With all the uncertainty in the world right now and everyone spending more time stuck indoors than ever before, we all need somewhere to escape. Where better than the fictional worlds of our favourite books? We’ve deep-dived into our fantasy fiction books and pulled out our top five favourite fantasy book series!
A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin
Famously adapted into the acclaimed series Games of Thrones, Martin’s epic fantasy series features seven books (at time of writing) and two pending publication. The world and its battles across Westeros and Essos are still very much alive. A wonderfully crafted interconnection of storylines makes A Song of Ice and Fire a gripping read, with every ending only and entrance to another mystery and story. With his main inspiration so strong that he took his middle initials, Martin honours the works of Tolkien while exploring new and challenging themes in his own writing.
It all goes back and back, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance in our steads.George R. R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
The Dark Tower, Stephen King
King’s eight-book series The Dark Tower is a fantastic amalgamation of fantasy, horror, and Western. Inspired by a selection of works and creatives from Tolkien, to a Robert Browning poem, and even Clint Eastwood, this series really does have something for everyone. The story following Roland Deschain’s quest is a part of King’s magical multiverse, connecting several of his other novels. Despite this, the series stands as a complete epic and is a real highlight of King’s writing career.
‘Yet suppose further. Suppose that all worlds, all universes, met at a single nexus, a single pylon, a Tower. And within it, a stairway, perhaps rising to the Godhead itself. Would you dare climb to the top, gunslinger? Could it be that somewhere above all of endless reality, there exists a room?…’Stephen King, The Gunslinger
You dare not.’
And in the gunslinger’s mind, those words echoed: You dare not.
The Farseer Trilogy, Robin Hobb
The Farseer Trilogy is the first series of books in Robin Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings. It comprises of Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest. It could be classed as a coming-of-age story, as we follow a young boy as he grows up discovering his identity, purpose, wants and desires in life. Quite unique for fantasy fiction, Hobb writes in the first person. The intensifies the connection Fitz has with the reader and really puts us in his shoes along his journeys.
And tomorrow we’ll do the same again. And again. Until one day you get up and find out that whatever it was didn’t kill you after all.Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice
Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
One of the best selling fantasy series of all time, only second to Harry Potter, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is an easy pick for our top five. This epic story comprises three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Written originally as a sequel to The Hobbit, this series morphed into a series of its own with its own history and ever-expansive landscape.
It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Discworld, Terry Pratchett
Enter one of the most famous worlds in fantasy fiction: Discworld; a flat planet seated on four elephants standing on the shell of a giant turtle. Pratchett’s 41 book series is comic fantasy, using narrative wit and storylines which act as pastiche works from his own inspirations including Tolkien and Lovecraft. The tales from Discworld are often rooted in folkloric themes and mythology, creating comical connections to the real world.
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Choosing only five for this list was a tricky one! So check out some of our notable mentions.
- His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
- Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson
- The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis
- The Earthsea Cycle, Ursula Le Guin
What do you think of our top five fantasy book series? Have we missed off your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.