Our top fantasy book series recommendations

From the Taoist beliefs of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books to the complexity of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. From the ambition of Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books to the beautifully written Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb. These are the top fantasy book series that you simply must read. We have listed our recommendations below and we have also listened to the many suggestions made – hence the larger selection!

The criteria? For the purpose of this list we have decided that a series must consist of at least four books. So no trilogies, that is deserving of a page all of its own. So without any further ado, here are our recommendations, beginning with Ursula Le Guin.

You may also be interested in our list of recommended fantasy trilogies.

Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen fantasy series) illustration
Image © J.K. Drummond

Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out – and Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

We say: “Arguably the best fantasy series ever written. This is of course subject to personal opinion and fans of Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire and Robin Hobb’s trilogy of trilogies (Farseer, Liveship and Tawny) are quite able to put a very strong case forward for their favoured works but few can deny that the quality and ambition of the ten books that make up A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are unmatched within the genre.”

Read our review of Gardens of the Moon, book one in the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

“Erikson is an extraordinary writer… my advice to anyone who might listen to me is: treat yourself to Gardens of the Moon.” Stephen R. Donaldson

“I stand slack-jawed in awe of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. This masterwork of the imagination may be the high watermark of epic fantasy.” Glen Cook

  • Gardens of the Moon
  • Deadhouse Gates
  • Memories of Ice
  • House of Chains
  • Midnight Tides
  • The Bonehunters
  • Reaper’s Gale
  • Toll the Hounds
  • Dust of Dreams
  • The Crippled God

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Ned Stark’s execution
Image © Magali Villeneuve

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must… and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

We say: “A Game of Thrones is without a doubt one of the most involved and simultaneously enjoyable books I have ever read.  If you like Tolkien, or if you like the idea of an epic fantasy series, then you must pick up A Game of Thrones as soon as possible. Martin’s ability to create a world both entertaining and disastrously realistic is nothing short of mind numbingly brilliant.”

Read our review of A Game of Thrones, the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series.

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows
  • A Dance with Dragons
  • The Winds of Winter
  • A Dream of Spring

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

The Dragon Reborn artwork (Wheel of Time)
Image © Darrell K. Sweet

Life in Emond’s Field has been pretty boring for Rand Al’Thor and his friends until a strange young woman arrives in their village. Moraine is an Aes Sedai, a magician with the ability to wield the One Power, and she brings warnings of a terrible evil awakening in the world. That very night, the village is attacked by bloodthirsty Trollocs – a fearsome tribe of beast-men thought to be no more than myth. As Emond’s Field burns, Moraine and her warrior-guardian help Rand and his companions to escape. But it is only the beginning of their troubles. For Moraine believes Rand Al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn, and that he is fated to unite the world against the rising darkness and lead the fight against a being so powerful and evil it is known simply as the Dark One.

We say: “A saga filled with unforgettable characters and a world steeped in rich history and legend. If you truly love the fantasy genre, passing up a chance to read The Eye of the World would be an unbelievable mistake.”

Read our review of The Eye of the World, book one of the Wheel of Time series.

  • The Eye of the World (1990)
  • The Great Hunt (1990)
  • The Dragon Reborn (1991)
  • The Shadow Rising (1992)
  • The Fires of Heaven (1993)
  • Lord of Chaos (1994)
  • A Crown of Swords (1996)
  • The Path of Daggers (1998)
  • Winter’s Heart (2000)
  • Crossroads of Twilight (2003)
  • Knife of Dreams (2005)
  • The Gathering Storm (2009)
  • Towers of Midnight (2010)
  • A Memory of Light (2013)

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Harry Potter, from the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Image © Jim Kay

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed for ever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!

We say: “Is all the hype about the Harry Potter books justified? In a word, yes, the books are a joy to read and possibly the most rewarding young adult’s book since The Hobbit. Hogwarts is a truly magical place, not only in the most obvious way but also in all the detail that the author has gone to describe it so vibrantly. It is the place that everybody wishes they could of gone to when they where eleven. This book is highly recommended to anybody between the ages of 8 and 80.”

