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Author Topic: Any fantasy genre recommendations?
seekingprometheus
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I just finished book 5 in Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series, and it seems that the lack of closure has left me with an unsated appetite for magic and dragons.

I've never really been a fantasy reader--though I've always been a voracious reader, and fantasy is always right next to science fiction of the bookshelves, so I have been exposed to some of the genre before. Within the genre, Le Guin is the only author I've truly loved--for instance, Tolkien always kind of bored me, and to be honest, a lot of what I've read of the genre is really more of children's lit: Narnia, Harry Potter, etc.

How about it? Any recommends? And why?

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TomDavidson
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Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet is amazing.
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yossarian22c
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Robert Jordan's and Brandon Sanderson's The Wheel of Time series is good.

The first 5 books are awesome and the last 4 are equally good. I just wanted to let you know because books 6-10 drag on a bit.

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djquag1
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The Acacia trilogy by David Durham is very good.
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starLisa
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Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man trilogy

Dave Duncan's A Man of His Word tetrology and its sequel tetrology A Handful of Men. And his The Seventh Sword trilogy (which apparently has a 4th book now, after 20 years, but it's amazing without it).

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Pyrtolin
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Robin Hobb is worth checking out. Check out her Assassin trilogy or Live Ship trilogy to start.
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philnotfil
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If you are looking for more dragons, Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is fun (Napoleonic wars with dragons).

If you are looking for more magic, I enjoyed Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (a protagonist who develops over five books, instead of developing over one book and then just kicking butt for four more books).

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msquared
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Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn is very good and I really liked the stand alone sequel, The Alloy of Law.

Now that he is done with the Wheel of Time hopefully he can get on with all of the other series he has going on.

msquared

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Greg Davidson
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Lois McMaster Bujold's 4 books in the Killing Knife series
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Wayward Son
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If you want something lighter with a slightly lower body count than Ice and Fire, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is a fun story of two expert con-men in a medieval fantasy world. Some magic, but no dragons (so far).

And if you don't mind children's lit, you definitely should read Hunger Games.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet is amazing.

Seconded. This series is phenomenal.

quote:
msquared: Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn is very good and I really liked the stand alone sequel, The Alloy of Law.
Also seconded. I loved mistborn.

The Name of the Wind is amazing, too.

The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham is also good.

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seekingprometheus
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Thanks for all the recommendations.

It seems like the norm in the genre is for stories to be told in a multi-volume series. I'm not interested in committing myself to starting another story that I'll have to wait years to finish right now, but it looks like most of the recommendations are already completed.

My first inclination was actually the first suggestion--apparently Abraham has collaborated with Martin in the past, so it seems like the LPQ might have some similarities to what I liked about ASOFAI, and as I mentioned in the OP, I'm kind of looking for some continuity to assuage my sense of being left in the lurch. Plus, the first review I read suggested that the story deals with some kind of poet-sorcerers, which TD must have known would pique my interest. [Wink]

But I'm not sure that the story has dragons in it, which might be a deal-breaker, given my current appetite...

Maybe if I mention some of the things I liked about ASOFAI, you guys can help me narrow the list down a bit. (I'll avoid plot spoilers for those who may be watching Game of Thrones without having read ahead in the books, but the following may contain some spoilers for those who want to approach fiction from a completely pristine perspective).

I liked the realism of Martin's work. I like that most of the thinking characters are skeptics, that they dismiss the rumors of magic and dragons and wights in far off lands as the nonsensical rumors of superstitious people. I like that, five books into the series, supernatural acts and events still feel rare, surprising, and mysterious, and that they seem like part of an underlying natural order that I just don't fully understand. The world seems largely like the historical medieval world to me, only it happens that some of the superstitions are based in magical truths.

I like the moral ambiguity of the characters--the more I read, the more it seems to me that each character is really a product of his environment, that the choices made by each character actually make sense when you consider their background, what has happened to them, the alliances that have been thrust upon them by birth or vicissitude, and the difficult choices they've been forced to make in the past. What Ned Stark chooses to do in his first scene in the first book seems like an ethically gray choice that I now see as both an emblematic product of his past, and an omen of the fate toward which his path of choices inexorably lead.

