Thankfully, Netflix has my addiction covered. From vampires, witches, aliens, to mermaids, there are plenty of paranormal romances to watch on Netflix for those of us who gravitate towards magic, imagination, and swoony romances in our stories. And all without it being R Rated as the horror genre tends to do. It should be noted, however, that for this particular list I skipped time travel stories to save for another day. I also left out most of the series and films rated TV-MA or Rated R meaning there are even more titles to binge if you prefer more adult material.
But for now, I give you the paranormal romances to watch on Netflix for Summer Note: These titles are available to watch on the US Netflix July and are a subject to change at any time. Netflix Description: people who vanished over the course of five decades suddenly reappear. Netflix Description: Quiet teenager Yong Ahn-dae becomes an unlikely hero after a near-fatal accident gives him the ability to detect murders before they happen. Why You Should Watch: Originally a short Korean web series, Aftermath is for those paranormal romance seekers looking for something more bite-sized.
Plus, the premise sounds pretty cool…. Halfway through season one and the show really finds its voice. Overall, this superhero spinoff show feels more paranormal than the Avengers films and adds in some awesome romances to boot. Fitz and Simmons will definitely steal your heart because their love story is epic. Additionally, the slow burn between May and Coulson is great to see unfold. Oliver and Felicity totally feel like an entertaining paranormal romance particularly in the best ever seasons 2 and 3.
Love them and their awkward banter.
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Anyone with me? Netflix Description: Based on the best-selling novel, this supernatural drama focuses on the romance between Ethan and Lena, the enigmatic new girl in his Southern town. Moreover, the cast is like crazy good. Why You Should Watch: Both have their positives and negatives. Overall, both are romantic and sure to sweep you off your feet.
Netflix Description: A homicide detective and a veteran who has been turned into a beast by a military experiment gone awry become allies after they meet by chance. While flawed, it makes for a perfect escapist watch with tons and tons of romance. Netflix Description: A Grim Reaper, a detective and a woman who foresees death get ensnared in matters of life and death — and dark mysteries of twenty years past.
With tons of romance AND action, this is one show even the biggest K-Drama skeptic should give a chance. For instance, there is a very violent serial killer running around and some moments of strong language. Netflix Description: School principal and retired superhero Jefferson Pierce leaps back into action as the legendary Black Lightning after a gang threatens his family. Please talk below if you think Black Lightning is worth checking out. I like that the premise sounds different from the other superhero shows. Netflix Description: After a trio of sisters discover an ancient text in their mansion attic, revealing they possess latent supernatural powers, mischief, and drama ensue.
This is one to re-watch time and time again. Netflix Description: A bullied, orphaned teen girl discovers the ability to summon a pack of beautiful, magical guys who provide her with joy and friendship. Dream Knight is the perfect, fluffy, romance for teen fans of K-Pop. Basically, just imagine a boy band with supernatural abilities…. And cute. And fun. Oh, and super romantic about soulmates finding each other no matter the size.
Netflix Description: A forensics expert who wakes from a coma with amazing new powers squares off against forces threatening the city in this live-action superhero romp. Netflix Description: Raising her daughter in a small town, an enchanting widow with magical powers provokes the interest and exasperation of a skeptical big-city doctor. Netflix Description: The gals in this fantasy series cope with the burden of growing a giant fin and transforming into mermaids whenever they come in contact with water.
Additionally, you can also check out the spinoff sequel series Mako Mermaids. Netflix Description: Residents of Haven, Maine, are plagued by supernatural afflictions. Why You Should Watch: A thrilling supernatural urban fantasy that has a clear, beginning, middle, and end which is a rare thing in the genre world.
And as all Beauty and the Beast fans know, Ron Pearlman always plays a fantastic beast…. Netflix Description: After nine aliens flee their home planet to find peace on Earth, their plans are shattered by pursuers who must kill them in numerical order. Netflix Description: A medical student-turned-zombie tries to retain her humanity by eating brains at the morgue and finds she has an uncanny new gift for solving crimes.
As a whole, a great TV binge if you like urban fantasies. Netflix Description: Six genetically enhanced orphans with the ability to fly escape from captivity and set out on a high-stakes mission to save one of their own. Netflix Description: This family-oriented retelling of the King Arthur legend finds Merlin arriving in Camelot, where he hones his magic skills with the help of his uncle.
