The Worst Fantasy Books Ever

This list contains the books you should generally, in my opinion, avoid. Some of the authors who published this crap should never have been published, while the others should be ashamed for writing such drivel. The point is that if you see one of these books in the wild, don’t touch it with a 10-foot pole!

To make this list, the book must REALLY be a steaming pile of donkey dung. Think of this book list as being a guide to those books you shouldn't read, not even if someone holds a gun to your head.

Now in the initial worst list, I had a lot of complaints that I was being too harsh on some of the authors and wasn't really giving any compelling reasons for why some of the books were so "bad" other than just stating the books were bad. Well with this updated version, I've endeavored to show you why each book makes the list and why it's so bad.

We can break the "worst" books down into four specific categories. I've subdivided this list because there were a lot of complaints about how I listed good books as bad, and bad books as good. With this updated worst-fantasy-books-ever list, I've tried to be more specific about why I think a book belongs on the worst list.

Let me be clear: just because a book lands on the worst list doesn't mean it's necessarly a terrible book compared to some of the other books in the genre; but rather, the book has done something that means it deserves to land here, and there are much better reads to choose from.


The Six Categories of Bad Fantasy Books

1. Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy


These are books you liked when you were a young reader or when you first started reading fantasy; sadly, they are no longer the great works you thought them to be, now that you have experience with the genre.



2. Books That Don't Age Well


Books that are entertaining when you are, say, 10 and that are written specifically for a younger audience. When you put the adult spectacles on, however, these books are pretty crappy. Maybe the book was good during a certain era, but modern fantasy has evolved to a new level, and the book is still stuck in the stoneage.



3. Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype


Commercially succesful books that took the world by storm but that were actually pretty mediocre when you look closely at them. While these books are not terrible (there are much worse out there), they are good examples of commercially successful bad books. The books don't necessarly have to be huge commercial successes. They could be highly praised by critics too, yet when you read them, something doesn't add up.



4. Terribly Written Books


Say what you want about the other books, the books that fall in this category are, God forbid, straight-out terrible books. There is no saving grace to these books, and watching paint dry is more entertaining than reading one of these. This would be the category of the truly terrifyingly terrible books. We'll also toss dull and completely unoriginal books in here as well. If you have to read "bad fantasy books" work your way through all the other categories of bad before starting on books in this category!



5. Controversial Books

 

AKA, Books That Are Either Loved or Hated. These are books that really polarize the readership. People usually either adore these books or utterly and viciously detest them. Quite a few of the good books seem to fall into this category.


 

6. Books with Bad Sequels

 

These are books that are part of a series with a very strong debut, but with poor (or poorly received) sequels. There are a few big, poplular fantasy books that have this label applied to them. So while the series started off 'strong', some of the sequels failed to live up to expectations, and now the series has been "ruined" for some people.

Now, while it's true that a book you appreciated when you were new to the fanasy genre or when you were say, a kid, might not read the same way when you've read better books in the genre, or when you've grown up, so to speak. This book might not be a terribly written book of course, but the plot might be juvenile, and the characters crappy cardbord cutouts. I feel, however, that a good book is always a good book, no matter what age the reader. A good story transcends all ages.

I fully expect a number of people to be outraged to find their favorite author/book being slandered by its inclusion in this list. I have not just randomly tossed a bunch of books onto this list -- there are some very compelling reasons why books end up here. However, feel free to express all your outrage (or agreement) in the comment section. And if you have any of your own particular stinker reads, please share them -- they may be fodder for the next worst fantasy book update.

For those angry folks out there, keep in mind this is MY opinion. It's subjective, and I'm sure not everyone will agree with me. If you love a book on the list, fair's fair -- different strokes for different folks. However, I want to establish a "baseline" for what's good and what's not in the fantasy genre. And this, folks, is my baseline. But remarks about the books on this list are open for discussion in the comment section.

A bit of a disclaimer: I hold no punches when I verbally trash books and authors on this list. This is my personal outlet for that pent-up rage that's been marinating in my brain all these years from reading bad book after bad book. So if you are a sensitive person who is easily offended, or if you don't want to see your beloved author verbally skewered to within an inch of his or her life, be warned that you might want to SKIP this list. Don't say I didn't warn you! :p

Click to vew and vote on the crowd ranked version of the Worst Fantasy Books List Ever




robert stanek

This one falls under the "Terribly Written Books" category.


One word: avoid!

 

There's a saying that "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover", but in the case of a Robert Stanek novel, you CAN judge by the cover.

A monkey could design better book covers!

 

This is self-published dreck of the worst sort. I normally wouldn't spend any time actually shouting out a self-published novel here except for the one fact: Stanek habitually games the online rating systems.

 

A suspicious number of positive reviews have been posted at Amazon.com concerning this author’s Rune Mist saga, ranging from one to five stars. Rumor has it that Rob has been padding Amazon.com with fake reviews in an effort to hawk his own books. After reading book one, it was immediately apparent (after the first page) that the rumor is true. Stanek is, quite simply, the worst author I have had the misfortune of reading. He possesses not a single atom of writing ability. I’ll put it like this: Keeper Martin’s Tale evinces all the skill of an adolescent girl, writing her first creative piece on a prancing pony. Keep away from his books if you value your sanity. His prose is so bad, it'll make your eyes bleed. I even dedicated some time a few years ago to writing a post about how Robert Stanek is gaming Amazon with hordes of fake reviews.

 

Not ONLY is Stanek a bad author, he's also a nasty character. Fake reviews, aggressive behavior towards people who call out his practices, and his penchant for outright lying (a photoshopped picture of him at a panel with legitimate authors like Brian Jacques? Puhleeezzz!).

 

Because of all this, Stanek wins The Best Fantasy Books award for being the worst fantasy author and writing the worst fantasy novels. In fact, I'll go one further. Stanek is not just a bad fantasy writer, he's the nemesis of the fantasy world, the Dark Lord of fantasy authors. Please, if you see a Robert Stanek novel, run like hell, because you're risking your literary soul merely by opening the book.


The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Ruin Mist

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This one falls under the "Terribly Written Books" category

 

Oh man, what can I say about this except that it's probably one of the worst written novels in the history of publishing, let alone fantasy.

 

What happens when you blatantly copy a bad fantasy writer? Simply, you write a really bad fantasy book. The only books Newcomb ever read were Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth and maybe a few badly written bondage novels. At least Goodkind can write ONE novel half decently—which is more than Newcomb can claim by a few miles. The blurb on The Fifth Sorceress claims it is the “epic fantasy of the year”. Uh...

 

While Newcomb certainly has a fertile imagination, it's fertile in the same way a sexually frustrated, disturbed teenage boy's might be. We get sultry sorceress after sorceress whose only role in the story is to satisfy the author's fantasies about bad, bad, bad women in leather tights. If you are going to write soft porn scenes every ten pages, by golly at least make them GOOD sex scenes. Newcomb can't even manage to do that right.

 

With page after page of painful exposition, Newcomb attempts to translate his pornographic fantasies into credible plot devices. I'm not even going to describe the insult to both women and the English language THAT attempt has birthed into the world.

 

His books are so riddled with cliches, it’s no surprise Newcomb sinks to the bottom of the quality barrel.  I can't tell you how offensive to your eyes it is to just look at a page written by this man. This is one man I'd gladly help support by PAYING HIM to stop writing.

 

Look, it says something when the series even garnered its very own website about how bad it really is. And rarely will you ever see a book that gets hundreds of essay-sized one-star amazon reviews throughly bashing the novel every way since Sunday.

 

It took to about book five of this dreck before the publisher mercifully put Newcomb out of his writing misery. When that moment happened, I'm sure there were angelic choirs singing in full force.




sword of truth

 

This one falls under the "Terribly Written Books" category AND the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype". Woah, double kill!

 

Some people might be wondering why bestselling author Terry Goodkind is missing from the top 25 best fantasy books. This is one of the most "asked" questions emailed to me and left in the comments section on the top list. I've drastically updated this section to more solidly make my case, to all the Goodkind fanboys out there who've been leaving the hate mail in my inbox, about just WHY Sword of Truth is so very bad. I hope this helps show why I feel these books are bad, rather than just stating that they are.

 

Well gents and ladies, I have been saving a special spot in the ‘Worst Fantasy’ section for him. Wait, you tell me: “He is a best seller.” Yea, but then again so is Snooky from Jersey Shore. Let's be clear: popularity does not equal quality.

 

Even after a full year up here, Goodkind is still staying firmly planted at the number 3 spot, and I don't plan on moving him anytime soon, unless someone manages to top the level of drivel spewing forth from his pen. Though there are some new contenders for worst title, there are no real challengers just yet. Maybe next year (2013) will bring something new to the table.

 

Tell Me Whyyyyyyy....

So Why is BadKind so Good. Sorry, that came out wrong. Why is NoGoodkind so Good? Opps, sorry, he's so bad I'm getting my words twisted up here. One more time: why is Goodkind so Bad? There we go!

 

Because, he is just like, major bad dude.

 

Seriously people, if you think Goodkind is the Second Coming of Christ to the fantasy genre, you haven't read any real fantasy books yet. Don't ask me to add his name to any of the Best Book Lists, because I'm not going to.

Goodkind.Does.Not.Deserve.To.Be.Added.Because.He's.Not.Good.Enough.

 

I'll admit that Goodkind’s first few novels were kind of entertaining in a sick sort of way, but the entertainment soon got lost behind the sheer awfulness of the man's writing. The idea was good, but the problem is that Goodkind lacked the actual writing skills to translate ideas to paper. He broke just about every 'don't do this when you're writing a novel' rule in this book. Heck, he probably even broke a few writing rules that haven't been invented yet!

 

NoGoodKind's books are a "College English 101: Fiction Class case study" for what not to do when writing a novel. If anything, the man could sell his books as part of a Creative Writing syllabus on "Bad Books NOT to Copy".

 

Richard Raul is THE MAN

Dude, the hero of The Sword of Truth is THE MAN. He's the Chuck Norris of the fantasy landscape, able to defeat every dark god without breaking a sweat. He's so full of altruistic goodness that he's got a halo, except when you disagree with him and he kills you. Hell, he even goes all Chuck Norris in Book 8 on a bunch of unarmed farmer pacificists because they don't have his vision of moral clarity by not believing in absolute good and evil. So he slaughters these weak cowards and is continually praised for this over the course of the novel by Goodkind. But wait, isn't killing people who disagree with you Fascism? Nooo, that couldn't be the case, since Goodkind is so enlightened.

 

But wait, there is more badness to come. Oh yea, he's so bad (and by baaad, I mean good) that he rips a man's spinal cord out with his bare freaking hands -- you can practically hear the Mortal Kombat "Finish Him" voiceover in the background. Hell Yea! If that's not manly and badassism, I don't know what is. A few other godlike traits: he's super intelligent on top of being a hunky male model, he's got a princess-lover who's so pure and beautiful that even Jesus would have a hard'on, and he bashes in the skull of a seven-year-old bratty kid.

 

To delve into more of the hero's badism, let's sum it up a bit (avoid this paragraph if you don't want to read spoilers) the entire series:

 

Farm boy finds a super sword and becomes the super Seeker of Truth, basically a badass dimwit with the big, big sword who goes around stabbing bad guys or simply any character who actually has the gall to disagree with his -- cough Goodkind's-- philosophy (which is in fact a badly written version of Ayn Rand's Fountainhead). But wait, there's more to big ol' teddy bear Richard. You see, he's really also a hidden prince too, and a pretty damn handsum one at that. No but wait, he's also a Wizard. Did I forget to mention that he's also a War Wizard on top of being a regular wizard which is basically a Wizard 2.0 with even deadlier magic than Wizard 1.0s? Oh, let's not forget about the part where he becomes KING ruler of an entire continent.

 

Did I miss anything? Oh yes, I forgot: Richard also has a harem of attractive women who want to rip his clothes off, and rape him in a series of bad S&M scenes. Can't forget the other character: Kahland Amnell, Richards love interest princess and Mary Sue extraordinaire. Forgetting anything else? Opps one more: one of the SOT villains is an evil chicken. Yeaaaaa.....

 

Richard Rauhl is pretty much the fantasy version of Goku from Dragon Ball Z -- always just one step away from powering up to some new super ability to save the day. The only difference: replace the stupid endless posturing of the characters with endless plot-destroying Randism pontificating by Richard. I'd like to say it's a more intelligent series than an anime made for kids, but I dont' think I can even give the series that sort of credit.

 

Now let's get to the badly written sex and Goodkind's treatment of women in the books.

Goodkind has a disturbing fascination with the domination and rape of women. I mean you have to wonder about the guy when pretty much every page involves some sadistic torture and rape of yet another innocent and lovely woman. Man, we get it guy: lovely women need to be humiliated over and over in as many different ways as possible. Now stop writing about the same damn thing for 10,000 pages! I'm beginning to suspect that John Norman from the Gor series helped ghostwrite the SOT novels or maybe Goodkind gets a kick out of reading Gor. Either way, enough of your boy fantasies please!

 

Prose, Like, Actually Counts Dude

Now if only the public could be stabbed with that same Sword of Truth that Richard Rhaul carries around, the truth of how bad this series really is would be revealed to the world. The writing itself is absolutely hideous – amateurishly written prose that will give you eyebleeds. The interesting world-building hinted at in the first novel was about the only redeeming quality of the entire series – but this one small bit of potential soon gets drowned in the badlly written prose, stupid cardboard characters (with some of them bordering on ridiculous), and the dirty S&M rape scenes oh-so-generously sprinkled around every few pages.

 

Goodkind has really mastered the literary trick of TELLING his reader, not SHOWING them. Did I mention that the writing quality is bad, like atrociously bad with -ly adverbs thrown in before practically every single verb, horrible grammar, and a plot so full of holes that it sinks to the bottom of the quality barrel?

 

We are not in your ff'in Church, Goodkind

But by far the worst literary crime is Goodkind's penchant for pausing the story while he pontificates and pontificates and pontificates about the nature of good and evil through his characters. I mean, it gets absolutely ridiculous in the later books. The early books actually have the semblance of a plot and characters, but by the 6th book, something starts to go seriously wrong with the story threads, and Goodkind decides he's going to write his own version of The Fountainhead starring Richard, Kahland, and evil Emperor dude who wants to kill the world. The 8th book (The Naked Empire) was by far the worst offender, with a significant portion of the book given to Goodkind’s bad philosophizing – there were literally pages end on end of bad philosophy spewing from the mouth of Goodkind’s hero. At one point I think I skipped something like 30 pages of Richard pontificating and the plot or story didn't miss a single beat.

