I went through a period where I devoured fantasy novels, usually belonging to a series. Included here is also one sci-fi series, since I don’t read enough sci-fi to do a separate list. Recs are in no particular order. Each series will have a link to the first book on Indigo’s website (Canadian book company), a link to a wikipedia entry (if there is one), a brief summary, a list of books in the series, and original publish date.
WARNING: Wikipedia entries contain spoilers; read at your own risk.
1. The Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass
First Book Published: 1995
List of Books: The Wayfarer Redemption/BattleAxe, Enchanter, Starman, Sinner, Pilgrim, Crusader
Wikipedia Link: The Wayfarer Redemption
Summary: For a thousand years the Acharites have lived prosperous lives, protected by vast and insurmountable mountains and the powerful Seneschal, guardians of the mysterious Way of the Plow and intermediaries with the great god Artor.
But now Achar’s security is threatened as a millennia-old prophecy predicting the return of the Forbidden Ones flares into life. An unnatural winter grips the land as the Ice Lord Gorgrael moves his armies of demonic wraiths and Ice Worms south. Achar crumbles under Gorgrael’s murderous onslaught: it seems that no one can stop him.
Faraday, betrothed of Achar’s War Lord, Duke Borneheld, is as frightened as everyone else. While fleeing to safety with Axis, legendary leader of the Axe-Wielders and hated half-brother of Borneheld, Faraday learns that all she has been taught about her people”s history has been based on lies. Leaving the company of Axis — a man she secretly loves, although it would mean his death to reveal it — Faraday embarks on a journey that will forever change both her life and those of her people.
The Wayfarer Redemption is the beginning of an epic fantasy about honor, family, and love: of Faraday’s fight for one man’s love, and their struggles to free the people from the lies that have bound them…and lead them into the truth of the Star Gate.
2. Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon
First Book Published: 1999
List of Books: Rhaposdy, Prophecy, Destiny, Requiem for the Sun, Elegy for a Lost Star, The Assassin King
Wikipedia Link: Symphony of Ages
Summary: Rhapsody is a woman, a Singer of some talent, who is swept up into events of world-shattering import. On the run from an old romantic interest who won’t take no for an answer, Rhapsody literally bumps into a couple of shady characters: half-breeds who come to her rescue in the nick of time. Only the rescue turns into an abduction, and Rhapsody soon finds herself dragged along on an epic voyage, one that spans centuries and ranges across a wonder-filled fantasy world– a world so real you can hear the sweet music of Rhapsody’s aubade and smell the smoldering forges deep within the Cauldron.
3. Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
First Book Published: 1984
List of Books: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest Road
Wikipedia Link: The Fionavar Tapestry
Summary: Five Canadian students from the University of Toronto are pulled into the land of Fionavar. There, they each embark on a quest that brings them in contact with seers, dwarves, wizards and spirits, good and evil, and some old legends.
()4. Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
First Book Published: 1994
List of Books: Wizard’s First Rule, Stone of Tears, Blood of the Fold, Temple of the Winds, Soul of the Fire, Faith of the Fallen, The Pillars of Creation, Naked Empire, Chainfire, Phantom, Confessor, Debt of Bones
Wikipedia Link: Sword of Truth
Summary: In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help, and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence. In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them–for reasons Richard can’t imagine and Kahlan dare not say. In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword–to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out. This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.
5. The Belgariad by David Eddings
First Book Published: 1982
List of Books: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters’ End Game (followed by the series The Mallorean which also contains five books)
Wikipedia Link: The Belgarid
Summary: Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, in this first book of THE BELGARIAD, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.
But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved–but did not know…?
6. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
First Book Published: 1954
List of Books: (The Hobbit – prequel) The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
Wikipedia Link: The Lord of the Rings
Summary: During the third age of Middle Earth, Frodo the Hobbit is entrusted with a ring, which is, in fact, The One Ring and holds great power. Frodo, along with three Hobbit friends, a wizard, a human, an elf and a dwarf, embark on a quest to the land of Mordor in order to destroy the ring before it can be used for evil.
7. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
First Book Published: 1990
List of Books: (New Spring – prequel) The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, and two forthcoming
Wikipedia Link: Wheel of Time
Summary: The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
8. Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
First Book Published: 1990
List of Books: Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragons
Wikipedia Link: Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Summary: Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart. . .and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon, and finds the family and excitement she’s been looking for.
9. The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
First Book Published: 1965
List of Books: Over Sea Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, Silver on the Tree
Wikipedia Link: The Dark is Rising Sequence
Summary: The series is based on Arthurian myths, and depicts the struggle between the forces of good, called The Light, and the forces of evil, known as The Dark. The Drew family (main characters of Over Sea, Under Stone) and the Stanton family (main characters in The Dark is Rising) are brought together by Merriman Lyon who aids and protects them in their quest against the Dark.
10. Enderverse by Orson Scott Card
First Book Published: 1985
List of Books: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, First Meetings, A War of Gifts, Ender in Exile
(Chronological order of the years within the novels: First Meetings, Ender’s Game, A War of Gifts, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Ender in Exile, Speaker of the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind)
Wikipedia Link: Enderverse
Summary: The series is set in a future where mankind is facing annihilation by an aggressive alien society, an insect-like race known colloquially as “Buggers” but more formally as “Formics.” The central character, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, is one of the child soldiers trained at Battle School (and eventually Command School) to be the future leaders of the protection of Earth.