This is a list of some of the best Fantasy Novels and series. I call them Gems.This list is composed of a lot of different types of fantasy and they range quite a few decades but if you are looking for a great fantasy book then something on this list should appeal to you. My big thing is epic fantasy and this site has a lot of it but these fantasy works run a very wide specturm within the whole genre of fantasy.
These novels range in scope and I have put them in no particular order.
Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake's gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, begins with the superlative Titus Groan , a darkly humorous, stunningly complex tale of the first two years in the life of the heir to an ancient, rambling castle. The trilogy continues with the novels Gormenghast and Titus Alone , and all three books are bound together in this single-volume edition.
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit , Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy , and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland . Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood
An awful lot of analysis has been done on The Hobbit but I am going to add three distinct points that I think make it special and make it the work that transforms us from the early stage of fantasy into the middle years.
First off it is based in a lot of old tradition. It has many of the characteristics of older works and takes a lot in terms of story and language from older, even ancient works. Secondly it is a full fledged quest novel. This too is inherited from earlier epic works but the quest comes into it's own distinction with this work. And finally the world (Middle Earth) is a fully realized place. This things become the backbone and workhorse for many novels and series to come.
Of course it has all of the other accoutrements of a modern fantasy novel such as a medieval feel, magic, wizards, dwarves, an epic quest, dragons and more.
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
- Available on Amazon.com: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian: The Original Adventures of the Greatest Sword and Sorcery Hero of All Time!
"Between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities . . . there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. . . . Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand . . . to tread
the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."
Conan is one of the greatest fictional heroes ever created-a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, facing powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and ruthless armies of thieves and reavers.
The first book in one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.
He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero....
In the land of the Upmeads, King Peter's sons thirst for adventure and the King agrees that all except Ralph, the youngest, may go forth. But Ralph secretly makes his way to Wulstead, and here learns about the Well at the World's End, beginning a journey which will eventually lead him there.
The Genre becomes more epic and more heroic with the publication of E.R. Eddison's "The Worm Ouroboros" (1922). In this book much emphasis is placed on large quests and heroic achievements and the concepts of honor and chivalry are highly regarded and touted. . It is a solid precursor to Tolkien and the modern works. The Worm Ouroboros
This book can be difficult to read though. The language can be a bit of a challenge.
Eddison wrote other works in the yet unnamed genre of fantasy including a trilogy of three that are loosely tied to the Worm Ouroboros. The Zimiamvia Trilogy: Mistress of Mistresses , A Fish Dinner in Memison and The Mezentian Gate .
In 1926 Lord Dunsany published "The King of Elfland's Daughter". This novel further broadened the reach of the Fantasy Novel and in this work we move into fairytale fantasy and high fantasy. Many consider this book to be one of the finest examples of Fantasy.
Another wonderful example of fantasy work by Dunsany is "The Charwoman's Shadow ".
One of the most influential and critically acclaimed fantasy writers of all time, Fritz Leiber pioneered the sword-and-sorcery genre! In the ancient city of Lankhmar, two men forge a friendship in battle. The red-haired barbarian Fafhrd left the snowy reaches of Nehwon looking for a new life while the Gray Mouser, apprentice magician, fled after finding his master dead. These bawdy brothers-in-arms cement a friendship that leads them through the wilds of Nehwon facing thieves, wizards, princesses and the depths of their desires and fears. Superb writing and brilliant, believable characterizations highlight the first entry in Leiber's seminal series.
Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....
The world's greatest fantasy classic is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot, of Merlyn and Guinevere, of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged.
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time , winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help ... and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.
In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword-- to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed ... or that their time has run out.