Winter is my favorite time of year to curl up fireside and read. I can still remember one holiday in the 1990’s when I’d first discovered The Wheel of Time and spent my entire break in front of the fire churning through Robert Jordan’s voluminous books (I think there were seven released at that point).
I’m often asked by my readers if I could recommend some other fantasy series they might enjoy, so in the spirit of holiday sharing, here is my list of recommended reads. I’m not including George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, Pat Rothfuss or Sanderson because they’re already on plenty of lists and don’t need my recommendation.If you’ve been reading fantasy for a while, you’ve probably already worked your way through this list and have more you can add to the comments. Please do! This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and I know I’m missing many great authors. That said, if you’re relatively new to the genre, this will make a nice holiday reading list.
I’ve included some of my favorite series here—the ones that have stuck with me over the years, the ones that pulled me in right away. Some of these books have inspired my characters or my work, and all of them hold treasured shelf space in my permanent collection.
If I loved the first book but not the entire series (N.K. Jemison’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms comes to mind) I didn’t include it below. I’m only listing here those series that kept me captivated through the very last word. Hopefully you’ll find a new series below and will enjoy this upcoming holiday as I did all those years ago, exploring a delightful new world.
Broken Empire Trilogy – Mark Lawrence
Why I love it: If you haven’t picked up this series because you’ve read negative reviews and worried the main character would be too reprehensible, unlikable or otherwise turn you off, don’t hesitate any more. This is one of the most unique and compelling series I’ve come across in my thirty years of reading in the genre.
Rarely have I read a series where the writer’s voice seemed so perfectly suited to a character. Lawrence’s style is the perfect vehicle for Jorg, and he writes with a magnificent turn of phrase.
Yes, the writer explores some very dark moral corners, but they’re worth exploring. This is a story of a broken empire and a broken child, and it shines a light on the consequences of circumstance in a compelling way.
Coldfire Trilogy – C.S. Friedman
Why I love it: Often it’s the characters that stay with you far longer than their story. This is the case with Friedman’s Gerald Tarrant, a charismatic villain written in an age before the antihero became mainstream and still a standout, even among today’s plethora of malevolent heroes. The story is interesting in its own right, but it’s Tarrant’s unique form of vampirism and the demons that haunt him that keep you turning the pages, both hoping and not hoping for his redemption.
There’s a glorious darkness to this series, and especially to Tarrant, that make him one of the most compelling characters I’ve encountered. Gerald Tarrant convinced me that dark heroes can be awesome and was one of the inspirations for Pelas and his Malorin’athgul brothers.
Kushiel’s Legacy – Jacqueline Carey
Why I love it: Carey writes so beautifully and with such lyrical phrasing that if you’re not drawn in from the first page, I’ll be very surprised. I rank her with Pat Rothfuss in terms of the quality of the written word. Carey’s Phèdre nó Delaunay is one of the most enduring heroines I’ve come across in fantasy—striking, brilliant, brave. Utterly unforgettable.
The story includes an epic number of characters, though it’s told in first-person (I often argued against early complaints of the number of characters in my books by referring them to Carey’s Dramatis Personae), and exceptional world-building. This series has a deliciously dark and sensual undercurrent. If you’re squeamish about sex scenes, though, it’s not for you.
Chronicles of Amber – Roger Zelazny
Why I love it: ‘Amber is the one true realm, casting infinite reflections of itself.’ There are so many things to love about this Hugo and Nebula award-winning series. Zelazny wrote in a time when you had to search far and wide to find a series not deluged by Tolkienian stereotypes.
The treachery and backstabbing in this book gives even Game of Thrones a run for its money. Yet it’s as far removed from Martin’s world as Prince Corwin is from Amber when he wakes on Earth recalling little of his past. Zelazny’s use of patterns was an inspiration for my own series. I just wish I could’ve come up with a means of communicating that’s as ingenious as the Tarot the princes of Amber use to reach each other across the reflected worlds.
The Belgariad and The Mallorean – David Eddings
Why I love it: I have many times used The Belgariad and The Mallorean (the latter is the continuation of the former) to introduce new people to the fantasy genre. Prophecy, magical talismans, quests to save the world, vindictive gods, treacherous priesthoods, barbarians, sorcerers, knights and spies…
Eddings wrote these books in an attempt to use every possible fantasy trope in a well-written way. This is a delightfully fun, witty and clever series comprising ten books that even the most jaded fantasy reader will enjoy.
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne – Brian Staveley
Why I love it: After starting and discarding several highly lauded fantasy series that felt like cardboard in my brain, I was thrilled to be drawn into Staveley’s story from the very first word.
As you might expect, after creating a number of compelling characters myself, I’ve become rather discerning about who I spend my time with. I was relieved and excited to find bold adventuring companions in Staveley’s heroes and heroine. I suspect you’ll sink into his world just as quickly, and as happily, as I did.
