The Mythago Cycle by Robert Holdstock
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.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
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.
Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde
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.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Stephen King’s 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. King’s magnum opus is a towering achievement.
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Stylishly creepy; at turns gorgeous, humorous, horrifying and awe-inspiring.
“Stunningly original” The Guardian
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
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.
Riftwar Saga by Raymond E Feist
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.
The Rigante Novels by David Gemmell
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.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Be careful! Once you have read and enjoyed one Discworld novel you may find yourself making your way through the whole series of 41 books.
Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody
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.