Oh, and several romances to swoon over and bromances to cheer for. For example, the troll episode had me in tears…. Netflix Description: Possessed by the ghost of a lustful virgin, a timid assistant chef becomes confidently libidinous, drawing the attention of a haughty culinary star. As of season 5, the TV show no longer follows the plot so both TV series and novels are now independent stories.
But don't skimp out on the books just because you've seen the TV series -- there's a lot in the books missing from the TV series, even before the plots diverged in Season 5.
If you haven't yet read Martin though, don't hesitate. Don't think. Just do it. It's seriously compelling and you'll shortly find out why the world has gone mad for Martin. Kingkiller Chronicle. Kvothe: Wizard, Villain, Warrior, Slave. Hero and villain of a thousand tales. But behind a legend, there is the simple story of a boy, a woman, and a world that will never be the same In one of the most remarkable fantasy debuts ever, Patrick Rothfuss joins the celebrated ranks of Martin, Erikson, and Tolkien as one of the master tale-spinners of our generation.
The biography of the legend, The Name of the Wind delves deep into the inner workings of Kvothe, a boy who dares to challenge destiny. The Name of the Wind is Patrick Rothfuss's debut novel, but oh what a powerful debut it was!
This is one tale you do not want to miss. I've read a lot of fantasy books in my time, but rarely have I relished a novel as much as I have this one. It's coming of age tale and a quest fantasy; it doesn't do anything that hasn't been done already by other writers, but it just puts everything together so precisely and perfectly.
And the writing, oh the writing, is gorgeous. In , where does The Name of the Wind stand among the elite reads of the genre?
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Still very strong, I feel, even with the standout fantasy being released every year. The competition is strong indeed, but The Name of the Wind still packs quite a punch on the genre. It takes over half the book for something to happen, but the latter half of the book ends on a very strong note. So while many have mixed feelings about the book, Rothfuss still gives us a very strong tale that carries the torch. The Name of the Wind is a frame story with the implication the whole thing is one grand tragedy -- we've only seen the edges so far but for those who read a bit deeper into the story than the surface there's a lot more to be revealed.
The complaints people have regarding the sequel book, I think, can easily be explained away if you look at the story as a whole. Kvothe is an unreliable narrator anyone who has read A Book of the New Sun will know what I'm talking about and his grand exploits could in fact be -- probably are -- grand embellishments of a storyteller and bard. So think deeply before you pick up that pitchfork and write off Rothfuss and his story, the man knows exactly what he's doing with his tale.
It's brilliant, it's wonderfully written, and it inspires something deep inside you when you read. This is what fantasy should strive to be. And despite the second book in the series may have disappointed some readers, the first book still stands out as a beacon of what fantasy should strive to be at it's best. The First Law Universe.
The Blade Itself features reluctant heroes, black humor, and breathtaking action. Seemingly a novel of contrasts, The Blade Itself is defined by its cast: a philosophical Barbarian who hates to kill, a dashing hero afraid to fight, and a crippled torturer with a heart of gold. The twisted plot and cast of unforgettable characters makes The Blade Itself an absolute must-read. The other two books are equally enthralling, and there is no dip in the "quality" of the series.
This is one of the best trilogies in the fantasy genre. Joe Abercrombie just keeps on getting better and better with every book. The Blade Itself is a rousing entrance to into the fantasy genre and book one of the First Law trilogy. Joe Abercrombie takes all the classic fantasy conventions and spins them into something new. This is a subversion of epic fantasy brought to a whole new level. Strong, witty writing, dry humor, twisted plotting, and full of contrasting elements, this new style makes for some intelligent reading.
In this new world of noir Fantasy, shades of gray are the new black and white. As of , we take for granted the style of books grimdark that are what they have become in many parts due to the vast influence Abercrombie and his breakout trilogy has had on the genre. While credit can't be only laid at the feet of Abercrombie as his work was built on the backs of giants of the genre Glen Cook, Michael Moorcock, George Martin, Tolkien , but his First Law books really helped shaped the now-standard tropes that define modern fantasy.
The grand irony here is that The First Law helped subvert many of the Tolkienized tropes that defined the fantasy genre for decades, yet a decade after The Blade Itself was published, Lawerence's work has itself become a sort of fantasy trope, with his style of subversive antihero and gritty world common fantasy staples. Since The Blade Itself was published, Abercrombie has gone on to produce even better books. Yet, this trilogy story was his debut novel and the one that made him a big hitter in the genre and his most defining work.
