I need some light sci-fi/fantasy to read, completed series only!
October 18, 2016 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I keep reading books and then finding out that they're just the first in a series that's not yet finished. I don't want to have to wait! Therefore I am asking you all to tell me about the best light sci-fi and fantasy books or series that you know of, that are entirely complete. A single standalone book or a completed series is fine.

I tend to like stuff on the lighter side, and have been gravitating towards young adult-oriented books lately, and so I welcome stuff within that genre, but I'm willing and happy to expand past that for fun reading. Super-serious depressing stuff is not for me.

My goodreads profile is linked in my metafilter profile, if you want to take a look at what I've read and liked recently. I'd also like things that are available in some variety of ebook format, as lately I've been using overdrive through my local libraries as my primary book source.
posted by that girl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (35 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Have you read the Paradox books by Rachel Bach? I can't see your goodreads profile so I apologize if this isn't what you want or if you've already read them. There are three books in that series and they were light and fun to read. Here's her website. They are a sci-fi slash wish fulfillment slash some romance etc. I read them through Overdrive.
posted by FireFountain at 1:42 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rachel Bach's Fortune's Pawn
Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice
Jess E. Owen's Song of the Summer King

These are the first in a series, and complete.
posted by TrinsicWS at 1:44 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recently read the Terry Prachett Tiffany Aching series. Five books, complete, and not necessary to be familiar with the larger Discworld (I have not read any others yet.)
posted by typecloud at 1:46 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

On previewing your Good Reads it looks like you may have hit that one already.
posted by typecloud at 1:48 PM on October 18, 2016

I really enjoyed Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series - it was great vacation reading this summer. YA about some intense and improbable teens, but never irritating in a bad way and a really compelling read.
posted by terretu at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just finished Crossroads trilogy by Kate Elliott and really enjoyed it. (The trilogy is complete. There's a sequel trilogy in the works, but it isn't necessary to continue if you don't want to - Crossroads feels complete by itself.)
posted by darchildre at 1:53 PM on October 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't see any of Robin Hobb's estimable series in your Goodreads "read" shelf.
posted by bearwife at 2:00 PM on October 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Tanya Huff's Wizard of the Grove trilogy.
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:05 PM on October 18, 2016

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes might suit. It's light, very fast-paced, and has a great cast of characters. It's the first in a trilogy. If you're down with graphic novels, Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe is hilarious (and pretty dang raunchy).
posted by Janta at 2:13 PM on October 18, 2016

Have you read David Eddings? Or Stephen Brust?
posted by bgrebs at 2:14 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Oh, wait, I overlooked the bit about "completed". Weekes' trilogy is, as far as I know, complete, but Rat Queens is an ongoing series. So maybe ignore that one.)
posted by Janta at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2016

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider of Pern series!
posted by jillithd at 3:01 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson (Spoilers start after the Background section)

I enjoyed all the books by Richelle Mead
posted by Jacen at 3:20 PM on October 18, 2016

Steven Brust's Dragaera series is a nice light fantasy world. The Vlad Taltos series is still ongoing (but started long ago so there are 19 books to catch up on and only a few more planned). The Khaavren Romances are sort of a mini-series set a thousand years before (but since Dragaerans live so long, it still intersects with the Vlad series at some point.)
posted by zengargoyle at 3:41 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Robin Hobb - The Farseer trilogy, the Tawny Man, and the rest - all good. All done except for her newest trilogy. When book three comes out on that series, I'll be happily rereading the first two. She's also done some writing as Megan Lindholm (before she became RH), and it's science fiction/fantasy...but quite different from the Hobb books.
posted by routergirl at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Kim Harrison's "The Hollows" series, starting with Dead Witch Walking
posted by willnot at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2016

I really loved the Mageworlds series by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. There are three books in the original trilogy (The Price of the Stars, Starpilot's Grave, By Honor Betray'd), plus three prequels (The Gathering Flame, The Stars Asunder, A Working of Stars). There's also one "next generation" novel (The Long Hunt), if you're in the mood to be completest.

They're super fun space operas, with loads of competent female characters, swashbuckling, a little romance, court intrigue, battles, secret identities, and a large dollop of magic thrown in for good measure. They're definitely comfort reads for me!
posted by merriment at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Emphyrio by Jack Vance.
posted by ovvl at 5:09 PM on October 18, 2016

Depending on your definition of light...

I see Ann Leckie's Ancillary series already suggested above, so I'll throw down N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance cycle (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods) as well. They have the nice quality of being fairly self-contained, with mainly the overall setting and some character cameos tying them together. I wouldn't suggest reading them out of order or anything, but each book comes to a satisfying conclusion of its own rather than being ending on a cliffhanger for the next one.

