Our Favorite Fantasy Picks!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Yanto, Steph and I are self-confessed and proud nerds. Both of us have exclusively read books of the Fantasy genre for years, so we have decided to compile a list of our favourites:

These are the books that stood out for us in our teenage years and give us our first taste of the magic of delving into a new world. We've never looked back!

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

To this day, I don't understand why some people have never read Harry Potter. I have read each book at least 5 times and the magic never dies! I have nothing more to say.

Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

This may be considered Preteen, seeing as my obsession with this trilogy began when I was 12. I mentioned this series in my 31 Facts about me, but I'll restate it- I read the first book so many times that I memorised the whole first book by rote, without even trying. The story is classic as it follows Alanna, a plucky girl who masquerade sas a boy in order to become a knight. There is magic, combat and a semi divine cat involved. This is the perfect introduction to fantasy for young girls and I'm really excited to reread this soon! (I had to repurchase it because mum threw out ALL of our favourite childhood memories er... when we were still children)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud

This is one of Yanto's favourites, I haven't read it. It's about a cruelly treated young boy, an unlikely friendship, demons and magicians. Essentially, it's a coming of age novel that young boys will enjoy.

Magician by Raymond E. Feist

Magician is a widely known classic, but I failed miserably when I tried to read it for the first time last year. I know many people who absolutely loved it though and have even credited Feist with writing the first 'modern' fantasy of the time (1982). Yanto has read Magician upwards of 4 times his teenage years and loved it for the character development and the setting. My sister and I both beg to differ, however we are old and jaded now and have been spoilt with more modern picks which made us think of Magician as quite 'stuffy' and 'old-fashioned'.

These are the books which we would cite as our favourites right now!
The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

I love this series so much and the wait for the next book is slowly killing me. I adore the setting and beautifully detailed world adorned with unusual quirks such as the existence of little spirits called 'spren', beasts called 'Chasmfiends' which have the appearance of a massive hermit crab and the lighteyes/darkeyes class system. The character development is exceptional and I'm in love with Kaladin, a darkeyed peasant who's my version of Mcdreamy. The blurb aptly sums up how epic this series is and deserves a mention because it excites me every time I read it:
"There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.
The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.
One of them may redeem us.
And one of them will destroy us."

Steph and I consider the Way of Kings as our favourite book at the moment. The planned 10 book series has already been 10 years in the making and I hope that all the books will be as good as the first. 

The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind has been incredibly popular since it's publication in 2007 for very good reason. This comes a very close second to Way of Kings (for me) and Yanto cites the Name of the Wind as his favourite, probably because he doesn't possess the same feelings towards Kaladin as I do. The novel follows Kvothe, an orphan, on a path of redemption as he tries to unravel the mystery surrounding his parents' death. His intelligence and wit see him granted entrance to the University- I'm a sucker for any educational fantasy institutions, they are just so much fun to read about!
From Rothfuss' website:
"So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend".

The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

This series gets a little crazy at some points and the female characters irked me because they are written as such stereotypes! However, Yanto, me and Steph (in that order) devoured the books one after the other in an orderly queue without any breaks. The books are quite well written and very fast moving which means you do not get bored! What I liked about this series is that each book focusses on a different character, giving their past and present actions dimension and purpose. Thus there is no black and white picture of who is good or evil. This allows you to form your own opinions and between the three of us, we all had different favourites which I thought was quite interesting!

Check out this year's Supanova post- Steph and Yanto dressed up as characters from the Demon Cycle! We were even featured on Peter V. Brett's blog which was quite cool.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This was an interesting one as it is not your traditional magic and elves fantasy, but for me, it held enough elements of fantasy (if that makes sense) to be included in this list. I enjoyed this stand alone book immensely. Pillars of the Earth is considered as a 'historical' novel where real life history events are retold in a story. The book revolves around the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge, England set in the middle of the 12th century. Sounds odd doesn't it? But trust me, it works. Read if you don't mind long books or violence. It's enthralling, shocking and as I've heard, quite accurate at depicting life in medieval times. It has also been made into a TV series, which I have avoided because I can read violence, but can't watch it.

Please let me know if you have read any of these or have any reading suggestions for us! We are always on the look out for new books to add to our library. I am also interested to meet some more fantasy girl friends as fantasy seems to be more of a male interest. In fact, I have yet to meet any girls with a penchant for fantasy :(


PS. Our internet has been shut down for the last few days hence the reason for not posting any photos lately. Hopefully it gets fixed ASAP, otherwise I'll have to continue mooching off the Uni wifi.


