Why fantasy stories? Why list the best fantasy books if movies are probably being made about all of them? Yeah: a crime/thriller novel might have danger and chases, a fiction story might tell of human struggle and a biography might give insight into someone in history. Can any of those characters cut down five orcs with a single arrow? Can they slay a dragon with just a blast of spell-fire? Can they defeat an ancient evil threatening to spread over the world with nothing more than determination and a magic sword? No? Didn't think so.
A favorite of mine. Yes, it has singing and long stretches of nothing happening. However, this helped to spawn the fantasy genre. As well as being the inspiration for many many more fantasies that have come out since. Without this novel (and I mean novel, not novels. The story was suppose to be one long book not chopped into three.) the fantasy genre would be a shadow of what it is now. see more on The Lord of the Rings
I thought that all fantasy was about warriors and wizards. Then, I was blown away by the story of Tigana. A minstrel and his band fight evil sorcerers to bring back a forgotten land. It is a complex and eye opening novel. An amazing read. see more on Tigana
After Tigana, I read some stuff that wasn't good and I was worried that Kay was the only one who I could go to. Yes, Wheel of Time was good, yet there were some things that were dragging it down. I was worried. Then, I read this mammoth book. Complex and engaging, with a magic system that is astounding and original, this is a fantastic start to an amazing series.
I never thought that military fantasy was my cup of tea, then I joined up with Whiskeyjack's 7th Compnay Sappers--the main group of characters--and I never looked back. see more on Gardens of the Moon
THE RING OF WINTER
Sometimes I want serious fantasy with world-building and great stories. And sometimes, you want just a good romp in a well-treaded world.
This was just a fun read. Set in the D&D world of Faerun, an adventurer seeks a relic in a land of dinosaurs with magic, adventure and goblins.
I could say more about the story or about Faerun, but I think the big draw can be summed up in one word--DINOSAURS!
see more on THE RING OF WINTER
You think Pirates of the Caribbean was good, wait until you read this! Time Powers is one of the best fantasy writers I have ever read. And, that is why he is on here twice. Also, the story is a great read.
And, it has pirates in it! Come on, PIRATES! see more on On Stranger Tides
Tim Powers here has written a powerful novel, one that brings together the Fischer King mythos--think King Arthur with more power--poker and the capital of sin, Las Vegas! He weaves a story of magic, poker and the tarot in a way that is truly interesting, amazing and...a little frightening. see more on Last Call
Say what you will about this series; yes Jordan is dead and the last three--or more depending on how long it takes Brandon Sanderson--are being written by the aforementioned Mr. Sanderson, yes the gigantic series can't get out of its own ponderous way sometimes and yes there are large swathes of material that can be cut out.
HOWEVER--and this is key--it is still a great series. It reveals magic in a new and interesting way, it has well-rounded characters, and it has some wonderful scenes of battles, love, courage, wonder and evil. see more on The Wheel of Time
A Game of Thrones, first book of the Song of Fire and Ice, takes some of the tropes of fantasy; black sheep son, a king in danger, magical trouble from one direction--the North in this case--and families in the throws of turmoil and breathes new life into them. Plus, wolves make fantasy novels better! It was wonderful to read and I, for one, am waiting for the way it ends with anticipation. see more on A Game of Thrones