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My Top 5 Fantasy Series

Updated on February 10, 2013

All fantasy series seem to have a lot in common. They are all epic adventures of good vs evil where the hero/heroine must face and overcome physical and emotional obstacles in order to win the day. The author creates a world completely of their own and usually come complete with maps, glossary and sometimes even an appendix of history and lore to better understand the world the characters live in. It is easy for people to completely immerse themselves in this other world, which is why they are so popular. I have compiled a list of my personal favorite fantasy series for people that like the genre or are looking for a good read.

Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

You just cannot have a complete “top favorite” list without including J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings trilogy. Initially intended as a sequel to The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings has become one of the most epic fantasy series ever created. Following the journey of Frodo and his companions to destroy the one ring of power in order to thwart the Dark Lord Sauron from reclaiming the ring and having the ability to rule over all of Middle Earth.

Tolkien creates such a vivid world it makes you wish you could visit it. The books come complete with multiple appendices of lore and a full dictionary of the elvish language he created. The characters journeys are full of camaraderie and depth of emotion that makes you feel like you are traveling with them on their quest. Tolkien has a very poetic way of writing that will appeal to all ages and fans of the genre.

Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan

This series is about the Dragon Reborn and his struggle to defeat the Dark One from breaking free and destroying the world. (see the pattern here?) This is a very simplified summary because the scope of the story is too much mention here. With many characters and plot lines to follow this truly is an epic work of fiction. However because of all the branching story lines this isn’t a series for those with a short attention span.

This is a 14 book series that is finally complete. The author, Robert Jordan, tragically passed away before being able to finish what would have been the 12th and final book of the series. Brandon Sanderson was chosen to complete the series and because of the grand scale of characters and plot threads that needed to be concluded it was decided to turn “book 12” into a three part finale. I will admit I have not read any of the final books yet. After the death of Jordan I was waiting until they were all complete. Now that the 14th book has finally been published I will be able to spend my summer catching up and finally learning the fate of Rand, Perrin, Matt and all the others.

Book Cover
Book Cover

Sword of Truth – Terry Goodkind

Richard Cypher must embark on a quest with First Wizard Zidicus Zul Zorrander or “Zed” and Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor, in order to stop Lord Rahl from spreading his evil to Richards homeland after the barrier that kept them protected has fallen. Wielding the Sword of Truth and proclaimed the Seeker of Truth he embarks on a mission of heroism and self discovery and finds love along the way.

I fell in love with this story and enjoyed Goodkinds writing style and character development. I was overjoyed to discover that this is a series and have since read them all. For all that is good and holy don’t watch the TV show that was created based on these books. Just read the books. They are 1000 times better than the rubbish that was developed for TV.

Riftwar Saga – Raymond E Feist

After Lord of the Rings, this was the next fantasy series I got hooked in. Feists success is in creating a wealth of lovable characters and makes the reader want to follow their journey to wherever it might take them. The first book borrows heavily from Tolkien creating many circumstances that mirror Fellowship of the Ring. There is a “mines or Moria” event where the group must travel through dwarven caves in order to thwart their foe. They find themselves in a Lothlorien style elvish city. The central government is called Krondor which sounds so much like Gondor I actually rolled my eyes a bit when I read it. However, despite these similarities the story is completely his own.

Pug and Thomas, two boys from Crydee have stumbled upon a shipwreck unlike anything they have ever seen, the origin of which is actually from a distant land. It is discovered that invaders have been entering Midkemia by way of a magical rift and now the people must fight to protect themselves and thwart the advances of a seemingly endless army.

Feist has written many books and trilogies all based in Midkemia or Kelwan, however the Riftwar Saga will always be my favorite.

Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

One of the most original stories to be published in a very long time, Brandon Sandersons Mistborn trilogy is an absolute must read. Vin, an orphan living on the streets, doesn’t think she is really all the special. Sometimes she is able to influence a persons emotions which keeps her alive longer than the other children of the street, but she never really gives a whole lot of thought to her strange ability. Kelsier comes along and after a little test helps her discover that she is actually Mistborn, a person able to use metals and allomancy to achieve different abilities. As her mentor, Kelsier teaches Vin all about the art of alomancy and trains her in the art of becoming a lady, in the hopes that she will be able to aid him in his quest to overthrow the current despotic leader, who has been oppressing the people for centuries.

This is a fantastic series introducing the completely original magical concept of allomancy, the ability to “burn” metals to influence their environment. burning brass can be used to dampen a persons emotions while burning zinc can enhance emotions. Pewter can give a person incredible strength. Some people can burn only one metal however if you are Mistborn then you can use all the metals. This series will make you laugh and cry and wish there are more than just the three books.

I originally picked up this series when I learned that Brandon Sanderson was hired to finish the Wheel of Time series. I wanted assurance that they had the right person for the job. I couldn’t be happier with the choice they made. Sandersons writing style is very similar to Jordan and his own series assured me that he is capable of handling a multi character, in depth plot.


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    • Michelle Taylor profile image

      Michelle Taylor 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for the suggestion Willsummerdreamer. I will definitely have to check that out!

    • Willsummerdreamer profile image

      Will English. 4 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

      All great choices (I especially love Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time). And If you like epic fantasy, Then i highly recommend checking out the Anniversary of the Veil series by Vanna Smythe if you can (it's indie but its awesome).

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      you wont be disappointed Michelle...goodness hes good!the first one I read by de Lint was Moonheart/still one of all time favs...he has a new series starting though :) available on kindle :) called 'under my skin' that Im itching to read!

    • Michelle Taylor profile image

      Michelle Taylor 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Hello RNMSN, thank you for reading my hub! I have to admit I have not read Charles de Lint yet, but I always love suggestions so I'll add him to my list of books to read. I tend to have a weak spot for high/epic fantasy series.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I too love the fantasy trilogy and series books :) sorry not to see any by Charles de Lint though...but perhaps because his are urban fantasy?I love all sorts of fantasy! nice hub!