Well, the title of the post is itself quite explanatory, I’m going to list 10 finished fantasy trilogies that I think every fantasy fan should read and if you’re not a fantasy fan “shudders, tuts and then shakes head” well, you just might find something that piques your interest on the list!
Now, when I first thought about writing this post I started to simply make a list of fantasy books with the idea that I would list 10 fantasy trilogies and series, however, I ended up with finished trilogies, unfinished trilogies, finished series and unfinished series and I thought damn, that’s a long list so instead for this post I have decided to just give you my top 10 finished trilogies that I have read.
So, in no particular order:
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie:
- The Blade Itself.
- Before They Are Hanged.
- Last Argument of Kings.
Well, we have to start with The First Law trilogy by Lord Grimdark himself Mr Joe Abercrombie. Great complex and morally flawed memorable characters, great story telling, humour, fast paced and action packed. This is the quintessential Grimdark trilogy for fans and a must read! Though Joe does like his violence, gore, swearing and sarcasm but let’s be honest, in Grimdark, they are all things that we look for and are all good! 🙂
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb:
- Assassin’s Apprentice.
- Royal Assassin.
- Assassin’s Quest.
Robin Hobb’s first appearance on my list (not her last as the next two trilogies come from her to). Her Farseer trilogy is a classic and a must read for every sort of fantasy fan out there. Her world building and characterisation are top quality with a great main character in FitzChivalry Farseer who narrates the trilogy told in the first person, your also introduced to Nighteyes one of, if not the best animal companion ever in fantasy, though to just call him a companion is detrimental to his character and role in the story. Then there is the Fool, well, what can you say about the Fool, such an ingenious creation on Hobb’s part and a wonderful character. Quick mention also to Chade, another top character. And, you also have Regal Farseer, every trilogy/series needs a villain (think Joffrey in Game of Thrones) and Regal is that villain, you will hate him by the end and will be praying that he gets what he so thoroughly deserves. I can’t praise the first book Assassin’s Apprentice in this trilogy enough, I’ve read every other Hobb book because of Fitz’s first book with the exception of her Soldier Son trilogy. Classic fantasy for everyone, great story, great characters and a unique world in the Six Duchies, a masterpiece!
The LiveShip Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb:
- Ship of Magic.
- The Mad Ship.
- Ship of Destiny.
Hobb’s second trilogy on my list, set after the events of The Farseer trilogy but in a completely different area of The Six Duchies (huge world). This is a trilogy about talking ships or as they are called Live Ships! Yes, I’m sure there are some of you out there snickering and guffawing at the thought of sentient talking ships and I fully admit that I was one of you. After finishing The Farseer trilogy (I read all three trilogies straight after each other) I had every intention of missing this one out and jumping straight into The Tawny Man trilogy to get back to Fitz’s story, however someone I know had been reading Hobb to and they told me that this series was worth a look. Well, they were right! While completely different to both The Farseer trilogy (set before) and The Tawny Man trilogy (set after) this is a stunning read. Hobb again manages to create another completely different set of characters with another great story and for those who have read The Farseer trilogy before, well you will get more out of this trilogy with a certain character and that’s all I’m saying! 🙂 And if the idea of talking ships seems odd to you, from someone who felt the same, give it a go, you won’t regret it and yes, Hobb makes you care about the ships, I know, you find yourself caring for the fates of ships, crazy right! 🙂
The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb:
- Fool’s Errand.
- The Golden Fool.
- Fool’s Fate.
OK, this is the last time that Hobb appears on my list, so relax, the Hobb lovefest is over, though if you have ever read any of her books you will see why I rate her work so highly! The Tawny Man trilogy takes place fifteen years after the end of The Farseer trilogy and we are once again reunited with our old friends, Fitz, Fool/Lord Golden (I wonder what he was upto during the gap between trilogies, hhmmm), Chade, Nighteyes and many more. This is a great continuation of the characters stories and Hobb again writes a gripping trilogy that pulls you in whittling away hours as you become engrossed in her world, For me, Fool’s Errand has one of the most poignant, sad and heartbreaking scene/section in literature, not just in fantasy but in all genres of book. And, I tell you now blog followers, she even managed to evoke emotion in me, making this often sarcastic tattooed male shed a manly tear! Another must read by one of the greats in fantasy Robin Hobb.
The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence:
- Prince of Thorns.
- King of Thorns.
- Emperor of Thorns.
