About a week ago, we made a list of novels that make for excellent reads if you’re looking to break into the high fantasy genre. Of course, the list was aimed at readers who are only just entering this excellent branch of literature. There is no shortage of amazing titles under the high fantasy banner, so we continue that list today.
Today’s fresh set of recommendations picks up where we left off last week. Many of these titles will seem familiar to our readers, as they are almost unanimously recognized as essential cogs of the high fantasy sub-category. Still don’t see your favorite picks in the list? Voice your thoughts — nay, your recommendations — out in the comments below!
The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, only women can use the One Power safely. Any man who wields will inevitably go insane and wreak havoc in the world.
As the books begin, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.
May the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
To the woes of many, we did not include this marvelous series in our initial recommendations. As one individual accurately pointed out, it is a tad long to recommend to a newbie. Nevertheless, once you’re hooked onto the high fantasy flavor, The Wheel of Time Series is undoubtedly the first set of novels to pick up. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Grab the entire 14-part epic for $130.03 at the Amazon Kindle store or the first book alone for $11.49 at the Kobo store.
The Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.
This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?
It is a testament to Brandon Sanderson’s exceptional fantasy writing skills that he was chosen to conclude The Wheel of Time Series upon the untimely death of Robert Jordan. The Mistborn Saga is a crowd favorite owing in part to Branderson’s penmanship and another due to his wonderfully rich imagination. You can pocket all seven titles in the saga for $52.62 at the Amazon Kindle store or start with the first installment, The Final Empire, for $11.49 on the Kobo store.
The First Law Series by Joe Abercrombie
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian — leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.
Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.
Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.
Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.
Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.
If you enjoyed the works of George R. R. Martin, you’ll fall in love with the dark and twisted world created by Joe Abercrombie. It started out as a trilogy, but the British novelist has since added plenty of companion novels and sequels. Start with the initial trilogy for $28.07 on the Amazon Kindle store or $27.89 on the Kobo store and see if you’d like to read the rest as well.
Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch
An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.
Scott Lynch relates a gritty tale of survival centered around a young thief making his way through a shrewd existence. Cleverly worded and full of vivid descriptions, you’ll be hanging on to the edge of your seat. With four books out so far, Lynch is planning to launch a total of seven titles altogether. You can get the initial trio of novels for $28.07 on the Amazon Kindle store or books one and two for $8.99 on the Kobo store.
The Belgariad Series by David Eddings
A magnificent epic set against a history of seven thousand years of the struggles of Gods and Kings and men – of strange lands and events – of fate and a prophecy that must be fulfilled! THE BELGARIAD
Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.
But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know? For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while… THUS BEGINS BOOK ONE OF THE BELGARIAD’
The Belgariad Series stands out as a timeless classic in the world of fantasy as a whole. The very first book titled Pawn of Prophecy was fleshed out by David Eddings back in 1982. There are five novels in the primary series, followed by another five-part sequel called The Malloreon, two prequels, and a companion novel titled The Rivan Codex. You can’t find an ebook copy of the very first release so easily, but there are audiobooks available for $10.99 on the Amazon Kindle store and $9.99 on the Kobo store. Alternatively, the paperback box set with all five books costs $47.99 on Amazon.
The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan
“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
If you’re looking for a lighter read, The Black Magician Trilogy goes easy on your heart. It isn’t as heavy and gruesome as many of the other reads on this list, but enjoyable nonetheless. This one’s more suitable for younger readers too. Depending on your speed, you’ll be done with the trilogy in a few days or weeks. It’s a great series to cleanse your palette after reading titles with extremely mature or macabre themes. Bag the entire trilogy for $29.41 on the Amazon Kindle store or $7.59 on the Kobo store.
Dragonriders of Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey
HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD?
To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise-and take back her stolen birthright.
But everything changes when she meets a Queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread and the blood-red star, but there are very few of them left these days. Only the gigantic, golden Queen can breed new dragons. And the Queen is fading . . . dying . . .
Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .
The Dragonriders of Pern series continues in Dragonquest.
Anne McCaffrey’s three-part series has grown into a wide universe consisting of over twenty novels. It isn’t for naught that she ranked as a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author. The best way to start this legendary series is with the primary novel in the original trilogy. You can grab an ebook copy of Dragonflight for $7.59 on the Amazon Kindle store or an audiobook version for $23.17 on the Kobo store.
Namerah is a Technology Journalist with experience at leading online publications like Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech and gaming, and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim.