The Best Fantasy Book Series

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

216 thoughts on “The Best Fantasy Book Series”

  1. Some of what you mentioned are among my favorites, but for the best of the best these days my advice goes to Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson (everything they have written that I have read is absolutely fabulous.
    And of course I would mention you probably know who, but waiting 10 years for the last book of a trilogy… can’t recommend that to anyone!

  2. I’m just very curious as to why the Deryni historical fantasy novels by Kathrine Kurtz aren’t listed here and strangely are not even mentioned at all in the comments section below the list? I find that extremely interesting. Those books are well-written and certainly worth the read and it is hard to imagine serious fantasy lovers not being familiar with them. Did I miss something?

  3. Hail and well met!

    This is such a stunning and complete collection of the best and most timeless fantasy fiction I’ve ever seen! Some of these I’ve read, like the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever back in my mid-teens, even buying and reading the Second Chronicles, and buying and TBRing the third trilogy. The Hobbit, The LotR trilogy and after conveniently reading a book on Gnosticism, finding a first edition of The Silmarillion and enjoying its cosmology, as many of the Discworld novels as I could possibly lay hands on (an acquired taste, but oh, when it acquires you!), Earthsea, Narnia of my childhood and so many more!

    Finding a place full of so much lore, it dawned on me it is where I should ask if anybody knows the name of the author and the title of a particular story that came back to me today while reading, of all things, Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” and reaching a point where calling cards are mentioned as being left for people of the house to know who had come by while they were out or not receiving visitors.

    I remembered that there was a whole galaxy of inferences to be made by visitors when they’d see other caller’s cards in the tray: someone wrote a fantasy version of that in which, I think, people lived in a castle and used rings as calling cards. They’d give them to other people and if accepted a bond of subjection and power was formed. By seeing whose rings people wore you’d know whose patronage and favour they enjoyed. When visting they’d put their ring on the tray, the servant would take it in and I can’t remember the rest, whether the ring returned or was kept.
    Does this ring any bells with anybody? Who wrote this? Was it a short story in some collection or part of something more far-reaching? I’d greatly appreciate it if there were an aha! Thanking you in advance!

  4. This is a great list of appealing titles and a great ride throughout fantasy. I enjoy the reading and the list that you provide on this site. Quite a great work! Nevertheless, there is one book that I have accidentally found while scavenging for fantasy and I find it hard that it appears nowhere on good reviewers site. I am not trying to sell anything here since we all have our own POV. But I believe that this one deserves some attention. Try this book and you’ll thank me in the future. Tales of a Phoenix: Odyssey to the Underverse. By a certain C. G. Blackstone. First time I ever heard of him. Anyway, I have enjoyed his story.

  5. Wars of Light & Shadow series by Janny Wurts – such an amazingly gifted author who has co-written the Empire Trilogy with Raymond Feist; once familiar with her writing style you see much of her influence in the collaboration – it’s a mystery why she just doesn’t get the airtime that her writing truly deserves!
    First introduced to her writing in The Cycle of Fire trilogy – Stormwarden / Keeper of the Keys / Shadowfane which hooked me for anything she produced in future; check out her standalone book To Ride Hell’s Chasm for those wary of multi-book series.
    I’ve followed Janny over 20 plus years and delighted that the final volume is well into development for Wars of Light & Shadow:
    1. Curse of the Mistwraith
    2. Ships of Merior
    3. Warhost of Vastmark
    4. Fugitive Prince
    5. Grand Conspiracy
    6. Peril’s Gate
    7. Traitor’s Knot
    8. Stormed Fortress
    9. Initiate’s Trial
    10. Destiny’s Conflict
    11. Song of the Mysteries (Not Yet Published) – check out her website for ongoing updates

  6. That’s an interesting point on Piers Antony but I have to admit I’ve read all the series you’ve mentioned as well as a few others (Adept series, battle circle, mars tyrant ) and never noticed any pedophile content. Probably over 40 years since I read them so might not be remembering But my recollection was that there was very nothing sexual across age groups. Just some same age teenager fumbling. When you consider the explicit nature of current young adult fiction they seem rather innocent. Plus unlike modern YA fiction most of their main characters get to the end of the series intact without being killed off or suffering psychological damage 🙂
    The mars tyrant had some sibling sex but in the context a lot less distressing than the key rape scene that kicks off Thomas Covenants adventures.
    I think it is fair to say that Fantasy contains far more sex and violence than other genres, but I don’t think the authors are like that, or that Anthony is any worse than the others. I doubt there is a single book in the whole list that doesn’t contain something profoundly inappropriate. Excepting perhaps Tolkien and C S Lewis.

