Top 25 Best Fantasy Books

HeroineOfCanton

Downed a vial of metals
#41
5 complete
3 partial, none of which I'll probably finish
2 bailed on book one and never intend to return to

Guess I really do need to get my act in gear and read more fantasy. :D
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#42
1A Game Of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) 5/5
· 2The Name Of The Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) 0/2
· 3The Blade Itself (Joe Abercrombie) 3/3
· 4Lord Of The Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) 3/3
· 5The Magicians (Lev Grossman) 0/3
· 6Discworld (Terry Pratchett) 2/?
· 7Lies Of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch) 3/3
· 8The Way Of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) 2/2
· 9Assassin's Apprentice (Robin Hobb) 3/3
· 10Gardens Of The Moon (Steven Erikson) 0/10
· 11American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 1/1
· 12A Wizard Of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin) 2/3
· 13Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Cla... 0/1
· 14The Black Company (Glen Cook) 1/3
· 15Heroes Die (Matthew Woodring Stover) 1/3
· 16The Prince Of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) 3/3
· 17Under Heaven (Guy Gavriel Kay) 0/2
· 18City Of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett) 0/1
· 19The Nightwatch (Sergei Lukyanenko) 0/4
· 20Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser (Fritz Leiber) 0/?
· 21Black Sun Rising (C.S. Friedman) 0/?
· 22The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) 0/?
· 23Legend (David Gemmell) 4/x
· 24The Dark Tower (Stephen King) 0/7
· 25The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) 13/13

so
9 Completed
5 Partials

However, there are some on that list I might never read.
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#44
1A Game Of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) 5/5
· 2The Name Of The Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) 0/2 !
· 3The Blade Itself (Joe Abercrombie) 0/3. !
· 4Lord Of The Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) 3/3
· 5The Magicians (Lev Grossman) 0/3
· 6Discworld (Terry Pratchett) 0/?
· 7Lies Of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch) 0/3 !
· 8The Way Of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) 2/2
· 9Assassin's Apprentice (Robin Hobb) 0/3 !
· 10Gardens Of The Moon (Steven Erikson) 8/10
· 11American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 0/1
· 12A Wizard Of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin) 0/3
· 13Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Cla... 0/1 !
· 14The Black Company (Glen Cook) 0/3
· 15Heroes Die (Matthew Woodring Stover) 0/3
· 16The Prince Of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) 0/3 !
· 17Under Heaven (Guy Gavriel Kay) 0/2
· 18City Of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett) 0/1
· 19The Nightwatch (Sergei Lukyanenko) 0/4
· 20Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser (Fritz Leiber) 0/?
· 21Black Sun Rising (C.S. Friedman) 0/?
· 22The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) 0/1
· 23Legend (David Gemmell) 0/?
· 24The Dark Tower (Stephen King) 7/7
· 25The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) 2/13

Completed 4
Started 2
Own but not read 6
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
#47
.1.A Game Of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) 5/5
· 2The Name Of The Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) 2/2 !
· 3The Blade Itself (Joe Abercrombie) 3/3. !

· 4Lord Of The Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) 0/3
· 5The Magicians (Lev Grossman) 1/3
· 6Discworld (Terry Pratchett) 0/?
· 7Lies Of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch) 3/3 !
· 8The Way Of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) 2/2
· 9Assassin's Apprentice (Robin Hobb) 3/3 !

· 10Gardens Of The Moon (Steven Erikson) 1/10
· 11American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 1/1
· 12A Wizard Of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin) 0/3
· 13Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Cla... 0/1 !
· 14The Black Company (Glen Cook) 3/3
· 15Heroes Die (Matthew Woodring Stover) 0/3
· 16The Prince Of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) 3/3 !
· 17Under Heaven (Guy Gavriel Kay) 0/2
· 18City Of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett) 0/1
· 19The Nightwatch (Sergei Lukyanenko) 0/4
· 20Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser (Fritz Leiber) 0/?
· 21Black Sun Rising (C.S. Friedman) 0/?
· 22The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) 1/1
· 23Legend (David Gemmell) 1/1
· 24The Dark Tower (Stephen King) 1/7
· 25The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) 13/13


12 - compleeted
2 - half completed but while I think I will get round to finishing the Dark Tower, I will not finish Malazan
 

