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paulgoatallen
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The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Here's a question I get almost once a week – "I just finished the Twilight saga. Is there any fantasy novels or series you could suggest there are as good as Stephenie Meyer's series?"

 

Okay, I give Ms. Meyer all the respect in the world for writing such a phenomenally popular series – and for inspiring millions of young adults to read – but when you look at the fantasy genre from a historic perspective, there are numerous novels and series that I would rank ahead of the Twilight saga. 

 

 So, here's the question: What do you think are some of the best epic fantasy novels or series of all time?

 

Hopefully, when I'm asked the aforementioned question again, I can just point them to this thread for oodles of suggestions....

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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paulgoatallen
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

1. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien

 

then in no specific order....

 

Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea saga

Michael Moorcock's Elric

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia sequence

George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire

Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series

The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks

Roger Zelazny's Amber

Glen Cook's Black Company

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

 

Here's a starting list. I know I've missed dozens more...

Paul 

 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Nelsmom
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Some of the ones that I could add are:

 

Tad William's  Otherland

S.L. Viehl's     Stardoc series

Stephen Brust's Vlad Taltos series.

Janny Wurts'      The War Of Light And Shadow

Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth and Pip and Flinx novels

Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels

Piers Anthony Xanth series.

 

Toni

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Bradinator1
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I'll agree with Paul on several of his picks:

 

Lord of the Rings- the Grand Poobah of all epic fantasy. You'd be hard pressed to find someone on this board that doesn't have a place in their heart for Frodo and his Crew.

 

Champion Eternal saga- Micheal Moorcock. I'm expanding Paul's pick to include Hawkmoon, Corum, and Erekose.

Black Company- Glen Cook

Fionvar Tapestry- Guy Kay

Chronicles of Amber- Roger Zelazny

Conan- Robert E. Howard

Deathstalker- Simon Green (a little sci-fi space opera for flavor)

Discworld- Terry Pratchett ( no need to be serious ALL the time, right?)

Dread Empire series- Glen Cook

Black Jewels trilogy- Anne Bishop

 

Brad

 

 

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Shootydog
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Let me give this a shot.  Ill get the obvious out of the way first.

 

The Hobbit

Lord of the Rings

The Chronicles of Narnia

 

and then

Magician series by Raymond Feist (some would disagree, I ate this series like candy)

Neil Gaimans Sandman (Arguably some of the best spec fiction of the last 20 years)

Hatrack River by Orson Scott Card

American Gods and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever series I and II by Stephen Donaldson

 

There is much more Im sure but these are what I generally recommend most.

 

 

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein
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Jon_B
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Mostof the ones I'd have picked have already been mentioned.  But I do think that The Malloreon by David Eddings should be included.
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Nelsmom
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I could also add:

 

Pern Books by Anne McCaffrey

Farseer books by Robin Hobbs

Recluce series by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Beastmaster by Andre Norton

The Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen

The Corean Chronicles by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

 

Toni

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paulgoatallen
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time


Nelsmom wrote:

I could also add: Pern Books by Anne McCaffrey


Toni:

We are definitely on the same wavelength! I was thinking about this thread today and McCaffrey's Pern sequence kept popping up in my head. I wouldn't rank any of the individual Pern novels in the Top Ten All-Time Epic Fantasy works but I think collectively the series should definitely at least be thrown into the ring for consideration.

Paul 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Ryan_G
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

[ Edited ]

I personally like:

 

The Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey

The Shannara books by Terry Brooks

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (I know it got heavy, dull at times but Rand still rocks)

The Belgariad /Malloreon and The Elenium/Tamuli series by David Eddings

The Dune series by Frank Herbert

The Wolfblade Trilogy/Hythurn Chronicles by Jennifer Fallon 

The Incarnations of Imomortality by Piers Anthony

 

Message Edited by fforgnayr on 01-08-2009 09:51 PM
Message Edited by fforgnayr on 01-08-2009 09:52 PM
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lordfeyr
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I agree with many of the suggestions so far, and have not read some of the others so it appears this thread is already doing it purpose of sending people in the direction of recommended books.  Here is my list:

 

 

Tolkiens works: LOTR etc...

 

David Eddings: Malloreon Belgariad Ellenium and Tamuli books (GO SPARHAWK!)

 

Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time (My first and favorite series not matter what!)

 

GRR Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire (First time there was not so much majic but more intrigue in a series I have read that has so many twists and turns. Nobody is safe!)