  7. I’d add Zelazny – both lord of
    Light and princes in Amber series are phenoms

    Amazed at the lack of due Tolkien gets nowadays. the silmarillion is the finest elegance world building i’ve read

    What I do find interesting is the large support for Robert Jordan and the potter novels. Great imagination but some of the worst writing I’ve ever encountered from supposed professionals. I can’t finish either due to the headache they both give me. Goodkind similarly.

    Martin is Jordan who can actually write.

    I’d namecheck Tanith Lee as a wonderful spinner of yarns

    Michael moorcock’s various series are simply before their time.

    And finally – where TF is Jack Vance in all these lists – I speak extemporaneously ofc. If you haven’t read vance’s Fantasy novels and short stories you simply have not read fantasy.

    Appalling that pulp like Harry Potter sells millions while real savants like Vance and moorcock seem somewhat underappreciated.

  8. I’m SO glad you didn’t recommend Piers Anthony. I used to be into his books, creepy as they were, but got turned off by his switch from subtly pedophilic in his first 8-9 Xanth books to his full on pedophilia apologist in the Incarnations of Immortality series and later Xanth books. It just feels like he was trying to groom young readers into being accepting of inappropriate sexual advances by predatory adults. (I stopped reading Marion Zimmer Bradley after it came out about her sexual abuse of her daughter, because there are some scenes in her Mists of Avalon and Firebrand that are pretty uncomfortably graphic).

    Although I disagree with his political, social, and religious beliefs, I would recommend Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming Saga (i.e., the Book of Mormon in a Futuristic Earth / Alt-Planet), and Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus.

  9. Thank you for your excellent comment Tim, it’s not just a “where the hell is …” rant but a helpful and thoughtful examination of titles we likely have not yet read. It’s perfect, not just for those of us who run the site, but more importantly for those looking to read the very best the fantasy genre has to offer. I would like to wish you many more years happy reading!

  10. I am 61 and have been reading fantasy since I was introduced to LOTR and Titus Groan 50 odd years ago. I therefore feel entitled to mention a few titles your list has overlooked, and other posts have not said much about. I could list 100 but will settle for 10 classics. But first let me say I greatly appreciate these lists as it’s great to have new series to discover.
    1. Malcolm Moorcock Dancers at the end of Time. Hilarious and wonderful.
    2. Tim Powers The Anubis Gates. I also enjoyed The Stress of Her Regard, but after that I found him a bit repetitive.
    3. Mccaffrey Crystal Singer series. Also the dragons of Pern series.
    4. Julian May Saga of the exiles and its sequel
    5. McAvoy Tea with the black dragon. Might be a bit dated now though.
    6. Jean m Auel clan of the cave bear series. More fantasy than prehistory.
    7. Alan dean foster spellsinger
    8. Piers Anthony Xanth novels plus lots of others.
    9. Gordon Dickson dragon and the George series
    10. Jessica day George Tuesdays at the castle etc. Much younger audience.

  11. So many I’ve never heard of. I’m considering trying some of these out. I cannot predict how much I will enjoy some of these since enjoyment is mostly opinion based on life experience and relating between the characters. Anyhow, I am excited to start listening to one of these series using audible. I really appreciate you cataloging all these stories. At this point its not really much of a top best as much as it is an informer that the stories listed exist. Fantastic job in creating this.

  12. Enjoyed the list, thank you. Still some I need to get around to reading.
    I have a new suggestion: Robert J Marsters The Karrak Trilogy, The Ascension of Karrak, The Bane of Karrak and The Cessation of Karrak. Good fast paced storytelling.

  13. Thank you for this list. I have read many of the series on your list and noticed they are left off of most “main stream” list . It was refreshing to find a fantasy book review that mirrors my own opinion of some of these great “forgotten” series. I book marked your page and will definitely use it for my future reading list. Thank You!!!

  14. Way to go, I think all of my favorites are in there, though I am still searching for The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien in the list in vain.
    A new author that could go all the way is Renata Cattleya Levy, whose work I read only recently. Of course, she is a new author and debuted with her first book ‘The Black Shade of White – Justice’ (as far as I know) late in 2019. This book was a great read and I am recommending it to people everywhere who love cross-genre books.

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