I love reading fiction, and I spend a lot of time reading it. My favourite genre is fantasy; though, I like a good story regardless of the genre. Here, I’ll present you my favourite books/book series and their concise descriptions. I must tell you that this list might undergo transformations in future. My choices change when you (and I) least expect.
(1) A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin: This fantasy series is easily my top favourite. The story is masterfully crafted with lots of twists and characters are very believable having shades of grey instead of being just boring white and black. Narration is brilliant and it keeps you guessing. It is easily the most unpredictable story I’ve read, and still far from finished. Full of intrigue and betrayal and unexpected events. Few words of warning: it has a lot of violence and sex and also some heart-rending moments. A must-read anyway.
(2) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay: This is my topmost standalone fantasy book. By far. Like with any other Guy Gavriel Kay book, the prose is pleasing and elegant. Story is beautiful and coherent. I won’t delve into details as it would spoil your fun, but just keep in mind that it’s not for everyone. But if you like a good story and beautiful language used to craft it, this is the book to read. Try a sample chapter before making a purchase.
(3) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke: This novel came as a scintillating debut by British writer Susanna Clarke. This debut novel is actually much better than latest novels from long-time authors. It served the prose from bygone era to modern readers and surprisingly, it worked. Story is sprinkled with sharp wit and humour. Again, it is not for everyone. Many readers might be put-off by Austenesque language.
(4) Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson: If you think G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has a complex plot, wait till you read this. The Malazan series is probably the most complex story every written. There are a gazillions things happening at the same time in the story. This series, admittedly, is difficult to get into. First book particularly takes up a lot of brainpower for comprehension as it introduces you to the humongous Malazan world populated with people, cultures, gods and places. Or rather, a part of it. But once you get past the first half, things get a lot better and clearer. After the first book, it gets more and more awesome. I recommend it for its ultra-complex plot (if you are not sure if it’s a good thing, have a shot) and for its realistic characterisation.
(5) The First Law by Joe Abercrombie: This series by British writer is a well-written, fast-paced and tightly constructed story. Characters are exceptionally good for a plot-driven novel. The character of Glotka especially is simply delightful in a grotesque sort of way. Humour is dark and sarcastic. Dialogues are pretty excellent too. Recommended for G.R.R Martin/Game of Thrones fans.
Other notable mentions:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Practically invented the fantasy genre. Or at least made it popular. A great great story. Also loved the Hobbit set in the same world. The film based on it (the Hobbit) is my most favourite fantasy film ever.
Harry Potter series: One of my favourites as a juvenile. Every morning, I would anxiously wait for my Hogwarts letter. No kidding.
The Chronicles of Narnia: My first ever fantasy series. I lovingly used to call my dad Aslan (he didn’t seem to mind it, although I’m sure he didn’t know what it meant) and would gawk suspiciously at that old, discarded wardrobe in the store-room.