 

Terry Brooks: Sword of Shannara books

 

Tad Williams: Shadowmarch books (I havent read otherworld, great author though)

 

Terry Goodkind: Sword of Truth (up there with WoT on the controversy of starting good and getting dull then good again...)

 

 

On a side note anyone who is interested in reading fantasy, I would recommend the  "Legends books"  A series of shorts, exerpts etc... by the leading authors. This will help many find that particular world they are looking for without going out and buying a ton of books.  There are only 2 of these but from what I hear GRR Martin is working with others to start it again under a different name.

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rustyw
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

There is some great stuff on here, and alot I have not read so thanks. I think my favs have all been mentioned (The Wheel of Time, Shannara, Valdemar etc.) but I do have one to add. I might get scoffed at because the author isn't exactly a fantasy genre kinda guy, but The Dark Tower series is, in my opinion, a brilliant series.
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Raven_Lunatic
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

[ Edited ]

J.V. Jone's Sword of Shadows series started out phenomenally good. A Sword in Red Ice was pretty blah (a better title would have been Characters Go Places), but I'm hoping the next book will be up to her previous standards.

 

Tim Powers has written a few good ones. Last Call is definately near the top of my all-time awesome list.

 

I've mentioned it before, but the Symphony of Time trilogy rocks. Even if I think Rhapsody should have been a redhead. :smileywink:

 

Speaking of Elantris, Paul, Mistborn has made my shortlist, too. I love this trilogy to pieces.

 

Terry Pratchett, of course.

 

My mind's gone blank, but I'll probably be back.

 

EDIT: Only thirty seconds. That must be a record. Anyway, I second Name of the Wind, Song of Ice and Fire, and The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Did anyone mentioned The Malazen Book of the Fallen yet? No? Okay, I first it.

EDIT AGAIN: And I second Amber, too.
Message Edited by Raven_Lunatic on 02-03-2009 06:46 PM
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paulgoatallen
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Raven_Lunatic wrote:

J.V. Jone's Sword of Shadows series started out phenomenally good. A Sword in Red Ice was pretty blah (a better title would have been Characters Go Places), but I'm hoping the next book will be up to her previous standards.

 


Raven:
I couldn't agree more – loved the first novel and then it kind of rolled down the offramp to mediocrity. That's the fatal flaw of much of epic fantasy – authors (or publishers) try to stretch the storyline and end up diluting what could've been an intense read...
Paul 
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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rmbrooks
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I'm absolutely on board with all the series by David Eddings, the Midkemia books by Raymond Feist, and Otherland by Tad Williams. 

 

The series that really introduced me to fantasy and got me hooked, however, was the Artefacts of Power series, starting with Aurian by Maggie Furey.  I've loaned my copies to so many people that I had to replace them due to falling apart-ness.  

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Bradinator1
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time


Raven_Lunatic wrote:

 

Speaking of Elantris, Paul, Mistborn has made my shortlist, too. I love this trilogy to pieces.

 

Message Edited by Raven_Lunatic on 02-03-2009 06:46 PM

Reading Mistborn right now myself. So far, so good. I like it better than Elantris so far. Is Sanderson the guy that is going to finish Wheel of Time? If so I might get it. Previously I couldn't take another "Day in the Life of Rand Al'thor" tome.

 

Brad

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Strassur
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

This may sound bad, but I have always been a big Dragonlance fan.  I course I also love Tolkien and Terry Brooks, along with several of the other greats listed above. :smileyhappy:
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carmen22
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I'm a new reader and it seems I have a long way to go to catch up LOL so thanks for all the suggestions guys!!! But I would like to add a few I have not seen on here. I don't know if they would be the best of all time but I really enjoyed them.

 

Daughter of the Forest Series By: Juliet Marillier

Green Rider Series By:Kristen Britain 

The Pellinor Series By: Alison Croggon

The Hunger Games By:smileyfrustrated:uzanne Collins

 

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nano
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

Lilith Saintcrow has two series that I loved.

Jim Butcher has two very good series.  One is about a wizard and is full of great humor.

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dhaupt
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I'd have to list mine as The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Now I haven't read a lot of the afore mentioned so I can only base it on my reading.
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Anthrogrl
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Re: The Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Time

I love reading about Arthurian legends, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon is one of my favorites.  I appreciate how the author took a historical approach to the legend, and told it from Morgaine's point of view.  The characters are flawed and all too human, and I loved reading it.

 

Another great series is T. A. Barron's The Lost Years of Merlin.