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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top 6 Lesser Known or Forgotten Fantasy Series

The sad thing about this list is that it is wholly incomplete. It cannot possibly touch upon the hundreds of fantasy series that have been written, because I have not read all of them--and neither have you. There are too many books to properly write this list, but I'm going to try nonetheless.

The following are six lesser known or forgotten fantasy series that I consider to be particularly noteworthy (in no particular order):
  • The DragonRealm Series by Richard A. Knaak
    Knaak was one of the first writers to get me into fantasy. I started reading fantasy with his Dragonlance books and, some years later, discovered he had his own fantasy series. After reading the first book, I was hooked. It's been a while since I've read the books, but I remember them being quite entertaining, with a mage who changes from good to evil (and vice versa) every time he dies (and is resurrected) and a complex dragon society.
  • The Duncton Wood Series by William Horwood
    I suspect this is one of those lesser known fantasy series. Horwood's fantasy series is a mixture of Richard Adams' Watership Down and Brian Jacque's animal fantasies, only a million times more elaborate and epic. Each novel follows a series of moles in an enormous mole society, richly developed and conceived as if it actually existed today, with mythology and more interweaved into the storylines. Truly the cream of the crop as far as animal fantasies are concerned. Even if you don't like books with animals as the central characters, you should try Horwood's books. They're amazing.
  • The Iron Dragon Series by Paul Genesse
    I don't know if you would say that Genesse's Iron Dragon series is forgotten, but it is certainly lesser known. Part of this is due to Genesse's publisher, Five Star, being particularly small. Regardless, Genesse has written an intense, action-packed series that will continue to be developed ever the next three books. His work is relatively new, too, so get into them while you still can!
  • The Godslayer Chronicles by James Clemens
    The series is apparently incomplete, but the Godslayer Chronicles, beginning with Shadowfall, is one of the my favorite fantasy series in existence. I wish he would write the third book already, but as it is, Shadowfall is richly developed and uses gods and magic in a fairly unique way--to my knowledge. Even the main character has one heck of a special ability! Definitely worth reading.
  • The Remin Chronicles by Nick Ruth
    One of two young adult fantasy series on this list, The Remin Chronicles, starting with The Dark Dreamweaver, is a fantastic quirky series in the vein of Leven Thumps. One of the main characters is a magic-weilding caterpillar! I'm fond of quirky fantasy, and if you are too, then check out the first book.
  • The Young Wizards Series by Diane Duane
    I'm not sure if Duane's young adult fantasy series is lesser known or forgotten, but I'm assuming it's the former as I don't hear much about it these days. Her Young Wizards books follow a duo of, well, young wizards as they learn and use their newfound magic abilities to combat various foes within the wizarding world. Her novels came well before Harry Potter flooded the market, and one should not compare her work to Rowling's. The Young Wizards series is intricate, well written, and fascinating.
And there you have it. Since obviously I have not read every fantasy series ever written, if you have any suggestions for additions, please let me know! I'm always curious to see what people have enjoyed in the past and present.


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  1. Good call on Duncton Wood. My favourites of the lesser knowns, or read forgotten, are all English:

    Hugh Cook's Chronicles of Age of Darkness series, Lyndon Hardy's Magics series (Master of the Five Magics, Secrets of the Sixth Magic, Riddle of the Seven Realms) and Roger Taylor's Hawklan books...

    I shall now return to the 1980s...

  2. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Don't forget The Thomas Covenant Chronicles by Stephen R. Donaldson. He originally wrote them in the 70's and 80's, but restarted the series in last few years.

  3. Steven: Oh, I'll have to hunt all those down! Thanks for letting me know about them.

    Anon: I don't consider Donaldson's work to be lesser known or forgotten by a long shot.

  4. Anonymous7:40 PM

    I loved the first IRON DRAGONS book and I'm NOT a fantasy reader usually...but I like this blog.

  5. That's good to hear :). Glad you like the blog!

  6. Thank you for including The Remin Chronicles on your list. I enjoyed the Young Wizard series too, but haven't read the others.

    Anonymous: We love Donaldson, too, but I'd have to agree with S.M.D. that he's not lesser known. Maybe not as well known as he used to be, though.

  7. Sheila: You're welcome! The Young Wizard stuff is good, in my opinion.

  8. And I just realized how useless that comment was...

  9. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Windrose series from B. Hambly is a great oldie.


  10. Hambly would certainly be a good addition.

  11. Back in the late 60's and early 70's Lin Carter edited an adult fantasy series for Ballantine books. It was, in a word, outstanding. Many forgotten or obscure authors were part of it. Here's the wiki link:

    Check it out and then head to the library!

  12. seekerpat: I saw that while I was surfing the net for this post to determine if the things I wanted to put on this list would qualify as lesser known or forgotten. Looked interesting. Lots of names I've never heard of on there.