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View Full Version : Yet Another "Reccomend A Fantasy Book" Thread



TheSummoner
2011-10-16, 09:56 PM
After the Game of Thrones series aired on HBO last Spring, I decided to read the books and I finally finished A Dance with Dragons last night. I really enjoyed the series, but now that I'm done with the most recent book, I've got nothing to read. So now I turn to the playground for suggestions on how to fill this book-void I've found myself in.

A few preferences...

I'm looking for a fantasy setting. Preferrably one set in an entirely fictional world with no connection to the real world.

I prefer stories where the main character doesn't come off as some sort of chosen one. Obviously he/she is probably going to do some amazing things, but I don't like it when it the story acts as if he/she was the only person who could've done it... or if he/she was, there should be a better reason than "Because fate says so."

Aside from that, I'm open to pretty much anything. Not following either of those perfectly wouldn't prevent me from trying something if it is reccomended heavily enough, but they're preferences.

And please don't just say the name of the book... Try to sell me on it... Give a brief description of the plot and tell me what makes it so good.

Thanks ^_^

Neo_Leviathan
2011-10-16, 11:17 PM
I'm currently reading the "Mistborn" trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (on the third book now).
Dark Fantasy setting (the tagline of the first book is "What if the dark lord won?").
There's a little bit of 'chosen one' stuff that starts happening into the second book, but if you keep reading you'll find out why.

Very unusual magic system based on burning metals for various effects, and hey, how can you dislike a series that starts with "Hey guys, you know that guy who defeated the Eldritch Abomination a thousand years ago, then rebuilt the world, enslaved the population and ascended to Godhood? Yeah, lets kill him!"

Thane of Fife
2011-10-19, 12:40 PM
Here's three books/series to look into:

1. The Deed of Paksenarrion. Starts with the book Sheepfarmer's Daughter. They're set in a D&D-esque setting, and star a young girl (Paksenarrion) who runs away from home to become a mercenary. Over the course of the series, she turns from green recruit to hardened veteran to adventurer to paladin. These are very much epic good vs evil books, so if you're interested in that, you'll probably like these.

2. The Legend of Nightfall, followed by The Return of Nightfall. The main character, Nightfall, is perhaps the best thief/assassin in the world, and is essentially geas-ed into watching over an overly zealous prince and trying to keep him safe and get him landed. The appeal to these is that A) Nightfall is a pretty neat character, and B) the magic system, wherein some people are randomly born with magical talents, and others are randomly born with the ability to torture these people to death and steal their talents.

3. The Last Dragonlord. The author of this one wrote this and a sequel, and then never wrote another book, but this one is pretty good (the sequel's also good, but not quite as good). It features the dragonlords, who are basically people with some superhuman qualities and the ability to turn into dragons. The book focuses mostly on political intrigue and scheming. This book might be hard to find, but I'd recommend it.

Dienekes
2011-10-19, 01:30 PM
An author I'm really enjoying is Joe Abercrombie and the world he's developing. His style is less eloquent but he makes it work, with his forte being descriptions of combat.

The first trilogy starts with The Blade Itself, and sets up the world rather well. It also has some very memorable characters as protagonist, the best in my opinion are a nice barbarian warrior who is about the most helpful bloke you could talk to, and the torturer Glokta who is about the most disgusting.

The story it tells is dark, about the war of mages and how it mundane people. Personally I place it even a shade darker than GRRM's work if you liked it. But the characters feel well developed with interesting motivations, and the author throws a few curve-balls at you. But what really sells the series above others is the villain, but that only really comes into play in the last book.

Abercrombie's next books are extensions of the original trilogy including Best Served Cold, a revenge romp, and my personal favorite Heroes which just describes one battle in exceeding detail, showing the machinations of both sides, the small parts of glory and a lot of tragedy thrown in.

You can also try the Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch. The first book being the Lies of Locke Lamora featuring a very talented thief in a magical setting. The story and city the story takes place in feel well developed, the characters are likeable and it is just a fun read. The next book was a step back I think, but it still had the fun characters and interesting imagery. Think of it as mixing fantasy with a crime novel (more Ocean's 11 than Sherlock though, I'm not sure how to distinguish between those subtypes of the crime genre)

Feytalist
2011-10-20, 02:43 AM
I can suggest two series by the same author, Trudi Canavan. Both are relatively recent.

The Black Magician Trilogy: It's a relatively straightforward "girl gets accepted into magic school" type story, but it's fairly well written. She's a natural with magic and her powers are out of control and so on, and then she gets apprenticed to the high mage, intrigue follows etc.

Then there's the Age of the Five, which was simply brilliant. The setting has gods present in the world, who regularly manifest themselves to their followers. The gods have five representatives gifted with powerful magic powers, longevity and so on. The story follows a girl (again) inducted into the priesthood, and has her discovering her powers and limitations and so on. What makes the books special is the three or four massive plot twists that come along. I have been reading fantasy for quite some time, and I didn't see most of those coming. The writing is again excellent, the story is novel and original and the setting is unique. Really a good read.


