Top 100 fantasy books: #81 - #90
The Fantasy Book Review list of the top 100 fantasy books/series. This page lists entries 81 - 90.
- 81 Chronicles of the Raven by James Barclay
The Raven have fought together for years, six men carving out a living as swords for hire in the war that has torn Balaia apart, loyal only to themselves and their code. But when they agree to escort a Xesteskian mage on a secret mission they are pulled into a world of politics and ancients secrets. For the first time The Raven cannot trust even their own strength and prowess, for the first time their code is in doubt. How is it that they are fighting for one of the most evil colleges of magic known? Searching for the secret location of Dawnthief; a spell that could end the world? Aiming not to destroy it but to cast it...
"Every now and again you come across an author who manages to write unlike any other. This is not something that will happen often, and I've personally only ever come across a handful (Tolkien, Pratchett, Hobb and Erikson). But one author who manages to write such a compelling story that you never want to put the book down is James Barclay." Fantasy Book Review
- 82 The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney
Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts.
But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins...
"Chilling, memorable, full of wonderful characters and written in a fluid style that makes the narrative accessible to all ages." Fantasy Book Review
- 83 The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope.
- 84 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland was Lewis Carroll’s first novel and its fantasy plot, humorous rhymes and brilliant use of nonsense was revolutionary. Nineteenth-century children’s writing usually served moral or educational purpose, but Alice was written firmly and purely for the amusement of children. Critical response was lukewarm, but the book was still a great success, and remains a hugely influential classic of children’s literature.
"Alice appeals to adults as well as children and over the years readers and critics have found within it all manner of riddles, puzzles, mathematical concepts and references to Carroll’s famous and not-so-famous friends." Fantasy Book Review
- 85 Riftwar Saga by Raymond E Feist
Crydee, a frontier outpost in the Kingdom of the Isles. An orphaned young boy named Pug becomes a master magician’s apprentice and two world’s destinies are forever changed. The peace that he has known all his short life disappears and is replaced by war in the shape of invaders from another world. A magically created rift in space brings together the two worlds, the world that Pug has always known and the world of the invading Tsuranuanni.
"Like a venerable patriarch, Magician stands at the head of a great tribe of fantasy writing. When Raymond Feist's enormous novel was published, critics called it "the best new fantasy concept in years", and Feist has refined and explored that concept over a dozen novels. His "concept" was to bring together two (and later, more) whole, intricately realised fantasy worlds. Midkemia is a Tolkienian realm, a European- Medieval series of kingdoms in which magic is prominent, and where men share the earth with dwarves and elves."
- 86 The Belgariad by David Eddings
"Fun, exciting, intriguing fantasy in which the characters are as important as the quest and magical elements ... immerse yourself and enjoy!" Darren Shan
"Fabulous" Anne McCaffrey
Long ago, the evil God Torak fought a war to obtain an object of immense power - the Orb of Aldur. But Torak was defeated and the Orb reclaimed by Belgarath, the sorcerer. Garion, a young farm lad, loves the story when he first hears it from the old storyteller. But it has nothing to do with him. Or does it? For the stories also tell of a prophecy that must be fulfilled - a destiny handed down through the generations. And Torak is stirring again...
- 87 The Elenium by David Eddings
"Sparhawk is the best-realized hero in modern fantasy" Daily Telegraph
"Eddings has a marvellous storyteller style" Anne McCaffrey
"It is a fantasy book of the old school, with its sword fights and magic, but it is more than that. The novel changes direction many times: from action to politics, magic to a buddy road movie. These changes keep the reader interested, and you’re never quite sure what is going to happen next." Fantasy Book Review
After a long spell of exile, Sparhawk, Pandion Knight and the Queen's champion, returns to his native land to find it overrun with evil and intrigue - and his young Queen grievously ill. Indeed, Ehlana lies magically entombed within a block of crystal, doomed to die unless a cure can be found within a year. But as Sparhawk and his allies -- who include Sephrenia, the ageless sorceress, and Flute, the strange and powerful girl-child - seek to save Ehlana and the land, they discover that the evil is even greater and more pervasive than they feared!
- 88 The Abhorsen Chronicles by Garth Nix
"Constantly rich and meaty, the story is intriguing from the off. Page by page the tension builds and draws you into a highly imaginative landscape that has familiarity and originality in equal measures." Fantasy Book Review
“Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. I congratulate Garth Nix.” Philip Pullman
“Fast pace, drama, vivid descriptions, excitement and humour… What more could you want?” The Guardian
Who will guard the living when the dead arise? Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands – for her father is none other than The Abhorson. His task is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him – and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties – to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible challenges whilst discovering her own supernatural abilities – and her destiny.
- 89 Memory Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams
A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, an ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Siti, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate, prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die. Only a small scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon - a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League - will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nighmares!
"The characters are strong and well-formed and Tad Williams takes time early on in the book to fully round them out and put some flesh onto the bones. After we are fully introduced to the players and have become comfortable in the world then the pace of the book really picks up and the strands of the tale spread out until there are multiple storylines on the go at the same time." Fantasy Book Review
- 90 The Chrestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones
Every saga has a beginning. Every journey has a first step... And so it is with the magical Worlds of Chrestomanci which English fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones began so many years ago with her own episode one - Charmed Life. Winner of the Guardian Award for Children's Books, Charmed Life has been a favourite escape to parallel fantastical worlds since 1977, and remains refreshingly captivating and reassuringly addictive in its latest paperback edition with a wonderful new jacket illustration. The adventure begins in a strange and not-quite contemporary England that is still peppered with paddle steamers, horse-drawn carriages and girls wearing petticoats. Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth and mysterious ways. Their new life is full of the surreal and unexpected, and there are several crazy new rules to master--not least by Gwendolen who must learn to channel her astonishing powers for good instead of mischief as she forever seems determined to do! Chrestomanci is a truly original creation, and Charmed Life introduces this dandy nine-lived enchanter - the king of the regal dressing gown - and his associated colourful characters in a story of pace and substance, twists and turns, treachery and bravado. There's also humour amid the author's very immediate writing, and enough puzzles and mystery to keep an inquisitive mind captivated until the very end.
Nick from Bulgaria
Daaamn, first list where Malazan is truly on its rightfull place. Same for Song Of Ice And Fire. I like Silmarillion more than every other Tolkien's work, so LOTR must not be on top. Riftwar must took its place, because its dozen times better. Amber? Fionavar? Gentelmen Bastards? I think I did not see them in the list, you should add them next time. Thats for me, have a nice day.
Arnold from Canada
Death Gate Cycle not on there? Not perfect but should be top 100. No Fionavar? Tales of Alvin Maker was also a good light read. WOT should be top 15. I will admit that books 7-10 are pretty darn slow and spend too much time talking about woman sniffing, folding arms below bosoms and describing dresses, but having woman as the power figures (for the most) part was a nice departure from the usual. It did lack any main character being killed off. And yes, Lord of the Rings was the first, but going back and reading it again, it seems very predictable and takes itself too seriously. It may be the same as my kids watching old classic TV shows like I love Lucy and the Honeymooners thinking the jokes are corny, but only because every other sitcom since has stolen them.
Have your say
Rating books is by nature highly subjective. So we would love to know what you, the reader, feels about the books listed in our top 100. Which titles you agree with? Which titles do you disagree with? Which titles do you think should be on this list but are not? Please let us know by submitting a comment below, you will be helping us to further improve this top 100 as all quality comments will impact on where where books place.