 

If you want to read Goodkind, you can save yourself a lot of pain and just skip straight to the source: read Ann Rynd’s Fountainhead, the book that inspired the Sword of Truth series.

 

Now, I wouldn't toss Goodkind on this list only because of A Wizard's First Rule. No, it took a string of absolute trash to land him on the worst fantasy book list. His recent book titles can be used as a euphemism for crap, puke and other less-than-wholesome words.

 

Goodkind's book quality goes like this:

 

*first book -- readable with some interesting world-building, but terrible prose

*books 2 - 3 -- less readable

*books 4 - 6 -- even less readable and preachy

*books 7 - 9 -- oh my god, my eyes are bleeding and I'm going deaf from all the bad Fountainhead preaching

*books 10 - 12 -- thank god the series is done. Oh but wait, he's signed up for MORE novels.

*Sword of Truth Tie Ins -- doesn't even qualify as a novel

 

I now hear that Goodkind has decided to embrace the self-publishing movement and inflict even more books on the public, this time with even less editorial control, since he's now going to be the author, editor, and publisher. God save us from the horror of it all!

 

I fully expect putting Goodkind in this section will rile up some of his fans (and feel free to express yourself in the comment section), but before posting anything nasty or libeling my character and tastes, please read the top 5 books on my Top 25 Best Fantasy Book list, THEN come and tell me why NoGoodkind should be taken off this list.



The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Sword Of Truth

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iron tower

 

No saving this one from the fall. Unashamedly put in the Terribly Written Books category.

 

A shameless rip from Tolkien. And I mean a really, really, really shameless rip. If Terry Brooks 'borrows' ideas from Tolkien, McKiernan straight out copies them word for word, changing a couple of syllables here and there. Shame on the man for lacking even the creativity to change the characters to something NOT directly copied from Tolkien. Frankly, if Tolkien was still alive, McKiernan would have been sued.

 

For starters:

 

  • Tuck = Frodo Baggins in ALL but name.
  • Galen = Aragorn
  • Fildor = Legolas
  • Rael = Galadriel

 

And it gets worse as you read. I almost hope a copyright theft lawsuit by the Tolkien estate stops this crime of a series from doing any more damage to tender young fantasy minds.

Apparently this is how the whole sordid mess started: McKiernan suffered a terrible motorcycle crash, and upon waking, decided he wanted to write a sequel to LOTR (and I think he did so). A publisher expressed interest in this terrible idea given literary form and sent a letter to the Tolkien Estate seeking the rights to publish the sequel. The Estate was not pleased and denied to grant the rights; McKiernan was then told by the publisher to re-write LOTR with different character names as the backstory to the sequel. And the demon known as The Iron Tower was infamously birthed into this world.


The Listiverse Recommendations

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dragonlance

 

This one falls under the "Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy" category.

 

These are simplistic popcorn-style fantasy that don't offer anything new to the genre or even attempt to provide anything outside of a strictly regimented and never-changing formula.

 

Popcorn can be good, but by golly at least make sure it's good popcorn. Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms are bad popcorn, folks, with very little to recommend them to anyone outside of those who are rabid D&D fans. I'm not against popcorn fantasy, but I am against badly made popcorn fantasy.

 

These books may have been entertaining when you were a kid or new to fantasy, but if you manage to evolve your taste in fantasy, these books taste about as good as stale bread.

 

Why so bad? Badly written fantasy cliches ripped straight from Tolkien's world. Bad prose that's more wordy than a drunk Snookie, re-used plots that are about as unoriginal as a copy of the Mona Lisa, and cardboard characters so flat you could use them as paper. Yea yea, there are worse out there. I'm not going so far as to label these in the "Terribly Written Books" category, but on the whole there is soooo much better to read out there right now.

 

This badly written popcorn fantasy is the kinda stuff that gives the fantasy genre a bad name as a whole. Avoid these novels! They're like that cheap type of bread you pick up for fifty cents in the discounted section at Safeway. You might think you got a good deal—till you find it crumbles to pieces on the way home. Pick up a real author like George Martin or Joe Abercrombie and enjoy a real feast.



The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Dragonlance

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dragonlance

 

This one falls under the "Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy" category.

 

Basically see the #5 ranking (Dragonlance) for my reasoning why Forgotten Realms is some of the worst fantasy tripe out there. Both series are pretty much the same. Between Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, I'll choose Dragonlance -- but this is like making the choice between whether to jump from the Empire State Building or run out of oxygen while on a deep water scuba dive -- either choice sucks and sucks bad.

The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Forgotten Realms

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sword of shanara

 

Falls in the Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype, Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy and Books That Don't Age Well categories of bad. Triple Kill!!

 

I'm not a big fan of the Shannara series at all. I've been getting email after email wondering why Brooks is not on the Top 25 Fantasy list. Let me state it right here: he's not on the list because he hasn't written any books that are good enough to be there.

 

Shannara was Brook's attempt to milk the whole Tolkien craze during the 80s. He "generously borrowed" Tolkien's mythology (which isn't a bad thing, as quite a few other people did as well), but committed the cardinal sin of not doing anything new at all over his 20+ years writing fantasy books. Brooks is the literary version of the band Nickleback: both have sold out all creativity and churn out the same sort of crap over and over.

 

Commercially successful? Yes. Intellectually stimulating? About as much as watching Bevis and Butthead reruns. There is a marketing concept called first-mover advantage. This basically means that the person/company that does something first has a competitive advantage. Brooks with his (bad) rewrite of Lord of the Rings did just this. As far as I'm concerned, Brooks is a hack writer who made it big because he was in the Tolkien Clone market first.

 

If you've read one Shannara book, you've read all twenty of them, or thirty (I can't remember the exact number as Brooks churns them out like a Chinese noodle factory does noodle boxes).

 

One Shannara book is the same as the rest of them. Hell for me would be being locked into a room with an infinite supply of Shannara books to read. I'd start puking my eyes out around book 20, and by book 40, I'd probably bite my own throat out.

 

I beg you Terry Brooks, stop writing new Shanara books. If someone points a gun to your head and forces you to read a Shannara novel, perhaps Elfstones is the best of the bunch. But then again, that's like asking which limb you want broken. The correct answer is "none of them."

 

And dammit, let's get into the Shannara's continuing use of "The Elfstones", a name that itself is borrowed directly from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Man, these Elfstones are simply an outrageous naked plot device that Brooks recycles over and over for more plot fodder, with each additional book having new powers associated with them. After book 20, I still don't think even Brooks knows what the hell these things actually do. In the first book, they help you find stuff, act as a nice magical flashlight and come in handy when battling magical demon types, and even work as a sort of "demon alarm system" if there are, like, nasty demons loafing around. But hey, use the stones too much and your descendents gain special freaking powers that have NOTHING at all to do with the origional Elfstone powers. Talk about no internal rules of magic here. About the only things you can't do with these special stones are your tax forms and your college homework.

 

I'm not insulting Terry Brooks as an author. Ok, well I kinda am. But the man's not THAT bad of a writer -- Brooks did write a few NON-Shannara books that I found entertaining: Magic Kingdom For Sale was a light, entertaining series, and his Void series is pretty good, even though he ends up tying it to the whole Shannara universe (big mistake).

So yes, Brooks writes some decent books (And God knows he's had enough practice over the years with the dozens of books he's churned out), but just avoid anything with the word Shannara in the title and you'll probably be OK.



The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Sword Of Shannara

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icewind dale

 

These books are thrown into the "Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy" and "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" categories. I'm sorely tempted to add the "Terribly Written Books" category in there too, but there are frankly much worse books out there and the prose is not THAT bad. The main problem with these as they are so unoriginal that it's almost funny. If there was an award for the most inspidly unoriginal and cliche-ridden story out there, Icewind Dale would get it (maybe right up there with the infamous Eye of Argon short story).

 

Also called The Icewind Dreck Trilogy. Every time I think about this series, a horrible taste comes to my mouth. What is that taste? I think it's literary puke.

 

One of the more popular comments people leave on this blog (especially on the Top 25 list) is "WHERE IS R.A. Salvatore." And my response is the same one given when people ask why I've left Terry Goodkind of the best lists: "Because R.A. Salvatore has not yet written any fantasy book worth putting on the top lists, people." If he ever writes something worthy of being read, I'll consider adding him. Until then, NO.

 

The series is the poster boy for fantasy banality -- there is not a single speck of creativity to this series. The same can be said of pretty much all the rest of R.A. Salvatore's works. This author has the (dubious) distinction of getting TWO of his series tossed onto this list. I know there was a PC RPG made from this series, but with the number of fantasy cliches present in the novel, it reads more like a straight GAME-TO-BOOK tie-in novel than the other way around. You can literally hear the sound of the dice rolling in the background as you read. Bleh.

 

Wikipedia defines hack writer as "writers who are paid to churn out sensational, lower-quality "pulp" fiction." That about rings true when it comes to R.A. Salvatore, with one or two new low-quality fantasy novels coming out each year -- and not a one that has a single iota of originality.

 

To cover all bases, I'll throw Salvatore's other popular fantasy series in here for good measure, The Dark Elf series. An atrocious mix of bad writing with a not-so-subtle attempt at creating a sympathetic and misunderstood bad-boy character. If there was Twilight for men, The Dark Elf trilogy gets my vote.

 

R.A. Salvatore is one of those authors that does a disservice to the rest of the real writers out there. He writes bad popcorn fantasy over and over. Now maybe he's fine with this, and maybe his hordes of fans are fine with reading this stuff too. But really, I can't honestly recommend any of Salvatore's work to any fantasy reader. To me, that's the same as telling someone to eat fast food instead of something healthy.

 

If you want to read shallow fantasy that offers about as much nutrition as a hastily made McDonald's cheeseburger, then R.A. Salvatore's works are exactly what you need. For the rest of you who value your time, read something better. If you have to read action heroic fantasy, read David Gemmell or Michael Stackpool -- these writers are many times superior to Salvatore.


The Listiverse Recommendations

Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Icewind Dale Trilogy

Master Lists with Icewind Dale Trilogy
Reader Submitted Book Lists with Icewind Dale Trilogy


wayfarer

 

I feel no shame whatesoever attaching the "Terribly Written Books" category to this book/series.

 

Superlatively insipid. And what an awful waste of time this book is. The number of stupid characters present in the novel is borderline ridiculous. There is supposed to be a plot and all, but frankly, it gets lost amid the sappy ham-fisted romance and terrible plot lines. Frankly, I can't remember just how bad the writing was -- probably because the plot was so boring, and the characters so insipid that I was sleeping through most of the book.

 

This book really belongs on the Harlequin romance shelves and NOT the fantasy shelf. Plowing through The Wayfarer Redemption has scared me away from ever touching anything written by an author with the name of Douglass ever again. There is some other sequel or prequel trilogy called The Axis trilogy or something, but frankly, I can't even bring myself to care enough to write something bad about it other than to say: avoid at the peril of losing your soul.

There is no redemption for The Wayfarer Redemption. These books are going straight to literary hell.


The Listiverse Recommendations

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lord of the isles

 

Rightly in the "Terribly Written Books" category of baaaad fantasy.

 

This one is pretty close to tying with IceWind Dale for the "most Insipidly Bland" fantasy series ever.

 

Oh boy, where do I start with this one? The main character is an utter dolt, the supporting cast cookie-cut out, and the plot...what plot? There were holes in the plot the size of Australia and characters appear from nowhere only to wander out of the plot just as fast as they were introduced. I'm not even going to get into the characterization -- it was about as laughable as the nonsensical plot threads found in every single one of the books.

 

This series competes with Ice Wind Dale for the "most unoriginality award".

 

David Drake (or should I maybe start calling him David Dreck? Ok, that was just mean, I admit...) should stick to writing Science Fiction -- he had a better knack for that, sorta.

The Listiverse Recommendations

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the redemption of althalus

 

This plot, characters, and writing was so bad in this book that, with a not-so-heavy heart, I have to rightly put in the "Terribly Written Books" category of baaaad fantasy. Maybe it's not as bad, prose-wise, as some of the other stinkers in the genre, but the fact that Eddings has been re-writing the same story over and over and over and over has earned this book this dubious award.

 

The Redemption of Althalus had nothing redeemable about it. The characters were cookie cutouts of bad stereotypes and the plot was boring. The only thing I wanted  to have redeemed after reading it was my wasted time. God forgive the author for the slaughter of trees involved in producing that crap. I would say that Eddings has his own vanilla style of prose, but then again, vanilla actually has some flavor.

 

Eddings does write some entertaining fantasy for kids, but he's pretty much rewritten his original series four or five times over. The fantasy world has long since evolved. Eddings has not.


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Ok, I might take a lot of flak for this, but I think she is, in general, a horrific author. Her plots tend to muddle around in never-never-land and characters are flat as a cookie. The only time she manages to crawl her way out of the bowels of mediocrity is on the contrails of more talented coauthors. Not all her books are bad; several books she coauthors (with more talented co-authors I might add) are actually quite good (The Shadow of a Lion). I wish I could say the same about the rest of her books.






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      I put this in the "Terribly Written Books" category.

       

      A new entry on this 2012 list.

       

      There were some initially vague similarities to The Wheel of Time, but that soon changed -- and not for the better.

       

      The story started out strong, but somehow everything just grinds to a halt, and I stopped caring about the characters or story. It just sort of dies a slow death, with each of the following books killing the series even more.

       

      The characters were two-dimensional and absolutely do not evolve during the course of the series.

       

      And the writing. The author tries way too hard with his use of similes. After a while, the book felt to me like it was an unfinished Creative Writing 101 project that's been collectively written with the sole intent of coming up with jarring, awkward similes.

       

      There's a ton of inconsistency too when it comes to the story elements. Characters actions are inconsistent from moment to moment -- at one point, they are in charge and confident, and at another point, they are dimwit followers who act out of character. And the Rune Stone, a major plot element, just loses its free will at one point in the story without any reason.

