'Greatest Hits'

Here you can find a list of all the books I have come across in my research considered exceptional examples of fantasy writing and/or have been influential within the genre. 

I have put the title of this list - ‘Greatest Hits’ - in quotation marks because any list like this bases itself purely in opinion. These opinions may have come from people within the hierarchy of fantasy experts, researchers, and scholars (or from people just like you and me), but that does not mean that everyone will agree with this list. Some may even feel that it leaves out several books. I, myself, do not completely agree with the entire list below, but I also recognise that it is not my place to say whether they belong there. Everyone has their own list. This one is here to showcase books considered great or influential by the fantasy community. It is up to you to decide if you agree or disagree, and neither option is right or wrong. 

Older Texts

Epic of Gilgamesh - Sin-Leqi-Unninni, c. 600 BC 

Odyssey - Homer, c. 750 BC 

Beowulf - author unknown, c/. 100 BC

1400s

Le Morte d’Arthur - Sir Thomas Malory, 1485

1500s

A Midsummer’s Night Dream - William Shakespeare, 1595

1600s 

Stories or Tales from Times Past, With Morals - Charles Perrault, 1697

1700s

Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift, 1726

1800s

Grimms Fairy Tales (edition 1) - The Brothers Grimm, 1812 

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - E.T.A. Hoffman, 1816

Tales, Told for Children - Hans Christian Anderson, 1835

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens, 1843

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll, 1865

1900s (early)

Five Children and It - Edith Nesbit, 1902

Wind in the Williows - Kenneth Grahame, 1908

Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1915

1920s

The King of Elfland’s Daughter - Lord Dunsany, 1924

1930s

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

The Adventures of the Wishing Chair - Enid Blyton, 1937 

The Sword in the Stone - T.H. White, 1938

1940s

Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake, 1946

My Father’s Dragon - Ruth Stiles Gannett, 1948

1950s

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis, 1950

The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954

The Magician’s Nephew - C.S. Lewis, 1955 

The Once and Future King - T.H. White, 1958

1960s

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen - Alan Garner, 1960

The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander, 1964

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl, 1964

Over Sea, Under Stone - Susan Cooper, 1965

Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey, 1968

The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle, 1968 

The Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin, 1968

1970s

Nine Princes in Amber - Roger Zelazny, 1970

The Princess Bride - William Goldman, 1973 

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip, 1974

A Midsummer Tempest - Poul Anderson, 1974 

Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice, 1976

Riddle Master of Hed - Patricia A. McKillip, 1976

Lord Foul’s Bane - Stephen R. Donaldson, 1977

The Sword of Shannara - Terry Brooks, 1977

The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien, 1977

Night’s Master - Tanith Lee, 1978

Kindred - Octavia E. Butler, 1979

The Neverending Story - Michael Ende, 1979 

1980s

Duncton Wood - William Horwood, 1980

Little, Big - John Crowley, 1981 

Pawn of Prophecy - David Edding, 1982

The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley, 1982

Magician - Raymond E. Feist, 1982

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1982

The Gunslinger - Stephen King, 1982 

The BFG - Roald Dahl, 1982 

Jhereg - Steven Brust, 1983

The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett, 1983

Suldrun’s Garden - Jack Vance, 1983

Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce, 1983  

The Black Company - Glen Cook, 1984 

The Bridge of Birds - Barry Hughart, 1984

Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock, 1984

Legend - David Gemmell, 1984

The Summer Tree - Guy Gavriel Kay, 1984 

Redwall - Brian Jacques, 1986

Howl’s Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones, 1986 

Daggerspell - Katharine Kerr, 1986

Swordspoint - Ellen Kushner, 1987

Mort - Terry Pratchett, 1987

Obernewtyn - Isobelle Carmody, 1987

Daughter of the Empire - Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts, 1987