And it's also the 'gateway novel 'into his larger 'First Law' universe. Because the quality of the Abercrombie's writing has only been getting better and better over the years, I've kept Abercrombie very high on this list. He's is still one of the top fantasy authors writing in the genre. Abercrombie's books are not necessarily for everyone, as his books have a very sarcastic tone, characters are morally ambiguous and sometimes do bad, bad things for good reasons or just good things for bad reasons , and he doesn't necessarily write "epic" fantasy outside of the first trilogy, which was a subversion of epic fantasy , but it's a fantasy that's just so damn wildly entertaining you can't but fall in love with it.
With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans. In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it.
From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora.
These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first.
This is no fairytale. Do I even need to discuss it? The father of modern fantasy, the recreation of the English myth, an apex of English literature; Lord of the Rings is more than mere Fantasy, it is both myth and a fictional history so real, so enticing, that it can be read as "real".
Peter Jackson's movies capture the imagination of the books with astounding clarity -- yet at the same time, the books deliver a different, yet equally satisfying experience. Without a doubt, Lord of the Rings is a transcended work of art. It's a trilogy born from years of hard research, channeling everything from Tolkien's linguistics background, to his years in the muddy trenches of World War I, to his love of English mythology all forged into an indelible modern myth that's spawned an entire literary genre.
If we look at the sheer contribution these books have made to the genre, the series would rank 1. If you have not yet read this series, it's time to get it over with. And no, the movies are NOT the books. Why Lord of the Rings is NOT ranked number one on this list is the most often asked question left in the comments. The reason? While Tolkien has influenced the genre, his books are also more than 50 years old and the genre has radically evolved since Lord of the Rings was first written. You are firmly stuck in the past if you don't yet realize this.
Tolkien's works are classic and are rightly regarded as masterworks, but are they the best in light of ? I firmly state they are not and will vehemently argue the genre has evolved quite a bit since the 's. You simply just have to look at how characterization in the genre has evolved, how women are not mere pretty perfect window dressings but actually real and flawed characters now, how heroes are flawed creatures with a bit of villain in them and villains are not all bad who may even have a bit of the heroic about them too.
Fantasy has grown up folks and become more nuanced -- far more complicated than Tolkien's simple dichotomy of good and evil. And, for fuck's sake, let some other writers have a chance at some glory dammit you selfish people :p -- where's the fun if Lord of the Rings is always at the top spot on every single damn list? Because of Tolkien sheer influence on the genre and the spectacular world building and mythology created, I've put him at 4.
Is Tolkien now in the best in the genre? I say no, he's not.
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There are better modern fantasy works -- works influenced and built on the backs of literary giants such as Tolkien, but more refined works. Is Tolkien one of them most influential -- even up to the present? I say definitely yes! But, the fantasy genre has moved on since the 's, so give Tolkien's magnificent work the recognition it deserves and trust me, the series has been getting it's recognition for about 60 years and counting now , but let's not all get fixated only on past glories and instead look to the future.
If this argument doesn't sway you by now, I suggest you look at our Most Influential Fantasy List INSTEAD of this Top 25 List and treat that as your own Top 25, as you're mood won't be improved as you continue down this current list which has an eye firmly set on the modern rather than the past. Post-modern fantasy and one of the best fantasy reads when you take all three books together in the genre. The Magicians is a book that will take you by surprise. In a genre populated by epic fantasy quests and magical swords, by overused cliche's, thin characters and even thinner plots, this book is an ode to something more profound, something more substantial; it's fantasy that's decided to grow up; fantasy where there is not always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, fantasy where heroes don't always win and if they do come out on top, they sometimes suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress.
This is part Harry Potter on downers and suffering from clinical depression, part Alice trapped in a Wonderland gone nightmarish wrong. At its heart, the Magicians is really the story of a boy-become-man struggling to give the world meaning in a world that has no meaning. If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky read where the world is saved and everyone finds true love and does a victory dance into the sunset, you may want to skip this one. For the rest of you who want to taste something different and this one has a lot of zing to it folks , Lev Grossman's The Magicians delivers.
The Magicians takes a number of children's classics such as Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Alice and Wonderland and transfigures them, moving them from the simple innocent child fiction into the adult land with adult problems to deal with. This is a series of three books and you absolutely must read all three books before you start casting your judgment don't post how much you hated the first book unless you've read all three books.