Read our review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, book one of the Harry Potter series.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Saga fantasy series) illustration by David Lupton
Image © David Lupton

The island of Gont is a land famous for wizards. Of these, some say the greatest – and surely the greatest voyager – is the man called Sparrowhawk. As a reckless, awkward boy, he discovered the great power that was in him – with terrifying consequences. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his means, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast in his land. Only he can destroy it, and the quest leads him to the farthest corner of Earthsea.

We say: “Ursula Le Guin has a reputation for exploring psychological and sociological themes within her books and this collection is no different. These novels can be read by children and enjoyed from the perspective of magic, wizards, adventure and the beautifully imagined world of Earthsea. They can also be appreciated by adults for the thought-provoking elements that the book conjures. This is a collection that makes you think and leaves you thinking.”Ursula Le Guin’s creation, Earthsea – an ancient world of wizards, magic, darkness and light, and an ever-shifting balance of power – is an acknowledged masterpiece.

Read our review of The Earthsea Quartet, which contains books one to four in the Earthsea Saga.

“One of the major works of fantasy in this century.” Observer

  • The Earthsea Quartet
    (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu)
  • The Other Wind
  • Tales from Earthsea

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

Image from Royal Assassin, book two of the Real of the Elderlings fantasy series
Image © John Howe

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

We say: “Robin Hobb is an author of rare skill and imagination and the books (13 and counting) that make up her Elderlings series are among the best the genre has to offer. She writes beautifully and her characters are so real you can almost touch them.”

Read our review of Assassin’s Apprentice, book one of the Farseer Trilogy.

“Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers! what makes her novels as addictive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics.” The Times

The Farseer Trilogy

  • Assassin’s Apprentice
  • Royal Assassin
  • Assassin’s Quest

The Liveship Traders

  • Ship of Magic
  • The Mad Ship
  • Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man

  • Fool’s Errand
  • The Golden Fool
  • Fool’s Fate

The Rainwild Chronicles

  • Dragon Keeper
  • Dragon Haven
  • City of Dragons
  • Blood of Dragons

Fitz and the Fool

  • Fool’s Assassin
  • Fool’s Quest
  • Assassin’s Fate

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Duncton Chronicles by William Horwood

Duncton Wood cover art
Image © John Barber

The moles of Duncton Wood live in the shadow of Mandrake, a cruel tyrant corrupted by absolute power. A solitary young mole, Bracken, is thrown into leading the fight to free Duncton Wood. Only by putting his trust in the ancient Stone, forgotten symbol of a great spiritual past, can he find the strength to challenge Mandrake’s darkness. When Bracken falls in love with Rebecca, Mandrake’s daughter, the moles must make life and death choices as their extraordinary search for freedom and truth begins… Together Bracken and Rebecca will embark on moving journey that will challenge them in ways they could never have imagined. But can they save Duncton before it’s too late?

We say: “Duncton Wood is the moving love story of Bracken and Rebecca and the trials they must face and overcome to be as one. It is unfortunate that this work must be compared to Watership Down but that is the only book with which I can really compare it to in terms of story-line and excellence. This book is about moles and unlike anything you have ever read before. The animal kingdom is savage and survival of the fittest is a fact of life (or death). This is a book for adults and is at times as dark as it is uplifting. The book was first published in 1980 and has since become a best-selling novel. A story of courage, loyalty and the power of love… inspired by the shadows and light of England’s most beautiful countryside.”

Read our review of Duncton Wood, the first book in the Duncton Chronicles.

  • Duncton Wood
  • Duncton Quest
  • Duncton Found
  • Duncton Tales
  • Duncton Rising
  • Duncton Stone

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson

An illustration of The Land from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Image © Michael Whelan

He called himself Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in the strange alternative world on which he suddenly found himself – the Land. But the Land tempted him. As a leper, in his own world he had been an outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a saviour, the reincarnation of the Land’s greatest hero – Berek Halfhand. Only the mystic powers of the white gold he carried could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despiser, Lord Foul. Yet Thomas Covenant had no idea how those powers could be tapped…

We say: “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever are a series of fantasy novels with tremendous scope and a psychological depth that had never before been attempted. They are very complex pieces of work but at heart you’ll find a good old-fashioned tale of epic fantasy. The series can not be read without the reader’s constant concentration, it is adult fantasy fiction and the casual fantasy reader may need a period of time in which to become accustomed to this – there are no lovable hobbits to ease you into the story, here you have a man that has lost everything, a man who is angry, bitter, an outcast from the life and the world he knew. But the effort spent in reading this series is rewarded ten-times over and I recommend that every fantasy fan read this seminal work.”

