Brandon Sanderson, the only author to appear on both our lists, has earned that distinction by simply writing so many great and unique series. Personally, I think this series is better than Mistborn, which appears higher up on Ryan's list, but he's an even bigger Sanderson fan than I am.
The story takes place in Roshar, "a world of stone and storms." The characters Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan, are all incredibly likable, and their adventures and mishaps get engraved into your memories. Sanderson has become a master of twisting plots, and while those sorts of twists in the genre can sometimes feel a bit contrived, that is not the case in The Way of Kings. Words of Radiance, the second book in the series, is even better than the first. If you haven't gotten your hands on this one yet, it's about time you did.
In The Way of Kings, #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson introduces readers to the fascinating world of Roshar, a world of stone and storms.
It has been centuries since the fall of the Knights Radiant, but their mystical swords and armor remain, transforming ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for them. Wars are fought for them and won by them.
One such war rages on the Shattered Plains where Kaladin, son of a surgeon, has been reduced to slavery, and Dalinar, commander of the armies, is plagued by dreams of ancient times, doubting his own sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan, a na?ve but brave and brilliant young woman, plans a daring theft to save her impoverished noble house from ruin.
The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is Book 1 of The Stormlight Archive, an epic fantasy masterpiece in the making. More on Goodreads.