       

      It's almost as if the author was suddenly inspired by Edding's The Belgariad and started pumping out characters taken straight from it. Meli is a re-named Polgara, Travis comes off as a less feisty version of Garion, Falken is borrowed from Belgarath, and Beltan is Mandorellan's clone.

       

      The world is fairly undefined too. It seems as though the characters just walk and walk around in some vaguely midieval landscape.

       

      I have a bit of a problem when, several books into a series, the author suddenly decides to make the main character gay. Now that's fine if this is the case from the start of the series, but when the author suddenly pulls homesexuality out of a hat way into the novel without warning, well that's not quite fair.

       

      Frankly, the author has failed to create a believable world or to create an interesting plot that takes you anywhere, with fully fleshed out characters. The whole series lacks any sort of soul too it; all in all, everything from the characters to the world and the plot are wafer thin. If mediocrocy could be celebrated, this series would get an award.



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      I'd put this in the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" category. I can't argue with Card's genius as a writer and the fact that he's usually a great writer, usually. But this book just doesn't merit the sort of praise people seem to give it.

       

      Card is a superbly talented writer, creating works of celebrated genius like Ender's Game. However, when he starts bringing his religion into his writing and using his characters and settings to pontificate his strident political views, things take a decided turn for the worse.

       

      Card basically decided he would write a fantasy version of The Book of Morman, staring Alvin as Joseph Smith. That's fine if you are writing a book for Mormons, but alas most of us are not. To really understand anything about this series, you'll need to have read both the Bible and The Book of Mormon. For most of you, climbing Everest would be more appealing.

       

      The whole religious thing aside, the story itself and the plot wasn't very interesting. Overall, this whole series was meh, highly overrated and quite boring to read.



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      Epic fantasy that goes bad. In short, I would say the magic system is quite fascinating and unique, almost making up for the fact that everything else is pretty bad. Almost.

       

      With the exception of maybe Sanderson's allomancy magic in the Mistborn series, The Rune Lord's magic system just about tops off all the other magic systems out there. Stealing attributes from other people and adding them to your own to gain powers is genius. Keep taking people's abilities and become even more powerful till you achieve something like Godlike superhuman abilities.

       

      Everything else about the series comes off as pretty crappy, however. The plot -- there is a bad guy to kill and giant cockroaches to stamp out. There's a young prince with some amazing gifts who just might be the one to save the world from evil. Pretty typical stuff. The whole plot threads get even more muddled later on in the series when Farland, perhaps to keep the money train flowing his way, starts writing a sequel, turning the whole series into a sort of angels vs. demons story right along with a fantasy version of Jesus (the lightbringer) and a bad god/dark lord who's a sort of Satan. It's pretty clear that this whole good vs evil thing was hastily added to the canon of the world to continually milk the series. The whole thing brings to mind Raymond E. Feist's milking of the Riftwar universe by having the heroes continually struggling against a world-crushing dark god (who the heroes conveniently find out by book 10 is the real one pulling the threads behind all the lower bad guy dark lords they keep defeating). Bah, absolute garbage.

       

      All in all, Farland's writing comes off as tasteless and bland, devoid of any sort of actual style. There's also some pretty big inconsistency between what he's trying to say with his words and what he actually describes. This is even more true in the sections where he's trying to convey something grand and dramatic, but in actuality the whole thing comes off as unintentionally funny (because it's so gosh darn corny and badly written).

       

      There are certainly worse books out there, and in the epic fantasy category, there's plenty of dreck. The Rune Lords are not terribly bad, but there is something missing in them. Only read these if you've plowed through everything else that's good. The books are not really bad enough to label as the worst, but I feel I should point them out as books you should try to avoid unless desperate.


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      A well deserved "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" and "Terribly Written Books" and "Books That Don't Age Well" and "Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy" categores apply to this series.

       

      Wow, The Belgariad seems to score an impressive 5 out of 6 on our list of "bad fantasy book" categories. Impressive indeed, and made only more impressive by that fact that Eddings strikes again with another entry on the Worst Fantasy Ever list. You have to give the man a clap here -- this is truly an astounding feat, matched only by RA Salvatore who also makes the list twice, but with fewer bad categories applied to his name.

       

      Bad Bad Bad. Ok, where to start here. Belgariad is an extremely long-winded series that somehow manages to throw in every fantasy cliche under the sun and then a few more that haven’t even been invented yet.

       

      I think we should take the time to use Eddings as a case study along the lines of something like "The Portrait of a Fantasy Hack Writer." Because this guy is a hack. First, let's give the Wikipedia definition of a hack writer:

       

      Hack writer is a colloquial and usually pejorative term used to refer to a writer who is paid to write low-quality, rushed articles or books "to order", often with a short deadline.

       

      I don't know if the wiki writer had Eddings in mind, but he sure fits the bill. Let's see "low-quality". Check. "Rushed". Check again (at his writing peak, Eddings was pumping out novels like McDonalds does Big Macs). I'll throw in a few that are missing: unoriginal, copy-cat, and mediocre. Check, check, and double check. Yup, he's a hack.

       

      What’s even more unforgivable is that the series makes a horrible, yet failed attempt at a level of seriousness and depth that’s clearly beyond the narrative ability of the author. A big no no. If you can't write well, stick to at least being honest about your lack of writing skills and stick to writing insipid dreck that you are comfortable doing.

       

      To add even more literary crimes to the list, Eddings manages to create a sequel series that’s even MORE longwinded and MORE pointless than the original. Let me put it this way: Eddings is the hack writers’ hack writer. Hell, he's more than willing to hack write his own hack written stuff that's a hack of a hack of Lord of the Rings.

      Now the original series was not a “bad” read by any means – there are indeed worse fantasy books out there, truth be told. But the level of commercial success Eddings achieved for what amounts to a subpar hackjob is ridiculous. These are books that have not aged well with the evolving conventions of fantasy -- they are highly simplistic. You may enjoy them if they are some of the first fantasy books you've read in the genre, but probably not if you've read some of the much better fantasy on the market.

       

      On the positive side, the books are pretty entertaining for the 10-13-year-old age range, meaning your kids will enjoy reading them or having you read the books out loud to them.


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      So infamously bad that's its good. This short story has been a running joke for the past several decades and is actually quite infamous at various science fiction conventions and among writers. There's a running debate about whether this is actually a real story written by an eager 16 year old, or if it's a satire on the genre written by a collective group of real, published authors.

       

      Apparently, it's so bad that people actually publish copies just to laugh at it!

       

      The book famously breaks just about every "don't do" literary rule in the book. The sad thing is that there are actually some real writers like Goodkind and Newcomb who come pretty close to actually writing stories that fall pretty close to the level of badness The Eye of Argon evinces.

       

      If you're curious, you can read the hilarious annotated online version here:
      http://www.bmsc.washington.edu/people/merritt/books/Eye_of_Argon.html

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      Gets the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" as the book did get more praise than it rightly deserved. I'd also tack on the "Terribly Written Books" category too. However, in this case, she's got fantastic writing skills, but her plot, story, and characters are about as thin as a piece of paper. This is the one shining example I can give that good fabulous prose doesn't necessarly make a good book -- not by a long shot.

       

      Probably the worst example of literary pretentiousness by any author. These books are so thick with forgotten English words that you practically need a thesaurus to translate her works.

       

      Hidden among all those self-indulgent, pretentious celtic descriptions, there may be a story somewhere, but if it's there, I haven't found it. Perhaps I wasn't using the right thesaurus?

       

      If an author can have sex with a thesaurus, Celcia Thorn Darton does so with unabated passion. Her descriptions border on the raise-your-eyes ridonculous. Not only is she content with plowing through the thesaurus to find the most obscure and forgotten English words-- as if trying to penetrate her opaque prose isn't difficult enough -- but she readily throws in an abundance of made-up words as well. Good luck at trying to guess which ones are made up and which are real!

       

      The whole plot grinds to a halt every few pages as the author gets lost in the pleasure of describing...well...everything. What kind of horses to the breed of horse to the type of trees that are in the castle. Then it was the spoons, the forks, the clothing every character wears, the weather, the varying shades of shadow found in the cracks between cobblestones in a castle, the color of every strange hair on a head. Then the plot continues for a few more pages before grinding to a stop once again while the author goes off on a descriptive tangent, yet again.

       

      The sad thing is that at the very beginning of the book, you feel like a new fantasy voice has arrived -- the descriptions are lovely, the story is promising, and the character comes off as potentially interesting. But then reality quickly sets in as you realize the author is writing her very own mishmash, chick-lit wish-fullfilment, celtic mythology, and her not-so-secret fantasy about male-model loving.

       

      Oh man, let's not even get into the actual characterization here. Well, maybe just a little, because it's so god-awfully bad. The main character in the classic cliche wakes up with no memories, has no voice and looks like something dredged up from the set of Tales from the Crypt. Naturally, what should this heroine do but set out on a wild quest to reclaim what she's lost and discover who she really is. Everyone is mean and vicious to her because she's god-awful uuugly, except for the main love interest who, despite disliking ugly things, somehow still likes her. Of course, being an ugly girl Imrhein spends most of the novel in a sulky state because everyone doesn't appreciate her for her...personality (welcome to the real world, girly). During her quest to regain what she's lost, it becomes sadly apparent that she's more interested in the quest for a pretty face than actually finding her voice; vanity rules the day yet again -- no moral didactic here.

       

      And of course is it shocking that when Imrhein regains what she's lost that she naturally has the face and body of a goddess. A shock, no?

       

      Another annoying thing about this book/series is that the author is dead set on rekindling the forgotten fires of Celtic mythology and is not so subtle about it by pretty much stuffing Celtic folklore tales down our throats time and time again; this comes off in the descriptions she writes, and in the the minor stories in which pretty much every goddamn character in the novel seems obligated to prattle on about fairy tales.

       

      I'm not going to dispute that Cecilia Dart-Thornton doesn't write beautifully -- she's got the gift of literary gab and she can write wonderful, beautiful descriptions. But she's way too full of herself and her abuse of the thesaurus comes off as a showy way to impress us all with how talented a writer she just really is. Combine the nearly impenetrable prose with a two-dimensional heroine who's only real goal is to become beautiful again, and a smothering amount of Celtic folklore and you have a very bad book.

       

      Geez, the woman should be arrested for dictionary abuse. You could easily cut out half the book by ripping out the thesauri


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      These belong to the "Controversial Books" category. A few people love them, but most hate the books -- mainly due to the author's strident views towards women.

       

      There's supposed to be a plot to these novels, somewhere. And there is in the first couple of books. But after, the books turn into thinly veiled misogynistic dreck.

       

      The early novels in the series are straight out male-centric adventours in a savage landscape, drawing heavily from the Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars novels. Decent enough for some light fantasy reading with a bit of kink to it. However, by around book 3 or 4, the true face of Gor (and John Norman) appears and the books take on a dark, misogynistic view.

       

      Women (especially any woman who shows a strong, independent spirit) are gleefully forced into slavery where they are tortured and raped until they are broken and learn to "love it." I kid you not, this is a passage taken from the book:

       

      "You are a slave," I said.
      "Yes", she said.
      "You must obey me," I said.
      "Yes, master," she said.
      "Don't speak unless spoken to," I said.
      "Yes, master," she said.
      "What did I just tell you?" I said.


      There are over twenty novels in the Gor series and if you continue on reading, most novels basically center on the enslavement and torture of women. Let's see. We have women beaten, thrown into a pit of rapists, beaten and raped again, and yes, publicly humiliated and forced to crawl around on the ground. I'm sure you can add a few hundred "let's humiliate women in even more hideous ways" scenerios taken from the books to this list without breaking a sweat.

       

      This attitude torwards women goes way past simple chauvinism, and way into pure hostility; Norman's view of women reflects the old American South attitude torward black people, where blacks were held to be inferior and believed to actually like being enslaved to the white masters, because they didn't have to think for themselves.

       

      If you want low fantasy adventures without a bit of kink, read the first couple of Gor novels. They are not bad. However, the rest of the books are thinly vield BSMD.

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      Wit'ch Fire, part one of The Banned and the Banished by James Clemens.

       

      Way, way too predictable, terribly written with a cast of unrealistic cardboard characters. These, of course are the standard fare found in bad fantasy. Where James Clemens sets himself apart from the crowd of bad fantasy authors and ends up on this list, however, is that he puts an annoying apostrophe on practically every other word in each sentence. Witch becomes Wit'ch, Elvin as el'vin, ogre as og're. He also takes it upon himself to write characters in bad colloquial speech as well.

       

      But where things really start to derail, and I started to get a creepy Lolita vibe from the author is when the main character starts falling in love with the prepubescent girl who's the main character, and eventually has relations with her. I don't know if the author is writing his own fantasies into the plot, but it didn't mesh with me.

       

      Clemens tries to give the whole setting a dark edge with some gruesome violence, dark monsters, brutality and sexuality (all contrasted with an innocent, virgin 13-year-old girl), but the whole thing just doesn't work. There's a hideous number of positive reviews for the series on Amazon and they all read pretty similarly; I'm suspicious that they may in fact be fake reviews.

       

      Stolen from an Amazon reviewer: "Pu'tting a'postrop'hes in str'ange pl'aces is n'o subs'titute fo'r cr'eatin'g a ne'w and uni'que worl'd!"

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      "Terribly Written Books"

       

      A terribly written series with book covers that look like they were ripped from a bad graphic artist who was on downers.

       

      I bought the first book, only to give it away a few days later. I think I even paid the guy to take the books, fancy that! Really, the actual prose was offensive to anyone who reads English.

       

      The potential of these books might have been there with the plot, but the awful execution killed it. The first book in particular was bad, suffering from terrible writing. It gets a bit better in later books I hear, but the problem is that you've been so damaged by the first book, there's little will left to continue the series.

       

      The author has a couple of other series out there -- I'm not sure if he's redeemed himself in later books. Frankly, I can't stomach reading any of them to find out, after reading the train wreck that was the first book.



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      "Terribly Written Books"

       

      Supposedly the novel that founded Scientology. Too bad Scientology got off to a bad start -- there couldn't be a worse novel to found your faith on. Unless it's a Terry Goodkind novel...The scary thing is that dude might end up pulling an "L Ron Hubbard" and try starting some creepy Objectivism cult.

