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Classic Fantasy: Recommended Narratives for Beginners and Veterans

J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy is the cornerstone of the fantasy genre as we understand it today; it is the first, and most read. If you haven't taken the time, and want to familiarize yourself with the fantasy genre, this one is a must-read.

H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu

If Tolkien's Lord of the Rings founded the fantasy genre, then H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu formed its own sub-genre: the Lovecraftian Horror. It is an excellent blend of Victorian-era psychological horror with mystical and fantastical abominations from beyond the veil of time and space.

David Eddings' Domes of Fire

For the feminist readers, David Eddings' Domes of Fire features a thrilling narrative of politics, intrigue, war, sorcery and love. The story revolves around a powerful queen and her entourage of diverse characters who visit an empire in turmoil in an attempt to uncover and prevent a secret plot which threatens to do far worse than murder an emperor.

Brian Jacques' Redwall

While it may be considered a children's novel, Brian Jacques' Redwall is beautifully written and possesses an almost limitless charm. It's equal parts a good first fantasy novel for beginners to acquaint themselves with the genre, and a good choice for veterans looking to enjoy an excellent story and memorable characters.

Roger Zelazny's The Great Book of Amber

Roger Zelazny's The Great Book of Amber is the sweeping epic I regard as the pinnacle of the fantasy genre, featuring a sly and witty yet principled protagonist on a journey to return to the land which he calls home and claim his birthright, Zelazny's outstanding writing has gripped me from the first page and did not let go until I finished all 1,257 pages eight hours later.

Main picture: Cover of Roger Zelazny's The great Book of Amber

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