The best fantasy books series from the past to read (or re-read)

P. H. Solomon Author Of The Bow of Destiny
By P. H. Solomon

Who am I?

I'm a life-long reader of fantasy who cut his reading teeth on Tolkien's The Hobbit in grade school. I credit Tolkien for making me truly literate as my vocabulary grew rapidly. As a sixth-grader, I labored through The Lord of the Rings with its big words while often sitting on a warm furnace vent on cold nights. I read Riddle-Master in wonder sitting at a cheery fire some years later. Now, my writing requires I read new books of fantasy, but I always look back to older works that broke ground with marvelous stories when such books were considered pulp fiction. Enjoy these recommendations when you can!

I wrote...

The Bow of Destiny

By P. H. Solomon,

Book cover of The Bow of Destiny

What is my book about?

Athson suffered hallucinations ever since he was orphaned, including a dog no one else sees. The will in his possession, bestowed in a dream, can't be real. But the trolls now hunting him are. A destiny, both inconvenient and unavoidable, drags Athson into an unwanted quest that challenges all his assumptions. Can he trust anyone?

Sworn to secrecy by his dead father about the bow, Athson wants nothing to do with it. A dragon and a wizard want the bow - and Athson dead. Running from the quest and his destiny are tempting options. Then he finds something unexpected. Will his discovery destroy him before he recovers the bow?

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The books I picked & why

The Eye of the World

By Robert Jordan,

Book cover of The Eye of the World

Why did I love this book?

The Wheel of Time is a series like no other and hasn't gotten its due, even with the new Prime streaming series which botched the story completely and has received barely positive reviews. This fantasy series is far better than A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) since it is a far more comprehensive world fully explored by the author. The story is consistent throughout, and all the fantasy elements introduced are used by the end of the series. I'm currently spending my time re-reading the series rather than watching the faulty streaming adaptation.

By Robert Jordan,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Eye of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master's enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al'Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light .

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel…

The Riddle-Master of Hed

By Patricia A. McKillip,

Book cover of The Riddle-Master of Hed

Why did I love this book?

First published in 1976, The Riddle-Master series is still a very good story and high on my list of re-reads. Written with lyric quality, the magic and the world are mysterious, making the journey through the books a wondrous adventure. I re-read this series every few years and always enjoy the storytelling by the author.

By Patricia A. McKillip,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Riddle-Master of Hed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a land where wizards have long since vanished, Morgon, Prince of Hed, is confronted with a challenge much different from that faced by his land-bound predecessors. Although he wants only to rule and work the land of his birth, Morgon must search out a very different destiny - one dictated since birth by the mark of three stars imprinted on his forehead.

He must wander strange, foreign lands full of untamed magic in the form of riddling wraiths, mysterious harpists, a lost crown, a magical sword and an all-knowing High One who rules over all. In his quest for…

A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Why did I love this book?

Yes, I’m aware that two more books were written but the first three books were written together and follow main character Ged more closely, providing a satisfactory ending. I often re-visit this world for its rich cultural flavor. Ursula K. LeGuin was the daughter of anthropologists, and she was masterful at writing adventures that span a variety of cultures within Earthsea. It's original with well-described magic which leaves the reader with the scent of salt air in the room and the brush of the sea-wind in your hair.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Wizard of Earthsea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of Earthsea in a beautiful hardback edition. Complete the collection with The Tombs of Atuan, The Furthest Shore and Tehanu

With illustrations from Charles Vess

'[This] trilogy made me look at the world in a new way, imbued everything with a magic that was so much deeper than the magic I'd encountered before then. This was a magic of words, a magic of true speaking' Neil Gaiman

'Drink this magic up. Drown in it. Dream it' David Mitchell

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.

Hungry for power and knowledge,…

The Dragonriders of Pern

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of The Dragonriders of Pern

Why did I love this book?

Dragon-riding was written about well before Eragon. In fact, the first book, Dragonflight, was published in 1967. McCaffrey's world is well-built for fantasy where creatures and characters must interact together for survival. It's fantasy at its best with the wind in your hair and danger falling from the sky with seemingly every flight taken. There's no loss of story throughout the series so it's a fantastic read (or re-read).

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dragonriders of Pern as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Together in one volume—the first three books in the world’s most beloved science-fiction series!


On a beautiful world called Pern, an ancient way of life is about to come under attack. Lessa is an outcast survivor—her parents murdered, her birthright stolen—a strong young woman who has never stopped dreaming of revenge. But when an ancient threat reemerges, Lessa will rise—upon the back of a great dragon with whom she shares a telepathic bond more intimate than any human connection. Together, dragon and rider will fly, and Pern will be changed forever.


Since Lessa…

The Sword of Shannara

By Terry Brooks,

Book cover of The Sword of Shannara

Why did I love this book?

While the first book was called derivative by many people, The Sword of Shannara broke ground as the first fantasy to hit the New York Times Bestseller List back in 1977. Sure Brooks was heavily influenced by Tolkien, but he diverges into his own fantasy path. The next two books, The Elfstones of Shannara and Wishsong of Shannara take their own courses with some powerful magic, knock-down battles, and serious last-stands. Reading these books is taking a seat to experience the maturation of fantasy as a genre.

By Terry Brooks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Sword of Shannara as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



Volume one in the classic bestselling series - from one of the all-time masters of fantasy

'Terry's place is at the head of the fantasy world' Philip Pullman

Long ago, the world of the Four Lands was torn apart by the wars of ancient Evil. But in the Vale, the half-human, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford now lives in peace - until the mysterious, forbidding figure of the druid Allanon appears, to reveal that the supposedly long dead Warlock Lord lives again.

Shea must…

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