General Question

HGl3ee's avatar

What is a great fantasy series of books?

Asked by HGl3ee (3943 points ) October 6th, 2009

I have spent the last week or so at a Chapters bookstore looking for a new novel series that I could get into. Here is basically what I’m looking for:
-fantasy, I love elves and fairies especially, but vampires are great too!
-romance, the mushy kind <3
-the series can be any number of books, but I’d prefer 3+
If anyone has any ideas or even a series that they have read, I’d love all the suggestion I can get!
Thanks in advance for all your help and ideas – LB

Note: I have read the Twilight Series ;)

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76 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

What other books of that type have you read? I can think of 4 or 5 series for young adults that fit that description, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be new to you.

drdoombot's avatar

I loved Dragonlance as a teen. Much more than Lord of the Rings. There is one interesting romantic triangle between a character named Tanis Half-Elven and the two women he loves: an elf and a human, with each representing the good and evil sides of his own mixed nature.

marinelife's avatar

If you have not yet read them, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover novels fit the bill. Some of the best ever.

Also, I love Mercedes Lackey’s Valdamar books.

HGl3ee's avatar

@La_chica_gomela I honestly have not read a whole lot in this genre, so I’m open to any and all sugestions -LB

ShanEnri's avatar

I love all the series of R.A. Salvatore! He writes one of my all-time favorite characters, Drizzt Do’Urden. His series are all 3+. You have The Dark Elf Trilogy, Legacy of the Drow, The Icewind Dale trilogy, and the newest The Hunters Blades Trilogy. (In order from the beginning)! There are elves, wizards, monsters, and dragons I think. Some romance! You might also like Dennis L. McKeirnan (spelling might be wrong) But he writes alot of elves and such and also try the Dragonlance books. I prefer the ones by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss. There are also many creatures of fantasy and some romance! Good luck!

Jeruba's avatar

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider books were good.

MagsRags's avatar

Probably my all-time favorites are Ann McCaffreys dragonriders of Pern series. There are trilogies within the series, but once you get into them, you can read prequels and sequels.

MagsRags's avatar

Sniped by @Jeruba !

ragingloli's avatar

bible, quran, torah, vedas

lloydbird's avatar

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

And @ragingloli GGA.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No vampires, but The Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum is a great series.

Cartman's avatar

Any of the Robin Hobb trilogies. They are absolutely wonderful in my opinion.

And of course Lord of the Rings trology if you, by any chance, have missed that one.

MagsRags's avatar

An oldie but goodie:
Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. The first is “Nine Princes in Amber”.It’s ten books, but they’re relatively short books by modern fantasy standards easy to devour.

phoenyx's avatar

Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

Cartman's avatar

Another good one is Raymond E. Feists almost endless series. Start with Magician and just keep going.

patg7590's avatar

I loved the Redwall books as a kid!

efritz's avatar

Most of the ones I know are children/young adult books, but still good . . . Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Turner, anything Ursula LeGuin or Neil Gaiman, Wicked series by Gregory Maguire, and Garth Nix has a few series that are good.

oh, and Harry Potter, to state the obvious.

PretentiousArtist's avatar

Discworld is the only fantasy series I like to read. Everything else is just…meh

SpatzieLover's avatar

Looks like the Keeper Martin’s Tales & The Secret of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel are well rated & might be for you.

Here’s a list of well rated fantasy series books for you to search through.

Qingu's avatar

I’ll second His Dark Materials and Amber and add the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which is sort of like a darker Harry Potter (modern British fantasy starring kids).

The Neverending Story is one of my favorite books ever but it’s just one book, not a series.

I just realized that none of the books I recommended have elves, fairies, or vampires. But that stuff gets so old!

BraveWarrior's avatar

The Chronicles of Narnia which consists of 7 books (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle) by C.S. Lewis were favorites of mine and my sister.
Also, only 1 book instead of a series but a great book, The Princess Bride by William Goldman (the book was great and The Princess Bride movie starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Peter Falk, and Billy Crystal was also excellent).

