Fantasy is like CPR. It lets the magic in us breathe. And it is exactly why it is so deeply satisfying at levels that most of us rarely bother to process. But it has a limited shelf life. The best kind of fantasies, in books, movies or TV shows, are usually the ones that deal with real human tragedies, real human pain, real human sacrifices and real human bonds even when operating in a strictly unreal realm. We relate to their emotions. Because while we may not have to sell our souls to save our loved ones on a daily basis, all of us do make sacrifices for the people we care for.
All of us deal with the emotional mess that is human relationships and struggle to walk down the thin line of balance everyday. Watching our heroes do the same, despite all their superheroic abilities, is strangely comforting. Their stories offer us the rationalization and validation that we all occasionally seek, neatly packaged in an attractive, shiny, suitably distracting box of magic and romance. Besides, it is not without reason that fantasies are routinely cited as a coping strategy by people dealing with tragedies or losses or grief or even mental health issues.
Fantasy helps us process our issues without really processing them.
4 Reasons Why Everyone Loves Fantasy In Fiction
It offers an outlet to our emotions while maintaining an illusion of distance and passivity, helping us confront things that we may have bottled out of fear, trauma, pain or grief. Sometimes all it takes to start our healing is an excuse to cry while our beloved hero jumps in a mythical fire pit.
Hope is our biggest addiction. The one that fantasy offers us in plenty. In a world where perfectionism is coveted and mistakes are considered sacrilegious, fantasy lets us believe that even the best of us, with the best resources and magic can make mistakes. That mistakes do not mean the end. Fantasy gives us hope that no matter how mammoth the odds are, how dwarfed you are by the super-villainous forces of your life, you can still win. Or at least, survive. Maybe it is because of the very nature of the collection but this book is very hit or miss and none of it flows well together as an anthology.
Mopsa the fairy way too long to be included in a short story collection. Feb 04, Mike S rated it liked it Shelves: I loved a few of these stories, unfortunately the majority of the stories were to me terrible. Unfortunately I can't recommend this book. If your library has it you could check it out without wasting money on it.
Jun 08, Kelly rated it liked it. Modern fantasy authors choose their favorite stories from authors who influenced them. In "Unicorn Variations," a unicorn and a chess master play for the fate of humanity--with the help of Bigfoot and some griffins. The rest were rather dry--some too much so. Oct 19, Suzi Ketch rated it it was amazing Shelves: Short stories written by a variety of Fantasy authors. Lordpeterw rated it really liked it Mar 08, Nate Claxton rated it it was amazing Jun 27, Alison Croteau rated it liked it Jun 06, Kristjan Wager rated it really liked it Nov 06, Jesse C rated it liked it Oct 06, Piper Rainey rated it really liked it May 16, Shrimpknuckles rated it did not like it Nov 17, Joel rated it really liked it Aug 02, Flappycunt rated it did not like it Dec 03, Stephany rated it liked it Dec 08, Jon rated it really liked it Aug 07, Y Liu rated it really liked it Dec 13, Steve rated it it was amazing Jul 10, Tina rated it liked it Jul 21, Anna Rose rated it did not like it Mar 13, Margaret Miller rated it really liked it Feb 19, Marina Rupova rated it liked it May 07, Beth rated it it was amazing Mar 02, Cat rated it it was amazing Jul 18, Ahmadjarrah rated it it was ok Apr 02, Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez rated it it was amazing Sep 23, Being the founding father of the fantasy genre, knowing your roots, common plot elements and where it all started seems so very important to me that without at least reading it once just seems like blasphemy.
A critic once said that He alongside Brandon Sanderson consistantly come up with very unique, complex and easy to follow magic systems within well crafted worlds that are constantly breaking the mold. More often than not Brandon Sanderson with some of the strongest female leads behind the helm and with Brent weeks carefully crafting charactres that you don't want to be away from. Why the lightbringer series? For the combined world, most unique magic system and the fact that it managed to bring me back to the fantasy genre, it carefully molds itself into my number 2 slot.
