At one point, I posted my 5 favorite series (which are subject to change based on mood and new books I’ve read, although I know Song of Ice and Fire or the Robin Hobb books will never be off the list based on my mood). I’m in a writing mood so I’m now going to post other sci fi and fantasy books worth reading, in no particular order.

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – Yes, it’s a comic book series. It’s also still got some of the greatest characters and stories I’ve ever read (and is one of those series that would be in my top 5 at times). There was a bit of an upset when one of these stories won a World Fantasy Award for short story since it was a comic book, and I might have been enough of a snob before reading them that I would have agreed. Now I think it is completely deserved. They’re great deep tales that tie in all kinds of mythology.

1. Preludes and Nocturnes
2. The Doll’s House
3. Dream Country
4. Season of Mists
5. A Game of You
6. Fables and Reflections
7. Brief Lives
8. World’s End
9. The Kindly Ones
10. The Wake

(Stand alone more or less)
The Dream Hunters
Endless Nights

Death comics (related):
Death: The High Cost of Living
Death: The Time of Your Life

Asimov’s Robot mysteries – The first one Caves of Steel was just ok. Because of this, it was a while before I picked up the rest of the books in the series, but once I had, I was glad I did. Each book got progressively better and the last two were written after Asimov had started to actually get better at writing style. I liked the sympathetic view of R. Daneel a lot and liked these better than Asimov’s more famous Foundation novels.

1. The Caves of Steel
2. The Naked Sun
3. The Robots of Dawn
4. Robots and Empire

Asimov’s Foundation novels – Yes, I liked the Robot mysteries better, but these were still interesting and worth reading. The first book in the series, Foundation, is also the weakest of the bunch since it jumps between characters a lot. Psychohistory is an interesting concept, though.

Original trilogy:
1. Foundation
2. Foundation and Empire
3. Second Foundation

1. Prelude to Foundation
2. Forward the Foundation

Later sequels to the original trilogy:
1. Foundation’s Edge
2. Foundation and Earth

Note: These were not written in chronological order. If you wanted to read them in actual order, you would want to read the two prequels, then the original trilogy, then Foundation’s Edge, followed by Foundation and Earth. I read the original trilogy, then the prequels, then the last two.

Greg Keyes’s Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone – Some of the characters are stereotypical, but some like the composer are different. It’s a fun story and it’s got some nice humor sometimes. I think the comparisons to Martin are unwarranted since it’s not at that level of story or characterization, but it’s still a good series. I’m looking forward to the next book, The Born Queen, which I’ve heard is supposed to come out in November of this year (but I just looked it up on Amazon and that says January 2008, so who knows).

1. The Briar King
2. The Blood Knight
3. The Charnel Prince

Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle – Another Arthurian myth series. The first three books are really good and the two after that aren’t as good as the first three.

1. Taliesin
2. Merlin
3. Arthur
4. Pendragon
5. Grail

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (of course) – Beautiful story, although a bit slow at times, and of course everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows about them.

1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. The Two Towers
3. Return of the King

(And of course, don’t miss The Hobbit, which I’d recommend reading first.)

Nancy Kress’s Beggars trilogy – Lots of ideas are packed into this science fiction trilogy, especially the first book. I loved Beggars in Spain, the first book, but found the second book in the trilogy a little hard to trudge through. The last book was much better, although not as good as the first one.

1. Beggars in Spain
2. Beggars and Choosers
3. Beggars Ride

Carol Berg’s Rai-kirah trilogy – Very underrated series, in my opinion. A lot of people haven’t heard of it but it is wonderful. The first book in this trilogy, Transformation, has made it into my top 10 favorites. The character development and story were amazing and I loved reading about the friendship between Seyonne and Aleksander. The next two books were a lot deeper and I found the concepts of truth and reality very intriguing, but I still just loved the story in the first book the most.

