Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we were asked to list our top ten favorite authors in the genre of our choice! Naturally, I went with my top ten favorite fantasy authors, as fantasy has been one of my most beloved genres since I was a youngster. Here goes!

1. Connie Willis
It wouldn’t be a TTT on bookwanderer without a mention of Connie Willis! I can’t help it–I think Willis is an excellent writer and can capture angst like no other author. Doomsday Book had me crying, as did Passage. (These could also be considered science fiction, but since the line between the two genres is blurry anyway, I’m allowing it.)

2. George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantasy masterpiece. If you haven’t read the books, do yourself a favor and start. And then watch the HBO series.

3. J.R.R Tolkien
Any fantasy-lover worth their salt should have Tolkien on their list. He wasn’t the first writer of fantasy, but he’s arguably one of the best-known and most influential authors ever. If you haven’t tried reading The Lord of the Rings, I highly recommend trying! (Start with The Hobbit if you’re feeling nervous. And only tackle The Silmarillion with caution–I’ve still never finished it!)

4. Tamora Pierce
Though I haven’t read a book by her in years, she is a sentimental favorite. The Alanna books teach you how to be an awesome girl.

5. Brian Jacques
REDWALL! While not traditional sword-and-sorcery fantasy, the Redwall books were filled with fantasy staples: courageous heroes, legends, fierce battles, evil foes, and oh yeah, the most mouthwatering depictions of feasts you could imagine. I read a good 10 or so of these books when I was younger, and there are still a handful I haven’t read it. (My absolute favorite was Salamandastron, because I loved the badgers!)

6. David Eddings
Sometimes early fantasy is the best fantasy. It may be considered cliche by today’s standards–farm boy destined to save the world, goes on quest with the help of some powerful, magical friends–but Edding’s Belgariad series is , and tons of fun.

7. Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials turns the traditional fantasy story on its head, with a mixture of science, religion, and parallel worlds that is utterly fascinating to read. The series’ heroine, Lyra, is still a strong example of a believable and strong character who goes on her own version of the hero’s journey.

8. Lev Grossman
I also got to meet him at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and he totally proved his fantasy-nerd cred by asking if my parents named me after the main character in The Chronicles of Prydain. (For the record, they didn’t, but I wish they did!) I can’t wait to read the third entry in the Magicians series.

9. Margaret Atwood
In the past, Atwood has claimed she does not write sci-fi/fantasy. I hate to quibble with such a prolific and esteemed author, but girl, A Handmaid’s Tale is straight-up (dystopian) fantasy. And I love it for that! Really a dystopian classic, right alongside 1984 and Brave New World. Her sci-fi entries are enjoyable, too, but A Handmaid’s Tale stands alone as truly, timelessly great.

10. Neil Gaiman
I haven’t read as much Gaiman as I should, but I really, really enjoyed Good Omens and Neverwhere, and I appreciated the writing and set-up of American Gods (even if the ending disappointed me). I think his fantasy has a sense of humor about itself that many traditional fantasy novels lack, and it really makes his novels pop. Next I want to read the Sandman graphic novels and Anasazi Boys.

Which of your favorite fantasy authors have I missed? And what are YOUR top ten favorite genre authors?


5 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Authors”

  1. 1 Jay October 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Taryn,

    Okay, this is by far my favorite list of those I’ve seen today. 🙂 I love the story of your meeting with Lev Grossman. I wondered when I first discovered your blog if there was a connection to the Prydain Chronicles. I have fond memories of reading those books when I was young. I even included them on the recent TTT list of ‘books that should not be forgotten.”

    I have Gaiman’s American Gods in my queue to read, and of course have enjoyed Tolkein & Martinover the years. Of the ones you mention that I haven’t read, your comments on Pullman make me want to give I’m a try.

    But let’s talk about Atwood. I finally read (after many recommendations) The Handmaid’s Tale just last weekend and was blown away. I agree it is on a par with the other dystopian classics you mention (I’d also include Fahrenheit 451). It may be my favorite book I’ve read this year. I’ve been working on a blog post on it, but fear i will be unable to do it justice…


    • 2 tarynwanderer October 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Haha, thank you, Jay! I did not take writing this list lightly, considering how much I love fantasy novels!

      The Prydain Chronicles definitely influenced my online handles, and have for many years; when people recognize it, I know I’ve met a friend!

      I hope that you will enjoy the His Dark Materials series–it blew my mind! Your reaction to Handmaid is similar to mine, and so I look forward to reading your blog post about it. It can be difficult to effectively put into words the way you feel about a fantastic book, I agree!

      • 3 Jay October 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

        I still vividly remember when my older brother came home from school one day telling us about these books his class was reading. He was also making a map of Prydain – for extra credit in class, I guess. He explained to me the different kingdoms, etc., and the hooks were in deep. I so wanted to be older so I too could read about Prince Gwydion, King Smoit, The Cauldron-Born and the Gwythaints. I was so jealous he was reading “fun stuff” while I was probably just reading “On Cherry Street” or other ‘learn to read’ books.

        Dang, I might just have to go re-read these books now. Thanks a lot! 🙂

        • 4 tarynwanderer October 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm

          Wow–I’m jealous that your brother got to read those in school! We never even approached fantasy in my middle or high school, and while I enjoy reading other genres, I think it would have been neat to cover fantasy in the classroom!

          You’re welcome! 😉

  2. 5 rubybastille October 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Awesome list! I don’t think I could ever call Grossman a favorite just because I didn’t enjoy his two Magician books, but they were unarguably well-done. I’m working through the first season of “Game of Thrones” and now everyone I know is insisting I read the books!

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