Here you can find books, series and authors I genuinely enjoyed. I think everyone should at least try them out and see for themselves. I hope you can find some worthwhile recommendations!
My all-time favorite fantasy series. The world-building, magic-system, story and the characters are top-notch. There is no one holding your hand, so it can be hard to get into, but I assure you, it is worth it! I haven’t enjoyed another series this much. It can be confusing because of the many different characters and agendas and because you have to figure everything out on your own over the course of the books, but you will be rewarded with an awesome story. I’m looking forward to my second read through, to see what the book is like with all the knowledge I have accumulated in my first read through.
J. R. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
One of my favorite stand-alone books. I like the story more than even Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is a very interesting read too, but it can be a bit confusing. Still a book you should read when you want to learn more about Tolkien’s world and it’s history. I wish more authors would write something like it. I would definitely be interested.
A vicious world filled with political backstabbing and marching big armies against each other. The political landscape in this series is one of the best you’ll ever see. And you’ll get very attached to the characters, for better or worse. It got made into a great TV-Series too. So even if you don’t want to read these long books, you can watch the series and still be amazed (but for propriety’s sake I feel obliged to inform you that the books are still better).
This series has some of the best dialog in a fantasy series. Witty banter left and right. It has an interesting story too, with memorable characters and interesting developments. The prose is beautiful and these are the books that made me laugh the most (not counting Terry Pratchett). The heists performed by the Gentleman Bastards are as memorable as they are ingenious and they are a highlight of Lynch’s books.
His books are great. They contain the most funniest stories I’ve ever read. If I ever get a too high dose of Pratchett, I’d probably suffocate from laughter. There are a couple of movies featuring his books and they are funny, but they don’t reach the heights of the books.
This series is what brought me to fantasy and I’ll be eternally grateful to Tad Williams. It’s the tale of a kitchen boy with the fate of the world on his shoulders. That might not sound so interesting, but believe me, it’s an amazing tale. Though I already read it four or five times, I still want to read it in english once more. His Otherland series is worth a read too and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed when you check out Tad Williams’ other books.
I don’t think I need to say much about it. While I normally am not as interested in contemporary fantasy, Harry Potter is a series everyone should read. What made this so interesting for me were the everyday interactions in a magical environment. Sadly most of this wasn’t present in the movies, so I couldn’t really enjoy them.
With this series, you need to be careful. Don’t set it down after the hundred pages, even if the protagonist is a big asshole and you want to do nothing more than string him up his neck. I wanted to throw the book out of my window too, but in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t. This series is carried by the very interesting character of Honorous Jorg Ancrath. He is a man that would in any other book be the antagonist the hero has to defeat. A sadist with a twisted moral, but I liked to see him change over the course of the books, even though it was only marginal. One thing you can be sure of: Jorg will surprise you.
Robert Jordan: The Wheel of Time
Fourteen books full of the epic struggle between good and bad, light and darkness. I loved the story around the Dragon Reborn, Rand al’Thor, and his friends. You could call it an old-school tale, but it’s one of the best. And don’t worry about the later books, Brandon Sanderson does a very good job with them. If you want to go on a magical adventure that’ll last an entire summer (or winter), this is the series for you.
I’m not a fan of Stephen King and most of his books don’t grab me, but The Dark Tower series is something you should read. It’s not your common fantasy and that’s definitely one of it’s appeals. The characters are another: they seem alive and real. And the ending was awesome. I can understand the people that didn’t like it as much, but I think it was the icing on the cake for me.
It’s a great coming of age story with a lovable protagonist and a unique setting. Apparently, Butcher was dared to combine the ancient romans with pokemon and out came Codex Alera. His other series The Dresden Files is held in high esteem by many and is on my to-read list.
Hands down, you can read everything he wrote. Some of his books aren’t as good as others, but they always have one thing in common: They have incredible magic-systems. It’s not just people shooting fireballs like in many books featuring mages, but incredibly detailed and easy to understand. Mistborn is often said to be the best introduction into his world and while I liked the first book, the next ones weren’t as good. But his second series set in the same universe shows more promise. His best book is the one mentioned above and you should really check it out.
It’s an incredible series and I’m looking forward to the last installment. Kvothe tells the story of his live and it’s a tale that’ll suck you in and never let go. I loved to read the books and follow Kvothe through his not-so-great life, where he has to struggle every steps, but always comes out on top.
Recently read it and I couldn’t make a recommendations-list without including it. I haven’t read more yet, but I’m looking forward to it. The book centers around another great protagonist and brings up some uncomfortable questions. It’s Sci-Fi, but I think you’ll forgive me for listing it among fantasy, especially since both genres are very close to each other.
The debut of Brian McClellan is an amazing book. In contrast to many other fantasy-books, it doesn’t feature a world close to our Middle Age, but instead the world stands at the beginning of the industrial revolution. It was very interesting not only because of the setting, but because of the interesting characters and their strange magic powers. If you haven’t read it yet, you can try out some of his short stories. They are entertaining and a good introduction to his world and writing style. I wish more authors would write such stories, because they give us interesting details about side and main characters.
George Orwell: 1984
Richard Schwartz: Das Geheimnis von Askir
For those of you able to read german, this is what I can recommend you. It’s a great tale about a motley group of adventurers that – like it or not – have to save the world. It’s a long series actually comprised of two series (Das Geheimnis von Askir and Die Götterkriege) with a second stand-alone coming out. Especially the first series is a good read.