Welcome to the recommending reading page. I've asked members of the board to list a few of their favorite authors, books, or series that they'd recommend to others. I'm always happy to get new recommendations, so if you see something missing from the list please feel free to e-mail me or better yet, post your rec on the board. If you do e-mail me, please include your font color code. The only catch to this is that you can't recommend something that's already been recommended. Makes for more variety.
Note that some of the titles are linked to book reviews at the review page. The reviews are not necessarily written by the recommender, but I thought it would be a good way to give you a little more info about the book/series/whatever.
Eventually I would like to figure out a simple way to have people rate each recommended book. I'm not a web genius, so if you know how to create such a program and want to help me out, I'd love to hear from you.
Guy Gavriel Kay
The Fionavar Tapestry
The Summer Tree
The Wandering Fire
The Darkest Road
The Sarantine Mosaic
Sailing to Sarantium
Lord of Emperors
A Song for Arbonne
The Lions of Al-Rassan
GGK is one of the very best fantasy writers out there, weaving a deft mixture of intriguing and strong characters and wonderful plots. A GGK book will never end how one expects, and he'll keep you on the edge of your seat right to the end as well. His books are beautifully researched with a meticulous amount of detail. A must read at all costs.
Paul Kearney - The Monarchies of God
The Heretic Kings
The Iron Wars
The Second Empire
Ships from the West
This is an epic fantasy series that is gritty and exciting. The story centers around a diverse group of characters, some of whom you'll really like, and some you'll really hate; switching pov to weave the various plotlines. The writing is realistic bordering on brutal, especially in the battle and the aftermath of battle descriptions. The magic is a bit different and there is much that is original. A very good read.
Riddlemaster (see Kelanin's recommendations)
Moon and the Face, Fool's Run
The Throme of Errill of Sherrill, The Changeling Sea
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, The Sorceress and the Cygnet
The Cygnet and the Firebird, Winter Rose
The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Song for the Basilisk
The Tower at Stony Wood & Ombria in Shadow
Patricia Mckillip is a wonderful, lyrical writer. I love her use of language and the way her stories flow. Her style is often like experiencing a dream, which can leave the reader confused but enchanted as well. Her latest book, Ombria in Shadow, is McKillip at her very best. Every word is important to the story, and the characters are among her best ever. If forced to choose a favorite, I would go with Ombria, but all her work is well worth reading. Her earlier works are out of print and hard to find, but I was thrilled at obtaining a copy of The Changeling Sea. Although her writing was not as developed as it is now, it is still a lovely novel. I highly recommend her to readers who enjoy subtle humor, strong characters, lush worlds and a fairy tale feel.
Jan Siegel - Fern Capel Trilogy
The Witch Queen (Witch's Honour in the UK)
A fun new voice, Siegel offers a contemporary fantasy with roots back to Atlantis. Her novels are a little inconsistant, but I like they way she brings in a fresh take to the genre. Although these are not great books, they were...for me...a lot of fun to read.
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Iain M. Banks - Inversions
Banks is a generally a sci-fi writer, but this book looked fantasyish so I was compelled to pick it up. What an amazing find! A great plot, wonderful characters, and an ambigious ending that left me thinking for days.
Gail Carson Levine - Ella Enchanted
Whether you like YA or not, this is a must read. Levine has created the best Cinderalla story I've ever read. Clever, funny, creative. Read it now.
Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts - The Empire Series
Daughter of the Empire
Servant of the Empire
Mistress of the Empire
This was my first introduction to mainstream fantasy, and it got me hooked. If you like lots of political intrigue, a little romance, and a powerful female lead, this is the series for you. I am not a fan of Feist or Wurts alone, but this collaboration shines.
Lynn Flewelling - The Tamir Trilogy
The Bone Doll's Twin
The Oracle's Queen
Flewelling has hit her stride as an author with this trilogy. A young girl is destined to be queen, but she'll be killed if her uncle finds her. Dark magic transforms her into a boy, and she grows up believing she's male. Wonderful read!
C. S. Friedman - The Coldfire Trilogy
Black Sun Rising
When True Night Falls
Crown of Shadows
This is an excellent dark fantasy series. The characters could use some development, but the plot makes up for any lack in the characters. The last three hundred pages are incredible. I was shocked and pleased with the ending.
