If you’re a lover of fantasy, then chances are you are probably also a fan of the sub-genre known as epic fantasy, in which brave heroes and heroines struggle against evil forces that are out to destroy their world and all that they hold dear. If you are such a fan, you probably know just how many epic fantasies there are out there. This article, the second in a series, will tell you about some of the best epic fantasy series currently on the shelves.
His Dark Materials
This series, written by Philip Pullman, is set in a world that is parallel to ours, in which two young people, a girl named Lyra and a boy named Will, as they struggle against the malevolent forces of the Magisterium and the Authority (this world’s equivalent of God,) that is their commander. Widely seen as a critique upon the dogmatic nature of contemporary Christianity, this novel is powerful, moving, and extraordinarily thought-provoking. Non one who reads this series can remain unchanged.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Widely seen as the opposite of “His Dark Materials” in many ways, this series, written by J.R.R. Tolkien’s contemporary, colleague, and friend C.S. Lewis, is a not-so-suble defense of Christianity and its tenets. It follows the adventures of a group of children (who change throughout the series,) as they struggle against the forces of darkness in the magical kingdom of Narnia. Although a bit pedantic and heavy-handed with the allegory at times, it is nevertheless a fine example of traditional epic fantasy.
Crown of Stars
Although sometimes overlooked in discussions of epic fantasy, “Crown of Stars,” written by the formidable Kate Elliott, is a sprawling tale that stretches over several volumes. It follows the adventures of two young people, Alain and Liath, as they struggle against the forces of evil that are seeking to take over the world and enslave (or kill) those they love. The setting is richly textured and reminiscent of Europe during the Middle Ages, and it’s clear that Elliott spent a great deal of time working with the historical material.
The Dark Tower
This series, written by the inimitable Stephen King, offers up some significant challenges to the epic fantasy genre while also obeying many of its features. Set in a dystopian world where the very fabric of the world is fraying and falling apart, it follows a group of gunslingers as they attempt to stop the forces of evil from taking over and destroying the focus of all worlds (the dark tower of the title.) With its ever-present darkness and frank grittiness, this series is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in epic fantasy.
This series, written by the late David Eddings, is one of those epic fantasy series that does not try to do too much and in doing so stays clear, focused, and powerful. It follows the adventures of a young boy (a great surprise,) as he journeys across the world to battle a great evil. The world here is fully drawn, the action evenly paced, and the characters enjoyable, so it has all of the elements of an epic fantasy series that is definitely worth the time investment.
Whether you’re looking for action or for immersing yourself in an alternate fantasy universe, then you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in one of these excellent epic fantasy series.