Post your own Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#81
I love Mistborn because it mercilessly deconstructs just about every trope in The Hero with a Thousand Faces then puts them back together to Sanderson's liking. I have to omit a lot of the tropes that are deconstructed over the course of the series due to spoilers, but it's probably one of the most postmodern and meta-aware fantasy works out there while still being an absolutely fantastic story in its own right. It starts off a Star Wars meets Ocean's Eleven heist novel twist on the hero's journey (with a broken protagonist I really identified with for personal reasons), then the second two are some extremely enjoyable political and subtly philosophical (meaning it doesn't beat you around the head like some) fantasy, particularly regarding religion and faith, from a far more non-partisan perspective than most, too.

I agree with this assessment to a certain extent. The story was really very good in my opinion, with a very nice twist at the end. I couldn't really identify with Vin though. It might be a gender thing, but I just couldn't really relate with her "broken, abandones, betrayed girl" past. I did like the philosophical ramblings by Elend, Vin and particularly Sazed (although I started to dislike him in the third novel because of his self-pittying attitude). The magic system is smart and interesting. Also, the races of Koloss and Kandra were interesting and well thought out by the author. Also, the setting is great (Ash fell from the sky...). All in all, I thought the original Mistborn trilogy was very good, but it didn't quite blow me away.


Who Fears Death isn't actually science fiction; nowhere near. Well, actually, there are a few vague references to computers and the likes, but as mysterious relics of older or alien societies - it's implied the setting is post-apocalyptic but that's nowhere near the main or even an important plot point, except perhaps to drive home to English-speaking readers (the book was written in English) how alien African tribal culture is by our standards. The treatment of contemporary technology in the book might well mirror how some African tribes might perceive the gadgets various well-meaning charities occasionally dump on them, I thought.
Besides that though it's incredibly rich and beautifully written and has a sense of both the alien and wonder because the setting is fantastic, but also heavily inspired by a real culture, just not one we're exposed to very much (which is criminal). It depicts weaponized rape, female genital mutilation and the cultural reasons for it, the roles of family, tribe and trade and all from perspectives we would likely never consider on our own. All in a book that's first and foremost a beautiful fantasy story and without ever devolving into an author tract. For horizon-broadening, I'd definitely suggest this.
Could you please elaborate a bit more about the post apocalyptic aspect of the story? I love stories like Parable of the Sower, The Stand, Earth Abides, The Postman, the Man in the High Tower etc. Have you read any of those? Is this story similar?
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#82
It's strange. You've used exactly the right trigger words that would normally have me up and off to purchase Mistborn (a Campbell reference will usually entice me), but I must have some mental blockage with Sanderson, because I'm still hesitating.

I have no problems with archetypes and tropes (caveat being that they should be presented marginally well). They are all there is, despite the multitude of twists that one comes up with in an attempt to refresh the jaded audience with its ever increasing tolerance for the same high. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can play adroitly with the monomyth, whether deconstructing it with some pizzazz (like you say Sanderson seems to do) or playing it out in its distilled form (à la Tolkien or Lucas). Your description has elicited more of an interest on my side, so I'll be trying to keep an open mind with regards to Mistborn (despite the aforesaid blockage).
I went into the book tabula rasa
Isn't that great when it happens? That last time it occurred to me was with Stephenson's "Anathem". I had no idea what it was about. I wasn't even aware of the book until I saw it in a bookstore. I knew it was science fiction, but I've thought the same of two of his previous books I've picked up and they ended up not being so (Stephenson writes nearly as much non-SF as the former). For me, it was a very positive experience.

Have you read Carey's "Lucifer"? It was a very good spin off series from Gaiman's even more excellent "Sandman" comic (following a unique plot twist form his "Seasons of Mists" arc) where the Devil (with the proverbial may-care attitude) ekes out a living on the mundane plane after having suffered an existential crisis.

