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Author Topic: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time  (Read 1511 times)

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Offline LiliasTopic starter

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The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« on: August 01, 2017, 04:00:01 PM »
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/02/the-30-best-fantasy-book-series-of-all-time.html?a=1

For the serious readers, because going through the whole lot would take several years. :-)

I've finished the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, and still working my way through Harry Potter, the Dresden Files, Discworld and A Song of Ice and Fire. How about the rest of you?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 07:01:01 PM »
Mmm... while all lists are debatable, especially with the charged puffery of "Greatest of All Time!", but this list is contentious in the extreme.

The Night Angel Trilogy jumps right to mind. I read them and they were okay overall but it steps into so many literary potholes (and plotholes) that by the third book it feel more and more rushed and less and less coherent.

Offline Theta Sigma

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 09:31:00 AM »
I was hoping His Dark Materials would be on there. I need to really re-read and catch up on those since there is a new trilogy coming out. I adore that series.

I was also really, really surprised to see Redwall on there. I found that series when I was a kid and whilst I couldn't get into it at the time, it is definitely something I would like to go back to and pick up as an adult.

Offline King Serperior

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 10:47:44 AM »
So, going from the top of the list to the bottom:

- The Broken Empire Trilogy:  Is on my list to acquire and read.
- The Chronicles of Narnia:  Tried to read, but couldn't ever get into it.
- The Dark Tower:  Been meaning to start, but I keep getting distracted by other things.
- The Dresden Files:  Own and have read and reread all the main books (don't have the short stories though).
- Harry Potter:  The book series that will forever remain with me from childhood forever and always.
- Mistborn:  Read the first trilogy and have plans to get the second trilogy.
- The Night Angel Trilogy:  Just started the first book, so I have no real opinion as of yet.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:  Impatiently waiting for the next book.

Offline ThePrince

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 12:56:52 PM »
I highly recommend the Thomas Covienant series, yeah the main character is a pain, but that doesn't mean he is a undeveloped character. Donaldson does some incredible stuff in and to his world. He is a author that is not afraid to do things other authors would never do to their fantasy world.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 01:41:09 PM »
Big fan of the Night Angel series, but I agree it felt very rushed. In terms of World Building, it is pretty darn great, in my humble opinion.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 08:51:15 PM »
Big fan of the Night Angel series, but I agree it felt very rushed. In terms of World Building, it is pretty darn great, in my humble opinion.
He just threw in everything and the kitchen sink. The only thing it didn't have was non-human races. Now I like the kitchen sink of fantasy as much as the next person, but... he was kind of making up some stuff as he went along. I just generally find the protagonist of the series to not actually be the protagonist, which is just... weird.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 09:16:09 PM »
It's been a little while, so my memory might be a bit hazy on the details, but I recall him managing to stay within the rules of his universe rather well. What it could have done with was some editing, since the release of all three books was pretty rushed (Each one released a month after the other, as I recall). Overall, it was a pretty fresh and dark take on fantasy. True, there's a bit of wish fulfillment on the part of the author, but that's true of a lot of authors, to be honest.

It's not great. The books will never be classics. I just thought that they were a lot of fun.

However... kind of annoyed that there's not mention of the Drenai Series or... any of David Gemmell's work, as well as no mention of the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, both of which I would elect as miles ahead of the Night Angel Trilogy.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 09:30:51 PM »
It's been a little while, so my memory might be a bit hazy on the details, but I recall him managing to stay within the rules of his universe rather well. What it could have done with was some editing, since the release of all three books was pretty rushed (Each one released a month after the other, as I recall). Overall, it was a pretty fresh and dark take on fantasy. True, there's a bit of wish fulfillment on the part of the author, but that's true of a lot of authors, to be honest.

It's not great. The books will never be classics. I just thought that they were a lot of fun.

However... kind of annoyed that there's not mention of the Drenai Series or... any of David Gemmell's work, as well as no mention of the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, both of which I would elect as miles ahead of the Night Angel Trilogy.

Honestly my main problem was:
Just In Case
The protagonist Azoth/Kylar wasn't the protagonist. Durzo the mentor was a much more compelling protagonist. Kylar gets a lot of growth in book one, spends book two doing bugger all, and book three he might as well have not been there for two thirds of it. The key issue being you can't have your apprentice kill his mentor and then just bring the mentor back because of magic. Why? It utterly negates any character growth. Yes, it's ur-trope of fiction that the apprentice lose his or her mentor, but it's an ur-trope for a reason.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 10:01:53 PM by Inkidu »

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 09:37:08 PM »
I can agree with that.

