Another List of Must-Read Fantasy Novels (Courtesy Lev Grossman)

/ Books /

It seems like everyone is putting together top Science Fiction and Fantasy lists lately, but, since I love SFF and I love lists, I thought I would pass along the link to another one. Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, named his 10 must-read fantasy novels in a post over at and I thought his list was pretty interesting.

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  2. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  6. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
  7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  8. Fafhrd and the Gary Mouser by Fritz Leiber
  9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny

As you can see, most of his picks had two things in common: they are targeted at a younger audience and they have good magic systems. The only one that really broke the mold was A Game of Thrones.

Overall, I thought those were some interesting choices. I’ve only read half of them myself so I guess I’ve got some more suggestions for the future (like I needed any more after NPR’s poll). It’s too late for me to properly speculate about the list, but you can see Grossman’s rationale for each choice if you visit the original post.


  1. Franny says:

    George R.R. Martin does a huge breakthrough with this greatly written, immediately engrossing, and incredibly intricate tale that keeps you hooked all the way through. Martin steps out on a limb as he writes a fantasy novel whose “good” characters are not invincible and sometimes bad things of course can and do happen. Most fantasy I’ve read involves the main characters in impossible situations that resolve themselves by dumb luck or the characters own super-human abilities. Martin goes above and beyond and writes a story that allows for inexperience in a characters fighting ability, both on the battle field and in the political arena. The protagonist does not always make the right decisions, and the good guy doesn’t always win.

    The lines between good & evil are blurred as Martin uses his really impressive command of characters to present stories from other points of view. “Good” isn’t always good, and “Evil” isn’t always evil, quite interesting yea. Characters are given diverse personalities and therefore open up the possibility of role-reversal. It really looks like these are real people making real decisions just like in real life, anything is possible.

    If you are looking for a book that follows a one-dimensional track and is sooo easily predictable, this is not the story for u… But on the other hand, if you want a real mature story that is filled with intricate characters and engrossing story lines that leave you guessing and begging for more, you’ve come to the right place. Hats off to this incredible author and the story that he has created.

    Have a nice day,

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