By the end of the third book which was just released , the full scope of the events in the first and second books are bought to a close and the circle completed. This is a series where each book becomes better, where the characters grow, make mistakes, more mistakes, then learn. The flaws of the first book disappear as the final chapter in the tale ends and the story finds a sort of uneasy inner peace.
It's an ending, and as satisfying as an ending can be in a world where endings are not always happy. This book was formerly on a previous iteration of the Best Fantasy Books list , back when only the first book was out, but I bowed out to public pressure and removed it during an update because of all the complaints I was getting. Well now after all three books have been released and the tale is completed, this book is going back on the list where it rightfully deserves its spot. For some of you who want simpler fantasy fare, where black is black and white is white, where there is a clear villain, the heroes are all heroic and don't whine and bitch about emotional issues, who don't want a postmodern subversion of the fantasy genre, then this is not a book that will resonate.
But IF you like complex fantasy or subversive fantasy, then wow, you're in for a fucking treat. Or you could always watch the new The Magicians TV series by SyFy which has turned out to be pretty awesome -- one of the best fantasy TV series I've seen yet on TV and perhaps, more palatable for some of you readers who don't like the book.
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So I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook version of reading the book; it's an even better experience than reading the book. Discworld, a long running 40 series long sharp biting satire on the human condition couched as fantastical hilarious and downright ridiculous fantasy romp. I have not yet included Pratchett on the Top 25 list so this makes his first entrance. Pratchett, because his stuff is so different, may not be on the radar of the ordinary fantasy fan. But it's a mistake to ignore his works. This man is great a pillar in the fantasy genre and needs to be read.
I'm putting Pratchett on for his entire series some of his books are fantastic, some outstanding, some merely good, but all make for good reads. Taken as a whole, Pratchett's Discworld series is As a whole the sum is greater than the parts; the books taken together are sharp insights into the foibles of humanity. While Discworld, ostensibly, is a lighter series wrapped with comedy but at the core both of these series explore the idea of civilization and how it changes over time.
The difference of course is the direction. Martin's shows how fragile civilization is and how it can easily descend from peace and order to unfettered chaos and violence. Pratchett, on the other hand, crafts an extended world, one that morphs from the medieval to the modern through the impetus of technology; Pratchett's statement through his works is that technology and social order are highly connected and to have one you must have the other. Then again,there is also Prachett's satire on the entire fantasy genre, from Dragons,Drafts, Demons, Witches and Wizards to social issues such as the role of women,feminism, racism, and religious tolerance or intolerance.
And despite Prachett's use of satire and comedy to elucidate on the human condition and his conversation on how technology can push civilization into more enlightened social reform, the man also is able to tell a pretty damn entertaining tale. Many great humorists who use the tale as a medium to express deep thoughts about the human condition get so caught up in the subtext of what they are trying to say that the narrative itself falls flat.
Not so with Terry Pratchett. The man knows how to ride a rip-roaring read funny and at times dark, but still brimming with hope. And yes, he knows how to tell a god dammed good tale; not just a funny tale, but a funny tale with some real substance beneath the humor. Pratchett is one author where after you read one of his Discworld books, you are a better, more developed person after the reading of it. And that my friends is why Pratchett is one of the best fantasy authors in the genre. A web of schemes and frauds weave the pattern that makes up the Lies of Locke Lamora.
Scott Lynch establishes himself as a fearless storyteller, thrusting his characters into a world doused with intricate historical and cultural information. The writing is witty, the plot twisted, and the characters real. One of the most refreshing and unique novels to arrive on the fantasy scene, Lies of Locke Lamora is an entertaining read that delivers on every promise it makes. Those fantasy fans riding the new wave of fantasy, pioneered by George R. A fine book and series by a fine author one of the best authors in the entire fantasy genre, in fact.
Lynch now in fact owns this specific sub-genre of fantasy. He's been copied but never yet equaled. Three books are out as of with the fourth on the way supposedly in However, the series ends on a very high note with some interesting developments. I look forward to the next in the series, where I think things really start heating up. Should you read this series? There was a long long wait between book 2 and 3 and the author suffered from some personal issues, but he's back on track from what I hear.
