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10 favourite books - fantasy, magic, faerie

Updated on August 23, 2013

books you should read if you like fantasy fiction

  1. Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Beautifully written, you will fall in love with Constantine the vampire. This is how a vampire should be. Move over Edward, this is a real winner. She writes in the first person narrative, incorporating magic realism seamlessly into the narration.
  2. A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton. Faerie was never so sensual nor so dark. Hamilton is onto a winner. Every book in the series so far is brilliant. Some have criticised the amount of sex in the books but Hamilton is trying to build an understanding of the growth of a fertility deity, that in itself demands much sex. There's also a strain of trying to show that sexuality and sensuality are not evil - that it is part of what we are and our demonising of it is wrong. We like the sex we like and as long as both partners are consenting adults, there is no harm in it. Makes one think, anyway. I like the Pagan aspects of the series and the Celtic mythology that is bastardised.
  3. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. This is billed as a children's book, and it is in the sense that our protagonist is eleven. But the writing is glorious and atmospheric. I adore it. If you've seen the nothing like it film forget it. This is full of old Arthurian and Anglo-Saxon mythology and is wonderful. You will fall in love with the Old Ones and their need to fight the Dark, which is as the title says rising. But I must admit the Rider, the harbinger of the Dark is gorgeously dangerous and sexy. The adult me adores him.
  4. Rising Moon by Lori Handeland. Handeland's work is very interesting in that she weaves together Native American, Nazi Germany and other shapeshifter legends to come up with her own explanations for werewolves, demons, and the like. This book is just an example of the complex myths she seems to tap in her series.
  5. Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton. I'm enoying reading all of Hamilton's Anita Blake books. This is just one of many. There's an over-arching theme of sex for the sake of sex in some of the books, but it is definitely part of the way she sees her books develop. To read Hamilton without the sex would I think be to diminish from her style of vision. Furthermore, what's interesting in the Anita Blake series is the shift away from Christianity as a belief for the protagonist [she is very straight-laced at the start of the series] and an acceptance of Wiccan belief practices so that she may be able to understand and control her gifts better. That doesn't mean it is anti-Christian, don't get me wrong, but there is a definite turn towards philosophy which is a very good thing.
  6. Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh. Elena Deveraux is a vampire hunter in a world ruled by Cadre of Seven Archangels, then their angels, vampires and finally the lowly humans. Elena does the important and dangerous job of hunting vampires gone rogue, those who have broken their contracts with their angel and archangel masters and mistresses. But, as this book and series open, we see Elena being hired not to hunt vampires but the most dangerous rogue of them all, an archangel gone bad. Hired by the dangerously beautiful, powerful and just swoon-worthy Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear - failure is not an option, even if the task she's been set is impossible. The tension in this book and series are superb. I adore Singh. Her voice is unique.
  7. Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is a lovely collection of short stories that really help the dedicated fan understand Hamilton's vision further.
  8. The Dark Elf trilogy (Forgotten Realms) R. A. Salvatore
  9. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game is the kind of book that will be enjoyed by both men and women. Card's vision is astounding. A book you will read and then re-read a few years later. Definitely a keeper.
  10. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. This is the first in her Psy-Changeling series and it is phenomenal. She is a powerful new voice and I adore her work. I've got everything she's written in this series and the Archangel series as well. Go check her out. You won't be disappointed.

This is a short list of books that are sure to spark your imagination. Sunshine is beautifully written and so much better than the awful Twilight Saga. I adored Constantine and I enjoyed the fact that the end did not spell everything out but left enough for the reader's imagination.The use of seamless Magic Realism makes the world McKinley creates very plausible and understandable, and Sunshine as a character is very much a woman of today. The development of the relationship between Constantine and Sunshine is done so softly, so delicately that you will adore it. There's no over-the-top emotion here, just a progression of trust and friendship, and finally, need, want and desire.

Hamilton's books are full of sex and thrills, a much more adult style of writing to McKinley. I enjoyed all 8 of the Merry Gentry series and impatiently awaiting book 9 which is supposed to come out next year. So I'd consider myself a fan. There is a fair amount of repetition in description, which does get tedious, but those are easy to skip if you are good at skimming :)

Orson Scott Card' Ender's Game and the following series are all good. They'll really force you to re-think your philosophical leanings. While R. A. Salvatore's dark elf is someone I'm sure you'll grow to love. Drizzit is just so cool a character, honourable, excellent as a fighter yet someone who is willing to break the rules and forge his own path, even if it makes him leave all he's ever known behind. This is fantasy for today's reader, someone who's grown up with the wonder of Tolkein.


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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      Don't forget the Mists of Avalon! I'm sure you would love that series! By Marion Bradley Zimmer.