       

      Ok, Scientology jokes aside, why is Battlefield Earth such dreck? Let's see, aliens manage to easily defeat an entire planet in less than an hour, then brutally enslave the population for over a thousand years. These slaves rise up and defeat these alien overlords using their own technology against them, despite not being trained to use the technology and living just above the level of primitive savages. Somehow, they are still physically fit enough to win this revolution against their alien masters and while they're at it, manage to destroy the technologically advanced alien home planet with just a single nuclear weapon. This sort of broken plot doesn't even merit any more commentary. This is straight-out fantasy masquerading as Sci-Fi. As science fiction novels go, it's a straight-out bad one. Science Fiction without the science in the title.

       

      Reading this was like stapling my fingers together -- it bloody well hurt like hell. I can sort of understand why Tom Cruise went crazy on TV -- being forced to read this book would do that to anyone. Treating it like some sort of Bible, well...


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      the color of her panties

       

      "Terribly Written Books"

       

      One word: porn for adolescents. I mean, when one of the Xanth books is called "The Color of Her Panties" what more do I need to say about it?

       

      The man's obsession with young girls' panties is pretty damn disturbing -- a recurring theme in his Xanth novels. His Xanth novels are only surpassed by his personal blog in which he discusses his sordid sex life, bowel movements, and his fantasies.

       

      I think he's even got a series called Pornocopia.

       

      Look, I'll just come out and say it: I think the man is a rancid pervert or at the very least, a very dirty old man with too much time -- and lube -- on his hands. Based on what I've read in his books and about his personal life, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see this author show up on a 'To Catch A Predator' episode. Based on his bizarre sexual fetish for young, pubecent girls and their underthings, I would avoid these books and anything else written by this man.

       

      There, said it.



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      "Terribly Written Books" because it's so unoriginal.

       

      Here's the bestfantasybooks.com blurb for the publisher of this fiction: Fantasy taken to new heights...of banality. I guess that means BestFanasyBooks.com won't be getting any free ARC copies from the publisher to review, yes?














       

      Definitely gets the "Terribly Written Books" tag.

       

      My God, terrible, terrible books. I do like some of Feist's other work, namely his Magician series and his Empire trilogy. But when I was reading this, I had the feeling Feist just gave up halfway through writing the novel, opting to finish it in a couple of nights just to get 'er done.

       

      I'm not quite sure about the reason for such an insult to the written word, produced by a man who should know better; maybe he suffered a crisis. Regardless of the reason, the Betrayal of Krondor was a betrayal to the fantasy genre. One can argue that Krondor was the low point Feist never quite recovered from. All his novels since then have been pretty bad and they are getting worse and worse. Yes, I know he still has oodles of fans, but that doesn't excuse the man for giving up. He actually had some talent. Pity.

       

      What really irks me about Feist's Midkemia books is that to continually generate new books (I wonder why...CA-CHING $$$), he throws in a "there is a dark ultimately evil god pulling the strings behind all the lesser evil beings" plot and then uses that to milk the series for another 10 or so books, with each new book being a battle against this dark god's lesser but still connected minions. Feist has sold his soul for money and at this point, he is unable to write anything else other than re-hashed dreck. He's turned his universe into a D&D version of man vs. Satan.

       

      Let me predict his next book: there will be Pug or some descendent of Pug playing a key role. There will be some dark god or maybe the ultimate dark god machinating yet another "Let's take over the universe" scheme. There will be a small band of magical heroes who find some magical way of standing up against it.

       

      You can take Betrayal of Krondor as the generic fill-in for ALL his other Midkemia books. I would not read anything other than his Magican, the sequels, Empire, and his Talon Silverhawk. The rest is dreck.



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          "Terribly Written Books" and "Books That Were Good When You Were Young /New to Fantasy: and "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" categories fit this series nicely.

           

          What do you get when you combine Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and a 15-year-old's writing skills? A heap of trash called Eragon and its sequels. In this novel, the art of Bad Writing is truely mastered and brought to a new level.

           

          I admire the kid for writing something, but Eragon was a work best left in the hands of a smiling Grade 7 teacher who would have patted the little Paolini on the head, taken the manuscript home, then quietly burned it. How the heck this unholy mess was picked up by publishers, sold to millions of readers, and made into a terrible movie, is surely one of the great questions of the universe (wait, what if his parents had powerful connections to a publishing company and worked in publishing. Wouldn't that be funny if it is true. Oh wait, IT IS TRUE.. I guess that goes to tell you the power of the marketing industry -- if they can sell Eragon to the masses, they can sell anything.)

           

          The level of commercial success this badly written series has received is nothing short of astounding. The series is a bad copy of copied clichés: Eragon is a mishmash of Lord of the Rings, Dragon Riders of Pern, Dragonlance, and Star Wars; and let me tell you, the force is certainly not with this one.

           

          The only thing exceptionally good about Paolini's stories are when they are over. I’m glad the demon birthed by Paolini has finally come to a sordid end. But I toss and turn at night with the knowledge that the former kid writer is cooking up some other sort of literary catastrophe to inflict on the masses.

           

          I had Eragon on some of the other lists (the Best Children's Fantasy List for one), but I realized just how confusing and senseless that choice really was. The bottom line is that Eragon is pure drivel and I don't care if it was written by a 15-year-old, it has no business being published or read. I've taken it off all lists. A bad book is a bad book, regardless of what age group it targets. A good book is timeless and appeals to all ages, something Eragon does not do.

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          twilight

           

          Takes the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" and "Terribly Written Books" categories

           

          Confessions of a bitchy teenage drama queen and her brooding badboy vampire.

           

          Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was this vampire with bad hair. There was this awkward girl who didn't fit in. For some absurd reason, this vampire fell in love with the girl. But because of some artificial plot device, they couldn't be together. Both vampire and girl are unhappy and they proceed to stare ravishingly at each other for thee long and endless books. The end.

           

          Yea, that about describes the level of complexity present in Twilight. I'll acknowledge that Twilight fills a romantic need in young adolescents, but how anyone over the age of 14 can think this series is actually "the best books ever" is perhaps the most indicative of just how illiterate our society has become. For some this is a good book, yes, but for the discerning readers, it's an atrocity to the written word. Please, please, read a real vampire book such as George Martin's Fevre Dream.

           

          With the whole flood of vamp fiction raining down on the public like some sort of Biblical apocalypse, Twilight certainly isn’t the worst that’s out there in the genre. But it’s not nearly the best either. Rather, what it does excel at being is exceptionally mediocre.

           

          It wasn’t the first vampire book out there but it was one of the first wildly successful vampire novels (because of a great marketing campaign by the publisher) that inundated the reader with shoot-yourself annoying teen angst. The magical Twilight recipe that’s terrorized lovers of quality fiction seems to be pretty simple: toss in a horny vamp with bad hair and a dangerous bad-boy edge, an average girl with a self-doubt complex who’s not eating enough, and sprinkle some extra romantic attention from a couple of half-dog humans and Twilight is born. If anything, this book should be on the list of “Books Your Young Daughter Should Not Read if You Don't Want Her To Date Assholes and Get Pregnant Before 21” The whole distilled message of this book comes down to: girls should worship and fawn over bad boys.” Ah, yea good idea, just make sure you include birth control in the book cover too.

           

          The only reason this series was ever successful was there was a teen vampire niche already carved out by the hit TV series, Buffy. Twilight simply rode on the contrails of Buffy’s success.

           

          This series is the poster boy that shows society rewards and even celebrates literary banality. Really, there is nothing  exceptional about the series – it’s about as tasty as those flat apple pies you buy mass produced from the local supermarket. You can eat them, but WHY when there’s so much that’s better out there?



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          "Books with Bad Sequels" and for part of the book due to the absolute ridicious plot threads and characters the Terribly Written Books category.

           

          I absolutely loved the first book -- I thought it was a vividly realised world with a lot of potential. The magic system was quite interesting and the basic premise (demons control the night and hunt humans that are not bound behind protective and magical wards) was fascinating, horrific, and so entertaining to read about. There were a lot of flaws in the novel, but overall it was a great debut with a lot of potential.

           

          However, the sequel really dropped the ball. I liked part of it (the part that follows the life of Jedir, growing up in a sort of darker, more gritty fantasy version of Arabian Nights). However, part way through the novel, Brett completely went bonkers and started to tie plot threads together that had no business being tied together.

           

          After finishing the book, I literally wanted to pick up that same Desert Spear and drive it through the eye of one of the main characters, Lesha. Please oh god of Books, kill her off and about half the rest of the characters too.

           

          SPOILERS ABOUND HERE (DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST OR SECOND BOOK)

           

          Some of the plot threads were completely nonsensical. Lesha who becomes the perfectly annoying Mary Sue decides she's going to talk the main villian back to his home city where she pretends to consider his offer of marriage, all the while spreading her own vein of Mary Sue feminism far and wide accross the city. Let's not forget this same villain and his men just finished raping a bunch of women.

           

          While the actual interesting character of the novel, the Warded Man, is completely ignored for most of the book, the other character spends his time pining over him, and eventually ends up having hardcore sex with him over and over while refusing to accept his proposal of becoming his second wife and sharing him with his actual wife. Makes a lot of sense.

           

          The Warded Man comes back into play, having spent most of the short time he's been present in the novel hanging out with, then eventually sleeping with an old character that was suddenly introduced in the book (seemingly from nowhere). Everyone gets together for the perfect demon-bashing party near the end of the novel to defend the town, including a bunch of ignorant villagers who go from cowering from demons to pheno demon slayers (including 70+ year old men who wield spears like heroes from a Greek saga.

           

          I'll stop there. Let's just say that Brett was smoking something pretty strong half way through the novel. I really don't know if there is a way to save the narrative at this point, other than to kill off a few of the main characters and return the story to what it should have been. Book 3 is coming out next year, so we'll see if Brett can come up with something magical. I think the demons win this one and another story ends up in the trash.


          The Listiverse Recommendations

          Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Desert Spear

          Master Lists with Desert Spear
          Reader Submitted Book Lists with Desert Spear


               

              Probably a book that most of you haven't read but it's basically a bunch of drivel about a conniving cast of college kids who get sucked into a D&D board game and become actual characters in this world, and soon learn that the world is not all play. A few of the girls are raped, several characters die, they invent hydro guns that shoot bullets and your regular style guns and they eventually abolish slavery because it's like, the right thing to do, dude.

               

              The premise is so ridiculously stupid that it's funny. I mean come on, getting sucked into a D&D game? Is that all you can come up with Joe? Add to the fact that some attractive female players get sucked into the game world too and the whole thing is just not believable. When was the last time you saw a bunch of female models rolling D&D dice? Like, never.

               

              All right, let's talk about the characters. Wait, there is nothing to talk about because there is no characterization. The characters talk and act like the game characters they ostensibly are with little real motivation. I literally felt this was a bad game-to-novel tie-in hastily pumped out the month before the game gets released. Oh wait, that's the premise of the entire story. Woah man, that's like seriously existential dude. NOT.

               

              The characters are duller than a spoon, however, and the plot threads don't make a lot of sense. Things came to a head for me when, out of the blue, two of the main female characters get graphically gang raped by the "game characters" for a good 3 pages. Perhaps the author was trying to show the readers that the "game world" was real and full of danger, but it's done in such a dreadflully hamfisted way that the whole attempt flops. I got the feeling that the author actually enjoys torturing his female characters -- they're treated like passive, enfeebled sexual dolls the entire series. Half the time I wasn't sure if the author was writing about his own fantasies or creating real plot threads. Seems to be a common thread with some of the authors on this list (cough, Piers Anthony, Terry Goodkind, Robert Newcomb).

               

              This is one series that should have stayed in the mind of the author.

               

              I will note there are a number of glowingly positive Amazon reviews about this series -- they come off as suspiciously fake to me in terms of how they are written, the review titles, and the dates the reviews were posted. When the titles of the reviews are (this is really taken from one of the reviews) "This has been a great novel of worth beyond compare" you know there is some shill review chicanery going on. Joe might be helping along the sales somewhat with a few Amazon sockpuppets. Robert Stanek, meet your new friend Joe.


              The Listiverse Recommendations

              Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Guardians Of The Flame

              Master Lists with Guardians Of The Flame
              Reader Submitted Book Lists with Guardians Of The Flame


               

              I normally like Steven King -- he's a talented writer and a master of the horror genre. But when he tries his hand at pure fantasy, bad, bad things happen.

               

              The plot is as simple as a rock. Big bad Flagg murders the good King and frames the good guy, Peter. Peter gets thrown in the can for a few years while Flagg manipulates the new king and bad stuff happens in the kingdom. Fast forward a couple of hundred pages and the butler (I kid you not) helps Peter escape. Then Peter and the deceived, yet still good, king Thomas defeat the evil Flagg through the power of friendship and love. Happily ever after.

               

              The story is so ludicriously bad that you'll want to run screaming. There is really nothing more to say about this other than FAIL. King is always rambling on about the old manuscripts he used to write betweeen classes as a part-time English teacher during the dawn of his literary career. This was probably one of those manuscripts that should have stayed in his closet.

              The Listiverse Recommendations

              Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Eye Of The Dragon

              Master Lists with Eye Of The Dragon
              Reader Submitted Book Lists with Eye Of The Dragon


                   

                  Takes the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" and "Terribly Written Books" categories

                   

                  Hamilton is responsible for a horde of badly written bodice-rippers masquerading as vampire fiction caked on the book shelves like bad varnish.

                   

                  It’s true that art imitates life, because her books are a sound demonstration of this principle: they are every bit just as evil as the shadowy sex-lovin vampires she habitually writes about, and like those same dark vampires that masquerade around as humans looking for prey, her books lure in the unsuspecting reader, and then deliver a fatal literary bite.



                  The Listiverse Recommendations

                  Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain ita Blake

                  Master Lists with ita Blake
                  Reader Submitted Book Lists with ita Blake
                  Controversially "Bad" Books

                  Here are some other books that quite a few people revile, yet just as many or more are absolutely nuts about. Typically, these are either works that have started strong but the sequels have disappointed many, or books that appeal to a subset of the readers but not a wider audience, and are lampooned by the average reader. I've added this section because I'm, well, fair, and I've noticed that these books often have rabid counter fans leaving invective about the state of the series. I won't say these are bad books at all, but I thought I'd put them in this subsection because there are so many people who roundly criticize them.

