To echo some of the other suggestions... Raymond E. Feist's books were really good fantasy and probably my favorites when I was in my late teens. At least the Magician books (you can either find them as Magician: Apprentice
and Magician: Master
, or as one giant book) and the immediate follow-ups. As the series has lengthened, the quality went down. Probably because most of the original beloved characters are dead (the entire series spans several hundred years), so you're often dealing with their descendants and it's tough to carry over the emotional investment you have with the first generation. As Kao said, the Riftwar Saga is the set to read. Codex Alera
is very well done. Feels almost too short when it ends, but it wrapped up the central plot perfectly. Sort of a generic fantasy/magic background, but the I enjoyed the writing style. Same author as the Dresden Files (Jim Butcher), if you like his stuff.
Actually, the Dresden Files
are probably my number 1 recommendation. Magic in the modern world. Best description of the series protagonist is "Harry Potter meets Dirty Harry." The first few books are good, if not great, but then each one just gets better and better. By the fourth book or so you'll love the series and when you finish the most recent release you'll curse the fact that more aren't out yet. His books read like an action movie, where the characters often go from one intense situation to another, and then several months pass between books. And the writing is filled with pop culture references, innuendo, and jokes. It's great.
Donaldson's books about The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
are good if you want an anti-hero fantasy story. The main character is hard to like, but the books are good, and you find yourself rooting for him despite being despicable. I also like that the magic is such a wild card, you never know if he's going to kill his enemies or his friends. Well, "like" is put mildly; I hated the protagonist for a few books. It's one of those series I thought was good because it got an emotional response out of me, but not one that I liked.
Although they are labeled as Young Adult books, His Dark Materials trilogy is fantastic. The Golden Compass
, The Subtle Knife
, and The Amber Spyglass
. Philip Pullman. If it's added incentive, several libraries with overly religious patrons banned the books, as they are seen as an attack on religion. It's not necessarily an unfair charge, considering a global church is a consistent antagonist and the final battle ends up as... well, read the books. I don't want to spoil them
And the series has a great, very memorable ending. Edited, Dec 12th 2013 6:20pm by LockeColeMA