As for Joyce, I was aware of his lamentable passing. That had prompted me to pick up more of his works, specifically "Indigo" which I still haven't done, and I'll now add "Some Kind of Fairy Tale" to the list. I don't need much encouragement to read Graham Joyce.
The treatment of contemporary technology in the book might well mirror how some African tribes might perceive the gadgets various well-meaning charities occasionally dump on them, I thought.
"The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed." - William Gibson. Actually, your description makes it sound very much like science fiction to me. I'm looking forward to reading it.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#83
inspired by a real culture, just not one we're exposed to very much (which is criminal)
I would also recommend Octavia E. Butler's 'series' of books that take place in her "Patternmaster" universe. "Patternmaster" is her first published work (though chronologically last in the 'series'). They are collected in an omnibus (chronologically) put out by Warner called "Seed to Harvest". It would be your choice to read them either by publication date or in chronological order. I read them as individual books by publication, but I have a friend who read it chronologically and she loved it as it was presented. "Patternmaster" essentially establishes the post-apocalyptic and severely dystopian outlook from the start, and the rest of the novels (taking place much earlier) work towards this bleak future. Her later published works in the 'series' are better crafted than "Patternmaster", but I personally loved the energy and the in medias res start to the novel (I like figuring things out and based on your telling of "The Girl with All the Gifts", you seem to, too). I say 'series' in inverted commas because each work can be read independently despite making up a cohesive whole. I encourage you to check them out. I mentioned some things on it previously (here) in response to another member who didn't like the book.
 

paul james

Firsthanded the newest Caine adventure
#84
I am new to fantasy, less than five years. Have only completed three. Farseer is the one I enjoyed most. Also read Dark Tower - oh so inventive. And finally Book of The New Sun - not for everybody. Really loved the first Stormlight Archive think this may be an excellent series.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#85
Book of The New Sun
Hi PJ .. welcome to the forum! I've no doubt that we'll point you in the direction of numerous fantastic fantasy series, that will keep you occupied for years to come :)

Regarding Book of the New Sun ... it's one of my least favourite books (that I've read!). I think it takes a certain perspective to enjoy that one ..
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#86
I would also recommend Octavia E. Butler's 'series' of books that take place in her "Patternmaster" universe. "Patternmaster" is her first published work (though chronologically last in the 'series'). They are collected in an omnibus (chronologically) put out by Warner called "Seed to Harvest". It would be your choice to read them either by publication date or in chronological order. I read them as individual books by publication, but I have a friend who read it chronologically and she loved it as it was presented. "Patternmaster" essentially establishes the post-apocalyptic and severely dystopian outlook from the start, and the rest of the novels (taking place much earlier) work towards this bleak future. Her later published works in the 'series' are better crafted than "Patternmaster", but I personally loved the energy and the in medias res start to the novel (I like figuring things out and based on your telling of "The Girl with All the Gifts", you seem to, too). I say 'series' in inverted commas because each work can be read independently despite making up a cohesive whole. I encourage you to check them out. I mentioned some things on it previously (here) in response to another member that didn't like the book.
I read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Great books both. Is the Patternmaster series related?
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#87
I read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Great books both. Is the Patternmaster series related?
No, although there are some themes common to Octavia Butler's work. Many strong, African-American female protagonists. Lots of post-apocalyptic settings. Etc.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#88
I read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Great books both. Is the Patternmaster series related?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patternist_series. More or less - you can pick up any of the books in any order even though there is a chronological path the stories follow. EDIT: Whoops, I misread your post. No, as @Sneaky Burrito says. I thought you meant if the Patternist books are a 'series' or not.
Wikipedia says she 'disowned' Survivor though - should I read that one?
Yeah, I read that recently on Wikipedia, too, and was surprised. I asked someone who knows more about Butler than I, and he said that Butler apparently referred to it as her Star Trek novel. In my opinion, this is a similar syndrome to Margaret Atwood's initial repudiation of many of her works as science fiction (though she later capitulated). I think Butler didn't like that she wrote a novel with more overtly science fiction tropes (which is strange because her first work Patternmaster is pretty science fiction-y). I liked Survivor, though it isn't strictly necessary for the narrative that makes up her Patternist series of stories (more an important footnote). If you like Kindred and wish to read more, then get her omnibus Seed to Harvest (which doesn't contain Survivor).
I haven't read Lucifer, no - I'm very interested in both it and Sandman but I've found it confusing trying to puzzle out where to begin, when it comes to graphic novels which are part of series as opposed to standalones (e.g. Watchmen, Kingdom Come). What's the reading order and how do you get ahold of a whole long series of comic books? I've always had trouble figuring that out and it's put me off reading a lot of really, really exciting-sounding comic book series like Sandman, Preacher, Powers and so on.
Leave Lucifer until after you've fully read The Sandman and Gaiman's two related mini series focusing on Sandman's metaphorical relation Death (Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life).

With series like The Sandman, Preacher and Powers (all of which are very good), it's easy...start with the very first collected trade paperbacks (volume 1). Powers you have to be careful with since there are more than one series (and I don't know if each new series - that have been collected - starts with a new volume 1 or just continues the numbering).

Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes (vol. 1); Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl? (vol. 1 - series 1); Preacher: Gone to Texas (vol. 1).

While Gaiman is a more polished writer (there is a mild subtlety to his work that builds well and he's very good at rearranging ideas and coming full circle), Brian Michael Bendis (Powers, Jinx, Torso, Dareveil, Ultimate Spider-man) can't be beat for dialogue and no one does over-the-top irreverence (and blasphemy) like Garth Ennis (John Constantine: Hellblazer, Preacher, The Boys, Goddess, The Punisher), whose sick mind can only be explained away by the appellation 'genius'.
 
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Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
#90
Wow.. that is tough.. top 25 books?? well.. here is the trick.. I just love all of David Gemmell Novels ^^ this lad had what a marvelous writer needs.. but since my very first novel was his magnificent "The Swords of Night & Day" I would put that as my number 1 ^^ well you can imagin how it looked for me when I started reading a novel series starting from its last volume ^^ I was like huh!? and What??? Who is Druss and what is the Earl of Bronze!? I swear I might have re-started reading the novel almost 5 times just to get hang on the topic ^^
so here is my list:
  1. David Gemmell 31 Novels (on top of them is the Swords of Night & Day)
  2. Malus Darkblade (The Omnibus - 6 Books + 1 Graphic Novel + 1 More novel)
  3. The Monument (Ian Graham), ok, to be honest, I read it just because David Gemmell recommended it ^^
  4. The City (Stella Gemmell) - High expectations ended with a minor disappointment.....
The list shall grom more over time ^^ I am now reading Malus Darkblade novel, The End Times.. I am letrally devouring the pages ^^ and my mind is already racing toward what would be my next victim novel is ^^
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#91
Updated 1/8/18 - Did some cleaning up, removing lower quality entries and adding new ones

If there's an echo chamber feel to my list, it's because the BFB lists have heavily influenced what I've read over the last several years. I'm not a huge fan of Malazan, LoTR, or Farseer.

So here goes, in no particular order:

A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin -gotta pronounce GRRM the way Butters does:
Heroes Die - Matthew Woodring Stover
Blood Song - Anthony Ryan
A Land Fit for Heroes - Richard Morgan
Kingkiller Chronicles - Patrick Rothfuss
everything he's written - Joe Abercrombie
Gentleman Bastards - Scott Lynch
most of what he's written - Brandon Sanderson
everything he's written - Mark Lawrence
Wheel of Time series - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Perdido Street Station - China Mieville
The Night Circus - Erin Morganstern
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Dune - Frank Herbert
Red Rising trilogy - Pierce Brown
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Discword series - Terry Pratchett
 
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Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
#92
A song of Ice and Fire ^^ which is known as Game of Thrones ^^ I watched the TV Series and I just love it ^^ the reason I did not put it on my list was that I did not read the novel.. and I heard that in many occasions the written novel is much better than the movie or TV Series ^^ such as what I heard about the Lord of the Ring ^^ unfortunatly the movie was so boring I did not get past the 1st movie >.< so I would never know whether the novel is better, same or worse than the movie ^^
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#93
unfortunatly the movie was so boring
You thought it was boring? Hmm, I recommend you try to watch the trilogy sometime. Admittedly, it takes a while to get started, but from the end of the first movie onwards the trilogy is action-packed.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#94
You thought it was boring?
Some people just can't sit through it. I could watch it every month, but I have a really good friend who never watched LotR or Hobbit movies for that matter. I was really surprised by that, and when I asked her about it, she said she just finds it boring. To each his own you know. One thing I do know about her is that she's got a short attention span and is really in way too many things at once. She cant chill out and sit for couple of hours just forget about everything. Her mind seems to be racing always.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#95
Some people just can't sit through it. I could watch it every month, but I have a really good friend who never watched LotR or Hobbit movies for that matter. I was really surprised by that, and when I asked her about it, she said she just finds it boring. To each his own you know. One thing I do know about her is that she's got a short attention span and is really in way too many things at once. She cant chill out and sit for couple of hours just forget about everything. Her mind seems to be racing always.
Haha, I know what you mean. I've got 2 friends who are exactly the same. One of them has to check his phone every 10 minutes or so. He only likes Michael Bay kinda movies, with lots of action and eye-candy, otherwise he zones out. Still, not all hope is lost. The other of the 2 has actually come to like LOTR after I made him watch the second film.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#96
Wow.. that is tough.. top 25 books?? well.. here is the trick.. I just love all of David Gemmell Novels ^^ this lad had what a marvelous writer needs.. but since my very first novel was his magnificent "The Swords of Night & Day" I would put that as my number 1 ^^ well you can imagin how it looked for me when I started reading a novel series starting from its last volume ^^ I was like huh!? and What??? Who is Druss and what is the Earl of Bronze!? I swear I might have re-started reading the novel almost 5 times just to get hang on the topic ^^
so here is my list:
  1. David Gemmell 31 Novels (on top of them is the Swords of Night & Day)
  2. Malus Darkblade (The Omnibus - 6 Books + 1 Graphic Novel + 1 More novel)
  3. The Monument (Ian Graham), ok, to be honest, I read it just because David Gemmell recommended it ^^
  4. The City (Stella Gemmell) - High expectations ended with a minor disappointment.....
The list shall grom more over time ^^ I am now reading Malus Darkblade novel, The End Times.. I am letrally devouring the pages ^^ and my mind is already racing toward what would be my next victim novel is ^^
Hey Mohammed, I feel the same way about David Gemmell. I loved the Waylander trilogy, and just finished Sword in the Storm and am halfway through the sequel, Midnight Falcon. David Gemmell is the perfect author for me as he hits all the right notes of what I look for in epic fantasy.
 

Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
#97
Hey Mohammed, I feel the same way about David Gemmell. I loved the Waylander trilogy, and just finished Sword in the Storm and am halfway through the sequel, Midnight Falcon. David Gemmell is the perfect author for me as he hits all the right notes of what I look for in epic fantasy.
He is a real legend when coming to writing.. he really knows how to make things happen.. Sword in the Storm is an owsome novel.. but to understand Gemmell's real talent.. you will need to reach Ravenheart and see how he turns the tables....... he also has a very smart way to place prophecies in his novels.. he uses them and rely on them being un-precise and floating.. and could be deciphered in many many many ways.. I hope to hear from you once you are in the Ravenheart part and get similar comments.. ^^
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#98
He is a real legend when coming to writing.. he really knows how to make things happen.. Sword in the Storm is an owsome novel.. but to understand Gemmell's real talent.. you will need to reach Ravenheart and see how he turns the tables....... he also has a very smart way to place prophecies in his novels.. he uses them and rely on them being un-precise and floating.. and could be deciphered in many many many ways.. I hope to hear from you once you are in the Ravenheart part and get similar comments.. ^^
Well, I'll be buying Ravenheart today as I'm at 91% of Midnight Falcon. I was certain that this book would pale in comparison to the first, Sword in the Storm, but it doesn't. It actually ups the ante. So I'm looking forward now to Ravenheart even more than before and I'll let you know.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#99
He is a real legend when coming to writing.. he really knows how to make things happen.. Sword in the Storm is an owsome novel.. but to understand Gemmell's real talent.. you will need to reach Ravenheart and see how he turns the tables....... he also has a very smart way to place prophecies in his novels.. he uses them and rely on them being un-precise and floating.. and could be deciphered in many many many ways.. I hope to hear from you once you are in the Ravenheart part and get similar comments.. ^^
One more question for you, Mohammed. What order do you recommend for reading the Drenai series, publishing order or internal chronology order? Legend would be the first book published, and is called book 1 by Amazon, but it's the 9th book in internal time order. I'm looking at the chronological order from the Gemmell Award site:

http://www.gemmellaward.com/page/david-gemmell-chronological-order
 

Mohammed Al Mulla

Owns a Ring of Power
What order do you recommend for reading the Drenai series
Well to be honest I read it in a slightly different manner ^^ I started with The Swords of Night & Day.. which was the fist novel i ever bought.. you can imagin me trying to understand who Druss is and why are they making a big fuzz about it ^^ after that I read Legend.. and again I was like.. Excuse me? who did what??????
Therefore, I do recommend reading the series in the following order:
  1. Waylander
  2. Waylander II: In the Realm of the Wolf
  3. Hero in the Shadow
  4. The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend
  5. The Legend of the Deathwalker
  6. White Wolf
  7. Legend
  8. The King Beyond the Gate
  9. Quest for Lost Heroes
  10. Winter Warriors
  11. The Swords of Night and Day
I made the list based on the sequence of events in relation to the Legend, which is like a mid peg where everything is moving around till the Swords of Night and Day