                   

                  A Dance with Dragons -- a major letdown by a lot of people, though this doesn't change the fact that Martin is superb writer. No way can you say the whole series is bad or that Martin is a terrible writer (as some people have been doing on the comments), but I do agree the sequels have been somewhat disappointing. The series is far from done, and Martin can still redeem things in the next book.

                   

                  The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant -- a book that people love or love to hate. No middle ground, mainly because of the unlovable antihero character that many people do not get. I love the books, but for the sake of fairness, this is on the controversial list. I would definitely say the new series (Runes of the Earth) is terrible, and a terrible way to retire the series.

                   

                  The Wheel of Time -- It's universally acknowledged that the series took a huge downturn after book 4. Books 6 to 11 were the worst, as Jordan lost control of the plotlines and everything ground to a complete halt, narrative wise. But Jordan started to find his way right before he died, and common consensus is that Sanderson is doing an awesome job continuing the series.

                   

                  Wise Man's Fear -- The sequel was roundly hated or loved by fans. The main complaint was that nothing really happened during the whole novel and the plot threads remained mostly stagnant. The writing itself was, as usual, quite delightful. The main character's relationship to women was handled pretty ham-fistedly, however.


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                  COMMENTS









                  648160465:
                  Zakwan

                  Just wondering. Where would you put christopher stasheff and his warlock series? I mean his early book are just fine, like "The Warlock Inspite of Himself" but some books especially later ones kinda feel off (Warlock's Last Ride). Or is it just me?

                  648160468:
                  Me

                  Alright, while I agree with all of the above (save Eragon which is just childhood bias hah)...


                  ...WHERE is the Unremembered. That crap is one of the worst cases of plagiarism I have ever read period. Add. It. Now.


                  And as for Terry Goodkind, glad its getting ripped because the man tells his story like a seven year old child. Great work mate

                  648160471:
                  Jay H

                  I actually did enjoy the SoT series at first because I fell in love with the idea of Mord Sith, Confessors, Sisters of the Light/Dark, etc. Goodkind also had -some- good plot lines here and there. But I do agree that it all sort of deteriorated as the series progressed. Toward the end, there were several times I was really annoyed with Richard, and I ended up skipping huge blocks because Goodkind made a lot of the people exceedingly stupid in order to make Richard look like a great leader. It seemed a little too fixed.

                  648160475:
                  Omar

                  I'm finding all these comments and articles very helpful as I am new to the fantasy genre. I did read alot of comics when younger but stopped a long time ago. I wanted something fun to read and perhaps that comic book background led me to pick up the first trilogy by RA Salvatore - The Dark Elf(I know he did Icewind Dale first but I wanted to read them in chronological order) and I was hooked and have now read every Drizzt related book he has written. I greatly enjoyed reading all of them as he got my imagination going. With that said I am going to the book store to pick up Game of Thrones as I've read many good things on that and am curious to see where that series will lead me since apparently GRRM is a superior writer. Only then can I truly say if RA is a bad author, but most likely, like many of the other comments here, since Forgotten Realms lured me and captured me into the fantasy genre, I will forever feel that they are good books and will continue to read RA's work.

                  648160483:
                  Wolf

                  "You can usually spot the D&D book rack a mile away. Simply look for the shaggy-haired kid wearing outdated clothes and the horn-rim glasses. This section is often next to the Manga section -- you know, that section with creepy 50 year old men reading kid's magazines."


                  The single-most insulting line I have ever read in a fantasy review. I don't need to debate your bias against these books. You've done a good enough job sabotaging your own views. If you honestly believe that your choice of fantasy novels puts you above someone reading a manga... well, you are delusional beyond words. Possibly compensating for an inferiority complex.


                  This website isn't a list of great books, it's an outlet for one man to berate others with his self-assured presumptions of what makes good literature.


                  Know what? Anyone well versed in great literature like Twain and Dickens looks at this entire sub-sect of fiction could just as easily dismiss it all as being as childish and pathetic as what you've compared manga and D&D fans to.


                  You sir, are a hypocrite and an ass.

                  648160500:
                  Kylie

                  I'd agree with most of these (haven't read all of them) but the Ian Irvine series I really did enjoy - I would recommend it regardless of this list.

                  648160505:
                  H

                  One day, me and some friends were title skimming in the school library to find the "Worst book ever", and we thought we had a surefire in in "Ogre, Ogre", a Xanth novel by Piers Anthony.

                  We opened up to a random page, and began to read it in overly-dramatic voices. It seemed like a children's book, and then came a line about the attempted rape of someone who I later found out was the smokin' hot female character. (Of course)


                  At first I thought this was a joke, but sure enough, it's in there. Then the ogre needs an explanation about what 'rape' means. The Xanth novels are definitely 'porn for young kids'.


                  I'm not even sure who thought there was a niche for sex in books clearly aimed at young readers, but honestly, it is good for sh-ts and giggles.

                  648160507:
                  H

                  Eragon is #8 on the 'best fantasy books for young readers', and yet has found it's way over here.


                  Just thought I'd point that out.

                  648160509:
                  Matt

                  I agree that people should read it regardless of the list, it does have a very good story (I rate the story about a 9/10) but the writting is pretty bad, there really is no defending it. The word that comes to mind when I think of the writting is 'Lazy'. But its one of those storys that it takes until the end to realise how good it is.

                  648160516:
                  deanc

                  Your list is spot on and reflects the fact that the vast majority of fantasy is terrible though I would have added Jordan to the list.

                  648160519:
                  Jeff

                  A few month's ago I went to a convention where the guest of honor was Brandon Sanderson. I attended his Q&A panel and before he started the Q&A part of the panel he gave a 10 minute speech. The topic of this speech was, "just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's crap".

                  He talked about a news publication (I can't remember which one) in which the author criticizes Hollywood because of all of the fantasy movies that are coming out and how 90% of all fantasy is crap.

                  He went on to say that he has read fantasy that he did not like (he implied Twilight), but that just because it wasn't "his thing" doesn't mean that he doesn't respect the work. He said that there are alot of people who enjoy the books and it wouldn't be a best seller if it wasn't liked by alot of people.

                  He also addressed the guy in the article who said that 90% of all fantasy is crap and said that fantasy novels are already looked down on by most literary sources. And how can we change the minds of these people when we turn on our own and call our own genre crap.


                  Alot of the books that become very popular outside of the fantasy genre, but maybe not as highly loved inside the genre (Twilight, Harry Potter, and such) has done so much to help fantasy grow. Think about the authors who would not have sold a book if it hadn't been for the popularity of Harry Potter. And do you think Game of Thrones would have even been considered by HBO if it hadn't been for the popularity they found in True Blood?


                  I personally don't think there is any place on a "Best of Fantasy" website for a page on the "Worst Fantasy Books". If a person were to come to this website who was new to fantasy and maybe they had only read Eragon and loved it. It does not encourage a person like that to branch out and discover more fantasy that they may enjoy more then they did Eragon by finding a writeup calling the book they love "A heap of trash".


                  This is your website and you can do with it as you wish, but I think it would be alot better served by supporting the genre we love rather then tearing down the parts of it that you do not like.

                  648160525:
                  Marcus

                  Very well said. Thank you.

                  648160531:
                  David

                  I'd argue that if someone loved a bad book than they would really love a good book. It doesn't make any sense for someone to be turned off a genre because he liked some of its poorest material. If anything it shows that he really likes the genre.

                  648160540:
                  Carolyn

                  At first I was surprised to see Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series on this worst list. However, now that I've read George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I can see your point. In any case, although I did enjoy the first few books of Goodkind's SOT series, I do remember skipping large sections of the later books just because I hated some of his characters and their story arcs. It felt like Goodkind was just abandoning his main characters to tell side stories! Anyway, I forced myself to finish the series because I was desperately hoping that Goodkind would recapture the spark from the first few books that made me want to see where Richard and Kahlan's journey would take them. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the end.


                  Regardless, I don't believe Goodkind belongs on the same list as Meyer's Twilight, which is definitely the worse offender on this list. I can see how some readers can get past the over-protective, possessive traits exhibited by Edward's character and Bella's whining and bitching as well as her complete dependence on male characters. I can even see how some can ignore the complete ridiculousness of why the two characters just could not be together. However, I CANNOT for the life of me fathom how some people can accept (and even stand!) Meyer's atrocious writing. I am not a writer or editor (I'm a chemist for goodness sakes!) but, I truly wanted to take a red pen to her books to fix her writing -- you know, the job that her editor should have done before those books were published.

                  648160544:
                  Alyssa

                  I happen to think that Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series is the best sci-fi I've read! I think it is hilarious that you call his writing crap and bash on him yet you clearly read allll of the books. Therefore, your being a bit of a hypocrite!

                  648160550:
                  Keadran

                  So according to you he should've posted his opinion without reading the whole serie? Quite a flawed way of thinking...


                  Anyway personally I find it amazing that he even finished these books. I never made it pass the 8th book, that book exceeded the limit of what I find readable.

                  648160554:
                  Sam

                  I personally have found through my own exploration that most of the debated novels, no matter how bad in my opinion, have good reviews by some others. Some read fantasy for the escapism where they don't need perfect prose to enjoy a book. The Kingkiller Chronicles spring to mind. Fantasy is turning towards realism, and although those books are fantastic, just because some books keep to the older way of writing fantasy doesn't make them bad. I wonder, without George R.R. Martin and the like would The Sword of Truth seem so bad? Before the 4th book I mean,there's no redeeming the series after that.

                  648160561:
                  Jeff

                  Reply to David:

                  Actually I will argue against that. When I started reading Fantasy in college I was given the Dark Elf Trilogy and I loved it. Then I read Dragonlance Chronicles and I loved it as well. At some point after that I was given "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" to read. I read the first book and hated it.

                  So, just because someone loves a book on the "worst" list does not mean they will really love a book from the "best" list.


                  Good and bad are relative to the person reading the books. When I first came to this website I found the "Best" fantasy list useful because I could look at books I liked and see similar recommendations that I had not read.

                  If there is really going to be a "worst" fantasy list, it would be much more useful to recommend books that are similar to these books that you like rather than just posting offensive and degrading comments on the books.

                  648160563:
                  Chris

                  I feel you've been a little too harsh with some of these authors, I feel a lot of these authors don't deserved to be heaped together with Rob Stanek


                  I do agree with a lot of what you said though, when I was in high school I really used to enjoy Salvatore, Eddings (Redemption of Althalus used to be one of my favourites). But reading any of them now would be pretty painful.


                  Generally I've been a massive fan of Feist, although I've only read the Conclave of Shadows, Darkwar and Demonwar sagas recently...I remember I loved the Serpant War. So i think it would be really interesting to go back and read the Betrayal of Krondor and see how I find it now (:


                  So yeah, I feel some of these big name authors that made it on this page probable deserve the label of most overrated rather then worst.


                  PS: Oh and I agree about Shannara, the lack of character continuity doesn't help either.

                  648160574:
                  dude

                  If the iron tower trilogy is only number four, those first three series must be inconceivably awful.

                  648160582:
                  Jafo

                  I would say the worst book on this list is still better than the book you have added to the world

                  648160593:
                  jesse

                  if you read the whole review you would know that he mentioned that he has that book on that list and he explains why he has it on both lists

                  648160600:
                  jesse

                  I would have to say I like terry goodkinds books more because of his ideology then the actual storyline. although looking back you do make a fairly good point about this writing. even so I will probably read the omen machine when it comes out. with all that said i just wanted to say that I love your list and wanted to thank you for taking the time to make it.

                  648160606:
                  jesse

                  you mean if it wasn't for the best wouldn't the average/worse seem better. well yeah they would. if every book but the one i wrote in the 2nd grade weren't here then mine would be the best.

                  648160613:
                  ichor

                  I love this list; I have actually read most of the authors on it and they definitely deserve to be here. (especially Piers Anthony, David Drake and Robert Stanek and Newcomb) The only changes I would make are the David Eddings and Karen Miller entries. Not that their books aren't terrible, but I know of ones that are even worse than the ones you have posted. i.e. "The Dreamers" by Eddings and the "Rogue Agent" series by Miller (written under the pseudonym KE Mills). I also remember when I was a kid and my older brother was OBSESSED with the Iron Tower trilogy and he would not shut up about them.


                  I would also add the "World at War" series by Harry Turtledove (Into the Darkness, etc) and the Deepgate Codex by Alan Campbell (the first book, Scar Night, is actually halfway decent but the follow-up, Iron Angel, is absolutely the pits.)

                  648160617:
                  lol

                  Great posts Jeff. I would tone down the wordage to avoid tldr.

                  648160620:
                  layla

                  I fully agree with you on Twilight....sadly it affected a whole generation and now everytime I look at the science fiction departement in a library I see the shelves filled with trashy Vampire-romance novels for 13 year old pubertal girls.The fact that those books are put on the same level as the real epic fantasy series is terribly annoying and offending It distroyed my interest for anything vampire-related and I don't even feel like reading the good Vampire stories anymore.

                  648160624:
                  arnold

                  and thanks for it. I did read Sword of Truth until i got to the evil chicken part then stopped. Not only because of the evil chicken absurdity but because of how everyone reacted to Richard's sensing that there's something wrong with the chickens. I mean the guy saved the world about 5 books in already. Why can't they believe in him still. But then gain, if someone told me there was some evil chicken in the village - i'd laugh my a$$ off too.

                  648160634:
                  Ashley

                  I sort of question the use of this section. While it is fun to rip on books that you hate, and feel are generally of poor quality for X reason, this section seems like an entirely different website than most of the others. In the 'Best of' lists, synopses of the overall story are given, and you are told why these books/series are good. You may disagree with these reasons, but they are there, and you can make discerning choices based on that (I for instance, disliked Glen Cook's books, and so when I saw another series compared to them, it was an automatic red flag for me). Whether for or against certain authors or styles, it is very helpful.


