I love fantasy books. There’s something amazing about diving into a new world of someone else’s creation. I also suffer from a sleep disorder. Last night, while trying desperately to fall asleep, I started thinking of excellent fantasy authors in alphabetical order. I didn’t fall asleep, but I came up with a great list. These are some-but not all- of the fantasy authors I suggest reading.
A- The Book of Three by LLoyd Alexander: In a very small nutshell, this book follows Taran, the assistant pig-keeper as he finds himself the unlikely hero in a battle of good vs. evil. There is something wonderful and endearing about this book for younger readers
B- Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks. Terry Brooks is the author of the Shanara series, which is much more well-known. This book, about Ben who buys a magic kingdom (yep!) only to land himself with more of a fixer-upper than he expected, is a blast to read. Anything by Terry Brooks is well worth picking up.
C- The Black Company series by Glen Cook. This is dark fantasy at its finest. I love the militaristic feel of these books, which is about a unit of mercenary soldiers. It’s not for the squeamish, but it’s incredibly well-written.
D- Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. Gothic, atmospheric, and unlike anything I’ve read before, this book took me by surprise. There’s a lot of focus on belief and how it defines you as a person, which I loved.
E- Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. I first discovered this author in 2019, when I raced through this fantastic book. It’s about a group of has-been mercenaries who come out of retirement for one last adventure. It’s an adventure of epic proportions and I loved every moment of it.
F- Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman. Imagine a world where your nightmares are brought to life. Then add some fascinating characters (my favorite is the dark adept Tarrant: there’s nothing nice or tame about him), and a quest that tests loyalties, bringing everything the characters believe into question, and you’ve got a fantastic book.
G- Legend by David Gemmell. I wouldn’t suggest reading all of Gemmell’s books in a row, since they can become sort of repetitive after a while, but sometimes a good book about one person against the world is in order. This is one of the best in that vein.
H- For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig. I’m kind of in love with this series. Why? Because the main character has bipolar disorder. Bipolar in fantasy??? Wow! I loved seeing such a misunderstood mental illness represented. Doubly so because, while it isn’t the crux of the story, it is part of it.
I- The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington is fabulous. He’s such a confident writer, and I was immediately sucked into his world. This follows a small group of characters, my favorite being Caeden. I loved how complex Caeden was.
J- The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan is classic high fantasy. It follows a group of characters as they find themselves in a struggle much bigger than they could have imagined. If you haven’t read this (admittedly long) series, now’s the perfect time to start: there’s a show coming out based on the series.
K- Windward by S. Kaeth. I recently finished this book and I quite enjoyed it. It has dragons! Lots and lots of them. They were represented in one of the most unique ways I’ve seen in fantasy.
L- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this famous author on my list. I loved this book as a kid. I reread it not too long ago and decided that I like the recent movie better (gasp!), but it’s still an enjoyable book.
M- Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. This is one of the first fantasy books that I read when I started diving into the world of adult fantasy. Or does this fall into the YA category? Either way, the idea of a bond between a human and a dragon is one that really appealed to me.
N-Douglas Niles. I enjoy pretty much any book he’s written. I wouldn’t group him with, say, Tolkien, but his books are just fun. Sometimes, a bit of fun is all that I need in a book. Look for his name among series such as Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms.
O- Hmmm…why can’t I think of any ‘O’ authors? What do you have for ‘o’?
P- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Okay, I’m totally cheating and just being silly. Terry Pratchett has written a ton of fantastic books all on his own, but- darn it!- this is my list and I’m putting whatever I like on it. So, there.
Q- I’ve got nothing.
R- The Swans’ War trilogy by Sean Russell. This series has stuck with me through the years. It has a slower build-up, but the character development keeps it from getting boring. The mythology of this world is unparalleled and things ramp up into a stunning ending. I highly recommend this.
S- The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. I’m a sucker for Aruthurian books, especially those about Merlin. The Crystal Cave is fabulous. I’ve read it twice and loved it both times.
T- I love The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien! I’m not a huge fan of Tolkien’s other books (do I have to relinquish my fantasy-lover membership card now?), but The Hobbit is probably the most cozy fantasy I’ve read. I know that sounds weird, considering all that occurs in that book, but it makes me feel like I’m reading a hug.
U- I drew a blank on this letter.
V- The Withered King by Ricardo Victoria was a rip-roaring fantasy unlike any other. I especially liked the theme of redemption that was present in this book.
W- Anything by Margaret Weiss is good, but I’ll chuck in Soulforge, since I’m constantly going on about the Dragonlance Chronicles. Which are great, by the way. You should also make sure to read them. See what I did there? I’m pretty sneaky.
X- Nothing doing.
Y- Jane Yolen is the author of the Young Merlin trilogy, another one that I read at a younger age. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read anything other than her “How Does a Dinosaur” books (I have a toddler), but she’s one of those names that’s immediately recognizable in fantasy.
Well, I’ve got recommendations for most of the letters. What say you? What authors would you stick in each letter? Let me know!