For a good, definitely light standalone book, I highly recommend Infomocracy by Malka Older. My elevator pitch would be "Snow Crash meets Scandal", and if that sounds even remotely appealing you owe it to yourself to check it out.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:20 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Grave Mercy trilogy was a fun, light historical fantasy read.
posted by jeoc at 6:27 PM on October 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was also going to recommend the Doyle & McDonald Mageworlds series.

Ok, and they're not finished, but keep in mind for the future: I turned out to really like Seanan McGuire's October Daye series (starts with Rosemary and Rue), and also the other one about the Prices (starting with...Midnight Blue Light Special?). They're not done, but they're pretty episodic (although I would read the October Daye series in order), and McGuire seems to be super-consistent with getting out a book a year.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:14 PM on October 18, 2016

I HIGHLY recommend Tamora Pierce. She wrote my favourite book series, and has 4 quartets that are amazing. Start with song of the lioness. I think you would also enjoying a duology by Racheal Hartman that I just finished. First book is Seraphina. Both have strong female leads and are fun reads.
posted by snowysoul at 8:41 PM on October 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your Goodreads profile doesn't list anything by Lois McMaster Bujold, so I'd recommend the Vorkosigan Saga. This is quite a good but not too-spoilery summary; the series is in effect complete, in that although Bujold has written some further books, it's widely considered that A Civil Campaign works as an effective conclusion to the central character's personal plot arc.

The books were published out of internal order and to complicate matters further some have been republished as omnibus editions. The author gives her thoughts on reading order here.
posted by Major Clanger at 12:37 AM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Marissa Meyer - The Lunar Chronicles - Fairy tale inspired characters but takes place in the future and has cyborgs. 4 books and a short story collection
Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan series - Alternate history WWI steampunk - 3 books
Jonathan Stroud - Bartimaeus series - Alternate history London magicians - 3 books and one prequel that I found unecessary
posted by soelo at 7:44 AM on October 19, 2016

John DeChancie has 2 series, the Skyway Trilogy and The Castle Perilous Series

144,000 doors (or "aspects") of the Castle each lead to another parallel universe, one of which is earth. Once you enter the Castle, the doors move, so finding the one back to your world is problematic...

The Skyway is a massive, ancient roadway connecting star systems, and no one knows who built it or why. Jake is an independent trucker whom everyone thinks has a lost map to the system.
posted by Sophont at 7:53 AM on October 19, 2016

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus
Robin Sloan - Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Also has one short story
Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife
Mark Helprin - Winter's Tale
posted by soelo at 7:54 AM on October 19, 2016

routergirl, I haven't read the Hobb books since the first trilogy came out when I was in High School—but from my memory, I wouldn't exactly call them "light". In fact, I thought they were pretty brutal at the time. But that's quite some time ago at this point, so maybe I'm off.
posted by themadthinker at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2016

Seconding Lois McMaster Bujold. I love the Vorkosigan Saga.
posted by Kriesa at 10:20 AM on October 19, 2016

The Paksenarrion series by Elizabeth Moon.
The Deverry series by Katharine Kerr.
The Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, may not be to everyone's taste.
Doctrine of Labyrinths by Sarah Monette.
Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey.
posted by froghopper at 2:42 PM on October 19, 2016

Th Spiritwalker series, another by Kate Elliott, is also complete.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 6:14 PM on October 19, 2016

Your Goodreads list looks a lot like my Kindle library :)

I love Lois McMaster Bujold and the Vorkosigan Saga (and nth the recommendation), but if you want something that's more obviously finished, try her Sharing Knife books - there are four, the series is finished, and the first one is Beguilement.

I also love times a million Jim Butcher's Codex Alera - six books, finished series, and the first one is Furies of Calderon. SO GOOD.

Since your Goodreads list includes both Uprooted and some of the Patrick O'Brian books, you might really like Naomi Novik's Temeraire series - nine books, finished series as of this past June, and the first book is His Majesty's Dragon. They can be a little weightier than some of these other recommendations, though.

Happy reading!
posted by bananacabana at 6:34 PM on October 19, 2016

There are so many wonderful suggestions in this previous thread on standalone fantasy novels I can't repeat them all here.
posted by nonane at 5:16 PM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Mistborn trilogy is nice and light, and one of my favorite fantasy series ever. The author is writing more books in the same world, but the first trilogy is an entirely complete story. The first book itself is very self contained: https://www.amazon.com/Mistborn-Final-Empire-Brandon-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B002GYI9C4
posted by blalien at 3:20 PM on October 22, 2016

Bridge of Birds by Harry Hughart! It has two sequels, but the first book stands well on its own.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:43 AM on October 23, 2016

The Saving Mars series by Cidney Swanson sounds like just what you're looking for. And the first two books are free today (11/16).
posted by Lexica at 2:07 PM on November 16, 2016

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