                  In here however, there is scant reasoning given for why most of the books and series' on this list are actually on this list. They get no synopsis, and after the first or second entries, maybe one paragraph of semi-directionless bashing. For the most part, you are only told 'This book is bad. It's kind of like a dark elf raping your eye sockets.' Though maybe poignant, and suggesting unpleasantness, it's not really helpful information. Dragonlance, for instance, is apparently the kind of fantasy that gives fantasy a bad name. Why is this? The same with R.A. Salvatore, who produces 'popcorn fantasy.' But what makes it popcorn fantasy? There is no context, and no comparison. I don't even know what the books are about to think 'oh yeah, that definitely looks like a list of cliches.' I mean, I, as a prospective reader, would have to go and find these books to even figure out what made them bad, which sort of defeats the purpose of them being on a list warning me to stay away from them. For the record, I myself have no desire to go anywhere near any Dungeons and Dragons novels, as I dislike the entire D&D system (I can appreciate the immense detail of the world building, but the magic system is stupid, and the world building is itself so complete that it kills any sense of awe or mystique in its fantasy world), so your review of them could literally be one word and it would make no difference to me, but not all people are going to be like me. And Twilight just felt like a bit of bandwagoning. Is it really even fantasy, except in the most basic sense? By which a novel like 'It' might also be considered fantasy.


                  I understand that in general it may not be pleasant to talk of these books at length and in detail like it is to talk about books you love, but the length and adequate description are what give lists like this value in the first place. Without that, they just don't seem that helpful.

                  648160640:
                  Mark

                  I did not agree with everything but I got some big belly laughs out of reading the notes. I laughed out loud. Thank you. Terry NoGoodkind was spot on.. some of you read more than one? really? Man, my S+M / Rape tolerance must be smaller...that guy needs help or at least an ankle bracelet to track his movements....

                  648160645:
                  P

                  I have read a lot of fantasy literature, and I still love twilight. I don't think you can classify it as fantasy though. It doesn't belong on the worst fantasy book list, period. If you don't like the book, that's fine, but you should at least respect the author.

                  The lady is a genius- she really knows how to manipulate the average teenage mind, so much so that she's managed to sell more books than a dozen popular fantasy authors combined. And then she sold book rights to Hollywood for a lot of $$$ I'd like to see the fantasy authors on the top 25 page achieve half of what she has (no offence to J.R.R/ Jim Butcher :-P).

                  648160649:
                  Rominoff

                  Got a few laughs until I saw the Icewind Dale Trilogy, now this list is poo.

                  648160653:
                  Daniel

                  Couldn't have said it better.

                  648160656:
                  Daniel

                  You know, I've read Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Feist, etc. Books and authors that are on your top 25 list. While I agree that they are great authors, I can trully say that Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore, and many others that aren't on your list are (to me) just as good Jordan and Butcher. I will read Brooks and then turn around and read Butcher and be equally satisfied. I actually like Brooks more than Jordan. I choose my next book based on what I'm in the mood for. My point is that I think good fantasy is in the eye of the beholder.

                  648160663:
                  nillohit

                  I love this section. Seriously someone needed to point out the atrocities some "authors" are carrying out in the name of fantasy. Most of them listed are truly awful, more so if you've gone through some of the top 25 listed here.

                  648160669:
                  Matt

                  I was so glad to see the names of some of these authors make it on this list. Names like Piers Anthony, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks and David Eddings. I have always liked the idea of fantasy and sci-fi and after being disppointed one too many times with the movie and television industries' treatment of these subjects I began turning to books. I was already a fan of Lord of the Rings and Dune and loved Chronicles of Narnia growing up but I was one of those examples of people who were led to believe that everything else from these genres was just 7th rate.


                  However, I was desperate. I began asking everyone I saw reading something that looked like a fantasy book what they were reading and what else they liked and the above mentioned names came up over and over again. I read Wizard's First Rule; I read the first two books from the Belgariad series; I read three pages of Piers Anthony's Incarnation series and walked away from the fantasy/sci-fi genre wondering if I would ever return.


                  After a couple years, I read a blurb comparing the quality of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series to Lord of the Rings and decided to try it. It was absolutely amazing! Browsing in the book store drew my attention to Glen Cook's Black Company trilogy and it was incredible! No one I knew had ever heard of these books, many of them avid fantasy readers!


                  (Sorry for how long this is becoming) I recently found this and other similar websites and after finding it's creator's tastes so close to my own, I am now super excited to read all his recommendations on the Best 25 list and to continue from there.


                  All this being said, I agree with Ashley that the reviews on this particular list should have given more reasons as to why these books were on the list. I found several negative reviews on Amazon for some of these books that hit the nail right on the head without spoiling the stories.


                  I just want to say that I'm grateful for this site! Many thanks!

                  648160676:
                  H

                  &NobleRobert Stanek is hilarious. His books are horrendous, but he devotes all his time to writing fake reviews. Apart from his hundreds of "sockpuppets", he himself has two separate personas: William and Robert Stanek. "William" writes guides to Microsoft products and "Robert" churns out the trash that he himself praises through his anonymous accounts.


                  Apart from Amazon, I checked out his books on Barnes. Needless to say, the books got 5 star reviews by "Anonymous" (Robert Stanek) and the one person who actually had a profile set up had only given 2 other reviews: 5 star ratings on two other books by Stanek.

                  While he has time to set up all these accounts, he doesn't complete the deception very well.


                  Needless to say, he has given himself 4.5-5 stars on all aspects of the book.


                  His fanpage/message board consists of maybe his 3 real fans and hundreds of his own accounts. It's rather amusing.


                  For more info, google 'Robert Stanek' and click on the ominous "Robert Stanek shat directly into my soul" link.

                  648160679:
                  Matt

                  I was so glad to see the names of some of these authors make it on this list. Names like Piers Anthony, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks and David Eddings. I have always liked the idea of fantasy and sci-fi and after being disappointed one too many times with the movie and television industries' treatment of these subjects I began turning to books. I was already a fan of Lord of the Rings and Dune and loved Chronicles of Narnia as well as Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories growing up but I was one of those examples of people who were led to believe that everything else from the fantasy genre was just 7th rate.


                  However, I was desperate. I began asking everyone I saw reading something that looked like a fantasy book what they were reading and what else they liked and the above mentioned names came up over and over again. I read Wizards First Rule; I read the first two books from the Belgariad series; I read three pages of Piers Anthony's Incarnation series and walked away from the fantasy/sci-fi genre wondering if I would ever return. Some of these weren’t horrible, they just weren’t that good.


                  After a couple years, I read a blurb comparing the quality of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series to Lord of the Rings and decided to try it. It was absolutely amazing! Browsing in the book store drew my attention to Glen Cook's Black Company trilogy and it was incredible! No one I knew had even heard of these books, many of them avid fantasy readers!


                  (Sorry for how long this is becoming) I recently found this and other similar websites and after finding it's creator's tastes so close to my own, I am now super excited to read all his recommendations on the Best 25 list and to continue from there.


                  All this being said I agree with Ashley that the reviews on this particular list should have given more reasons as to why these books were on the list. I found several negative reviews on Amazon for some of these books that hit the nail right on the head without spoiling the stories.


                  I just want to say that I'm grateful for this site! Many thanks!

                  648160683:
                  stormz

                  i am shocked that Eragon appeared.i thought the literature was amazing but the movie did suck.we have diverse opinions but i love your other reviews.

                  648160689:
                  Brian

                  Hello, I just read your top 25 "best" list and this list. And I must say that I'm surprised by how much "bad" fantasy I've enjoyed over the years.


                  Some of them I'll give you: Terry Goodkind began strong and went steadily south with his preachiness, overbearing (and, frankly, kinda' unlikeable) hero, and shallow female characters whose only purpose seemed to be to serve as a rape victims for his villains. And the particular R.A. Salvatore trilogy you picked on is fair, but I hope the other "bad" work of his was not the Dark Elf Trilogy. I don't recall ever caring as much about a character in fantasy as I did after reading the first 3 Drizzt books.


                  As far as some of your other choices, I seriously disagree. Sara Douglass' Wayfarer Redemption trilogy is a fun read if a little gross. And if Robert Jordan gets on your top 25 for being the dominant fantasy author of his era, then I feel like Terry Brooks deserves the same respect. (I wouldn't say Brooks is anywhere close to Jordan, but he isn't as bad as you made him sound and his second Shanarra book is a gem, particularly for a younger reader.)


                  Also, you seem to hold the Dark Tower series and David Farland's Runelords in higher regard than the Shanarra series, Sara Douglass, and R.A. Salvatore. Stephen King's Dark Tower series is so boring I lost interest after the fifth book. I enjoyed the first one, but it just went downhill from there for me (well, except for Roland's lengthy flashback in book 4). However, his series as well David Farland's Runelords (which I'm currently reading) can not keep my interest like Sara Douglass or even R.A. Salvatore (just because their pace is so fast) can.


                  Lastly, I noticed a theme in how you chose your favorites: you like fantasy that's barely fantasy. But the supernaturalism is the point for some of his old school nerds. Its fun to read stories about ghosts, vampires, dragons, and such because fiction is the only place such things can exist. I'll check Martin's series out and I'm sure it will be enthralling, but I can't agree with your list simply because it seems too thematically driven.


                  That said, thank you for taking the time to put together this list. You obviously know a lot about fantasy literature and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge on the Interwebs.


                  P.S. We are in agreement about the Dragonlance books; the only character I ever cared about in that series was Tasselhoff Burrfoot but his solo tale ruined even him for me.

                  648160697:
                  Samantha

                  I enjoyed reading this list. I have to say your comments about Goodkin made me laugh. Being a girl, I didn't really notice excess abuse of women (in comparison to other books/tv). What bothered the heck out of me as read through the serious was how the books shifted more and more from story telling to going on and on about Goodkins theology of good vs evil. Explaining Richards moral ethics and why the good should prevail the first time was hard to read, the 50th time, it was torture. Each time the explanation got more elaborate and took up more pages in the book. Damn near killed me.


                  Also, I know first hand how horrible that Karin Miller book was. Couldn't get past the first 50 pages before trying to burn the book.


                  As an adolescent I was a huge fan of Piers Anthony. Of course, my husband pointed out to me that he was a pedophile, and my view of the books changed drastically. Still, for light reading and puns galore, it's a decent read.


                  Thanks for these lists(best series, etc), I've picked out several series I plan to pick up once I finish up the Wheel of Time series. On book 9 and still enjoying them immensely.

                  648160711:
                  Tamara

                  I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed both the good and the bad reviews. You made me laugh with a lot of your comments and I actually happened to agree with so many of the bad fantasy you listed.

                  648160718:
                  Shaunna

                  I stumbled across this website wondering what to read after I finish Robert Jordans WOT. The best books reviews were very helpful and interesting. I agree with some of what you said here, for instance I was reading the sword of truth books and just stopped, couldnt make myself keep going... I read the shanara books, and even though I enjoyed them at the time, I can see why they are on the list.

                  have to disagree with you on the belgarid. I loved them!

                  648160721:
                  parjo

                  How can I 'believe' your reviews if you have misspellings here and there. Check for them first before you post.

                  648160725:
                  Sunny

                  Come on we all know twilight should be up in the top ten

                  Glad it's mentioned though.


                  R.A. Salvatore - You should mention that the fight scenes are decent... well at least that is what I thought as a 7th grader

                  648160730:
                  luc

                  its true that twilight was garbage....... but d&d, i like em...... (i dont have read a lot other than d&d... drizzt)


                  but a serie i would personally recommend, is age of fire serie by e e knight

                  648160734:
                  morgan

                  I am an English professor and I may be a bit biased but one of the things I found hardest to overcome in Goodkind is the bad grammar and structure. Did he not have an editor? You heap that on top of the terrible plot and you have...ugh. Just watch the series. It's fluff too, but I happen to like watching fluff fantasy, even if I don't like reading it.

                  648160738:
                  luc

                  for R.A. Salvatore yeh the fight scenes are decent..... but the words are a bit too often repeated (example wulfgar: corded muscles )

                  But i also like the bad humour (bruenor, smashing the things between the legs of a giant with his helm)


                  but if i wanted to add a serie to the worst book collection... i would add Falconfar serie by Ed Greenwood.... a hero always whining.... but he can heal his taunea with his blood... wich he does too much often, and at the ends he save falconfar... cause taunea ask him....... and then hes no longer whiny.......

                  648160743:
                  Thiago

                  Hello

                  I am Brazilian and I don't know the English language very well, but I must tell you that I read the Shannara series and I didn't understand why it is there in the worst fantasy books list. It were the best books I've ever read. Of course there are several opinions, but I just can't understand it.

                  Thank you for reading it.

                  If there is some wrong grammar, please tell me.

                  648160750:
                  Jarred

                  Yeah, those books are all pretty bad. I thought Salvatore, Weis, and Brooks were "okay" when I was 13. Would I read them now? Hell no. Those books are terrible.

                  648160754:
                  Mredria

                  ok thank you. I thought I was insane or something because my friends have been suggesting Sword of Truth to me and I just couldn't get through them. NOW I AM JUSTIFIED!

                  Also, I loved me some Dragonlance at 14. Then I picked one up lately. It's all worn and loved. I tried to read it. Don't you hate when you pick up something you used to love and then you're embarrassed by your past self? Damn you past self. You're SHAMING me!

                  648160759:
                  Leonhart

                  Great reviews man.


                  Some comments:


                  Strongly Agree on the following:


                  1) Robert Newcomb - shoud've done better things

                  2) Terry Brooks (only on the early Shannara novels) - total spin-off

                  3) David Eddings (on the early Belgariad) - predictable


                  Strongy Disagree:


                  1) R.A. Salvatore - come on man?! WTF?

                  2) Terry Goodkind - extremely lousy but also brilliant in some (I agree that he has a perverted mind but the series as a whole was good)

                  3) Stephanie Meyer - it is cheesy and is a chick flick, but come on -- we all have our corny and teenybopper side and this does well in terms of fufilling that to the point of entertainment -- my strongest disagreement is that this should not belong in the fantasy category to begin with

                  648160764:
                  Mari

                  I love your quips and nasty bites at these authors. The poor things. Haha! I, unfortunately, didn't have your insight and plugged on manfully to finish all the books by Goodkind, Miller, Meyer, Lackey (in my virginal fantasy reading years), etc. Although I'll never tell that some others on this list are still books I fondly go back to when I need a break from all the "good stuff."

                  648160771:
                  JP

                  The fact that you didn't like the inheritance series and put it on your worst list makes everything I've previously read on your site lose its validity in my eyes. Those books are amazing. Period.

