Buzzfeed’s The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written

Okay, so fantasy fiction experts Buzzfeed (!?) have put together a list The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written.  Go ahead a read their commentary but let us take a look here.

My comments are below but there are several noticeable omissions from this list at least off the top of my head:

  • Tad Williams: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold: The Cruse of Chalion, and Paladin of Lost Souls
  • Any Robert E. Howard.
  • Any Fritz Leiber.

Buzzfeed’s list is really just “a list of Fantasy series.”

 

  1. The Kingkiller Chronicles.  I lov e me some Pat Rothfuss (make of that what you will) and I certainly enjoyed both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear but the can one really call a series “best” if it isn’t finished yet.
  2. The Stormlight Archive. Once again, not finished yet, so can it really be best?
  3. A Song of Ice and Fire. Another unfinished series. I’ll give ASoIF credit for its importance to the genre and as a cultural phenomenon so it does likely belong here but only time will tell how readers feel once all is said and done.
  4. The Lord of the Rings. Yes, of course. I think there are some caveats here, Tolkien doesn’t write action well and he really loves songs and poems which sometimes detracts from the fiction but this is still a deserved Best of All Time right here.
  5. The Lightbringer. Weeks isn’t a household name, though he should be. I’d recommend the Night Angel books first over these. Also, I think this series is still ongoing.
  6. His Dark Materials. Interesting but I’ve always been a little lukewarm on this one.
  7. Discworld. Pratchett is one of my secret shames since I haven’t read any of his novels. This is a beloved series and likely belongs any best-of list.
  8. The First Law.  I don’t know about this one. I love it. But best? Maybe.
  9. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. I’m currently mid re-read on The Elfstones of Shannara and these are certainly important “classics.”
  10. Demon Cycle. Brett’s series is one that I’ve enjoyed despite its many flaws. The gender politics are uncomfortable at best but still likely a deserved place on a best list.
  11. The Riddle-Master Trilogy. The words “best written” and Patricia A. McKillip belong together like peanut butter and jelly.
  12. Mistborn. Sanderson’s Mistborn is certainly fun and has amazing magic system but I think the aforementioned Stormlight Archive is better written.
  13. Gentleman Bastard Sequence. Again good, but I’m not certain best.
  14. The Inheritance Trilogy.  I haven’t read this one yet.
  15. The Liveship Traders. Oddly, the first Robin Hobb series mentioned is one I haven’t read yet.
  16. Harry Potter. Sure, why not.
  17. The Sword of Truth. Nopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenope.
  18. The Chronicles of Narnia. Important and likely many child’s first introduction to fantasy (it was mine).
  19. The Earthsea Cycle. This is a must-read fantasy series.
  20. The Fionvar Tapestry. Buzzfeed name-checks Tigana so good for them on that count. This is another classic that belongs on a best list.
  21. Raven’s Shadow. Anthony Ryan is a newcomer and I haven’t finished this yet. It is certainly good.
  22. The Broken Empire. This is perhaps the first more recent series that I absolutely agree with. Jorg is a complex and fascinating son-of-a-bitch and Lawrence’s world-building is top notch. If you’ve enjoyed Game of Thrones this is the book I’d recommend next.
  23. A Land Fit for Heroes. I love Richard K. Morgan and while I enjoyed this series it isn’t his best. This isn’t the only series with a gay hero and I’d recommend Sarah Monette’s Melusine over this series.
  24. Outlander. Certainly popular but I haven’t read it.
  25. The Wheel of Time. Important? Yes. One of my favorites? Absolutely. Best-written? Well, maybe not. Still a classic.
  26. Malazan Book of the Fallen. Erikson isn’t mentioned enough. I love this series and think that anyone who likes fantasy at all should be forced to read it.
  27. The Black Company. An undisputed classic in my eye. This is a great swords and sorcery series that is well worth reading.
  28. Elemental Logic. I can’t comment here since I haven’t read it.
  29. The Chronicles of Amber. Zelazny’s Amber is one of my favorite. This is again what I would consider required fantasy reading.
  30. The Avalon Series. Marion Zimmer Bradley is another author who has written “classic” series that I haven’t read.
  31. The Merlin Quintet. I tried reading The Crystal Cave when I was in the 8th grade and didn’t finish it. This is one I should go back to.
  32. The Dark Elf Trilogy. Salvatore is certainly a name to be reckoned with but I actually didn’t read this trilogy. I enjoyed the Icewind Dale trilogy and think its better than many of the other D&D based novels out there.
  33. The Elric Saga. Another undisputed classic. I’ve read some but not all.
  34. Redwall. Like Terry Pratched I am ashamed to admit I never read any Brian Jacques.
  35. Temeraire. I love theearly novels by Novik novels (though I haven’t read the last few) and the audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance rekindled my love of that format. This is a wonderful example of how to blend fantasy and history.
  36. Inheritance Cycle. Notable given how young Paolini was when he got Eragon published but this is otherwise derivative fantasy.
  37. The Ryria Revelations. Michael J. Sullivan is a fantasy author worth watching and this series kept getting better and better with each book. Well worth a look.
  38. Prince of Nothing. I never finished R. Scott Bakker’s series. I should restart it but this is bleak, hardcore fantasy that I’m not currently in the mood for. Well worth a look for fans of George R. R. Martin, particularly those who think his work is too soft.
  39. Dragonlance. I enjoyed my time with Weis and Hiclkman but I would not neccesarily list them as a “best.”
  40. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. If you can make it past the hero raping a character in the first book than maybe it gets better? I wouldn’t really know.
  41. The Powder Mage Trilogy. Brian McClellan’s series is entertaining and engaging the whole way through. Definitely worth reading.
  42. The Once and Future King. I never finished this.
  43. The Bartimaeus Sequence. Never read it.
  44. Gormenghast. I think I read this but I can’t remember, which is a little sad.
  45. The Abhorsen Trilogy. Garth Nix’s fantasy series is pretty well regarded and I enjoyed the first novel. This is one I should get back to.
  46. The Dark is Rising Sequence. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Perhaps my absolute favorite series of all time. I could never recommend this series enough.
  47. The Farseer Trilogy. I feel like a grew up with Robin Hobb’s FitzChivalry and I love Nighteyes. This is another modern classic well worth reading.
  48. The Traitor Son Cycle. I’ve only read the first book of Cameron’s series.
  49. Dreamblood. I have not read enough N.K. Jemisin.
  50. The Riftwar Cycle. The first three novels of Feist’s series are classic quest fantasy well worth looking at.
  51. The Magicians Trilogy. I found the first novel to feel a little condescending but I’ve been meaning to give these another sot.
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