Can I just write Jorg Ancrath and leave it at that?!?!?!? No, you say, fair enough, here is my quick overview of this trilogy !!HERE!! Love this series, pure Grimdark with a dark and psychotic main character in Jorg who won’t be to everyone’s taste but…..if you allow him, then the murdering little blood spilling psychopathic degenerate will captivate you and you find yourself pulled into his story.
Red Queen’s War Trilogy by Mark Lawrence:
- Prince of Fools.
- The Liar’s Key.
- The Wheel of Osheim.
After I started reading again and got into fantasy Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy was one of my favourite trilogies out there and I loved Jorg Ancrath, he was so different to any character that I had read before. And, so it pains me to write it but overall I prefer his second trilogy with The Red Queen’s War, again set in his Broken Empire world, the story takes place during the same time frame as The Broken Empire and you may even see a little appearance by everyone’s favourite little psychopath Jorg in the books to. Focusing on two main characters Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason, Jalan is a coward and a womaniser while Snorri is his complete opposite, honourable and courageous, Snorri will face danger head on with a smile and Jalan will run away whilst screaming like a girl. The story throughout the three books in the trilogy is great and the banter and interplay between the two leads is top quality, emotion and humour of the highest level. Both Jalan and Snorri grow so much during the trilogy, that at the end, yes, they are both still recognisable as the characters you met pages ago at the beginning of Prince of Fools (Book 1) but they have developed so much and traits from each other have rubbed of on them both, Snorri is still Snorri but Jalan by the end has some redeeming qualities about him to. The trilogies end is also just pure Jalan and you have to smile. This is more accessable then Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy and is a must read for fantasy fans with a captivating duo of great lead characters.
Steelhaven Trilogy by Richard Ford:
- Herald of the Storm.
- The Shattered Crown.
- Lord of Ashes.
Another top quality Grimdark trilogy here, that I personally feel is underated as I don’t see it around much on many fantasy lists, so it’s getting a place on mine! A dark, well paced, well written engaging trilogy with a decent cast of characters who pull you into their city and their story. A far more detailed overview of the trilogy can be found in my review !!HERE!!
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley:
- The Emperor’s Blades.
- The Providence of Fire.
- The Last Mortal Bond.
A fast paced well written trilogy revolving around three main characters (siblings) and their subsequent story arc’s. Monks, Politicians and a crack commando unit – yay for an A Team reference in a fantasy list! 🙂 Great character development through out from a trio of rally interesting main sibling characters, set in a richly detailed world, action packed, anyone who’s read this will agree, who doesn’t want to be a Ketteral?? It really has all you could want in a fantasy trilogy.
Raven’s Shadow Trilogy by Anthony Ryan:
- Blood Song.
- Tower Lord.
- Queen of Fire.
Hhmm, this was a hard one as to whether to even include it on the list or not as I’m a massive fan of the first book but felt that the second book was a dissapointment with the third and final book going some way to rectifying my misgivings about the second book. The first book is written in the same vein as Patrick Rothuss and his Kingkiller Chronicles, where the main character Vaelin Al Sorna recounts his tale to another. However by the end of the book this has changed as Vaelin’s tale reaches the present and we go from him recounting his past story to what is currently happening. I fully admit that when I started the series I thought great, it sounds really good and Blood Song is an amazing book, great characters, friendships and detailed world building all created a complex story but…..
When I started the first book I thought that I was going to be reading another KingKiller Chronicles and following Vaelin through his story for the three books or at least up until about half way through the third book but that wasn’t the case. In the sequels Vaelin doesn’t play as larger role in the two books and we go from having one main character point of view to multiple points of view and as you can see, the third book is called Queen of Fire, Vaelin is a fella, he would-be a King so it’s obvious that he isn’t the main character in the story. I’ve added the trilogy to the list as I believe Blood Song is a great book and a must read for fantasy fans and on a whole the trilogy is a decent read. It’s just a shame that Ryan set such a high standard with the first book and then failed to match it with the two sequels.
The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein:
- The Fellowship of the Ring.
- The Two Towers.
- The Return of the King.
Well, yes, I had to finish with the Grand daddy of all fantasy trilogies now didn’t I!!!! The old-timer that is The Lord of The Rings. If you haven’t read the books then I am guessing that you will at least have watched the films, so it’s a name that you all should be well aware of! Anyone out there not heard of The Lord of The Rings?? Hands in the air?? Nope, didn’t think so! Good! It’s a literary classic and a trilogy everyone should read!
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