Oh! I almost forgot. The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. If you've played the games, you should have a decent grip on the setting and its feel already. The novels take place long before the games, so he hasn't lost his memory yet. The setting is fairly grim, but the writing is sharp and snarky. The setting also has its fair share of political intrigue if you like that sort of thing. The first book is a collection of short stories to ease you into the setting. It's definitely worth a look.

Serpentine
2011-10-20, 04:21 AM
3. The Last Dragonlord. The author of this one wrote this and a sequel, and then never wrote another book, but this one is pretty good (the sequel's also good, but not quite as good). It features the dragonlords, who are basically people with some superhuman qualities and the ability to turn into dragons. The book focuses mostly on political intrigue and scheming. This book might be hard to find, but I'd recommend it.I own this one. Has a dude called Linden. 'spretty coo'. Been years since I read it, though, so I can't comment much more.

You could perhaps check out some Tad Williams. My favourites of his are Tailchaser's Song and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. The former is - more or less - set in our world, but it's all about cats and the cat world; humans are pretty much irrelevant, outside of myths and things like that.
The latter is pretty much your typical fantasy epic, with lots of different storylines and a terribly important journey for the Great McGuffin. It's been a long time since I read them, but I enjoyed them a lot.

After reading Game of Thrones it'll be a big step down, but I love Tamora Pierce. Her main series are both set in completely different worlds to ours, with lots of magic and monsters. In the Tortall books, the main characters are always female, and they generally follow their education and beginning of adulthood. The Winding Circle books originally follow a group of boys and girls and their development as mages, but later books tend to follow individuals. Lots of progressive themes but not to the extent it replaces or interferes with the story. Very easy to get through.

I'm still reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and it's amazing. It flits into our world and back out again, but the bulk of it is in another world, and it's a real epic fantasy. Plot-wise... It's sorta hard to explain. The universe is falling apart, and a Gunslinger - like a cross between a medieval knight and a cowboy - is heading towards something called the Dark Tower to find out what's going wrong, and fix it if he can. Quite dark - it is Stephen King, after all - but very good. It's King's magnum opus, and weaves in all sorts of bits from his other stories into it.
Also by King, I love Through the Eyes of the Dragon. A king in another world has two sons - one tall, handsome, intelligent and beloved; the other squat, plain, dull and largely ignored. The king's advisor (because of course it is) murders the king, frames the first prince and installs the second as king. And then plot happens.
Doesn't really apply to your criteria at all, but I can't talk about King without mentioning The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Seems like a neglected and forgotten one of his books, and it's one of my favourites.

Robin Hobb's books are also well worth reading. But, nutsly, it's again been years since I read it so I can't really explain them properly :smallfrown: But they are very good (really need to read her last series...).

I have in front of me a final book called The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley. From the back of it: "Flame-haired Princess Torina knows nothing of war. Her beloved father has returned home - that is all that matters. But he brings such odd gifts: a beautiful sphere in which she glimpses strange images; and a boy - a former prince, it is whispered - offered to her as a slave.
Flung bound before this girl, Landen's world is in tatters. Bellandra, his home, was reputed to be invincible - protected by the might of its legendary Sword. But now the one-time prince stands alone, his life in Princess Torina's hands."

kamikasei
2011-10-20, 04:58 AM
I'll make my standard recommendation of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or Lankhmar, depending on the edition you pick up. A series of novels and stories by Fritz Lieber about a barbarian and a wizard's-apprentice-turned-rogue having adventures, getting treasure, spending all their treasure on wine and women, realizing they're broke, hearing there's some treasure on the other side of an interesting-sounding adventure...

Lots of fun, a good bit of humour in the situations and the presentation, two very likable main characters with a very believable friendship. This (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0575082747/) is the version I've read, and it certainly serves as a good introduction, but I believe there are other stories too.

Liffguard
2011-10-20, 06:06 AM
The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham
A series of four books that span some seventy years, tracking the lives and relationships of two men when they part ways in childhood. It's set in a quasi-asian themed world with very high power (but explicitly defined) magic. One of the series' major themes to examine the ramifications of widespread magic on society. How does it affect economics? How do those nations without magic react to those who do. Ultimately, however, it's a character driven work that focuses on the complex inter-relationships amongst the cast. Very, very highly recommended. The first book is titled A Shadow in Summer.

The Second Apocalypse series by R. Scott Bakker
Very, very, very dark setting. This is a world to make Westeros look like Ponyland. It may or may not violate your "no chosen ones" rule. There isn't an explicit chosen one but the main character manipulates events to make people think he is. Later on it becomes ambiguous as to whether he's still just manipulating, gone mad and bought into his own lies, or if he really is what he says but in a different way. The major theme is an exploration of the validity of free-will and consciousness. The first book is titled The Darkness that Comes Before.

Eldan
2011-10-20, 06:26 AM
I'll second Serpentine's recommendation of Robin Hobb. If you are interested, start with The Assassin's Apprentice. It's the first part of the Elderlings series, which consists of three trilogies (soon four), two of which (six books) are about the same character. The third trilogy isn't all that closely connected, though, except for bits and pieces in the end.

