Beyond Bestsellers: Epic Fantasy

by Jocelyn R.

Welcome to 2018! Now that January is upon us, we’re back with the first Beyond Bestsellers theme of the new year. New to Beyond Bestsellers? This reading challenge highlights a different theme each month, along with some titles to get you started. To participate, readers sign up here, then simply read at least one title within the theme and create a list of books to share on our website (don’t forget to include the Beyond Bestsellers in the name of your list so that we, and other participants, can find your suggestions).

Now sit back, relax, and get ready to dig in for the long-haul, because this month we’re reading one of my favorites: epic fantasy!

Epic fantasies are sweeping stories that often feature quests (usually related to world-ending problems like dark lords, evil wizards, or other events that must be prevented), swords, sorcery, and fully developed immersive worlds. Traditionally, these fantasies have clear-cut heroes and villains, but more modern works often favor morally complex characters. Epic fantasy novels range from light-hearted to dark (including grimdark) and tend to be written in long-running series (often with three or more books). Note: While urban fantasy can be epic in scope, this month we are focusing solely on worlds that are not Earth.

Over the past few years epic fantasy permeated pop culture with movies and television series based on novels (as well as some awesome video games like Skyrim and Dragon Age). Do you recognize the line, “Winter is coming?” If you do, you may already be a fan of epic fantasy. The quote is from the popular television show, Game of Thrones, which is based on George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Two major epic fantasy motion picture trilogies that hit the box office, based on the famous novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, were The Hobbit and The Lord of Rings. And now there are rumors that Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is headed for television! This is the series that made me fall in love with epic fantasy, so I’m both delighted and a little nervous (since it could go horribly wrong).

While I enjoy watching epic fantasy on the big screen, it rarely lives up to the richness of the novel (and few are actually chosen for film or television). So let’s do some reading! Check out the epic fantasy suggestions below or take our quiz for more ideas.

Can’t wait to get started? The ebook, Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, and audiobook, The Immortal Crown by Kieth Merrill, will be available all month through Overdrive without ever having to place a hold! And don’t forget to take a peek at the Epic Fantasy booklist on OverDrive for even more possibilities.

I’ll check in on your epic fantasy journey mid-month, but don’t forget to update us on your progress in the comments section below.

Happy reading!

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14 responses to “Beyond Bestsellers: Epic Fantasy”

  1. Kim says:

    This is my favorite genre, and I’m excited to read some new titles!

  2. Lindsey A. says:

    Woo! I love epic fantasy and I love Robin Hobb but I’ve never read her Rain Wild Chronicles, so I’m excited to read The Dragon Keeper!

    • Erin B. says:

      Oh, you must read the Rain Wild Chronicles. I love how she weaves her different series together so sometimes you get a surprise familiar character from another series or a mention of another country from that same world. Every thread makes her world more real and complete.

  3. Shannon Ozog says:

    I’ve been waiting for this!!

  4. Peter Rabbit says:

    Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. ‘Nuff said.

  5. Harolynne Bobis says:

    Thanks, my general method is to go into my local library and see what’s on the shelf that I haven’t read. This will be a big help. I pretty much read all fiction (if I’m working) and can’t wait to see what’s in store.

  6. Gale Kennedy says:

    Robin Hob is great. Read all her stuff. I STRONGLY recommend Raymond E. Feast “Magician” as the 1st in a great series about a world called Krondor.

  7. Debra Ann Kavanaugh says:

    Tad Williams THE WITCHWOOD CROWN continues the long awaited saga of The Dragonbone Chair. His writing is superb.

  8. Chuck says:

    One day, consider M.A.R. Barker, The Man of Gold. An alien and fantasy version of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, with an underlying complex cultural and epic adventure story. Recommend only 16 and above for social content.

  9. Holli says:

    So excited. I’ve been on a Brandon Sanderson binge lately. Warbreaker and Elantris are amazing! Nice to find some new authors to grab on to.

  10. Randy Hunt says:

    Stephen King’s Dark Tower series reaches into this realm. It is a worthy read even if you have not read any of his other works. It is even better if you have read others of his books. Do not let the horrible 2017 film adaptation shade your perception… the authors are much better than the directors and producers.

  11. Colleen says:

    Hello! I just got my Sno-Isle card last year, so I’m excited to participate in beyond bestsellers for my first time. I have one question, possibly a bit dumb… How do I search for lists? I’m already thinking of titles to add to my own, but I’m also curious to see what other people have to recommend. And I haven’t been able to find a way to see lists other than manually checking random users’ profile pages. Am I missing something obvious? (I’m probably missing something obvious.)

    • Lindsey A. says:

      Hi, Colleen. Welcome to Sno-Isle!

      When you’re on our main site, you’ll see the search bar near the top. Right now it defaults to a Keyword search, but if you select List from that drop-down menu and search for “Beyond Bestsellers,” you’ll see the lists users have created for our various themes. They aren’t necessarily presented in chronological order, but most people have used “Epic Fantasy” in their list titles.

      I hope that helps!

      • Colleen says:

        Thanks Lindsey, that absolutely helps. I’m not sure why I didn’t consider that drop-down menu in my hunt, but I certainly see that now!

  12. Kent says:

    Thanks for the info. I think I read ‘Eye of the World’ some time ago. I’m a fan of Phillip K. Dick and other SciFi, as well as well-written, good detective stories and historical fiction. Not into Gothic mysteries or Romance.

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