Top 100 fantasy books: #91 - #100
The Fantasy Book Review list of the top 100 fantasy books/series. This page lists entries 91 - 100.
- 91 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."
- 92 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...
- 93 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!
- 94 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.
- 95 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
- 96 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.
- 97 War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham
Ruling from the island of Acacia, the emperor of the Known World has inherited an apparent peace and prosperity won by his ancestors generations ago. He's an intelligent man, a widower who dotes on his four children and it is this devotion that obliges him to hide a terrible secret from them: that their prosperity rests on the dark realities of trafficking in drugs and human lives. A man of integrity, he hopes that he might bring an end to this vile trade, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then an assassin strikes, a lone killer sent by the Mein, an ancient foe long ago exiled to the frozen north. Now the Mein have returned to take revenge on their old enemy and begin a series of brutal surprise assaults on Acacia. Mortally wounded, the emperor puts into play a plan that will allow his children to escape, to fulfil their destinies. And so begins a quest to avenge a father's death and restore an empire - this time on the basis of universal freedom...
"...where this sort of thing really works is not just in the attention to detail, but the attention to character. And with its epic duels and mighty sea battles, the whole thing is suffused with a feeling of Greek myth and legend." Daily Telegraph
"Ultimately, it was a book that I was unable to put down and had me ordering the sequel immediately. I urge you to try it, but please be aware of my disclaimer as I have not yet discovered many of the newer fantasy author." Fantasy Book Review
- 98 Prince of Nothing by R Scott Bakker
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns... A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks news of an ancient enemy. A military genius plots to conquer the known world for his Emperor but dreams of the throne for himself. The spiritual leader of the Thousand Temples seeks a Holy War to cleanse the land of the infidel. An exiled barbarian chieftain seeks vengeance against the man who disgraced him. And into this world steps a man like no other, seeking to bind all - man and woman, emperor and slave - to his own mysterious ends. But the fate of men - even great men - means little when the world itself may soon be torn asunder. Behind the politics, beneath the religious fervour, a dark and ancient evil is reawakening. After two thousand years, the No-God is returning. The Second Apocalypse is nigh. And one cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten...
"I found Mr. Bakker's writing style to be extremely satisfying. When I was finished a reading session I felt like I had just exercised or jogged a couple miles. This is not light weight reading my friends, but it is also not a Mervyn Peake. Except for my occasional name problem, I found the philosophical bent and the very personal emotional descriptions to be captivating. Not only is Drusas Achamian one of the most tortured heroes I have come across, every character is given the same respect, if not depth. There are no one dimensional advance the plot and disappear characters in this series. Enjoy them all." Fantasy Book Review
- 99 Legends of the Red Sun by Mark Charan Newton
An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur. It’s a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail and cultists use forgotten technology. And beyond the now besieged walls, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra. When the Emperor commits suicide, his heir, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire. But the corrupt Chancellor has his own designs on the throne. Meanwhile, a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the savage murder of a city politician, and a charming rogue manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. Then one crime leads to another and a plot is uncovered that could mean genocide for thousands of citizens. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow...
"It's a long, long time since reading a book and series from a new author has made me this excited. How he manages to fit it all into one book is amazing. The style of writing is so clean, no paragraph is wasted. This is such a pleasure to read. It's slightly mad in places as Mark gets into transforming everything in sight, but that just adds to the fun of reading this book. I really believe in years to come we will be talking about new authors, and asking, are they the new Mark Charan Newton?" Stephanie Gelder, Fantasy Book Review
- 100 The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron
With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny seaside village, Eli and his companions seize the chance for some fun and relaxation. Nico, however, is finding it a bit hard. Plagued by a demon's voice in her head and feeling powerless, she only sees herself as a burden. Everyone's holiday comes to an untimely close, though, when Pele arrives to beg Eli's help for finding her missing father. But there are larger plans afoot than even Eli can see, and the real danger, and the solution, may lie with one of his own and her forgotten past. If only Nico could remember whose side she's on.
"There were scenes that made me grin from ear to ear and the humour that Aaron puts into Eli’s actions and dialogue is spot on and fits perfectly with the story. Eli is now one of my favourite characters in the fantasy genre. Rachel Aaron has created an excellent and solid foundation and I hope that she keeps up this high standard - using her excellent writing style and witty dialogue - to create that one big final job for Eli. The Legend of Eli Monpress is a top series, one of the very best I have ever read." Fantasy Book Review
Fango from UK
No Demonic Cycle by Peter V. Brett? This is outrageous.