I like the way that it takes time for remarkable characters to develop into heir greatness. Like Phil mentioned, I enjoy watching the journeys of those characters that I anticipate will come to accomplish amazing things--I like the way Martin foreshadows a marvelous potential for certain characters, and the excitement that comes from each new clue that my anticipation was correct, and watching each character gradually progress toward the hinted promise. I even like that characters I'm invested in die--it makes me question my predictions (which are usually very good), and it's especially interesting considering the fact that the dead don't always stay dead in the story...

The most-recommended series here so far seems to be Mistborn with 3 votes. But glancing at the reviews, I'm a bit afraid that magic will be too much of an everyday component of the world rather than what I'm looking for-- where it's a mystery to be unraveled hint by enigmatic hint. I'm also probably not looking to get invested in a major undertaking--if the number of books in a series is in the double-digits, it's gonna take some convincing to make me think that it's worth the time commitment...

What of it folks? Lot's of recommendations, how should I narrow the list down?

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djquag1
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In the Acacia trilogy magic has been gone for centu ries, after it was used to construct an empire. It does come back as one or two characters relearn it, but it is slow and there are rules for it.

It is a cynical world. The supernice Dad of the family, who is the Emperor, has to deal with the fact that his empire only runs smoothly because he trades children as slaves to an oversea Empire, and gets a drug in return that keeps the population pacified.

Oh, and at least one or two main characters will die unexpectedly. The entire trilogy has similarities to ASOIAF, and if Martin's work revolutionized the genre, then this is one of the first works I've read that so obviously has that influence in it's creation. It's also a complete work.

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scifibum
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Have you read Hart's Hope, sp?
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seekingprometheus
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dj:

Sounds interesting. Will there be dragons?

scifi:

Not yet. I've read more of OSC's scifi flavor. Stuff like the Alvin Maker series didn't do much for me, so I haven't read much of his fantasy work...

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djquag1
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Nope, no dragons. Some weird creatures, though, as when magic was used in that world, one of it's creation changing backlashes was to induce weird mutations in some animals.

In the climactic battle of the first book, pig-hyena hybrids the size of small elephants have finally, after the inhabitants of the empire they live naturally in have given up on the idea, been trained well enough to use in battle as war weapons. The results are ugly.

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starLisa
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Try Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule". Dragons, but rationalism.
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scifibum
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Hart's Hope is recognizable Card, but it's darker and more original than most of his work.

It's not really all that comparable to ASOIAF - for one thing it's just one medium length novel, for another magic isn't as rare and subtle a thing - although magic is costly and frightening, so that makes it less of an all purpose plot device.

But it is a good novel, and not much like the Alvin stuff.

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cherrypoptart
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I liked Salvatore's Dark Elf series.
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fizz
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Fantasy works I found very interesting lately:

Bas-lag series by China Mieville: mostly stand-alone works, Perdido street station is a masterpiece.

The First Law trilogy (and more, the following stand-alone works Best Served Cold, The Heroes and Red Country located in the same universe) by Joe Abercrombie

A land fit for heroes (still to be completed) by Richard Morgan. I prefer his SF to his fantasy, but still good.

The Kingkiller Chronicles by Pathrick Rothfuss
Very good although we're all still waiting for the third book... and he's a perfectionist...

The Magicians by Lev Grossman: even in this case the third volume is still to be published, but interesting and different.

Shadow of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, maybe more conventional but good. The last couple of volumes have yet to be published but the author have already finished even the last manuscript, so no risks from sudden authorial death!

The Black Company cycle by Glen Cook: a bit old but a classic of grim fantasy.

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TomDavidson
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Abercrombie is great, but brutal. No dragons, though.
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fizz
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Ah, well, yes, of those I guess the only one that have dragons in it is Rothfuss "the name of the wind", and in an ironical way...
The Dragonriders of Pern from A. McCaffrey?

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Seriati
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quote:
Try Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule". Dragons, but rationalism.
I enjoyed these, but over the course of the series they turn into anti-communism screeds as much as stories. That said, if you just read the first one and walk away you'll have a very good read (and as it has an ending you can pretend it's stand alone [Wink] ).

Just finally finished the Wheel of Time books, very very good at times, and not as good at others. But a major commitment.

Salvatore's books are not well written, particularly early on, but they are fun stories and do create some engaging characters.

And I definitely second the Black Company books.

