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Fantasy Must Read List

I have compiled a list from the fantasy reading list thread:
I hope no one is upset if I included something that should have been excluded, or excluded something that should have been included, but it was a good bit of information to sift through. I have sorted the works by date so people will have some idea of what they are getting into if they decide to look for a particular piece of work.

*Disclaimer- some dates may be publication dates, and some may be the dates the work was written

Here is the must read list:

“Aesop's Fables”

15th Century
“Le Morte d'Arthur” by Sir Thomas Malory (1485)

16th Century
“The Faerie Queene” by Edmund Spenser (1590 first installment, 1596 second installment)
“A Midsummer Night's Dream” and “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare (1594-1596? /1611)

19th Century
Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812, 1814, 1819, 1822) WHO WROTE???
"The Water-Babies" by Charles Kingsley (1863)
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There" by Lewis Carroll (1865/1871)
"The Coming Race" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1871)
"The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald (1872)
"The Wood Beyond the World" and "The Well at World's End" by William Morris (1894/1896)
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (1900)

20th Century
"The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (1908)
"The Little House in the Fairy Wood" by Ethel Cook Eliot (1918)
"The Worm Ouroboros" by Eric Rücker Eddison (1922)
"The King of Elfland's Daughter" by Lord Dunsany (1924)
"Lud-in-the-Mist" by Hope Mirrlees (1926)
"Islandia" by Austin Tappan Wright (1942 written in 1920s)
"The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937/1954-55)
"Titus Groan", "Gormenghast", and "Titus Alone" by Mervyn Peake (1946/1950/1958)
"The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956)
“The Once and Future King” by T. H. White (1958)
"Earthsea" series by Ursula K. LeGuin (1964, 1971, 1972, 1990, 2001)
“Merlin” trilogy by Mary Stewart (1970, 1973, 1979)
“Magician” by Raymond E. Feist (1982)
“Dark Tower” series by Stephen King (1982-2012)
“Dragonlance” series “Chronicles”, “Legends”, and “Heroes” trilogies by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (1984, 1985/1986, 1988)
“Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan (1990-2010)
“Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman (1996)
"Bas-Lag" series by China Miéville (2000, 2002, 2004)

21st Century
All works yet to be published by Members of Mythic Scribes
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This was in response to:

I want to sticky this thread, but I'd like it if the OP could organize each posters suggestions into the original post or create a master list that combines a couple of the highest recommended from each post. That way anyone that refers to this thread has a quick-view list to refer to as opposed to having to read through individual posts in order to create their own.

Thank you for all of your contributions, keep them coming if any more come to mind.

I am in the process of compiling a list of other works listed on the original thread that were mentioned but not a "must read". Hopefully I will be done by Tuesday.
Here is the list of books that were mentioned but did not make the “Must Read” list:

“First Law” series by Joe Abercrombie
“The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander
"The Books of Abarat" series by Clive Barker
“Tithe” by Holly Black
“Death Is A Lonely Business” by Bradbury
“The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher
“Divine” series, “Partholon” series by PC Cast
“The Heir” trilogy, “The Seven Realms” series by Cinda Williams Chima
“Little Big” by John Crowley
“Lord Foul's Bane” by Donaldson
“Shanara” series by Sara Douglas
“Belgariad” and ”Malloreon” or “Elenium” and “Tamuli” by David Edding
“Malazan Book of the Fallen” series by Steve Erikson
“Villains by Necessity” by Eve Forward
“Neverwhere”, "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman
"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
“Waylander” and “Legend” by David Gemmell
“The Dwarves” series by Markus Heitz
“Mythago Wood” by Holdstock
“Watergivers” series by Glenda Larke
“Gentlemen Bastard” series by Scott Lynch
“Ombria in Shadow” by Patricia McKillip
“A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin
“The Abhorsen Chronicles” by Garth Nix
“Feed” by Mira Grant
"Temeraire" series by Naomi Novik
"The Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay
“Discworld”, “Equal Rites” series by Terry Pratchett
“The Unsuspecting Mage” series by Brian S. Pratt
“Power & Majesty” by Tansy Rayner Roberts
“The Anvil of Ice” by Michael Scott Rohan
"Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
“The Last Wish” by Andrzej Sapkowski
“Talion: Revenant” by Michael Stackpole
"Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series by Tad Williams
“Daughter of the Empire” series Janny Wurts
“Chronicles Amber” series by Zelazny

These authors were mentioned without any particular work being specified:

R. Scott Bakker
Jennifer Fallon
Terry Goodkind
Robin Hobb
Robert E. Howard
Fritz Lieber
H.P. Lovecraft
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Yay, thanks so much for that :D

Just a note though - the Scott Lynch series is 'Gentleman' Bastard, not Gentlemen ;)

I think I now have a whole lot more to add to my 'to read' pile now.


Nice list, thanks for the effort. By the way, Grimm's Fairy Tales were "written" by the Brothers Grimm, that is compiled and edited from oral stories from Germany and other parts of Europe.

And as Beowulf is mentioned, the Scandinavian/German Nibelungen might fit in here, too. Not so sure how famous it is in anglophone countries, but here it's a big thing and one of the most important pieces of epic stories.

You are absolutely correct on both accounts. I was attempting keep the list uniform. I probably should have put some editorials down at the bottom. Oh well, hindsight being what it is, I know better now.

I was hoping for a sticky... but the mod god does not smile upon me :(
Thank you Dragon. You have made my day.

I think it is a pretty good list Donny. Everyone here came up with the titles. I just took all that input and made the list.


Great list! Many of my favorites are on there, and I will add others to my endless reading list. Thanks for posting!

The Muse

New Member
I think everybody should have a go at The Black Jewels Series, by Anne Bishop.
It is so richly dark and powerful. Literally every person that I have introduced it to, has fallen in love with it. =)


Hello, this is my first day. I like the reading lists - seems I haven't read as much as I thought. I 've read some but not read a lot on the list. However, I have a short list of my favourites:

Robert Holdstock (Mythago series) JRRT, Stephen Donaldson, David Gemmell, Terry Brookes, Charles D Lint, Raymon Fiest (Fairie Story, James Herbert (once). But I also like Scifi:Arthur C Clarke, Doc E Smith, Wastson on the Integral Trees.

Regards: To all


Michael Stackpole - Cartomancy series, Draconis series and Dark Glory War
Gay Gavriel Kay - Anything he's written, especially Under Heaven
Joe Abercrombie - Heroes and Best Served Cold
I would like to suggest things
1. Trudi Canavan's "The Magician's Apprentice", "The Black Magician" trilogy, "Age of the Five" trilogy and "Traitor Spy" Trilogy(only 2 books of this one are done)
2. Kristen Britain's "Green Rider" series
3. J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Silmarillion"


"The Farseer Trilogy" by Robin Hobb. Definitely powerful prose and an overall story that is very creative and original.


I didn't see Mercedes Lackey on this list and would venture to say that reading her work would be an entertaining visit into fantasy.


New Member
Check out Ross Lawhead's debut work The Realms Thereunder. For a first effort, it's quite good. As the son of Stephen Lawhead, perhaps he will be measured by his father's success. However, I would advocate reading him for his own merits. If you enjoy great plots, then you won't be disappointed. Here's a link to Amazon:

The Realms Thereunder