                  648160777:
                  Trev

                  Wow... I've read a ton of fantasy books (many on your top 25 list). Brooks first book was clearly "inspired" :-) by Tolkien, BUT... by the third book we was coming into new territory. The series is huge and sweeping; covering thousands of years. To say it's all the same is insane. Additionally, giving 'advice' like "avoid anything with the word Shanara" (I'm sure you mean 'Shannara) is such an amateur move. So many authors ripped off Tolkien and wrote crap as a result. Brooks broke open the genre and did much to facilitate the success of the genre in the post-Tolkien world. If you can't give credit where it is due, perhaps we should write off your web site based a bad review, eh?

                  648160781:
                  Jarred

                  You just have bad taste.

                  648160782:
                  Dee

                  Twilight should have been #1 on the list. It is the worst piece of garbage ever written. The fact that it is a phenomenon in the US is a testament to the fact that American teens have never been exposed to good literature. How can such nonsense have sold millions of copies around the world? Anyways, that pathetic Stephnie Mayers is laughing all the way to the bank!

                  648160785:
                  aamedor

                  one thing you fail to mention about Goodkind is he is constantly trying to reproduce atlas shrugged or the fountainhead by Aynn Rand in fantasy form. This get exceptionally bad the further the series goes on. There are entire chapters that are monologues about objectivist philosophy, they are far too common, far too preachy and far too redundant with the one that came four chapters before it. You can skip 30 pages at a time and lose no real plot (by the end I started skimming these parts).


                  Another thing that bothered me was that characters were captured quite frequently but there was not time for those characters to stew in their situation. The hero always came along to rescue them in the next chapter or a deus ex mach released them from their peril.

                  I stuck it out till the end through sheer force of will, ill never read them again.

                  648160794:
                  pallas_athena2

                  Books come out on the "Best Seller" lists even before distribution. It is based not on actual sales, but on bookstore orders. Then people see a new book on the best seller list & buy it, even though they regret it or don't ever get around to reading it. As such, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes, bookstores are wrong & have to return a lot of books. Unless a book stays on the best seller list for a very long time it doesn't really mean anything.

                  648160800:
                  sunny

                  Me or Luc? I don't see any spelling mistakes in my review... maybe grammar mistakes, but no improper spelling.

                  648160806:
                  Sunny

                  I didn't check the dates on the reviews (or the titles)

                  648160808:
                  Jessica

                  So glad to see Terry Goodkind made the list, and the Iron Tower. These books were so horrendous I couldn't finish them. An ex-bo when I was nineteen turned me on to Goodkind and made it sound like it was the best series ever! I lost all respect for him after that......what drivel!!

                  648160815:
                  Charlie

                  This list made me laugh pretty hard. I was one of those who punished myself by reading every Goodkind book when I should have stopped after the second. They're painful to read and the characters are lifeless but I just wanted to know how it all ended.

                  I was a bit sad to see R.A. Salvatore on the list, since I look at them as more teenage books, and they got me into fantasy books, but I haven't read one since I was 15.

                  Anyways, your lists are always good, Keep it up.

                  648160819:
                  greg

                  Well, hello there and congratulations for this splendid webpage. I however disagree with you, naming "A Shadow On The Glass" one of the top ten worst books. I agree it is NOT really that good but i feel there could be another no-good paper-waste book on it's spot. Clearly, you were disappointed by it and did not read the rest of the series. I have to tell you that while the series doesn't improve a lot, it is becoming better towards the end. The sequel however meaning "The Well Of Echoes" is a good,solid quartet. Of course me being me, I see things from my point of view but I would place the sequel in your "good" list. The book is actually better that what I would call a "good" book not enough so to achieve the "very good" status. "great" being the top. I think it's a good read when having nothing else to read or waiting for something to come out. DO NOT bother with "The Song Of The Tears". A trilogy set ten years later than the events in "The Well Of Echoes". I found it horrible specially that things randomly happed without rhyme or reason. Also full of Deus Ex Machina situations. Whatever inspiration the author seems to had now has disappeard. In conclusion I wish to remind you that this is the way I see things in my perspective and would appreciate you noticing and bothering to post a reply.

                  648160824:
                  Fantasy Sage

                  Upon reading your review, it spurs me on to write this comment. I applaud on your effort that warrant me to must make a reply out of it. And seriously, you are ridiculously funny....


                  Firstly, in this "worst fantasy books review" section, you would have noticed that most of the books are written by best selling authors. I am pretty shocked by your opinion of them. I do respect those personal opinion, no matter how obscure and polar opposite from the general view. But i can't help to notice that you have some deep enmity against best selling books. As if, you are an anti-popularist ( a new word wholly developed for you). Perhaps you could offer more constructive comments and less pun (well, maybe a pepper of them). Well, let me offer you an example:

                  Twilight (In my opinion, an abominatination of the fantasy world!!!)


                  Twilight thrives on the innocent and naive thoughts of romance from young 15 year old audience, especially from the female counterparts. However, the simplistic plot and lack of development does not make it a pleasurable read to adults. In fact, the vampires depicted in this book is an anomaly to what people normally perceive of vampires. Vampires in this book are fairy-like as they could shine upon the sun and entirely "human". Read at your own caution.


                  The lesson learnt should be

                  1. Be fair and give credit when appropriate.

                  (Because you are not the only one reading them)

                  2. Give example to credit your claim.

                  (Not just lambast the author, you could give an example which you hate the most in the book)

                  3. Allow readers to make the last decision.

                  ( Nobody owes anyone a living)


                  Next, i am pretty uncomfortable when you make comments like "a complete rip-off from Tolkien" and still ranked Tolkien at the 4th position among the best fantasy series. I am utterly coerced to lecture to you about the virtues of Tolkien and the LOTR series.

                  1. In terms of the amount of research and years to develop the book, I am confident to say that none of which i know beats Tolkien.

                  2.The widely adopted elven language is just the tip of the iceberg.

                  3.Songs and Poems with references to Nordic legends draws some relationship to the 'real' world we are living in.

                  4. Beautifully crafted and realistic characters

                  5. Epic adventure of a realistic timeframe (I could mildly tolerate series that depicts loads of adventures in a short human timeframe. Sometimes one is just enough to satiate the yearning of living)

                  6. Detailed description of the environmental surrounding, more than enough to develop into a movie.

                  .

                  .

                  .

                  .

                  {and many more...)


                  IF you remember the 1st time you read the LOTR series, you would agree that anyone not reading Tolkien's books should be his/her greatest regret. This shows how an epic fantasy book should be defined. I doubt that the 1st 3 series that you ranked above LOTR could match the full force of Tolkien's saga.


                  On a final note, I do not think i would return to this forum. As above, it is quite indicative that the lack of maturity and lack of credit (or even discredit) to renowned authors purely irks the crap out of me.

                  648160826:
                  steveb

                  I totally agree with fantasy sage. You have lost all credibilty with this list. I was introduced to fantasy at 14 with dragonlance and my kids enjoyed eragon and twilight.


                  What is the point of slagging off fantasy books for teenagers.

                  648160828:
                  JT

                  There is nothing wrong with creating a list of the worst fantasy books. Critics create the same sort of lists for movies all the time. People should look at it as a tool for refining your tastes (and improving them). I've read some of these books and maybe at the time i found them enjoyable but once I searched out novels that were critically acclaimed I came to realize the flaws in those books.


                  By becoming educated on what constitutes a well written novel your tastes will naturally become more sophisticated and your experiences with reading will become much richer.


                  BUT of course loving something isn't always rational I am ashamed to say I did enjoy the twilight series (we're allowed guilty pleasures now and again) But i would never be able to read them a second time because of what critics have said. They have opened my eyes so to speak. And that's fine because it is OK to be wrong.


                  On a side note why should you line the pockets of someone who is only passably talented or not at all? Being forewarned about something that is poor quality is a good thing people.

                  648160833:
                  Chloe

                  God, I HATED the twilight series! Some of the books on that list look terrible!

                  648160837:
                  rohanj

                  IMHO The Tairen Soul Series by C.L. Wilson should definitely be on this list. The star of this series has an orgasm every time she see's or even thinks about her soul mate, which easily covers around 70% of the entire series. The remaining 30% consists of the thoughts of her soul mate which is equally disturbing.

                  648160844:
                  Ashley

                  I think SoT books 1-6 are great (and they were some of the first "adult" fantasy books I ever read so I'm kind of loyal to them), but Goodkind really should have stopped there. By the end of the series, there were so many plots that didn't connect, the grammar was terrible...and the TV show spinoff? horrendous.


                  So even though I still love most of SoT, I would kind of agree that it deserves to be lumped in with Eragon and Twilight. Even though it's subject matter has a lot of sex and violence, it only serves to cover up the juvenile writing style. Maybe it's just because I went from being 11 when I was reading the first one to 18 reading the last one that I feel like I kind of outgrew the series...

                  648160848:
                  Paul Hudgins

                  ... I have been unfortunate to have read from may of the authors on this worst list probably because so many of them are bestsellers. I got into fantasy by reading Weis and Hickman, and R.A. Salvatore's D&D books. I can say that anyone defending those books needs to re-read them and compare them to your list on the top 25. They have cool characters bu they are not developed well and the plotlines are frankly terrible. I also read Terry Brooks and I do agree, I think if you sopped at the 1st Shannara book it would be ok, but the series just gets more ridiculous from there. Mckiernan though holds a special place as being one of the only authors I simply could not finish because everything was so terrible to read. I also get annoyed by the Tolkein defenders who act as if nothing can come closer to or surpass his books. The fact is that he created the most detailed world by far, but that doesn't mean his books are the best page turners out there. I think many authors can write far more exciting prose and when you couple that with a great plot like Martin does or IMO Memory, Sorrow and Thorn from Tad Williams do you have books that are better reads than Tolkien. Look anyone can appreciate the detail of Tolkien's languages but that doesn't make me turn pages faster.

                  648160854:
                  Harthan

                  Just wanted to share my thoughts on some of your picks here. On Goodkind, I agree that his series isn't great. I think the first book is pretty solid despite suffering from a lot of tropes, but overall Wizard's First Rule is pretty good stuff. The series does drag on - I couldn't continue on past the fifth. Perhaps not something I'd consider the worst, but not the best, either.


                  Where I do disagree quite a bit is your evaluation of the DragonLance novels. I suppose I am fairly biased, and I'll admit that freely - they were the first fantasy novels I ever read, so I'm a bit partial toward them. But I really feel that they're better than you give them credit for. The world is pretty standard Tolkien fantasy, to be sure, but the characters are actually quite strong, I find. Especially if you continue on to the next trilogy, which explores a lot of excellent characterization. I won't deny that the story is more or less cookie cutter, full of MacGuffin chasing and the defeat of evil lords, but I think it's excellently written and filled with real, well developed characters. And while I have admitted my partiality, I would also like to say I reread the books only a few months ago so I'm not speaking purely out of childhood nostalgia. Still, I can respect a differing opinion.

                  648160856:
                  Rizuno

                  Someone somewhere on this list made a comment something like 'all the books on your worst list are bestsellers what are you a bestseller hater?' I believe the term "anti-popularist" may or may not have been coined. Srsly ppl?

                  Books are not bestsellers because they are good.

                  Books are not bestsellers because of their overwhelming popularity.

                  They're not even on there because they've been read.

                  They're on there because people have bought them. Because other people have bought them. They're airplane books. Readily available in airports. Good for an airplane ride because you're up a creek without the proverbial paddle. Now there's lots of good books that are also bestsellers, and there's lots of crap that, (thank the maker) never made it there. But most of it (fantasy especially) is suck. Mainstream suck.

                  I shall leave with one final comment. Read George R. R. Martin ppl. It ish beautiful. Oh, and on the subject of Twilight? It loses its YA protective barrier (that protects so so so much crap) because I have grown people tell me all the time I really should finish the series and read breaking dawn it really ties everything together and it is just so, so awesomely good.

                  I.Will.Never.Read.It.EVER.

                  Everybody?

                  Love and Peace!

                  648160860:
                  Richard

                  I'm not sure I agree with some of your selections for the best books, but this list of worst books is certainly accurate. Kudos especially for including Ian Irvine.


                  I'm really amazed how anyone can imagine R.A. Salvatore is a good author. Half the general public could write a novel of equivalent quality (or lack thereof), but most have the decency not to. Forgotten realms novels are written by hacks like Salvatore, because they can't get any good authors to write such utter drivel, and there are always talentless hacks who are desperate to be published.

                  648160865:
                  Alysha

                  FINALLY someone agrees with me that Twilight is the worst series EVER!!!! i mean he is basically stalking her! i do disagree on a couple books, but thats what makes people unique, the different like and dislikes

                  648160867:
                  Britt

                  It makes me so happy that there are some people besides myself that agree that Twilight was an AWFUL book. However, I disagree with you about Eragon. I loved that series! And don't tell me I have bad taste like you told the last person who said that.

                  648160878:
                  James

                  Most of these are NOT the worst fantasy books ever written. Some books can be average. Not everything is either good or bad. I can't believe this site is so popular. I mean, even his grammar is awful. Some of the Dragonlance books, while average, are still better than stuff like Elder Scrolls and Magic: The Gathering novels, and this looks like it's written by a kid.


                  I think it's a shame that most people searching for the best of fantasy will stumble across this site, and be mislead into thinking that ASOFAI is the best fantasy has to offer. A much better site is greatsfandf. It's owned by a grumpy old snob, but his tastes are far more refined, and it's almost guaranteed that his recommendations will be worthwhile. Plus, he doesn't only go for the most popular stuff. But seriously, and list where GRRM is ranked over Tolkein automatically fails. Even worse is the fact that The Name of The Wind is ranked higher than LOTR, and the fact that you think Robin Hobb is great enough to have a book in the top 25. I've already mentioned my thoughts about Robert Jordan elsewhere.

                  648160885:
                  D

                  I agree with you that Mercedes Lackey is a a fluff writer, but then, she wasn't writing straight fantasy. She started writing romantic fantasy, which is designed to appeal to women.


                  Say what you will about her original books, but my fiance ate them up, and was sad when she finished, wanting more.


                  Typically all she reads are dime store romance novels. By introducing her to those books, she has now moved on to the Dragonlance novels, which are certainly not high literature either, but all the same, fun reads.