Ria777's avatar

@ragingloli: ah! but of the books you listed, only the Vedas have fairies!

Ria777's avatar

@ElleBee: the Taran Wanderer series by Lloyd Alexander. also try Diana Wynn Jones who has written several series full of books.

also have a look at Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. not a series but a single very thick book. if you really want to stretch yourself, try the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

Cartman's avatar

@Ria777 I second Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Thick but well worth it.

Qingu's avatar

@Ria777, the Quran has djinn, which are basically fire-fairies.

I wouldn’t really recommend reading it though. Unless you like being threatened repeatedly by a book’s narrator.

Ria777's avatar

@Cartman: that’s what she said.

Cartman's avatar

@Ria777 Just cheering on.

sdeutsch's avatar

@Qingu took the words right out of my mouth – Amber, His Dark Materials and Neverending Story are three of my very favorite fantasy books/series. Haven’t read Bartimaeus yet, but it’s going on my list!

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu: oh, I forgot that part! also, the Bible has dragons, though they don’t actually appear.

Qingu's avatar

This is probably a huge stretch since it’s historical fiction and is super-intellectual in a way that books about vampires and elves tend not to be… but I would also recommend Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. It doesn’t have vampires but it does have a character who bears some similarities to vampires. Two if you count Isaac Newton.

That said, I think Stephenson’s Anathem is way better, easily the best thing he wrote, and definitely one of my favorite books of all time. It’s more sci-fi than fantasy, but it does have magic monks who live in a secluded castle.

Ria777's avatar

@Cartman: re-read my response and put “boom-dee-boom!” at the end.

Ria777's avatar

I just want to say that with the exception of suggesting the Gormenghast and Clarke books I restrained myself and only suggested the kind of books I think that ElleBelle actually requested. having said that, I think that the series of Diana Wynn Jones, which completely fit the bill, would keep you busy for a lot of time. (‘specially as she keeps writing books.)

also, rather than the “anything by Ursula LeGuin suggestion” above, the Earthsea books specifically. not my thing, though I think that some would enjoy them.

also also: Patricia McKillip’s work made up mostly of singleton novels and one series, the Riddlemaster trilogy. lots of mushy romance, etc. if you want, again, to venture further afield, anything by Tanith Lee, who has, again, written yoinks of books. (not always containing elements of romance, though some do.)

sdeutsch's avatar

Also, it’s not a series, but Sunshine, by Robin McKinley is hands-down the best vampire book I’ve ever read – and probably one of my 5 favorite books of all time. I’d definitely recommend that one!

Ria777's avatar

Robin McKinley in general. I forgot to mention her stuff. I have read The Blue Sword and Beauty by her.

now that I think of it, also try Andre Norton’s Witch World books. maybe a little dated and I think out of print.

HGl3ee's avatar

Thank you everyone for your terrific responses! I have a huge list now :D Your help has been greatly appreciated! – LB

patg7590's avatar

Fluther FTW!

HGl3ee's avatar

@patg7590 I agree completely!!

ccrow's avatar

George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series- unfortunately he died before finishing, but supposedly another author is going to.

Qingu's avatar

As I understand it, you may have to wait a while before ASoIaF is ever finished. Martin may even pull a Jordan and die before he finishes it, at the rate he’s going.

ccrow's avatar

@Qingu – yeah, I’ve noticed. A pity.

syz's avatar

Robin McKinley is awesome!
C.E. Murphy rocks!
Patricia Briggs, a favorite!
Laurel K Hamilton is spicy!

tandra88's avatar

The Inkheart Series.
And, of course, Harry Potter.

XOIIO's avatar

Well, it’s not what you described, but the foundation chronicles by Isaac asimov is great! Also redwall by brian jaques!

ShanEnri's avatar

@SpatzieLover Great link for the fantasy book series on Amazon! Thanks for that!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ShanEnri Searching for books to read is one of my very favorite things to do ;0) Ask this question anytime you’re looking!

