Game of Thrones got you down? Waiting in despair for Doors of Stone? Do you fear getting caught up in a fantastical world and then discovering that the series isn’t complete yet? The fanatsy genre has so much to offer, but has a reputation for slow writing and incomplete series.
Below are a few of my favourite fantasy series, either that I’ve finished or am currently reading, that are complete and totally binge-able!
The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett
Length: three books
Reading order: City of Stairs, City of Blades, City of Miracles
Why I recommend it: Fantastic and fresh world building, marvelous characters (including some of the best female characters the fantasy genre has to offer), and a gripping plot in each book. These are easily the best fantasy novels I’ve read in years. It’s just so freaking good, you guys.
The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Length: three books
Reading order: The Blade Itself, Before They are Hanged, The Last Argument of Kings
Why I recommend it: Grimdark as it should be written. These books are simultaneously fantastically funny and bleak. Features brilliant and memorable characters and beautifully inverted tropes. One of the best endings to a trilogy ever.
I think this and the Divine Citites trilogy are my two favourite fantasy series of all time.
Bonus: When you finish the trilogy, you can move to the standalone novels and short stories. Abercrombie is currently working on a separate trilogy within the First Law world.
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Length: three books
Reading order: Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest
Why I recommend it: All hail the Queen of Fantasy! This series has broken my heart (in the best way possible) and I coudln’t recommend it more highly, especially for Game of Thrones fans. It has magic, politics, villains (including the worst, most hated villain of all time for me and I get angry just thinking about them), plot twists, and it has incredibly compelling characters. I haven’t managed to pick up the third book because the end of the second destroyed my soul about seven years ago. But I’m going to read it…when I have fully recovered.
Bonus: When you finish the Farseer books, you can move on to her other complete trilogies in the same world! The Liveship Traders, the Tawny Man, The Rain Wild Chronicles, and the Soldier’s Son are all complete and take place in the same world.
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Length: 14 books and a prequel
Reading order: Start with The Eye of the World, then read in publication order.
Why I recommend it: This is the classic fantasy series that has influenced generations of authors. Wheel of Time has every single classic trope you could possibly think of (and some new ones, like a love square — who would have thought?), but it remains a thumping good read, as my mum would say. They feel quite dated as a modern reader, but I adore these books and definitely recommend giving them a try.
The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden
Length: Three books
Reading order: The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, The Winter of the Witch
Why I recommend it: This series is just so damn good — there’s a reason everyone is talking about it. Combining history, folklore, and fantasy, Arden builds a beautiful world that feels so wonderfully atmospheric and unique. Vasya’s story is one of bravery, magic, and overcoming all the odds. Read it in winter when the nights are long and snow is falling!
Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
Length: six books, but packaged as a trilogy with two in each volume
Reading order: The Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron
Why I recommend it: Riyria Revelations is a ridiculously compelling and fun fantasy series for readers of all ages that is both light and serious. This is a brilliant series to curl up with and devour on a rainy weekend. It also happens to contain one of my favourite princess characters ever.
Bonus: you can also read the prequel series, Riyria Chronicles, either before or after you read Riyria Revelations.
The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce
Length: four books
Reading order: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, The Lioness Rampant
Why I recommend them: Tamora Pierce is one of the best children’s fantasy authors out there. There are generations of girls and boys who discovered or maintained their love of reading with these books. No one world builds like Tamora, no one writes inspirational characters like Tamora. Can you tell I’m a fan?
Bonus: You can read The Immortals and The Protector of the Small quartets after finishing Alanna’s adventures, as well as a number of other books set in this world. Then dive into Tempests and Slaughter!
The Sword of Shannarah by Terry Brooks
Length: three books
Reading order: The Sword of Shannarah, The Elfstones of Shannarah, The Wishsong of Shannarah
Why I recommend it: Okay, maybe this is a controversial one. Written by the Good Terry of fantasy (not Terry Goodkind, the Bad Terry), these books are pure classic fantasy goodnesss — which means they’re totally cheesy, The Sword of Shannarah is a Tolkien clone (to the point where you can actually trace almost every destination and plot point back to The Fellowship of the Ring), and they’re pretty dated. But they’re just so much fun to read. I really enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy and plan to read the third!
Bonus: if you enjoy this trilogy, he has written dozens of books in the Shannarah world that take place at different points in time.
Do you have any favourite completed series that are missing from this list? Are any of these in your TBR? Let me know!
This was originally posted on the You’re Never Going to Read This podcast site.