Tolkien is also responsible for reviving the older and less-used terms elven and elvish rather than Edmund Spenser 's invented elfin and elfish when editors corrected the term to the latter, Tolkien himself was quick to write a correction into the next printing. He probably preferred the word elf over fairy because elf is of Anglo-Saxon origin while fairy entered English from French. Like nearly all others in Middle-Earth, rarely do the elves display any kind of "active" magic found in later fantasy works, but are nonetheless deemed "magic" by the lesser races, due to their vast number of superhuman abilities keen senses such as sharper hearing and sight, even to the point of night vision, resting the mind and travel simultaneously, foresight, some kind of telepathy, power to control nature to some extent, such as summoning floods, and the power to conjure visions of the past.
Items made by the elves also seem to have enhanced properties, such as the Silmarils , the Palantiri , the "Lamps of Noldor" and eventually the Rings of Power. Other artifacts appearing in The Lord of the Rings are the appealing lembas bread capable of keeping a "traveller on his feet for a day of long labour", the reinvigorating beverage miruvor , the unusual hithlain rope , which is strong, tough, light, long, soft to the hand, packs close and, even seems to unknot itself to one's command.
The elven-cloaks the Fellowship receive from the elves were thought to be "magic cloaks" by Pippin, and although the elves neither confirmed nor denied this; those cloaks function similarly to the cloak of invisibility often used in works of fiction. Lord Thranduil of the Mirkwood Elves used "magic doors" to guard his palace, making it almost impossible for anyone to enter or exit against his will. Certain gifts Galadriel gave to the Fellowship of the Ring, such as Frodo's phial and Sam's box of earth from the gardens of Galadriel, also seem to possess magical properties.
This elven "magic" is different from the power of Sauron , as Galadriel stated to Frodo and Sam. The elves are sorted into two main kindreds: the Eldar and the Avari. The Eldar were divided into three groups: the Vanyar , the Noldor and the Teleri. In Tolkien's writings, the Noldor, the Sindar and the Silvan Elves , the last two being subdivisions of the Teleri, are the most prominent. The elves were summoned by the Valar to live with them in Valinor , long before the appearance of men and flourished in stature, craft and lore.
In "Laws and Customs among the Eldar", published in The History of Middle-earth , Tolkien elaborates on elvish sexuality, reproduction, and sexual norms. The Eldar view the sexual act as extremely special and intimate, for it leads to the conception and birth of children.
Extramarital and premarital sex would be considered contradictions in terms, and fidelity between spouses is absolute. Despite their longevity, the Eldar have generally few children with relatively sizable intervals between each child their numbers are stated to be in steady decline by the Third Age.
Their libido eventually wanes and they focus their interests elsewhere, like the arts. Nonetheless, they take great delight in the "union of love", and they consider the period of bearing and raising children as the happiest stage of their lives. A hallmark of fantasy elves is also their long and pointed ears. In gaming, and to some extent fantasy literature, elves as a rule have a greater depth of knowledge especially regarding magic than their human counterparts, due to a racial inclination as well as their extreme age. Typically, they are also capable warriors.
As in the Norse lore, elven-human unions and offspring were possible in Tolkien's saga a notable example being Elrond , the lord of Rivendell , and in many RPGs, half-elven is a possible race for player characters. Fantasy elves frequently divide up into subraces, such as the High Elves , Wood Elves and Dark Elves found in the Warhammer fantasy game setting. Especially dark elves popularized by TSR as " drow " are a common theme in many other fantasy games and to some extent literature.
Apart from malice, drow or dark elves are often depicted as being dark-skinned and living underground. In the Warhammer franchise, the first civilized people of the world were the High Elves Asur from the Atlantis -like though unsunken island realm of Ulthuan. Early on, the High Elves colonized large parts of the Warhammer world, but following the rise of the Druchii called "Dark Elves" by others than themselves , a fascistoid movement of corsairs and slavers , the High Elves were plunged into civil war and their power greatly faded.
Most of the elves who decided to stay in the colonies took up residence in the deep forests of the Old World, and with time became known as Wood Elves Asrai. The Wood Elves combine aspects of both in their behaviour, seeming fickle, capricious and dangerously inconstant to outsiders. Further, while they may bear physical similarity to the works of Tolkien, GW writers have stated on a number of occasions that their elves where based on the works of Poul Anderson. Within The Elder Scrolls universe, both the "Dwarves" Dwemer, who are not actually of short stature and the Orcs Orsimer are elven-derived races.
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Azeroth, the fantasy world of the Warcraft computer game series originally featured elves similar to the Warhammer High or Wood Elves. The series introduced the naturalistic purple-skinned Night Elves in Warcraft III , who were portrayed more favorably than traditional dark-skinned elves. These elves descended from a tribe of the now extinct Dark Trolls ; other races of elves descend from the Night Elves. Despite starting off as magic practitioners, they eventually abandon the use of magic and focus on the powers afforded to them over nature.
