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Francis Buck

What are the top five best fantasy series since 1990?

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I'm curious what people think about this. I really only started reading fantasy hardcore when I was maybe 21, after the first GoT season. Then I went down the rabbit hole.



Even so, I really haven't read much fantasy, so my experience is limited (I'm 24 now). I'm most curious to see what other modern fantasy series people think are the best of the best.



Remember, it's top five SERIES only, no standalones, although you can choose a series that has yet to be completed. You don't have to rank the series themselves, just state the top five in general (unless of course you want to rank them, then go ahead.).



Here are mine, listed in no particular order. from my somewhat limited experience with fantasy "literature".



A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin



The Second Apocalypse - R. Scott Bakker



The Fencer Trilogy - KJ Parker



The Book of the Long Sun - Gene Wolfe



Harry Potter - J.K Rowling



I imagine this list would change a bit if I'd read more, and there are still quite few well-known series that I haven't read, chief among them being stuff like like the Caine series by Matthew Stover or Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.



Out of my top five, if I had to choose, TSA is my favorite, but I think The Book of the Long Sun is the best, at least from what I've read of both fantasy and sci-fi. I think the Fencer Trilogy by KJ Parker is prety incredible, but still flawed.



And I just had to put Harry Potter in there. I was like, maybe 8 or 9 when I started reading them? They'll always have a very special place in my heart, despite how silly and irritating I sometimes find them now that I'm older and have, I guess, a more discerning taste.



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I will go tentatively with ASoIaF (mainly because a lot depends on how and if it finishes :( )

Other four, I will say:

Second Apocalypse by Bakker

First Law by Abercrombie

Long Price Quartet by Abraham

Malazan by Erikson/Esselmont

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  1. The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham - my favorite work of fiction ever.

The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell - I read these many years ago, and I still haven't read any better battles.

Thunderer/Gears of the City by Felix Gilman - what an amazing world he created.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - they may not be great literature, but they're great entertainment.

The Last Werewolf trilogy by Glen Duncan - I'm a sucker for werewolf fiction and this is far and away the best I've ever read.

If two books is too short for a "series" then Joe Abercrombie's books can be slotted in that final spot.

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I will go tentatively with ASoIaF (mainly because a lot depends on how and if it finishes :( )

Other four, I will say:

Second Apocalypse by Bakker

First Law by Abercrombie

Long Price Quartet by Abraham

Malazan by Erikson/Esselmont

I agree with some of this list...

I would replace Bakker and Erikson with

Scott Lynch Gentleman Bastards

Jim Butcher Dresden Files

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Discworld by Terry Pratchett (it started in the 80s, but the vast bulk of its witty goodness is later than that, so...)


The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (again, started in 1989, but it's defo a 90s series)


The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont


The Bas-Lag sequence by China Mieville


The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham





Gotta give honourable mentions to Bakker, Abercrombie, Butcher and Stover, though.


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A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin


Realm of the Elderlings sequence - Robin Hobb


The Second Apocalypse sequence - R. Scott Bakker


The Malazan Book of the Fallen - Steven Erikson


The Gentleman Bastard sequence - Scott Lynch



Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series started in the 70s, but The Last Chronicles in 2004. I'd love to put it in the top five, but I'm not sure if it's eligible.



Honourable mention to Joe Abercrombie's The First Law universe.


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I don't know if I could do a top 5, but I know for sure that Robin Hobb's Elderling trilogies/chronicles would be up there and Neil Gaiman's Sandman, too.



The only other I am sure of, I haven't seen any sign of in these lists so far. Perhaps because some would argue that it isn't fantasy... Personally I think that despite the fact you could call it many things. Steven King's Dark Tower series is predominately fantasy and is - in my humble opinion - totally phemomenal when taken as a whole (I say this because the first book is nowhere near as good as the others - it's short, though, so stick with it 'til book 2!).



Dark Tower spans 3 decades, but the majority of the books came out in the 90s. If you like science fantasy (although you could call it many other things) I'd really reccomend it.



Hope this helps! :)


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Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan

Farseer Trilogy - Robin Hobb

Liveship Traders trilogy - Robin Hobb

First Law - Joe Abercrombie

Malazan - Steven Erkison

Honourable mentions:

Discworld - Terry Pratchett - not really a connected series and can nearly be read in any order.

A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin - I know the op said it can be an unfinished series but if this was back in the 90s, most would be likely saying WoT but now with Crossroads and some of the other books tarnishing the series, a lot would not be saying it. I don't see the point in saying a series is the best if it's not finished, for it could be crap from here on out.

Not saying that will happen with George RR Martin.

The Broken Empire - Mark Lawerence - May make it into my top five when I finish the last book in the trilogy.

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I forgot The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss! The Wise Man's Fear is one of my favourite fantasy novels.


