Epic fantasies. Readers in legions!
Since so many people love a big ol’ fat fantasy novel, I thought it might be fun to make a list of epic fantasies I think everyone should read.
I mean, we know people love A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. We know people love The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. We know people love Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. These are books fantasy readers put into the hands of their friends and family members.
There are a great many epic fantasies out there though. And some of them deserve to either be read for the first time or re-read for upcoming reasons.
Look below! Read my thoughts. And then comment what five books you’d have on your list!
FIVE EPIC FANTASIES YOU NEED TO READ/RE-READ
1. THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA by Terry Brooks
After publishing what many consider a clone of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Brooks turns in a wholly original masterpiece filled with magic, demons, epic battles, and dynamic characters put on the most perilous of paths. It also features a climax that reduces many readers to tears. While The Sword of Shannara put Brooks on the epic fantasy map, it’s The Elfstones of Shannara that initiated his longevity-fueled career. The book is currently being adapted for the first season of the forthcoming TV series, The Shannara Chronicles. Read it before the TV series begins!
2. THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR by Tad Williams
Wishing to rebut Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the idea of a “golden age,” Williams writes a trilogy with unbelievable scope and gorgeously-wrought characters. He is one of the first writers I called a “wordsmith” and Williams lives up to that title, writing one of the most powerful and beautifully-layered epic fantasies ever. It inspired George R. R. Martin, after all. And with Williams returning to his original epic fantasy trilogy with a new trilogy next year, The Dragonbone Chair and its two sequels are must reads.
3. BANEWREAKER & GODSLAYER by Jacqueline Carey
In Lord of the Rings, we get the story largely through the point of view good — Gandalf, Frodo, and Sam. But what about the other side’s story? Carey, best known for her Kushiel series, has written one of the most beautiful epic fantasies I’ve read, Banewreaker and Godslayer telling the story of the losing side in the most creative of ways. A must read for anyone who loves Tolkien.
4. DRAGON PRINCE by Melanie Rawn
One of the most underrated epic fantasy series ever, in my opinion. Rawn creates one of the richest and most imaginative worlds filled with dragons, sunrunners, and politics. With a host of incredibly complex characters willing to do anything for power, Dragon Prince was A Game of Thrones before George R. R. Martin began writing it. I’ve always wanted to be a sunrunner and it’s fun to return to the series every so often and feel that way again! Plus the beautiful Michael Whelan covers don’t hurt either!
5. THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson
Not many people are writing new epic fantasies. Brandon Sanderson is one of them. For years, he wanted to write a ten book epic fantasy series titled The Stormlight Archive. And now, he is getting that chance. The Way of Kings features a storm-savaged world filled with the toughest of characters — both physically and emotionally — and one of the coolest magic systems in recent memory. Plus magic power armor! The series is not complete but Sanderson is so prolific I have no doubt he will finish it with the utmost of attention.
What five epic fantasies would you advise people to read?