The best fantasy books if you have an active imagination

Katrina Jack Author Of Land of Midnight Days, Book I of The Silver Flute Trilogy
By Katrina Jack

The Books I Picked & Why

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke

Book cover of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Why this book?

I love this book because it’s in my favourite genre, speculative fiction. That said this is fantasy with a difference. Set in England in 1836, the time period is unusual for fantasy and this made me curious. It didn’t seem to come under the heading of “dungeons and dragons” or even urban fantasy; this is entirely in a class of its own. My curiosity led me to a book that, as a reader, I couldn’t put down. The background and characters are superbly drawn and the story is so compulsive that it kept me turning the pages; I had no difficulty in suspending my disbelief and immersing myself in the writer’s wonderful narrative.

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Storm Front

By Jim Butcher

Book cover of Storm Front

Why this book?

Jim Butcher’s fabulous series, The Dresden Files, combines two of my favourite genres, fantasy, and detective stories. The combination makes for fast-paced action, coupled with mythology and overtones of horror. I stumbled across this writer when I was in the hospital. I was bored and asked a friend to bring me something to read and he brought me Storm Front. I’d never come across urban fantasy before and so I was a bit dubious as to whether I’d enjoy it or not – I needn’t have worried. This is one of the rare occasions when I’ve read a book from cover to cover in one sitting! I spent the entire day reading this novel and by the time I reached the end, felt as if I had been whisked away to a world filled with thrills, spills, and wonderful heroes and villains.

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The Colour of Magic

By Terry Pratchett

Book cover of The Colour of Magic

Why this book?

I always seem to stumble across my best reads. I found The Colour of Magic when I was in a huge shopping precinct. A new book store had opened and I went in to browse, in the fantasy section of course, and that’s when I hit pure gold. The saying: “Never judge a book by its cover”, may or may not be true, but that’s what drew me to The Colour of Magic. Josh Kirby’s illustration of a multi-legged luggage chest, running rampant, immediately drew my attention. I read the blurb: “Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell like our own, but which looks completely different...” needless to say I was hooked.

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Assassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1

By Robin Hobb

Book cover of Assassin's Apprentice: The Farseer Trilogy Book 1

Why this book?

This book was recommended to me by a friend. Hobb has the knack of building a world that readers can totally immerse themselves in. She paints pictures with words, bringing the pages to vibrant life. Her characters are three-dimensional and evoke all the emotions necessary to engage with them. Adventure, love, hate, etc... all abound in a roller-coaster ride of a tale that leaves readers longing for more.

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The Magician's Nephew

By C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes

Book cover of The Magician's Nephew

Why this book?

This book was my introduction to The Chronicles of Narnia. The idea of stepping into another world, peopled by humans, talking animals, fauns, and so on, engaged my always active imagination. I loved the fight between good and evil and the vivid descriptions of both the characters and their surroundings. Whilst intended for very young people, this book can be read by adults and enjoyed for what it is – pure fantasy.

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