This is hands down the best fantasy series on the market and as you can see from the various other posts here its hard to explain. It beats out the Wheel of Time series due to being able to maintain itself without getting lost in the countless subplots that exists. Currently, I'm of the opinion that Erikson has done what few authors before him have done. Broken the mold that Tolkien has laid and established a new foundation of quality, plot twists and epicness that has yet to exists elsewhere.
Erikson is still alive and still writing. For fantasy enthuisists and literary overwatchers. Erikson is a person to watch and read for a long time to come. I was searching for the longest time for an author that fell in the middle of, or could be considered a mix of two of my favorite authors, Sanderson and Martin. The boom here comes Brent Weeks! The gritty grey characters with moral ambiguity and tough choices, with the speed, structured magic system, and action sequences of Sanderson.
I bought the first book on a Friday, finished it by Saturday afternoon, went to the bookstore and bought the rest and finished them that week. Yes there are exceptions but for Malazan not really. Deeds of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon: The main character Paks, runs away from home and joins a mercenary group because she doesn't want to get married and wants to fight. Her journey from there is amazing, and detailed. I clicked with her almost immediately and the level of detail Moon put into her training made me feel like I was there.
Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: Again with the bonding with characters. Though the first book starts slowly, the prose is beautiful as Maggie sets the world up and introduces you to her varied, eccentric cast of characters. Once established in your mind, the second book takes off and you bond further and get to know flaws and weaknesses as well as seeing them grow and discover who they are. By the end of the series you feel like you've lived among them for years and hate to see them go.
Wild Magic and the rest of Tortall by Tamora Pierce: This series was the first fantasy I ever read and the thought of a girl being able to speak with animals and more was all my little wanna-be veterinarian heart wanted. Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. While I enjoyed the first series, I'm absolutely loving this prequel series.
I find that Sullivan's writing style is a lot better, and the characters and significantly more fleshed out. Plus the easter eggs for the other books just make you smile. While pretty much solidly SciFi, not sure anyone could argue fantasy, they are my next favorite series in speculative fiction. Mile's mouth gets him in and out of trouble constantly which amuses and surprises.
There is also a fantastic cast of side characters that attempt to help him and and super sweet romance. Can't go wrong with this. Mistborn Specifically, the Cosmere in General: Sanderson is the man, I pretty much madly love anything he puts out. Amazing world building, Stunning and inventive magic systems, and solid characters all come together to make great, fun fantasy novels.
Right now the Mistborn novels are my favorite Sanderson the original trilogy plus the follow up Wax and Wayne novels , but if Stormlight continues on its current path it could become the new champ.
My Favorite Fantasy Story - Wikipedia
Harry Dresden is one of, if not my favorite character in novel form, and James Marster's excellent audiobook performances don't hurt. This trilogy is one of the most tightly woven I know. Everything that happens in the first 2 books has the perfect payoff in the final novel, and I do mean everything. Mixing historical legends, contemporary for the time the novel was written characters, and a fully realized brand new fantasy world, this trilogy comes highly recommended. The Dagger and the Coin: I know this series was kinda love it or hate it, and it is admittedly not as action packed as the others on my list.
That being said, I love the characters in this series, they are all 3d, flawed, beautifully human, even the ones that aren't human. It has a really cool, low magic, magic system and in my opinion, the greatest villain ever to terrorize a fantasy novel. The First Law Trilogy: I almost didn't put this one here, because after the original trilogy, I haven't been as sold on Abercrombie's books, it was between this and The Demon Cycle for the last spot if you were wondering. The characters are amazing and detailed and break all the typical fantasy tropes without feeling like they exist to do that.
The action is hard hitting and the comedy is sharp and effective. Abercrombie's take on the standard Lord of the Rings journey quest is surprising and a perfect deconstruction of the typical fantasy narrative. I'm only going to include completed series. I love the characters, especially Glokta and Logen. Seeing common fantasy tropes twisted and played around with made for plenty of surprises. I also really enjoy Abercrombie's writing style. I read this when I was growing up, and I've reread it a few times in the years after and I've fallen in love with it again every time.
The characters, the story, the world s , the themes, I just adore this trilogy. The Red Queen's War. Jalan was a fascinating and hilarious protagonist, and Snorri gave the series an incredibly emotional core. The setting allows for elements of horror to creep in, which made it feel different from most other fantasy series I've read. The Lord of the Rings. What can I say about this series that hasn't been said? It got me into fantasy, and while I find the books a struggle to read now because of the dated prose the story is as incredible as it's ever been.
