Looking for Fantasy Book Recommendations


Hi, folks!

I'm hoping that somebody can recommend a fantasy author and/or series. I am looking to get my wife a complete fantasy series in paperback for her birthday. (It doesn't necessarily have to be a complete series if you were to count supplements, spin-offs, short stories, etc., but I don't want to give her two-thirds of a trilogy or start her on a series where the last available book ends on a cliffhanger.) So, based on that criteria, this very well could be an older author or series. That's fine!

She likes your standard George R.R. Martin or Steven Erikson, but she loves Katharine Kerr's Deverry novels and Elizabeth Haydon's Rhapsody trilogy. Honestly, I'm not sure if she likes the fact that they are female writers or if they just wrote stories that really spoke to her.

Anyway, I hope that this is enough information for some recommendations. Thanks in advance!

Of the ones listed below, I'd particularly recommend Patricia McKillip and especially Susanna Clarke.


  • McKillip, Patricia. The Riddle-Master of Hed (Trilogy collected in 1 volume)
  • Brust, Steven. "Vlad Taltos" series, collected as The Book of Jhereg, The Book of Taltos, the Book of Athyra, the Book of Dragon, the Book of Dzur. (Jess and I are both addicts)
  • Vance, Jack. "Dying Earth" stories (4 books collected in one paperback)
  • Zelazny, Roger. "Amber" series (10 volumes collected in 1 giant paperback)
  • Leiber, Fritz. Swords and Deviltry, Swords Against Death, Swords Against Wizardry, Swords in the Mist, The Swords of Lankhmar, Swords and Ice Magic (Classics)

    Single Novels:

  • Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell (Trilogy-length novel; every page is pure awesome)
  • Bellairs, John. The Face in the Frost (Single novel, an all-time favorite of mine)
  • Zelazny, Roger. Lord of Light

  • Shadow Lodge

    L.E. Modesitt's Spellsong Cycle.

    Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings).

    Cons: Abercrombie over-uses f-bombs to the point of hedging out immersion. The meta plot is a bit jumpy at points. The end of the trilogy (to me) was satisfying but it left me wanting a whole lot more (but it isn't a cliffhanger).

    Pros: Abercrombie's characters are entertaining and quite well done. There is a lot of moral ambiguity that I personally enjoy (having wearied somewhat of the classic good v evil tropes in my fiction). I was very impressed that he managed to stick to three books in a world where authors tend to go from a trilogy to ten or more 1000 page novels without ever wrapping anything up. Abercrombie has written two other stand-alone books set in the same world that are also quite good (Best Served Cold, The Heroes) and they feature some of the minor characters from First Law.

    Paizo Employee Managing Editor

    +1 for Riddlemaster of Hed, especially given that she likes the Deverry books.

    Also, Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion, a high-fantasy trilogy published in one volume. There are two prequels as well, Legacy of Gird and Oath of Gold.

    Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy. The main protagonist is female if that counts for anything.

    Robin Hobb sounds like a solid reccomendation: the FARSEER TRILOGY, LIVESHIP TRADERS TRILOGY, TAWNY MAN TRILOGY and the current RAIN WILD CHRONICLES series. The first three series form one long, sustained narrative (though the LIVESHIP TRADERS is a side-story in the middle of it, and can be read totally independently) and the current series is more of a separate narrative that can be held off on until it's done.

    Kate Elliott may also be worth a look. Her seven-volume CROWN OF STARS series is pretty good (a bit overlong, but with some great ideas) and her recent CROSSROADS TRILOGY was also solid stuff.

    One of my favorite trilogy is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenent, the Unbeliever.

    The first book of the trilogy is LORD FOUL'S BANE by Stephen R. Donaldson (if memory serves)


    Shadow Lodge

    C.S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy.

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    TOZ wrote:
    C.S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy.

    Especially if she likes darker stories. The same goes for the Thomas Covenant series. The Black Company books by Glen Cook are another excellent if very dark series. It is written in 2 trilogies and a duology I believe.

    I also recommend the Dragon Riders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, the first 3 are a trilogy with an non-cliff hanger endpoint, several other entries pick up peripheral characters or just take place in the same world.

    The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop is very good. It does have adult themes in case she doesn't care for that type of story.

    The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay, is excellent. As is the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony. Both series have been out a long time so I'm not sure if they are still in print.

    Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series should be to her liking if she likes the Katherine Kerr books, I think.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Martha Wells' Ilie-Rien books: The Element of Fire, The Death of the Necromancer, and the Fall of Ilie-Rien trilogy (The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods). The first two can be read independently of each other and the trilogy, but there are enough references to the earlier ones in the later ones that reading them in chronological order adds something. (IIRC, the main character in the second book is a descendant of the villain from the first book, and the main character in the trilogy is the daughter of the main characters in the second book.)

    ETA: I should say something about the books. They take place (mostly) in Ilie-Rien, a fantasy France. The first is kind-of Three Musketeers-ish with an invasion by elves, the second takes place about 150 years later and is kind of an early Twentieth Century crime caper fantasy (with occasional appearances by the equivalents to Holmes and Watson, only the main character fills the role of Moriarty), and the trilogy involves an invasion of Ilie-Rien somewhat like WWI.

    Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. There is a third part too, which I have not read, but this is three single novels in the same world.

    Wow, thanks to all for all of the suggestions! That's a lot to review, but fortunately I have some time, yet. I'll try to remember to let you know what I picked, and how she liked it!

    Werthead wrote:
    Robin Hobb sounds like a solid reccomendation: ...


    Add the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. Not done yet, but each ends when it ends. I think a box set of the first four is available. :)

    Grand Lodge

    The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

    It starts with Storm Front, and it's an absolutely awesome series.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series (3 trilogies about an alternate history Earth where alternate-Jesus had a demigod son of sorts that wandered the earth with some rebel angels--with sexy results. Lots of great political intrigue and character-driven action.), or her Sundering series (a 2 book re-interpretation of LOTR as a tragedy told from the POV of the dark powers).

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