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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Fantasy Sagas of My Youth

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Paula over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list is shared, based on suggestions of fellow bloggers, for all to answer.

This week's list is a freebie, so I thought I'd reach back into the dustiest of my bookshelves, push aside the TBR pile, and look at the the Top Ten Fantasy Sagas of My Youth.

  1. Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson - this series tends to get a lot of bad reviews, based largely on a horrendous act perpetrated early on by the hero, but you have to take things in context. Overall, a brilliantly chilling slice of imagination.
  2. Dark Tower by Stephen King - while I kind of fell out of love with the series after the Wizard of Oz homage in the fourth book, the next more than won me back . . . and, in hindsight, I have a much greater appreciation for how King incorporate pop culture mythology.
  3. Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman - this was actually the first fantasy saga I ever read, even before Tolkien, and I can still remember being amazed by the thought that not all heroes were good.
  4. Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn - one of the first fantasy sagas to really wow me, and the series that began a long love affair with Ms. Rawn through the Dragon Star and Exiles sagas.
  5. Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb - an absolutely brilliant piece of fantasy, complex and layered, well-written, and full of ambiguity. One of the more challenging reads of my youth, but one that I cannot recommend highly enough.
  6. Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay - okay, the purists may want lynch me for saying this, but in my humble opinion this is the single greatest fantasy trilogy ever written.
  7. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams - at the time I delved into this saga, these books were some of the thickest door-stoppers I'd ever read (particularly the too-big-for-one-book To Green Angel Tower) but I don't know that anyone has dealt with the maturing of a young hero any better.
  8. Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist - okay, what I just said about Tad Williams . . . well, here is the one author who has done a better job with the maturing young hero. While the later sagas strayed a bit too far from the core storyline for my tastes, sacrificing a lot of the magic, the story of Pug and Thomas is a must-read for any fantasy fan.
  9. Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass - this was the first fantasy saga to offer me something truly different, to present a fresh take on the epic hero, the quest, and the complex mythology of heavenly gods and earthbound avatars.
  10. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan - I'll admit, I resisted the series for a long time, partially because I didn't like being told I had to read it, and partially because I started the first book a few times and just couldn't get into it. At some point Rand and I clicked . . . and the rest is history.

3 comments:

  1. i haven't read a lot of fantasy books.i guess my fantasy when i was a kid was comics. thanks for the list though. i might have to check some of these out.

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  2. Whatever, I love the Fionavar Tapestry! Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite authors. I used to have a huge collection of Dragonlance books too, though I kind of grew out of those. And The Wheel of Time will finally be finished this year! Woohoo!

    My Top Ten Places NOT to Read a Book

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  3. I came across Dragonlance books when I was kid and never tried to open one though. Maybe I should one of these days after getting introduced via full length animation last year. :) My friend is a fan of book and she has this standing request that I look out for them and buy her a copy when I come across one. :D Great list.

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