Starts out low-magic-ish, but soon ramps the magic up massively. Follows the adventure of an orphan boy who turns out to be a royal bastard, who becomes an assassin, and then a mage, and then... well, it goes on. Somehow manages to take a character, give him power sets equivalent to about five D&D classes and still have him be more or less believable. And make it quite dark and desperate, at times.

Tengu_temp
2011-10-20, 06:32 AM
If you liked SoFaI, you'll probably enjoy the Witcher books. They are quite similar, only the setting has more fantasy elements, there's less characters dying around like flies and much more humour, and they were written around 20 years earlier. I don't know how good the English translation is, but I've heard second-hand it's pretty good. There are two collected tomes of short stories and a five-book saga that takes place chronologically after those stories.

Furnok
2011-10-20, 08:34 AM
"Game of Thrones", if you havent read this this book you need to. It is one of the best series out in the past 20 yrs.

Check out the series "The Malazan book of the Fallen" The first book in the series is called "Gardens of the Moon" There are a ton of characters and honestly there is not one "main characters". There are several important characters but so far through the series there is not one character who is meant to save the world like "Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, etc etc." Be warned people die in this book, pretty important characters that that you grow attached too. Im only a little under half way through and it is addictive good.

Serpentine
2011-10-20, 08:36 AM
Uuuuuuuh...
After the Game of Thrones series aired on HBO last Spring, I decided to read the books and I finally finished A Dance with Dragons last night.:confused:

The_Snark
2011-10-20, 07:06 PM
I'll second kamikasei's recommendation; Fritz Leiber is a good short story writer. The pacing is naturally a little different from long multi-book epics, and it probably won't take you very long to get through most of the stories (assuming you can find them all), but that's not such a terrible thing.

I also enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, as well as his standalone book Warbreaker. I like some of Robin Hobb's writing; the Assassin's Apprentice series didn't pull me in, but I enjoyed the trilogy beginning with Shaman's Crossing. (Fair warning: the second book in that series gets pretty grim. But it gets easier in the third book, and if you're a fan of Martin you probably won't be deterred.)

Lastly, I'll add Glen Cook's Black Company series to the list of recommendations. It follows a group of mercenaries making a living in a fantasy world; the series begins with the protagonists signing on with the forces of a local dark lord (or Lady, in this case) who needs help putting down an inconvenient rebellion, and meanders through a couple of different plots after that. Everything is very grey: many of the people who would be shiny clean heroes in a standard fantasy book are neither shiny, clean or heroic, many of the villains are sympathetic (albeit still villainous), and of course the vast majority of the books takes place in the middle of one war or another. It sounds bleak, but you said you liked Martin... and I think Cook actually does a better job handling a grim world. The books take the form of a first-person memoir written by the company's chronicler, so while terrible things sometimes happen the narrator isn't interested in rubbing your face in it. (It also means you're dealing with a subjective narrator; the text is not always 100% reliable or honest with you!)

There are something on the order of ten books, but split into two or three sub-series. I know a number of people don't care for the later ones, which are a little stranger than the first two or three books and drag on for a while, but I liked them. (I think the pacing was intentional: most of the protagonists are all middle-aged or older by this time, they've been fighting for most of their lives, and this particular war has been dragging on in one form or another for decades.)

Neo_Leviathan
2011-10-20, 07:38 PM
A thought occurs.
I'm assuming since you've read Fantasy that you've read this, but if not..
Read Magician, Raymond E Feist.
Don't care if you never read another of his (multitudes) of books, Magician is nineteen kinds of distilled awesome.

Vilyathas
2011-10-20, 10:48 PM
YMMV, but Feist's books started out really good and slowly loses ground. Here's my take on them.

Magician: orphan boys become two important figures in a war between two worlds. Introduces the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan, and lots of background fluff.

Silverthorn: post-war, sets up plot for the next book with what I think is a classic D&D quest, with chases, allies and sanctuaries, sneaking around, duel challenges, etc.

Darkness at Sethanon: awesome war right in the middle of the book. Awesome planar hopping. Epic magicks.

The Krondor series ("Assassins", "Betrayal", and "Tear of the Gods") are not in the same league as the above books. "Betrayal" and "Tear of the Gods" in particular read like the PC games they're based on. Better to play them than to read the novelization, IMHO.

Krondor's Heirs series ("Prince of the Blood", "King's Buccaneer") is also skippable and won't miss much except for the fleshing out of some minor NPCs which you won't see a lot of in future books.

From here on, the books are pretty much going downhill. There's plenty of fluff explaining the cosmology, introduces new races of dragonborn and demons, but the masses of new characters are starting to blur. I'm just reading them because I've come this far and it's such a waste to turn back now :smalltongue:

Also: read the Empire trilogy that Feist collaborated on with Janny Wurts. It's miles better than any of the books I mentioned above. It's mostly about political maneuvering and intrigue taken up to eleven, and how a minor House rises up to be one of the most powerful political entity in the world.

Neo_Leviathan
2011-10-21, 12:11 AM
YMMV, but Feist's books started out really good and slowly loses ground. Here's my take on them.

Magician: orphan boys become two important figures in a war between two worlds. Introduces the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan, and lots of background fluff.

Silverthorn: post-war, sets up plot for the next book with what I think is a classic D&D quest, with chases, allies and sanctuaries, sneaking around, duel challenges, etc.