The High-Elves, outcast of the Night Elves, face the destruction of their kingdom, Quel'Thalas, and its capital, Silvermoon, at the hands of the Scourge. The survivors are thereafter known as Blood Elves and, due to the destruction of the magically-powerful Sunwell, become aware of their magical addiction. This faction was at one point part of the alliance alongside the humans, but abandoned the alliance following the events of WarCraft III. During the events of World of Warcraft: Legion , two new factions of elves, the Nightborne a subspecies of Night Elf with an affinity for arcane magic and the Void Elves Blood Elves who have embraced the power of the Void , were introduced.
Nevendaar, the world in the game Disciples II: Dark Prophecy and its expansions features a nation of elves called the Elven Alliance, consisting of the Noble Elves and the Wild Elves, both created by their god Gallean. Dark Age of Camelot features elves as a playable race in the realm of Hibernia. RuneScape features elves as a race in the game's fictional world of Gielinor. They dwell to the west in the land of Tirannwn. Elves once inhabited much of the Kingdom of Kandarin under Queen Glarial and King Baxtorian, but following the death of Glarial and the disappearance of Baxtorian, retreated west over the mountains, and their continued presence in the world has passed out of the common knowledge of most other races.
Some elves mistrust humans, dwarves, gnomes and trolls, and humans may not enter their capital city of Prifddinas. One elf dwells within the Champions' Guild as the elven champion, while a number of elves serve in the Army Recruitment and Mobilisation Society as formidable wielders of magic.
- The Elven Chronicles | SEELKs fire & ice.
- Heart Of FIre;
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In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals — the old art known as the Wit — gives him solace and companionship.
But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin. She writes beautifully and her characters are so real you can almost touch them.
The moles of Duncton Wood live in the shadow of Mandrake, a cruel tyrant corrupted by absolute power. A solitary young mole, Bracken, is thrown into leading the fight to free Duncton Wood. It is unfortunate that this work must be compared to Watership Down but that is the only book with which I can really compare it to in terms of story-line and excellence. This book is about moles and unlike anything you have ever read before. The animal kingdom is savage and survival of the fittest is a fact of life or death.
This is a book for adults and is at times as dark as it is uplifting. The book was first published in and has since become a best-selling novel. Read our review of Duncton Wood , the first book in the Duncton Chronicles. He called himself Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, because he dared not believe in the strange alternative world on which he suddenly found himself — the Land. But the Land tempted him. As a leper, in his own world he had been an outcast, unclean, a pariah. Only the mystic powers of the white gold he carried could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of the Despiser, Lord Foul.
Yet Thomas Covenant had no idea how those powers could be tapped…. But the effort spent in reading this series is rewarded ten-times over and I recommend that every fantasy fan read this seminal work. Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before him. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts.
But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the Country, the horror begins…. Chilling, memorable, full of wonderful characters and written in a fluid style that makes the narrative accessible to all ages. Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged.
Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in rural Herefordshire on the outside, but inside, it is a primeval, intricate labyrinth of trees, impossibly huge, unforgettable. Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Ryhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds his brother, Christopher, is also in thrall to the mysterious wood, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grow flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity….
Mythago Wood is a fantasy masterpiece. Read our review of Mythago Wood , book one of the Mythago Cycle. Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Reasonable rates. So when the Chicago P. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever. Read our review of Storm Front , book one in the Dresden Files series. Acheron Hades has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. In my opinion this book really takes the fantasy fiction genre further.
It combines some great elements that truly make this book comes to life in more than one dimension. Combining funny and witty dialogues but also numerous literary ideas with the bookworms and names of several of the characters make this a terrific read and should be compulsory for everyone. Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own. In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice, begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York, and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.
And as we read they form a tender and loving relationship that is pivotal to all that follows. Read our review of The Gunslinger , book one in the Dark Tower series. Quint, son of sky pirate captain, and new apprentice to Linius Pallitax, the Most High Academe, has been set some highly important tasks. Here, they unwittingly invoke an ancient curse — the curse of the gloamglozer…. Read our review of Curse of the Gloamglozer , book one of the Edge Chronicles.
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…. This book is beautifully amoral and contains no two-dimensional characters. Glen Cook changed the face of the fantasy genre forever — and for the better. At Crydee, a frontier outpost in the tranquil Kingdom of the Isles, an orphan boy, Pug, is apprenticed to a master magician — and the destinies of two worlds are changed forever.
Suddenly the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as mysterious alien invaders swarm the land. Pug is swept up into the conflict but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, an odyssey into the unknown has only just begun. Tomas will inherit a legacy of savage power from an ancient civilization. Understandably, this is one of the highest regarded fantasy series of all time.