Read our review of Lord Foul’s Bane, book one in the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

  • Lord Foul’s Bane
  • The Illearth War
  • The Power That Preserves

Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

  • The Wounded Land
  • The One Tree
  • White Gold Wielder

Third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

  • The Runes of the Earth
  • Fatal Revenant
  • Against All Things Ending
  • The Last Dark

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney

An interior illustration of The Wardstone Chronices by David Wayt
Image © David Wyatt

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 him. 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 Country, the horror begins…

We say: “You could say that if Ursula Le Guin and The Sixth Sense merged then the outcome may be as good as The Spook’s Apprentice. I would heavily recommend The Spook’s Apprentice to young adults looking for a fantastic series. Chilling, memorable, full of wonderful characters and written in a fluid style that makes the narrative accessible to all ages.”

Read our review of The Spook’s Apprentice, book one of The Wardstone Chronicles.

  • The Spook’s Apprentice
  • The Spook’s Curse
  • The Spook’s Secret
  • The Spook’s Battle
  • The Spook’s Mistake
  • The Spook’s Sacrifice
  • The Spook’s Nightmare
  • The Spook’s Destiny
  • Spook’s: I Am Grimalkin
  • The Spook’s Blood
  • Spook’s: Slither’s Tale
  • Spook’s: Alice
  • The Spook’s Revenge

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Mythago Cycle by Robert Holdstock

Mythago Wood illustration (John Howe)
Image © John Howe

Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged. Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in rural Herefordshire on the outside, but inside, it is a primeval, intricate labyrinth of trees, impossibly huge, unforgettable . . . and stronger than time itself. Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Ryhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds his brother, Christopher, is also in thrall to the mysterious wood, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grow flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity…

We say: “For all its savagery, you are hoping that there is, somewhere in this world, a wood like this in existence. Mythago Wood is a fantasy masterpiece.”

Read our review of Mythago Wood, book one of the Mythago Cycle.

  • Mythago Wood
  • Lavondyss
  • The Bone Forest
  • The Hollowing
  • Merlin’s Wood
  • Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn
  • Avilion

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Dresden Files illustration by Javier Charro
Image © Javier Charro

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Reasonable rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best and technically the ‘only’ at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they come to him for answers. For the ‘everyday’ world is actually full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a – well, whatever.

We say: “Great characters, a mystery that twists and turns like a corkscrew and above all, Harry, a wizard with a world weary sense of humour, who takes life on the chin.”

Read our review of Storm Front, book one in the Dresden Files series.

  • Storm Front (2000)
  • Fool Moon (2001)
  • Grave Peril (2001)
  • Summer Knight (2002)
  • Death Masks (2003)
  • Blood Rites (2004)
  • Dead Beat (2005)
  • Proven Guilty (2006)
  • White Night (2007)
  • Small Favor (2008)
  • Turn Coat (2009)
  • Changes (2010)
  • Ghost Story (2011)
  • Cold Days (2012)
  • Skin Game (2014)

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next illustration by Dylan Meconis and Bill Mudron
Image © Dylan Meconis and Bill Mudron

There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary market, and Thursday Next is on the trail of a new crime wave’s Mr Big. Acheron Hades has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Missing. Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. But solving crimes against literature isn’t easy when you also have to find time to halt the Crimean War, persuade the man you love to marry you , and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

We say: “A great combination of humour thriller, science-fiction, detective and fantasy,. In my opinion this book really takes the fantasy fiction genre further. I know I am going to repeat myself but this series is how Thursday would have said it: “mad as pants”. It combines some great elements that truly make this book comes to life in more than one dimension. Combining funny and witty dialogues but also numerous literary ideas with the bookworms and names of several of the characters make this a terrific read and should be compulsory for everyone. ”

Read our review of The Eyre Affair, book one of the Thursday Next series.

