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An Aficionado’s Guide to the top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – All

FINALLY. The full list.

Like the previous list I posted on this blog An Aficionado’s Guide to The 20 Best Urban Fantasy Novels of the Last Decade this is a VOTED ON list. The group that voted on this list is Fantasy Aficionados and the group had huge participation in this project. Even the placement that each book/series is listed at (with #1 being the best (objectively, of course – this is a very refined list).

As always – if you see a book that is part of a series, the recommendation is for the entire series.
 
 
The Fellowship of the Ring1. The Fellowship of the Ring
Series: The Lord of the Rings (Including The Hobbit)
Movies: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014

The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths are searching for a Hobbit. Frodo Baggins knows that they are seeking him and the Ring he bears—the Ring of Power that will enable evil Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it can be destroyed: Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron’s realm.

 

A Game of Thrones2. A Game of Thrones
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
TV Series

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

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An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 6

A few things you should know about this list:
*It was voted on by a large group of fantasy readers (majority rules)
*If a single book is on the list and that book is part of a series, it’s a recommendation for the entire series.
*I have read some of the books, but not all.
*I provide a link to the books I have reviewed.

I decided to break this into parts because it’s a pretty long list.

 

An Aficionado’s Guide to the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time – Part 5
 
 
moon called41. Moon Called
Series: Mercy Thompson
Review: 4 Stars

Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

 
darkfever42. Darkfever
Series: Fever

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

 
The Wizard of Oz43. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Series: Oz
Movies: 1939, 1978
Review: 3.5 Stars

In a terrifying instant of darkness, a tornado snatches up Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto, whirling them on the wild wind out of Kansas and straight to Oz.

In this wondrous world of sorcery and danger, Munchkins, flying monkeys, talking mice and fighting trees, all Dorothy wants to do is go home…

Together with the Scarecrow who wants a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion who wants courage, Dorothy and Toto must follow the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of the Emerald City. But before the wizard of Oz will grant their wishes, Dorothy and her friends must do the impossible–Destroy the all-powerful Wicked Witch of the West….

 
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The Man With the Golden Torc (Secret Histories #1) by Simon R. Green

the man with the golden torc

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From the “New York Times” bestselling author of the “Deathstalker” and “Nightside” series comes a new kind of hero in an old kind of war. “All those things you hear about as a kid? The boogeyman under the bed? The creature in the closet? They’re for real, people.” Eddie Drood knows they’re for real. His family has kept humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. For ages, they’ve held back the nightmares, locked the doors, barred the gates, and put righteous boot to monster arse on a nightly basis. But now Eddie’s in trouble. One of his own has convinced the rest of the family that Eddie’s become a menace, and that humanity needs to be protected from him. So he’s on the run, using every trick in the book, magical and otherwise, hoping he lives long enough to prove his innocence. And he knows how dangerous the Droods can be-because he’s one of them.

I loved this book! It started off with a bang (in that way only it kinda reminded me of Monster Hunter International and the pace stayed pretty fast the entire novel. This was my first Simon R. Green novel and he just made a convert. I went out today and purchased 3 more of his books (with plans to buy even more). This is the type of Urban Fantasy that people love – likeable characters, quick pacing, great chases, lots of action and tons of explosions.
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Storm Front by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files, #1)

Storm Front

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The novels of the Dresden Files have become synonymous with action-packed urban fantasy and non-stop fun. Storm Front is Jim Butcher’s first novel and introduces his most famous and popular character-Harry Dresden, wizard for hire.

For his first case, Harry is called in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with the blackest of magic. At first, the less-than-solvent Harry’s eyes light up with dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage. Now, that black mage knows Harry’s name. And things are about to get very…interesting.

I’m having a hard time reviewing this book. I enjoyed it – there was a lot of action (which I love in UF) and I loved Harry Dresden. That being said, the book is a little weak in the whys of certain plot points. Continue reading

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

midnight riot

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Midnight Riot is a great new book! Peter Grant is a young probationary (rookie) police constable with the London Metropolitan Police Department. He’s on schedule to be assigned to hard desk labor when a man is killed by decapitation. Continue reading

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

geekomancy

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture. Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?

