Ad previously stated, this is a group created list.
A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.
Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.
Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin’s younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. After sweeping down and destroying the remnants of their army, burning their books and destroying their architecture and statuary, he makes it so that no one not born in that province can even hear its name. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana’s royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer; Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family’s guilt; and Duke Sandre d’Astibar, a wily resistance leader thought dead. Meanwhile, at Brandin’s court, Dianora, his favorite concubine and–unknown to anyone, another survivor of Tigana–struggles between her growing love for the often gentle tyrant and her desire for vengeance. Gradually the scene is set for both conquerors to destroy each other and free a land.
For almost two centuries, the stories of magic and myth gathered by the Brothers Grimm have been part of the way children—and adults—learn about the vagaries of the real world. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow-White, Hänsel and Gretel, Little Red-Cap (a.k.a. Little Red Riding Hood), and Briar-Rose (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) are only a few of more than 200 enchanting characters included here. Lyrically translated and beautifully illustrated, the tales are presented just as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm originally set them down: bold, primal, just frightening enough, and endlessly engaging.
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise–demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards–symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human members dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, the will stand against the night.
75. Fool’s Errand
Series: Tawny Man
In Fool’s Errand, first of the “Tawny Man” trilogy, Robin Hobb brings back Fitz, hero of her emotionally powerful and intrigue-filled Assassin trilogy, from 15 years of self-imposed exile from his royal relations and from the world of power. Hobb is particularly good at the passage of time and the things it does not change; Fitz plausibly thinks of himself as older and more settled than he actually is. She is also good on the actual changes–Fitz’s mentor Chade is teetering on the brink of old age and his androgynous ally the Fool has returned to court as the fop Lord Golden; these are characters we cared about before and she makes it matter that they have aged or altered. Fitz is bonded by Wit to a wolf; the heir, Prince Dutiful, the son he never saw, is adrift with his own Wit in a world where people get lynched for it. Hobb’s leisurely story-telling never lacks urgency and menace; this is a humane book which includes nightmarish touches along the way. Her sense of the world of magic and the world of political power is acute–she makes us see more than her flawed hero, even though we share his eyes.–Roz Kaveney
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England—until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.
Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
77. Ship of Magic
Series: The Liveship Traders Trilogy
Demonstrating world-building finesse, Robin Hobb begins the climactic story of a seafaring clan and its tangled destiny. Though expected to inherit her family’s newly quickened liveship, Althea Vestrit loses the honor to her scheming brother-in-law, who plans to use it as a slave ship. The ruthless pirate Captain Kennit also sees a captured liveship as his key to success. Soon Althea is forced to fight both men to regain the animate, intelligent liveship, her family’s most treasured possession.
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
One boy . . .
One dragon . . .
A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
SONG OF BATTLE AND KINGS
Beowulf is one of the earliest extant poems in a modern European language, composed in England before the Norman Conquest. As a social document this great epic poem is invaluable – reflecting a feudal world of heroes and monsters, blood and victory, life and death. As a work of art, it is unique. Beowulf rings with beauty, power, and artistry that have kept it alive for a thousand years. The noble simplicity of Beowulf’s anonymous Anglo-Saxon singer is recaptured in this vivid translation by Burton Raffel.