Which fantasy series of books should I read?

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Answered by: Jonathan, An Expert in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Category
To best answer the question, I will give you several series of books that I have read and enjoyed and allow you to choose from amongst them. The first is obvious, and many people have read this series: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Series. Lord of the Rings is the first and foremost series of books published for the fantasy genre. While it has had movies created, the series of books is far more thrilling than any of the screen adaptations can imagine. The first books, Fellowship of the Ring, takes some patience to begin, but once the characters arrive at Elrond's, the action intensifies and the adventure truly begins. Follow Frodo from the Shire to Mt. Doom as he takes the One Ring to its final resting place.

The second series of books I would recommend is the Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The team behind the Dragon Lance series brings to life a world torn Asunder by powerful magic and separated into five different worlds, each dependent upon the other for sustenance. The first book begins in the world of air and takes the reader, in seven books, through the worlds of earth, water and fire, before finally telling the true tale of Earth's sundering and the imprisonment of a powerful magical race within the Labyrinth. The heroes attempt to fix the problems of the creators, and reunite an earth torn apart.

While not completed, the third series of books I would suggest is the Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Starting with A Game of Thrones, the series works in a world where seasons last years, and where magic has been dormant for hundreds, even thousands by the story's telling. Noble houses vie for control of the Iron Throne of Westeros while a deposed tyrant's heirs plot from across the narrow sea. Full of intrigue, romance and blood, the series reads like a political thriller at times, and high fantasy the rest. For those looking to get into fantasy with a well written story can start with Martin. Chapters follow characters strictly, and give insight into various situations. One suggestion: don't get used to any of the characters, as Martin does enjoy killing more than a few in his tale's progression.

Yet another incomplete series, and fourth on my list of favorites, would be the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. At 13 books, this fantasy epic is suggested for those looking to start a series that will be not only rewarding, but extensive and full of rich history and character development. The drama and magic are intense from the beginning, with evil monsters and wise sages clashing in a battle for their lives. The tale has three main characters, each with their own significance. Rand, the Dragon Reborn, is the first of the main characters and a male who can use the One Power, a power that will eventually drive him insane, if he cannot find a cure.

Chosen by fate to battle the Dark One, Rand must fight his insanity so he might stay alive long enough to fulfill the prophecy. Mat, a childhood friend of Rand's, is blessed with uncanny luck and the voices of past generals in his head. Perrin, yet another childhood friend of Rand's, can communicate with wolves. The three, together, are considered Ta'veren, or those who shape the pattern of fate. The three must battle darkfriends and darkspawn alike to save the realms of their world from destruction.

The fifth and final series of books I could suggest is Terry Brooks' Shannara series. beginning with the Sword of Shannara, the series tells of a high fantasy world of sword and sorcery, where a dark foe lurks on the edges of society.

The heroes of the story must travel to the north through goblin and orc raiding parties to find the Sword of Shannara and defeat the Dark Lord who threatens to engulf the magical world in evil. As the group of heroes, humans, dwarves and elves, fight together to save the realm, the heroes uncover the truth about their world and it's mysterious past. Travel along and discover the truth behind the world of Shannara.

While there are many other series of books I could recommend, these five are the top of my list. They have everything demanded out of the fantasy tradition: intrigue, romance, and epic struggles between light and dark forces.

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