For readers who have worked their way through Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and are ready to take the next step onto something a little thicker, here are even more fantasy series that have stood the test of time and established themselves as modern classics. Each of these series started at least 25 years ago, and many of them have developed into sprawling worlds with multiple series--plenty to fill your reading list!
The Earthsea Cycle
Ursula Le Guin
Start With: A Wizard of Earthsea
Welcome to Earthsea, an island archipelago home to Iron Age societies and dragons. The magic of Earthsea is rooted in true names and the balance of nature, which is continually tipped into disaster. The series focuses mainly on the wizard Ged, who must tame a dragon and cross the border of death, and the priestess Tenar, guardian of a labyrinthine tomb, from their youth to their elder years.
Start With: Pawn of Prophecy
In this series, the farm boy Garion is dragged into a conflict between gods, magicians, kingdoms, and opposing prophecies seeking to write the future of the world. But it turns out his involvement was never accidental, and his Aunt Pol and the wanderer Wolf are far more than they seem. Garion discovers his family has allies placed all across kingdoms and a secret history he never imagined. The Belgariad is followed by further adventures of Garion and his friends in another series, The Malloreon.
Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman
Start With: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
The gods vanished centuries ago, and humanity has been left to dwindle and fall under the heel of half-dragon conquerors. Until a band of adventurers led by Tanis Half-Elven find a woman with a staff imbued with divine power and a mission to seek the old gods. The adventurers must uncover old secrets, find the gods and the dragons of old, and master the ancient weapon known as the Dragonlance. After the Dragonlance Chronicles, Weiss, Hickman, and various other writers went on to write exhaustively about the world of Dragonlance, adding numerous series and stories to flesh out the land and history.
The Riftwar Saga
Raymond E. Feist
Start With: Magician: Apprentice
The orphan Pug of castle Crydee, unsure of his place in the world, finds himself apprenticed to a magician. But such doubts must be swept aside quickly, for the kingdom comes itself under attack from mysterious armies magically traveled from another world. Feist goes on to write several more series in this world, with a strong focus on Pug, the royal family, and their various allies.
The Dark Elf Trilogy
Start With: Homeland
The Dark Elf Trilogy dives into a city of dark elves deep in the caverns beneath the surface. Drizzt, a dark elf warrior and iconic character of the Forgotten Realms world, finds himself unable to accept living in the dangerous, oppressive, and regimented society he was born to. His wandering takes him to the surface where his people are feared and hated, and where he must find a home and become a hero. The Dark Elf Trilogy was written as the prequel to the Icewind Dale Trilogy, and Salvatore has a list of other series set in the Forgotten Realms world.