2. Patrick Rothfuss
Imagine if the wit, snark, and intrigue of Tyrion Lannister’s chapters in ASOIAF spanned the entire books. Now imagine Tyrion himself was crossed with Harry Potter, learning magic at a university and trying to fight against a dark force that killed his parents. You would end up with Kvothe, the protagonist and narrator of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle series. What really sets these books apart is the fact that it is narrated by its own hero – bringing into play wonderings of unreliable narration and questions of hero-depiction that most fantasy stories never delve into. Plus the hero himself is just fun to listen to. Kvothe is such a lovable jerk, slinging spells and quips and building himself a stack of enemies and endless problems as a result. Furthermore, through Kvothe’s love for song and flair, Rothfuss is able to deliver some truly lyrical and engaging prose. With its interesting protagonist, new spins on standard fantasy fanfare, and excellent writing craft, The Name of the Wind hooked me in just as deeply as ASOIAF did. If you have to choose only one book from this lengthy list, make sure it’s that one.