I've only read a few of them, but Terry Pratchett is tied with Douglas Adams as my favourite author. I adore the hilarious writing style and the way Pratchett satirises fantasy. Death is a particularly incredible creation. Realising that The Harsh Cry of the Heron has what is possibly my favourite ending to anything ever has taught me a lot about myself mostly dark things, but there you go. The thing is, the series is just so right up my alley in personal taste, as well as the truly emotionally cathartic aspect of that series makes it hard to justify it being at any spot other than 1, not just on this list, but in my favorite books ever.
The Dark Tower -Speaking of emotional catharsis, holy shit, where to start? I always had the idea of using the theme of Love vs. The Greater Good, and imagine my surprise when I found out that Stephen King had already done it, and maxed its potential out to great effect. This series probably has my favorite protagonist in any medium, not because of who he is, rather, how the who and what mix. The meta-Kingverse aspect of it is also great as a big fan. The Last Airbender -I'm breaking the rules a little, but it is a series, and it would be disingenuous to omit it.
It says something about the quality of a children's show that upon rewatching it you discover that you liked it more than you did as a kid. It has some of the best incorporation of Eastern philosophy by Western creators and some of the best characters ever to grace the silver screen. The Acts of Caine - I usually hate socio-political commentary in a non-comedic context, but then again, I must have had bad experiences. However, The Acts of Caine is one of my personal exceptions. The Kingkiller Chronicles -Not meaning to meme it or anything.
I love the slow burn and unreliable narrator aspects of it. As a musician, I'm a little biased towards Kvothe's slants. I resisted watching Avatar, specifically because it was a kid's show. After the series was complete, I broke down and watched 3 episodes with my nephew. I promptly watched the entire rest of the series. I hear Korra was really good, but it started out so slow, I didn't stick with it past the first half of the first season.
I agree that the original Avatar has a legit place here, though. You can get a list of everyone's in the Top Novel voting thread here. Then there's those like me--since I posted in that eight months ago I've actually read a few books which might bump a couple of those past top 10 out of the running: Just for pure nostalgia. I read this as a young man and I am surprised how many lessons have stuck with me. Lord of the Rings: The Old Grandfather everyone loves, lots of stories to tell.
Smiles at his Children and Grand Children as they improve the work he began. Lord of the Rings - I saw the films first, but love the books just the same. The adventure, the world-building, and the characters are all unforgettable. One of my first fantasy experiences, and something I plan to share with my children as well. Harry Potter - Strangely enough, although I was 11 when the first book came out and therefore the literal target audience , I didn't read these until college and kind of judged the people that obsessed over them.
Wow was I ever wrong. Bonus Points for helping me get through an incredibly trying time in my life where I was dealing with pretty serious anxiety and depression. Nobody writes better characters than Robin Hobb, and nobody depicts everyday life the way she does either.
Absolutely love everything about them. Come for the snarky dark humor, stay for the character development and apocalyptic storylines of the later books. Also - these HAVE to be experienced in audiobook. Discworld - I've never found another series that simultaneously makes me laugh til tears stream down my face, while also challenging my beliefs and making me a better human being.
The Wars of Light and Shadow , my favorite fantasy epic ever, it's a layered, meticulously-planned mature story which challenges the reader's assumptions at every turn. It follows the bitter fallout between two half-brothers, and the machinations of the many parties involved in a centuries-long crisis. On top of that, the prose is powerful, lyrical and adds a lot of nuances to the tale.
Malazan book of the Fallen I've finished book 5 and I'm simply in awe. It's a sweeping epic with incredible worldbuilding and a huge cast of characters. As with The Wars of Light and Shadow, it's a slow-burning read where nothing is laid out for you but the careful planning behind it rewards the reader tenfold. I've loved all the books starring Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool, but the Tawny Man's trilogy was stunning, with its top-notch characterization and lots of real-like angst. Bloodsounder's Arc , starting with Scourge of the Betrayer. An original trilogy which straddles grimdark and military fantasy.