Hey guys! I know I advertised this almost 2 weeks ago now, but I’ve been busy. Life – specifically, homework – tends to get in the way of such things! Anyway, here it is: my roundup of my top 5 fantasy authors!
As you can probably imagine, this was an incredibly hard task. Fantasy is my favourite genre and there are so many phenomenal writers and books to choose from. It was so painful having to knock so many great stories out of the original list I had until I got it down to five. I must say that all of the following authors are extremely good in their own way. The key thing about fantasy writing is that it’s a genre where you can really let your imagination run wild, where anything is possible. All of these authors have different styles of writing and their stories and worlds are completely different, so they are all the best in their own right! My ranking from 1 to 5 is basically how much I personally like them and how much they stand out for me.
So here we go…
5: Brian Jacques – The Redwall Series
To start us off at number 5 is Brian Jacques. I’ve already posted about his wonderful Redwall series once on this blog, so I won’t ramble on too much. Redwall is a series of 22 childrens’ fantasy books that recount the lives of a vast array of colourful characters – all of which are animals – and the various events that happen in their world. Each book is usually centred around Redwall Abbey, the utopian, happiness-loving haven of the woodland creatures, but the story often branches out to other settings such as Mossflower woods and the great mountain of Salamandastron. Jacques writes in such an imaginative and beautiful way that – despite these being childrens’ books – I can never put them down!
4: Cornelia Funke – The Inkheart Trilogy
Now, I just love this series! Why? Well, mainly because it’s a book about books! It’s every book-lovers dream, surely, to be able to actually disappear inside a book, talk to the characters, and take part in events. This book makes this dream a reality. Imagination just springs off every page! There are so many unique, deep characters. The plot is original. You can’t compare this trilogy to anything else as it’s such a brilliant idea. I’d like to say that if I could disappear into any book, this would be the book…but then I’d be inside a book in a book – which, coincidentally, happens to be named after a book in the story! …, ok sorry. Bit of a bookish moment there… Once again, this trilogy is directed at younger readers, but whatever your age: as long as you like books, you’ll love it.
3: Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials
When I first started formulating this list in my mind, Philip Pullman did not immediately crop up – and now he’s pinched a spot in my top 3! As soon as I thought of him I had no idea how I had forgotten. His most famous works – and the only books of his I have read – are, of course, His Dark Materials, most commonly known by its first book (Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on). The final two books in the trilogy (The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) are excellent reads as well, but it’s the first book which stands out for me. I’ve only read it once, but it’s one of those books that I remember with great fondness, and I think that counts for a lot. I love the subtle magic of it. It makes the world look a lot more interesting when only a few key elements are changed. And that specialness is why Pullman wins a spot on this list. This trilogy is definitely on my re-reading list, and I recommend you take a look too if you’re late to the party.
2: Terry Pratchett – The Discworld books
We’re into the big numbers now, and the Fantastic Mister Pratchett comes in with the silver! You know what I was saying about originality and imagination running wild earlier? Well, Pratchett blows originality (otherwise known as ridiculous bonkersness) of the scale, and his imagination is more like a starving lion that’s just been let out of a cage! The concept of his Discworld stories is surely one of the most remarkable and imaginative works of fantasy ever dreamed up! Pratchett is one of that wonderful elite set of authors that can get across something fantastically huge in only a few words, and amongst that he creates brilliant characters, smashing plots and laugh-out-loud comedy! And just a final footnote: I’ve only read two of Pratchett’s books. I’m already converted. Please, join the club. It’s nice here.
1: JK Rowling – The Harry Potter series
Well, here we are, and it had to be really didn’t it? In the past, for some strange reason, the Harry Potter books have never struck me as being fantasy stories, probably because they are firmly rooted in the real world. And that’s the magic of it – if you’ll pardon the pun. We can relate with Harry Potter. I heard a wonderful quote from a documentary once, said by Jason Isaacs (who plays Lucius Malfoy in the films): “It’s universal wish fulfilment. We all want to be taken aside and told we’re on this special path.” That’s what happens to Harry, and we’re on that journey with him. My two favourite books in the series (asking me to name my favourite 7 would be easier!) are the first and the last – Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows. Why? In the first book, we’re introduced to this brand new horizon of magic, mystery and pure excitement. In the last book, everything comes together. There was a moment when I finished watching the last film when I first realised the scale of what Harry Potter was. Rowling manages to create that bond between character and reader that means you actually care what happens – and I’m not just talking one character, I’m talking every character. Harry Potter is something that should be special to everyone, and that’s why JK Rowling is my number one.
So there you have it! My top 5! There are plenty of brilliant writers I reluctantly had to exclude: Christopher Paolini, Angie Sage, Robin Hobb, CS Lewis to name a few… I realise I owe an explanation for not including writers like George RR Martin or Robert Jordan, but I haven’t been able to read their books yet – they are on my rapidly growing list!
Just a final note – I’m sure you may be wondering what happened to a certain man…
What on Middle Earth happened to JRR Tolkien?
I have read Tolkien! Don’t shout at me quite yet! I’ve read and adored his books, but I chose not to include him on my list because… well everyone puts him at the top don’t they? You’d know what was coming next. JRR Tolkien is such a legend of the fantasy genre that you just have to include him. So I thought, I’ll let everyone else have a fair crack at it, and leave him out. Sure, he’s right up there in the top box, but why bother being predictable? JRR Tolkien is often referred to as the ‘Father of Modern Fantasy’. In other words, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be having all of these other epic masterpieces I’ve mentioned. If you’re ranking someone’s children, you wouldn’t include the father as well would you? (sorry for the terrible metaphor!) So that’s why. And I’m stickin’ by it. Humph.
I hope you enjoyed reading this – please leave a comment below and give me your top 5 – what would you change?