I’m not as prolific a reader as some people, but I like to think I’m pretty well read. The more I seriously I’ve taken my writing, the more seriously I’ve read, and I’ve tried to read a lot more of the genres I write. Which includes fantasy. I read a lot of fantasy. In fact I’d say it makes up the bulk of what I read, but there are quite a few really big fantasy series that I just haven’t got around to. Yet.
1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is a little bit of cheaty one, mainly because the Lord of the Rings is not a series and is technically only one book, divided into three when it was published. But it’s also the series I am most ashamed I haven’t read yet, so with that honour alone, it makes it to the shame list.
Tolkien is literally (that’s a pun right there) the grandfather of modern fantasy. Sometimes I can’t believe I call myself both a writer and a fan of the genre without having read any of his work beyond The Hobbit. It’s a classic, and a staple of the fantasy genre, but it’s also pretty old. And that’s not a bad thing, but reading tastes are different now, and while there are many people who love Lord of the Rings, there are also a lot of people who don’t enjoy it. It makes me a little uncomfortable that I might fall into the later category. It’s probably just the imposter syndrome talking, because it really shouldn’t matter if I don’t enjoy a fantasy novel published in 1954. But I want to. I really want to love it, and that fear is why I have yet to pick it up.
2. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time series is a behemoth, and one that I’ve heard only amazing things about. It began back in 1990 and there are a whopping fourteen books in the series, which is a little intimidating and quite honestly the reason why I probably haven’t started it yet. That being said, the first book, The Eye of the World, is definitely on my TBR for this year.
3. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Yet another massively intimidating series. What makes this even harder for me is the ubiquitous advice that you do NOT start at the very first instalment, The Colour of Magic. I just don’t like jumping into things in the middle. I rewatch all of the MCU movies before each new instalment because I hate the feeling of being dropped into a story. Even though the movies can for the most part stand alone (like a book should), I know there are references and connections to previous movies and I want them to be fresh in my mind. I am also struggling through the new Star Wars canon, which,despite being heavily reduced after the Disney purchase, is still constantly in flux which can be extremely frustrating. It’s something I’d need to get over if I ever want to read and enjoy the series, I’ll admit. I’m just not there yet.
4. Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb
I have yet to hear a bad thing about a Robin Hobb book. Her Realm of the Elderlings series are among some of the most beloved fantasy stories, and yet I’ve never read a single book by her. No particular reason why, either. It’s just one of those book series I haven’t got around to. The last couple of years I’ve been really strict about my book buying habits which is unfortunately another reason why some of these series remain untouched. But one day that will be remedied!
5. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin
This is a tough one to put here, mostly because LeGuin is a famed writer, and Earthsea is considered one of the classics of fantasy literature. I read a short story set in the Earthsea universe many years ago and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I’d really like to give the novels a chance, however, before I write the series off completely. Especially since I know LeGuin is an amazing writer. I just haven’t got around to it yet. Thus, it makes it to the shame list.
One thing I am noticing as I put this list together is how many of them are really long, multi-book series. It makes them more intimidating than the average trilogy, and that’s probably a big part of why I put off reading these books – I hate leaving a story unfinished. I know if I start it, especially if I really enjoy it, it’s going to be a big undertaking to get through the entire series. It’ll be an enjoyable one, don’t get me wrong, but it is still a big time commitment. I guess I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe, but at least I can work on that. Eventually I’ll get to most of these series if not all. It’s just a matter of discipline and dedication, am I right?
Over to You!
Are there any fantasy books you’re ashamed you haven’t read? Are there any on this list you think I should bump up on my TBR? Let me know in the comments!