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Slayer Lord
2012-06-21, 09:54 AM
Most of the fantasy literature that I've come across has been more Sword than Sorcery, and I've been itching to expand my horizons a bit. What are some books that have really good caster vs caster battles?

Thanks in advance.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-06-21, 09:59 AM
Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time has at least one fight each book with the resident One Power as the key factor. And it is the most powerful weapon there by such a margin its game adaptation didn't even pretend to balance it.

This both applies to Channeler on Channeler fights.... and umm situations like Channelers annihilating armies.

(Also while not a book you might want to look into Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)

Feytalist
2012-06-21, 10:04 AM
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher come to mind. Lot of epic magic battles in those books.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-06-21, 10:35 AM
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher come to mind. Lot of epic magic battles in those books.

I almost said that but then wasn't so sure. There's lots of epic caster on super-creature fights but Harry doesn't fight his peers all that often.

Actually I'm stuggling to come up with an example beyond umm the background fight we haven't seen and the first book where Harry subverted the idea something fierce.

Fragenstein
2012-06-21, 10:55 AM
Give the Cenotaph Road by Robert E. Vardeman a shot. It's a series of six relatively short books that chronicles how a backwoods ranger gets caught up in an ancient, interdimensional war between a mad immortal sorcerer and a god.

In fact, from what I've heard, pretty much everything Vardeman has ever written is primarily made of epic magic battles. For some reason I've never read beyond Pillar of Night, however. I'm not sure why. It was one of my most cherished set of books when I was younger.

I recently re-read them, and Vardeman's writing came off as a little more primitive and vulgar than I remembered. But still, he had some awesome battles. Each book shows a rapid progression of power on both sides of the main conflict that ends up shattering entire worlds.


The Belgariad should also be mentioned, I feel. Even though true fans of David Eddings would probably stab me in the eyesocket for mentioning him in the same breath as Vardeman. It was very popular around the same time even though I was never honestly into it. I believe it contained a few good magical fight scenes as well.


Dammit. There was another series by a third author that simply replaced 'magic' with 'psionics'. While not initially D&D related, it did end up inspiring much of the first Psionics Handbook. If I can remember what that was called, I'll shout it out as well.

The J Pizzel
2012-06-21, 01:50 PM
As a non Harry Potter book reader, I know nothing of what happened in the books. But the short duel between Dumbledorea and Voldemort at the end of the 5th movie was cinematically amazing. The way Dumbledore cast his spells with a serene calm and void of emotion was a beautiful contrast to Voldemorts. His casting was all physical and filled with sreams and emotion. It was short, but that one quick scene, to me, showed a lot of their personality.

Fragenstein
2012-06-21, 02:06 PM
Dammit. There was another series by a third author that simply replaced 'magic' with 'psionics'. While not initially D&D related, it did end up inspiring much of the first Psionics Handbook. If I can remember what that was called, I'll shout it out as well.

Aha! The Deryni novels by Katherine Kurtz. That's what it was.

And I always wonder how much of Dumbledore's serenity came from the fact that he knew Voldemort could never beat the Elder Wand.

Traab
2012-06-21, 02:39 PM
The Black Jewels Trilogy is pretty much entirely magical combat based, though there is some physical combat. But severe warning for those who dont know, its a very grim trilogy with torture, mutilation, slavery, child rape (once, then never again) and mention of eternal torment, (one of the main characters is the high lord of hell.... and he is a good guy)

Tavar
2012-06-21, 03:14 PM
I almost said that but then wasn't so sure. There's lots of epic caster on super-creature fights but Harry doesn't fight his peers all that often.

Actually I'm stuggling to come up with an example beyond umm the background fight we haven't seen and the first book where Harry subverted the idea something fierce.

Yeah, I'd say that there are only a couple real instances of Mage on Mage fights. Major spoilers, so you're warned.

Dead Beat has a couple fight scenes. The one between Harry and Morgan is amazing, simply for showing what another high powered Wizard can do.

Changes has the duel between Harry and the Red Court...oh, the daughter of the Red King.

White Knight has another good duel scene.

Those are the best examples I can think of.

