Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this latest Top Ten Tuesday, participants had to list their top books that were written over ten years ago.
This is a very intriguing, if difficult, topic to look at, as there are an absolute ton of amazing books released over 10 years ago (written before 2012) that I can think about for this list. I kind of did a similar list on this subject a few years ago, with my list that looked at books written before I was born, however, there are a lot more intriguing entries that could be featured here, so I am going to have to think long and hard about what to include.
To limit my potential choices down (or make the decision harder), I chose to limit my entries to one book from each series or author, which will save me listing multiple Discworld novels for a start. I also chose to exclude any comic book series from this list, mainly because pretty much every entry on my previous favourite comic series list ran or started more than 10 years ago. Even with some of these restrictions, there were still an amazing number of books that I wanted to feature on this list, and I had to make some very hard decisions and cuts to figure it out. However, I am very happy with how the final list turned out and I think it represents the absolute best books written over ten years ago that I have read. So let us see what made the cut.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – 2003
A classic from childhood and my favourite book in the series.
I only recently read this, but it is pretty damn epic, especially in the full-cast audio adaption with some amazing actors behind it.
Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom – 2008
Still one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read with an awesome siege premise behind it.
The debut book from Mark Greaney, this was a very cool novel which the movie adaption honestly didn’t do justice to.
Top Ten List:
Magician by Raymond E. Feist – 1982
There were multiple books from Feist written more than 10 years ago that I could have featured on this list, including The Empire trilogy he cowrote with Janny Wurst. However, I had to feature the book that started it all, Magician. Magician sets the entire universe up perfectly and has one of the strongest stories in the series. A truly iconic fantasy read, Magician has inspired generations of fantasy fans and is well worth checking out.
Another fantasy classic I had to include, Legend was a brilliant and iconic debut from the legendary David Gemmell that I checked out a few years ago. Easily one of the best siege novels of all time, Legend sees an impossibly large army besiege the world’s best fortress, defended by a small number of heroes. Powerful, action-packed, and wildly addictive, this was an outstanding read that you will fly through.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett – 1989
Since pretty much the entirety of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series was written before 2012 (only Raising Steam and The Shepherd’s Crown were released after), I could have filled this list with Discworld novels and left happy. Instead, I had to feature just one book from the series, which was pretty impossible, as nearly all of them rank amongst my favourite books. I decided in the end to feature Guards! Guards!, not only because it is one of the strongest books in the series, but because it introduced the City Watch sub-series, which feature many of my favourites. Guards! Guards! has a brilliant story to it that perfectly combines comedy, fantasy and crime fiction elements into one epic read, when the maligned Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork have to solve a series of murders caused by dragon. Hilarious, clever, and impossible to put down, this is an incredible read that will make you a Pratchett fan for life.
Homeland by R. A. Salvatore – 1990
Another author who I could have featured multiple books from, R. A. Salvatore is one of the best fantasy authors in the world for a reason and he has a ton of great reads released more than 10 years ago. However, I limited it to my favourite book of his, Homeland, which expands on the early life of his standout character Drizzt Do’Urden. Taking place in the Drow city of Menzoberranzan, this book shows the character’s complex youth in the treacherous Dark Elf society and helps to established Drizzt as one of fantasy’s most distinctive and likeable protagonists. This was a truly impressive novel I have read multiple times, and its impacts can still be felt in Salvatore’s more recent books, such as Timeless, Boundless and Relentless, which show alternate perspectives to events of Homeland through other character’s eyes.
I have long talked up the epic Tomorrow series by Australian author John Marsden, and it remains some of the best books I have ever read. Following a group of teenagers as they attempt to survive a foreign invasion of Australia, the Tomorrow series is a powerful and deeply addictive young adult series that should be compulsory reading for all Australian kids. I have so much love for this series that I had to feature one of the books from it here. I ended up choosing the third (and probably the best) book, The Third Day, The Frost, which sees the protagonists attempt their biggest attack yet, only to suffer from some major consequences. Not only is this one of the most actions packed and intense novels in the series, but it is also one of the most emotional damaging as the characters you have grown to love, go through some major events that leave them deeply traumatised. An epic read that I cannot recommend enough.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – 2006
Few books have ever caught my imagination and attention than the brilliant fantasy heist book, The Lies of Locke Lamora. The first book in Scott Lynch’s The Gentleman Bastards series, The Lies of Locke Lamora is an insanely good read that sees a group of conmen get dragged into a battle for a corrupt and dangerous city’s soul and must try to survive while also getting their score. Perfectly balancing great characters with cool fantasy and impressive thriller elements, The Lies of Locke Lamora is so much fun to read and I would strongly recommend it to any fantasy fan. I could have also featured the second book Red Seas Under Red Skies (released in 2007) here, as it was also extremely good, but I do think the first book was the best. Highly recommended!
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – 2007
I had to include The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss on this list as it is honestly one of my favourite fantasy books of all time. Following a legendary figure as he recounts the early days of his life, you find yourself getting dragged into the tale of Kvothe, a man destined to kill a king and become infamous. The Name of the Wind perfectly introduces the character and sets you deep into his intense and massive life story, which features tragedy, triumph, music, and an epic amount of time spent in a cool magic school. I love this book so much, and I really need to read it again and give it a proper review. The sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear is just as good, but I think the first book is a better one to include here.
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie – 2009
I honestly could have featured any of the three books from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy on this list, as all three are a masterclass in dark fantasy fiction. However, I decided to go with the third and final book in the trilogy, Best Served Cold, as I think it was the best book. Not only did it bring together all the epic storylines from the first two novels perfectly, but all the main characters who you have been getting extremely close to, have their defining moments here. There is so much awesomeness crammed into this book, and its impacts will be felt from years to come, as the sequel Age of Madness trilogy (made up of A Little Hatred, The Trouble With Peace and The Wisdom of Crowds), follows on from it perfectly.
I had to feature an entry from the epic Joe Ledger series here on this list, and luckily a couple of fun entries were released more than 10 years ago. While I could have gone with the first book, Patient Zero (modern zombies) or the fantastic third release, The King of Plagues (a world-ending cabal in action), I went with the second book, The Dragon Factory, which I think was one of Maberry’s best. The Dragon Factory takes damaged protagonist Joe Ledger on a deadly mission to save the world from two warring teams of advanced genetic engineers who have their own insidious plans. Intense, action-packed, and featuring some heart-rending tragedy, The Dragon Factory was an instant favourite of mine, and I cannot talk it up enough.
The final book I want to highlight on this list is the massive and deeply impressive The Way of the Kings by impossibly talented Brandon Sanderson. This was the first book in Sanderson’s iconic The Stormlight Archive and follows several impressive and highly developed characters on an epic journey throughout a bold new fantasy world. This novel has everything you could possibly want, and I cannot emphasise the sheer level of creativity and universe building it contains. There is so much to love about this book, especially the complex and highly damaged characters, and I would recommend this to all fantasy fans.
That’s the end of this latest Top Ten Tuesday. As you can see, I have had the great pleasure of reading several outstanding novels that were published more than ten years ago, and some of them are counted amongst my favourite all-time books. All the novels featured above are extremely epic and I would recommend all of them to readers looking for their next obsession. I had a lot of fun pulling this list together, and this might be one I revisit in the future, especially after I go back and read some more older novels.