Five for Friday 11: Favorite Fantasy Series

A Fantasy Come True--The Castle of Books
I never connected with Game of Thrones, sad to say. I felt the same way trying to slog through Kate Elliot/Alis A. Ramussen's Crown of Stars series and some of the books by David Eddings. I don't really read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, at least not at the rate that I did while I was in my teens. However, there are some fantasy series that I do enjoy. Here are five (in alphabetical order), plus some "honorable mentions:"
  • Dresden Files: Jim Butcher's best-selling series was not love-at-first-read for me. I really struggled to make it through the first book and I wasn't all in until book 4, Summer Knight. Sadly, there was no love connection between me and Butcher's Codex Alera series.
  • Earthsea: I recently reread Ursala Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, plus the sequels, and found that they still do it for me.
  • Elric of Melnibon√©: Anything I write will only detract from Michael Moorcock's masterpiece. I am also a big fan of the Moorcock's other books, particularly the two Corum trilogies.
  • Newford: I am still working my way through Charles de Lint's sprawling Newford series. Set in a fictional North American city, his series features an overlapping cast of slackers, hipsters, and musicians whose lives intersect a powerful, yet unseen world, where Native American and Celtic mythologies run wild.
  • Tales of the Otori: A series of five novels by Gillian Rubinstein (written under the pen name, Lian Hearn), the Tales of the Otori is set in a land very much like medieval Japan. An added bonus is that the individual book titles all utilize Japanese poetic style (waka and haiku). You know me...I love me some haiku.
Honorable mentions: Fritz Leiber, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser; Terry Pratchett, Discworld; Glen Cook, The Black Company; Robert E. Howard, Conan the Barbarian; Robin Hobb (pen name for Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden...you can see why), The Realm of the Elderlings; and, yes, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter.

Hall of Fame: J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle Earth novels

What is your favorite fantasy series?


  1. The "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series by Steven Erikson (with all books by Glen Cook as a close second...). From a DM's point of view: the world Erikson created is pure D&D, a very nice example how a setting should be done and it's a good read, too (always thought he didn't get enough love in the OSR).

    I loved the P. I. Garrett books, a much better series than the Dresden Files.

    Pratchett should be in the Hall of Fame :-)

  2. I would add Zelazny's Amber series. The first and second Dragonlance series. Thieves World is a crime you did not add them. Well at least the first four, maybe five books.

  3. You should also try Elisabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarion. I highly recommend it.

  4. Glen Cook's "Black Company" series, hands down.

  5. @JD: I will have to check out both of those series. Haven't read anything in either.

    @Tim: I have been wanting to read the Amber series. I meant to put the Theives World books in the Honorable mention. I thought there was a big drop off after the first few. Same was true of Piers Anthony's Xanth books.

    @Rob: I enjoyed "The Deed of Paksenarrion." Unless I missed some sequels, I didn't include it because it was a trilogy, not an longer series.

    Peter D: I originally had "The Black Company" in my top five, but didn't keep it there as I did not enjoy the later books as much as the initial trilogy. Still, they are great reads.

  6. I'm with you on the Black Company books, Ken. The first novel was a complete master work, and to this day I wish I could figure out how to run a game in a similar style. The later books left me cold, but that first one resonated with me on too many frequencies to list, and established that I would always appreciate a storyteller who drops you cold into a world full of new names and places, religions and histories without so much as a how do you do, and hit the ground running.