The Adventures of Vlad Taltos – Steven Brust
Why I love it: Brust has a plethora of books in this series now, and I confess I haven’t read the latest few, but the dozen or so that I have gotten through have all been wickedly fun.
Vlad Taltos is one of those insouciant, irrepressible thief-assassin-hero types with a penchant for trouble that almost but not quite outweighs his talents. He’s the fantasy equivalent of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt with a wise-cracking (but only to his psychic hearing) flying lizard for his sidekick.
These are just a joy to read.
Gentlemen Bastards – Scott Lynch
Why I love it: In a similar vein to Brust, Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards have a certain irrepressible penchant for trouble that makes for a great story. Lynch does a masterful job of balancing the light and the dark in his series, so that you can’t ever become too comfortable with the safety of Locke and his band of miscreants. Considering how outrageously daring they are, this is an effective way of keeping you turning the pages. His world feels delightfully different and new, yet it’s familiar in all the right ways. And by far he has the best fantasy kingdom and city names I’ve ever encountered.
The Wayfarer Redemption – Sara Douglass
Why I love it: Published during the 90’s sword and sorcery heyday, Douglass’s series might feel a little trite now to the seasoned fantasy reader, but the depth of her characters and the strength of their relationships as they struggle with a crumbling world grounds this story in reality. Douglass’s work reminds me of Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy but without so many characters who leave you brokenhearted.
If you want to branch out from traditional epic fantasy into urban fantasy, I’ve really enjoyed the Shadowside Novels by Michelle Belanger, the Charley Davidson books by Darynda Jones, the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, and The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning (in fact, Moning’s Jericho Barrons sits next to Phaedor in my esteem.) And of course, the great Anne Rice (if you read her book The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, you’ll find shades of a very important character in my series).
You can see my full Goodreads list of recommended series here. If I’ve missed your favorite fantasy series here, please recommend them in the comments. I would love to know about any series that you enjoyed which I might’ve missed.
An interesting collection of Fantasy, Melissa. Come January, I’ll look into them and plan my 2017 reading schedule.
One I like is the “Inheritance Cycle” – 4 books, possibility of a 5th ‘sometime in the future’. Dragons, magic, good vs bad etc. Written by a young man, who wrote the first book ‘Eragon’ while an early teen. The books got better and better as he found his pace. A good almost-easy read, these are part of my ‘I-think-I’ll-read-xxxxx-again’ shelf.
oops… Forgot his name…. Christopher Paolini….
Yes, I’m familiar with the Inheritance Cycle. Good to know you enjoyed them, Ken. I’ll take a look at them again. 🙂
Brandon Sanderson. If you liked Wheel of Time, read Brandon Sanderson. When Robert Jordan passed away, this is the guy who the picked to finish WoT. His books are amazing, his universe is stunning. Start with Elantris, a standalone book, then check out the Mistborn trilogy, and the Stormlight Archive.
My go to series though in the past few years has been the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It’s about a full blown wizard (staff, rod, spells) who is a private investigator in modern day chicago. Harry Dresden is a smart mouthed geek, who advertises under Wizards in the yellow pages. 15 books, a ton of short stories, every one will make you laugh, and draw you deeper into the Dresdenverse.
Other greats are Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix, Chronies of the Raven by James Barclay.
Thanks for the recommendations, Devon. I’ve read a few of the Dresden Files. I don’t love the “bungling wizard” personality, but the magic is neat. I hear Harry becomes less fumbling as the series continues on. Would you agree?
I’ve read Mistborn and have Stormlight up next on my TBR. I feel very behind that I haven’t read it yet. I’ve never heard of Abhorsen the Raven series. I’ll check them out. Thank you!
Read the Abgorsen series! I suspect you’ll enjoy it. Or, better still, listen to the series, which is my new go to obsession 🙂 Tim Curry is the narrator and he’s amazing. BTW, love Nick…he’s so talented! Great choice for a narrator. Thanks for all you do and I cannot wait until 4 is available through audible. Cheers!
Dresden does come into his own, more and more, throughout the series. In fact, in the most recent book (as of Feb 2017) he even, finally, finds a way to be proactive during a very improbable situation!
As for Sanderson, (WoT not withstanding) he has a very interesting world-building and character development technique. Like many readers, his completion of Jordan’s work is what turned me to reading his other works. Though Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy are good reads, I feel like his current Stormlight Archive books are truly something that will stand the test of time. These books always seem to leave me questioning just who the villains truly are, as well as who to consider a true protagonist and/or antagonist. I don’t mean this in the sense of a mystery, though there is that as well. I mean that the choices, morals, and overall actions of characters you consider protagonists and/or heroes when you first start to get to know them, show at least one side that makes you wonder. I feel that some characters are constantly teetering on the edge of representing true villainy or true heroism at any moment.
That being said, his “urban/dystopian” fiction in the Reckoners series is a unique blend of action, comedy, and mystery that leaves you burning through pages just to learn the resolution.
