Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Epic Fantasy Series

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted weekly by the lovely ladies at The Broke and The Bookish.

I did the same sort of thing for urban fantasy a long time ago, but I've only been reading UF for a few years. I've been reading epic fantasy pretty much my entire life, and with all those books, I was a little apprehensive about trying to narrow the list. But when the top "genre x" books came up on Top Ten Tuesday this week, I knew I had to steel myself for the task. (They are not in any kind of order. I suck at rankings.)

First, if you have not read epic fantasy before, you should. Why? Because it is Epic! And it is Fantastic! Those are good things, right? Right. So if you're someone who mainly reads YA or UF, you may want to start with these books, and probably not so much most of the ones on this list, because I am told many people don't like trying to keep track of so many characters, places, organizations, etc. But eventually you should really really get to these because they are the awesomesauce on the awesomecake. Actually I think I mean awesomefrosting. Cake does not have sauce.

Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch

I am re-reading the first book now and I keep giggling at it on the bus. It's kind of embarrassing, but I can't help it; the book is hilarious. Think con artists before con games existed. This series is dark and funny at the same time, with wonderful characters and intricate plots.

Second Sons by Jennifer Fallon

A rarity: fantasy without magic. The Second Sons trilogy is actually about rationality in the face of superstition, which sounds kind of boring when you say it like that but actually makes a really great story. The main character is brilliant and the supporting cast is filled with interesting and believable characters.

The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read The Fionavar Tapestry, which was probably at least ten years ago. Since then, I've re-read all of his books many times to enjoy the beautiful writing and complex stories. Kay writes bittersweet endings like no one else. The Sarantine Mosaic, which takes place in a world that looks a lot like Byzantium, is my favorite of his series.

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is the most skilled and creative world-builder I've ever come across. Although The Stormlight Archive only has one book so far, it's more than enough to keep you busy for quite some time. The world and characters are wonderful, and though the story is just beginning, there's so much there that it doesn't feel that way at all.

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Witty, clever, creative, and complex, The Name of the Wind was a spectacular debut from Patrick Rothfuss. Narrated by Kvothe a number of years after the actual events of the books, The Kingkiller Chronicle is the story of his life, which happens to be extraordinarily interesting and layered. This series also features one of the more unique and well-explained magic systems out there.

Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Legacy is kind of a hard sell. The description sounds like it's all about sex, but guys, this is Not True. This series actually has a lot of depth and its characters are about a million times better than average. Read it. If you don't like the kinky stuff, you can skip those scenes and the book will still be great. And if you do, extra win!

Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is a fantastic writer of both urban fantasy (Dresden Files) and epic fantasy. Codex Alera is an amazing series with a brilliant world, outstanding characters, and lots of action. Tavi is actually one of my all-around favorite characters; I just love the way he thinks! Definitely a great series.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Even though some of the middle books in this series (*cough*winter'sheart*cough*) drag a lot, you almost have to read The Wheel of Time to understand the genre. Same goes for The Sword of Truth. Anyway, The Wheel of Time's early and later books are excellent, and the final book of the series comes out this year.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Magic and mystery and secrets and horses! All good things. The Green Rider series follows Karigan G'ladheon, who manages to stumble into all sorts of apocalyptic trouble. Karigan is a great characters, and while not really new, the "rise of an ancient evil" story makes for some excellent books.

So I actually ended up with nine series, not because there aren't lots of others that I love, but because I didn't want to pick anything that wasn't absolutely amazing, and also I didn't want to double up on authors, which would have given me too many books.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? And what genre did you pick for your top ten list? Leave a link in your comment!


  1. ooo....a few of my faves definitely on your list! (Name of the Wind, Kushiel & Locke Lamora).

    I really want to try the Codex Alera series, glad to know you love it.

    1. I freaking love that series! You should definitely read it! Tavi is my favorite, and he and Kitai are hilarious :)

  2. Sailing to Santarium looks really good! I don't normally read Fantasy, so I think I'll have to read some of these and see if I can love them.

    Check out my Top Ten / Teaser Tuesday!

    1. The Sarantine Mosaic is a great one. It's definitely less fantasy than most, and I think fans of historical fiction would also enjoy it!

  3. I haven't read Epic Fantasy, but maybe I will check it out. Thanks for stopping by! Cathy

  4. I loved The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear - definitely one of my favourite recent fantasy series'.

    I have to admit, I haven't read many of the others, but The Lies of Locke Lamora is definitely on my tbr!

    I've actually ended up writing a list of Paranormal Romance rather than fantasy for a change this time - makes a change from me writing about fantasy books!

    Great list!

    Tara @ Hey, Tara

    1. Haha, I keep trying to get the epic fantasy stuff out there! Don't know how well it's working ;)

      The Lies of Locke Lamora is soooo brilliant. Read it as soon as you can!!

  5. YES!!! The Kushiel series is freaking awesome! I love love love these books. They have their own shelf and everything, even though I am running out of space on them, they will never share shelf space.


    1. Haha, I'm exactly the same way with my Harry Potter books! Luckily, I have Jacqueline Carey's on my Kindle, so they're with me wherever I go! :)

  6. I haven't read any of these, but I would definitely add the Seven Kingdoms trilogy by Kristin Cashore (Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue). I've never read a better Fantasy series!

    Check out YA Litwit’s Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings and my GIVEAWAY!

    1. I actually did give Graceling a go and sadly did not enjoy it. I know a lot of other people have though.

  7. I haven't read any of those. I have only read a few epic fantasy books. It's not that I don't enjoy them, because I do, I just don't read them often. Great list though, they all sound really good.

  8. Oh my goodness, I want to read SO MANY of these books!! I've had Locke Lamora and The Name of the Wind on my TBR for a long time now, and I just have to bite the bullet and read them already! They sound so fantastic. I've heard INCREDIBLE things about Jacqueline Carey's books, too. There's too many books to read! Great list, though! :-)

  9. Great list! There are several on here that I haven't read but want to check out - like The Name of the Wind.


  10. I actually have not read any from this list but there's several there I intend to check out like the Jim Butcher and Patrick Rothfuss books!

  11. I have a few of these books on my wishlist but funds aren't allowing me to feed my book addiction lately. I really want to start Robert Jordans The Wheel of Time series though! I might have to treat myself to the first one asap! Great list. And I've heard alot about Kushiel's dart off a friend in a group and it sounds amazing!

    Check out my top ten fantasy list if you like! :)

  12. .....I think I love you. WOT, Kingkiller, AND SECOND SONS? The Second Sons trilogy is one of my all time favorite trilogies EVER EVER EVER. I remember HATING Dirk, until all was revealed. I MAY love him almost as much as I love Kvothe. And I love Kvothe a lot.

    Now I REALLY miss reading my fantasy books.

    Are you caught up on WOT? The last book I read was Knife of Dreams. I sat and cried and cried when RJ died, and I just...gosh, I WANT to read the last couple of books so bad, but I'm afraid to!

    Thank you for visiting my blog, Kate!

  13. Great list! I've read at least part of most of those series, and the rest are immediately going on my to-read list. Thanks!


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