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Great...or Just Good...Fantasy Series to Recommend

Discussion in 'Booktalk' started by dogsoldier, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    I read a ton of books each year, mostly histories, books on military theory and strategy, volumes on foreign policy and state development, and lots of so-called literature, plus "populist" science books, etc.

    But sometimes I just get tired of wading through the so-called high-brow nature of these works and I like to dig into fantasy fiction, not so much to switch my brain off, but to read a faster, more creative narrative, a book with less in it that really "matters" to the real world. And they are often enjoyable.

    But I have a hard time finding good fantasy fiction to read lately.

    Right now I'm reading the first book of the Banewreaker series by Jacqueline Carey. I really enjoy it so far; a mature take on "good versus evil," with mythical characters who are supposedly evil, yet seem understandable and interesting and even attractive. I recently read Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy, plus Best Served Cold; I thought The Blade Itself was one of the most intriguing and well-written genre fiction titles I've ever read, but I thought it became predictable and less well-written, even a little silly, as the series went on. I haven't given up on Abercrombie and will probably check out his other titles here soon. I find Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind series to be pretty good, even if it is completely different from Carey or Abercrombie's works; I find Rothfuss a clever and talented writer who clearly has a talent for getting inside the heads of his characters and portraying their concerns in a truly human way; my only criticism would be that his protagonist is a little too much of a "superman" for my tastes...

    I recently tried out The Lord of Rings again (I haven't read it since I was a teenager), and frankly, I find it tedious and boring and quit on it half-way through the first book (I mean, wow, I really don't give a crap about the hobbit's menu items, which is something that Tolkein loved to focus on). I hated the Shannara books when I was young (I think I read maybe 2 of them), finding them a derivative mash of TLotR & "Star Wars," and I imagine I'd find them more aggravating now. I read the first book of R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing series and found it quickly-paced and smoothly written, but by the end I couldn't remember who any of the characters were, couldn't keep the countries straight, and I realized I didn't care about anyone in the entire book; so I didn't move on to the second book. I thought Greg Keyes' The Briar King had promise, but I hated the second book, The Charnel Prince, and gave up on that series, too.

    Any recommendations?

    Edit: I find the "Game of Thrones" series to be the best series that currently exists & I've of course read them all. Just throwing that out there.
     
  2. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Several years back while I was waiting for the next GoT book I finally got around to reading a book called Assassin's Apprentice (book 1 of the Farseer trilogy, by Robin Hobb) and I enjoyed the trilogy so much I recommended it to friends also waiting for the next GoT book, and they also enjoyed it. I've read the trilogy through 4 or 5 times now, and can't recommend it enough.

    edit: Oh I mentioned GoT because this trilogy is similar to GoT in that it isn't high fantasy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  3. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    I love the Paksennarion books by Elizabeth Moon
    The Wheel of Time books are very good too, but they can be a little heavy going at times!
    I've just discovered Trudi Canavan as well. Her stuff is pretty light but a very easy and enjoyable read
     
  4. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    The Black Company series by Glen Cook is awesome.

    If you have never read the Amber books by Roger Zelazny, they are really good as well.
     
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  5. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    DMC, I have had the Black Company loaded for awhile on my Kindle but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I will have to try it as soon as I am done with Banewreaker, I think.

    Arkite, I've heard of The Assassin's Apprentice in the past, too, but I never got around to checking it out. I will now, especially since you compare it in some ways to GoT. (Note: I don't really care if it is high magic or low magic, big fantasy or little, but I like it to be well-written with good characters, and at least a solid, intelligent, consistent attempt has been put in at making magic/monsters/weirdness somehow explainable and understandable. Just my perspective).

    Silvery, I'll check out Pakksanarian and Trudi Canavan. I forgot to mention--I read the first 4 or 5 of the Wheel of Time series, starting back when I had to actually wait for months or years before the next volume would come out (what was that, the mid-80s?). I really liked the first one, though it was fairly simple, but the more I got bogged down in the oceans of characters who emerged as the follow-on books came out, the less I liked the story. (At least George RR Martin kills off old characters as he introduces new ones!)