Swan Song - Robert McCammon, 1987 

The Dragonbone Chair - Tad Williams, 1988 

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter - Elizabeth Moon, 1988

Groosham Grange - Anthony Horowitz, 1988 

Magic’s Pawn - Mercedes Lackey, 1989 

1990s

 Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay, 1990

The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan, 1990

Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, 1990

Homeland - R.A. Salvatore, 1990 

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon, 1991

The Famished Road - Ben Okri, 1991

The Magic of Recluce - L.E. Modesitt Jr., 1991

Was - Geoff Ryman, 1992

The  Last Wish  - Andrzej Sapkowski, 1993

The Diamond Throne - David Eddings, 1993

Wizard’s First Rule - Terry Goodkind, 1994 

Towing Jehovah - James K. Morrow, 1994 

Assassin’s Apprentice - Robin Hobb, 1995 

Northern Lights - Philip Pullman, 1995 

Sabriel - Garth Nix, 1995

Hawkwood’s Voyage - Paul Kearney, 1995 

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin, 1996

A Crown of Swords - Robert Jordan, 1996

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman, 1996

The Broken Crown - Michelle West, 1997

The Dreaming Tree - C.J. Cherryh, 1997

Running with the Demon - Terry Brooks, 1997

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - J.K. Rowling, 1997

The Moon and the Sun - Vonda N. McIntyre, 1997

King’s Dragon - Kate Elliott, 1997

Ship of Magic - Robin Hobb, 1998

The Sum of All Men - David Farland, 1998

Sword in the Storm - David Gemmell, 1998

Green Rider - Kristen Britain, 1998

Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson, 1999

The Thief’s Gamble - Juliet E. McKenna, 1999

Dawnthief - James Barclay, 1999

World’s End - Mark Chadbourn, 1999

The Shadow of Ararat - Thomas Harlan, 1999

Daughter of the Forest- Juliet Marillier, 1999

A Cavern of Black Ice - J.V. Jones, 1999

2000s

Storm Front - Jim Butcher, 2000

American Gods - Neil Gaiman, 2001

The Treasury of the Fantastic - ed. David Sander, 2001

Fools’ Errand- Robin Hobb, 2001

The Magician’s Guild - Trudi Canavan, 2001

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde, 2001

The Curse of the Gloamglozer - Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, 2001

The One Kingdom - Sean Russell, 2001

Crown Duel - Sherwood Smith, 2002

Perdido Street Station - China Mieville, 2002

Eragon - Christopher Paolini, 2002

Tithe - Holly Black, 2002

The Sleeping Sword - Michael Morpurgo, 2002

The Etched City - K.J. Bishop, 2003

The Darkness that Comes Before - R. Scott Bakker, 2003

Mister Monday - Garth Nix, 2003

Conqueror’s Moon – Julian May, 2003

The Field Guide - Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, 2003

Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud, 2003

The Bloody Crown of Conan (second book in series) - Robert E. Howard, 2004

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke, 2004

The World of the End - Ofir Touche Gafla, 2004

The Spook’s Apprentice - Joseph Delaney, 2004

Shadowmarch - Tad Williams, 2004

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan, 2005

His Majesty’s Dragon - Naomi Novik, , 2006 

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch, 2006

Wildwood Dancing - Juliet Marillier, 2006

Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson, 2006

Moon Called - Patricia Briggs, 2006

A Shadow in Summer - Daniel Abraham, 2006

Touch the Dark - Karen Clance, 2006

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss, 2007

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union - Michael Chabon, 2007

