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5 Book Series for the Jaded Fantasy Fan


The success of the television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – a.k.a. HBO’s Game of Thrones – has placed the high fantasy sub-genre in a spotlight. High fantasy is just one of the many specialized fantasy genres that exists. Other successful screen adaptations like The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series have inspired others like them over the last decade.

Because of its popularity, it has become a tendency for some fantasy series to use the same themes and character tropes over and over again. With so many books to choose from, how do you pick those that have something new to offer? This list will guide you to some of the hidden gems in fantasy.

  1. Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Tired of the usual humans, dwarves, elves and orcs that have saturated the genre? This 10-book series by Steven Erikson, with a 6-book complementary series by Ian C. Esslemont, is a breath of fresh air. However, a word of caution: this is perhaps the most complex and ambitious series by far. But with huge battle scenes, a complicated world building and shape-shifting dragons, the reward will surely be worth the journey.

  1. A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan

This trilogy is unique for its lead character Ringil. Not your usual macho hero who embodies the chivalric, ideal warrior, Riingil has many enemies and always finds himself in trouble. The book also features an alien race and is an alternate world of another science fiction trilogy by the same author.

  1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Looking for a story that isn’t science fiction but includes an entire planet? Sanderson’s Mistborn will satisfy your needs for a post-apocalyptic empire filled with strange magic. The action scenes are a treat, the characters unforgettable, and the events leading to the ending are an emotional ride.

  1. The Black Company by Glen Cook

What makes this series so special is the limited point of view of the lead character and narrator. Cook managed to describe a complex society ravaged by wars and magic through a veteran soldier’s eyes. Unlike A Song of Ice and Fire, The Black Company is told from the POV not of a nobly-born character, but of an ordinary soldier with neither magical nor special physical abilities. He’s not even some destined hero like Harry Potter.

  1. The Bas-Lag novels by China Mieville

In the world of Bas-Lag, steampunk technology and magic co-exist. The three books, Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council, do not necessarily make one series, but are three different stories in the same world. While it may be considered more as science fiction with elements of horror than fantasy, the reader will find the same familiar elements in its magic and world building. Readers will enjoy the political and geographical complexity of Bas-Lag. It is unlike any reading experience.