Top Five: Epic Fantasy Series

Mama Toad’s post on Memory of Light well, jogged my memory on great epic fantasy series. So, for the fantasy fans, which five series (must be at least 3 books) make your Top Five list?

Mine:

1. A Song of Ice and Fire

2.

  1. DocJay

    The Sword of Shanara, Narnia :-), Foundation.

  2. The King Prawn

    There is an amazon link below the podcasts in the right frame.

    As to the topic, you forgot Lord of the Rings which started the genre. I’ll second Doc on Shanara.

  3. Mama Toad

    Ricochet does have an Amazon link now — see the right bottom on the page here.

    1. Definitely Wheel of Time series.

    2. Then the Lord of the Rings. Still a favorite, one I dip into regularly when I need to kill 15 minutes and don’t have a computer (and also I can’t really kill only 15 minutes on Ricochet because I am an addict…).

    3. Guy Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry books

    4. Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea books

    5. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series.

    I enjoyed Kathryn Kurtz’s books, but it got a little silly. Everyone and everybody is Deryni, by the end. At one point, she had an index explaining how the Deryni gene was sex-linked and passed on through the mother. Then she had Duncan McLain’s son Dhugal turning out to be Deryni… but his mother was not. This was years and year ago, and I wrote to her publisher to point out the inconsistency… the response was, “Oh, well… that appendix was only theoretical kind of…” Lame. But I did enjoy the whole series overall (and I read all of them, I think…)

  4. Mama Toad
    DocJay:  Foundation. · 9 minutes ago

    Is that sci fi or fantasy? ;-)

    ‘Cause if the question includes sci fi, I need to rethink my list…

  5. DocJay

    Mama Toad, that one doesn’t belong here. Let’s replace it with The Dragon Riders of Pern.

  6. Bluebottle

    Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain novels.

  7. The King Prawn

    Oh, I absolutely must put The Song of Albion on here. If you haven’t read it, READ IT!

  8. TheSophist
    The King Prawn: There is an amazon link below the podcasts in the right frame.

    As to the topic, you forgot Lord of the Rings which started the genre. I’ll second Doc on Shanara. · 40 minutes ago

    yeah, I left out LOTR because it’s sort of the default for Fantasy fans, sort of like how I leave out The Bible on most Top Five lists, because literature wouldn’t even exist without that book. :)

    Perhaps it should be modified to say “0. LOTR” by default. :)

  9. TheSophist
    The King Prawn: There is an amazon link below the podcasts in the right frame.

    How do I embed the Ricochet code when I’m generating a link to Amazon? Anyone know how to do this, especially on these no-HTML editors?

  10. TheSophist
    Mama Toad

    DocJay:  Foundation. · 9 minutes ago

    Is that sci fi or fantasy? ;-)

    ‘Cause if the question includes sci fi, I need to rethink my list… · 37 minutes ago

    Edited 36 minutes ago

    For the purpose of this thread, let’s keep it to fantasy.

    I left out The Dark Tower and Harry Potter even though I think they are classic high fantasy, only because most people wouldn’t recognize them as such.

    So it’s swords, sorcery, dragons, etc. :)

  11. Albert Arthur, 16th Earl of Tuftonboro, Lord Dime-Hacker, etc.

    Harry Potter is definitely fantasy.

    My list:

    1. Harry Potter

    2. Discworld!

    3. Wheel of Time (but it would have been better if Jordan could have kept it to 8 books or fewer)

    4. Song of Ice and Fire (I also think this would have been better if limited to 4 books)

    5. Narnia

    Regarding 3 & 4: I don’t mind length. I like long reads. What I don’t like is when authors lose focus. I don’t think anything worth mentioning has actually happened in the last 3 WoT books.

  12. Barfly

    In no particular order, named by first book:

    Foundation, Isaac Asimov

    Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe

    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip

    Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

    The Book of Three, Lloyd Alexander

  13. Eeyore

    For kids.

    I lived next door to two kids (6 & 10?) and read them Patricia C Wrede’s The Enchanted Forest Chronicles - Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons. A little uneven – some completely engrossing, some…perhaps written for deadline.

    They loved the books…or maybe they just loved being read to.

  14. BlueAnt

    I’ll second the nominations for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer.

    Add Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, which has so many hilarious books I’ve lost count of them.

    Also, it’s technically more historical fiction than low fantasy, but Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle trilogy is a great adventure romp worth picking up.

  15. Aaron Miller

    Agreed on the Shannara series.

    I’ll add The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

    Also, my yet unnamed, unwritten fantasy series. Surely a work of genius!

  16. The King Prawn
    Aaron Miller: Agreed on the Shannara series.

    I’ll add The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

    Also, my yet unnamed, unwritten fantasy series. Surely a work of genius! · 7 minutes ago

    I’d forgotten about the Death Gate Cycle. Good read that.

  17. TheSophist
    BlueAnt: 

    Also, it’s technically more historical fiction than low fantasy, but Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle trilogy is a great adventure romp worth picking up. · 2 hours ago

    I have to agree… and in a very very similar vein, the Saxon Chronicles from Bernard Cornwell is a beaut as well. It’s not quite high fantasy, but it reads very much like one.

  18. TheRoyalFamily
    DocJay: Mama Toad, that one doesn’t belong here. Let’s replace it with The Dragon Riders of Pern.

    But that’s sci-fi too.

  19. Mama Toad

    Perhaps someone should start a thread on What is the difference between sci fi and fantasy? (No, I’m not volunteering, thank you…)

  20. Mama Toad
    TheSophist

    The King Prawn: There is an amazon link below the podcasts in the right frame.

    As to the topic, you forgot Lord of the Rings which started the genre. I’ll second Doc on Shanara. · 40 minutes ago

    yeah, I left out LOTR because it’s sort of the default for Fantasy fans, sort of like how I leave out The Bible on most Top Five lists, because literature wouldn’t even exist without that book. :)

    Perhaps it should be modified to say “0. LOTR” by default. :) · 3 hours ago

    OK, so I’ll modify my list:

    1. Wheel of Time

    2. Fionavar

    3. Earthsea

    4. Mistborn

    5. a tie between The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain books, which still retain their charm even though I am graying now and they were written for stripling youths.

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