Read our review of Magician , book one of the Riftwar Saga. Fierce and proud, the Rigante dwell deep in the green mountain lands, worshiping the gods of air and water, and the spirits of the earth. Among them lives a warrior who bears the mark of fate. Born of the storm that slew his father, he is Connavar, and tales of his courage spread like wildfire. The Seidh — a magical race as old as time — take note of the young warrior and cast a malignant shadow across his life.
For soon a merciless army will cross the water, destroying forever the timeless rhythms of life among the Rigante. Swearing to protect his people, Connavar embarks on a quest that will take him into the heart of the enemy. Along the way, he receives a gift: a sword as powerful and deadly as the Seidh who forged it. Thus he receives a name that will strike fear into the hearts of friend and foe alike — a name proclaiming a glorious and bitter destiny… Demonblade. A Tavern brawler who selflessly stands up when faced with injustice.
A Drunkard that, without a moment of hesitation, sacrifices his life in favour of an innocent family. A Burly woodcutter that travels to all corners of the world to rescue his captured crush. A pacifistic priest forced to slay numerous enemies. These tales tell of honour and glory, duty and loyalty, courage and resolve, all coated in a wonderful blend of action, black humour and suspense.
Twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the Discworld. Tourist, Rincewind decided, meant idiot. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. It plays by different rules.
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Certainly it refuses to succumb to the quaint notion that universes are ruled by pure logic and the harmony of numbers. Its very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the arrival of the first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. But if the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death is a spectacularly inept wizard, a little logic might turn out to be a very good idea….
Once you have read and enjoyed one Discworld novel you may find yourself making your way through the whole series. Read our review of The Colour of Magic , book one of the Discworld series. The above are just the first ten books in the Discworld series, click here for the complete list. In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities, it is also dangerous. Survival is only by secrecy and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers.
But it is as if they have their own imperative and she is brought to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land. Banished to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn, she must throw off her cloak of concealment and pit herself against those that would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse.
Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is …Elspeth is determined to uncover the plot and so, accompanied only by her cat, Maruman, embarks on a terrible adventure full of danger, the conclusion to which promises not just uncertainty about her safety but also that of many around her. Read our review of Obernewtyn , the first book in the series. In Einarinn, the secret of magic is known only by an elite few.
They live in deliberate isolation, under the watchful eye of the Archmage. But nothing last for ever. Livak is a part-time thief and a full-time gambler, long accustomed to living by her wits and narrowly avoiding serious trouble. When she attempts to sell a stolen antique to a passing merchant, she finds herself pulled into a new and dangerous world of political intrigue in which the stakes are higher than anyone involved can imagine.
For the antique she has acquired dates from a particular period in the history of Einarrin about which little is known, but much has been speculated. And when the truth begins to emerge, Livak decides to take the greatest gamble of her life. The Legend.
Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, high in the lonely country bordering on the clouds. There the grizzled old warrior kept company with snow leopards and awaited his old enemy death. The Fortress. Mighty Dros Delnoch, protected by six outer walls, the only route by which an army could pass through the mountains.
It was the stronghold of the Drenai empire. And now it was the last battleground, for all else had fallen before the Nadir hordes. And hope rested on the skills of that one old man…. The Raven are an elite. For years their only loyalty has been to themselves, and to their code.
But that time is coming to an end. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, on a mission which soon becomes a race for the secret location of Dawnthief. But as she trudged through the forest, using her long walk home to contemplate her depressing future — and the expulsion it was bound to hold — a horse burst through the woodland and charged straight for her.
Wherever his horse was taking him, he would be dead before they got there. He had sworn to carry out his mission as a Green Rider — one of the legendary messengers of the king — and he has a life or death message that must reach King Zachary. Karigan may be unable to save him, but she can deliver his message. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, her simple promise to deliver a letter is about to become a race against time… and a race for her life….
One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations, of humanity. And his biggest problem is admitting that magic exists at all…A novel of incomparable scope and brimming with atmospheric detail: in a world where heart hounds stalk the boundaries for unwary human prey, blood-sucking flies hunt on behalf of their underworld masters, and where artists can draw more than your likeness, there is no place to hide, nowhere safe. Here magic makes love twice as sweet, betrayal and loss twice as bitter. Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues — and seven sins. The moment Arthur meets sinister Mister Monday, the world turns inside out.
The next seven days will bring seven fearful challenges — and a billion grisly ways to die. As his world is attacked by a plague of hellish creatures, Arthur retreats into a mysterious house , a house that only he can see. Inside, unlikely hero Arthur must unravel the secrets of the Seven Keys, battling monsters and treacherous Denizens in a bid to save his world…. Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind.
Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message — one than can either redeem or doom him. A battle is coming… And in that battle shall be decided the fate of the world. Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object — the Orb — that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace.
But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war. Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew…. It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England — a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core of a flawless Sphere made by the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon CraeftLords in memory of the one he loved.
Her name was Spring and contained in the very heart of this work is a spark from the Fires of Creation. But while humans have lost their belief in such things, the Hydden — little people existing on the borders of our world — have not. Breaking the silence of centuries they send one of their own, a young boy, Jack, to live among humans in the hope that he may one day find what has been lost for so long. It is only through their voyage into the dangerous Hyddenworld that they will realize their destiny, find love and complete the great quest that will save both their worlds from destruction.
The Chronicles of Narnia have enchanted millions of readers over the last fifty years and the magical events described in C. For here is a world where a witch decrees eternal winter; where there are more talking animals than people; and where battles are fought by Centaurs, Giants and Fauns. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.
Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge. Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night. Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.
In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness. Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just wants to go unnoticed. Finding herself promoted to a command, she must rise to the challenge and fight impossible odds to survive. Their fates rest in the hands of an enigmatic new Colonel, sent to restore order while following his own mysterious agenda into the realm of the supernatural. A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose.
Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. Now if Arcadius can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood.
Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms.
Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star.
Every generation can point to a fantasy book or series that defines their teenage years. Currently, that would likely be Harry Potter; for those now edging towards or into their 40s it would be Dragonlance. Read our review of The Dragonlance Chronicles. For a full list of Dragonlance novels, visit Wikipedia. If you do, do not, or if you have any further recommendations then please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Thank you, we hope you enjoyed reading our list. These authors are all amazing, and their books well written and cherished by many; they deserve recognition. What about the Witcher books? Hi Emma. Good luck finding your next read! So many recommendations! Where to start?? Maybe I should resign myself to reread them forever. Anyone got any tips or advice, help lines for how to replace dear old Fitz? That is hands down my favorite series. But where is Tamora Pierce? She has many books written for 2 universes and is still adding to it with the Numair Chronicles.
Of course her Lioness series was great but it was when I read the Immortals series that I was hooked! You have some excellent selections listed. But seriously, these should have been the first four on your list. Just a joy to read. Brilliant comments Squiggler, completely agree with everything you said.
I just finished my second tour of the 10 book series and it was twice as good the second time around. Reading through this list brought back some great memories and sparked some new ideas as inspiration for my reading list — many thanks for that. PS: you might want to add the Rain Wild Chronicles to your Elderlings list for the sake of any tenacious new devotees adding these titles to their reading list as a chronology. Retrieved February 1, Science Fiction and Fantasy. July 13, Spike Press release. Retrieved November 26, — via The Futon Critic.
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The druid Allanon wakes up after a long slumber. Wil Ohmsford's mother passes him the elfstones, a magical relic that belonged to Wil's late father. Wil decides to go to Storlock, the village of healers, to learn the healing arts there. On the way, he is ambushed by a troll and saved by a Rover girl named Eretria, who drugs him and steals the elfstones. Allanon meets with the Elven King Eventine in the city of Arborlon and warns him that the Ellcrys is dying. He leaves to seek out Wil and finds him in the treehouse where he had been drugged by Eretria.
Elven Chronicles Series
As the Ellcrys weakens, a demon named the Dagda Mor breaks free of the Forbidding along with the Changeling, whom he dispatches to eliminate the Chosen. Amberle, haunted by the visions she saw when she touched the Ellcrys, flees Arborlon. She comes across Eretria, steals food and a horse, and heads for Wing Hove to meet with her aunt, Eventine's sister Pyria Sarah Peirse. Allanon uses magic to uncover a codex, proving to Wil that magic didn't end in the War of the Races years ago.
The Dagda Mor attacks Allanon in his mind. Allanon and Wil learn that the Chosen are the key to the renewal of the Ellcrys; however, the Changeling, using Amberle's form, has killed them all except Amberle, who had run away. Allanon and Wil track her to Wing Hove, where they are attacked by a Fury summoned from the Forbidding.
The Fury kills Pyria and goes after Wil and Amberle. James Marshall. As the Fury is chasing Wil and Amberle, an injured Allanon rises and kills it. The trio head to the Druid Cave to treat Allanon. After leaving him there, Wil and Amberle head to Silver River to grab some of its mud, which has healing properties, but are ambushed by Eretria and another rover. They are taken as hostages to the rover camp so Wil can teach Cephelo how to use the Elfstones.
Wil is unable to do so, and Cephelo threatens to kill Eretria. A Fury attacks the Rover camp but is destroyed by Wil, using the powers of the elfstones. On their way to Arborlon, they find an elf named Bandon chained and left alone and they take him with them.