Most popular fantasy novels - how many have you read?


Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2006
I'm sorely lacking in science fiction, I've read 9. Would be interesting to see a purely fantasy one.

I just happened to see a link to the fantasy equivalent:

I've read 37 (I also started but DNF Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea). I suspect I'd get a better score for a fantasy equivalent of the list.

Apparently I was wrong with this comment, I only got 36 for the fantasy list.
I just happened to see a link to the fantasy equivalent:

Good find!

This is a weird, weird list. Much less coherent than the science fiction version. A lot fewer classics of the genre than on the scifi side, and just a hodgepodge of very recent stuff, not to mention the two books of fairy tales. I also spotted three graphic novels, the Stephen King books (aren't these horror? I've never read him.) And so many Gaiman books.

I've read 38, and add 7 DNF for 45 total, very close to the science fiction list for me. (I counted the 2 fairy tale books as DNF as I'm sure I've read some of them both but not sure if all...)

Highest unread is # 7 American Gods, and highest DNF is #28 The Silmarillion, lowest read is #100 The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
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Wow. I have only read ten of the fantasy books on the list.

The highest ranked one I have not read is A Game of Thrones.

The lowest ranked one I have read is The Last Unicorn.

For one thing, I tend to read more SF than fantasy, it seems. For another, this list appears to have fewer older books than the SF list, and I lean toward older works. A third factor might be than modern fantasy novels are more likely, I think, to be part of very long, sometimes seemingly endless, series, and I prefer stand-alone novels, or at least a trilogy (or duology) that I can read all at once and be done with. (There ain't no way I'm going to start George R. R. Martin's gigantic, open-ended series, no matter how much praise it has earned.)
From the Fantasy list I have read 24. Mostly titles from the Top-50.
On my TBR: 2
DNF: 2
Highest not read no. 1 The Hobbit (Discovered and read Lord of the Rings first. After that I never felt inclined to travel back in time to read what went before.)
Lowest did read no. 99.
22 from that list - but that's a really poorly curated list, with a variety of different genres on there and even a couple of non-fiction books on mythology.
53, like others I find it a rather strange list, a lot of non genre.
Why are there no David Gemmell and David Eddings on list?
Gemmell, is a staple of most fantasy readers.
Eddings although his books are fluffy and repetitive, most people have fond memories of Pawn of Prophecy.
Also Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun is missing. :unsure:
I was surprised to see I had read 37. I am limited to what I like in the fantasy genres, so I thought it would be less.
It's a multi-colored bouquet of fantasy. It ranges from Tolkien and C. Lewis to Stephen King, from Murakami's 1Q84 to Watership Down, from Shannara to Kushiel's Dart.
There is something for everyone hidden in there.
Fantasy isn’t my genre, but I was surprised to learn that I had read 5 novels from the list.
A very disappointing 10, and I thought I was a fantasy fan :cry:

Highest unread = 3 Lion, Witch and thing
Lowest read = 93 Stephen Fry's Mythos

But then, there are no Moorcock, no Robert E Howard (Conan) ...

However, I think their criteria is heavily weighted to more recent books because they looked for the most reviewed books, and naturally more recently published books are going to be reviewed more than older books. There's also no young adult - Harry Potter, Eragon anyone?

Here's my summary by published decade of the books in that list:
1810s 1
1910s 1
1930s 1
1950s 3
1960s 4
1970s 5
1980s 9
1990s 14
2000s 26
2010s 34
2020s 1

(Yes, I know, I missed one :rolleyes:)

I think they should have looked at the number of shelves, like this page

Mind you, Moorcock still doesn't appear until position 651, so what do I know?
27, mostly from the top 40. 29 if you count Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson which I have never sat down and read formally, but which I have read in pieces since I was a child.
Agree this is a very curious and rather unsatisfying list.
Strange list in that there's at least two comic series - Monstress and Nimonia in the list as well. Great comics (Monstress is fantastic) but not really what I'd class as "fantasy 'books'"

I'm on 20 from the list, though many are stories I'm familiar with and a good few on my "to read" pile.

That said I do agree that, with the exception of a few, its quite a modern list of fantasy. Which might be why we are seeing a bit of a generational game going on; some of the older staples aren't in the list and only the big names have made it through. Surprised that something like Develry didn't make it into the list, considering that the author is still publishing those stories, but then again I think her long series has drifted into the background somewhat.
As many have noted, this list is much more eclectic than the SF one, and surprisingly, despite considering myself more of a fantasy guy, I've only read 25. First unread is 9 Night Circus, last read is 97 Poppy War. Also 2 I didn't finish.

Difficult to accept that this says "most popular," includes children's lit like Narnia, but does NOT have Harry Potter. Doesn't make much sense to me. As others noted, there's no Gemmell, no Poul Anderson, no Howard, no Cook

Also interesting to me that the SF list is stacked with renowned, heavyweight classics, from Dune to 1984 to Ender's Game and on and on. This list kind of reinforces the idea that when it comes to fantasy, there's Tolkien and everyone else. Game of Thrones is maybe making a case, but I doubt there are nearly as many readers of it as there are viewers of the show.