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Fantasy Must Read List

Since we're naming off the classics here, I would highly recommend both Hesiod's Theogony and his Works and Days, usually packaged in the same slim volume. You get both epic worldbuilding and a cranky but empathetic look at the tribulations of Bronze Age life among the common folk.

Cu Mara

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"
Yes! I love the “Green Rider” series too, very much worth the mention.


The Deverry Cycle is a series of Celtic fantasy novels by Katharine Kerr set in the fictional land of Deverry. As of November 2009, fifteen books have been published in the series. Wikipedia

Hawk and Fisher
The Forest Kingdom
Nightside books
Simon R. Green bibliography - Wikipedia

The Burning City and The Burning Tower, by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
Set in the same timeline as The Magic Goes Away

The Necroscope series by Brian Lumley. Dark fantasy/horror fiction.
Brian Lumley - Wikipedia


Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
I can't apparently edit an older post, so I'm going to post my updated Mast Fantasy Reading List, since I've done some major overhauling and added a lot of additions to it recently. (* means I've read it already)

Mythopoet's Master Fantasy Reading List

Vathek by William Beckford (1786)

*John Ruskin: The King of the Golden River (1851)

*Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald (1858)

*The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris (1894)

The Well at the World's End by William Morris (1896)

*Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

The Wallet of Kai Lung by Ernest Bramah (1900)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)

*The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany (1905)

*Time and the Gods by Lord Dunsany (1906)

*The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories by Lord Dunsany (1908)

*The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson (1908)

*A Dreamer's Tales by Lord Dunsany (1910)

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (1911)

The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson (1912) or

*The Night Land, a Story Retold by James Stoddard, William Hope Hodgson


*The Works of H.P. Lovecraft (1917-1935)

*The Moon Pool by A. Merritt (1919)

*A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay (1920)

*The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison (1922)

*The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (1924)

*Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926)

War in Heaven by Charles Williams (1930)

Zothique stories by Clark Ashton Smith (1932-)

*Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard (1932-)

Jirel of Joiry stories by C.L. Moore (1934-)

*The Island of the Mighty by Evangeline Walton (1936)

*The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)

*Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis 1938

*Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber (1939-)

*The Roaring Trumpet and The Mathematics of Magic by Fletcher Pratt and L.

Sprague de Camp (1940)

*The Sorcerer's Ship by Hannes Bok (1942)

*The Book of Ptath by A.E. van Vogt (1943)

The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch (1945)

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (1946)

The Well of the Unicorn by Fletcher Pratt (1948)

Silverlock by John Myers Myers (1949)

*The Dying Earth by Jack Vance (1950)

*The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1950-1956)

The Tritonian Ring by L. Sprague de Camp (1953)

*The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1954)

*The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954-1955)

*The Once and Future King by T.H. White (1958)

The Mask of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1958)

*The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960)

*A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1962)

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (1962)

The Trail of Cthulhu by August Derleth (1962)

The Moon of Gomrath (1963) by Alan Garner

*Witch World by Andre Norton (1963)

*The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)

*Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (1967)

*The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (1968)

*A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin (1968)

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders of Pern Book 1, 1968)

*The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (1969)

Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant (1970)

Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (1970)

*Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (1970)

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)

*Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (1972)

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

*Perelandra by C.S. Lewis (1972)

*The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

*The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)

*That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (1974)

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (1974)

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (1976)

The Sword of Shanara by Terry Brooks (1977)

*Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson (1977)

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony (Xanth Book 1, 1977)

The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven (1978)

Night's Master by Tanith Lee (1978)

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen (1979)

*The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (1979)

*The Shadow if the Torturer by Gene Wolfe (1980)

*The Changing Land by Roger Zelazny (1981)

*Dilvish, the Damned by Roger Zelazny (1982)

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (1982)

*The Elfin Ship by James Blaylock (1982)

Magician (Riftwar Saga) by Raymond E. Feist (1982)

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (The Belgariad Book 1, 1982)

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

Little, Big by John Crowley (1982)

*The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (1983)

*The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)

Web of light by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)

Alanna: The First Adventure (The Song of the Lioness) by Tamora Pierce


Jhereg by Steven Brust (1983)

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (1984)

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (1984)

The Black Company by Glen Cook (1984)

Legend by David Gemmell (1984)

The Man of Gold by M.A.R. Barker (1984)

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (1984)

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart (1984)

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1984)

Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy (1985)

Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff (1986)

*Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)

The Time Master Trilogy by Louise Cooper (1986)

Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe (1986)

Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead (1987)

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)

The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore (1988)

Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon (1988)

*The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (1988)

The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson (1989)

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (1989)