  • The Eyre Affair
  • Lost in a Good Book
  • The Well of Lost Plots
  • Something Rotten
  • First Among Sequels
  • One of our Thursdays is Missing
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Illustration featuring Roland Deschain and The Dark Tower by Michael Whelan
Image © Michael Whelan

Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own. In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice, begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York, and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

We say: “The Dark Tower boasts some of the best characters in fantasy and the first instalment introduces to us the obsessive and lonely gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, and the innocent yet world-weary Jake of New York. And as we read they form a tender and loving relationship that is pivotal to all that follows. From the beginnings in the desert and through events and flashbacks we then visit the doomed town of Tull, visit Gilead, see the New York of Jake’s when and finally travel through the mountains to the moment when Roland faces the most difficult decision of his life.”

Read our review of The Gunslinger, book one in the Dark Tower series.

  • The Gunslinger
  • The Drawing of the Three
  • The Waste Lands
  • Wizard and Glass
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole
  • Wolves of the Calla
  • Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

An illustration of The Banderbear from The Edge Chronicles
Image © Chris Riddell

Quint, son of sky pirate captain, and new apprentice to Linius Pallitax, the Most High Academe, has been set some highly important tasks. Just how important, Quint is about to find out as he and Linius’s only daughter, Maris, are plunged into a terrifying adventure that takes them deep within the rock upon which Sanctaphrax is built. Here, they unwittingly invoke an ancient curse – the curse of the gloamglozer…

We say: “Stylishly creepy; at turns gorgeous, humorous, horrifying and awe-inspiring.”

Read our review of Curse of the Gloamglozer, book one of the Edge Chronicles.

The Quint Sequence

  • Curse of the Gloamglozer
  • The Winter Knights
  • Clash of the Sky Galleons

The Twig Sequence

  • Beyond the Deepwoods
  • Stormchaser
  • Midnight Over Sanctaphrax

The Rook Sequence

  • Last of the Sky Pirates
  • Vox
  • Freeglader

The Immortals

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

The Black Company cover art
Image © Raymond Swanland

Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…

We say: “There are no larger than life characters to be found in The Black Company, all contain frailties and failings that are found in all humans. This book is beautifully amoral and contains no two-dimensional characters. As I’ve already mentioned, The Black Company is a wonderfully amoral book, often dark and containing violent battles and fantastic characters. Glen Cook changed the face of the fantasy genre forever – and for the better.”

Read out review of The Black Company, book one of the Chronicles of The Black Company.

  • The Black Company – Books of the North
  • Shadows Linger – Books of the North
  • The White Rose – Books of the North
  • Shadow Games – Books of the South
  • Dreams of Steel – Books of the South
  • Bleak Seasons – Books of the Glittering Stone
  • She Is The Darkness – Books of the Glittering Stone
  • Water Sleeps – Books of the Glittering Stone
  • Soldiers Live – Books of the Glittering Stone

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Riftwar Saga by Raymond E Feist

Artwork for Magician Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist
Image © Don Maitz

At Crydee, a frontier outpost in the tranquil Kingdom of the Isles, an orphan boy, Pug, is apprenticed to a master magician – and the destinies of two worlds are changed forever. Suddenly the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as mysterious alien invaders swarm the land. Pug is swept up into the conflict but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, an odyssey into the unknown has only just begun. Tomas will inherit a legacy of savage power from an ancient civilization. Pug’s destiny is to lead him through a rift in the fabric of space and time to the mastery of the unimaginable powers of a strange new magic.

We say: “If you gain any enjoyment whatsoever from reading fantasy then this is a series that you simply cannot afford not to read. Understandably, this is one of the highest regarded fantasy series of all time.”

Read our review of Magician, book one of the Riftwar Saga.

