Posted 27 May 2009 - 04:43 PM
We have to include the Wizard of Earthsea series by LeGuin. It started as a trilogy but MUCH later she added a final, fourth story.
The Tarnsman of Gor series is both great, and deeply flawed by Normans suppressed-and-later-released desire to write porn. The first six books of the series are truly fantastic. Nomads of Gor in particular is not to be missed.
Almuric is a must read for fans of REH. For me, it is much beter than Kane or Bran Mak Morn or other better known works.
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan contains at least two and maybe four of the ten best fantasy novels ever written. No one has ever developed a more fascinating vocabulary and description of the inner workings of "magic." I would also contend that no one has ever written more interestingly of battle at every level, from one-on-one, to squadron skimishes, to massive battles involving tens of thousands. Jordan has the ability to zoom in to the micro and back out to the macro, showing how it all ties together. Absolutely great stuff.
For me, this was the greatest fantasy series ever, surpassing even Tolkein. Yes, the series did have a couple of weak entries, yes it got (WAY) to long, and yes, Robert Jordan died tragically before he could complete the 10,000 page monstrosity. Nonetheless, 1) The Eye of the World, 2) The Great Hunt, 3) The Dragon Reborn, 4) The Shadow Rising, and 5) The Fires of Heaven, can all be recommended unreservedly. After that... you will be addicted even if you do not always like the taste. Most fans agree that in the final two books written by Jordan (Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams) Jordan had pulled it back on track and was writing great stuff again.
The publisher has hired a writer to complete the series (three more books, three thousand pages!) beginning with The Gathering Storm. I will have no choice but to read it through to the finish... however bitter it may be.
As a final note on the Wheel series, it is G rated. No foul language of any kind, and only the barest prude hint that boys and girls might go beyond holding hands.
I worte some stuff here about books to avoid, then realized my "books that are a waste of paper" list would make fans of those books mad. I LOVE that this site does not flame, so in respect to all I will say that even the very worst fantasy ever published is better than I can do. I applaud all authors who work so hard to entertain us.