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I started reading Fantasy in the late 90's. Since then I have come across some wonderful books. I thought I'd share some of my favorite books in the genre.
Mists of Avalon is a generations-spanning retelling of the Arthurian legend. Its protagonist is Morgaine, who witnesses the rise of Uther Pendragon to the throne of Camelot. As a child, she is taken to Avalon by High Priestess Viviane, her maternal aunt, to become a priestess of the Mother Goddess and witnesses the rising tension between the old pagan and the new Christian religions. At one point, she is given in a fertility ritual to a young man she will later learn is Arthur, her half-brother. She conceives a child, Mordred.
After Uther dies, his son Arthur claims the throne. Morgaine and Viviane give him the magic sword Excalibur, and with the combined force of Avalon and Camelot, Arthur drives the invasion of the Saxons away. But when his wife Gwenhwyfar fails to produce a child, she is convinced that it is a punishment of God: firstly for the presence of pagan elements, and secondly, for her forbidden love to Arthur's finest knight Lancelet (Lancelot). She increasingly becomes a religious fanatic, and relationships between Avalon and Camelot (i.e. Morgaine and herself) become hostile.
When the knights of the Round Table of Camelot leave to search for the Holy Grail, a young man seeks to usurp the throne: Mordred, bastard son of Arthur and Morgaine. Mordred seeks to re-instate the power of Avalon at all costs. In a climactic battle, Arthur's and Mordred's armies square off, and in the end Avalon and Arthur are magically removed from the circles of the world. It is Morgaine alone who lives to tell the tale of Camelot.
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
Orphaned as a baby, Harry Potter has spent 11 awful years living with his mean aunt, uncle, and cousin Dudley. But everything changes for Harry when an owl delivers a mysterious letter inviting him to attend a school for wizards. At this special school, Harry finds friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, as well as a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.
Magiere has earned a reputation as the most formidable vampire slayer in the land. Villagers far and wide welcome her with both awe and disdain, grateful to her for ridding their towns of the undead menace, but finding themselves made poorer for their salvation. Magiere has always known she's dealing with simple folk who only wish to have their superstitions silenced, and she's never seen anything wrong with exploiting them for profit.
Now, tired of the game, Magiere and her partner, the half-elf Leesil, are ready to hang up their weapons and settle down in a place they can finally call home. But their new found peace will not last. For Magiere has come to the attention of a trio of powerful and dangerous vampires who recognize her true identity — even if she does not — and who fear the birthright that flows through her veins. And they will stop at nothing to keep Magiere from fulfilling her destiny.
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can't control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!