Barry Hughart - Bridge of Birds
If you like fairy tales, mysteries or Asian literature, this is a book for you. A smart, funny look at "an ancient China that never was". I can't wait to read more about Master Li and his esteemed client Number Ten Ox.
The Sevenwaters Trilogy
Daughter of the Forest
Son of the Shadows
Child of the Prophesy
Juliet Marillier may be the best author out there right now. Her research is impeccable and her writing is fantastic. This may be a bit on the feminine side for some readers, but I highly recommend it to everyone.
The Saga of the Light Isles
Marillier's second series is very different from her first, but still an excellent read. The saga follows the adventures of Vikings who've landed on an island in Scotland and their interactions with the people there. It's much more realistic than the Sevenwaters trilogy, yet it still has mythical elements.
Sheri S. Tepper
The Awakeners (also seen in two volumes as The North Shore and The South Shore)
This is my favorite Tepper book, though I certainly haven't read them all. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, the book explores a religion gone terribly wrong. Very intriguing read.
Not as good as The Awakeners but still very enjoyable. Another sci-fi fantasy hybrid that explores the future of religion. A page-turning tale, even though it is bogged down a bit at the end by Tepper's preachiness.
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Raymond E. Feist - Riftwar
A Darkness at Sethanon
Prince of the Blood
The King's Buccaneer
Shadow of a Dark Queen
Rise of a Merchant Prince
Rage of a Demon King
Shards of a Broken Crown
This is a classic fantasy epic that I would recommend to anyone. I would start with Magician and end with Rage of a Demon King, in the order of publication (except for the Empire series, which is connected to the world but not to the main plot). There is also a followup Krondor series filling in other adventures. Feist has an engaging writing style, a variety of wonderful characters, and a richly diverse and fascinating world.
The Stones of Power (The Sipstrassi Tales)
Last Sword of Power
Wolf in Shadow
The Last Guardian
The Drenai Saga
The King Beyond the Gate
Quest for Lost Heroes
In the Realm of the Wolf
The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend
The Legend of Deathwalker
Hero in the Shadows
Gemmell has a number of books, the Stones of Power series and Waylander probably being among the best. He writes "heroic" fantasy, focusing on fewer characters. His main characters are often darker anti-hero types, and he tends to write stand alone novels rather than big series. Some people love these books and some people don't, so I recommend trying them yourself.
Robert Jordan - The Wheel of Time (not yet complete)
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Crossroads of Twilight
Knife of Dreams
This exciting and dramatic series is currently going into its 11th book. Although his writing style has some weaknesses, his plotline draws most readers in, and the series is hard to put down. There's no end in sight, so be warned you'll have to wait for future books, but I also consider this one of the best fantasy series out there.
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman - The Dragonlance Chronicles
Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Spring Dawning
Dragons of Summer Flame
Dragonlance has a great many books written by many authors, many of which aren't very good, but I would recommend this series of 4 books, from Dragons of Autumn Twilight to Dragons of Summer Flame. Weis and Hickman weave a wonderful story, and it's well worth reading.
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The First Chronicles of Amber
Nine Princes in Amber
The Guns of Avalon
Sign of the Unicorn
The Hand of Oberon
The Courts of Chaos
The Second Chronicles of Amber
Trumps of Doom
Blood of Amber
Sign of Chaos
Knight of Shadows
Prince of Chaos
The Last Defender of Camelot
Lord Demon (with Jane Lindskold)
Roger Zelazny was a brilliant writer, and he left behind a substantial legacy. His style is completely unique and incredible at getting the reader close to the story and the characters. Most of his works are written in first person perspective, and I've never seen it pulled off quite as well by anyone else. He's also known for mixing fantasy and the modern in very creative ways. UV or Camelot are great places to dive in - collections of short stories and novelettes that have just been reprinted. Definitely worth your time.
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Charles de Lint
I tried to think of a particular book/series, and I just can't. Everyone knows that I generally recommend Someplace To Be Flying but is that the best one to start with? I don't know.
Why De Lint?
He is an extremely talented and gifted storyteller, taking myths from our own world and giving them flesh. Shadows are deeper and darker, and a bit dangerous, but the knowing makes the risk worth it, and every journey into his imagination is magical one....
Because I say so, darn it! :)
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Steven Lawhead - The Song of Albion
The Endless Knot
It's Celtic based, and has more of a historical feel than a fantasy series, but the basis of the books is an Oxford graduate student falls thru to the 'otherworld', and eventually ends up fulfilling a prophesy.