  • Magician
  • Silverthorn
  • A Darkness at Sethanon
  • Prince of the Blood
  • The Kings Buccaneer

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Rigante Novels by David Gemmell

John Howe's artwork for Sword In The Storm by David Gemmell
Image © John Howe

Fierce and proud, the Rigante dwell deep in the green mountain lands, worshiping the gods of air and water, and the spirits of the earth. Among them lives a warrior who bears the mark of fate. Born of the storm that slew his father, he is Connavar, and tales of his courage spread like wildfire. The Seidh – a magical race as old as time – take note of the young warrior and cast a malignant shadow across his life. For soon a merciless army will cross the water, destroying forever the timeless rhythms of life among the Rigante. Swearing to protect his people, Connavar embarks on a quest that will take him into the heart of the enemy. Along the way, he receives a gift: a sword as powerful and deadly as the Seidh who forged it. Thus he receives a name that will strike fear into the hearts of friend and foe alike – a name proclaiming a glorious and bitter destiny… Demonblade.

We say: “A book by David Gemmell is about morally grey heroes, who fight for what they believe in, and regularly get kicked in the nuts by fate. A Tavern brawler who selflessly stands up when faced with injustice. A Drunkard that, without a moment of hesitation, sacrifices his life in favour of an innocent family. A Burly woodcutter that travels to all corners of the world to rescue his captured crush. A pacifistic priest forced to slay numerous enemies. These tales tell of honour and glory, duty and loyalty, courage and resolve, all coated in a wonderful blend of action, black humour and suspense.”

Read our review of Sword In The Storm, book one of The Rigante novels.

  • Sword In The Storm
  • Midnight Falcon
  • Ravenheart
  • Stormrider

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Artwork from The Colour of Magic
Image © Josh Kirby

Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the Discworld. Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant idiot. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. It plays by different rules. Certainly it refuses to succumb to the quaint notion that universes are ruled by pure logic and the harmony of numbers. But just because the Disc is different doesn’t mean that some things don’t stay the same. Its very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the arrival of the first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. But if the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death is a spectacularly inept wizard, a little logic might turn out to be a very good idea…

We say: “Be careful! Once you have read and enjoyed one Discworld novel you may find yourself making your way through the whole series.”

Read our review of The Colour of Magic, book one of the Discworld series.

  • The Colour of Magic
  • The Light Fantastic
  • Mort
  • Sourcery
  • Wyrd Sisters
  • Pyramids
  • Guards! Guards!
  • Faust Eric
  • Moving Pictures
  • Reaper Man

The above are just the first ten books in the Discworld series, click here for the complete list.

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody

Cover illustration for The Stone Key (Obernewtyn Chronicles)
Image © Cathy Larsen

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only by secrecy and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative and she is brought to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Banished to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those that would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse. Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is …Elspeth is determined to uncover the plot and so, accompanied only by her cat, Maruman, embarks on a terrible adventure full of danger, the conclusion to which promises not just uncertainty about her safety but also that of many around her.

We say: “When you put your mind to considering some of the greatest writers of the English language, it is a source of continuing pity that Isobelle Carmody’s name is not up there along with some of the greats like Tolkien, Lewis and Hemingway. Though some of her work has been criticized, writing science fiction, fantasy, children’s and young adult literature, Carmody is probably most well known and praised for her work on the Obernewtyn Chronicles.”

Read our review of Obernewtyn, the first book in the series.

  • Obernewtyn
  • The Farseekers
  • Ashling
  • The Keeping Place
  • Wavesong
  • The Stone Key
  • The Sending
  • The Red Queen

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

A Tale of Einarinn by Juliet E McKenna

In Einarinn, the secret of magic is known only by an elite few. They live in deliberate isolation, under the watchful eye of the Archmage. But nothing last for ever. Livak is a part-time thief and a full-time gambler, long accustomed to living by her wits and narrowly avoiding serious trouble. When she attempts to sell a stolen antique to a passing merchant, she finds herself pulled into a new and dangerous world of political intrigue in which the stakes are higher than anyone involved can imagine. For the antique she has acquired dates from a particular period in the history of Einarrin about which little is known, but much has been speculated. And when the truth begins to emerge, Livak decides to take the greatest gamble of her life.