Just a thought
That’s great to hear, Richard. It’s nice to get more perspective on Sanderson’s work. I know he’s well respected and prolific, which is a nod in his favor in and of itself. Great to get more of the meat of his work. You’ve definitely gotten me interested in branching out beyond Mistborn.
I like the looks of this list, i have not read a few of them but the Eddings books are some of my all time favorites. Have you read the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson? That is another one of my favorite fantasy epics that you might enjoy if you haven’t read it already.
You know, I’ve picked up Gardens of the Moon three times, Bob. I really just need to commit to it and push through – LOL!
You know you really should! I had the exact same experience – started it over and over again, but found it too rambling and difficult to follow. Turns out after I finally pushed through The Gardens of the Moon I couldn’t get enough of the Malazan Empire and its universe. One of the best written, most touching series I’ve ever read, with a story and world so well crafted, that one can only lean back in her reading chair and admire and enjoy.
Thumbs up for the Dresden Files too, but even though Harry’s character developes and deepens as he ages, he does remain a bit fumbling, and rather prone to marthyrdom and chauvinism, so if you haven’t liked the character I doubt you will find him any less annoying in the later installments.
Just started Cephrael’s Hand, and am already very drawn into your world and characters: thank you for the great series! Have a great 2017!
That’s very helpful to hear about both series, Paulina. Thank you!
Yay! I look forward to your feedback once you get further into the story. Keep me posted. 🙂
Yes, please push through on that one. It is a fun read and if you push through you’re like dang “I have to do that again”
Chronicles of Amber is one of my all time favorites. Terry Brooks Shannara series is pretty great. The ongoing Demon Singer series is my personal favorite 😉
I don’t know anything about the Demon Singer series. Thanks for the recommendation, Benny!
You Can’t go wrong with Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Books read the twice and am now listening to them on Audible.
I agree, Tom. I have Williams on my larger Goodreads list. It took me forever to get into The Dragonbone Chair, but I recall enjoying the series once I really got into it.
Terry good kind sword of truth series
You know, I really enjoyed this series up through book 4, Sam, but he lost me at book 5. It should definitely be on a list of great fantasy though. Thanks for mentioning it.
I got thru 4 and lost interest also
I really enjoyed Medalon by Jennifer Falon. She wrote two trilogies, with the second intersecting with the first midway through.
I would second the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.
I enjoyed Medalon also, Julian. Great to mention it here. I also enjoyed Fallon’s Tide Lords series (but I’ll admit the finale left me a little bewildered).
Another for your list would be the Thieves World Series. An anthology, in which multiple authors played their characters off one another in a town called sanctuary, it was edited by Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey
Very cool, Tim! I haven’t heard of it. So excited to have so many new books for my TBR. Thanks for sharing, and have a wonderful holiday.
Thank you for compiling these suggestions! I loved Kingdom Blades!! I am now anxiously awaiting book 5!!! I have found some decent reading through Bookbub, and their email suggestions. But a some reading I’ve enjoyed includes “Haven Series” by Carmen Webster Buxton, “Wielder Trilogy” by T.B. Christensen, “The Sword Mage Trilogy” by Martin Hengst, “In Her Name” series by Michael R. Hicks,”Blood and Brotherhood Saga” by Jeremy Laszlo and “The Sorcerer’s Ring series” by Morgan Rice. These may not have super depth like WoT or Paths of Alir, and some are very easily “digested,” but can provide an interesting diversion from more common ideas.
Now it seems I have several more series to dive into!
Thank you so much for these suggestions, Scott. These are all new to me, which is exciting! Have a wonderful holiday.
Thanks for the list! I’ve read a few of these but there are some I haven’t. I LOVED Kushiel’s Dart series, WOT, The Belgariad and the Deryni. Chronicles of Amber was the first fantasy series a friend started me off with.
I agree with your feelings on Robin Hobb’s characters. I couldn’t enjoy the Farseer series as much as I wanted to. My sister suggested that I saw too much of myself in the main character’s invisibility. I admire Hobb’s writing so I might try another series. I wasn’t as crazy about the Wayfarer series. I am a fan of Sword of Truth and I love the unique way he approached writing “Pillars of Creation”. Kahlan comes off as a b*tch at times, all throughout the series 🙂 I also see you’ve left off GOT, I hope he finishes it someday…
I’d recommend The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, the early Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Joan D. Vinge’s Psion and Catspaw. All are short books, easy to read in a few hours, but each have lasting characters. Not quite Fantasy are C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. Love them.
Oh, Anna, these are great suggestions. I’ve been wanting to read Darkover for years and keep forgetting it. I’ll add to my TBR right now.
I appreciate your thoughts on Farseer. It’s nice to know I’m not the one person in the world who didn’t love them. I enjoyed Hobbs writing but not the feeling of being dragged along forever behind the coach trying to climb the rope back onto it.
