Fantasy Series

Over the years I have read (and reread) a lot of Fantasy series. Here’s where I rank them. Sort of. Well, the closest I’ll ever get to ranking them. Within each tier, they are not ordered in any way.

I know that I haven’t included all of the series here. I read a lot in the 90s that I just can’t remember – downside of using a library. But most of them should be listed below. I’ll add to the list as I complete more series.

(If I have done a bookshelf spotlight for the series, I’ll link to it)

Favourite

My all time favourites; series I consider masterpieces.

  • Wars of Light and Shadow, Janny Wurts
    • I don’t understand how this series is not more widely known and appreciated. Yes, the writing style is different from the many series that one can devour quickly – but that is intentional. I’m a slow reader and still I find I pick up more and more with each reread. Some of it is just because there is a lot to take in, some is because Janny is incredibly clever and “hides” clues all the way through. You just need to know to look, which you won’t until later books.

Love

As it says on the tin, series I loved.

  • The Farseer Trilogy, Robin Hobb
    • Read back in the late 90s on recommendation from a friend. Loved the series and really need to find the time to reread it.
  • The Liveship Traders, Robin Hobb
    • How could one not read Liveship Traders after reading the Farseer trilogy. A very different trilogy, but equally excellent.
  • Riftwar Saga, Raymond E. Feist
    • This is a series of 3 or 4 books, depending on which volumes you have: Magician (apprentice and master, in the volumes I had), Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. These were a gift from my father (best ever gift) and cemented my love of Fantasy. I have reread the series several times, but not for 20 years – I should schedule a reread soon.
  • Empire trilogy, Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
    • What is not to love about this series. I’m almost tempted to add this into the favourite category, and may yet after a reread (my last being back in the very early 2000s). Janny’s presence in this writing duo is felt and Mara is an amazing character. This is what a strong female character is – many authors should take note. This series tells the other side of the Riftwar that is started in the Riftwar Saga, and I loved it even more.
  • Saga of Recluce, L.E. Modesitt Jr.
    • No matter what people try to tell you, read in publication order. I read these back in the 90s from the local library, and have been slowly buying my own copies in the last couple of years.
  • Age of Five, Trudi Canvan
    • I loved the take on Gods and religion, and the commentary on these, also that the main character learnt to question and not take solely on faith despite having faith. I’ve read this series 2 or 3 times now and I know I’ll read it again. There are heartbreaking moments, and through it all Auraya grows in strength (in more ways than one) and makes a fantastic main character.
  • Deverry (Act 1), Katherine Kerr
    • It’s been over 20 years since I last read this. I don’t remember a lot but I remember I loved it when I read it. And I remember identifying with Jill’s decision. I think I started to read Act 2, but uni got in the way. Time to revisit the series.
  • All Souls Trilogy, Deborah Harkness
    • What can I say, kick-arse female main characters get me every time.
  • Tir Alainn, Anne Bishop
    • Fae, witches, witch-hunters and an interesting connection between the three. But also a whole lot more than that. I regret the loss of books 2 and 3 and am now getting them printed to order (who knew you could do that – cool!)

Like a lot

I liked these series a lot and would recommend them, but they just weren’t quite as good as the ones I loved.

  • Krondor’s Sons, Raymond E. Feist
    • This series consists of two sort-of standalone books: Prince of Blood and King’s Buccaneer. These follow on from the Riftwar Saga and are set several years later, also within Midkemia. I stopped the Riftwar Cycle after these books. I had intended to continue on but was told spoilers of the next books in the series and it took years to forget those. Now, I’m not sure if I should continue with the rest of the Riftwar Cycle or not.
  • The Elenium, David (and Leigh) Eddings
    • My favourite Eddings series. I just love Sparhawk and the child god. Not a series that takes itself too seriously, and that is a good thing. I enjoyed these when I first read them in high school, and again 20 years later. I know I’ll revist them again.
  • Dragonriders of Pern, Anne McCaffrey
    • These are technically Sci-Fi, but a lot of people refer to them as Fantasy, so I’m listing them here too. I first read these in German in 1996 (first 9 or 10). Loved them so much. I have reread them many times through the years and have recently started buying them in English and reading them as translations are always a bit different. I only want to read the first 11 books – I think they are the better ones.
  • Witches of Eileanan, Kate Forsyth
    • A friend recommended this book back when the first one came out. I thought it was a standalone, and I really did need a break from series where I was continually waiting for the next book, so picked it up. Turns out it was a trilogy six book series. I was bummed after reading it and discovering this, but I’m glad I picked it up as I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
  • The Black Magician Trilogy, Trudi Canavan
    • This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. A quick and easy read that I have already read 2 or 3 times. Some great themes threaded through this series.
  • Mercy Thompson, Patricia Briggs
    • These are a fun read and love Mercy and her snark. Yes, it gets dark at times, and there is one book in particular that you should be aware of trigger warnings with, but on the whole these are great books to get lost in – whether for the first time or on repeat.
  • Ancient Future, Traci Harding
    • Just your average “woman goes back in times” through standing stones tale. Or is it? History, and with it the future, is changed. And that’s just the beginning. A fun read.
  • Black Jewels trilogy, Anne Bishop
    • Dark, and be aware of triggers before reading this, but a great trilogy. I also read the collection of short stories after the original trilogy as they filled in and finished the story for me. I have no intention of reading beyond, and from what I have seen on where the storyline goes, I’m glad I made that decision.

Like

These are series I enjoyed and would (in some cases, have) read again. They are worth reading, but I have enjoyed other series more, or think other series are stronger.

  • Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
    • I’m sure some will think it a sacrilege that I rank LOTR here. I enjoyed the books, and am glad I read them. I will probably even read them again one day. And I appreciate the contribution they made to the genre. But it just wasn’t as enjoyable a read or as clever a story as other series I like more. And despite some of the critical (in my opinion) things that were left out, I’d rather watch the movies.
  • The Belgariad, David (and Leigh) Eddings
    • I enjoyed reading these back in high school and when I read them again ten years later. I’d probably enjoy them again now. They aren’t the best examples of the genre but they were a fun read, and yes, there is probably some nostalgia caught up with these. While these earlier books don’t credit Leigh, I believe she helped Eddings on all his books, not just the later ones, hence the attribution above.
  • The Mallorean, David (and Leigh) Eddings
    • See The Belgariod
  • The Tamuli, David (and Leigh) Eddings
    • Not as strong a trilogy as the one it follows (The Elenium), but still a throughly enjoyable read. I enjoyed the return of Sparhawk and the child god.
  • The Traitor Son Trilogy, Trudi Canavan
    • This trilogy starts 20 years after The Black Magician trilogy ends. While it was good to see what had happened with characters and the world in that time, and to see the next chapter, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first trilogy.
  • Jaz Parks, Jennifer Rardin
    • An interesting series of books. Fun and bizarre at times. Jaz is a CIA assassin, and her boss is a vampire – how could this not be fun.
  • Undead, MaryJanice Davidson
    • Betsy dies on her birthday and wakes up a vampire. And not just any vampire – the vampire queen. It’s not a series that takes itself seriously, and is a fun read.
  • Celestial Triad, Traci Harding
    • A follow-up trilogy to Ancient Future. Enjoyed, but wasn’t as good as the first trilogy.

Like once

Series I enjoyed, but have no interest in rereading.

  • Rhiannon’s Ride, Kate Forsyth
    • This trilogy picks up several years after the ending of The Witches of Eileannan. I’m glad I read it, but it reads a bit too YA for me and I probably won’t read these books again. Though they remain on my bookshelf.
  • Dragon Prince, Melanie Rawn
    • I read these when I was 17 and really enjoyed them. I started trying to read them again in my mid-30s and just couldn’t get into the first book. So I donated the books for someone else to discover and enjoy them.
  • Dragon Star, Melanie Rawn
    • From memory, these follow on from Dragon Prince. I also read these when I was 17. And gave them away at the same time as Dragon Prince.

Mediocre

Series I stuck with to the bitter end, and maybe it wasn’t worth it.

Abandoned

These are series that I abandoned either in the first book or part way through the series, and have no intention of finishing.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin
    • I liked book 1, quite a bit; book 2 was still pretty good; book 3 dipped; book 4 I was struggling through and was pushing myself to read in the hope it would get better again in book 5. A colleague at work said it didn’t, so I decided to abandon the series. I have no regrets.
  • Kingkiller Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss
    • I just couldn’t get interested in the first book. And this was before I heard the problems with the series overall (and the loooooong wait to see if it would ever be finished). I decided I just didn’t care and didn’t even make it a quarter of the way through book 1.
  • Seven waters, Juliet Marillier
    • I read these when they came out. Or rather book 1 then 2. I loved book 1, I can’t remember anything from book 2 and I wasn’t motivated to read book 3.
  • Godspeaker Trilogy, Karen Miller
    • I picked the first book up when I was in the US for work and just had to pop into a three-story bookshop. It sounded interesting and this was a new-to-me author. The book started off pretty good, but I either didn’t finish it, or pushed myself to finish it. From memory I lost interest around the mid-point. I either stuck it out to 75% or pushed to the end. And I have very little memory of it. So the book was ditched at the local charity shop before I left the UK.
  • Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, Juno Dawson
    • I attempted to read the first book, with the same name as the series, and forced myself to read as much of it as I did before it became a DNF. There is no way I will be finishing that first book, or continuing on in the series.

Unrated

These are series that I haven’t completed yet, so don’t feel ready to rate them overall. The exception to this are those series where they are made up of standalone (or semi-standalone) books, or where I have read up to the point I wish to read.

  • Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan
    • I started reading this series back in the early 90s and was buying every book as they came out up until book 10. When I would have had to reread the series yet again to be able to read that book, I decided to wait and finish the series once all of the remaining books came out. I forgot for a time and started my reread in 2019/2020 – with a break mid book 6 in June 2020, picking it up again November 2022.
  • Tawny Man, Robin Hobb
    • I have a feeling I didn’t finish this series. It came out at a time when my reading was dwindling, or at least my reading of Fantasy series. At the time I thought this would be the last Fitz series too, little did I know more would come out, so I really need to finish this and get the last two series.
  • Tales of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
    • I read the first book in high school as assigned reading. From memory I found it ok but a bit juvenile compared to what else I was reading around that time (The Elenium, Wheel of Time, Riftwar). That compared to it being an assigned read made me not all interested in finding the rest of the series from the library. I don’t know if I will revisit it. I haven’t completely ruled it out.
  • Against the Quiet, Sascha Stronach
    • So far only one book has been published (The Dawnhounds), but I believe this is to become a trilogy, though there is not yet any news of the next book. The first book finished well, and could be left as a standalone, but it also left things open to continue. As The Dawnhounds was a five star read for me, I’ll definitely be continuing this series. As this felt like science fantasy, this series will be on both my Fantasy and Sci-Fi lists.