Dave from UK
@Toni from Burlington Why do you want a Sci-Fi book like Ender's Game included into a list of Fantasy books? Shouldn't it be obvious that this list is vastly different from it?
Clay from USA
Great list. Love what you folks are doing. Unlike most of the comments I appreciate Brooks not being on the list. I tried to read a number of his books and just couldn’t do it.
Toni from Burlington, ON Canada
Yes, it is only a list and there are many great books that didn't make this 100. For example 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card which opened a door for me years ago to fantasy writers (which I was very closed minded, prior). Another is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon amazing book.
Jay from Sweden
Re: former post no 'Sword of Truth' because its really REALLY bad.
Osayd K from Australia
Why don't I see Terry Goodkind's Sword Of Truth series?
Tsvi from Israel
You forgot at least one amazing searies "The Sword of Truth" by "Terry Goodkind". Other then that I should memorize the list for further reading. Thank you.
Fred from Oman
The Empire of the East should be on the list. Just as a counterpoint to all the long winded, overwritten modern fantasy titles. Three books that are wrapped up before the typical fantasy author has introduced us to character number 40 - who seems a lot like characters 12 and 27.
Harry from Canada
It's just a list.... And like all lists it gives us all the opportunity to find out about Fantasy books that may have never crossed our individual radars. I've never agreed with any fantasy list I've ever seen and I'm still waiting for some diverse fantasy writing that transcends the usual suspects who seem to inhabit most lists. Fantasy and the adept world builders who inhabit the genre still see those worlds through one coloured, one dimensional lens, Well, it is what it is.
Ben from England
most of this list is similar to how I would rank it, I just have a couple of issues. one is the fact that harry potter is so high. the story is a good story, no question, but in general the book is just not an amazing book. the vocabulary isn't amazing, the description is also lacking, and the characters are unrealistic to a whole new level. another issue is that the belgariad is so low. in case no-one has noticed, the kingkiller series, most of conn igguldens books, and the eragon series are all based on work by eddings. his most popular books came out before fantasy became that big, and most fantasy from the 80's to now can be traced back to either eddings, Tolkien, or any one of the gothic writers. also, I mentioned conn iggulden and the eragon series at the start of the comment, where are they?
Barb from USA
Marissa Meyer - The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet Cress, Winter). Hard to put down!
Robert from United Kingdom
Who put this list together????... Not even a mention of Charles de lint.... The little country was a fantastic piece of fantasy writing.. And what about Clive Barker, (weaveworld, Imagica, to name but two), I can't, no refuse, to believe not even one of these authors have made the top 100...
James from Canada
You're right about Conan Jeff
Anon from United States
Moorcock? Eternal Champion Series? And as others have said: Zelazny? Howard? This is heavily weighted to more recent books.
Jeff from United States
Why not Robert E Howard and the original Conan books? He always gets left off of these lists, in my opinion, simply because he wrote the stories a long time ago. Great stories.
NB from UK
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
Steve from United Kingdom
Looks like a list of what's currently in Waterstones, W H Smiths, etc. There was an explosion of fantasy writers at the end of the 70's which doesn't seem to have abated. For me Moorcock is the main man but as his books are not in the shops any more neither is he on the list.
Anon from UK
As others have said, I'm surprised to see a number of authors missing: Piers Anthony (Incarnations of Immortality, Xanth, Blue Adept, etc.), Terry Brooks, etc. Also, Poul Anderson's "The High Crusade" is far better than the work you currently have posted.
Daniel from United States
Like you have said, highly subjective. That being said: 1. Though prolific, I do not think R.A. Salvatore is at all a great writer. He is the reason the word formulaic exists as a word. 2. The First Law by Abercrombie should be in the top twenty. It is polarizing, but good art usually is. 3. I don't know that incomplete series should be included in this list, especially since they are listed by series, not individual books, but since they were, I'm going with it. Here are a few I thought should be included: The Fisherman by John Langan, Grim company by Luke Scull, Vlad books by Steven Brust, Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell, Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Half a King by Abercrombie, Raven's Shadow by Anthony Ryan, and the Demon Cycle by Peter Brett.
Josh from United States
An interesting list, but missing some important authors and works. No Zelazny, Brooks, Kurtz, or Lieber? All pretty influential authors who did some remarkable work. Where's the urban fantasy of de Lint, or Butcher? are people like Aaronovitch or Jacka excluded because their series are still ongoing? I love Eddings, but the Elenium series fell off badly after book one; very surprised to see it here.
Chris from Philippines
Dale from USA
Have to agree with some people here. Terry Brooks should be on the list somewhere. His work is imaginative and unique. I really wish the Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern got more love. She has strong and interesting characters, a fully thought out world, and adifferent flavor of dragons. I guess as there is no magic and it gets a bit sci-fi might disqualify her from a list like this.
Jack from USA
Nothing from Weiss and Hickman, huh? Nevermind that Dragonlance has sold more novels than every series on that list with the exception of Tolkein. Also, no Terry Brooks? No David Eddings? What kind of BS list is this anyway? Dragonlance is objectively speaking a top 10-20 series -- top 20-40 if you are a subjective prat.
Michael from UK
I honestly think any fantasy list without Michael Moorcock is a deeply flawed thing. Charles de Lint is also one of the finest fantasy writers of modern times. Obviously any list of this kind is down to personal taste and we all have our favourites but some of the choices here are just silly. I mean.... Shadow Ops ?....Really?
Andrew from England
I can only assume the non-appearance of Terry Brooks is a mistake.
Greg from Australia
Hi, great list. I thought the Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglas was pretty damn good.
Russell from USA
Ummm, did I miss Terry Brooks on this list?
Victorianne from Philippines
Where is Prince Nothing??? This is one of my favorite series. Grrr.
Zeeshan from India
@Trent, Broken Empire is on number 20. The list is great I discoverd many new titles to read. My favorite are the Broken Empire series and the Kingkiller series.(Thanks Zeeshan. Trent was correct at the time of comment, there was a bug in the system and Broken Empire wasn't showing. I fixed it and all is now fine. I'm currently reading Wise Man's Fear and agree with your recommendation - Kingkiller series is excellent).
Steve from Canada
This list is flawed. It has some, in my opinion, very questionable choices but I was pleased to see you have Raymond E Feist and David Eddings works listed. You left out The Sword of Shannara or any of the Shannara books by Terry Brooks. I can not condone this.
Paul from England
I am astonished that the Empire series (Daughter of the Empire, Mistress of the Empire etc) by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts is not featured. In my opinion, it is better than the Magician Series, even though it was effectively a spin-off.
Michael from UK
Where is Tad Williams epic masterpiece Memory, Sorrow and Thorn? Some strong titles here, but MMT is a stronger and more poetic work than A Song Of Ice And Fire, and a major rival to The Lord Of The Rings. I actually prefer it to anything written by Tolkien. There. I said it!
Chris from UK
Nothing by Alasdair Gray, eg Lanark, Poor Things, or A History Maker.
Thomas from USA
Maybe I missed it but the Jeruselam Man should definitely be in the top 40; at least in my opinion. Also, in my bias view all Robin Hobb series should be in the top 25 and Wheel of Time should be top 15. Thank you for not being cliche and drop ASoIaF as #1. Also, thank you for appreciating the awesomeness of Malazan.
David from USA
I'm surprised that with the incredibly high ratings this site gave Pierce Brown's Red Rising and Golden Son neither one is on this list. Red Rising got a 9.7 and Golden Son a 9.9! That's a better grade than almost every other book on this list. Maybe because they're too new. Also, no Ender's Game for God's sake?!(Hi David. We've not reviewed the entire Pierce Brown series yet - when that has been done it looks a dead cert to be included. I think we have Ender's Game classed as purely science fiction at the moment - so that's why it doesn't appear on this list at the moment. Will look into this further. Thanks for your comment - Lee @ Fantasy Book Review)
Dan from Kenya
I am surprised that no mention was made of tge Deverry Cycle series by Katharine Kerr, or any of the books by Elizabeth Moon or Bujold. All well thought out fantasy settings and good story telling!
Trent from USA
Love this list! One question - I notice that while your individual reviews for Mark Lawrence's 'Broken Empire' series are VERY high, the series itself is not listed in the Top 100. Was that intentional or just an oversight? I think it's one of the best modern fantasy series of the last 20 years...(Great spot Trent, it was a data issue that has now been fixed and Broken Empire is - at this moment in time - appearing at #20. Thank you so much - Lee @ Fantasy Book Review)
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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.