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Your favorite fantasy books

A few years ago I asked for recommendations of favorite scifi/fantasy books, with the request leaning toward hard scifi.

I’ve made it through a nice chunk of those recommendations, but as I read more these days I’m finding that I really enjoy balancing non-fiction books I’m reading with some of the lighter side of scifi and fantasy.

I’m currently reading The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett (big fan!) and Stephen Baxter, and enjoying it thoroughly. To get an idea of what else I like, I just searched through my collection for authors I’ve already read a fair amount of fantasy-wise:

  • David Eddings
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Larry Niven
  • Neal Stephenson
  • William Gibson
  • Douglas Adams
  • Orson Scott Card
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • Frank Herbert
  • Robert Jordan
  • Robert Asprin
  • Roger Zelazny
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • J. R. R. Tolkien

That said, with the exception of Orson Scott Card, Douglas Adams and Tolkien, I haven’t read everything from these authors, and have mostly just read Discworld stuff from Pratchett.

I’m about to leave on a couple of big trips and want to load up my Nook. Recommendations? :)


  • Devdas Bhagat

    Charles Stross
    Ursula K Le Guin
    Piers Anthony
    Tom Holt
    Harry Harryson
    Michael Moorcock
    Samit Basu
    Lois McMaster Bujold

  • opello

    I’ve got “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell on my list to read, after seeing the movie I heard good things but haven’t read the book yet.

    I also have a few of “The Lost Fleet” books by Jack Campbell on my list.

  • Elfy Esq

    but but but …

    You’ve not got Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series – fantasy

    But for hard scifi I don’t think you’d go wrong with Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space series

  • ssweeny

    A few books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed:

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (alternate British history with magic);

    Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey (dark fantasy about a guy who’s sent to Hell and comes back for revenge);

    Feed by Mira Grant (about a blogger and her brother 20 years after the zombie apocalypse)

    Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (if you like Heinlen you’ll like this)

    The Gunslinger by Stephen King (This and the Dark Tower series that it starts are some of my favorite non-Gaiman novels)

  • Elwing

    I really like Robin Hobb – several series, starting with the Assassin’s Apprentice. “Soft” fantasy in that the world is fantastic and there’s “funny” stuff going on, but it’s mostly character development and plot.

  • Tak!

    Patrick Rothfuss The Kingkiller Chronicle
    Iain M. Banks The “Culture” books (you seem to be including scifi with fantasy) (the first one is definitely not the best of them – I recommend beginning with Use of Weapons)
    Joe Abercrombie The First Law (darkish)

  • Penelope

    I’m going to give you a heads up of some bias in my recommendations because most of them have some personal link either with companies I worked with or writers & editors I know. I also will have a mix of just author names and specific explanations since I’m doing this fairly free-flow.

    If you somehow haven’t read them already, pretty much anything by Tamora Pierce. They’re YA, but I know people of all ages who read them and I didn’t pick them up until I was an adult. Her Tortall books are definitely aimed older than her “Circle universe” books overall. Most of her books are in quartets or trilogies. You can pick up any set and start, but I tend to recommend starting either with the Song of the Lionness Quartet (her first published books) or the Becka Cooper trilogy (earliest in the chronology of the Tortall universe).

    I saw someone else on your older post suggested LE Modesitt. I actually can’t get into his older series, but really like his Imager books (I suggest starting with Imager).

    I also like all the original fiction I’ve read written by Brandon Sanderson. He’s probably better known for being the person who finished Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, but I really like his own series. The trilogy that most people know are the Mistborn books.

    Lois McMaster Bujold is better known for her sci-fi (which is incredibly good), but her fantasy books are also good.

    It’s a bit more dense, but the original trilogy of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books (I know people who love the rest of the books in that universe, but I can’t get through them).

    Catherine Valente (pretty much anything)

    Diana Wynn Jones (again, just about anything, even the bits aimed fairly young)

    Patricia Wrede

    Caroline Stevener

    If you like short stories at all, there are a whole bunch of fantasy collections pulled together on specific themes. For example, The Coyote Road is all trickster stories and The Green Man are all fantasy stories inspired by a sort of personification of nature/the natural world. The two Firebird anthologies are good sets of YA fantasy. One includes possibly my favourite short story ever “In the House of the Seven Librarians” by Elen Klages.

    You might be interested in just checking out the Firebird imprint. It’s all fantasy and mostly books that are arguably both YA and adult. The majority of the Firebird books are new editions/reprints of books that are out of print in the US (or haven’t been printed in paperback in the US), but there are a few original works.

    She’s not very well known, but I’ve liked what I’ve read by Nnedi Okorafor (my favourite of hers is Akata Witch)

    If you like books that are more creepy, Nina Kirki Hoffman is good

    Pamela Dean

    Sarah Beth Durst’s Into the Wild and Out of the Wild are fun takes on fairytale characters fighting for control in their stories (not in the same way as the tv show Once Upon a Time).

    In case you couldn’t tell, I can probably go on for days on fantasy books (sci-fi as well, but mostly fantasy). Feel free to poke me if you have questions on any of my recommendations or other book things :) Another way to find book recommendations is to see if authors you like have lists of books they recommend on their websites. If you can figure out if the same editor worked on several books you like (some Tor books have the editor on the copyright page, otherwise you generally only find out if it’s mentioned in the acknowledgments), some editors have lists on their websites, wider than just the books they edited, as well. (Sci-fi and fantasy editors are some of the ones that are most accessible to readers when it comes to websites, blogs, etc.)