  • The Thief’s Gamble
  • The Swordsman’s Oath
  • The Gambler’s Fortune
  • The Warrior’s Bond
  • The Assassin’s Edge

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Drenai Novels by David Gemmell

The Legend. Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, high in the lonely country bordering on the clouds. There the grizzled old warrior kept company with snow leopards and awaited his old enemy death. The Fortress. Mighty Dros Delnoch, protected by six outer walls, the only route by which an army could pass through the mountains. It was the stronghold of the Drenai empire. And now it was the last battleground, for all else had fallen before the Nadir hordes. And hope rested on the skills of that one old man…

  • Legend (1984)
  • The King Beyond the Gate (1985)
  • Waylander (1986)
  • Quest for Lost Heroes (1990)
  • Waylander II – In the Realm of the Wolf (1993)
  • The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (1993)
  • The Legend of Death Walker (1996)
  • Winter Warriors (1996)
  • Hero in the Shadows (2000)

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Ravens series by James Barclay

The Raven are an elite. Formed of six men and an elf, they’re swords for hire in the wars that have torn their land apart. For years their only loyalty has been to themselves, and to their code. But that time is coming to an end. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, on a mission which soon becomes a race for the secret location of Dawnthief. It’s a spell – one created to end the world – and there’s a danger that someone is going to use it…

  • Dawnthief
  • Noonshade
  • Nightchild
  • Elfsorrow
  • Shadowheart
  • Demonstorm
  • Ravensoul

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Green Rider series by Kristen Britain

Karigan G’ladheon always seemed to be getting into a fight, and today was no exception. But as she trudged through the forest, using her long walk home to contemplate her depressing future – and the expulsion it was bound to hold – a horse burst through the woodland and charged straight for her. The rider was slumped over his mount’s neck with two arrows embedded in his back. Wherever his horse was taking him, he would be dead before they got there. There’s nothing Karigan can do, as the young man lies dying on the road. He had sworn to carry out his mission as a Green Rider – one of the legendary messengers of the king – and he has a life or death message that must reach King Zachary. Karigan may be unable to save him, but she can deliver his message. He makes her swear to it, to keep it secret and, with his last breath, he warns her to ‘beware the shadow man…’ Pursued by an unknown assassin, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, Karigan is going to become a legendary Green Rider herself. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, her simple promise to deliver a letter is about to become a race against time… and a race for her life…

  • Green Rider
  • First Rider’s Call
  • The High King’s Tomb
  • Blackveil
  • Mirror Sight

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations, of humanity. But until he learns the Wizard’s First Rule his chances of succeeding in his task are slim. And his biggest problem is admitting that magic exists at all…A novel of incomparable scope and brimming with atmospheric detail: in a world where heart hounds stalk the boundaries for unwary human prey, blood-sucking flies hunt on behalf of their underworld masters, and where artists can draw more than your likeness, there is no place to hide, nowhere safe. Here magic makes love twice as sweet, betrayal and loss twice as bitter.

  • The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus
  • Debt of Bones
  • Wizard’s First Rule
  • Stone of Tears
  • Blood of the Fold
  • Temple of the Winds
  • Soul of the Fire
  • Faith of the Fallen
  • The Pillars of Creation
  • Naked Empire
  • Chainfire
  • Phantom
  • Confessor
  • The Omen Machine
  • The Third Kingdom
  • Severed Souls
  • The Law of Nines

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix

Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues – and seven sins. The moment Arthur meets sinister Mister Monday, the world turns inside out. The next seven days will bring seven fearful challenges – and a billion grisly ways to die. As his world is attacked by a plague of hellish creatures, Arthur retreats into a mysterious house , a house that only he can see. Inside, unlikely hero Arthur must unravel the secrets of the Seven Keys, battling monsters and treacherous Denizens in a bid to save his world…

  • Mister Monday
  • Grim Tuesday
  • Drowned Wednesday
  • Sir Thursday
  • Lady Friday
  • Superior Saturday
  • Lord Sunday

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Fallen Blade Novels by Kelly McCullough

Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind. Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message – one than can either redeem or doom him.

  • Broken Blade
  • Bared Blade
  • Crossed Blades
  • Blade Reforged

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Belgariad by David Eddings

A battle is coming… And in that battle shall be decided the fate of the world. Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object – the Orb – that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace. But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war. Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew…

  • Pawn of Prophecy
  • Queen of Sorcery
  • Magician’s Gambit
  • Castle of Wizardry
  • Enchanters’ End Game

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Hyddenworld by William Horwood

It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core of a flawless Sphere made by the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon CraeftLords in memory of the one he loved. Her name was Spring and contained in the very heart of this work is a spark from the Fires of Creation. But while humans have lost their belief in such things, the Hydden – little people existing on the borders of our world – have not. Breaking the silence of centuries they send one of their own, a young boy, Jack, to live among humans in the hope that he may one day find what has been lost for so long. His journey leads him to Katherine, a girl he rescues from a tragic accident – it’s a meeting that will change everything. It is only through their voyage into the dangerous Hyddenworld that they will realize their destiny, find love and complete the great quest that will save both their worlds from destruction.

  • Spring
  • Awakening
  • Harvest
  • Winter

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia have enchanted millions of readers over the last fifty years and the magical events described in C.S. Lewis’s immortal prose have left many a lasting memory. For here is a world where a witch decrees eternal winter; where there are more talking animals than people; and where battles are fought by Centaurs, Giants and Fauns.

Purchase the first book in the series, The Magician’s Nephew, from Amazon now.

  • The Magician’s Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett

Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark… Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day’s ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet’s Brook. As dusk falls upon Arlen’s world, a strange mist rises from the ground; a mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings – demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons – materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn. When Arlen’s life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path. In the small town of Cutter’s Hollow, Leesha’s perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge. Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night. Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.

  • The Painted Man
  • The Desert Spear
  • The Daylight War
  • The Skull Throne

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Here is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of Camelot – but seen through the eyes of Camelot’s women: The devout Gwenhwyfar, Arthur’s Queen; Vivane, High priestess of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake; above all, Morgaine, possessor of the sight, the wise, the wise-woman fated to bring ruin on them all…

  • The Mists of Avalon
  • The Forests of Avalon
  • Lady of Avalon
  • Priestess of Avalon
  • Ancestors of Avalon
  • Ravens of Avalon
  • Sword of Avalon

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler

In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness. Marcus d’Ivoire, senior captain of the Vordanai Colonials, is resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost, when a rebellion leaves him in charge of a demoralised force in a broken down fortress. Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just wants to go unnoticed. Finding herself promoted to a command, she must rise to the challenge and fight impossible odds to survive. Their fates rest in the hands of an enigmatic new Colonel, sent to restore order while following his own mysterious agenda into the realm of the supernatural.

  • The Thousand Names
  • The Shadow Throne
  • The Price of Valour
  • The Penitent Damned
  • The Shadow of Elysium

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Ryria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan

A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadius can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

  • The Crown Tower
  • The Viscount and the Witch
  • The Rose and the Thorn
  • The Death of Dulgath
  • Theft of Swords
  • Rise of Empire
  • Heir of Novron

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in… For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

  • The Screaming Staircase
  • The Whispering Skull
  • The Hollow Boy
  • The Creeping Shadow
  • The Empty Grave

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

The Faithful and The Fallen by John Gwynne

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

  • Malice
  • Valour
  • Ruin
  • Wrath

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the first book in the series on Amazon.com

Dragonlance novels by Margaret Weis and Laura and Tracy Hickman

Every generation can point to a fantasy book or series that defines their teenage years. Currently, that would likely be Harry Potter; for those now edging towards or into their 40s it would be Dragonlance. Weis & Hickman’s core six books took the 70s and early 80s concept of Dungeons & Dragons and pulled it firmly into the big-haired, techno-pop world of the late 80s and early 90s in a manner that enthralled a generation as much then as Potter does now.

Read our review of The Dragonlance Chronicles.

For a full list of Dragonlance novels, visit Wikipedia.

Are you agreeing with the selection of top fantasy book series? If you do, do not, or if you have any further recommendations then please let us know by leaving a comment below. Thank you, we hope you enjoyed reading our list.

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