10 Best Fantasy Novels: Part 2! :D

Here is the final part of my Top 10 Best Fantasy Novels! If you missed Part 1, click here.

Without further ado, here is my Top 5:

5. Legend  by David Gemmell:

Legend was first written by David Gemmell, in 1976, to get his mind off of a cancer diagnosis, because it had always been a dream of his to get a book published before his death. Thankfully, the cancer wasn’t fatal, and the book was published in 1984. He went on to write many more books until he passed away in 2006.

The book is a classic tale of a few brave men, taking a stand against an enemy far outnumbering them. If you liked the film 300, or like the story of the Alamo, you will love this book!

4. The Iron Tower by Dennis L. McKiernan:

The Iron Tower trilogy (It’s now published as an omnibus.) is largely looked over by fans of Fantasy. Originally McKiernan wrote a sequel to LOTR, and his publisher couldn’t get the rights from the Tolkien estate. So the publisher said to make his own world, and change names. And also to write a prequel. That’s when The Iron Tower was born. Because of this, many think it’s a LOTR rip off…But I digress.

Most Fantasies have Quests and Dark Lords, like how Westerns always have Cowboys, and Evil Sheriffs/Judges/Railroaders. It doesn’t mean those books are rip offs. Plus, McKiernan has more of his own ideas in his books rather than blatantly copying LOTR word for word. And at times, it has better things than LOTR.

I recommend checking this one out. It’s pretty darn good. : )

3. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman:

If you haven’t read Weis & Hickman, run don’t walk to your bookstore or library and check this one out! : ) If I start describing the plot, it’ll spoil the whole book. (It’s based on the Pen & Paper RPG game setting Dragonlance. If you have a problem with RPGs, don’t read this series.)

2. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski:

When reading this book the first time, the tale really blew my mind. The book had previously been published in Sapkowski’s homeland of Poland. (You could say he is the Stephen King of Poland in terms of popularity.)

If you played any of the Witcher video games over the last few years, the character Geralt of Rivia is probably very familiar to you. These books are the material that the games are based on.

The thing I like about Sapkowski is that he takes the familiar clichés of the genre, and flips them on their heads. Elves are like Native Americans, and fight constantly against man. The Dwarves are lazy. And the main character is not the heroic Knight type that fights monsters; he’s more of the sarcastic Clint Eastwood type.

If you like an action tale with substance, check these books out! (Start with the first novel The Last Wish.)

1. Elric Of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock:

Here is pick number 1! : )

Moorcock has been writing for decades now. Not too many American Fantasy fans know who Elric is unfortunately. He has been more popular across the pond. But I think if people check out his stuff, they will really enjoy it. Especially if you like Game of Thrones, and if you play Table Top or Video Game RPGs.

Elric is one of Fantasy’s few tragic heroes. A whole lot of bad things happen to him. And he is an albino, and has a lot of health problems. To keep himself alive, he wields a magical sword called Stormbringer that takes the life force out of its foes, and transfers the power to Elric…This is all I should tell you about the story. And if you don’t read it for the story, read it for the prose. Moorcock to me, and to many other fans, is one of the best writers alive.

The copy I read of Elric Of Melnibone was the first edition from the 70s. That edition is long out of print, unfortunately. Amazon or eBay has a copy every once in a while. To save all the fuss, the version you should get is the 2008 Del Rey edition called Elric: The Stealer of Souls.

Well, that concludes my Top 10! Thanks for reading! : )

Note: I’m sorry if your favorite book didn’t make the cut. So to make up for that, I have a question for you: What is your favorite Fantasy Novel?

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10 Best Fantasy Novels: Part 1!

From reading other sites about the best Fantasy novels I notice the same books are usually on it. Like The Lords of the Rings Trilogy, or A Game of Thrones. With this list I’m breaking tradition. Don’t get me wrong, I love those books as much as the next guy.

But those are books almost everyone has read. And those are only a few books in the Fantasy genre. There are many more! 😀

This list is by no means final. Next year, my top 10 will probably change.

So let’s begin shall we? Here are the first 5!

10. Conan by Robert E. Howard:

You probably know Conan from the horrible Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Well, Arnie’s version is not true to the character. (And frankly is a wimp.) The short stories were written by a Texan named Robert E. Howard in the 30’s and first appeared in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

Conan is the great granddad of heroic fantasy, and is still inspiring writers today. If you don’t like sword swinging blood soaked action, and diabolical sorcerers this book isn’t for you.

9. Imaro by Charles Saunders

Are you tired of Fantasy tales that take place in Medieval Europe? If your answer is yes, Imaro is for you! It takes place in a world that is much like Medieval Africa.

Charles Saunders is African American, and growing up he got into Fantasy and Science Fiction. He always wondered why the books always had white people as heroes, and never had black people as the hero. (Black people back then in these genres were usually portrayed as villains or  victims.) That’s when Imaro was born.

If you like African mythology, and rousing action/adventure novels, check this book out! (There are two editions. The one to get is the Nightshade Books edition.)

8. The King’s Buccaneer by Raymond E. Feist

Love Pirates? Swords? A little Romance? Magic? And Dragons? This book has it all! (This book is not a Pirate one for children.) Raymond E. Feist is a pretty popular writer, but the book by him that’s always listed is Magician. Magician isn’t a bad book; it’s just not my favorite Feist book.

This book will definitely appeal to fans of Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings.

7. Running With the Demon by Terry Brooks:

On most stereotypical lists of books, Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara is always listed. Running With the Demon is one of Brooks’ few Contemporary Fantasy novels. (And is one of the few nowadays devoid of vampires. There is a God!) This book takes place in a sleepy small town, one that is turned upside down by a Demon.

This book will appeal to fans of Stephen King, Ted Dekker, and fans of Good Ole Good vs. Evil Fantasy tales.

6. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery:

The Dragonriders of Pern novels are considered by many as Science Fiction. I admit, there are some elements of Sci-fi, but in my opinion there are many more Fantasy elements. Heck, the people ride Dragons not UFOs!

And Eragon fans, this book was around long before Christopher Paolini was born. This series was actually one of his inspirations… I won’t spoil McCaffery’s novel; I will just say it’s an awesome book. : )

And that is the first five! Watch this blog for Part 2!  😀

Note: On Sept. 5th, former Dungeons & Dragons Game Designer and Fantasy author Scott Fitzgerald Gray will be visiting this blog via a Guest Post. You won’t want to miss it! : )