Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stars of...Heroic Fantasy

The "Stars of..." series is a feature I'm doing here at Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy to highlight the best books in different areas of the fantasy genre. Say you want a book about shapeshifters or wizards or mythology, or maybe you want to read some political or heroic fantasy. Stop by here every Thursday for the foreseeable future, and I'll have recommendations for you! Click on the book covers for links to the first book in the series and on the series name for a list of the books in it on Goodreads.

If you think there's something I missed in this category, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments! I haven't read everything out there, obviously, and I'd love some recommendations myself.

Series are alphabetical by author.

Stars of...Heroic Fantasy

What I've decided to call heroic fantasy here could also be named "good versus evil" fantasy or sometimes quest fantasy, as well as Bildungsromane. Basically, heroic fantasy stars a hero who has to learn about his or her strength and face great obstacles to eventually triumph. This really is The Hero with a Thousand Faces (or in this particular case, sixteen).

Kristen Britain
Green Rider
4 books, ongoing

The Green Rider series features Karigan G'ladheon, a spunky young heroine who frequently stumbles into more trouble than she bargains for. This series is both entertaining and something a little deeper. With every book, I'm drawn farther into this world, and I only wish Kristen Britain wrote more quickly!

Jim Butcher
Codex Alera
6 books, completed

In a fascinatingly creative world, factions within Alera struggle for power while enemies rise without. Tavi is one of my favorite heroes ever. Watching him come up with insane solutions that actually work is so much fun. I really love this series.

Trudi Canavan
The Black Magician Trilogy
3 books, completed

A slum dweller like Sonea should never have been a magician, but when her talents emerge on their own, she has no other choice. The Black Magician trilogy is a really great read, with wonderful stories and characters.

Sara Douglass
The Wayfarer Redemption
3/6 books, completed

The Wayfarer Redemption was one of those books that I really loved reading. There's nothing terribly original here, but it made me happy anyway. (But don't read the second trilogy. It's weird.)

David Eddings
The Belgariad/The Malloreon
5 books each, completed

The Belgariad is completely ridiculous, and as such is terribly fun to read. I'm not entirely certain it's a self-aware sort of absurdity, but it doesn't really matter. It has all the horribly stereotypical elements of a heroic fantasy/Bildungsroman – no really, every single one – but somehow it's all so fun that I read it again and again. (The Mallorean has mostly the same cast.)

Terry Goodkind
The Sword of Truth
11 books, completed

The Sword of Truth is one of those series that gets people up in arms. A lot of people love it, and a lot hate it for entirely valid reasons. I really like a lot of the books in this series, and I think the ones I don't like are worth trudging through for the sake of the good ones. While the preachiness of the later books can be annoying, the story itself is enjoyable.

Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time
13 books, ongoing

Next to A Song of Ice and Fire, The Wheel of Time is probably the epic fantasy series to follow Lord of the Rings. It epitomizes the word epic, with incredibly detailed histories and customs for many different countries as well as intricate storylines and complex characters. Yes, some of the middle books are slow, but they get better. And the last book comes out this year!

Guy Gavriel Kay
The Fionavar Tapestry
3 books, completed

The Fionavar Tapestry was the first series by Guy Gavriel Kay that I read, and I absolutely loved it. It's sort of like The Chronicles of Narnia for grown-ups, but so much more vivid and profound. I love Kay's lyrical writing style, and the world he built here is beautiful, filled with myth and legend, heroes and monsters. The Fionavar Tapestry is an amazing story that I've read over and over again.

A Song for Arbonne

Filled with Kay's characteristic lyrical prose, A Song for Arbonne is both exciting and profound. It takes place in a fascinating reflection of medieval Europe.

Mercedes Lackey
Heralds of Valdemar
A lot of books

I have a whole shelf full of these books. They're on the lighter side, but that can be good sometimes. They're always fun to read and have some very lovable heroes.

Dragon Jousters
4 books, completed

Two words: baby dragons. That's pretty much all you need to know about this book. Seriously, if you don't like baby dragons, I think you might be reading the wrong blog...

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Obsidian Trilogy
3 books, completed

The Obsidian Trilogy has a little more depth that Heralds of Valdemar or Joust. It's filled with difficult choices, but also with humor and friendship. My copies are starting to look a little tattered, so it's definitely well-loved.

Fiona McIntosh
The Quickening
3 books, completed

This story has a very unusual premise and some great characters.
Brandon Sanderson
3 books + 1 sequel

With unexpected turns and complex characters, Mistborn is a story to read again and again.

The Stormlight Archive
10(?) books, ongoing

My new favorite epic, The Way of Kings, features compelling characters, thrilling stories, and a stunning world. I'm pining for the next book.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings
3 books, completed

I'm not explaining this one.

Let me know what you think of the selection in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. LOTR -- YAY!!!

    I have tagged you :)


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