Online Blythe

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2017, 12:59:08 AM »
The series that I've read from the list are:

- The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
- The Dark Elf Trilogy - R. A. Salvatore (ahh, so much nostalgia with these)
- Discworld - Terry Pratchett
- Dresden Files - Jim Butcher
- Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
- Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
- Realm of the Elderlings - Robin Hobb
- A Song of Ice and Fire - George R. R. Martin


The one I really want to read from that list but haven't yet is The Magicians trilogy, though. Been meaning to get to that for ages!

Online Imogen

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 01:52:39 PM »
My list:
 
- Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis (quit halfway through)
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen Donaldson (Great series. The hero is very different from your usual fantasy fare.)
- The Dark Tower by Stephen King - (got bored of it after a while)
- The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher (so much yes!)
- Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
- Lord of the Rings - Tolkien
- Shannara - Terry Brooks (Good first book, shouldn't have bothered with the rest)
- A Song of Fire and Ice - George R.R. Martin
- The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind (Great first book, shouldn't have bothered with the rest)
- The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan (First book was great. Wish I hadn't bothered with the rest)

My own favorites:

Guy Gavriel Kay - Fionavar Tapestry
Stephen Donaldson - Mordant's Need
David Eddings- Belgariad & Mallorean
Weiss/Hickman - Death Gate Cycle

Offline stormwyrm

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 10:21:58 PM »
Well, these are the ones from the list which I've read over the years:

The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
The Dark Tower
Dragonriders of Pern
Harry Potter
His Dark Materials
The Lord of the Rings (of course)
The Magicians Trilogy (slogged through the first book, hated it, never picked up the rest, this is the one which I most feel does not belong in the list)
Mistborn
Shannara
A Song of Ice and Fire
The Stormlight Archive (eagerly awaiting book three)
The Sword of Truth (started out great, then it had at some point turned into a fantasy-themed Ayn Rand panegyric, but I slogged through it out of memory for the series' high points far in the past, another series whose inclusion is I feel debatable)
The Wheel of Time

14 out of 30 so far, and now a lot of recommendations to pick up.

These are some significant omissions:

Dragonlance by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey
The Books of Swords by Fred Saberhagen

Offline Kuroneko

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 12:14:16 AM »
I love the Thomas Covenant series and the Wizard of Earthsea.

Online Avalon29

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 12:37:32 PM »
I've read 14 out of these

The Chronicles of Narnia
The Dark Tower
Dragonriders of Pern
The Dresden Files
The First Law
Harry Potter
The Kingkiller Chronicle
The Lord of the Rings
Mistborn
The Night Angel Trilogy
The Pendragon Cycle
Redwall
A Song of Ice and Fire
Termeraire

Some of the standouts of the list for me are

Redwall: I'm pretty biased for this series as it was one of the definitive series I read when I was younger so lots of nostalgia for me. It's an excellent series though if you don't mind the fact that it was originally written for  younger audiences, much like Harry Potter.

The Kingkiller Chronicle: Read this. The wonderful prose is so refreshing and is some of the best I've seen in the fantasy genre. I go back and read a couple of pages after finishing a book that was difficult to get through to remind me what writing can look like.

The First Law: I enjoyed this series a lot. It was nice to have characters who are as flawed as these were and have a band of heroes that are not your typical lawful good all the time heroes.

The Pendragon Cycle: I really enjoy Stephen Lawhead's books and the way he works with druidisim and intertwines it with Christianity. It's an interesting mixture. His books do get a little preachy sometimes but it's nice to see one of his series get attention.

Termeraire: This is another series I really liked partially because of the setting. A fantasy book set in the Napoleonic war is quite rare. I really like the way that the dragons are organized into an early air force and how they're treated. Yes they're  important and  somewhat rare but they're not treated as like there are only a handful in existence  and are already  accepted as being a normal part of the military.

The Night Angel Trilogy: It's a good series and I think the author has potential but I don't think it belongs in a list of top 30 of all time. I'd have preferred to see something like Dragonlance or the Codex of Alera in its place.

Online RedRose

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2017, 03:06:10 PM »
I didn't know about so many of them. I suspect that's a language thing though I read most of the following in English.

I enjoyed Narnia and The Dark Tower. I loved the Chronicles of Prydain, Song of Ice and fire and Harry Potter as well as LOTR. The Kingkiller was as fantastic as the slow regard of silent things is awful though, and I have kinda lost hope on a new Kvothe book (please no more Auri). The Sword of truth starts nice, gets great, then loses power. The Wheel of Time starts a mix of great and annoying, gets better, then gets always the same so I couldn't finish it.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2017, 04:35:44 AM »
Hmm....out of those, the ones that I've read:

The Chronicles of Narnia: Duh. It's a Classic for a reason.