Traab
2012-06-21, 03:19 PM
The end of the third book of the belgariad, Magicians Gambit, had one heck of a fight between belgarath, that worlds version of merlin, and his evil counterpart. The next book starts off with garion using a lot of magic and getting into a couple of minor magical skirmishes.

Prime32
2012-06-21, 03:35 PM
(Also while not a book you might want to look into Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)What about Negima? Manga are books. :smalltongue: Then there's the Slayers novels, about half of which have official English translations.

Serpentine
2012-06-21, 03:52 PM
Tamora Pierce has lots - especially the Winding Circle series, but there's a particularly epic one in the series about Daine.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-06-21, 04:28 PM
Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time has at least one fight each book with the resident One Power as the key factor. And it is the most powerful weapon there by such a margin its game adaptation didn't even pretend to balance it.

This both applies to Channeler on Channeler fights.... and umm situations like Channelers annihilating armies.

(Also while not a book you might want to look into Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)
Of course, YMMV on whether the books are worth the read. They're very long. And, in my opinion, quite over-padded.

Though, here's a question: has Brandon Sanderson done any caster vs. caster work? I've read and loved The Way of Kings, but that wasn't really caster vs. caster. (Though it -did- have some great examples of well-done magic items.)

And if you're willing to consider manga...Fullmetal Alchemist is essentially chock-full of caster vs. caster action.

Emmerask
2012-06-21, 04:47 PM
Well if you consider Allomancers casters then yes and some pretty epic fights there are ^^
Otherwise no, not to my knowledge.

Maybe in the serpentwar saga (or the other sagas that continue the story) but I can´t really put my finger on any particular fight.

The more I try to remember any awesome mage vs mage fights the more I´m convinced the voldemort vs dumbledore fight actually was the most epic one ^^

Sanguine
2012-06-21, 05:08 PM
Well if you consider Allomancers casters then yes and some pretty epic fights there are ^^
Otherwise no, not to my knowledge.

There was the big fight scene at the end of Elantris, though I'm not sure whether or not the demon monks count as casters.

Cikomyr
2012-06-21, 05:12 PM
The movie Dungeons and Dragons had an epic magical fight at the end... :smallwink:

Ramza00
2012-06-21, 05:13 PM
And if you're willing to consider manga...Fullmetal Alchemist is essentially chock-full of caster vs. caster action.
It was more of caster vs tarrasques in human form with special abilities.

oblivion6
2012-06-21, 09:40 PM
Give the Cenotaph Road by Robert E. Vardeman a shot. It's a series of six relatively short books that chronicles how a backwoods ranger gets caught up in an ancient, interdimensional war between a mad immortal sorcerer and a god.

In fact, from what I've heard, pretty much everything Vardeman has ever written is primarily made of epic magic battles. For some reason I've never read beyond Pillar of Night, however. I'm not sure why. It was one of my most cherished set of books when I was younger.

I recently re-read them, and Vardeman's writing came off as a little more primitive and vulgar than I remembered. But still, he had some awesome battles. Each book shows a rapid progression of power on both sides of the main conflict that ends up shattering entire worlds.


The Belgariad should also be mentioned, I feel. Even though true fans of David Eddings would probably stab me in the eyesocket for mentioning him in the same breath as Vardeman. It was very popular around the same time even though I was never honestly into it. I believe it contained a few good magical fight scenes as well.

yes,the belgariad contains a few good magical fights(particularly between belgarath and cthutik in magicians gambit

and though i am a true eddings fan i will not stab you in the eyesocket for mentioning vardemen...simply because i have never heard of him

Das Platyvark
2012-06-21, 09:52 PM
Sourcery (yes, it's spelled like that), by TERRY FREAKING PRATCHETT.
I hope I am not your first introduction to this man—otherwise, it may be too late.

Kyberwulf
2012-06-21, 10:13 PM
Bavmorda Vs. Fin Raziel.


Hands down.


I mean those old women went Fisticuffs in a mage duel... can't get much more epic than that.

Weezer
2012-06-22, 07:14 AM
The Black Company bu Glen Cook has some impressive magical battles, probably one of the settings where mages are the most powerful and actually use their nagic effectively in warfare. An excellent seeies all round.

pita
2012-06-22, 07:59 AM
Steven Erikson's Malazan Book Of The Fallen has battles that make epic look tiny. Some are mage vs mage, some are mage vs normal guy, a memorable few are normal guy vs god.
Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn has interesting mage vs mage battles.
Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy has magic that's purely mental. So there are mage vs mage battles, but epic they ain't.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-06-22, 09:12 AM
What about Negima? Manga are books. :smalltongue: Then there's the Slayers novels, about half of which have official English translations.