Those Keeper Martin’s looked so interesting I put ‘em in my wish list

ShanEnri's avatar

@SpatzieLover I have found so many just by searching, but that link is like priceless treasure to me! I bow at your feet!

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@phoenyx Lurve for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
@ElleBee Read it. You should try it at the very least.

HGl3ee's avatar

@Saturated_Brain I’m going to try them all! :D – LB

lifeflame's avatar

I would also recommend:

David Eddings’ Belgariad (start with Pawn of Prophecy) or the Elenium (start with The Diamond Throne). The banter between the characters are just hilarious.

Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara series. He’s a classic, and there’s lots of elves.

I would second Dragonlance, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist. .
You might also want to check out this earlier thread. There are nice suggestions here.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I second George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Even better than that is Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Seriously… Words can not describe how fantastic I think these books are. He is an excellent writer.

I highly suggest Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series if you like vampires. They’re full of witches, werewolves, vampires, pixies and more. The humor is fantastic and they aren’t so sexual that it’s unbelievable like Laurell K. Hamilton’s books became.

For a twist on fantasy, Gregory Maguire is also fantastic. He took fairy tales and put an adult spin on them. They’re really fun to read. Look for Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, A Lion Among Men, Mirror Mirror, and Son of a Witch: A Novel.

EmpressPixie's avatar

As usual, @syz has gotten here before me and given my answers, so I’m just going to support hers.

And add a bit of a warning—Laurell K Hamilton’s writing starts out… fairly tame sexually. But over the course of the Anita Blake series that changes drastically. Her writing style improves greatly as well, but the amount of sex per book rises almost exponentially. Fair warning. If you like the first few, there is a good chance you’ll lose interest once you get deep into the series, but if you hate the first five or six, keep reading. They get spicier.

evegrimm's avatar

Ha, and this only after my giant list on another question.

I would like to add Sara Douglass’ Wayfarer Redemption (giant epic fantasy series) as well as Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages (first book is Rhapsody).

If you want something really “spicy”, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books are very good, but “spicy”, long, involved and very interesting. Prepare to give up a week or more to each book (there are 7 currently; first is Kushiel’s Dart). And really—there’s a lot of spicy going on, especially in later books. (Fair warning.)

Anything by Tamora Pierce, obviously. (The Song the Lioness, The Immortals, Aliane, The Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens, The Circle Reforged; all of these have at least 2 books, and most have 4.)

I can give more, if you’d like.

Oh, and, to tack onto what @EmpressPixie says: the first 8 or so books in LKH’s Anita Blake series aren’t “spicy”, but in and after the 9th book (The Killing Dance), there is much less time devoted to mystery-solving and much more time devoted to the “spicy”. (By the last few books, there is precious little besides the spicy, and this coming from a long-time LKH fan.)
Her other series is arguably more magical than her Anita Blake series (elves, fairies, fallen gods, selkies, etc.), but it starts out very spicy and only gets worse/better from there.

markyy's avatar

If you are looking for a long series, try: the Sword of the Truth series (Terry Goodkind). I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but so far I have read 6 of them out of a total of 11, because it isn’t very, erm how do I say this, World of Warcraft / Lord of the rings like? You know a lot of popular fantasy is set in the same frikkin universe, you got you ogres, fairies, dwarfs and wizzards and its copied over and over.

The sword of the truth series isn’t very flashy and over the top. It has some (to me) uniqueness. In Dutch the title is translated to: The laws/rules of magic, and every book highlights one of those rules. You might have seen it on television last year (Disney), if so forget it, that show ruined it for me :)

Qingu's avatar

I heard Sword of Truth devolves into outright Ayn Rand objectivist evangelizing halfway through the series.

syz's avatar

I agree with the stated problems in the Anita Blake series – I like the first few, and then found the later ones weak venues for soft pron.

sakura's avatar

Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Franke are good

Love anything by Robert Rankin – The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of The Apocolypse and The Toyminator are both very good as they are based in Toy City (ToyLand of the future!)

markyy's avatar

@Qingu Never heard of that, the religion or the link with the book. Also I never really made it halfway through, if I ever do I’ll let you know ;) So what is Ayn Rand objectivist evangelizing and is it as bad as it sounds?