Darkness at Sethanon: awesome war right in the middle of the book. Awesome planar hopping. Epic magicks.

The Krondor series ("Assassins", "Betrayal", and "Tear of the Gods") are not in the same league as the above books. "Betrayal" and "Tear of the Gods" in particular read like the PC games they're based on. Better to play them than to read the novelization, IMHO.

Krondor's Heirs series ("Prince of the Blood", "King's Buccaneer") is also skippable and won't miss much except for the fleshing out of some minor NPCs which you won't see a lot of in future books.

From here on, the books are pretty much going downhill. There's plenty of fluff explaining the cosmology, introduces new races of dragonborn and demons, but the masses of new characters are starting to blur. I'm just reading them because I've come this far and it's such a waste to turn back now :smalltongue:

Also: read the Empire trilogy that Feist collaborated on with Janny Wurts. It's miles better than any of the books I mentioned above. It's mostly about political maneuvering and intrigue taken up to eleven, and how a minor House rises up to be one of the most powerful political entity in the world.

For the most part, I agree (though the Empire trilogy I just could not finish, I enjoyed most of it but the last book got too bogged down for me).
I really enjoyed the stuff with Roo & Von Darkmoor though. And the Dasati stuff.

Still, none of it even comes close to comparing with Magician and the rest of that series :)

Feytalist
2011-10-21, 01:37 AM
You mentioned Janny Wurts. Her own stuff isn't bad either. I recently tore through the Circle of Fire trilogy, and while it wasn't anything really special, I did still enjoy it. Her War of Light and Shadow series is a bit more difficult to get into.

Also, since we're talking about it, I'm also assuming the OP has read Eddings. 'Cause if you haven't, there's really not much more to say than "go do it now :smallannoyed:".

Same goes for Gemmell, really.

Oh, for what it's worth, I agree with the assessment of Feist. His first three or so books were by far the best of the lot.

Ninjadeadbeard
2011-10-21, 01:58 AM
I can't believe what I'm not hearing! No one has mentioned Terry Pratchett's Discworld?

It's hard to pick just one, but you'd best start with Mort. Death has taken quite a fancy to humanity, and has got it into his skull that he wants to have an Apprentice, like anyone else. Thus, he picks Mort, a young boy described as having muscles like knotted string, no grace, and less backbone than an invertebrate. Things work out about how you'd expect.

Cespenar
2011-10-21, 03:28 PM
The Death Gate Cycle from Weis & Hickman.

The Elenium and The Tamuli trilogies by David Eddings.

King-Strawberry
2011-10-21, 06:26 PM
Seconding The Elenium and Tamuli by david eddings, I have read them multiple times and just started The diamond throne again last night.

Private-Prinny
2011-10-21, 08:30 PM
I prefer stories where the main character doesn't come off as some sort of chosen one. Obviously he/she is probably going to do some amazing things, but I don't like it when it the story acts as if he/she was the only person who could've done it... or if he/she was, there should be a better reason than "Because fate says so."

Well then, this seems like one of the only places where my standard Wheel of Time recommendation won't work. I'll try anyway.

There's a good bit of the standard fantasy cliches (evil god, high magic setting, chosen one), but it's backed up by a fantastic supporting cast. There's a specific "chosen one" that's the most powerful for no apparent reason, and it's "because fate says so", but all of the important people want nothing to do with it, and only go along for the ride because there's nothing else they can do about it. And for the most part, it drives them up a wall.

Helanna
2011-10-21, 09:26 PM
I'm currently reading the "Mistborn" trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (on the third book now).
Dark Fantasy setting (the tagline of the first book is "What if the dark lord won?").
There's a little bit of 'chosen one' stuff that starts happening into the second book, but if you keep reading you'll find out why.

Very unusual magic system based on burning metals for various effects, and hey, how can you dislike a series that starts with "Hey guys, you know that guy who defeated the Eldritch Abomination a thousand years ago, then rebuilt the world, enslaved the population and ascended to Godhood? Yeah, lets kill him!"

I'll third this - it's a good series, and you might actually appreciate the second book more if you have a dislike of "the Chosen One" tropes.


Well then, this seems like one of the only places where my standard Wheel of Time recommendation won't work. I'll try anyway.

There's a good bit of the standard fantasy cliches (evil god, high magic setting, chosen one), but it's backed up by a fantastic supporting cast. There's a specific "chosen one" that's the most powerful for no apparent reason, and it's "because fate says so", but all of the important people want nothing to do with it, and only go along for the ride because there's nothing else they can do about it. And for the most part, it drives them up a wall.

I do love Wheel of Time, but there are a lot of cliches. A lot of it is intentional, meant to invoke legends and stories and the Hero's Cycle in general (it ties in with the main theme of the book, that of history repeating). So it's worth a look if you're looking for something very epic and if you don't mind that it's, you know, 14 books long and full of padding. That's perfect for me, but maybe not so much for others.

