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5 Top Fantasy Authors that You Should Already be Reading

Updated on June 4, 2015
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Fantasy, why read it?

Why do people read novels? Escapism and entertainment. The ability to pull yourself out of your own world for a time, away from the stresses of a tough/boring job or stressful home life can bean extremely useful tool. You cannot get much further away from 'real life' than genre of fantasy. Immerse yourself in a world of chivalry and magic, where usually the good guys prevail and the bad guys take the hit. Reading fantasy novels can be truly inspiring if your take them to heart.They also allow you a removed perspective, more often than not, fantasy authors make comments on our society from the safety of their narrative in interesting and creative ways. Open your mind to the possibility of magic, go on, I dare you.

J. R. R. Tolkien— The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Tolkien is the architect of high fantasy the first true master of the craft and arguably the inspiration for most of the fantasy works written to date. He was decades before his time, born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1892. Which would make him twelvety – three, and if you don’t get the reference: go forth and read the Fellowship of the Ring. You won’t be sorry. His epic stories of adventure and courage will have you skipping over the denser passages that might otherwise have bogged you down in a modern novel. While his style is a touch old fashioned and had even me reaching for a dictionary, it is 100% worth it. Tolkien was a genius, his imagery and attention to detail are staggering but what is truly incredible is that he invented an entire language to lend authenticity to his story. Today you can attend classes on Tolkien’s Elvish in the UK which is a testament to his genius but also to the dedication of his fans.

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Robert Jordan (and later Brandon Sanderson)— The Wheel of Time Series

Robert Jordan was the Tolkien of the 90’s and later decades. His was high fantasy taken to the next level with dozens of unique plot lines diverging and intersecting in unpredictable and often amusing ways. He built an entirely new world of adventure, political intrigue and a classic tale of good vs evil. A group of young villagers Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nyaneave and Egwene join a mysterious Aes Sedai and her Warder on a quest to save the world from the Shaddow beginning an adventure that would reshape the known world. A story of overcoming impossible odds, yielding to weakness and coming back stronger. Jordan does a remarkable job of developing strong female characters with spunk and determination in a world where women have the power, and a great deal of the time the men don’t even realise they are being manipulated. I’ve reread the Wheel of Time series 5 times and every time I find new layers to characters and to the plot lines that have me riveted.

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Terry Pratchet— The Disc World Universe

Pratchet has brilliantly used satire and dark humour to build a universe in which all ideologies, misconceptions and social fears are poked at and made fun of in a way that has you laughing along with him. From anthropomorphising death, complete with a butler and a horse named Binky, to poking fun at the academic establishment, with the absurd Unseen University. No one and nothing is off limits. It’s fabulously funny, outlandishly inappropriate and chock full of insights that will get you questioning your own preconceived notions which is the whole point. Do yourself a favour and have a fan of Pratchet read you an excerpt that they really enjoy, you’ll be irrevocable hooked.

Robin Hobb— The Farseer Trilogy, Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy & The Rain Wilds Chronicles.

Robin Hobb has masterfully crafted a number of unique, compelling and distinct worlds creatively and surprisingly linked in ways that will blow your mind. Hobb’s novels speak of love on all levels, adventure and secrets. And while her writing is traditional in that she has dragons and swords and magic; her pros are so visual, warm and dream like that it all feels brand new. While set in a far away world her stories bring home a lot of truths about our society, our understanding of people, politics, gender roles, slavery, tragedy and so many others. I couldn’t put these books down, the pages turn themselves.

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Jim Butcher— The Dresden Files & Codex Alera

Jim Butcher has to date delivered two wildly different series and word has it there’s a third coming.

Jim’s Codex Alera is great, it’s a traditional fantasy in many ways. Young boy, Tavi, who doesn’t fit in and feels he is a disappointment sets out to do better, be better; and he makes good. Full of surprising twists and crazy characters it’s a real treat. Rumour has it that he wrote it on a bet, betting that he could write a good story even with bad ideas he was challenged to write a story that included the themes: ‘French Foreign Legion’ & ‘Pokémon’. And he does it so well that you don’t pick up on it until you’re sucked into the story. And by then it’s too late, you’re hooked.


Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is an urban fantasy that will appeal to the nerdy geek in everyone. It’s about a wizard named Harry, no not Potter, who gets himself into all sorts of trouble in fun and ridiculous ways. It’s hilarious, geeky and action packed; with Harry in danger up to his eyeballs and often higher. Jim sure knows how to give a guy hell. Harry and his friend Murphy investigate weird happenings in his home of Chicago and defend the city against some serious threats. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, magic, necromancers, body hoppers, warlocks, plant monsters and crazy faeries; the Dresden files has it all and more. And do you know what’s awesome? He posts the first 5 chapters of every book on line before it is released. So you can get a little taste before it’s out. I’ve got to say I’m a little obsessed with this series. I cannot wait for the next book, Peace Talks, to come out. No really, I’m writing fanfiction just to keep my mind off it. This guy, his work is my own personal crack.

So who are your favourite authors? Drop me a line, I'd love to know.

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    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      I prefer J. R. R. Tolkien, and probably should read more Terry Pratchet. Interesting hub. Thanks for posting.

    • Gwyn Buchanan profile image
      Author

      Gwyn Buchanan 2 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for popping in and for the feedback!

    • Tricia1000 profile image

      Tricia1000 17 months ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the list, I would love to read the Wheel of Time series.

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