Hmmm. Sounds pretty standard when I write it THAT way!
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Richard Bach - Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Very short book. Everyone should read it.
George R. R. Martin - A Song of Ice and Fire (not yet complete)
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
If you want visceral responses to a book, this is a series you have to read. It will by turns enthrall, infuriate, shock, amuse, and tear at your heart. Martin's characters are complex and entertaining and his plotting is the same. Unfortunately, the series is not finished to date, but the first four books are worth reading even if it becomes another unending thing like Jordan's Wheel of Time.
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
First of all, for anyone who has tried to discuss these books with our illustrious leader, Hobbits are not like moles. They are like country folk - only shorter and hungrier. If you are at a fantasy site and have not read these books, I don't understand why. These are the books that started it all and define the genre. The pacing is not mile a minute, so some people are turned off at first attempt. But these books are well worth a leisurely read. Over and over again.
The Sacred Hunt
Duology that introduces the world and some of the characters that appear in The Sun Sword. These two books are fine, but not outstanding. But I feel like they are important to read prior to reading the companion series. Hands on gods, linking with human and animal minds, not a huge amount of character depth at this point.
The Sun Sword
The Broken Crown
The Uncrowned King
The Shining Court
Sea of Sorrows
The Riven Shield
The Sun Sword
The female characters in this series are outstanding. There are several very strong female leads. The first book is the slowest, mainly due to the sedate nature of the culture that it explores. Each successive book is better than the last. The series has intriguing characters and interesting plotting. West writes intense fight scenes and intense emotional scenes.
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Patricia McKillip - The Riddle of the Stars
Riddlemaster of Hed
Heir of Sea and Fire
Harpist in the Wind
Now available in the single volume - Riddlemaster.
A wonderful and a-typical Fantasy series and an excellent introduction to the dreamy, poetic style of McKillip's writing.
PS. Far and away my favorite series of books.
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Lloyd Alexander - The Prydain Chronicles
The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron
The Castle of Llyr
The High King
Prydain is one of my very favorite YA series. Alexander does a great job drawing on Welsh mythology, blending humor into his mostly serious plots, and creating characters that you really care about. I reread it last year and found that I hadn't outgrown it at all. I've liked everything else I've read by Alexander, also.
Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere
This is a wacky, dark and very entertaining book. It's a (very British) urban fantasy in which an ordinary guy named Richard discovers the bizarre and dangerous world of London Below. A great read, and you will never think of subways the same way again!
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Good Omens
The Antichrist's been misplaced, and it's up to the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale to find him and prepare him for Armageddon. Totally hilarious, as long as you don't mind the religious jokes.
The Star Scroll
The Dragon Token
These two trilogies actually make up one 6-book series that's one of my favorites. Why do I like it so much? It just has everything; magic, war, action, politics, romance, cute little kids, happy parts, sad parts, the coolest dragons... The magic system -- all based on the use of light-- is the most fun and fascinating I've ever seen. There are quite a few very likeable characters, too.
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Steven Erikson - Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen (not yet complete)
Gardens of the Moon
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Originally published in the UK/Canada, but the first five books are now also available in the US. Intended to be 10 books in the series upon completion.
This series has gotten better with every book I have read so far. Complex plot, a large cast of characters which he writes very well imo, good world and back history. Most of all I like the way he works his Gods/Ascendants, pretty interventionist and far from omnipotent.
In short, this series makes me think of something on the same scale and sweep of Martin's aSoIaF, but better.
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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
Lord Foul's Bane
The Illearth War
The Power that Preserves
The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
The Wounded Land
The One Tree
White Gold Wielder
The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (not yet complete)
The Runes of the Earth
Stephen Donaldson is the man you either love or hate. The first thing he does when writing an epic fantasy is to replace the knight in shining armor with one of the most annoying anti-heroes ever seen. This has made more than one person throw away the books in frustration, but there are so many other wonderful characters that I fell for it immediately.
Geraldine Harris - The Seven Citadels
Prince of the Godborn
The Children of the Wind
The Dead Kingdom
The Seventh Gate
This was one of the first fantasy series I read back in the dark ages. It's a standard high fantasy, written for the younger readers, but with a lot of charm.