Shorty

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#48
I'm agreeing with you here. I've read the entire trilogy and I found it utterly overrated. The sluggish pace was just hellish, I don't mind character-centered books, but this just wasn't my cup of tea.
I thought the entire series to be too depressing. Poor Fitz. If the hero isn't that fortunate in the beginning or middle of a book that's okay. Thtat gives a possibility to rise (...from the ashes), but i think there is no point in the farseer triology where everything is going to hell or falling apart. I fought myself throgh all the books of the first triology but was't to keen on starting any other series of Hobb. But with the high praises of her newest book, I'm reconsidering to giv it a try in the future...
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#49
I'm not really letting my opinion be swayed by praise, I kind of expect that for an author like her. Nonetheless I'll try my hands on The Liveship Trades trilogy someday, but it won't be that soon.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#51
01. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire), George R. R. Martin, [3/5]
02. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle), Patrick Rothfuss, [1/2]
03. The Blade Itself (The First Law), Joe Abercrombie, [3/3]*
04. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings), J. R. R. Tolkien, [3/3]*
05. The Magicians (Magicians), Lev Grossman, [0/3]
06. The Colour of Magic (Discworld), Terry Pratchett, [0/40]
07. The Lies of Locke Lamora (The Gentlemen Bastards Sequence), Scott Lynch, [0/3]
08. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive), Brandon Sanderson, [0/2]
09. Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer), Robin Hobb, [3/3]*
10. Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen), Steven Erikson, [1/10]
11. American Gods, Neil Gaiman, [1/1]*
12. A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea), Ursula K. Le Guin, [3/3]* (original trilogy), [3/5] (extended)
13. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke, [0/1]
14. The Black Company (The Books of the North), Glen Cook, [1/3]
15. Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine), Matthew Woodring Stover, [1/4]
16. The Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire), Mark Lawrence, [3/3]*
17. Under Heaven/River of Stars (Tang/Song Dynasty), Guy Gavriel Kay, [1/2]
18. City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett, [0/1]
19. The Nightwatch (Nightwatch Pentalogy), Sergei Lukyanenko, [0/4]
20. Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser), Fritz Leiber, [0/7]
21. Black Sun Rising (Coldfire), C. S. Friedman, [0/3]
22. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern, [0/1]
23. Legend (The Drenai), David Gemmell, [11/11]*
24. The Gunglisnger (The Dark Tower), Stephen King, [1/7]
25. Storm Front (The Dresden Files), Jim Butcher, [4/15]

w/Earthsea as a trilogy: 7 complete, 8 partial, 10 unread.
w/Earthsea as a pentalogy: 6 complete, 9 incomplete, 10 unread.

Edit: miscount.
 
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Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#52
Now that I've looked it over properly, I find the list pretty contentious. Of the ones I've read, I don't believe the following deserve their spots: "American Gods", "Heroes Die", The Broken Empire, "Under Heaven", The Dresden Files. I mostly have enjoyed reading them all (well, AG was a disappointment, considering). And I'm also iffy with A Song of Ice and Fire (I loved the first 3 books when I read them, but time's wearing down their appeal a little). As for The Dresden Files, I've only read 4 out of the 15 installments, and unless they break all my expectations in later volumes by giving me a severe dose of mindfuck, then I find it hard to imagine its placement on a 'best of' list. I could imagine The Dresden Files on a more focused list, say, as a game-changer in Urban fantasy. I also think there are some glaring omissions. So, most of you agree or disagree with the list? Yeah, I know it's a matter of personal opinion for the most part, but...
 