As for my own suggestion, The Name of the Wind is a pretty good book. Like Mistborn, it features a unique magic system with a strong basis in science and physics. It follows the story of Kvothe, a young arcanist who works his way into the University to learn magic, and then gets into all sorts of trouble there while trying to uncover the mysteries of the Chandrian. Except I'm pretty bad at describing it, so it's better than that. Definitely worth a shot.

Emmerask
2011-10-28, 09:45 AM
The Death Gate Cycle from Weis & Hickman.


I enjoyed that one quite a bit very interesting.

It is really hard to come up with none chosen one fantasy books though there are some with very minor chosen one tendencies ^^

David Gammell - the Drenai Series
the thing about Gammel is that he can put an epic saga into just one book where other authors need 6, he was in my opinion one of the best, if not the best fantasy author worldwide.

Patrick Rothfuss - Kingkiller Chronicles
The first book (name of the wind) was amazing, the second while not as good as the first was still good.
Also his writing style is quite different from other fantasy authors in my opinion, its more.. poetic I would say.

Brandon Sanderson - Stormlight Archive
Only one book out yet, and it seems to be a chosen one story line, still deserves mentioning, because it was a very interesting read.

Peter V. Brett - Demon Cycle
Again chosen one but also a good read


Oh nearly forgot...

David Eddings - Belgariad Saga & Elenium Series

Both Awesome, so seconded :smallbiggrin:

Feytalist
2011-10-28, 10:05 AM
David Gemmell.

His stand-alone books are no slouch either. Dark Moon and Echoes of the Great Song in particular are brilliant. And perhaps a good way to get acquainted with his style.

Emmerask
2011-10-28, 10:19 AM
There was also a series I read a long time ago which had a pretty unique magic system with words of power.
The fewer people knew a word the more powerful it was. There where also I think 4? guardians, godlike beings who accumulated 7+? words of power.
They pretty much divided the world into their domains and always tried to enslave or kill those who tried to gain or had gained more then one word.

It was quite an interesting series, I just don´t know the name of the books or the author anymore :smallfrown:

Yora
2011-10-28, 10:47 AM
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers fits all the criteria, though unlike most recommendations here, it's certainly not straight fantasy.
More like Terry Gilliam fantasy.

It's about a young lizardman scribe who finds the worlds most marvelous manuscript in the things left to him by his late teacher and is so overwhelmed that he has to set out to find the author who had send it to his teacher. He then ends up in weird city in which everything is about books. It's entire industry consists of novelists, poets, scribes, papermaker, bookbinders, bookshops, libraries, and street cafees. But under the streets there is an endless network of ancient and forgotten libraries where professional book hunters risk their lives and stab each other in their backs for copies of the most rare and valuable books in the whole world.

I would call it THE "Meta fantasy novel". It's not so much about the plot, but about the main character interpreting everything from the point of view of a novelist and comparing his own experiences and situations with those of poorly written protagonists of cheap adventure novels. Or call it TV Tropes: The Novelization if you want. This book is a fantasy novel about the love of fantasy novels. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Keld Denar
2011-10-28, 10:56 AM
Fourthing Robin Hobb. Unlike most people, I cut my teeth on her Liveship Trader series. Very well written with some really really really detailed characters. Kennet is an awesome character. Althea is a bit...Mary Sue, but still pretty cool. Withrop...the jury is still out. Vivacia (one of the boats), is pretty epic though.

I'm also gonna throw out Daniel Hood's A Familiar Dragon trilogy. I've never heard them mentioned online, but I enjoyed the heck out of them. Pretty short as far as novels go, I got all 3 in one hard cover. A little bit of murder mystery, a little bit of magic. Basic premise is that a wizard dude gets murdered, and his unusual friend comes and to visit him, finds him dead, inherets his magic house and familiar, and then investigates his murder. The first 2 books in particular are epic. The 3rd...gets wierd, but is still enjoyable.

Radar
2011-10-28, 12:53 PM
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers fits all the criteria, though unlike most recommendations here, it's certainly not straight fantasy.
More like Terry Gilliam fantasy.

(...)
In words of young von Mekken: "It's perfect!" (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20070625) It's a great book for every bibliophile.

I would also recommend Black Mage trilogy by Trudi Canavan - very well thought out world and magic system. The main protagonist might seem somewhat special, but nothing out of proportion.

Eldan
2011-10-28, 04:46 PM
Fourthing Robin Hobb. Unlike most people, I cut my teeth on her Liveship Trader series. Very well written with some really really really detailed characters. Kennet is an awesome character. Althea is a bit...Mary Sue, but still pretty cool. Withrop...the jury is still out. Vivacia (one of the boats), is pretty epic though.
.

Fun fact:
A friend I had went out and said: "I always hear about cliché fantasy books, but I only read the good ones. I'm going out and buying the most clichéd looking book I can find!"

He bought Ship of Magic, because he thought the title sounded clichéd (Really, there's tons of books called The Magic Something or Something of Magic or just Something Magic). Apparently, he was a bit disappointed because he thought it was good and original :smalltongue:


Edit: I can't second City ofDreaming Books enough.

"Are you foreshadowing? Stop foreshadowing me!"

Feytalist
2011-10-31, 02:54 AM
Some think (not me, mind) that the Liveship Traders are some of Hobb's worst-written books. Her Farseer (or "Assassin") Trilogy is really quite good, but I did enjoy the Liveship books. I always thought it was rather original. Some parts of the later books do drag a bit, though.

