Hello and welcome to another post here on the Swordsmith blog, westu hal to you. I do hope that you are reading something awesome and staying safe.
Now something that I have been considering recently is my favourite fantasy series, this is a tough question for me to answer or it used to be. This has stemmed from chatting to other bookish people and I had a real moment when I was able to really boil this down to five series that are easily my favourites.
Now from one someone who reads almost exclusively in this amazing genre, you might find it strange for someone to say something like this but I have had an opportunity to read through some amazing fantasy worlds. This is one of the gifts of the fantasy genre, it is a world to explore and discover through secondary creation, the genius of this tool is incredible for both author and reader and allows for some incredible journeys!
Speaking of journey’s, I am now going to show you my top 5 favourite fantasy series and an honourable mention or two. I am going to stress that this is in no way numbered, I will never be able to decide which is my absolute favourite but here we go…
The Wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts
I remember when I was given a copy of “The Curse of the Mistwraith” by one of my Aunt’s and Uncles’s for Christmas, it started me on a journey through one of the most satisfying and deeply rewarding fantasy series that I have read. Janny is a wonderful writer, and this epic series is her masterwork, pure brilliance with world building and with the last novel nearly finished – I will be embarking on a journey back to Athera soon. I tried recently but my TBR and other commitments just got in the way, but once I jump a few hurdles I will be back for this one!
The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens
What a revelation this series was for me! This is a brutal epic fantasy series, with one of the best written siege’s I have ever read and from both sides of the perspective! It is a wonderful trilogy which explores so much but one of the key things for me is how history is remembered differently and also the clash of religions as well. One of things I love about this series is the pacing, it’s brilliantly handled and creates extraordinary levels of tension, and then there’s the character of Tara who I honestly believe I will never forget.
The Wildfire Cycle by D.P. Woolliscroft
If I could say one thing about this series, it is that it is simply wonderful. I remember when I was given a copy of Kingshold (book 1), I was quite new to self published fantasy then and the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) as well. I learnt Dave was a semi finalist and after some encouragement from the bookish community, I discovered one of the richest, most brilliantly written series with one of the more unique ways of telling the story. This is something I want you to discover for yourself, it only makes you want to read more, this is also another fine example of world building which develops through the series. I am currently reading an ARC of Ajiwiak: The Mother Tree which is book 3 in this series.
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
If I can try and put this series in to perspective, it’s tricky because it’s epic fantasy from a different approach but it is also amazing. It’s one part of a grand narrative, but the Stormlight Archive stands by itself with an incredible ongoing story – told so far through 4 epic novels and two novellas (and there are 10 planned books in the series…10!!!) Anyway, this is another amazing story, but also another amazing world to explore. Each book focuses on a specific character, allowing a back story (my goodness Book 3) to be told and allowing present events to be really fleshed out. Cinematic, epic, alien with some amazing characters and world building! Another one of my favourite fantasy series is here for you!
The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
Ancient prophecies, signs of the end times, a chosen one, Giants! Coupled with an amazing epic world, The Faithful and The Fallen by John Gwynne is an epic fantasy for the ages. It combines so many wonderful things, from coming of age, destiny and exciting and cinematic battle scenes. It’s also a great example of the misinterpretation of prophecy, and how some can bend this to their will, also The Banished Lands are a reminder of some of the wonders of secondary creation and is again one of my favourite fantasy worlds to roam and explore.
The Black Iron Legacy by Gareth Hanrahan
Urban fantasy holds an allure for me like no other, one of my favourite hobbies pre – pandemic was exploring cities. While I haven’t been able to recently, I have been able to with some brilliant urban fantasies. While there are some amazing examples, one of my favourites has to be The Black Iron Legacy by Gareth Hanrahan. This is a series which combines so much, but at its heart it is the story of Guerdon, a city like no other and is honestly a place I would dearly love to explore for real (although Gareth has mentioned that bits of cities are backed in so technically this is possible). This is again another wonderful example of secondary creation, telling a wonderful story of purpose, friendship, destiny, dark machinations, interfering Gods and creepiness…I have just got a copy of The Broken God which is book 3 and I am looking forward to my return to Guerdon.
The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan
This is the final one, but how could I not mention this one! This is classic fantasy mixed with an unforgettable buddy story, another fantastic example of the misinterpretation of history and prophecy. This is a story I will treasure forever, Royce and Hadrian are wonderful characters who will stick with you and have been with me through many moments of my life. It’s a wonderful story, that twists, turns and is full of some wonderful surprises and moments that were a joy to read when I first read them and when I return it still is a joy. Royce and Hadrian are also easily some of the best characters created, and ones I always look forward to returning to like old friends.
Thank you for sticking with me through this one, it’s been wonderful for you to explore my favorite fantasy series and worlds. I leave it to you now, I would love to hear about some of your favorite fantasy series and feel free to comment or let me know on Twitter.
As always thank you for stopping by, westu hal, stay safe and I hope that you are reading something awesome.