I didn’t include Sword of Truth because I couldn’t get all the way through the series, but the early books were great for me. Good to have them represented here. Thanks again for your great additions to my list!
I really like Guy Gavriel Kay, pick of many would be Under Heaven and the Lions of Al-Rassan. A lot of fantasy readers seem to miss him and I can’t understand why. His way of writing is just so good. I also like Anne Bishop and J.V Jones ( though waiting for the fifth book in one of her series is like GRR Martin) for different reasons. The Evermen saga by James Maxwell was worth a read and the Powder Mage books. I am a huge fan of the Malazan Book of the Fallen as well and for me only Tolkien is better but they do seem to be a required taste 🙂
Thank you so much, Jessica. I’m really going to try to get farther into Gardens of The Moon this time to see if I can stick with it. I feel like there’s something valuable there – I just can’t seem to make it far enough after several attempts.
I also love Anne Bishop. Thanks for mentioning her here.
I’ve read a few of Guy Gavriel Kay. I really enjoyed some of his one-off books but was disappointed with The Summer Tree. I’ve actually started the Lions of al-Rassan, so I need to get back to it and get far enough in to figure out the story. These days if it doesn’t grab me hard early on, the book runs the risk of finding itself in my version of purgatory.
The others of yours are new to me, so I’m excited to check them out. Have a happy holiday!
If you don’t mind more “adult” fantasy, think George R.R. Martin in terms of graphic description, the Moontide Quartet is fantastic.
Thank you so much, Ben. I’ve never heard of that series. Very exciting to have so many great recommendations. Have a lovely holiday. 🙂
Can’t beat Terry Brooks and Shannara. And the way he tied in Word and Void was one of the most ingenious works ever.
Great to hear, John. Definitely should have Shannara represented here. 🙂
One series that i found enjoyable was The Chromicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson. Also the Elric books by Michael Moorcock, and another series i like, less fantasy…i think its called horror by some, which i dont agree with is the Nexroscope series by Brian Lumley (sp). Good list btw. I will have to chexk a couple of them out, as i have not encountered them. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas…☺
The Chromicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson was amazing but his The Gap Cycle and Mordant’s Need are my favorites of his
Thank you so much for the recommendations, Derek. I’m been meaning to read Thomas Covenant for a long time. You’re the third or fourth person whose mentioned them in response to my list, so I guess I really need to get on that. 😉
Have a lovely holiday!
Great list and I think your books are great! My all time favorite fantasy series is the dark elf trilogy by R A Salvatore. The other books in the series are amazing too but that is the series that really made me love fantasy and got me hooked
Ah, of course. R.A.Salvatore is a master in high fantasy. Definitely should have him on the list. Thanks, Sam!
Some of my favorites include Karen Miller’s Tarnished Crown series, starting with The Falcon Throne., which is excellent grimdark on par with Mark Lawrence.Another great series, my personal favoritw, is Mark Barnes Echoes of Empire series, which I consider an epic fantasy masterpiece, Which starts with The Garden of Stones. If you like urban fantasy, Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad books, starting with Armageddon Bound, are a lot of fun.
All of these sound so interesting, Steve. I’ll add to my TBR immediately. Thank you so much!
Coldfire Trilogy – C.S. Friedman is one of my favorites Thanks for the reminder i have to read it again.
The Belgariad and The Mallorean – David Eddings in my top 20 series but The Elenium and The Tamuli are in the top 5 one of my favorite Chartacters of all time is Sparhawk. And his The Redemption of Althalus is also one of my favorites.
The Tower and Hive Series by Anne McCaffery is also on the Top ten series.
The Rose of the Prophet by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis what got me into their works and is still my favorite of theirs
I forgot The Riftwar Cycle (30 plus books) by Raymond E. Feist I have been reading and rereading it for almost 20 years Glad and sad that it is finally over.
Awesome, Chris. I never really got into Weis and Hickman, but they’ve been on my periphery for ages. Thanks for the recommendation – now I know where to start. Have a wonderful holiday!
Bard Series by Keith Taylor. Hard to find the complete series though as the last book (five) was only printed in Austrailia
Thanks for the recommendation, James! Have a lovely holiday.
Hey, I am not sure if anyone else has mentioned it yet, but are you a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere? Particularly Mistborn and Stormlight Archive?
The Cosmere is my all time favorite series and I like alot of the genre-bending done by Sanderson.
His plot twists are always the perfect culmination of foreshadowing that you see coming with the perfect twist that throws your predictions off and have dramatic impact on the story and how you perceive everything you’ve read up til then. I also like how the connections between the Cosmere stories haven’t been made so apparent that it appears as one long daunting epic series (like WoT) to scare new readers away, but instead is presented as several seperate series, with the connection to the broader Cosmere story there for the reader who notices/seeks it.
What do you think?