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seekingprometheus
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I think I'm gonna start with Hart's Hope. Aside from it being a small time commitment, this is an OSC site, after all--so I figure he gets first dibs. Plus, I like that it's from the same time frame as Ender's Game.

This'll give me a minute to figure out which book would be best to get my dragon fix anyways...

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djquag1
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Yeah, Wizard's First Rule is decent, if generally overrated. It goes downhill alarmingly fast after that.
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starLisa
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Since others are putting in their two cents about Wizard's First Rule, let me point out that the writing is great throughout. The issue they're having is a philosophical one. If you're libertarian minded, or better, an Objectivist, you will love the entire series. If you're essentially a collectivist and feel that each person has a duty to do things for his fellow man, you'll probably hate it from book 6 onwards. But even if you're philosophically opposed to his views, those views don't show up, really, until Faith of the Fallen (book 6 of the series), and you'll still enjoy the first 5 books.
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Greg Davidson
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I'll offer a Lois McMaster Bujold one-off: Curse of Chalion. Can't go wrong with a 4-time Hugo Award winner (her and Heinlein are the only ones).
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
I liked Salvatore's Dark Elf series.
Interestingly, I saw him post so many diaries on Dailykos, that I decided to buy one of his books in the Dark Elf series and found it nearly unreadable - gave up half-way through.
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G3
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Not sure if we can call this fantasy but its got zombies and vampires (no ridiculous glowing sparkles or whatever that was) and all that. The Joe Pitt Casebooks by Charlie Huston. It's pretty good stuff.

Also might check out The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

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djquag1
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While I respectfully diagree that the writing is great, StarLisa, I can see your point that the series would be more enjoyable if you have an Objectivist philosophy.

There's a running joke though, that the Sword of Truth's real power is to change the world around Richard so that whatever he thinks is true, is True.

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Seriati
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Lol, djquag1. And to be fair starLisa, I enjoyed them through and including Book 6 (which is probably my second favorite). I thought Book 7 was a big let down, and that Book 8 was more politics than story (and a boring story at that), and I really didn't find the final "trilogy" to be engaging as the earlier books.
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emarkp
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
The most-recommended series here so far seems to be Mistborn with 3 votes.

Count me as -1 vote on that. Sanderson seems to love lingering on suffering. After reading Elantris, Warbreaker and Mistborn 1 & 2 (refused to read 3) I'd call all but Warbreaker to be horror with fantasy elements rather than straightup fantasy.

I won't read more from that diseased mind again.

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Wayward Son
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If you want a more complete list of popular SF and Fantasy books, here's NPR's list of the Top 100 SF/F Books, as voted by their listeners. There's bound to be something good in there, although you've probably read a good chunk of them already (like #3 [Wink] ).

And if that isn't good enough, you can always peruse the the complete list of finalists. [Smile] For instance, The Yiddish Policemen's Union was a quirkly little alternative-world whodunnit.

[ June 27, 2013, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Sanderson seems to love lingering on suffering.
Compared to A Song of Ice and Fire? *blink* I don't like Sanderson's writing at all, but I don't think he's anywhere near as cruel to his readers as Martin or Abercrombie.
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emarkp
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I've never read Martin or Abercrombie, sounds like I never will
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TomDavidson
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I would seriously advise you against it, if you found Sanderson's descriptions off-putting. Abercrombie in particular should be avoided at all costs.

[ June 27, 2013, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Lol, djquag1. And to be fair starLisa, I enjoyed them through and including Book 6 (which is probably my second favorite). I thought Book 7 was a big let down, and that Book 8 was more politics than story (and a boring story at that), and I really didn't find the final "trilogy" to be engaging as the earlier books.

Which one was your favorite?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
There's a running joke though, that the Sword of Truth's real power is to change the world around Richard so that whatever he thinks is true, is True.

[Big Grin]
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PSRT
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On the advice of people in this thread, I picked up the first 2 books of The Long Price Quartet, and just finished the first book.

Definitely recommend.

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
If you want a more complete list of popular SF and Fantasy books, here's NPR's list of the Top 100 SF/F Books, as voted by their listeners. There's bound to be something good in there, although you've probably read a good chunk of them already (like #3 [Wink] ).

So many winners on that list. Glad you provided the link, I am gonna use the power of my local library and read some of those.
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