1. Transformation
2. Revelation
3. Restoration

Note: The first book in Carol Berg’s new series just came out. It’s called Flesh and Spirit and it looks really good – I added it to my wishlist! She keeps a plog on amazon that is interesting to read. She seems really nice and down to earth and actually interested in conversing with her fans.

Carol Berg’s Song of the Beast – This stand alone book was not as good as the Rai-Kirah trilogy, but it was still pretty good. The ending was a bit abrupt and disappointing, but other than that, it was a good book.

Morgan Llywelyn’s Red Branch – Morgan Llywelyn writes fiction with Celtic themes and this retelling of the myth of Cuchulain was very enjoyable.

Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn – Another classic of fantasy. Beautiful bittersweet tale.

R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books – I’d only recommend these if you enjoy playing D&D. They’re not deep, they’re not amazing or original other than the idea of a “good” drow elf, but they are fun, quick, adventurous reads.

Books (in chronological order, not the order in which they were written):

Dark Elf trilogy
1. Homeland
2. Exile
3. Sojourn

Icewind Dale trilogy
1. The Crystal Shard
2. Streams of Silver
3. The Halfling’s Gem

Legacy of the Drow tetralogy:
1. The Legacy
2. Starless Night
3. Siege of Darkness
4. Passage to Dawn

Paths of Darkness tetralogy:
1. The Silent Blade
2. The Spine of the World
3. Servant of the Shard
4. Sea of Swords

Hunter’s Blades trilogy:
1. The Thousand Orcs
2. The Lone Drow
3. The Two Swords

The Sellswords trilogy:
1. Servant of the Shard
Note: This is the same book as the third book in the Paths of Darkness set. It’s about Jarlaxle and Entreri and the next two books in this trilogy are sequels to it.
2. Promise of the Witch-King
3. Road of the Patriarch

Orson Scott Card’s Ender/Shadow books – Some of these were really good, while others were not very good. Ender’s Game is, of course, a modern sci fi classic. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, is my favorite Orson Scott Card novel – it was very thought-provoking and sympathetic to other cultures and I really like books about understanding others and why they do the things they do. The next two Ender books were good, but not as good as the first two. Next Card wrote some books about Ender’s friend Bean who appeared in Ender’s Game. Ender’s Shadow was also really good and still was very different from Ender’s Game even though it was kind of the same story from Bean’s perspective instead of Ender’s. The Shadow of the Hegemony wasn’t very good and Shadow Puppets was way, way too preachy. I haven’t read the last book yet, although I’ve heard it’s an improvement on the last couple of books.

Ender Books:
1. Ender’s Game
2. Speaker for the Dead
3. Xenocide
4. Children of the Mind

Shadow Books:
1. Ender’s Shadow
2. Shadow of the Hegemony
3. Shadow Puppets
4. Shadow of the Giant

David Farland’s The Runelords – The writing in the first book is horrible, but it does get better (although it’s still not wonderful after that). This is one of those series where the world and ideas are better than the writing and the story, but there’s enough interesting and unique concepts in it to make it a decent series. Plus a lot of the ethical questions that come up are rather thought-provoking. It seems fresh for the first three books, after that they start getting a bit old. The end of the fourth book is abrupt. The fifth book is actually about the main character Gaborn’s son and is the start of a new series.

1. The Sum of All Men
2. Brotherhood of the Wolf
3. Wizardborn
4. Lair of Bones
5. Sons of the Oak

Robin McKinley’s Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast – This is actually a young adult novel I read when I was about 9 or 10 years old, but I loved it so much then that I always remembered it and looked for it again a few years ago. I reread it then and I still love it as much as I did then. I love retold fairy tales. I’ve also read McKinley’s Spindle’s End and Rose Daughter about Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast again, respectively, and liked them as well, but Beauty is still my favorite. The Hero and the Crown is another fun young adult novel by her. They should really appeal to girls since she writes nice female-centered fantasy.

Of course, I’d also recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, but I have a whole review on that book.