                  While I wholeheartedly agree with you that The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are better novels, if I had tried to start her journey into fantasy through them, it would have been a short trip. Now I can at least try to work her up to that level.


                  Just because a fantasy novel isn't what you consider a great work, doesn't make it any less worthy of being read.


                  To anyone who reads this list and feels offended that their favorite authors or book series have been mentioned, consider that the author of this list has as much a valid opinion as you do. Different strokes for different folks.

                  648160888:
                  It would be a boring world if

                  It would be a boring world if we all agreed on liking the same books. Alot of the worst listed I have not read but I read all of the Sword of Truth series and I loved them! They introduced me to fantasy beyond the fantasy chick books. Since Sword of Truth I am now on book 10 of Robert Jordans and am enjoying them also. Just remember the old saying that what someone thinks is junk is someone elses treasure.

                  648160891:
                  (pronoun)

                  I'm not as hermitic as the author of this article must be to have read every fantasy novel in existence and compiled a list of "best" and "worst" of the genre--not merely recommendations--but I must agree that Robert Stanek is an author to avoid. The childish tactics he employs to sell copies of his novels are criminally deceitful. It's probably best to even avoid him in person, unless you're approaching him with loogie in tow and projecting in mind.

                  648160899:
                  (pronoun)

                  And you know what? In addition to the comment I left just below this one, I do know of an author who is worse than Robert Stanek.


                  About a year ago, I was perusing a Mr. Paperback store in my home state of Maine when I noticed a paperback book that was just a little bit smaller than average on a clearance rack. The cover depicted a young man, a pirate ship, and a dragon in less than refrigerator magnet-quality fantasy artwork, making promises of the physical pain to come. Against better judgment, I opened it about halfway and began reading. The engrossing pain I felt after the first few lines of dialogue actually made me put the book down and laugh in disbelief. I picked it up after I had regained my composure, and struggled my way through the last few pages. When I was finished, I asked, "Is this a joke?" Numerous copies of this novel were going for 25 cents apiece. Not a single copy sold.


                  I've forgotten the title and author of this cruel joke of a novel, now. If I had to guess, I'd say it was written and published by an author in Maine, and one can presume created entirely by one person. I am not even joking when I say that "because" was misspelled as "becuase." Incredibly simple errors, like "o fthe" were overlooked, too, not to mention that the entire page of text was printed off center on some of the pages, making them impossible to read. My only guess is that a cult of dyslexic lepers proofread the story in a hurry so they could get back to decaying, which we can assume was more enjoyable. The next time I go to that store, I'll pick up a copy and scan some pages to prove how atrocious it is--if they haven't burned all of the copies, that is.

                  648160903:
                  May

                  I think that you shouldn't have brought up this damned list. Didn't you think about the authors? About their readers? If these are your oppinions, keep them for you. (I know that this might bother you)I trully disagree with the things about Twilight. I am sure that many people disagree with you about the book, but do you know why?The answer is simple: it IS a very good book, and people love it. I think that you don't like the book because too many people like it, and you want to be different (no offense, especially if i am wrong). The same applies to Dragonlace, and other books from your list. The others, maybe, just didn't find the right readers.

                  NOTE: You really ought to delete this. It is just epicly awful.

                  648160908:
                  Lila

                  I can't help quoting Trev "If you can't give credit where it is due, perhaps we should write off your web site based a bad review, eh?"


                  I can agree with a few of your comments but wow they are just so harsh. I just finished Karen Millers Godspeaker trilogy and while it is a LOT of reading it is well written. I can say I didn't like Salvatores first trilogy but i do enjoy the other books in that series. To say that an author should be completely avoided based on a couple books you didn't care for is really just asinine. Authors continue to write and hopefully get better in their work, you can't just write them off like that and keep other people from reading their work.

                  648160911:
                  misanthropope

                  didn't quite think it through, didja? word to the wise: the kind of ignoramus who would say with a straight face "how DARE you express an opinion contrary to mine on MY INTERNET?!?" is also very likely to be the audience formula serial shit fiction is written to.


                  it is an unfortunate truth that the fantasy genre is of such dismal overall quality, that the effort to identify the worst ten is doomed to failure. you can scarcely list twenty or thirty decent authors, and it quickly goes from bad to atrocious from there.

                  648160931:
                  Christian

                  Alright, calm down some of those books, while not the best fantasy books, certainly don't belong on the same list as twilight. Even if you don't like dragonlance it is not a bad series. I agree with your opinions on the books you like but really R.A. Salvatore is not a bad author and he has writing that's not in the D&D universe if that's your problem. I think you have a problem distinguishing between high fantasy (LOTR etc.) and low fantasy (for example Conan) You can't write off Conan because of lack of characterization. Howard wrote short stories not novels.

                  648160933:
                  Joseph

                  LOL!!! Hilarious!! Laughed so hard on some of these because I thought exactly what you were thinking. Comon! Twilight? Eragon? Pleaseeeee. But if I can aruge with you on one thing, it's the Dragonlance series. It is the one that actually introduced me to fantasy. After reading GRRM, Tolkien, Hobb, and others, I can see why Dragonlance is not that best books. But I still have alot of respect for it, because it started me on the path to greater novels

                  648160937:
                  Brian

                  I really enjoyed stumbling across bestfantasybooks.com - but I find this portion of the site to be its low point.


                  I've been reading/selling fantasy and science fiction novels for two decades. In spite of that, I found a whole bunch of new goodies to try on the "top" lists here. Credit due: the author of the site has put in a great deal of work putting together a solid website and deserves major kudos for sharing exciting books in a world so stuffed with books that it can be hard to figure out what to read next. I wish I had read half as much - I'd certainly be a better book seller!


                  Thus why I suggest this page is the low point of the website. The spirit of the "top" lists seems, by my reading, to be about opening doors to new fantasy/sci-fi adventures for readers seasoned and unseasoned. The effect of this page seems the opposite - it's a closing of doors (in some cases an "in your face" slamming shut).


                  I don't want to presume why the author made this website but... I will, just a bit. ; )


                  I'd guess that a simple desire to share good books is part of the author's motivation. I propose that the "worst fantasy books" part of the website does more to disappoint/polarize readers than to guide them, hinders sharing more than helps, and generally isn't much fun.


                  Having said this, a quick nod to the author: Thank you for the rest of bestfantasybooks.com! I've enjoyed most of the suggestions (especially the Caine books, Tigana, and the Farseer series) and my "to-read" list hasn't been this exciting in years. =)

                  648160945:
                  fantasynovelfan78

                  I agree with your list. Mostly. Goodkind is not good, he is horrible. I tried to get into his SOT series and was left bored and wanting for substance. Feist i agree is horrible, i can not even describe how bad, im glad I rented it from the library and did not waste money on it. Terry Brooks is as bad as Goodkind, overated BS. Now ,although i do not totally agree with your opinion of the D&D/Forgotten Realms books, I see what you mean by them being shallow and fastfood like. But since they are some of the first fantasy books i read i cannot outright call them bad or not worth reading. Overall though I respect your opinions and will look forward to reading and following your reviews in the future.

                  648160947:
                  cthomas

                  I was really enjoying the site and trying to find books to check out until I came across this list. I understand what it's trying to accomplish, but it can only end with one outcome. People who read this see it as someone looking down their nose at the uncultured masses that can't tell true art from garbage. There are a couple of problems with that. Just because the story or writing isn't destined to be immortalized as the literature of our age, doesn't mean it can't be entertaining. It's acceptable to read to be entertained, even advisable, in my opinion. The other problem is that for each person that feels they are being looked down on for their taste in books, there's someone outside the realm of fantasy fans that's looking down their nose the same way, because in the end, we're still all geeks that like fantasy. It's kind of like the guy with two teeth making fun of the guy that only has one.


                  Not to mention, there are several of the books on the best list that I have read and enjoyed. There are some on the worst list that I have read and enjoyed. That being true, I'm not sure the site was worth the time I gave up to read it. The confidence that I had found some writing that I'm really going to enjoy quickly turned to a feeling that I might be as well off going down to the bookstore and flipping a coin over everything I pull off the shelf.

                  648160956:
                  Tori

                  Why, oh why, is Eragon on your best children's fantasy list and on your worst fantasy list as well? Surely you can find other imaginative series for children other than that contrived piece of... crap. Why not the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke (at least the first book, anyway), or Brian Jacques' Redwall series - just off the top of my head. The excuse "Eragon is suitable for children, but adults won't enjoy it" just doesn't cut it - I would rather have my children read quality books that are not just limited to their age group. It's just bad writing.

                  648160960:
                  David

                  I truly hate to be cruel, but a few aspects of this post bothered me.

                  1) It is hard to take anyone seriously when they misspell so many words. One of the great benefits I have derived from reading is the capability to form my opinion in a way that is professional and respectable. Obviously Twilight and "Dragonlace" have not afforded you this opportunity.

                  2) Your assumption that this person is only doing this to abuse authors is mistaken, I am certain. In order for there to be a best, there must be a worst, and this has ensured I saved the worst books for later, saving me a lot of wasted effort. If it was a little personal, find another website. "Best obviously denotes opinion, which apparently offends you.

                  648160964:
                  CG

                  A novel that has literary merit for children or young adults ('Peter Pan,' Grimm fairy tales, etc.) should be as well written as fiction for the rest of us. Some books that are recommended for the older may be thematically-more challenging or dealing in mature content to be sure, but if a novel is good enough for a child than it is good enough for an adult ('The Hobbit,' Harry Potter books 1 - 3, etc.).


                  Your reckoning is reversed. Something poorly constructed is recommended for a child but denigrated for an adult. By recommending lousy literature (I know nothing of Eragon or it's literary value), than the most impressionable among us will be inspired by it and will perpetuate it in their tastes and own inspired-creations.

                  648160970:
                  James

                  How you can call A Shadow on the Glass and the following books "A terribly written book series." when you have, yourself, admitted that you "bought this, only to give it away a few days later." is beyond me. Even if you finished the first book, which is doubtful, it's ludicrous to think that you can judge the subsequent ten books, which were written in the same world and continued the story, based on this. Although, having said that, I haven't quite read your entire website and feel confident in my assessment that you're an idiot.


                  As a side note, if you want to be taken seriously when criticising better authors than yourself, you may want to check that your site isn't riddled with grammatical and spelling errors first.

                  648160972:
                  Dj

                  Ahh, that just about sums it up.

                  These books are just so terrible and have left such a blemish on the face of fantasy that I want to throw up whenever I even think about reading a vampire book.

                  648160976:
                  Cheresse

                  So, I may get a bit of criticism for this, because everyone else seems to think Peter Brett is God's gift to fiction, but I would say that the Warded Man is one of the worst books I have EVER read, within or without the fantasy genre. His world is something new and interesting, but his story was cookie-cutter, his characterization limited to insulting, hillbilly-type dialogue and mannerisms, and I am pretty sure that he has lived in a world without women. If the women in his world are anything to go on, he has lived bereft of them for most of his life, hearing about them only as magnificent, fictional creatures that reside in a land somewhere far, far away. Because I take the train a lot, I got it on audio book and I actually realised that I had listened to most of it and had gotten to the book's supposed climax without giving two cents for the fate of the so-called protagonists. I stopped halfway through the battle scene and haven't thought about it since. Well, except to tell others not to read it.


                  What on earth do people find so appealing about these books?

                  648160984:
                  Katherine

                  Thank God someone else has finally recognized the horrible crap that Stephanie Meyer has churned out. Twilight has got to be one of the most unashamedly clliched pieces of garbage ever written. I didn't see any romance in it, just an unhealthily obsessed couple.

                  648160994:
                  Kate Elliot should be there

                  Kate Elliot creates sexist one dimensional stories. Her characters are always only one fold. Her male characters are blatantly sexist this is a direct quote from her book "his sensitivity irritated her at times, this was one of those times. Sometimes boys took too much from their father transitory and fragile seed and not enough from their mothers regenerative blood." seriously that sums up everyone of her books. Ive got no problem with powerful women but really Kate Elliot characterizes men as weak, foolish and forever in awe of their female counterparts. Its just soo one dimensional. and she lets it get in the way of good storytelling. Even more than that, those people which she makes seem powerful dont actually seem powerful, more they feel mundane because of her charact4ers attitudes of them. All this is nothing to say for the cookie cutter casts which she fills her books with.

                  648160998:
                  Cody

                  Thank you sooo very much for putting this here. I use your top 25 list cause once I'm done the top series I want to see what else is supposed to be good, especially those I haven't really heard of.


                  Someone recommended the Terry Goodkind books to me. You seem to enjoy a lot of the books that I do so I think its fair to say have saved me from wasting my money and my time. However, I think its unfair that you had to put Goku in that section, like come on what he ever do to you?? That show was awesome!

                  648161002:
                  Lilyan

                  Oh no! I was so upset to see Terry Goodkind on this list. However, I then remembered how much I despiiiisseed A clash of kings and so I could forgive you for hating SOT . I havent read anything else on the list xept for Ian Irvine. Oh god. Tortuuurree. My sister wanted to do something nice for me and knowing I'm a fantasy fan, she bought the whoole series! I felt really bad about hating the books since she went through the trouble of buying them and forced myself to read the first one. Unfortunately halfway through the second book I realized I had just wasted THREE months of my reading time. So, I gave them away too

                  648161004:
                  Ben

                  I read the Shannara series when I was about 12, and recall enjoying them quite a bit. I did notice that the books started to get repetitive, but for the most part I found them to be exciting and engaging. I count this series as my introduction into fantasy and it hooked me well.


                  That being said, it's not a great book. It's not terrible, but it's not wonderful. I started to re-read it many years later in my early thirties, and was glad that I had read it as a child first and not as an adult. And I was definitely glad I read it before I read any of the "greats" (Lord of the Rings, Song of Ice and Fire, etc). It's extensively derivative of Tolkien, and some of the exposition is just difficult to read. It reads as if it was written by a bored law school student. Oh wait, that's because it was.


                  Again, The Sword of Shannara is a really good 'introduction to fantasy', and is still one I would recommend for young people to read as a way to get acclimated to the genre, especially/specifically if they are having trouble reading some of the more advanced books like Lord of the Rings. It's certainly a better book than some of the other drivel in this list.



                  More Books to be Added To The Worst Fantasy Books List Soon!








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