The Liveship Traders
Ship of Magic
Ship of Destiny
The Tawny Man
The Golden Fool
Robin Hobb is one of the most talented authors writing in the fantasy field today. The three series are seperate stories, but are linked by a very important character. Some people don't like Farseer as much, and some don't like Liveship as much, but everyone seems to agree that The Tawny Man is excellent, and you really should read both Farseer and Liveship before you read it.
Katharine Kerr - The Deverry Series (not yet complete)
The Bristling Wood (Dawnspell)
The Dragon Revenant (Dragonspell)
A Time of Exile
A Time of Omens
Days of Blood and Fire (A Time of War)
Days of Air and Darkness (A Time of Justice)
The Red Wyvern
The Black Raven
The Fire Dragon
The Gold Falcon
The Spirit Stone
Celtish fantasy set in a parallel universe. A series for those of you who want something more than standard, one dimensional good vs. evil stories. There are 13 books published so far, the fourteenth (and final) book is currently being written.
Ursula K. Le Guin
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
Tales from Earthsea
The Other Wind
Le Guin wrote the first Earthsea book in the late sixties, but it was not until 2001 she finished the series. The later books are a bit different than the early ones, in that they are taking a decidedly female perspective. Some people do not care for this, and complain bitterly about feministic propaganda. I think they have been smoking too much crack. All the books are excellent. The Tombs of Atuan may very well be the best fantasy book ever written.
Annals of the Western Shore
Le Guin's latest series is a YA fantasy set in a world with a subdued magical presence. As usual, she deals with coming to terms with yourself and your talents, and making the right decision at a crucial moment. Sounds standard, I know, but nothing is ever straightforward with Le Guin. These books are all stand alones but will probably benefit from being read in order.
Julian May - The Saga of the Exiles
The Many-Coloured Land
The Golden Torc
The Nonborn King
An original sf/fantasy combination set both in the past and the future of the earth. I found it a bit heavy and technical at times, and the plot made some strange leaps. Still I can recommend it for anyone who is tired of ordinary fantasy.
Philip Pullman - His Dark Materials
The Golden Compass
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
On the surface this is a cute little YA adventure, but deep down it contains an interesting interpretation of Christian mythology. The ending is a bit weak and confusing, but it's worth reading anyway.
The Green Pearl
This is a classic fantasy series that has a touch of true fairy tale. Vance is very imaginative writer, sometimes to the point where he gets side-tracked from the main story line, but the result is always entertaining.
Tales of the Dying Earth
The Dying Earth
The Eyes of the Overworld
Rhialto the Marvellous
This is another one of those series that can't seem to make up their minds if they are SF or fantasy. If you expect a continuous plot line through all the books you will be disappointed - this is a collection of tales where it is often difficult to see any connection from one chapter to the next. The quality also varies quite a bit, but the books are definitely worth reading, if only for the cast, which contains some really amusing scoundrels.
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J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This is the series you've no doubt heard too much about and have either already read (and most likely loved) or refuse to read it on account of it's extreme popularity. If the later is the case, there is no upward limit to the ploys I would use to try and convince you to give it a shot. It's popularity stems from quality and they're quick reads so if you try one and don't like them you haven't lost more than 2hrs, cover to cover.
Terry Pratchett - Discworld
The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites
Mort, Sourcery, Wyrd Sisters
Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Eric (with Josh Kirby)
Moving Pictures, Reaper Man, Witches Abroad
Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, Men at Arms
Soul Music, Interesting Times, Maskerade
Feet of Clay, Hogfather, Jingo
The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant
The Truth, Thief of Time, Night Watch
Monstrous Regiment, Going Postal, Thud!
My favorite series, by my favorite author, Discworld seems to improve with each novel published. The number of books available make starting the series seem daunting but each story is set up to stand alone and any book is a good place to start (though of course every fan will have their own favorite book that you absolutely must read first).
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The Black Jewels Trilogy
Daughter of the Blood
Heir to the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness
The Invisible Ring
The Trilogy is awesome, and I plan to review the rest of it. The Invisible Ring chronicles something Daemon references to in Queen of the Darkness. It is set hundreds of years before the Trilogy, but I suggest reading the Trilogy first, so as not to spoil things.