Also possible... also notice how red hair and awesome magic users tend to go together?

I've long had the one true personal headcanon that Negi and Nanoha are actually secret twins (both series involve cute girls and befriending Fate with maximum firepower...) but I think Lina may be related too..... ooh got it.


Of course, YMMV on whether the books are worth the read. They're very long. And, in my opinion, quite over-padded.


Oh it does set a high bar for reading, like one of those giant steaks the steakhouse gives you for free if you can finish it in one sitting. No matter the quality of cooking its just not for everyone. Me it left all books since with a little bit of "where's the beef?" going on.

However padding... nah that's really a misconception. Given only one I started picking up on my fourth or fifth time through. And it is a series one needs to read a couple of times to truly appreciate. Which I consider a plus.

And it still has some of the most epic fights I've ever read. Who needs modern technology when you have bloody Asha'man.

Liffguard
2012-06-22, 01:35 PM
The Second Apocalypse series by R. Scott Bakker has some awesome magic battles. The magic systems themselves are really cool and very well thought out and Bakker's description makes it all come together.

HandofShadows
2012-06-23, 06:34 AM
The duel at the end of the movie The Raven. :smallcool:

DrK
2012-06-23, 07:23 AM
I would second Steven Eriksons Malazan book of the Fallen. It's got lord of crazy epic magery . And some magic related deicide thrown in for good measure.

The modestt Recluse wizards have lord if well done magic stuff with the law and chaos magic. And of course the chanelling battles in Wheel of Time.

Radar
2012-06-23, 09:07 AM
The Black Mage trilogy by Trudi Canavan and related books are all about wizards and they do fight quite a bit (with a full-scale magical war in the prequel). Magic in this universe is not as varied (no very specific spells for very specific situations - in fact, there is no spells per se), but is really well thought out and fights are tactically interesting.

As long as Pratchett is concerned, then Dark Side of the Sun should be mentioned as well. It's an SF, so no wizards are present, but people learned how to manipulate probabilities of natural events and at one point an android with over-the-top luck uprgades tries to kill a person with similar wards - results are quite entertaining. At the end of the day, if you can manipulate probabilities, you might as well call it magic.

The Nth Doctor
2012-06-24, 04:40 PM
The Black Company bu Glen Cook has some impressive magical battles, probably one of the settings where mages are the most powerful and actually use their nagic effectively in warfare. An excellent seeies all round.

I second this. Great series with a great magical system and some awesome magical fights.

Yora
2012-06-25, 08:25 AM
The last book of War of the Spiderqueen has one really long battle between to archmages that lasts for days and is one of the two plot lines that almost runs through the entire novel.

Quality varies greatly, but being about the leaders of the Baenre family the series has it's fare share of very very high power magic battles.

douglas
2012-06-25, 09:07 AM
Quality varies greatly, but being about the leaders of the Baenre family the series has it's fare share of very very high power magic battles.
I haven't read the whole series, but I really shook my head in disgust when one of the early books had a duel between wizards, both capable of casting 9th level spells, where one of them casts Globe of Invulnerability.

Seriously? You're fighting someone who's casting the most powerful pre-epic spells in existence at you, and you cast a spell that... blocks weak magic?:smallconfused::smallannoyed::smallsigh:

Tergon
2012-06-25, 11:02 AM
The Riftwar series by Raymond E. Feist has a lot of emphasis on magicians and magic users, with some pretty good battles popping up here and there. The majority of fights do focus more on swordplay than spellcasting, and the mages often get the role of, "Hold back the approaching all-powering evil while the fighter destroys its agents". But when you occasionally see Pug or Macros the Black really unleash their godlike power, it's worth every second of the buildup.

Hell, even if you don't care much about magical battles, if you like fantasy works at all, I cannot recommend Riftwar strongly enough. Start with the original trilogy - Magician, Silverthorn and A Darkness At Sethanon, in that order - and go from there.