I have previously mentioned Trudi Canavan's books, but I reiterate. They are really good. The Age of the Five especially.

Serpentine
2011-10-31, 04:44 AM
I think I liked Liveship Traders better than the Assassin ones, but it's been years since I read them. Really gotta do it again, so's I can read the third series...

Keld Denar
2011-10-31, 12:10 PM
Anyone read her "shaman" series yet? I have the first book, but finding time to break into it has been problematic.

MammonAzrael
2011-10-31, 01:14 PM
I picked up Magician the other day thanks to suggestions here. Enjoyed it a lot, thanks. :smallsmile:

Fun note, did anyone know that in the US, the book was split into two volumes, Magician: Apprentice, and Magician: Master? I didn't. And now I've got to go buy the other half! :smallannoyed:

The_Snark
2011-10-31, 02:32 PM
Anyone read her "shaman" series yet? I have the first book, but finding time to break into it has been problematic.

I have. Pretty good, although it gets a little grim around the second book (probably the result of a depressed POV character). Liked it overall, though.

otakuryoga
2011-10-31, 10:45 PM
Here's three books/series to look into:

1. The Deed of Paksenarrion. Starts with the book Sheepfarmer's Daughter. They're set in a D&D-esque setting, and star a young girl (Paksenarrion) who runs away from home to become a mercenary. Over the course of the series, she turns from green recruit to hardened veteran to adventurer to paladin. These are very much epic good vs evil books, so if you're interested in that, you'll probably like these.


this...this...this

my favorite series

have read it at least a 15 times 8)

Feytalist
2011-11-01, 01:50 AM
I hope that Magician is the one Feist re-edited. He rewrote some parts and added a large part near the beginning of the book sometime after the first publication. It's a better version, I think. The main story is still the same though, so it's not so big a deal.

Vilyathas
2011-11-01, 02:03 AM
Fun note, did anyone know that in the US, the book was split into two volumes, Magician: Apprentice, and Magician: Master? I didn't. And now I've got to go buy the other half! :smallannoyed:

You can try looking for the anniversary edition, aka the "Author's Preferred Edition". Master and Apprentice combined into a single book, and about 50'000 words which were left out are restored. Nothing really noticeable unless you're a hardcore fan with an eye for details.



No one has mentioned Terry Pratchett's Discworld?

+1 for Discworld. There are a LOT of books in the series, but each book usually focuses on a particular subset of characters, or is a standalone. I recommend starting with some of the standalones before diving into the main books, just to get a feel of Pratchett's style.

"Moving Pictures". Hollywood comes to the Discworld. Fun game: find as many real-world analogues as you can :smallbiggrin:

"Small Gods" is about a boy and his depowered-god-in-tortoise-form trying to prevent a zealous worshipper of said god's religion from starting a religious war.

"Monstrous Regiment" is about a girl who joined the army to look for her brother. Only, her regiment is more than what it seems from first glance.

Emmerask
2011-11-01, 10:03 AM
Though if you expect fantasy fantasy from Discworld then these are not the books for you, the fantasy part in most cases is used to draw satirical parallels to current issues (cultural, political, scientific, religious).

Don´t get me wrong a lot of the discworld books are fantastic, intelligent even educational and I never have laughed so hard reading a book but don´t expect your typical fantasy from them :smallwink:

Guards! Guards! is my favorite Discworld novel :smallsmile:

Psyborg
2011-11-01, 11:30 AM
Going Postal was my favorite Discworld book. So far. I haven't read all that many of them (shameful, I know).

Seconding Tailchaser's Song. Similar, if slightly less fantastical, Watership Down (Richard Adams) is a truly excellent novel in its own right. About a group of rabbits (English rabbits, which are highly social colony animals; nothing like the American cottontails and hares) migrating across the English countryside to try and start a new warren b/c their old one was about to be destroyed. Less fantastical, but the folklore and myth of the rabbits is just breathtaking, and way the rabbits interact is really well done too.

A little-known early work by Orson Scott Card, Hart's Hope, fits your criteria and is worth reading if you can find it. Flawed- it tries to do too much, and the symbolism is so complex and multilayered that it detracts from the main story even while it amazes in its own right- but incredibly interesting nonetheless.

(Disclaimer: I am wholeheartedly an Orson Scott Card fanboy. Anything with his name on it is worth reading, and most of it is excellent. The original Ender tetrology is among the best science fiction ever written.)

The Chronicles of Amber series, by Roger Zelazny, might fit your criteria, though it does start out in our world and returns there very occasionally. There is a "chosen family" of sorts, but the protagonist is by no means notable among that very large extended family. The first five novels (the Corwin cycle) are generally stronger than the second five (the Merlin cycle) IMHO, but YMMV.

Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

MammonAzrael
2011-11-01, 02:01 PM
You can try looking for the anniversary edition, aka the "Author's Preferred Edition". Master and Apprentice combined into a single book, and about 50'000 words which were left out are restored. Nothing really noticeable unless you're a hardcore fan with an eye for details.

