAF is an exception as it's the first fantasy I've read in a long while. I haven't been waiting all that long on the new book, but I already hate it now that I can't finish the series, I think it's best not to start any other unfinished series soon. There are plenty of great finished series I can start into

Malazan series is one I'm especially looking forward to read and one that I want to like very much. I already started GOTM at the end of April, but I have been focusing on other books since then; currently I'm only 120 pages into it. I'm not yet sure how I'll continue; on the one hand I want to dive into it and read the series from start to end, but on the other hand this will also mean a huge time investment. Other great series would be put on hold for a long time I'm afraid. Probably I will switch once in a while to another series, but once I really start into MBOTF, it will be my main focus.
I read it end to end with the Erickson and ICE books intermixed to put them in chronological order according to the Wu world (not release date). It was about 6 full months of immersion and it was awesome :D
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#78
I read it end to end with the Erickson and ICE books intermixed to put them in chronological order according to the Wu world (not release date). It was about 6 full months of immersion and it was awesome :D
6 months is bloody good going for the entire series! I think just The Bonehunters took me about that long ;) (slight exaggeration!)
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#80
Mistborn - Sanderson, Brandon
I haven't planned on reading these (my first and only experience with Sanderson left a bad taste, and though I know writers can get better, I haven't been inclined to pick him up yet (though I do have his "Steelheart" waiting on the Kindle) and especially not Mistborn, which, when the trilogy was being published, never garnered my interest. So, I'd be happy to have you tell me what made it such a good trilogy for you.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale - Joyce, Graham
I quite like Graham Joyce. I've not read this novel, yet, but I really, really liked his "Requiem" and "Smoking Poppy". Really should get to his other works.
The Girl with All the Gifts - Carey, M.R.
I came across this novel last September/October and had bookmarked it to get later. I was a big fan of Mike Carey's comics which I used to get by single issues (have a full run of "Lucifer" and many of the mini-series he's written) and heard he'd started writing novels, but never paid much attention. I guess I really should get it now.
Who Fears Death - Okorafor, Nnedi
Have it, but haven't read it yet. Came highly recommended as a science fiction novel.

Of the three (Joyce, Carey and Okorafor), which do you recommend to start on first?