Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Longer fantasy series

Book Riot has a post up, I see: Seven fantasy series that will take you all year to finish.

Of course my very first response is: No series ever written could actually take a whole year to finish. But in fact the author of this post, Emily Wenstrom, did come up with one that might. And several that, sorry, definitely would not.

Here are Wenstrom’s choices:

A Crown of Stars, Kate Elliot, seven books, which are longer epic doorstopper types, I gather (I haven’t read them) (yet).

Dresden Files, Jim Butcher, fifteen books. Okay, I grant you, fifteen books will take a while, which is one (big) reason I haven’t started this series at the beginning and don’t really plan to.

The Earthsea series, LeGuin, which does not in any way strike me as long enough to belong on a list of this type. There are only five books in the series, and frankly they vary quite a lot in quality, so I don’t know whether I’d recommend them all anyway.

The Legends of Drizzt, R. A. Salvatore, which I haven’t tried. Seems like there are about 20 or so books in the series. Yep, that’s a lot.

The Discworld series, Terry Pratchett, and here I was like: Okay, yes. This one *would* take all year. There are nearly fifty books in this world, and I doubt most people would want to read them all one after another, so reading them would stretch out for quite some time. But I do strongly disagree about starting with The Color of Magic. I never liked Rincewind and in fact don’t care for any of the earliest Discworld books. If I were suggesting where a new reader might start, I’d suggest either the Vimes series or the Tiffany series. But I haven’t actually read the ones focused on the witches. They might be a good place to start, too.

Kushiel’s universe series, Jacqueline Carey. Yeah, these are huge. I’ve read two of the interlocking series, the original one starting with Kushiel’s Dart and the Naamah series. Of the two, I thought the first was far superior. But these are indeed big books set in big series and would take a good while to get through.

The Patternist series by Octavia Butler. Like the LeGuin, I don’t think these necessarily belong on this list because the series is unfortunately not very long. What are there, five books? Short books, too. A series well worth reading, yes, but for a post on “series that will take up your whole year,” no.

What are some other fantasy series that might indeed take up your reading year, or at least a good portion of it? I can think of several that are not just hefty but might be well worth a reader’s time.

Inda series, Sherwood Smith

Only five books in the series, but they are loooong fantasy novels and the whole thing is definitely epic epic epic. Also, they’re really good. Probably wouldn’t take a heavy reader all year to get through them, but it might well take at least a month.

Sevenwaters series, Juliet Marillier

I’ve only read the first three Sevenwaters books, but I know there are more. Six, seven? They’re long, leisurely novels that probably lend themselves to slow and thoughtful reading.

Ship of Magic and all the connected titles, Robin Hobb

There’s the Liveship series and the Dragon Haven series at least. I’m not sure whether there are other books set in the same world? I had issues with some of the characters in the Liveship series, and to a lesser extent that was also true in the Dragon Haven series, but I did like both. Again, big, epic stories that would keep a reader going for a while — if not all year.

Okay, what’s a long, possibly epic, fantasy series that you’d like to add to the list?

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10 Comments Longer fantasy series

  1. David H.

    I’m always slightly bemused by these lists because, you know, doesn’t it depend on how fast one reads and how one allocates their reading focus? For example, I (re)read the 15-book Wheel of Time series (well-known doorstoppers) in just under 2 months… but I also didn’t read anything else in that time frame.

    Some of the long series you mentioned above are what I consider “easy reading,” like the Dresden Files books (which start out as urban fantasy mysteries and gradually become more and more epic, after book 12) or the Discworld novels.

    I have a hard time realizing how little people read sometimes! Haha. And some

    My choices for “year-long” book series would be:

    1) Any media tie-in novel series (especially if you’re counting all the books in a setting as a series, i.e. Star Trek, Star Wars, those D&D novels you mentioned)

    2) The real long series like Jordan’s Wheel of Time (15) or the Erikson/Esslemonth’s Malazan books (10+6+more), or if you include Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson’s contributions, the “full” Dune series (6+14).

    3) The big series that are really multiple subseries (Lackey’s Valdemar books (35+), Modesitt’s Recluce books (19+), Hobb’s stuff (20+?), & Feist just finished his Riftwar series (31, I think).

    I think it’s going to be harder to find series that make it into the 40s unless they’re older pulp stuff (or some current living authors live long enough to write more in their settings) since book lengths have been trending higher for a while.

  2. Jo in OKC

    Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara West. There are 12 books so far and the series isn’t done yet.

  3. Kootch

    Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series run into several books. Also, Robin Hobb’s Assassin books and the Liveship and related series happen in the one world. That’s about 15 books with another Fitz book this year. I read Elliott’s Crown of Stars series but didn’t enjoy it too much, enough to keep you reading but I flicked through quite a few tedious bits. Her more recent books way better. Raymond Feist’s Riftwar series runs to several books as well.