I don’t think anyone has mentioned Cosmere yet, Christian. We’ve had plenty of Sanderson fans recommend his books generally, but Cosmere is new. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂
Cosmere is the larger series that most of his works fall under. Only a few of his books and series’ fall outside of it
One of my all time favorites. No rationalization or compromises.
Mark tweeted his like of this review I wrote.
“How do you describe why red is your favorite color rather than blue? That’s how I feel writing a review for this book, red or blue, it’s about how they made me feel.
Halfway through the book I realized the end was near so I started reading slower, trying to make it last. When I finished the book I felt Sad then Happy, Dissapointed then Fufilled. For Jorge (the protagonist), I felt first disgust then ambivalence, sympathy then compassion…. and finally pride, pride?? what a strange ride. I thought about the book last night before sleep, this morning when I woke and again now. That’s as good a compliment and reccomendation as I can give.
The author tweeted this was a book about growth but not redemption (paraphrasing), I disagree, it is the book of redemption, just not in a biblical way. The redemption is in taking back, taking back that which was taken or abandoned, the payment of obligation, freedom after payment of an amazingly high ransom…. Redemption.
As the entire book was written from the perspective of a character who’s early compromise(s) framed his life, creating an inability to ever compromise again the end is fitting, any compromise in the conclusion of Jorg’s story would have been a betrayal.
This is a story and main character does not compromise and as such will offend the sensibilities of many. The fact that comprise is not a consideration and the degree to which Jorge is broken leads to some uncomfortable situations, but both his flaws and inflexibility are nessecary for the story being told.
I wish more books made me so uncomfortable, happy, sad, confused and excited.”
Melissa-Brandon Sanderson- Stormlight is as good as folks say.
Gentleman Bastards & Unhewen Throne are among my favorites too.
Currently reading The Palace Job, feels a bit like a lighter version of Gentleman Bastards. A fun Jaunt
Dawn of Wonder – by Jonathan Renshaw was special I. A way hard to describe.
Thanks, Bill. That was a lovely description of the story of Jorg and his Broken Empire. Especially insightful on the point about compromise.
I’m glad to have your stamp of approval on Stormlight. I will eventually confront reading it and then be kicking myself for waiting, most likely.
Thank you for your other recommendations!
who wrote thorns and is it available on audiobooks
I have a couple of your suggestions already, Prince of Thorns and Gentleman Bastards series they were great reads, may I suggest the Demon Cycle Series by Peter V Brett. It is one of best reads I have had also, there is many more but since I haven’t seen a suggestion for this series I just wanted to throw it in the hat. I could never get into the Gardens of the Moon myself I have tried a few time and there is a huge fan base it was just not for me.
Thank you for you hard work and I truly enjoy your work.
I’m enjoying Demon Cycle also, Ron. It made my Goodreads top choices list, even it not my top 10. That’s interesting to hear you say that about Gardens of the Moon. I really do need to give it a fourth try. 😉
Have a happy new year!
Hi, I just started reading your books, and I’m loving it. I’ve been into scifi/fantasy since I can remember, and I agree with a lot of your recommendations. Here’s just a few series that I’d like include:
Dawn of Wonder – The hype is NOT exaggerated AT ALL. Every book fan, especially a fantasy reader, should read/listen to this book ASAP because it is a book that compels readers who don’t write reviews to write multi-paragraph reviews. It provides that feeling of satisfaction on every level as a reader while leaving that craving for the next book.
Pillars of Reality – Set in a science vs. magic world, it provides a fresh spin on the genre. The culture clashes between characters and groups are very believable and often amusing. It’s a unique and entertaining spin on traditional fantasy themes.
King’s Dark Tidings – While the main character is a genius and totally OP, his lack of early-life social interactions causes amusing misunderstandings with other characters and interesting situations. Unlike some series out there, “genius” MC doesn’t break character or do something stupid solely to create comedic situation. It’s a somewhat lighter take on the assassin MC sub-genre that allows the reader to take a break from the emotional turmoil of similar series like “Night Angel” Series (which I’ve read multiple times and love, too)…at least so far in the series. Like Dawn of Wonders, it’s the start of the series (3rd book coming soon).
Iron Druid Chronicles – You have the link, but no blurb 🙁 This one of my favorite current series and is a hilarious series, especially if you are a dog/pet lover. Oberon, the MC’s dog with a telepathic link to the MC, says and does so many things that pet lovers will appreciate and quote repeatedly. The story is rich with European mythology and theology and the authors amusing spin on them; the cast of characters are great; the author really stresses the “you reap what you sow” motif in a good way. However, this series is one of my favorite reads because it answers that random question “how would [inset your favorite pet’s name] react in this situation if you could read his/her thoughts and vice versa?”
Thank you for these wonderful recommendations, Matt! Dawn of Wonder does have a lot of positive praise. I suppose there has to be a reason for it. I’m glad to know you feel it’s well deserved.
Love the other recommendations! I’ve never heard of King’s Dark Tidings and it sounds really fun.
