The 10 Best Epic Fantasy Book Series To Revive You For “House of the Dragon”
Fantasy lovers are going to be well fed in the fall of 2022, with the game of thrones prequel Dragon House premiering on HBO Max in August, and the the Lord of the Rings prequel power rings will be released in September on Amazon Prime. That said, August and September are not now. So if you’re craving an epic adventure to unwind, you might want to dive into a series of books.
Here are some of our favorite fantasy (epic) book series to guide you!
Series The Legacy of Orisha by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola believes she is the last of the maji, magical workers with amazing abilities who were wiped out when magic was purged from the land of Orisha. Now Zélie has a chance to bring magic back into the world and avenge her mother’s murder, but first she must escape a ruthless prince who seeks to eradicate the last traces of magic from the world.
Pick up the Legacy of Orisha series if you’re looking for a totally captivating page-turner inspired by Nigerian mythology, with characters you’ll instantly fall in love with.
The Grishavers by Leigh Bardugo
The Grishaverse, consisting of a trilogy, two duologies and two standalone short story books, is Leigh Bardugo’s lush, sprawling world of the Grisha, legendary warriors who practice “little science” (which they don’t will ever admit as magic). The Grishaverse is largely set in the land of Ravka inspired by Imperial Russia, but the books make inroads into neighboring lands.
If this is your first taste of Grisha, start with shadow and bone, the novel that started it all. Ravka has been torn apart by the Unsea, a vast expanse of darkness that is home to terrifying monsters, and the Grisha are tasked with using their powers to bring ships safely to West Ravka. When a young cartographer, named Alina, discovers she has the power to summon sunlight and banish monsters, she is drawn into the secret and opulent world of Grisha, where she is trained to destroy the Unsea for real.
Bonus: once the first trilogy is over, you can watch the adaptation on Netflix!
Robin Hobb’s Great Prophets Trilogy
In the middle of the night, a six-year-old boy is thrown on Prince Verity’s doorstep, where Verity is informed that the boy is the bastard of her brother, Crown Prince Chivalry. Thus begins the story of FitzChivalry, the unwanted boy who grows up in the turbulent and precarious court of Buckkeep. Since Fitz can never become true royalty, he is trained to be an assassin and is told he will spend his life as the king’s pawn. But when ship raids unleash a terrifying new plague on land, Fitz must save his kingdom (while protecting his own secrets).
The Farseer Trilogy, consisting of Apprentice assassin, assassin of the madman, and The killer’s quest is not just a book about an assassin. It’s a saga filled with adventure and betrayal, and it’s filled with characters and landscapes so vivid you’ll feel like you know them.
The Dark Star Trilogy by Marlon James
Do not try to find Volume 3 of this trilogy yet, as it is still a work in progress. Nonetheless, the Dark Star books have already taken the world by storm. Black leopard, red wolf, the first volume in the series, features a skilled hunter named Tracker, who has been tasked with finding a missing boy. Although he prefers to work alone, Tracker finds himself with a motley group that includes a shapeshifter. As they track down the boy, Tracker begins to wonder who exactly the boy is and what deeper mysteries are brewing behind his disappearance.
Steeped in African history and mythology, Dark Star’s books are delightfully imaginative, with prose that sings. Pick this series if you like fantasy that feels more literary than pulp (not that there’s anything wrong with pulp!).
The NK Jemisin Legacy Trilogy
On the death of his mother, Yeine Darr, leader of a small nation, is summoned to the Arameri, the family that rules the world. There, Yeine is named heir to the Arameri throne, but is told that she will have to defeat her ruthless cousins before she can claim it. Yeine’s memorable few days at the court of Arameri set the wheels in motion for the entire trilogy, even though each book features a different cast of characters.
The court plot in the Legacy Trilogy is exciting enough, but what makes the series truly visionary is the mythology of Jemisin. The Arameri enslaved their own gods, using them as weapons to impose their own absolute power. To survive, Yeine and the characters who follow her must contend not only with humans, but also with the many gods that roam the land.