Acacia - David Anthony Durham, 2007

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare, 2007                                                               

The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks, 2008

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman, 2008

The Painted Man - Peter V. Brett, 2008

The Ten Thousand - Paul Kearney, 2008

The Warded Man - Peter V. Brett, 2008

Graceling - Kristin Cashore, 2008

The Magicians - Lev Grossman, 2009

Palimpsest - Catherynne Valente , 2009

Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire, 2009

Greywalker - Kat Richardson, 2009

Fallen - Lauren Kate, 2009

Evermore - Alyson Noel, 2009

2010s

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson, 2010

Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay, 2010

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin, 2010

Who Fears Death - Nnedi Okorafor, 2010

Tymon’s Flight - Mary Victoria, 2010

Zoo City - Lauren Beukes, 2010

The Black Prism - Brent Weeks, 2010 

Spring - William Horwood, 2010

Cold Magic - Kate Elliott, 2010

Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor, 2011

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern, 2011

Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence, 2011

Among Others - Jo Walton, 2011

Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch, 2011

Theft of Swords - Michael J. Sullivan, 2011

Blood Song - Anthony Ryan

Broken Blade - Kelly McCullough, 201

The Dragon’s Path- Daniel Abraham, 2011

Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed, 2012

The First Confessor - Terry Goodkind, 2012

Fated - Benedict Jacka, 2012

Cinder - Marissa Meyer, 2012

The Raven Boys - Maggie Strefvater, 2012

The Red Knight - Christian Cameron , 2012

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas, 2012

Malice - John Gwynne, 2012

The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker, 2013

A Stranger in Olandria - Sofia Samatar, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman, 2013

The Screaming Staircase - Jonathan Stroud, 2013

Senlin Ascends - Josiah Bancroft, 201

The Thousand Names - Django Wexler, 2013

The Crown Tower - Michael J. Sullivan, 2013

Promise of Blood - Brain McClellan, 2013

The Grendel Affair - Lisa Shearin, 2013

The Salem Witch Society - K.N. Shields, 2013

City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett, 2014

The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell, 2014

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman, 2014

The Emperor’s Blades - Brian Staveley, 2014

Tears of a Heart - Chase Blackwood, 2014

The Devourers - Indra Das, 2015

The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins, 2015

Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho, 2015

The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro, 2015

The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin, 2015

The Grace of Kings - Ken Liu, 2015

Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo , 2015

The Grey Bastards - Jonathan French, 2015

Beyond Redemption - Michael R. Fletcher, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab, 2015

The Axe and the Throne - M.D. Ireman, 2015

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard, 2015

All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders, 2016

Scythe - Neal Shusterman , 2016

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff, 2016

Touch of Iron - Timandra Whitecastle, 2016

Hope and Red - Jon Skovron, 2016

The Dreamblood Duology - N.K. Jemisin, 2016

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden, 2017

The Changeling - Victor LaValle, 2017 

A City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty, 2017

Jade City - Fonda Lee, 2017

Red Sister - Mark Lawrence, 2017

Blackwing - Ed McDonald, 2017

The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams, 2017

Skullsworn- Brian Staveley, 2017

Circe - Madeline Miller, 2018

The Poppy War - R.F. Kuang, 2018

We Ride the Storm - Devin Madson, 2018

Shattered Dreams - Ulff Lehmann, 2018

The Cruel Prince - Holly Black, 2018 

Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyemi, 2018

Ninth House - Leigh Bardugo, 2019

Starsight - Brandon Sanderson, 2019

Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James, 2019

Raven Tower - Anne Leckie, 2019

The 10,000 Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow, 2019

The Priory of the Orange Tree - Samantha Shannon, 2019

The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie, 2019 

Blood of an Exile - Brian Naslund, 2019

2020s

The Unspoken Name - A.K. Larkwood, 2020

The Obsidian Tower - Melissa Caruso, 2020


If you can think, or know, of a book that is missing from this list that you feel strongly belongs on it then please comment below! 

Resources
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-read-down/best-fantasy-novels-of-all-time
https://prowritingaid.com/art/741/the-best-fantasy-novels-of-all-time.aspx
https://reedsy.com/discovery/blog/best-fantasy-books
https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2019/07/21/the-best-fantasy-novels-of-all-time/#2d97410b69ec
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-fantasy-books-novels-series
https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/top-100-fantasy-books/
https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/blog/top-10-fantasy-series/
http://bestfantasybooks.com/top-100-fantasy-books
https://reedsy.com/discovery/blog/best-fantasy-series
https://ojs.library.dal.ca/YAHS/article/download/403/388
https://blog.bookstellyouwhy.com/myth-fairy-tales-children-a-brief-history-of-fantasy
A Short History of Fantasy - Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James
https://www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/science-fiction-and-fantasy/best-new-fantasy-books

 

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