I didn’t mean to slight Iron Druid. I’m a huge fan of the series also, and I’m not even a dog lover. 😉
I would love to hear more from you as you move through my series if you have any other feedback you’d like to share.
Melissa…first off…I have really enjoyed your book! I just finished book 3 on Audible this morning. Nick is an incredible.narrator!
For my contribution to the list…you should try Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations series. He wrote all three books before he published the first…so the storyline is tight. For me, this series had the second best ending I have ever read (Mistborn was the best).
Again, I am really enjoying your story and look forward to reading/listening to more of it.(especially the Tanis/Pelas storyline).
Thank you so much, Chris. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying my series. Kingdom Blades should be out for Audible in February.
I’ve made a note of your recommendations – thank you! Riyria and Mistborn are both fun series and definitely should be mentioned here. 🙂
Hi Melissa, I am about to begin reading your books and was doing some research. If you are interested in suggestions I would like to offer the Reccluse series of books by L. E. Modessitt. I used to think he was Robert Jordan using a pseudonym (another one). Another book series that is just beginning is by Renshaw. His Dawn of Wonder book 1 was pretty good. I love the Northwest in the winter. I lived in a cabin on a lake outside of Spokane for two years. I read a lot of Jordan over that time as well. I am rambling but, the first two books by Jordan I ever read were Conan novels. I still have them.
You know, I had someone else mention Conan to me, Kevin. I’ve got Conan the Cimmerian on my TBR now (I think those are the first, but if I’m mistaken, let me know).
I’m excited to hear you’re about to begin my series. I would love your thoughts once you get into the story. I appreciate the feedback.
Thank you for your other recommendations. Dawn of Wonder is another one that I’ve heard great things about.
Here’s to some great fireside reading for everyone this winter!
Hello again Melissa,
I am very excited to see the next installment is coming out this summer. I am going to reread the first four to refresh my memory. Warmest Regards,
I am always looking for good books to read. For me, “reading” is almost always actually listening to audiobooks. Since I drive a truck for a living, I listen to about 100 per year. Epic fantasy series are my favorite. I have to admit I have not listened to your series yet, but I did just get the first three books on Audible, so give me a week or two and I’ll be caught up. A couple series I’ve listened to recently and really enjoyed were the Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan, and Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Thanks for the suggestions and p.s., when will Kingdom Blades be available through audible?
Thank you for the recommendations, Kevin. I’ve heard good things about both of the series you mentioned.
I would love to hear from you again once you get into my series. I’m always interested in feedback from my readers (or listeners, as it were). Kingdom Blades should be released for Audible in late February.
Have an happy new year and save travels. 🙂
For my part I would recommend Widdershins Adventures by Ari Marmell and the Cycle of Arawn by Edward W. Robertson!
Thanks for the suggestions, Matthew. Have a happy new year!
I think the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson are on a different level, unfortunately they are only 2 books into a 10 book saga.
Also Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera was awesome, Kate Reading was the narrator and it’s one of a very few that i’ve re listen to more than once.
I love the Codex Alera, they are wonderfully narrated as well. Same with his Dresden Files books, done by Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Agreed, CA is awesome. The best part is he wrote the series on a bet (or so the story goes) that he could take two horrible/tired fantasy tropes and turn them into a great series. The two tropes? A Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon….
Melissa: First, I am really enjoying your series. Thru book 3 and getting ready to start book 4. I had the delight of finding your series just a month ago, so piling thru them one at a time with no delays (the BEST). I love the fact that you put Eddings on your list. Silk is one of my favorite all time characters. It may not be the deep/dark/complicated fantasy of today, but it is totally fun (and reminds me of being a kid -as that was when I found then). Keep up the good work! Thank you for writing for those of us who need it. -kb
My pleasure, Keith. I love Eddings for many of the same reasons you mention. His work is just solidly fun. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my series so far. I would love to know your thoughts once you get into Kingdom Blades. Keep me posted! 🙂
Good collection. A few more that I have enjoyed that are lesser known are, Sea of Dekatos by Stephen & Tim Gibson, Dreams & Shadows and Woven Peril by Jeffrey Collyer (fantastic magic system), and Godling Chronicles and Dragonvein by Brian D. Anderson.
I’m working on my own series, and have a few books out, but I do enjoy reading some good fantasy books, or rather, listening to them as I have more listening time. I’m working on your series, I’m on book 2 or 3, I can’t remember, I paused on it to catch up on the Marketing Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcast, and then I’m going to finish the audios on your series before going to a few of Lindsay Buroker’s series to listen to.
Thanks for the recommendations, Craig. It’s awesome to have so many new series to try. Let me know how you like Lindsey’s books. I follow her blog but haven’t read any of her work. And good luck, too, on your own series. I would love to get your feedback once you’re through Kingdom Blades, which releases at the end of this month. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and thank you for listening. 🙂
Did you read Bakker ? Red rising ?
They are on your list for a looong time
On my TBR you mean, Stephen? Sadly I still haven’t gotten to it. I did manage to read the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, which had also been on there forever, as well as about a dozen plus other books since October. I don’t read a lot of fantasy while I’m writing (I just have this feeling that it muddies the waters) and I was writing fairly solidly from 2012-2016. Now that I’m on a bit of a writing break, I’m slowly getting through this very long, and as you noticed, backlogged, list.
I’m assuming you’re a fan of Red Rising?
Addendum: Have finally started it, thanks you your gentle prodding. 😉
I have read/listen to most of the books mentioned above and just want to add another voice for Dawn of Wonder, Kings Dark Tidings and the Stormlight Archives. Surprised not too see the Light Bringer series by Brent Weeks already mentioned, as good or better than the others listed. Very unique magic system based on light splitting. If anyone has seen it on audible they might have passed due to a poor narrator in the first book but the story is great and Simon Vance takes over as narrator in the 2nd. Everyone on this board should will love it
Thanks for adding your recommendations, Bradly. I haven’t read Light Bringer though it’s on my very long Fantasy TBR. I sort of lumped Stormlight into the category of “everyone knows this is a great series and Sanderson doesn’t need my endorsement,” along with WoT and SoIF. 😉
Just finished the Thorn series and wanted to thank you for your list of good reads. As time slips on I have become less generous to a book that doesn’t developed or flow well; and, since I value the fine quality writing of you, P. Rothfuss and B. Sanderson, your recommendations hold great weight worth pursuing. Thorn delivered. And, while I wait patiently (no really) for the next installment from the three of you, I will pick up another of your recommendations to keep my revanant reading behavior assuaged 😀 ….perhaps the Emperor’s Blade
Oh, that makes me very happy to hear, John. I feel rather in the same boat. After decades of reading in the genre, I find that I’m SO particular about what I’ll dedicate my time to. I used to pick up a book and finish it no matter what. Now my time is more valuable to me, I guess.
I hope you enjoy The Emperor’s Blades and subsequent books. I’m also really enjoying the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. Maybe another to try if you haven’t already.
Have you read any of the Rhapsody Trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon? If not, you should really check them out, great reads! I am now on your fourth book, very much enjoying this series. Thanks!
You know, I bought them years ago, James, and for some reason I never got to reading them. I need to get them back onto my TBR. I’m sure I would enjoy them, especially with my background in music. Thanks for the reminder!
I’m thrilled to know you’re enjoying my series. I would love your thoughts and feedback once you’re through Kingdom Blades. Please keep in touch – and thank you for reading. 🙂
Melissa, I’ve just finished book 4 on kindle and I’ve never felt the inclination to write to an author about their novels until now. I was blown away by the depth in character, the philosophical undertones and the way you have managed to make loveable ordinary characters god-like. Thank you very much for a really enjoyable read and I cannot wait for the next book.
The lightbringer series is excellent by the way and there is also a UK series by Ben Aaronovic, which is the British version of the Dresden Files, but classier and with a hero you care about, found here – https://g.co/kgs/oKsdRQ of you are interested.
All the best wrapping the series up, I am sure you’ll nail it.
Thank you so much for writing to me, Johnny. I’m always honored when readers take the time to comment or write to me. I appreciate the feedback very much, and of course, I love interacting with my readers. Your perspectives have helped shape the series.
It’s funny you mention – I’m actually trying not to make all of my characters godlike, but it’s surprisingly hard to do! Trell is kind of my last true holdout, the link to the divine nobility in all of us. I’m glad you’re finding inspiration in others also.
Thank you for recommendations on future series to read. I’d never heard of Aaronovic’s work, so I’ll definitely check him out. 🙂
No Raymond E Feist? surprised! check some out… start with “Magician” the unabridged version of course! 😀
I’ve read Feist, Matthew. The series just didn’t make my top 25. It’s definitely a great read though. Thank you for mentioning it here.
Eagerly awaiting your 5th book (good luck). In terms of books which i would add to your lists:
* Miles Cameron – Traitor Son Cycle.
* Jeff Wheeler – Kings Fountain series
* AJ Smith -the Long War (similar to John Gwynne)
* De Castell – The Greatcoats…
Hope they don’t distract you too much from your own books…
Thank you so much, Bryon. I’m so excited to get new recommendations. I haven’t heard of any of these series. Finding new books makes me happy.
I actually pause reading fantasy when I’m heavy into writing the next book, as I find it muddies the waters a bit to read other fantasies while writing my own. I tend to jump genres and read a lot of nonfiction once I’m heavily into a new book. Literature always informs my writing much better also. Les Miserables is a favorite of mine to revisit, as Hugo’s use of metaphor is unmatched.
Thank you again for the recommendations. I’ll be eager to look into them once I’m back into reading fantasy.