The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin
It may seem like sacrilege to give an author two spots on a top ten list, but NK Jemisin is just as good. The first book in the Broken Earth series, The fifth season, begins with the end of the world. Essun, an orogen with the power to manipulate energy, lives his days in a small community of calm, a continent that is periodically rocked by massive geological events called “Fifth Seasons”. When a season is triggered by the splitting of the continent in two, Essun and its neighbors must flee to avoid impending destruction. However, the orogens are shunned and vilified in the Calm, and Essun – along with two other characters whose stories are intertwined with his own – must survive not just the Season, but all the panicked people who won’t hesitate to kill her because of her powers.
You might say the Broken Earth books are technically sci-fi, since the landscape contains artifacts of a vanished advanced civilization, but the series still has the feel of an epic fantasy series. Jemisin’s talent for world-building is second to none, and one of the best parts of the series is how the secrets of Stillness’ past are gradually revealed, with puzzle pieces you didn’t even know were there. were gradually being put in place.
The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
Long before Hogwarts, there was Roke, a legendary school of sorcery in the Earthsea archipelago. A young boy named Sparrowhawk shows a talent for magic and is encouraged by the reclusive wizard Ogion. When Sparrowhawk, arrogant and eager to master magic, accidentally releases a mischievous being who will stop at nothing to possess him, the whole course of his life is changed forever.
An Earthsea magician, the first book in the cycle, is a classic in its own right, but the rest of the series is just as good. Be sure to read The Tombs of Atuan, which features the child priestess Arha, or “the eaten one”, who is linked to an ancient spirit that demands unwavering worship. The Earthsea cycle is clever, moving and captivating: everything you could want in a fantasy saga.
The Sevenwaters series by Juliette Marillier
This six-book series, consisting of two trilogies, begins with an adaptation of the fairy tale “The Twelve Wild Swans” titled Girl of the Forest. Sorcha, a young woman growing up in medieval Ireland, has a knack for growing medicinal plants and speaking to the Good Folk who live deep in the forest. But then his evil stepmother Oonagh casts a curse on his family, bewitching his father and turning his brothers into swans. Under the guidance of a fairy, Sorcha takes it upon herself to spin, weave, and sew nettle shirts for each of her brothers to break the spell.
Read the work of Juliette Marillier if you like romance, strong women, fairy tales and medieval Irish vibes. Although the first trilogy in the Sevenwaters series moves quickly from Sorcha to her descendants, the second trilogy focuses on a generation of Sevenwaters sisters, with each book giving a sister her own enchanted adventure in the forest.
The Dragonriders of Pern Books by Anne McCaffrey
This is another series that is technically sci-fi but has that fantasy feel. When human colonists arrive on the planet Pern, they make a terrible discovery: every now and then the sky fills with a deadly thread-like substance that kills on contact. Fortunately, the colonists discover how to genetically modify the planet’s fire lizards to create telepathic dragons capable of incinerating the Thread before it hits the ground.
There are a lot of Pern books, so if you only want to read the best, start with the first book of the first trilogy, Dragonflight. This book tells the story of Lessa, a noblewoman who lost her home. Lessa wants her lands and her title back, but the Guardians of the newly hatched Dragon Queen are looking for someone to ride her, and Lessa finds she has to make a difficult choice. After reading Dragonflightskip to the Harper Hall trilogy, which tells the story of Menolly, a gifted musician who was denied the right to play music because she is a girl.
An ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a girl growing up in the poor back streets of Rome’s inspired martial empire. When her brother is arrested by martial forces, Laia decides she will do anything to save him. Her mettle is tested, however, when a group of rebels tell her that they will save her brother if she spys on them deep inside the Empire’s most dangerous and heavily guarded military academy.
An ember in the ashes and the three books that follow are quests filled with danger that will make your heart race. Laia is an immensely sympathetic and sympathetic protagonist, pushing herself to the limits of physical and emotional endurance.
An incredible fantasy series that we left out? Let us know in the comments!
(featured image: Rich Deas for Henry Holt)
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