  1. GURRRRLLL (and fellas), I've been looking out for this post since you last mentioned it in your comment reply. AND IM SO EXCITED!!!

    Was really stoked to see The Bartimaeus Trilogy mentioned, since I adore Bartimaeus and his footnotes. I thought it was a bit underrated but it was probably one of the first books to get me into fantasy as a kid.

    I'm interested in The Way of Kings, but am a bit thrown off by the 10 book series bit. What?! Really? It's the main reason why I enjoy trilogies so much (or slightly extended ones like The Inheritance Cycle or The Demon Cycle), you get the awesome length of a fantastic story and it gets drawn out long enough for the details you need without smushing everything into a mini novella, but if it gets too long it becomes difficult to keep reading. Im terrible at keeping up with ongoing series, I either read it all at once or not at all, so when I start a book only to realise its part of an ongoing series, I curl into a ball and cry because I just dont get that closure I need to get me out of the addicted stage I enter when I start reading =__= . So I'm hesitant to add that one into my booklist cos Im worried I will get addicted then have to deal with a seven year wait for the next book haha. (I cry every few months when I check up on The Kingkiller and hear no word of the final book. Im not sure whether Im happy I read the first book or not)

    With that said, I'm surprised there was no mention of The Songs of Ice and Fire. Have you guys not been interested in Game of Thrones? I know I just had a little whinge about long series (Martin is also the worst in terms of making readers wait for books to come out), but I'm blown away by the series and I'm a little cut they didn't make it into the post haha.

    I feel like there are only two fantasy trilogies I know of that might be worth recommending in return for you sharing your little goldmine, but chances are between the three of you they might already have been read:

    The Otori Trilogy by Lian Hearn. I adore the eastern/feudal japan elements input into this and thought it was a great way to do fantasy. I suppose in a way it isn't quite fantasy, there's a bit of politics and love (some homosexuality too) in it, but it is well written :)

    The Black Magician Trilogy/series by Trudi Canavan: I have trouble mentioning this series without sobbing a over a certain character. I think it akin to a darker version of Harry Potter. Plus the main character is female which is something I personally enjoy searching for, since it's fun to see how fantasy books are written with female protagonists.

    Speaking of which, Song of the Lioness Quartet. Didn't know there was more than one book to this. I read the first book back in primary school but for some reason just thought that was how Tamora Pierce liked to finish her books and never considered there was more than one...so that's great to know haha

    Thank you again for doing this blog post :D Always fun to squee over fantasy and share some loving.

    1. Ok! Back at Uni mooching off the internet!

      PLEASE read Way of Kings and let me know how you feel about it. It's killing me so badly that Sanderson is spending time on other projects and not this series! It is definitely very special. I know what you mean though, it would be so much nicer to wait until all the books are out then we'd be able to hoard them greedily and devour them one after the other without any wait. Just think of it as a stand alone story and if the next happens to take ages, that's no problemo because the Way of Kings is even better the second time!

      There is no mention of GoT because simply put, I didn't like it. After finishing the third book, I found myself drained- they killed off almost everyone I liked plus all the political warring had sort of killed the 'fantasy' in the series for me. It just turned plain depressing haha! Yanto and Steph couldn't get through the first two books either- Steph said she'd been on the same page for weeks because she kept falling asleep before the page ended (something about Jon Snow in the er... snow). The way things were moving, I didn't think I could hold on long enough to see the series to an end so I dropped it. :(.

      As for your two suggestions, I just yelled them out to Yanto and he said he has both of those trilogies in his library! (he owns a lot of books indeed) He said he really liked the Otori trilogy, but didn't like the Black Magician because he found the writing too frustrating and 'female'. I shall definitely put those on my to read list!

      Also, I would definitely not recommend Night Angel trilogy (Brent Weeks). Started out promising but turned utterly ridiculous in the end, by the last few chapters I was practically shaking my head and chuckling. I'm reading the first book of the Death Gate cycle now, have you read that one? It seems pretty good so far!

      I'm so glad I have a female fantasy friend now! :D

  2. Nhi! Stay tuned for a lengthy reply- I'm mooching off shopping centre wifi these days so when I get enough time I shall tell you my thoughts!!!