I didn’t see any suggestions for these two authors, so I lend my opinion to you. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are two relatively new writers who do excellent work. Nevernight is a series currently being worked by Mr. Kristoff, and the series, Illuminae, is done by both of them. Illuminae is particularly unique. Please look into it, it’s quite amazing and I’ve never seen the like before. I also am a big fan of Dresden files, you do have to get past the first three books, they improve with complexity as they progress. It gets even better after rereading as something that happened in book three might become more significant later on.
Thank you for your series, I am enjoying them very much. If I had to pick a favorite character, I think it would be Tanis.
Thank you so much for your suggestions, Julie. I look forward to learning more about Kaufman and Kristoff’s work.
I appreciate knowing Dresden gets better later on. I have a hard time liking a perpetually struggling, bungling hero.
I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my series. Thank you for your feedback, and thank you for reading.
The Arcane Ascension series and The War of Broken Mirrors series by Andrew Rowe, The Spellmonger Series by Terry Mancour. Fantastic books to read. If you like audiobooks, Nick Podehl and John Lee are truly delightful, and some of the best in their field.
Thanks for the recommendations, Joel. I look forward to giving Arcane Ascension a try to start with.
I read the Warded Man series. Great story. I would recommend it to anyone for not too serious fantasy. Did you ever have a chance to read Dawn of Wonder?
Hi Kevin, I didn’t yet but I have a sample on my Kindle. As you can imagine, my TBR is immense. I haven’t forgotten. It looks like a very popular book.
No rush I imagine, Mr Renshaw is not pushing books at any rapid pace. Book two is still in process.
Good to hear of a new series to try.
Based on some of the other books you have liked, I would recommend the following
Any Abercrombie. Great fast paced read and believable flawed characters
A bit older…. Hugh cook. The first five of chronicles of an age of darkness. All five books happen at the same time from five different points of view with characters interacting with each other from their separate points of view. all can be read as stand alone books, and number 4 the walrus and the war wolf is my all time favourite book, including Tolkien and grr Martin…
Older still… Jack Vance, especially cudgels saga.
Finally Katherine Kerr. The first series of four were awesome, the deverry series. The next three series of four were ok, but unfortunately nowhere near the first series.
Thanks so much for the recommendations, Chris. I’ve had Kerr on my radar for a long while. I really need to get to the Deverry books! The rest outside of Abercrombie’s work are new to me. Exciting!
Please read the Dragon Lance books beginning with “Dragons of Autumn Twilight.” These books began my obsession with fantasy (so they may actually be for a younger crowd since I read them in middle school, but they still are very good). I have read dozens of fantasy books since, including many of the ones on your list. I have picked up Prince of Thornes many times but for me, it is your Malazan. I have to push through that one because many people I trust and respect love it.
It’s funny how these things work, Joshua. I would definitely add to the insistences from others to push through Prince of Thorns. It’s not a very long series (unlike Malazan) and by the middle to end of the first book I think you’ll be hooked. 🙂
I love your list! I too am a huge Sara Douglass and Kevin Hearne fan and I never see them on people’s lists! Also Scott Lynch is the man but he’s on quite a few lists. Thank you for the other recs! Now at least I have a path to follow when I’m done with The Sixth Strand. Cheers!
I’m so glad you found some new ones to try, Summer. 🙂
Will Wight’s Cradle series is one of my all time favorites. While his characters don’t have the emotional development that yours do in your books, his writing, magic system and the sheer power of his storytelling are mesmerizing.
So great to hear, Jeff. So many wonderful recommendations here. Thank you for adding yours!
I’m so happy to see you mention Kushiel’s Legacy. I have been on the fence about checking it out. I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s Court of Thorns and Roses series, so someone recommended Kushiel’s Legacy saying that I might like it even better. The fact my friend said “even better” made me hesitant admittedly because I really loved ACOTR. Reading you recommending it, helps me feel more motivated to check it out. It will be hard to beat ACOTR for me, but it does not mean I might not love it.
I’m not sure I like the Kushiel books better but Carey’s writing is amazingly lyrical and beautiful. The series is quite dark at times but her heroine is worthy. For sure you should read them, starting with the first book, Kushiel’s Dart.
As I type this, I am saddened to think Melissa won’t be adding her two cents to my comment. I pray her family and friends are finding peace since her passing.
When I was young, besides taking us to the library to find our own books to read, my mom would pick a book, longer than the many small ones we always grabbed for ourselves, and read to us, as my siblings and I gathered around her on the floor.
We ventured into some wonderful worlds, not the least of which was learning from Madeleine L’Engle how to travel via tesseract, by folding space and time.
But my favorite by far were some small yet wonderful books by Edward Eager starting with Half Magic. I loved these books so much, that years later I read them to my own small children followed by some of the Harry Potter books and eventually The Hobbit. More important than the actual stories and authors, I’ve discovered, is the time spent being read to by my mother and then later reading to my children, and I hope, someday soon, reading to my grandchildren. If you have never taken the opportunity, take one of these many books suggested here and read it outloud to your children! You will not regret it!