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (1989)

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede (1990)

Magic Casement by Dave Duncan (1990)

*The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (1990)

The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust (1991)

*The Magic of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt Jr (1991)

Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman (1991)

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett (1992)

Deerskin by Robin McKinley (1993)

*Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (1994)

*Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (1995)

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)

Sabriel by Garth Nix (1995)

World Without End by Sean Russell (1995)

*The Anvil of Ice by Michael Scott Rohan (1995)

*A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (1996)

The Golden Key by Jennifer Roberson, Melanie Rawn and Kate Elliott (1996)

*Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)

Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole (1997)

*Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1998)

The Sum of All Men by David Farland (1998)

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover (1998)

In Legend Born by Laura Resnick (1998)

The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells (1998)

*Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (1999)

*Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (1999)

*Storm Front by Jim Butcher (2000)

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (2000)

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (2001)

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (2001)

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (2001)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2002)

*Eragon by Christopher Paolini (2002)

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (2002)

*Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (2002)

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip (2002)

The Prince of Shadow by Curt Benjamin (2002)

The One Kingdom by Sean Russell (2002)

*Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (2003)

Rules of Ascension by David B. Coe (2003)

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (2003)

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (2003)

The Etched City by K. J. Bishop (2003)

The Briar King by Greg Keyes (2003)

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (2003)

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (2003)

The Shadow of the Lion by Mercedes Lackey, Eric FLint, Dave Freer (2003)

*Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004)

*The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker (2004)

*Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (2004)

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (2005)

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (2005)

Priestess of the White by Trudi Caravan (2005)

*The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (2006)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (2006)

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham (2006)

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (2006)

*The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (2007)

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (2007)

Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham (2007)

Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker (2007)

The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett (2008)

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (2008)

Anathem by Neal Stephenson (2008)

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (2010)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (2010)

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker (2010)

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (2010)

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (2010)

Among Others by Jo Walton (2011)

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (2011)

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (2011)

The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham (2011)

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (2012)

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (2012)

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (2013)

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (2013)

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014)

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley (2014)

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (2014)

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (2014)

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley (2014)

Maplecroft by Cherie Priest (2014)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2015)

Four years have passed since this massive list Mytho. How big is it by now?


Many of my favourite authors on the list, any of David Gemmell's books are good reading. Has anyone read Garth Nix, his necromancer trilogy is very good. I love the fact that in the original list, I have read most of the 19th and 20th century titles, most of them in the days when libraries were just on your doorstep and you could take out 6 or 8 books and binge read. Hmmmm that makes me feel old :(


Felis amatus
Many of my favourite authors on the list, any of David Gemmell's books are good reading. Has anyone read Garth Nix, his necromancer trilogy is very good. I love the fact that in the original list, I have read most of the 19th and 20th century titles, most of them in the days when libraries were just on your doorstep and you could take out 6 or 8 books and binge read. Hmmmm that makes me feel old :(

Yep. I enjoy both Gemmell and Nix.

FYI--Garth Nix currently has a story posted on Tor.com.


I'm currently reading The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, which is a thick compendium (1020 pages) of leather-bound bookmaking. Love his poems and his prose both, so much that I am working on a short Poe-esque story set in Egypt in the late 19th century. It needs works, but so far it is promising.

Mad Swede

I've just finished re-reading CS Lewis' "The Horse and His Boy". There is a book which I feel should be on every aspiring fanstasy writers must read list (yes, I know the Narnia books were listed in the first post!). And for why? Well, I've always been hugely impressed by the way in which Lewis creates the realm of Calormen and details it in the first 100 pages or so. The food, the politics, its society. And it really is quite grim and dark - the way Lewis describes the scene where the Tisroc discusses Rabadash' plans to take Archenland with the Grand Vizier, and calmly notes that failure will likely mean Rabadash' death (so removing a threat to the Tisroc's rule) is an amazing bit of cynical realism for a childrens book. People talk about George Martin and Joe Abercrombie being dark and cynical, but in many ways Lewis got there first with this book.

Ben Scotton

I have compiled a list from the fantasy reading list thread:
Fantasy Reading List
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
Realise this post is from a while ago, but I've been looking for a list like this for ages. Massive thank you, Joe!

Got some reading to do.


Thanks for this list!
I don't see Alan Garner's name anywhere (apologies if I missed it). The Owl Service is one of the great fantasy novels, in my opinion.
And how about Mary Renault's two Theseus novels? There isn't any actual magic, unless you count Medea's escape and the Amazons' ability to stab themselves without leaving wounds, but Theseus (the narrator) ascribes everything that happens to him to supernatural intervention.
(The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea).