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

P.H. Solomon Author Of The Bow of Destiny (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1)
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 (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1)

By P.H. Solomon,

Book cover of The Bow of Destiny (The Bow of Hart Saga Book 1)

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?

The books I picked & why

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The Eye of the World

By Robert Jordan,

Book cover of The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time Book One

Why 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.

The Riddle-Master of Hed

By Patricia A. McKillip,

Book cover of The Riddle-Master of Hed

Why 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.

A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Why 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.

The Dragonriders of Pern

By Anne McCaffrey,

Book cover of The Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight Dragonquest the White Dragon

Why 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).

The Sword of Shannara

By Terry Brooks,

Book cover of The Sword of Shannara

Why 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.

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