Qingu's avatar

Objectivism is a kind of cultlike philosophy started by a woman named Ayn Rand that can basically be described as hyper-capitalism. It’s completely against charity or social welfare of any kind.

So, I understand that in later SoT books, the main character is constantly lecturing the reader about the evils of socialism and giving poor people a free pass or something. I don’t know though; I’ve never read them.

Jack79's avatar

@BraveWarrior I’d like to second the Narnia series, I think it’s great for readers of any age or taste and a “must-read” generally. I feel ashamed of myself for leaving it relatively late in life. Most of the others mentioned are equally as brilliant, but of course depend on taste too. I think the Narnia world is more romantic and mythical than most, and the overall feeling you get is more optimistic. Maybe it’s just my impression though.

Qingu's avatar

Speaking of not-so-subtle evangelizing in fantasy books, Narnia is basically C.S. Lewis’ apologetics for Anglican Christianity.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Qingu: That’s not exactly right. It’s not against charity or social welfare of any kind. It’s against doing things with no return. So a “charitable” action like donating a building to a campus is still acceptable to the people who truly believe in Randian philosophy because your name is on the building and you gain social capital. They are just much more mercenary in their charitable or social actions.

Someone who believes that philosophy is more likely to, for example, help a friend’s kid get a job because then that friend kind of owes them a favor than to donate $50 to the Red Cross which isn’t going to really GET them anything.

tandra88's avatar

@sakura: I’ve already said that. :P

sakura's avatar

@tandra88 Thought I’d add the author too, just in case, good aren’t they!

tandra88's avatar

@sakura: Oh, I get what you are saying. Sorry.
Yeah, I really enjoyed them.

irocktheworld's avatar

Obviously Twilight and Harry Potter! I like readng Diary Of A Whipy Kid..its funny..:P
TWILIGHT ROCKS!

syz's avatar

Twilight sucks.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Nightlight could be good, though.

emmy23's avatar

The House of Night is a great book series. Very enthralling

mclaugh's avatar

@emmy23 i totally agree! love those books! a littlwe repetitive sometimes but still, very easy to get wrapped into.

I also love The Mortal Instruments trilogy(City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass) written by Cassandra Clare. There’s vampires, fairies, nephilim, werewolves, romance andlots more mythical creatures… they’re really good books! I can’t believe no one else mentionned them!

HGl3ee's avatar

@mclaugh Nice! I’m going to have to look that one up too! Much Lurve <3

mclaugh's avatar

You’re most welcome! :)

Only138's avatar

I remember reading the Lloyd Alexander fantasy books when I was younger and really liked them. The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer + The High King…otherwise known and the Chronicles of Prydain.

HGl3ee's avatar

@Only138 : I love the fact that this question still has answers coming in! Thanks for your input and suggestions; it’s greatly appreciated :)

MrBr00ks's avatar

I know it doesn’t have fairies or ogres, but it does have vampires, the Crimson King, the taheen, and “The man in black.”. I am disappointed in Flutherites for not mentioning the Dark Tower series.

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE FACES OF YOUR FATHERS? (Dark Tower Junkies will get it)

Roland Deschain is my personal favorite fictional character of all time. When I got done with the series, I was very sad because I missed them already, it was like your favorite relative/friend leaving.

Erulin's avatar

I have to agree with Drdoombot. I loved Dragonlance… well the first two trilogies to more precies, I didn’t read “all” of them as I read at snail speed.

For some fun reading, I’d suggest the Sookie Stackhouse Novels

WestRiverrat's avatar

CJ Cherryh’s Alliance-Union Universe Start with Heavy Time and Hellburner

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