I did get the Author's Preferred Edition, just the first half of it. Gonna grab the second half sometime this week probably.

Wookieetank
2011-11-01, 02:18 PM
I'm going to throw out China Mieville's Bas-Lag series (Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council). These books are some of very few, that acutally made me smell, hear, and feel what is going on. It has more of a steampunk feel with fantasy elements, but all three books are very epic. The places in the book aren't just a location for the book to happen, they're living breathing places with a history. One of my favorite characters/critters from Perdido Street Station is The Weaver, "a multi-dimensional being in the form of a giant spider, who speaks in a never-ending torrent of free-verse poetry." If you're looking for non-standard fantasy, I'd definite check these out.

Starwulf
2011-11-04, 04:11 PM
I'll personally recommend the "War of the Mein" series by David Anthony Durham. Only the first two are out, but the third should be out sometime next year I do believe. It twists some generally accepted conventions, and is full of surprises. People you think have no chance of dying, die in an instant, people you think are going to be the main hero aren't, the people you think are bad guys, aren't, then the next people you think are the bad guys, aren't as well(or, not as bad as the real bad guys). It's a really good read!

Also, I haven't read Mistborn, but if it's as good as his stand-alone book "Elantris", then it's probably worth checking out ^^

Eldan
2011-11-04, 05:13 PM
Also, I haven't read Mistborn, but if it's as good as his stand-alone book "Elantris", then it's probably worth checking out ^^

I'd call it worse, actually... while Elantris had a few predictable plot points (not so much in Mistborn), I felt that Mistborn had massive pacing problems in the second and third books, and no characters I enjoyed nearly as much as those in Elantris. Warbreaker and Stormlight Archive are really good, though.

Hbgplayer
2011-12-03, 03:13 AM
I like the Inheritance saga (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheiritance) by Christopher Paolini, though you could say that it is a bit "chosen one"-y since the main character is the only one with a hope to overthrow the king. I also like the way that magic works in his world; I've found it is a great way to describe the "spells per day" concept in D&D.

Feytalist
2011-12-03, 03:58 AM
I like the Inheritance saga (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheiritance) by Christopher Paolini, though you could say that it is a bit "chosen one"-y since the main character is the only one with a hope to overthrow the king. I also like the way that magic works in his world; I've found it is a great way to describe the "spells per day" concept in D&D.

Heh, and this after we've spent about three weeks bashing this series in another thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222543).

Elfinor
2011-12-03, 05:45 AM
I'll sixth (?) a recommendation for Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings books.

I'll talk about the first (and my favourite) trilogy, the Farseer Trilogy. There are actually minor elements of destiny/fate involved but it's made clear that the protagonist (though essentially kind-hearted) is only following for his own selfish purposes. The characterization is brilliant, the mythology is interesting and detailed without being overwhelming (*cough* LOTR *cough*) and the protagonist's emotions are very believable. I'm supposedly working on a homebrew 3.5 conversion for it, but I've been rather busy recently:smalltongue: The books in the first Trilogy are: Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin & Assassin's Quest. The story of the characters continue in the Tawny Man Trilogy. The protagonist is a royal bastard who is 'used' as an assassin by the royal family - it has strong themes of politics, war & good of one vs. good of many.

Her other books are definitely worth a read too, however, I'm not really a fan of the Liveship Traders: it is chronologically between the above mentioned trilogies but has little crossover with them. I haven't read any books written under her sort-of-real-name (Megan Lindholm) so I can't comment on those.1 I'd also recommend the Monster Blood Tattoo series (starting with Foundling) by D.M. Cornish. The world (and plot) centres around humans vs. monsters, though the book makes it clear that this is not a good vs. evil conflict. This world has roughly renaissance-level technology, but a major fixture is the world's 'potives' and some sort of bizarre biotechnology which seem to effectively replace magic or technology. The primary monster hunters are skolds, who are effectively combat chemists, and lahzars, who have foreign organs implanted in them which give them special powers (creating electricity or being able to 'mind blast' people). I believe the books were created to showcase a world, because it does that very well. There is also a sizeable appendix at the end of the book, which has a lot of terms that are only tangentially related to the plot. It isn't necessary to understand the plot, but I found it very interesting.

The protagonist, Rossamund, is a young boy with a gift for making and using potions. The 'plot' in the first book is effectively a number of bizarre coincidences happening to him on his journey to become a Lamplighter (soldiers who maintain lamps on the roads). Although well written, it has its flaws... the protagonist is a young boy, who can be frustratingly naive at times. Nonetheless, it is a great and very original series with a number of thoughtful illustrations of the characters throughtout the books. It also has a sizeable appendix of terms at the end of the book(s), though you don't really need to read it to understand what's going on.

TheSummoner
2011-12-10, 11:53 PM
Been a while since I checked back in here.

If anyone is interested, I ended up going with The Snark's suggestion of The Black Company series. I just finished the last one in the series today. Seem's right, so I'm going to offer my opinions.

I'll admit, I had trouble getting into it at first... I really did not care for the first book. It wasn't bad, but I just had trouble getting into it. If nothing else, it did keep me going so I can't say too much bad about it.

