Based on an article in the New Yorker, the following seven fantasy novels are essential books for the novice, literary adult reader:
- The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams
- Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, but particularly Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan, Sailing to Sarantium, and The Fionavar Tapestry (a trilogy that begins with The Summer Tree)
- Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
- Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hood
- The Scions of Shannara by Terry Brooks
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
On a related note, Fantasy Magazine is conducting a poll to determine which fantasy novels are the gateway books (“the novels that compel even the most-resistant” person) into the genre for non-fantasy readers. If someone you know has never read a fantasy novel, which ones would you suggest as a starting point? Personally, I think it depends on the person. I voted for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and A Game of Thrones. Various selections for various audiences. Harry Potter for youth. Lord of the Rings for classic literary. And A Game of Thrones for modern adult readers.
What are your choices?