Originally Posted by SoCal2NYC
The Golden Compass, Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass weren't bad.
The His Dark Materials
trilogy is fantastic. The writing and the story are both great. Also worth noting that Pullman wrote this series as a corrective to the conservative ideas presented in Lord of the Rings
and the Chronicles of Narnia.
Originally Posted by Shakermaker
I personally love the Dragonlance "Chronicles" Trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Then you can move on to the "Twins" trilogy which follows, as someone already suggested. Also, the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind is good as well.
Read those countless times in my youth (although the second series is actually called Legends
). Am very fond of them. If nothing else, fun and adventurous.
The first five books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time
series is probably as good as contemporary traditional epic fantasy can get. Then the wheels fell off the series. Then he died.
Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber
--the first five novels, which compose the Corwin cycle--are superlative. My highest recommendations. (The first five books are Nine Princes in Amber
, Guns of Avalon
, Sign of the Unicorn
, The Hand of Oberon
, and The Courts of Chaos
. They are printed these days in a gigantic omnibus comprising ten novels.)
T. H. White's The Once and Future King
is at once hilarious and sad and awesome. A retelling of the traditional Arthurian myths. Disney's cartoon The Sword in the Stone
is based on the first part of this book. (Was originally published in four volumes, now commonly available as one book.)
Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music
isn't really fantasy but rather soft science fiction or perhaps "science fantasy." Still great, though, a weird sci-fi noir featuring talking animals and copious amounts of drugs. Lethem has since won a MacArthur Grant and has been writing "serious" fiction of late.
Likewise, Gentlemen of the Road
by Michael Chabon is a nice excursion into genre. A little self-conscious, perhaps, in its evocation of generic elements (Chabon is a writer of literary fiction who loves genre rather than the other way around), but still very good, especially if you're familiar at all with the works of Moorcock (mentioned above) and especially Fritz Leiber. Originally published serially in the New York Times Magazine
. Also, Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Chabon is one of the best books written in the recent past; it's fantasy, but it may not be the kind of fantasy you're looking for.Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
by Haruki Murakami is not only a bizarre and ingenious excursion into the world of imagination but also the best starting point for delving into Murakami's oeuvre.
So much more, of course, but this is off the top of my head. Have a good winter!