Shorty

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#53
Yeah, I know it's a matter of personal opinion for the most part, but...
So it is. I didn't like the Farseer triology myself and as far as I'm into Dresden (only two books), I can totaly agree with you that it isn't that much of deal. On the other hand I hear many people being fond of the great lvl of characterisation in Hobbs books and that Dresden starts to begin beeing good at book 3 (or 11?^^). Even if I'm not a fan of some of the books I could hardly say which book or series deserves a spot in there, to replace the others.
Especially given the restrictions of only 1 book / series per author and not adding a books / series that is too "new" where you can't say how this is going to develope in the next (couple) book(s).
But about some general matters. I'm not sure if an unfinished series deserves a spot in such a list, because a bad ending can destroy the enterie story in my eyes.
Also I think there is an unequality in comparing standalones, with books of series with series as a whole.
Best example for these points is "The Name of the Wind". It's my favourite book. But I cant say how good "The Kingkiller Chronicles" will be, when it's finished (if it even will be finsihed ;) ). Even at the current state I prefer e.g. the Stormlight Archives over "the KKC" as a series.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#54
Also I think there is an unequality in comparing standalones, with books of series with series as a whole.
I think it's fine. An excellent stand-alone can be considered equally worthy to read beside a correspondingly excellent trilogy (they might both offer different things on a level with each other).
I'm not sure if an unfinished series deserves a spot in such a list, because a bad ending can destroy the enterie story in my eyes.
I'm also unsure about this. For example, I have read the first volume of Kingkiller Chronicles, and even though 2 volumes of a projected 3 are out, it doesn't make much sense to place it on any list since it's very short series (trilogy) where the quality of each volume matters more than for a longer one. If it were a longer series, like ASoIaF, with more instalments out, then perhaps it makes more sense. For a series like the Dresden Files or the Drenai books, where each instalment is a stand-alone, it doesn't really matter much. There's still a difference between the two since the Drenai books don't really require you to know what went on in a previous volume to follow things clearly (you can pretty much pick up a volume at random), unlike the Dresden Files, where reading in chronological order is still the order of the day.

The first instalment of a series can also function as a stand-alone. "Heroes Die", for example. The subsequent volumes of a first offering that is self-contained might not necessarily be as good.
I think why Hobbs' books are important is because she seemed to offer something different (and with depth) than your standard fantasy fare, especially during a decade or two where the zenith of fantasy reading seems to have been Terry Brooks or David Eddings or Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind. Same thing with Guy Gavriel Kay. Hobbs offered us fantasy (still more-or-less traditional) but with protagonists not conforming to any set formula that LotR made popular. Kay offered us completely non-traditional fantasy. And I think that for most of us, Farseer was our first (?) Hobbs experience. There were also others offering quality, atypical fantasy, but Hobbs and Kay were certainly the most visible.

I wonder if there was any kind of criteria used to collate this list or whether it was purely personal preference.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#55
Now that I've looked it over properly, I find the list pretty contentious. Of the ones I've read, I don't believe the following deserve their spots: "American Gods", "Heroes Die", The Broken Empire, "Under Heaven", The Dresden Files. I mostly have enjoyed reading them all (well, AG was a disappointment, considering). And I'm also iffy with A Song of Ice and Fire (I loved the first 3 books when I read them, but time's wearing down their appeal a little). As for The Dresden Files, I've only read 4 out of the 15 installments, and unless they break all my expectations in later volumes by giving me a severe dose of mindfuck, then I find it hard to imagine its placement on a 'best of' list. I could imagine The Dresden Files on a more focused list, say, as a game-changer in Urban fantasy. I also think there are some glaring omissions. So, most of you agree or disagree with the list? Yeah, I know it's a matter of personal opinion for the most part, but...
I agree. I think this revised list might be better than the previous one but there are still some like Broken Empires, American Gods, aSoIaF which you mentioned as well as others like Lies of Locke Lamora, Black Sun Rising, and Name of the Wind that totally do not deserve their spot. Malazan should also be ranked at number 1 or at least way, way higher than aSoIaF since its a lot better. I still think Ben should be giving more credit to the classics. He's giving some head nods but we shouldn't just be giving headnods, we should be bowing to the classics. I'd rather read really, really well written classics fantasy (pre-80's) than this grimdark garbage. Out of the 25 I've read (most of the list I have not read) I wouldn't even consider putting most of them on a top 25 list and some of them I wouldn't even put on a top 50 list.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#56
We can all find something to pick and chose to take off and put on (Night Circus in top 25, wut 0_0), but at the end of the day, it's Ben's list.
It would be nice if anyone who has an interest to make his own top 25, explain his/her choices and link to the list.
Then we can proceed in ripping apart those choices :D
Finally you got to realize that BFB's Top 25 isn't an ultimate truth. It's one man's list.
What would be nice if Antoxx ever comes back is to have forum members top 25 on the main site, which in turn could be updated much more frequently, because new ratings would come in all the time.
 