I think part of why I had trouble at first was that the fact that it was entirely from the perspective of a single character. I had trouble grasping the whole of what was going on in the story. Aside from a small circle, most characters were rather minor. Antagonists in particular... They seemed to die pretty shortly after being introduced. There were very few characters whose heads I could get inside of and as a result, there were few I grew attached to.

I'm glad I kept going though... The second book was probably my favorite of the series. It split the perspective between two characters, and I actually found Shed incredibly likable. I won't go on a big speil about all ten books, I'll just say that I really liked the second book and things fluctuated from me liking it to me not liking it as much for the other eight.

So... Overall things I liked about the series... I liked how ridiculously hard it was to kill a powerful magic user. None of this squishy wizard bullcrap. Powerful sorcerers in this series have been buried alive, crippled, and even decapitated (TWO different people!) and survived it. I liked how anyone could die. Well... Except the main character. He almost died at one point, but it turned out to just be a near-death thing in the next book. Still, other characters could die at any point with no warning. Some did. Especially near the end of the series. Genre saviness worked against me there... Unfortunately I didn't have much of an emotional connection to most of the characters, so few deaths had any effect on me. My favorite character? Probably the Howler for reasons I can't explain. The guy was "dead" (remember what I said about powerful sorcerers being hard as hell to kill?) for like half the series, and he was pretty damn minor. I don't know why, but the guy grew on me. Seriously... I have no idea why.

I didn't care for the fact that almost everything had a nickname. People. Places. Most everything had a name that didn't sound like a real name... If that makes any sense. Later books got a bit better about that, but they had their own issues.

So... Overall I enjoyed it. It was good, though I wouldn't say it was great. Would I reccomend it? Yeah, probably. Not my first reccomendation, but it would make the list.

Anyways, I'm probably gonna look through the thread again, write down a few more, and see if any of them manage to catch my attention next time I'm at the bookstore.

RandomNPC
2011-12-13, 08:40 PM
From what I understand Black Company is awesome, 3 people have offered to loan the series to me, I'm just waiting on someone to come good on their word.

I'll suggest almost anything Pratchett or Gaiman, especially Good Omens. I'm a fan of the death series in Discworld, and Gaimans American Gods was great.

Ilona Andrews writes some good alternate history, the Kate Daniels series has magic coming and going, with technology working between so it's one or the other, makes cars interesting to say the least.

Finally, I've got to suggest my wife's books, she goes by Sha'uri on the boards here but is almost never on. It's Norse myth, generations after Ragnarok, it's got a Dokkalfar flying a sky ship, an army of undead in service of Hel marching across the land, and something to do with a Valkyrie.

Dunno where to get the other books, but my wife's book is linked in my sig.

Sha'uri
2011-12-15, 08:54 PM
Actually, my books are also on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles websites. Just search Melissa Sasina and you'll find them.

Lord Raziere
2011-12-15, 09:13 PM
From what I understand Black Company is awesome, 3 people have offered to loan the series to me, I'm just waiting on someone to come good on their word.



-_- I read the first book. it was dull. maybe I need to reread it…..can't remember what happened….

TheSummoner
2011-12-16, 02:43 AM
A war between an evil overlord sorceress and a group rebelling against her rule told from the limited first-person perspective of a mercenary who really isn't in a position that allows him to see any of the bigger picture, leaving the rebel faction and even a good number of his own allies (outside of the mercenary company itself) fairly ambiguous. The story of the war is really more of a backdrop to the rivalry and politicing going on within the ranks loyal to the sorceress, but the perspective character's point of view doesn't shed much light on that either. The pieces begin to fall into place slowly in the later books, but by that point it really doesn't matter anymore. If not for the limits placed on the story by the very limited perspective of the sole point of view character, it could've been a lot better. As things are though, you get very little grasp on the characters involved in the rivalry and politicing or any of the ones on the rebel side of the war itself.

The second one was better.

Daftendirekt
2011-12-16, 02:58 AM
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin is the story of a young boy who grows up to be the most powerful wizard alive. However, in this world magic is not all flashy a la Harry Potter, but subtle and mysterious and old as the earth itself, some may say Tolkienesque. Dragons are very rare and speak only their own language, again 'as old as the earth itself'. And their language is the language of magic, which wizards learn bits and pieces of to use magic.

The main character is imperfect, and therein lies much of the most interesting storytelling.

LeGuin is more well-known for her sci-fi, but I think this is some solid fantasy.

Brumski
2011-12-16, 09:52 AM
That's amusing, out of all the books suggested here that I've read, I would say that The Black Company is the worst, and that's the one you happened to pick.

My suggestion is The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. Good political intrigue, back-stabbing and twists. Main character is an orphan that apprentices with the city's master assassin, and the first book chronicles that upbringing for about the first third of the book, establishing the characters and the setting. Then some moral quandaries start coming up. There is a "chosen one" prophecy, but that's more of an aside, setting up a possible sequel set of books. The main guys are the best because they're the best, not just cause. Some really brutal parts though, it's certainly an R rated series. Setting is really pedestrian however, and the magic not well defined.

I did break one of my rules and went ahead and got his latest book The Black Prism even though the series isn't complete yet.