Dark Tower by Stephen King
This series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy, science fantasy, horror, and Western. It describes a “gunslinger” and his quest toward a tower, the nature of which is both physical and metaphorical.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
This is a comic fantasy book series set on the fictional Discworld, a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin. The books frequently parody, or take inspiration from, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, political and scientific issues.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
This series is a mix of contemporary fantasy and hard-boiled detective fiction. Butcher provides a first person narrative of each story from the point of view of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago.
Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey
Consisting of the Phedre Trilogy, Imriel Triogy and Moirin Trilogy, Kushiel’s Legacy is set in the country of Terre d’Ange (resembling France), the “Land of the Angels”. D’Angelines, as the citizens are called, are descended from Blessed Elua and his band of fallen angels. Elua was born when the blood of the crucified Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the One God, mixed with the tears of the Magdalene and then was quickened by Mother Earth. Kushiel’s Legacy is set about one thousand years after the time of Elua, and the D’Angeline people worship him and his eight companions as gods. Terre d’Ange is divided into seven provinces, each with a companion as its patron deity. The heroine of the first three installments of the series is anguissette Phèdre nó Delaunay, whose unique talents lead her to save her nation from several terrible fates.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Dark Lord Sauron, the Lord of the Rings, had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a Hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across northwest Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, the hobbits including Frodo Baggins, Samwise “Sam” Gamgee, Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck and Peregrin “Pippin” Took, but also the hobbits’ chief allies and travelling companions: the Men Aragorn, a Ranger of the North and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a Wizard.
The Neverwinter Saga by R.A. Salvatore
This four-book saga is written in the Forgotten Realms campaign world, a popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing setting. In Gauntlgrym Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close, another drow and dwarf pair stumbles across it first: Jarlaxle and Athrogate.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander is the first in a series of seven historical romance novels by Diana Gabaldon. Published in 1991, it focuses on 20th century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser. A mix of several genres, this series features elements of historical fiction, romance, adventure and science fiction/fantasy.
Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb
Hobb’s latest series is about the resurgence of dragons in a world that both needs and fears them—the world Hobb’s readers most recently visited in her immensely popular Tawny Man trilogy. The stories center around a small group of weak, half-formed and unwanted dragons and their displaced human companions as they search for a legendary sanctuary.
Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist
The majority of Feist’s works are part of The Riftwar Universe, and feature the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan. Human magicians and other creatures on the two planets are able to create rifts through dimensionless space that can connect planets in different solar systems. The novels and short stories of The Riftwar Universe record the adventures of various people on these worlds. Midkemia was originally created as an alternative to the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. Feist and his friends created a new role-playing game based on their own original world of Midkemia.
Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
This story takes place on the fictional continents Westeros and Essos, with a history of thousands of years. Three predominant stories interweave: a dynastic war among several families for control of Westeros; the rising threat of the dormant cold supernatural Others dwelling beyond an immense wall of ice on Westeros’ northern border; and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled daughter of a king murdered in a civil war shortly before her birth, to return to Westeros with her fire-breathing dragons and claim her rightful throne.
Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
The series is narrated by Sookie Stackhouse. She is a waitress and a telepath in the fictional town of Bon Temps in northwestern Louisiana. Harris develops a detailed mythology and alternate history that approaches supernatural beings as real; at the beginning of the series, vampires have only been public knowledge for a couple of years. Other supernatural beings, such as werewolves, shapeshifters, etc., exist but do not go public until later in the series.
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
The series of books revolves around the primary characters Temeraire and Captain William Laurence. Captain Laurence is a member of the British Royal Navy, serving in combat against Napoleon’s navy when he recovers a dragon egg unlike any other known to the British. The egg soon hatches, and Temeraire, a Chinese dragon, is born. Under the impression that an “unharnessed” dragon will become feral and unmanageable, Laurence becomes Temeraire’s companion. Despite the difficulties this causes, Laurence begins to think of the dragon as his dearest friend. This forces a change in the sailor’s life, drawing him from the prestigious Royal Navy to the less desirable Royal Aerial Corps. The novels follow the adventures of Laurence and Temeraire as they do battle with the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and the diplomatic fallout caused by Captain Laurence’s adoption by the Chinese Emperor.
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
In the first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, Jordan introduces a world broken by phenomenal power and threatened by engulfing shadow. In The Great Hunt, our hero, Rand al’Thor, begins his epic journeys with a quest for the lost Horn of Valere, which promises to raise long-dead Heroes of Legend. And in The Dragon Reborn, Rand’s destiny begins to take shape as his followers flock to him, and the world descends further into darkness.
Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire
This series of novels present a revisionist take on L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is a very different and cynical look at Oz. Unlike the originals, these books are not intended for children. This Oz is beset with many social problems like the discrimination against sentient animals and racial tensions between the various human ethnic groups in Oz.