The Stormlight Archive. The Stormlight Archive has for better or worse become the poster-boy for where classic epic fantasy is going. It's the evolution of the Tolkien-style fantasy -- a fantasy that was very much expanded and added to by Robert Jordan with The Wheel of Time. And now Brandon Sanderson is rebuilding epic fantasy in his image, updated for modern readers. It's a fantasy very much divergent from the style of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire which embraces the gritty conceit.
Sanderson's style of epic fantasy strides the middle ground between Tolkien and Martin -- a bit of each, but not too much of either. The Stormlight Archive 2 massive books into the whole 10 series is a hugely epic series that's casting an eye on the Malazan throne for epicness. You can see why The Stormlight Archive is about as epic a fantasy as they come. But not only epic, but also damn good.
This is one of the best fantasy books to come out in the 's and certain one of the best fantasy of the past five years, hands down. The Way of Kings does everything right as an epic fantasy. There's a world-ending plot in the backdrop, a cast of interesting characters that are starkly realized, a unique magic system, different races with a lot of tension between them, huge and epic battles, and some of the best action in the fantasy genre. Characterization is also fantastic.
Sanderson has done a particularly well job at building up the character of Kaladin, who spend the majority of the novel enduring the fantasy genre's worst Dirty Job ever. Through the nightmare that is Kaladin's life and various flashbacks to his childhood , Sanderson does a great job explaining the character's motivations and present actions. These flashbacks are also used to great effect as a way to throttle up the dramatic tension as the story progresses.
The action, when it happens, explodes and what a ride it is! So if you are a fan of Sanderson's work, you love epic fantasy, or you just want to read one of the best damn fantasy books out there, The Way of Kings blows pretty much every other 'epic fantasy' competition out of the water, with the exception of Martin's works.
All in all, a fantastic start to what's looking to be a great epic series a series that's looking to be far superior to The Wheel of Time. The sequel, Words of Radiance, was a spectacular read that kept the strength of the first book for the most part. I don't feel it was as good, but there were certainly some very strong moments in the book. If you are looking for epic fantasy, I can't recommend any other series over this right now. Start reading if you haven't already. Hobb is one of the best characterization writers in the Fantasy genre.
Her characters are vividly real, leaping out of the pages into our minds as living characters. She has no qualms about allowing her protagonists to suffer and she readily avoids Dues Ex Machina at the cost of drawing out her stories, which is not a bad thing. Her Farseer books are full of fantastic characters and an interesting, mysterious world to explore.
The world occupied by Fitz is arguable almost a character in its own right. You'll come to know The Six Duchies like you do your own living room. You'll hear the cries of fish mongers, smell the dirt and decay, and practically feel the cobble stones beneath your feet as you journey with Fitz Chilvary through this intoxicatingly crafted word.
Toss in a gripping plot and fantastic prose and these books make for some glorious reads. The books are also home to the most hated villain ever to grace the pages of fantasy. Hobb's The Farseer trilogy is perhaps her greatest work; she's carried on with the character is two direct sequel trilogies as of and two tie-in trilogies set in the same world, but with different characters and in different locales. And even now with the fantasy genre being moved in completely new directions with the likes of Martin, Abercrombie, Lynch, Lawrence, and Sanderson, Hobb's works are still worthy to be on anyone's top fantasy book list.
She's like that good old fashioned dinner you visit there's nothing particularly new on the menu, but you know what you get and it's always delicious. The Farseer world is vast, spanning over 15 books now. The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Since Tolkien, fantasy has rarely been revolutionary, instead becoming more of an evolution and reinterpretation of Tolkien's original work.
Well, I can honestly say Erickson's saga is revolutionary.
Top 25 Best Fantasy Books
No fantasy book series is more epic in scope than The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Brilliant prose, epic storylines, gritty realism, fascinating mix of gray characters, Erickson combines the best of George R. One word when reading it: epiphany. A refreshing change from the usual Robert Jordan-esque fantasy clones that pop up like weeds these days. However, now that the entire series has been completed, Erikson has lost a bit of his former luster and his former ranking on this list.
His works are absolutely worth reading and you may utterly love what he does or detest it. His final book was, overall, widely regarded as disappointing. You know the phrase 'It's not how you start the race but how you finish' and Erikson did not finish strong as strong as we'd like. However, if you love dark fantasy with an epic cast of characters and a storyline that spans millenia and is sometimes confusing as hell connecting it all together , read the whole thing.
One thing Erikson does and does well is create absolutely epic battles of guns and magic. It can take a few books to get into the series like 2 or 3 books , but if you are patient and bear with the world-building in the first couple of books, the series gets damn good. There is, as of , nothing else out there quite like it.
It's the most epic, complex, challenging, yet ultimately Erikson regains a lot of the narrative juice he had in the beginning and middle of his Malazan series. It's a new tale with some old characters made new -- their origin stories as you will. Esslemont who helped create the Malazan world with Erikson. Some of the books are pretty good, while some are mediocre. American Gods is more than just an intelligent novel about a bunch of homeless gods, but rather a cerebral fantasy that's also a damn good tale.
This is Gaiman doing what Gaiman does best: ripping out the old, mashing it with the new, and weaving a weird and insightful story about the resulting conflict. I've thought long and hard about why American Gods, in , should still remain on the list of the best fantasy. Indeed, Gaiman has an entire wardrobe of other outstanding books, many of them that tell a better tale and have better characters. The Earthsea Cycle. This is a coming of age story; leaps and bounds above the usual run of the mill boy-becomes-wizard-and-saves-world. With prose so good that you will want to lick the pages, and a story equally as enthralling, you will do no wrong buying this series.
This is epic fantasy, but it's one of the best series out there. These books won a Nebula and Hugo award. This is the types of book you can read over and over, then some more. Touching, beautiful, at times sad, the Earthsea saga is one of the great masterpieces of fantasy literature. Before there was Harry Potter, there was Ged. Books in The Earthsea Cyc Series 6 1 A Wizard of Earthsea.
Kan Savasci: a legend, a warrior, a mage… hero and villain. Tears of a Heart marks the tale of a young man, Aeden, who unwittingly shapes the world. The writing is beautiful, layered, and timely. Chase Blackwood weaves an intricate tale that hints at so much more. And that may be its greatest challenge. Tears of a Heart, the first book in the series, was beautifully written, and interesting. It shows us an amazing world filled with detail and depth, but for a portion of it, just a touch slow.
The writing, such beautiful writing, overshadows this, as does the ending. Tower of the Arkein , the next book in the series, is where the story truly begins to unfold, and where Chase Blackwood shines as an author. It is fast paced, full of action, adventure, and love. A very strong entry in the fantasy genre, and if the next book is equally as good, expect it to make quite a splash. You can buy on Amazon now. What would happen if you locked Tolkien, Dickens, and Jane Austen in a room? Norrell of course! Like the Victorian era the book is situated in, the story ambles along at a sedate pace.
But what starts out as a jolly stroll down Oxford Street transforms into the darkly disturbing descent into the madness of two magicians. Fabulously written, dark, fully of mystery and wonder, Susanna Clark's masterpiece deserves to be read by every fantasy fan who loves a slower read and who can appreciate good literature. A complete re-imagining of English history, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is the story of two English magicians in a world where magic exists only in the annals of English history. It starts slow, but keep reading--the tale soon envelopes you.
This a different sort of read than the Robert Jordan type of fantasy, but it's a refreshing addition to the fantasy genre. Even in where epic fantasies are very much the norm, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell still stands out as something completely different. You can't always eat the same meal every day right? Why not try something different? Norrell a shot. Note to readers: a lot of people complain how tedious the book is, how flowery the language is, how boring the plot is, etc. Here's what to expect: it may take you 3 months to get through the first half of the book and 3 days to finish the second half.
It takes until the second half of the book for things to get going. Once the book gets going, it really gets going! If you are expecting the action of a Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks or the sly dark wit of an Abercrombie, then look elsewhere. If you are a lover of literary works, of slow pedantic writing full of minor details, of a plot and characters that slowly develop over hundreds of pages before events and conflicts roil over, give this masterpiece a read.
Chronicles of The Black Company. And for a series that's pretty darn gritty in the way of "war is dirty and sucks and everything is going to hell in a hand basket", Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire should be read. Glen Cook helped influence Martin's works. Before fantasy became gritty grim dark, it existed in the form of Glenn Cook's Black Company -- an influential work that can be felt in many "modern" fantasy books.
The Black Company is arguably the progenitor of the dark and dirty grim dark militaristic fantasy of the 21st century and one of the most influential fantasy books in the genre and as such, belongs on this list of one of the best fantasy books to read. Fans of Malazan Book of the Fallen, particularly, may find themselves right at home with The Black Company, as both series follow companies of soldiers through battle quite closely.