Have you ever read such a good [fantasy] book that by the end of it you believed in magic…if only a little? Or maybe watched Star Wars, episode 2 and walked away from it feeling that if you only found a Master and practiced your latent Jedi powers would manifest? What about reading one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels and then find yourself shopping for a trench coat and a skull? Or walking away from an episode of Firefly itching for a sixshooter and a spaceship…?

If so, this is the book for you. Geekomancy is a love song written by a geek for geeks. This book is pure comedy wish fulfillment for the person who wishes that the force really exists.

Ree Reyes is a screenwriter (see “barista”) who suddenly finds herself in a world in which magic exists…and that the geeky TV shows, books, movies and games that she has always loved powered that world.

Ree jumps into this newfound world of magic and danger with both feet…and of course she gets slapped sideways, lol. Ree has does has help, however. Her introduction to “Geekomancy” (the use of magic fueled from the world of Pop Culture) is by Eastwood, a scruffy old Geekomancer who becomes her mentor. She also hooks up with another character that totally stole the show for me, Drake, a Steampunk inventor and adventurer extraordinaire. I ♥ Drake. As you wish. 😉

Ree and Eastwood’s task is simple (on the surface): find out who is causing a string of teenaged virgin suicides and stop them before they kill again. But…as anyone who’s ever read any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic books or played any MMO RPGs…things are never quite as simple as they seem.

There are a great many geektasic references that a reader may or may not get. This books is hip deep in geek references like D&D, Firefly, BSG, Gaiman, RPGs, MMORPGs, comics, anything Joss Whedon (of course), Doctor Who, Sherlock gets a mention, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Princess Bride (book and movie), Dresden, Steampunk and I even detected a hint of Bleach…. There are a lot of references (too many references?) and I didn’t get all of them. I think it would be almost a drinking game to get them all, lol (*ahem* or maybe a great companion book? If you read this and do it, Underwood, I want acknowledgements! lol) As I haven’t read any Gaiman (shoot me, ok? I own a few…but I’m being very hipster about the whole “Gaiman” thing) I had to look up the Sandman reference (that I caught). I had to look up a couple of things, TBH. But I didn’t feel that it really distracted from the story in any way.

If you didn’t live your childhood with your face planted in a book/video/computer game or you didn’t get most or any of those comments I made in the above paragraph…this may not be the book for you. But…if you want some fun brain candy that doesn’t take itself too seriously AND you have a sense of humor yourself, this is a great book to read! Note: Please keep Wikipedia on hand.

A lot of people have complained about the beginning RPG references…which I ate up with a spoon (I will keel you yet, Diablo!!) but one of my biggest problems was the characterization of Ree. She…was a little too gun-ho and a little too much of a know it all. I get that she’s 23ish and people of that age seem to feel immortal…but she took it to the next level sometimes and I occasionally wanted to slap her. She’s like the protagonist that just blunders into plotlines. Much like the standard orphan hero that finds the “special sword” and instantly becomes a better swordsman than a master…Ree stumbles and bumbles her way into a win over people/entities she should not be able to overcome.

The book dragged a bit starting around 50% but it picked back up again around 65% – 70%. And I had a major issue with the ending. A major issue. A issue so large that I’m not sure how the author plans to redeem this problem in book 2. To avoid spoilers but still giving hints…it’s a serious Bleach type of event. Let’s just say that Ree was Ichigo and entered the Soul Society for a bit. Ugh, I guess. But I have certain plans to read book 2 when it comes out.

I also want to make a point to say that I greatly appreciated this book for one more thing. The complete and TOTAL lack of sex. There’s not a lick of (hehe, I said lick) of sex in this book. Nor is there any smooching or heavy petting. There is no scantily clad, stiletto boot wearing angry UF Chick with a sword marching around. There’s no Romance in this book. Well…there’s a slight hint of geeky love…that you might catch if you get the reference. And the MC is a woman. A regular woman working a regular job who will get her ass fired if she doesn’t show up to work. Sleep is mentioned quite frequently…as in she gets none and wants some with her entire heart.

I had a hard time scoring this one. Its wavering between a 3 and a 4. I’d love for the author to make the book a bit more accessible to the non-geeks and I’d like for him to do a little more work on his female characterization. So, I’m going towards the 4 because I would pick up book 2, Celebromancy tomorrow. If it was available.