Jennifer Roberson - The Chronicles of the Cheysuli
Shapechanger's Song - Omnibus One : Shapechangers & The Song of Homana
Legacy of the Wolf - Omnibus Two : Legacy of the Sword & Track of the White Wolf
Children of the Lion - Omnibus Three : A Pride of Princes & Daughter of the Lion
The Lion Throne - Omnibus Four : Flight of the Raven & A Tapestry of Lions
I've only found this series in Omnibus Edition. She's also written a short story found at the end of Omnibus One called Kinspirit.
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W. Michael Gear - Forbidden Borders
Requiem for the Conquerer
Relic of Empire
W. Michael Gear is famous for writing all those People of the ______ books with his wife, but this is one of his two stand alone series. He is a very good writer but he is also very heady at times. His action is great and his characters are so very interesting, but he tempers this with a lot of philosophy and science. I find him a great mix but I'd not recommend this as a before bed read. Rather, take it when you're fully alert and I believe you'll find this an enjoyable read.
Simon R. Green
I really like him as a writer but he has a flaw of making too many things against his characters and being too attached to do something like let one die and when you have armies against one or two people it gets absurd what he does to keep them alive. It is particularly horrible in his sci-fi stuff but his fantasy only goes to rather unbelievable instead of completely retardedly unbelievable.
Blue Moon Rising
Demons, unicorns, dragons and a princess who kicks guys in the nuts...what is not to love? This follows the realm of impossibleness as millions of demons seem about to invade a castle with a few hundred people in it. I won't tell you how it ends but there really isn't too much tension.
Guards of Haven
Haven is the most deprived place on Earth. (Well, it might not be Earth, but earth-like place.) The story centers around two guards who like to play bad cop/bad cop in a very harsh fasion. The twist is they are husband and wife. Now, this book would be more interesting to me if they had more love between them. It isn't that they aren't supposed to be in love (the narrator kind of says "they're deeply in love with each other") but just that the author is really crappy in portraying love. Other than that, a good book. Has some very dark tones in it that make it worth a read.
Robert A. Heinlein
The master of Science Fiction, no one can mention science fiction without at least a thought to the grand daddy of them all. I recommend staying from his series though. It gets a might bit highhanded. His standalone books are rather awesome though.
Stranger in a Strange Land
A lot of heavy philosophy but anyone who likes to think a bit when they read should love this book.
Tunnel in the Sky
This is a classic. I mean this is what you think of people reading when you think about 5 cent comic books with multi-tentacled aliens attacking earth. Yet, it isn't silly nor stupid. I found it very interesting with some deep thought despite being written for a pubescent audience.
Its dated nature is very apparent from the get-go. A lot of things have that original Star Trek feel where they get super modern on one end and very antiquated on the other. Yet I'd have to say that this character's popinjay attitude left me reading this book in the library through class and on into the night.
Last Heinlein book I'll recommend. It is kind of like James Bond meets Aliens kind of thing. Actually in some parts it even reminds me of Get Smart (if anyone recalls that). Heinlein adopts a very personal narrator that is very enjoyable throughout and has a lot of humor. Women might find it a bit sexist although I'm sure it is not meant to be.
Mostly a sci-fi author, I found myself disliking his sci-fi but really enjoying the two fantasy books he put out.
Oath of Gold
Whole complex god thing going on. A new race which is part giant, part elf, and wholly deadly. I really think it is like a better start to the Belgariad but just never goes very far. Could have been a good series but right now there is only one other book and it isn't nearly as good.
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman - Death Gate Cycle
The Hand of Chaos
Into the Labyrinth
The Seventh Gate
I'm only recommending these because I feel that they do belong in any list of fantasy reading. Although I think I'd recommend to people to stop reading after the fourth book. Maybe even the second. I think the books kind of get worse and then the ending left me unsastified as well. Yet, for those who don't know of this series (and I can imagine it is only a few). You have two ancient races at war. Both powerful magic users that look down on the puny mensch (humans, dwarves, and elves). One side, the Satryns, win. The book starts with the losing side, the Patryns, escaping from their thousand year prison.
One thing I'm going to say about the books as my personal beef. It really isn't a spoiler but the main guy is named Haplo and he is supposedly rather powerful in the magic area. Afterall, he almost escapes without help. He only needed healing to keep from dying. Yet, with all this great magic at his control, he hardly EVER uses it. I mean he has several oppurtunities. He even laughs at the feeble magic of others, but his own personal power is almost never used. It bothered the hell out of me.
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