Five Fantasy Books you NEED to Read

Tomorrow is World Book Day and over here in Barcelona it is also Sant Jordi, and thus tomorrow I amongst many other will take to the streets in search of new books to read, new worlds to discover and new places in which to loose myself for a couple of hours or days. If you are reading this blog you might know that my favourite genre is without a doubt fantasy for a myriad of reasons that I explained in a previous post. As such, in honour of World Book Day, I have decided to write a post in which I recommend 5 fantasy books to pick up tomorrow or basically any day.

  1. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien

This is in my opinion the best book in the world of Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion is composed of many short stories that compromise the story of Middle-Earth from its creation to the start of the Fourth Age, although the events that happen in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are only briefly mentioned.  It is a beautiful book that grows the universe and provides us a more rich background to the world we fell in love with. If you have read Lord of the Rings you will have noticed that the characters mention many mythical figures, heroes from time past and in this book we learn about them.

This book is full of action, poems, beautiful prose, romance and the epicness we have come to associate with Middle Earth. This book gives us the story of the struggle of the elves against Morgoth (Sauron’s boss) and the tragedy that comes through their own folly, as well as the rise of Men. If you choose to pick this book you will be enthralled especially by chapter 19 which tells the story of Beren and Luthien.

Silmarillion-cover

  1. The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time is perhaps one of the most epic sagas, both in length and story wise, ever told. Compromising of 14 long books plus a prologue this saga told by Robert Jordan takes us to a magical place facing oblivion where unlikely heroes from a farming village raise to fight against the growing darkness. The Eye of the World is the first book of this saga, setting up almost all of the characters which you will grow to love during all of the saga. Robert Jordan gives us a great fantastic world that contains many of the tropes in fantasy and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It also adds a new flavour to fantasy as we see a world in which men using magic are pursued and female magic users are the real power behind the world.

If you have the chance pick up this book, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed and that you will soon find yourself buying all the books of this excellent saga, a saga that still to this day fascinates me.

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorld

  1. The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson

Recently I wrote a review on this excellent book by Brandon Sanderson. The Final Empire is a great point of entry into his Cosmere presenting a world with a fascinating magic system (that still ranks among my favourites) and great relatable characters full of depth. Sanderson is without a doubt one of the most famous authors in fantasy right now and is an incredibly prolific author. If someone is looking to read a book from him I always recommend to start with the Final Empire as it is a book with a captivating story and a very fast pace. Vin will always be one of my favourite characters and hopefully those of you who have not read the book take the plunge and get to know her.

Mistborn-cover

  1. The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie has quietly and quickly become one of the best fantasy authors and his first book shows you why he has gained that distinction. In The Blade Itself, the first of a trilogy called The First Law, we are presented a gritty, dark world that escapes all the tropes of fantasy. It is a very curious book as we get the typical setting for a fantasy book, the typical character archetypes, however as soon as you start reading the book you realize that nothing is what it seems and that all of the characters are darker and more complex.

A book in a somewhat similar fashion to those of George R.R. Martin but that also stand on its own it is an excellent book for those seeking something different to the traditional fantasy stories.

uk-orig-the-blade-itself

  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

This book was a complete but pleasant surprise when I discovered it. Scott Lynch is perhaps not as renowned as an author as those mentioned previously but in this book he is able to craft a delightful and fun story, with some great an unexpected stories. The first of a series called Gentleman Bastard, the series of rogue, especially the protagonist Locke Lamora, are fascinating. The wit of the book will have you laughing but also heavily invested in the story of this rogues who are trying their best to survive in a world that is bigger and stranger than they thought.

If you are looking for a book filled of wit and adventure this swashbuckling rogue story is definitely the one you need to read.

51tpIK8K+tL

If you have read or want to read any of this books do let me know! I hope you enjoy this 5 great books that I have personally enjoyed and hoped you too are entertained and fascinated by this fantastical worlds.

Do we need Fantasy?

In the upcoming days I will start to post writings about one of my greatest passions in this world, fantasy books. This posts will be up there amongst those of comics and star wars as my favourite and the ones I feel very comfortable talking about since I do have a vast knowledge. Fantasy, even more so than comics or science fiction, has always been my favourite genre and the one I have always been able to escape to more than the others. Fantasy is part of what makes us humans, almost all of us pass our time sometimes thinking about what we could do, imagining things etc… fantasy is the expression of that taken to the extreme.

Let us not kid ourselves, a lot of fantasy is not good. For some time us readers could not find good fantasy books, all of the books that were being written followed the same patter and were not innovating. “The Lord of the Rings”, the genre that created and made popular high fantasy (and my favourite books alongside “The Silmarillion”) were being copied by other authors who were not pushing the envelope further. We would only get small flashes of brilliance, such as “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. Le Guin, amidst a sea of really bad books. However right now we find ourselves as what can only be described as the golden age of fantasy. Authors like George R.R Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie or Patrick Rothfuss are giving us new and exciting stories. Stories that are well written, worlds that are huge and wonderful, adventures that captivate you and books that are giving us new ways to escape.

14-A-Memory-of-Light

Fantasy is important for one simple reason; it allows us to escape from everyday life. The greatest fantasy books are able to transport us to worlds where our heroes fight evil, allowing us to escape the monotony of our lives or give us a break when we are having tough times. Whenever I read fantasy, if it is good, I am able to go into that world and be captured by it. A good fantasy book will not only captivate you because of the story, but when the world is properly written you will dream about it. I grew up imagining myself walking around Middle Earth, visiting Minas Tirith, reading at Rivendell or walking beneath the shadows of the mallorn trees in Lothlorien. As I grew up I have been dreaming about the shores of Westeros, walking around Two Rivers or Andor or exploring the Shattered Plains. The greatest thing about fantasy is that age is not an issue, the worlds I read when I was younger I now see with a different perspective and they have even become richer.

Fantasy is generally frowned upon by many writers or book readers, proclaiming it is a genre for children and that it is not complex. However those who claim this demonstrate their ignorance. In fantasy books we see difficult moral conundrums, we see a reflection of the world we live in, we learn and develop alongside the characters and I can proudly say that reading fantasy stories, reading about those heroes fighting evil in desperate times have honestly made me a better person.

kvothe___the_kingkiller_chronicle_by_harmal-d5s7iwy

Fantasy is my passion, fantasy still to this date captivates me and I honestly believe that it is a great genre that we all need, especially now in this tough times. So I recommend you all sit back, make yourself comfortable and pick up The Lord of the Rings or A Wheel of Time series and loose yourselves in those worlds for a little bit before facing your problems, it. will. do. wonders.