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I can't keep it down to 5 ;) And i will also not rank them. Because to be honest, most of the time it's like comparing apples and oranges. Every series i name has its own strengths and weaknesses...but are overall above the rest and very much worth reading (imo and ymmv etc. ).



Steven Erikson - Malazan Book of the Fallen


R. Scott Bakker - Prince of Nothing and Aspect Emperor


Michelle West - The Sun Sword and The Sacred Hunt



Those first 3 Authors really stand out to me.



Other good ones :



Daniel Abraham - Long Price


Mark T. Barnes - Echoes of Empire


GRRM - ASoIaF


Joe Abercrombie - The First Law


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GRRM-ASOIAF


Daniel Abraham-The Long Price Quartet


KJ Parker-The Scavenger Series


China Mieville-The Bas Lang Sequence (Only read Perdido so far but that was mostly excellent, so I'll read the next two at some point)



Robert Holdstocks Mythago series is brilliant but I believe the first two were written in the 80's.


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Not in any particular order but here goes...



Tad Williams - Memory, Sorrow & Thorn


GRRM - ASOIAF (having faith that the ending will be awesome)


Brent Weeks - Night Angel series


Terry Pratchett - Discworld


Mark Lawrence - The Broken Empire


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All I can say is, I have not read enough fantasy. :dunno: Or rather, good fantasy anyway.



Of the fantasy I have read, I think only Harry Potter and ASoIaF are the ones that would make my top 5 if I was better read - for much the same reasons as everyone has stated.



I have a long list of books to read though, so I'll probably steal ideas from you guys to put on it. Thanks ;)




ETA: I've read some of the Discworld novels, but only a few. Mort, Guards! Guards! and Men at Arms are the ones I have read, and they were great. Perhaps when I've read more they'd make my list, too.


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Cat Valente - Orphan's Tales


ASOIF


Kate Elliot - Spiritwalker Trilogy


Diskworld


Bas Lag


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Things that won't be mentioned but should be -




Steph Swainston - the Castle books


Jasper Fforde - Thursday Next series


Alan Campbell - Deepgate Codex


Dave Duncan - King's Blades


GW Dahlquist - the Dream Eaters books


Ian Tregillis - Milkweed Triptych


Lev Grossman - Magician trilogy




The best ones, imo:



Robin Hobb - Assassin series


R Scott Bakker - Prince of Nothing (second trilogy is a letdown)


Joe Abercrombie - First Law


Patrick Rothfuss - Kingkiller


GRRM - ASOIAF


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I haven't read that much either, so my top 5 may be a bit shallow



1) A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin


2) The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan


3) The First Law (+ standalone novels) - Joe Abercrombie


4) Harry Potter - JK Rowling


5) The Second Apocalypse - R Scott Bakker I am reluctantly adding this here



Also, Anthony's Ryan Raven's Shadow trilogy may find it's way in this top 5. Almost done reading book 2, book 3 not yet out.


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That is a toughie:



Top 5 completed series for me:



Liveship Traders - Robin Hobb


Memory, Sorrow and Thorn - Tad Williams


Shadows of the Apt - Adrian Tchaikovsky


Tales of the Ketty Jay - Chris Wooding


Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson



Honorable Mention:



Wheel of Time


Legend of Eli Monpress


The First Law



ASoIaF not yet completed yet, so not on the list.


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I forgot The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss! The Wise Man's Fear is one of my favourite fantasy novels.

Hells yes! I actually liked Wise Man's Fear quite a bit more than Name of the Wind. I mean, I loved Name of the Wind, but Wise Man's Fear was just... better and faster, imo. I just pre-ordered 'The Slow Regard of Silent Things' off Amazon and I noticed that it comes out on the same day as 'The World of Ice and Fire', pretty psyched about that. It'll be a sweet package to open up!

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After much soul-searching here are my picks:



1. Second Apocalypse by R. Scott Bakker


2. A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin


3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman


4. First Law by Joe Abercrombie


5. Acts of Caine by Matthew Stover




I have also read the following series, some of which I enjoyed (and still enjoy) quite a bit. They just didn’t make the cut.



Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham


Dresden Files by Jim Butcher


Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch



Much more problematic, but still ok, are


A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan

The Godless World by Brian Ruckley


I have also read at least one volume, but abandoned, the following. I don’t like them at all.



Kingkiller Chronicles


Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling


Wheel of Time



It is unclear if Miéville’s Bas-Lag and Pratchett’s Discworld qualify as a series, so I left them out.


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1. Martin - A Song of Ice and Fire


2. Erikson - Malazan


3. Rothfuss - Kingkiller Chronicles


4. Bakker - TSA


5. Ryan - A Raven's Shadow Novels




Overrated



Abercrombie - The First Law


Lawerence - Broken Empire - I couldn't even finish them


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