    I have heard lots of raves about not just Zelazny, but also Jack Vance and Michael Moorcock, but have never got around to reading their stuff, either. I forgot to mention--I really enjoy Robert Howard's Conan books too, but the volumes written by the guys who followed him just don't do it for me.
     
  6. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Word and Void trilogy, by Terry Brooks is great.
     
  7. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    Thanks, Rawgrim, I'll check them out...
     
  8. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    Truth be told, I find them a little annoying myself at times. I find myself wanting to shake the characters until their teeth rattle while screaming "None of this would be going **** up if you'd just effin' talk to each other!!!
     
  9. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I always recommend the classics (and some non-classics):

    The Mars Series - Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (both of them) - Stephen Donaldson
    Fafhrd and Grey Mouser Series - Fritz Leiber (actually collections of amusing short stories)
    Amber Series (both of them) - Roger Zelazny
    Champion Eternal saga (the best are Elric, Hawkmoon, and Corum) - Micheal Moorcock
    Wizard of Earthsea Series - Ursula LeGuin
    Dark is Rising Series - Susan Cooper (young adult)
    Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
    Magic Kingdom of Landover Series - Terry Brooks
    Watership Down - Richard Adams (not a series but one of my favorite books of all time)
     
  10. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Steven Erikson's Malazan Series is great, perhaps the best out there, IMO. Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series is great also, but more historical fiction than fantasy.
     
  11. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Try the various books written by Michael Moorcock. Elric, the Immortal, etc....

    I 2nd the Malazon books, The Black Company books(Aces!), Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser and The Thomas Covenant series. I enjoyed the 1st series more the the latter though.

    The original 3 Dragonlance books are a fun read, but not challenging.

    "I, Strahd" a Ravenloft AD&D setting novel was also a fun read. Vampire Wizards are awesome.
     
  12. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Would also recommend the Malazan books, had forgotten about that series, I've only got the last book left to read.
     
  13. dogsoldier Gems: 7/31
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are pretty good; if you guys haven't heard of it, The Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon seems like an homage to Leiber's stories. Supposedly he will write more, but I don't know when. (And Chabon is a hell of a writer, better than a lot of these guys we're talking about!)

    I was a fan of the Mars books when I was younger (plus Tarzan) but I think I read them all. (I probably read 20 of the Doc Savage books [!!], not that those had much to do with fantasy). Narnia was fine when I was a kid; I (to be brutally honest) have no interest in re-visiting them. I have read a couple of the Harry Potter books to my daughter but I think JK Rowling is a mediocre writer (to be totally honest, I think her writing is often painful), so I have no interest in attempting to finish that series--especially since we've seen all the movies and we know how it will all end up.

    I forgot about Thomas Covenant. That was another series I have always meant to check out. I also have Peake's Gormenghast novels "wish-listed" on my Amazon but I never get around to buying them.

    I'm now interested in Malazon, since several people have spoken highly of it.
     
  14. Topken

    Topken Elven-dragon wizard

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    You can give the series The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett a shot there are currently 3 with 2 more in the works.
     
  15. Vhailor

    Vhailor Justice is not blind, for I am her eyes Veteran

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    No one is going to recomend any forgotten realms novels? I like salvator's early work but then again I don't read much.
     
  16. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Magician - by Raymond Feist. Fantastic book.
     
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  17. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Though I have read most the FR novels ever written, they are subpar unfortunately. But fun reads. The Drizzt novels are well enough I guess. I liked the Erevis Cale books and the Elminster novels. There is also the series about the Elves returning to Faerun from Evermeet. Forget the names, it has been a few years.
     
  18. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You could try the Happy Hooker series. Granted, it's a different kind of fantasy, and probably more appreciated by teenagers, but still...
     
  19. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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  20. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Seconding the Erikson and Hobb recommendations. For me those two and Martin form the holy trinity of fantasy writers. No one else really reaches their quality although more and more are getting damn close.

    Oh and if you haven't read Pratchett do so.
     
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