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Trilogies are the perfect format for a fantasy story, at least in my humble opinion.
Long drawn-out series tend to lose my interest after a couple of books such as the fantastic, but incredibly long, 14 book Wheel of Time Series. (Still haven’t made it past book 9 yet!) Not to mention, there are SO MANY fantastic books out in the world, and it can be hard to devote so much attention to one epic story.
Fantasy Trilogies have the benefit of being not too short of a story that leaves you wanting, but also not so long that it takes 10+ years for the author to complete the series. Though, there is a notable exception listed below.
This is not an all-encompassing list of every great fantasy trilogy in existence, or else you might develop serious decision fatigue on which one to start! These are simply three categories of fantasy books: my favorite completed trilogies from over the past year, my favorite trilogies that are almost completed, and some long time loves of mine.
I read this series in December and it was the perfect wintery fantasy to read in the night curled up next to my fireplace. Russian folklore mixes with medieval fantasy in this well thought out series about the intersection of old pagan beliefs and the new Christian faith and the Russian people who are left in the middle.
Vasilisa is the youngest daughter of a Medieval Russian Lord and has inherited the magic and ability to see the household spirits from her mother’s side who died when she was born. She is brave and mischievous, and everything starts to change when a new priest arrives in their village.
A mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, this is one of the most unique series I have read over the past year. I actually purchased the first book two years ago and it just sat lonely on my shelf until one day I was inspired to pick it up. And then I raced through the ENTIRE series in about a week. If that doesn’t convince you to pick this up, each one of the books individually won the Hugo Award for SciFi/Fantasy.
If you are looking for a dark, brutal fantasy with nuns who are really assassins-in-training and the introduction of a creative magic system, this trilogy is for you.
A young girl, Nona, is saved from a death sentence and raised to be a red sister, a nun skilled in combat, to defend the Convent of Sweet Mercy.
From the first sentence, the story just hooks you in: “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.”- Mark Lawrence
I adore novels with a unique premise, and this series delves into middle east mythology in a way I haven’t seen in prior epic fantasies. Nahri is a young orphaned female con artist who is stuck in French-occupied Cairo in the 18th century. She has ‘gifts” of healing and languages, but one day stumbles upon deeper magic and accidentally summons a djinn. If you are tired of the typical fantasy tropes, you need to dive into this series.
Featuring my favorite book cover of the year, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a unique retelling of an Angel and a Demon falling in love, but not in any way that you would recognize. The author, Laini Taylor, writes this story in the most unique and intriguing way so that you are left racing through this book trying to get to the end.
Almost Finished Fantasy Trilogies If You Don't Mind Waiting
Jennifer L. Armentrout
The first book was one of my favorite books of 2020.
If you are looking for a strong female lead with a STEAMY romance, this series is for you. Poppy is “The Maiden” the one chosen by the gods. As she bucks tradition and expectations more and more you begin to question exactly who chose her… and for what purpose.
I’m counting down to the release of the conclusion to the series in April!
To my everlasting shame, I only just picked up this series from my bookshelf this year after owning the book for at least three years.
Holy Moly, I was missing out!
If you are fans of comic book superheroes and the recent marvel movies, YOU NEED TO GRAB THIS SERIES.
This is the story of two archenemies, Victor and Eli, who develop ExtraOrdinary abilities as part of their college senior thesis. However, things go terribly wrong and ten years later, Victor has escaped prison and is looking to enact his revenge.
There are some serious rumors of a third book: check out this Twitter feed from the author!
This series does not fit into just one genre. It’s a mixture of sci-fi/high fantasy with a murder mystery twist. If that doesn’t grab your interest, the main characters are lesbian necromancers from another planet. Intrigued now??
I am only mildly impatient (checking the author’s website daily…) that I have to wait until 2022 for the series’ conclusion.
This trilogy is listed here with a HUGE caveat.
While the first book “Name of the Wind” is seriously in the running for the BEST FANTASY BOOK I HAVE EVER READ, this critical acclaim is diminished by the fact I have been waiting 10 YEARS for the last book in the series.
I still recommend reading the first two books in the series if you are mentally prepared that this trilogy may go into “Game of Thrones” territory. I’m leaning towards the idea recently that there may never be a written conclusion to this story. You have been warned.
Also, read this “review” for the third book, “Doors of Stone” from Goodreads, absolutely hysterical (contains spoilers).
My Favorite Fantasy Trilogy Oldies but Goodies
Mistborn is one of those books that I wish I could wipe my memory and reread for the first time.
It flips the normal hero tale on its head, and asks the question: what happens if the hero didn’t actually save the world but imprisoned it?
For over a thousand years, the “Lord Ruler” has ruled with an iron fist over most of humanity deemed the “Skaa”. The Skaa live in terror and misery, enslaved to the demands of the Lord Ruler with no hope as the ash continues to fall as it has for the last thousand years. The half Skaa thief, Kelsier, has reached his breaking point and is gathering the ultimate thieving crew for the greatest heist in history to bring down the Lord Ruler.
This series contains one of the most unique magic systems and my absolute favorite female lead. You will not regret picking this up.
I adore Robin Hobbs and have been reading her books since early high school. She has multiple fantastic fantasy trilogies, but the Farseer Trilogy has to be my absolute favorite. As evidence by the Red Sister trilogy above, I adore a good assassin training trope.
I read these books as part of a book reading club in 6th grade, and it was the first time my traditional southern baptist ideology was challenged by a book. I will forever be grateful to Philip Pullman for getting me outside of my conservative upbringing.
If you want to watch this story on screen, skip the poorly made movie from 2007 and go directly to the incredibly made new HBO series, His Dark Materials, starring one of my loves, James McAvoy.
STEAMY with S&M.
This series is fascinating as one of the core concepts of the culture of this book is that sex is considered worshipful and should be performed with whoever or however one wishes. Courtesans are well-respected and crucial to the religion of Terre D’Ange.
“Love as thy wilt”
Phedre is born an indentured servant with hopes of becoming a courtesan like her mother. She is found to be pricked by “Kushiel’s Dart” (born to experience pleasure and pain) and her bond is purchased by a famous nobleman and trained to be a renowned courtesan that can blend in with nobles… and as a spy. She stumbles on a plot that has her kingdom’s fate hanging in the balance.
If you love political intrigue, traitors, cunning foes, spy training, and … well… a lot of sex, pick up this series
- The Fellowship of the Ring (box set)
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
Jane here, with a last-minute addition.
HOW DO YOU NOT INCLUDE LORD OF THE RINGS?!
Fun story, Alice once spoiled the ending of The Return of the King when I was THIS CLOSE to finishing it. I dragged Alice and Anne to the movies multiple times- so you can imagine my surprise to see it missing here. All-time best Fantasy Trilogy ever- just try to change my mind 😀
Let me know which fantasy trilogies you love and which ones I missed!