  4. Hanneke

    I was thinking about the interconnected series by Michelle (Sagara) West, starting off with the two Huntbrothers books, then the Sun Sword six, then another six giving a parallel view of the same times and settings, about Jewel and her den – that set of six doorstoppers turned into seven, she’s still writing on that seventh book though it was planned to come outbin 2017. She’s not finished telling stories in that world yet, she has said, but number 7 will finish the arc of the Jewel’s den books. I rather expect her to start another arc / set of large epic volumes, maybe reconnecting the Huntbrother set to the main story, or digging deeper into the Cities of Man with Adam the healer, or taking us to the northlands with Angel.

    She used to write one big epic book as Michelle West in the abovementioned Averalaan/Essalien series, and one (much shorter and simpler, with one viewpoint character) in the Elantra series Jo mentioned above, as Michelle Sagara, each year.
    Then she tried adding on a third series with Queen of the Dead, got stuck in book 2 of that, then got stuck triply as bad in the last book Grave, which is now finished and coming out soon.
    Those delays caused her a lot of stress and some slowing down in the appearance of the next epic doorstopper as Michelle West, though now she’s done with Grave I hope she can get out of the too-heavy stress period and get back in her writing groove for the other two series.

    I like both, but if you’re talking about series it will take a long time to read both because of pagecount and because of the complexity, the Michelle West series wins hands down: 14 fat epic books already, with number 15 (the end of the arc) hopefully coming out by the end of the year.

    They’re as complicated and epic as Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, but she doesn’t lose sight of where she’s going with the story, and it doesn’t sprawl off in all directions as much. Though her series usually end up being one or two books longer than she expects at the start, and the books tend to be fatter, they aren’t bloated or anything like that. Her characters are complex and interesting, and her stories always pack an emotional punch as well as being full of adventures (and some magic as well).
    You’ld never guess I like her writing, from the way I carry on… ;)

    Another (long?) series I really like, and I guess most of the people here have already read: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. Rereading those doesn’t take a year, though, so maybe not long enough?

    The Liaden Univrse by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller contains several different stories set in the same universe, some set far back in time, but most centering around the last 2-3 generations of the Clan Korval. I think we’re up to book 18 or 19 by now, as well as at least 3 volumes of short stories in this universe, often but not always featuring protagonists from the novels. The stories are diverse, from spy thrillers to “regency romance in space”, but almost all feature lots of adventures and most have some romance as well.
    The earlier ones (Jethri, Pilot’s choice) are less complex, the later ones follow several different members of Clan Korval and the interwoven storylines over several volumes make for a more epic storystyle.
    I can certainly recommend these, if you haven’t read them yet. They’re a bit easier reading than the Michelle West epics.

    I’ll end with a quick shoutout to another few long series on my shelves.

    David Eddings’ Belgariad + Mallorean = 6 + 6 + a few separate titles like Polgara, is very repetitive and seems aimed at young teenage boys.

    Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s first rule wasa bit of a hype a while back, but not something I’d recommend .

    Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series is I suppose well known to all here. Falls into the easy reading category, short to medium length books but there are a lot of them; especially if you count her son Todd’s continuation in.

    Christopher Stasheff had the Wizard and the Warlock series, which I think intersected at the book with that title. If you count both together because of that, and don’t count the Wizard in Rhyme series (which I prefer but it’s not connected and not long enough on its own) there should be enough short easy-reading books to call it a long series.

  5. Hanneke

    And of course, C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, with book 18 coming out this year. One if my favorite series, how could I not mention it, though it’s not epic in style.

  6. SarahZ

    Oof! Wizards First Rule was rough. Read the first one based on a recommendation, barely got into the second before it pissed me off enough to quit entirely.

    Brandon Sanderson is really prolific, and there’s a weird shared universe thing between all of his series, so you could make an argument for those being included.

    The Dresden series is long, but none of those books would take me more than a couple days. That being said, I don’t know if I’d recommend it without knowing how he sticks the landing with these last few. I felt like he was maybe losing his way with them? I might be a book behind now.

  7. Rachel

    Yes, lists like this are always deeply subjective, of course! I was thinking fairly strictly of epic fantasy, not lighter urban fantasy or science fiction — that’s why I left off the Foreigner series.

    I really, really, really do honestly intend to dive into the Elantra series. Soon. Maybe after reading Grave, to which I am very much looking forward.

  8. Elaine T

    Throwing in Janny Wurts’ epic fantasy War of Light and Dark. Very thick, complex, covering centuries. She’s pretty good a putting a lot in a very short bit of text. But I have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. And some of the early stuff is pretty obvious.

    I still like Michelle Sagara West’s epics but really want her to close out Jewel’s story as I don’t find Jewel very interesting. I’m sticking with it for everything else, of which there is a lot. GRAVE is on order and I’m looking forward to it.

  9. Pete Mack

    Crown of Stars is definitely a full year read. I enjoyed it, but I would not enjoy reading the books back to back. They are not a quick read. Robin Hobb’s multi-series is even more extreme. Jim Butcher is a fast read. It wouldn’t take a year.

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