I’m sure most people have read CS Lewis’s Narnia stories, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. If not, I urge you to stop what you are doing immediately and remedy that situation.
For the rest of us that have gorged on Hogwarts and Middle Earth, and crave more, here are three fantasy series that are somewhat underrated (despite their ardent followings), which I would humbly bring to your attention.
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix – This clever saga is set in two fiction nations – one with technology akin to 20th Century Australia, and a second bordering land filled with magic. A tale of necromancers and sorcery, the first novel, Sabriel, features the eponymous protagonist on a quest to rescue her father from death itself. Subsequent volumes also explore the lines between the worlds of the dead and the living in interesting and vivid ways.
Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer – These surreal, thrilling and often funny adventures revolve around teenage anti-hero genius Artemis, his bodyguard Butler, and his various pseudo-villainous escapades. At the start of the series, Artemis attempts to capture and hold to ransom a rather dangerous fairy, but as the books progress, Artemis begins to work alongside the fairies against villains as diverse as the Russian Mafia, evil businessmen, insane pixies and more.
Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud – Set in a parallel London filled with powerful magicians, the story begins when young apprentice Nathaniel summons the demon Bartimaeus to help take revenge on his cruel master. Notable for the witty first-person sections told from the point of view of the demon, this trilogy also has an interesting character arc for its human protagonist, who goes from pitiful yet noble to power-crazed and arrogant, and finally heroic and sacrificial.