The Dark Tower: A huge departure from King's usual genre, but he made the transition VERY well, honestly. I prefer it to his recent - let's be honest - formulaic stuff.

Discworld: I've read all of them. Honestly, if this wasn't on the list, I would have been offended. Sir Terry Pratchett, represent!

The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence: I'm in the middle of the second book, and it is AWESOME. There are twists you don't see coming, twists you do see coming that still gut punch you, and the characters are all very well written and supremely charming. And the heists are absurdly cunning and convoluted...and yet you believe every word. Loving it so far.

Harry Potter: Eh. From a technical standpoint, I don't think it belongs in the list, but I can't deny its impact or influence. It's a good childrens Fantasy Book, but everything it had was done better in other books. *shrugs*

His Dark Materials: I don't think this series belongs on here AT ALL. The first book was ok, the second book started to get interesting...but the third book was TERRIBLE and ended on such a damp squib that I almost hurled the book across the room at the unsatisfying ending. It was slow, boring, kinda preachy and lost the plot in Book 3.

The Kingkiller Chronicles: I love the first two books - complicated characters, barmy exploits and well written dialogue - but I don't think this series belongs on ANY list until he gets the final damn book out.

Song of Ice And Fire: SAME GOES FOR YOU MARTIN. BUCK YOUR FUCKING IDEAS UP. Six years is unacceptable. You know what, I probably won't read the next book when it comes out. It's been so long, I've lost interest.

LOTR: Duh. Whilst it has been surpassed by later books, Tolkien CREATED the genre. Can't say fairer than that.

Mistborn: Yes. Yes yes yes. The first series of books I read of Sandersons after he finished WoT, I LOVED it from start to finish. And of course, I'm VERY much looking forward to the NEXT Mistborn Trilogy (Hey, Martin! Two Epic Fantasy Books a year from Sanderson here...TAKE NOTES).

The Night Angel Trilogy: Eeeeeeh....I read it, I enjoyed it while I was reading it, and I promptly forgot about it afterwards. Lots of good ideas, some intriguing characters...but kind of a let down at the end. Entertaining for what it is, but on a "Best Thirty" list? Nope.

Redwall: Oh God, Redwall...a blast from the past! That was my childhood. While other people were reading Potter (Ok, my dad was reading Potter to me and my brother for the first few, and then I read it on my own afterwards) I was super into Redwall. Loved the series, and still love it now.

Stormlight Archive: Love it even more than Mistborn. Can't wait for the next one. And I'm including this rather than using the same rule I used for Martin and Rothfuss above, simply because he IS making progress; as far as I'm aware, Book 3 is set to come out this year, with Book 4 set for a year or two after that. See, on his website, he actually puts a progress tracker in the corner on what he's working on. ARE YOU STILL TAKING NOTES, MARTIN AND ROTHFUSS?

The Sword of Truth: Tried it, couldn't get into it. My father read it, though, and says that it's decent, but nothing overly special. *shrug* Will have to take his word for that.

The Wheel of Time: I heartily disagree with Red Rose. WoT is one of the best Fantasy Series of all time, and the conclusion - done by Sanderson after Jordan passed - is nothing short of stunningly breathtaking and supremely satisfying...which is hard to do, considering how much people were looking forward to it!
Broken Empire: Have had that on my kindle for weeks, planning to start it soon (AKA, as soon as I've completed the Gentleman Bastard Sequence).

So...I've read 15 of those. Not bad at all! xD

Offline HoodedStranger

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2017, 10:01:38 AM »
I feel disappointed in myself after looking through that list. I've heard of a majority of those books, have even seen several of them in person; but, the number of series on that list that I have actually read is fractionally small.

The Chronicles of Narnia: I actually have the compendium of this series with all seven novels.
The Broken Empire Trilogy: I rented the first novel in the series; but, I never got around to reading more than few pages before it was required to be returned to the library.
The Dark Tower: Read a few of the books, think I was up to Wolves of the Calla before stopping. I need to work on going back and reading the remaining novels in the series.
Harry Potter Grew up reading these throughout my childhood, loved all of them save The Order of the Phoenix. Stopped reading it halfway to three-quarters of the way through, one of the few books that's happened to me on.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
A Song of Ice and Fire George R. R. Martin (Eagerly awaiting on the newest book, coming 20whoknowswhen)
The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Offline Inkidu

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2017, 10:30:46 PM »
I grew so unhappy with Sword of Truth. It jut goes on and on about how communism is evil. I needed nations for my new project so I decided to make an objective capitalist society like you'd see if Goodkind or Ayn Rand had their way. They're a fractured bit of a once great human empire who spends all their time trying to robber baron one another while neglecting magic at their detriment to make profit. They're constantly going to war with their more  "socialist or communist" neighbors too.

