‘The trolls grunted as they stomped on the newly sprung grass. As their vast army bore upon us, losing heart and hope was a choice we couldn’t afford. The soldiers on the towers loaded the cannons with renewed vigour; the elves refurbished their stock of arrows and took aim. The troll army trudged on, their pace unaffected by the continuous onslaught of cannon balls and arrows. They wouldn’t relent. Neither would our army.
Where was Drangard? I had called for him and he was nowhere in sight! Would he let me down at this crucial hour of need? Would the prophecy come true? Was this the last battle that the human race would ever fight? I quickly brushed these ominous thoughts aside. As the King of Man, I wasn’t allowed self-doubt. Prophecies did not decide the victors of war; strategy and fortitude did!
Long into the distance I could hear a wailing, like a horde of mournful banshees. It was Drangard! The Mighty Drangard, leader of the dragon army had arrived. He had honoured his word and I would…’
“Kumar! Stop that day-dreaming at once. Get up and come down here and solve this equation!”
I tried to shake myself out of the wonderful reverie and wobbled to the front of the class. The equation bore down upon me and I wondered if Drangard, the Mighty leader of the dragon army ever solved arithmetic equations. I don’t always day-dream, but when I do, it’s usually inspired by one of the following books:
10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author – Lewis Carroll
The story tells of a girl named Alice who follows a talking rabbit and ends up falling down a rabbit hole and voila! She ends up in Wonderland. In her journey through Wonderland she meets some strange anthropomorphic animals like the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Bill the Lizard, The Caterpillar, The March Hare, among others. She also encounters some other strange creatures like the Hatter, the Knave of Hearts, the King of Hearts and the Queen of Hearts. Eventually Alice wakes up from the dream! The book is considered a classic example of the literary nonsense genre – a genre that rests on defying logical reasoning and dependence on conventional story-telling!
9. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author – L. Frank Baum
It is a children’s fiction book written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. The story is about Dorothy – an orphaned girl living with her aunt and uncle. A storm strikes their Kansas farm and their house gets caught in the cyclone. In the house are Dorothy and her little black dog, Toto. The house is deposited in the Land of Oz! Dorothy sets off into the Land of Oz looking for help to get back to Kansas. On her journey into Oz, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, and new adventures follow! The book was made into a Broadway musical which is when it became famous as the Wizard of Oz although the original book is named The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
8. Artemis Fowl
Author – Eoin Colfer
The series consists of a whopping 8 science-fiction fantasy novels namely Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident, The Eternity Code, The Opal Deception ,The Lost Colony, The Time Paradox, The Atlantis Complex and The Last Guardian. Artemis Fowl is a teenager but that’s not all, he is also a criminal mastermind. In the very first book we are introduced to Artemis’s evil tactics as he holds a fairy to ransom in order to exploit the Fairy People so as to regain his family fortune. However, with every successive novel we observe Artemis growing a moral conscience. Eventually, Artemis culminates into an altruistic young man, ready to lay down his life for friends.
7. Percy Jackson & the Olympians
Author – Rick Riordan
This series consists of 5 books – The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian. The first book follows a 12-year old dyslexic boy, Percy Jackson who finds out that he is the son of Poseidon, the God of Sea in Greek Mythology. He is a demi-god (half mortal, half Greek God)! As he comes to terms with this new revelation, he is accused of stealing the lightning bolt, the weapon of God Zeus. He teams up with his friends Grover Underwood and Annabeth Chase to prove his innocence. And hence begins a series of adventures and mysteries that the three friends have to brave.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia
Author – C. S. Lewis
The series comprises seven fantasy novels – The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. The story is set in the fictional world of Narnia that can be accessed through a wardrobe among other means. The books span the history of Narnia from its creation in the first book to its destruction in the last. The 4 Pevensie siblings appear intermittently through the books, at times aided by other characters who are also children that have been magically transported to this fantastic realm.
5. The Inheritance Cycle
Author – Christopher Paolini
This is a series of four epic fantasy novels for young adults comprising Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance. The book chronicles the various adventurous journeys undertaken by a teenage boy named Eragon together with his dragon Saphira. All of this happens in a fictional world called Alagaësia. The struggles encountered by Eragon and Saphira as they try to overthrow the evil king Galbatroix, form the crux of the series.
4. The Hobbit
Author – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit is by one of the mightiest names in the fantasy fiction business – J. R. R. Tolkien, another masterpiece by the same author also finds a place in this list.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit. Hobbits are small, plump, peace-loving people who are half the size of a normal human. The Wizard Gandalf persuades Bilbo to set out on an adventure, and heeding to the wizard’s advice Bilbo leaves on a quest of self-discovery and some more. He joins a group of dwarves who wish to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug and Bilbo is to be their smuggler. As the story progresses we meet new creatures and enter sinister worlds. But at the end of the adventure, we see Bilbo scale new levels of heroism and wisdom.
3. A Song of Ice and Fire
Author – George R. R. Martin
The series comprises the following books – A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings , A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. It is an ongoing series with two more books expected soon. Set in the fictional continent of Westeros & Essos, most of the characters are human but later introductions include supernatural elements called ‘Others’ and also fire-breathing dragons. The series explores ongoing politics in the land of Westeros as several families try to attain the throne leading to a civil war. Daenerys, the last scion of the House of Targaryen is also a claimant to the throne. The imminent danger posed by the Others gets interwoven into the story on further reading. The books are narrated in ‘point of view’ style, where in different characters narrate their account of the happenings.
2. Harry Potter
Author – J. K. Rowling
One of the most famous fantasy series of our generation, the story of Harry Potter is spread across 7 books – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s a story about an orphan, Harry Potter, who finds out he is a wizard. He studies at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he meets his two best friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. The crux of the story is Harry’s quest to fight the evil-wizard Lord Voldemort who desires to conquer and control the magical as well as non-magical worlds.
1. Lord of the Rings
Author – J. R. R. Tolkien
The story revolves around the One Ring that was created by the Dark Lord Sauron, the One Ring to rule all other Rings of Power, in an effort to attain total domination over Middle-Earth. Only the fires of Mount Doom can destroy the Ring. The task isn’t easy because the Ring has sinister powers that overcome the bearer with lust for the power to rule the world. A hobbit, Frodo Baggins, undertakes the mammoth task of transporting the Ring to Mt. Doom. To further the task, he is aided by 3 hobbit friends, Gandalf the Wizard, a man Aragorn, a dwarf Gimli, Legolas- an Elven prince and Boromir. The book is divided into three volumes namely The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Applauded by many, touted by most as ‘High Fantasy’ and also made into an award-winning film franchise this is The Book you cannot afford to miss.