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Shorty

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#58
I agree. I think this revised list might be better than the previous one but there are still some like Broken Empires, American Gods, aSoIaF which you mentioned as well as others like Lies of Locke Lamora, Black Sun Rising, and Name of the Wind that totally do not deserve their spot. Malazan should also be ranked at number 1 or at least way, way higher than aSoIaF since its a lot better. I still think Ben should be giving more credit to the classics. He's giving some head nods but we shouldn't just be giving headnods, we should be bowing to the classics. I'd rather read really, really well written classics fantasy (pre-80's) than this grimdark garbage. Out of the 25 I've read (most of the list I have not read) I wouldn't even consider putting most of them on a top 25 list and some of them I wouldn't even put on a top 50 list.
I disagree. Mainly because of the often mentioned fact that it is just one man's opinion, everyone likes other stuff and it is impossible to please everyone , I think it is even impossible to find 2 people here who have exactly to same best 25 ranking.

Second of all the" back in the days, everything was better"-mentality. It wasnt. Even if everyone keeps telling it. It wasn't. Especially not in fantasy books and this again is only my personal opinion, because today there is a diversity that never has been before. You can chose between genres that did not exist back in the 80's, between books of well known authors who have also in the 80's written their books and between so much more. I agree in tha fact that there is a lot more pulp then 30 years ago, but the also a lot of really good books.

Last of all, everything you mention is again just your own opinion. With your username it is not surprising which book should be number one on the list. But you are knocking down the favourites of a lot of other readers.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#59
I disagree. Mainly because of the often mentioned fact that it is just one man's opinion, everyone likes other stuff and it is impossible to please everyone , I think it is even impossible to find 2 people here who have exactly to same best 25 ranking.
Last of all, everything you mention is again just your own opinion. With your username it is not surprising which book should be number one on the list. But you are knocking down the favourites of a lot of other readers.
So, you disagree with the one man opinion but the list is one man opinion that should cater to most readers favorites? Sorry, it's still a.m. here and I may be on dumb mode (I know I am) but I didn't follow the reasoning.

Second of all the" back in the days, everything was better"-mentality. It wasnt. Even if everyone keeps telling it. It wasn't. Especially not in fantasy books and this again is only my personal opinion
My turn to disagree. The mentality of back in the day everything was worse than today because we evolved so much is dismissive. Also even though I haven't finished Malazan (yet) I can honestly say that I liked it way more than ASOIAF for example.


I've only read 4 out of the 15 installments, and unless they break all my expectations in later volumes by giving me a severe dose of mindfuck, then I find it hard to imagine its placement on a 'best of' list.
I regretfully inform you that you have read the worst Dresden books my friend but I'll wait until you read a few more to have this discussion again.

I agree. I think this revised list might be better than the previous one but there are still some like Broken Empires, American Gods, aSoIaF which you mentioned as well as others like Lies of Locke Lamora, Black Sun Rising, and Name of the Wind that totally do not deserve their spot.
Boy I am a disagreeing maching today. I thing Lies and Name of the Wind were absolutely brilliant books and do deserve high spots on the list.

I must also disagree with @btkong 's list since Stormlight isn't #1

And now since I disagreed with so many there is only one thing left to do...

It would be nice if anyone who has an interest to make his own top 25, explain his/her choices and link to the list.
Challenge accepted
 

Shorty

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#60
My turn to disagree. The mentality of back in the day everything was worse than today because we evolved so much is dismissive
I however find nothing dismissive in the concept of evolutuion.

In the context of fantasy literature it also means that there a a lot of new (sub)genres then in the old days. What is a big plus for me. And since we consider in this discussion the Tolkin days as the old days, why not go even further back for the sake of my statement. What's before Tolkien and Mouser? There was no fantasy literature at all (except maybe the bible).
So I say that it's better to live in the now of the fantasy literature then in the old days. Also not because I think the work of todays authors is better then the work of their "ancestors", just because we have more of the good stuff. And that a lot of todays great writers became fantasy authors because they read the Tolkiens and their succesors and because they could use the staff those fantasy grandfathers created.