La crème de la crème (part 1)

Ever since I was appointed the unofficial person in charge of deciding which book would be recommended by my local W. H. Smith (unofficial because I never actually worked there), inevitably people would ask me what were my favourite fantasy series. So included here are some of the very best, at least according to Yours Truly!;-)

As always, this is a very subjective exercice, so feel free to agree or disagree. I won't mind.:-) Af ter all, these are my personal favourites!

Having said that, I do believe that no one can themselves fantasy book aficionados and not have read them. All these series should be part of any fantasy collection. And if one doesn't actually own them, one definitely must have read them. . .:-)

As the title implies, there will be more of these posts. So please don't mind if such and such series is currently missing from this list. There is more to come!

So here they are, in no particular order:

THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan

- The Eye of the World (1990)
- The Great Hunt (1990)
- The Dragon Reborn (1991)
- The Shadow Rising (1992)
- The Fires of Heaven (1993)
- Lord of Chaos (1994)
- A Crown of Swords (1996)
- The Path of Daggers (1998)
- Winter's Heart (2000)
- Crossroads of Twilight (2003)
- Knife of Dreams (forthcoming)

Prequel: New Spring (2004)

*** If someone, somewhere, somehow, writes something that surpasses The Wheel of Time in vision, in scope, in characterizations and in overall quality, I just wish to be alive to have the chance to read it. But like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I am convinced that people will be reading and enjoying this epic fantasy tale long after Jordan has passed away. . . And he's not even done yet!

THE BELGARIAD by David Eddings

- Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
- Queen of Sorcery (1982)
- Magician's Gambit (1983)
- Castle of Wizardry (1984)
- Enchanter's End Game (1984)

THE MALLOREON by David Eddings

- Guardians of the West (1987)
- King of the Murgos (1988)
- Demon Lord of Karanda (1988)
- Sorceress of Darshiva (1989)
- The Seeress of Kell

*** I should be writing a post on this bestselling author's fall from grace in the near future. Regardless of that state of affairs, I still consider these 10 books to be what is probably the 80s definitive work of fantasy fiction. A must. . .

THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELIEVER by Stephen R. Donaldson

- Lord Foul's Bane (1977)
- The Illearth War (1977)
- The Power that Preserves (1978)

- The Wounded Land (1980)
- The One Tree (1982)
- White Gold Wielder (1983)

*** In a class of its own. . . A classic, in every sense of the word...:-)

THE DERYNI SAGA by Katherine Kurtz

The Chronicles of the Deryni
- Deryni Rising (1970)
- Deryni Checkmate (1972)
- High Deryni (1973)

The Legend of Camber of Culdi
- Camber of Culdi (1976)
- Saint Camber (1978)
- Camber the Heretic (1981)

The Histories of King Kelson
- The Bishop's Heir (1984)
- The King's Justice (1985)
- The Quest for Saint Camber (1986)

The Heirs of Saint Camber
- The Harrowing of Gwynedd (1989)
- King Javan's Year (1992)
- The Bastard Prince (1994)

- King Kelson's Bride (2000)

- In the King's Service (2004)

*** Those who feel the need to put a label on everything had to come up with a new term for Mrs. Kurtz's wonderful saga: Historical fantasy. As an historian, she has an eye for detail that makes her books quite different from anything else and, by the same token, extremely special. How she managed to end up on the New York Times' Bestseller List only once is an enigma to which I have no answer. Even after 35 years, Katherine Kurtz remains one of the fantasy genre's best kept secrets. And just like fine wine, she only gets better with time!;-)

THE DEATH GATE CYCLE by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

- Dragon Wing (1990)
- Elven Star (1990)
- Fire Sea (1991)
- Serpent Mage (1992)
- The Hand of Chaos (1993)
- Into the Labyrinth (1993)
- The Seventh Gate (1994)

*** God knows that this duo has created several memorable novels and series. But the Death Gate Cycle was their most ambitious and original project ever. Regardless of the anti-climatic ending of this seven-book series, the sheer scope of the undertaking is still mind-boggling. Hence, this series remains one of my all-time favourites!:-)

THE HERITAGE OF SHANNARA by Terry Brooks

- The Scions of Shannara (1990)
- The Druid of Shannara (1991)
- The Elf Queen of Shannara (1992)
- The Talismans of Shannara (1993)

*** Brooks has been writing Shannara novels since 1977. And who can blame him, really? With 22 New York Times Bestsellers, no one in the fantasy genre has ever appeared more often on the prestigious list. While some are good and some are less so, The Heritage of Shannara series is probably Brooks at his very best. . .

THE RIFTWAR SAGA by Raymond E. Feist

- Magician (1982)
- Silverthorn (1985)
- A Darkness at Sethanon (1986)
- Prince of the Blood (1989)
- The King's Buccaneer (1992)

*** Feist always manages to create an engaging cast of characters, and the world of Midkemia has proved to be fertile grounds for various adventures for more than 20 years now. Probably the most consistant fantasy writer in the world, meaning that everything he writes is always good. He never attempted to re-invent the wheel; he just sticks to writing good novels. But his first series remains his best effort. . .

MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN by Tad Williams

- The Dragonbone Chair (1988)
- Stone of Farewell (1990)
- To Green Angel Tower (1993)

*** A bit long-winded, but magical all the same.:-) In the last volume, Williams left the door open for a possible sequel. Hopefully one day we'll have the chance to return to this wonderful universe. Talk about a door-stopper fantasy novel, To Green Angel Tower weighs in at 1083 pages. And that's the hardcover edition!!!


Okay, so that's it for now. . .:-) As I said, I'll tell you more about some of my other favourite series in the future. But if any of you were looking for something special to read, well you now have more than a few suggestions!!! Enjoy!!!;-)

4 commentaires:

Neil said...

Hey Pat! I'm glad you stopped by my site! I'll be checking back on your site from now on. You're right that I'm a fantasy/sci-fi fan.

I personally have given up on Robert Jordan. I think the first two books are brilliant, but he lost me shortly after. It's too bad.

George R.R. Martin is my main man right now. :) No need to explain, I'm sure.

I'm currently going through Steven Erikson's "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series. He seems to be the latest and greatest thing to happen in fantasy, so you should check it out! It's quite different in style than anything else I have read... Sometimes it frustrates me, sometimes it thrills me.

Some personal favorite books of mine that I highly recommend to everyone:
- Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" books
- Alfred Bester's "The Demolished Man"
- Christopher Priest's "The Prestige"

Cheers!

shaza said...

I feel that Erikson, in vision, scope, and quality (if not characterization) goes beyond Robert Jordan. If you have not yet read him, then do so!

Books in series are: Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice, House of Chains, and Midnight Tides; five other books are forthcoming.

Jonathan said...

Guy Gavriel Kay deserves some mention too. Only that he hasn't written a trilogy since the Fionavar Tapestry (1984-1986). All of his works since are stand-alone novels (even though they share a world in common in the later works, but at different times in history and they aren't related).

Patrick said...

Well, as you can see, Kay is on my list of all-time favourites! I just couldn't put them all in part 1! He truly is one of the best!

As for Steven Erikson, he is definitely on my "must read" list. A Canadian boy and a good author to boot, I'm just waiting for more volumes to come out. God knows I read enough ongoing series, so there is no way I'm beginning this one as well! At least not right now...:-)