I also recommend the Darkover novels, and they can be enjoyed as 'singletons'.
For trilogies I recommend Melanie Rawn (Dragon Prince);Katherine Kurtz (Deryni); James Clemens: Katherine Kerr: Phyllis Eisenstein; Jane Welch; Robin McKinley; Robin Hobb.
I've realised that the majority of my favourite authors of late are of the fairer sex! I wonder what a psychologist would make of that.
My Favorites: Sarah Zettel - her fantasy series is only loosely connected and could be read in any order. Isavalta is a wonderfully magical, complex world vision and it isn't "black and white" - the complexity of the characters motivations is quite refreshing - not all is as it seems at first take.
Juliet Marillier - particularly her Sevenwaters trilogy - this is generational, bases on old ballads and faerie tales, is wonderfully dimensional - her Wolfskin/Foxmask - good, too, though I had a harder time warming up to that one - it finished well.
Barbara Hambly, if you can find them, her older works are great - and tremendous use of language.
Martha Wells - earlier work if you can find them.
If you like dreamlike wonder and superb writing, anything at all by Patricia McKillip.
If you like SF, there's more on the list.
I found the "riddle master" by Patricia McKillip hard to read but it *must* be me since everyone else seems to like it ;-)
I'd add Guy Kay - very good books
I've started on George Martin's "song of fire and ice" - first 2 books are super - but 4 largish books later (one after the other) I'm a little shellshocked...maybe it's best to read a series over time after all ;-)...one needs to take time out from a large series perhaps ;-)
While I enjoyed The Riddle Master of Hed series immensely, I think McKillip's later works really show off her talent for wonderful prose, intricate characterizations, and superb plot lines. I'm nearly finished with her latest, Solstice Wood and it is every bit as good as anything else she's written. I suspect that she has travelled into the Otherworld.
Anything written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Mercedes Lackey, or Ed Greenwood, to name some authors that haven't already been mentioned. I also have a fondness for Louise Cooper, though I haven't read anything of hers in a long time.
I'm also a huge fan of C.J. Cherryh and Barbara Hambly who were already mentioned. I'm always rereading the Darwath Trilogy, something about her descriptions of the dark still send chills down my spine.
Raymond E. Feist is also good, though he likes to concurrently write multiple series at the same time so you have to watch what you get if you want to read only complete series.
I finished Solstice Wood last night. Excellent!!! The only thing I'll say is I wished I had reread Winter Rose first, but it is not necessary.
Auna, you and I have similar taste in authors. Those are my favorites as well. I haven't gotten into Barbara Hambly yet but I got to meet her and now I wantto read a few of her books. She was very entertaining and a nice woman. I hope I enjoy her books. I know I want to read Those Who Hunt the Night sometime soon.
Just got the most recent Kate Elliot book from the library! I've been looking forward to this one...
I also enjoyed Robin Hobb's 'Shaman's Crossing'
This discussion has been great - it's given me a couple of new authors to try. One author that I haven't seen mentioned is Carol Berg. I especially enjoyed her Rai-Kirah series.
Hi just popped by to check on when I could look forward to Stormed Fortress, but was lured into de lurking. I am sure anyone who loves Janny's complex characters and world would enjoy Michelle West's Sun Sword series and the 2 Hunters books that sort of precede it. Cheers Ursula