Both series feature epic battles with magic and mayhem thrown in aplenty. Both series have ambiguous characters who are neither black nor white. The Black Company is more tightly focused on a small band of characters than a huge cast, as in Malazan. If you've read anything in the fantasy genre, you can easily see some of the books that draw influence from The Black Company. What's particularly intriguing about The Black Company is that the characters are not afraid to make hard choices.
Too many fantasy books these days have goody goody two-shoes characters who can't step on an ant for fear that it's the wrong thing to do. Glen Cook throws all that out the window and creates a group of mercenaries who define their own moral codes, rather than bow to our own. Yet they have their own code of honor, despite the fact that their morality is often suspect at least according to our own social mores. That means characters often make uncomfortable choices, arguably evil choices. The Black Company really does ask the question: what's the difference between evil and good?
And it's not a simple answer folks. The Black Company end up employed by The Lady, a character who might be able to show Tolkien's Sauron a new trick or two. So for an action-packed military fantasy series that was genre-busting way back before gritty fantasy was popular, The Black Company takes the cake. This came out in the early 90's, but despite its age, it still beats most of the other epic fantasy out there today, even in the era of fantasy, this classic is absolutely worth the read.
There is still no other work of fiction quite like it right now. A superstar on earth, Hari Michaelson is worshiped by billions. But in the world of Ankhana, Michaelson is feared by all. He is known only as Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle -- a relentless, unstoppable assassin who kills monarchs and commoners alike. Back home on earth, Michaelson's adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions, but he is forced to ignore the fact that he is killing men for the entertainment of his own planet.
Bound by the rigid caste society of his planet, forced to keep a growing rage in check, the boundaries between Hari Michaelson, the superstar, and Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle begin to slip. When his wife goes missing in Ankhana, Michaelson and Caine must become one to save his wife and survive the treacherous rulers of two worlds.
Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings, Heroes Die is a heart-pounding thrill ride that never brakes and one novel you don't want to put down. A blend of sci-fi and fantasy, Heroes Die is as good as they come. It's a unique tale with interesting concepts and a whole lot of blood -- like a lot of fucking blood. A world is only as good as its characters, and Stover's Caine is very, very good. He's an anti-hero through and through, a man twisted by his own violence, confused between his role as a good guy superstar back on earth and his occupation as the best assassin Ankhana has ever seen.
Caine ponders the morality of his actions, all the while eviscerating his victims. Who is the real man behind the character and which one is the mask? Hari Michaelson the superstar or Caine the assassin? Ultra violent, visceral and just damn cool, Heroes Die is a shrine to violence and Caine is the high priest. Those wanting a superb story that rushes along faster than a supersonic jet, with more action then you can shake a stick at need wait no longer.
This book has been on multiple versions of this best fantasy book list and it STILL remains on the list, even in It's such a standout book in even in crowded genre with many greats, it's still one of the greatest, if oft overlooked and underrated, book. There are a number of Caine novels as of and every single one of them are fantastic, though the first couple books are the best. This one is full to the brim with gritty, amoral, cynical dark humor. A different sort of fantasy, but one that's extremely refreshing, disturbing, and entertaining -- one of the best fantasy reads to come out the past couple years.
Even as we near , The Prince of Thorns still stands tall among other strong fantasy books. For a dark, gritty, anti-hero driven fantasy, I felt strong Abercrombie vibes. There's a strong influence from A Game of Thrones -- and if you've ever read KJ Parker's The Engineer trilogy , you'll see some similarities in the tone and style of world. The setting of the world is interesting too, a sort of post-apocalypse world gone to hell that sparks similarities to Jack Vance's Dying Earth world. This is the brutal story of Prince Jorg, a teenage princeling who abandoned his father's castle after witnessing the murder of his mother and brother.
During this time away, he's been eking out a place for himself with band of marauders. These are brutal killers of the worst sort and Jorg has been living as a sort of apprentice murderer under their rules. Things get interesting when he decides to head back home and reclaim his stolen birthright by force and blood. The narration is first person and well done at that -- I haven't been so entertained by first person narration in ages. This is some of the first person narration since Farseer and The Name of the Wind. I particularly loved Jorg's sharp insights into the human condition, which is generously sprinkled through the pages.