Offline ChaoticSky

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2017, 11:05:21 PM »
You know, i actually saw everything on that list that i wanted to see.

But at the same time it has some seriously weird dross in there too. I mean the Sword of Truth? You might as well push your face into a sanding belt and get the same experience... Actually, i think that would be less painful than actually reading it.

Offline Rapt

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2017, 01:44:06 PM »
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/02/the-30-best-fantasy-book-series-of-all-time.html?a=1

For the serious readers, because going through the whole lot would take several years. :-)

I've finished the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, and still working my way through Harry Potter, the Dresden Files, Discworld and A Song of Ice and Fire. How about the rest of you?

Looks like I am set for the rest of the year.... I have only read about half of these..

Offline Pockets

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2017, 07:27:53 AM »
The Black Company by Glen Cook – Read it, but for me I didn’t feel that same sense of awe, wonderment, and that ‘Oh shit!’ moment from other fantasy series. Good, but hardly best of all time.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Haven’t read this all the way through in decades (God I feel old saying that), but I haven’t read this series all the way through since I was like 13 or so. Working through it with my 4 year old daughter.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson – Definitely should have have a seat at any top XX Fantasy novels of all time. I loved it, the main character had depth and a sort of angst in the beginning that made him believeable. I found out that I’m a few books behind in the series, but still the first six were quite lovely.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – So far I’ve enjoyed the series, but then again I haven’t finished it. Still working on it. I love some of the quirks and what not that he’s spun into it. But so far I’m not enjoying it as much as his Alera series.

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin – Absolutely LOVE IT. It’s on the list of books to read with my daughter.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – Trying to get over my issues with watching the movie before reading the book. My oldest has the entire series, I just haven’t been able to bring myself around to it.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. – Read it once, loved it. Now it’s something of a jog. His writing style drives me nuts and is hard to read.

Shannara by Terry Brooks – This series was one of a handful that turned me into a bookworm. Unfortunately, I think that poor Terry needs to let this one have a glorious death and leave it be. I don’t even know how many books are in the series now. The last book I actually read in the series was the Morgawr. Now it’s just becoming tedious to follow.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – Read the first book, then lost interest in it because of how long it takes him to put them out.

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind – It started out alright, but by the third or fourth book I lost interest. Which shows that it’s not deserving of it’s place on this list.

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan – Like Shannara, this was one of the series that got me hooked on books. The depth of character, the world he painted in vivid detail, and the fact that even the unimportant characters stayed consistent throughout the series. I haven’t finished it because even though everyone swears up and down that Brandon Sanderson did an outstanding finish… I was leary, now I want to go back through and reread the whole series over again.

Other Series that should have been here
I agree with Imogen on three of the series that he posted, the other two I haven’t read. Belgariad and Mallorean by David Eddings and the Death Gate Cycle by Weiss/Hickman.

Though I’m surprised nothing by Feist is on this list. Not to mention where is the Dune Saga?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 07:30:52 AM by Pockets »

Offline Rapt

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 07:42:31 AM »
Ya know Pockets I had that thought as well. What about Herbert and Feist and Piers Anthony?? I mean seriously. Because I love the Incarations of Immortality...Even if they are YA.What about the Christopher Stashaff -Warlock series? Has anyone else read those?? And Michael Moorecock isn't on their either with the Elric series. I am just stunned. Some of these guys are my heroes. Don't get me started on how they isolated McCaffery on the Dragonriders stuff. I mean, she wrote so many other amazing stories....

Online RedRose

Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2017, 12:03:18 PM »
I grew so unhappy with Sword of Truth. It jut goes on and on about how communism is evil. I needed nations for my new project so I decided to make an objective capitalist society like you'd see if Goodkind or Ayn Rand had their way. They're a fractured bit of a once great human empire who spends all their time trying to robber baron one another while neglecting magic at their detriment to make profit. They're constantly going to war with their more  "socialist or communist" neighbors too.

The preaching made me roll my eyes sooo much

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Re: The 30 Best Fantasy Book Series of All Time
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 01:33:05 PM »
I can say that I've read at least a handful of the book series that are listed here, though there's one series that's listed that I want to argue about. But, it's just... personal preference. I keep trying to read Game of Thrones but the way it's separated into different character perspectives really disjoints the story for me and makes it way harder for me to get into.

I have some personal favorites I'd suggest to you all:

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, as well as her Court of Thorns and Roses series!