art & literature

Six Greatest Fantasy Novel Series You Should Read

Sheena Joseph | Dec 16 2020
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December is the perfect time to read fantasy novels. It has a lot to do with the cosy year-end vibes and holiday spirit. Fortunately, there is no scarcity of the fantasy novel series. In fact, fantasy is one of the most popular genres in literature. If you are new to the genre, fantasy is a branch of literature that features magical and supernatural elements that do not exist in the real world. The story is often set in a fictional world which is most of the time inspired by myth, legends, and folklore. Fantasy novels tend to be highly dramatic and exciting. Their aim is to transport you to a whole different world. Here are some of the best fantasy novel series you can read this holiday season.

1) Harry Potter Series

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The Harry Potter series is one of the most popular ones. It is so popular that it has branched to many entities including a film franchise and a theme park. Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the plot revolves around a young wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Most of the story takes place in their school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns the wizarding world's struggle against Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who wants to become immortal and wipe out humans.

There are seven books in the series - Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows.  

2) Mortal Instruments Series and Spin Offs

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Cassandra Clare is the uncrowned queen of fantasy literature among those who love the genre. She is known for the urban fantasy series popularly known as The Shadowhunter Chronicles. 

Most of the story takes place in New York City and focuses on a race of warriors called Shadowhunters. They possess the blood of angels and are tasked with protecting the human world from demons. The story involves entities infected with demon diseases - warlocks, vampires, and werewolves. Immortal creatures called fairies are also part of the story.

The first set of books - The Mortal Instruments series were released from 2007 to 2014. The books made Cassandra Clare one of the most successful authors. The series has six books - City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. 

She later wrote four spin-off series - The Dark Artifices trilogy, The Eldest Curses, The Last Hours, and The Magisterium series. Some books of these series are yet to come out. Which makes The Shadowhunter Chronicles to be the best fandom to jump into.

3) An Ember in the Ashes Series

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It is the most hyped fantasy series at the moment because the latest installment was released last week. The novels are written by Pakistani-American author Sabaa Tahir. The plot is set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Rome. But the novel was initially appreciated for having characters with south Asian features, a rare occurrence in English literature. The plot focuses on a slave girl named Laia and a soldier named Elias fighting against the tyrannical regime. Their journey begins as an effort to free Laia's brother and goes on to be something larger than them.

If you are looking for a shorter series, this is the perfect one. The series has four novels -  An Ember in the Ashes,  A Torch Against the Night,  A Reaper at the Gates, and A Sky Beyond the Storm.

4) A Song of Ice and Fire Series

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A Song of Ice and Fire, popularly known for its TV adaptation 'Game of Thrones' is written by George R.R. Martin. This epic fantasy novel series is known to have one of the largest fandoms in the world. Unlike the TV show, the books do not disappoint with shabby writing towards the end. However, the author has not completed the last two books and there is no news when they will be published. 

The story takes place on the fictional continents Westeros and Essos. The plot is all about a dynastic war among several families that want to control the continents.

So far, there are five books in the series A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. Two more books - The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring - are to be published in the future.

5) The Chronicles of Narnia series

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If you want to read a light and easy read, The Chronicles of Narnia is a perfect choice. The books are written for children but it has a rich plot. Books are smaller and easy to understand. Written by C.S. Lewis between 1950 and 1956, this fantasy world of magic has been adapted for radio, TV, theatre, and film over the years.

The story is set in a fictional world called Narnia which has talking animals and mythical beasts. The books span across right from the creation of Narnia to its destruction. There are seven books in the series - 'The Magician's Nephew', 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe', 'The Horse and His Boy', 'Prince Caspian', 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader', 'The Silver Chair', and 'The Last Battle'.

6) Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows Duology

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Popularly known as Grishverse among fans, the six books are written by Leigh Bardugo. While either of the trilogies can be read first, the Grisha trilogy must be the first if you want to understand the magic system. The fantasy adventure novel is narrated by Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan in Ravka who unexpectedly harnesses a power she never knew to possess. Ravka is a land inspired by the country Russia. The three novels in the trilogy are 'Shadow and Bone', 'Siege and Storm', and 'Ruin and Rising'.

The duology - 'Six of Crows' is set in the same world as the Grisha books. However, the story takes place in a city called Ketterdam, inspired by Amsterdam. The plot is set in a different time frame of the 17th century and the Dutch Republic. Two books - 'Six of Crows' and 'Crooked Kingdom' are focused on five teenagers who are coming together to pull off a heist. Due to the immense popularity of the books, Netflix will be soon releasing a show based on them.