Monkeyboy

Any Fantasy recommendations?

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It's occurred to me that I have read virtually no fantasy (apart from the Discworld books). When it comes to genre fiction, I've mostly read SF. I gave up on Lord of the Rings about halfway through the first book, and I'll be honest, when I see huge thick tomes on the shelves which are often the 5th part in some impossibly long saga, the time investment to get through such tales puts me off. But it seems a shame, as I'm sure there must be some imaginative fantasy out there that I would enjoy. It's just knowing where to start.

The appeal of SF for me is that a lot of books in that genre tend to be self contained, or if part of a series, can still be enjoyed as one-off stories. I guess I'm looking for something equivalent in fantasy. Am I wrong in thinking it's mostly epics spanning multiple volumes?

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I think you're right in that the fantasy genre is dominated by long series. I suppose the trick is to read the first one, and then if you enjoy it then the time investment doesn't seem so bad.

As a one-off book I enjoyed Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. There must be load of others, but I'm a bit out of touch with fantasy stuff.

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R Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy is the best one I've read recently. The Guy Gavriel Kay stuff is about as good as you are going to get for single volume stuff. Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie are worth checking out too.

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R Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy is the best one I've read recently. The Guy Gavriel Kay stuff is about as good as you are going to get for single volume stuff. Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie are worth checking out too.

+1 for Joe Abercrombie. Someone on here described his book The Blade Itself as 'Iain Banks does fantasy' and I think that's a pretty spot on comparision.

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Yeah, give Joe Abercrombie a shot. Some of my favourite books of any genre, recently. He's done a single trilogy, and a self-contained one-off novel set in the same world (although following on from the events of the trilogy).

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China Mieville, say Perdido Street Station or The Scar.

Most of the stuff I have read recently has been trilogies or more. Like, just don't get into George RR Martin if you want a short series of self-contained stories!

If you want to try some classic old-school fantasy, Moorcock's Elric stories or Leiber's Lankhmar/Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories are all self-contained short stories or novellas.

I'll throw in a couple of cross-over titles - Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle and Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light are SF stories that read like fantasy - oh, and Aldiss' The Malacia Tapestry; all three in my top-ten all time favourite books.

I quite like quirkier stuff like Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter (here's a review).

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Give David Gemmel a try for all your single volume doings.

But (and it's a big but) don't give up on the multiple volume epics. Please give Steven Erikson's 'Malazan Book of the Fallen' series/epic/best thing ever a try.

Best thing I've read in quite some time (but totaly OT) sorry

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Joe Abercrombie - loved every single one of his books, my other half is now reading The Blade Itself and is loving it

KJ Parker- very different to the usual fantasy

Scott Lynch - Lies of Locke Lamora is a cracking read

George RR Martin - A song of Ice and Fire series is brilliant but not yet finished, but I love the

I'm currently about 100 pages into The Name Of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and its a cracker too.

My other half I should point out has not read any fantasy since reading the Hobbit when she was about 12. She read and loved both the Locke Lamora books, loved The Name Of the Wind and is now well into The Blade Itself. So their pretty good introductions to the genre. I did mention that Joe's books could spoil the fantasy genre for her as he's one of the best out there IMO.

Oh The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan is also very good.

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Thanks for the replies. Plenty to keep me going there. I've ordered a couple of Joe Abercrombie books to get me started. The praise for them seems pretty widespread, so looking forward to it. :facepalm:

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Most of the good ones have been mentioned here, but Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy is absolutely fantastic, and the first book works fairly well as a standalone if you can't be bothered with a series.

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Most of the good ones have been mentioned here, but Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy is absolutely fantastic, and the first book works fairly well as a standalone if you can't be bothered with a series.

Yeah. Hobb is the one I was going to mention in case the OP wanted to dip into a trilogy - tend to be quite chunky, her books, 'though.

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Codex of Alera series by Jim Butcher - Book 1 is called the Furies of Calderon

Hes the guy who wrote the Dresdan files books

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China Mieville, say Perdido Street Station or The Scar.

I quite like quirkier stuff like Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter (here's a review).

Both Perdido Street Station and The Iron Dragon's Daughter are fantastic.

Best fantasy I've read in years has to be Heroes Die. The basic premise is that humans from this world have found a place called Overworld where magic works and elves, dwarves and ogres exist. Humans teleport over there (the marginal bit of SF), blend in with the natives and then engage in hijinks that are recorded and sold back on Earth as entertainment. Except someone on Overworld has worked out what is going on, and so our anti-hero Caine is despatched to assassinate him. Carnage ensues.

It works as a standalone, or you can follow up with the sequel Blade Of Tyshalle, though good luck finding it as it's out of print :P After that, if you still want more, get Caine Black Knife and the sequel to that story His Father's Fist (which isn't actually out yet).

A summary in case that made no sense. You can read the books as follows:

Heroes Die

Heroes Die + Blade Of Tyshalle

Heroes Die + Blade Of Tyshalle + Caine Black Knife + His Father's Fist

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China Mieville, say Perdido Street Station or The Scar.

I'll third Mieville - he's part of what has been called New Fantasy in which they consciously eschew the tropes of Tolkienesque fantasy. I'd actually recommend his novel Un Lun Dun as a starting point - it's aimed more at early teens than his other work but is a brilliant read and as well written as his other work with an incredibly positive moral message. If you like it then you should get on with his adult fiction. The reason for suggesting you start there is that his adult fiction is very literary, heavily politicised and can be a burden if you aren't into that kind of thing. If you read SF and Iain M Banks in full literary mode with his SF doesn't bother you (and you get things such as that the Shellworld in Matter is a thematic metaphor) then you really should get on with Mieville.

If you get along with that the Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy might be worth a read. Mieville is very much the spiritual heir to Peake and there are serious comparisons between Gormenghast and Perdido Street Station, but I couldn't personally get on with Peake in the end (I think he runs out steam in the second book).

Charles Stross has also written a couple of novels which use a Lovecraftian Cthulthu-esque universe as their basis - The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue which - also pay homage to other writers as well. They're fantastical horror as opposed to straight fantasy though.

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I'd also recommend anything by Neil Gaiman, but particularly American Gods. It's a genuine masterpiece.

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Most of the good ones have been mentioned here, but Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy is absolutely fantastic, and the first book works fairly well as a standalone if you can't be bothered with a series.

This, although I thought The Liveship Traders trilogy was even better. Abercrombie's ace too, just to add to the recommendations. I didn't realise he had a new book out, but that will be bought soon. :wub:

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I'm about 200 pages into The Blade Itself. Very good so far. Very cynical sense of humour which I like. In a way, it reminds me of a slightly more serious Terry Pratchett book.

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Neil Gaiman - The Graveyard Book, American Gods

Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel

Guy Gavriel Kay - Tigana

Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind (It's the start of a trilogy but it's an amazing book. Well worth the read even if you don't want to follow it on.)

Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamora (Again start of a series but can be read alone.)

The Hobbit?

Glad Abercrombie suggestions rubbed off, I thought the books were great.

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Neil Gaiman - The Graveyard Book, American Gods

Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel

Guy Gavriel Kay - Tigana

Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind (It's the start of a trilogy but it's an amazing book. Well worth the read even if you don't want to follow it on.)

Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamora (Again start of a series but can be read alone.)

The Hobbit?

Glad Abercrombie suggestions rubbed off, I thought the books were great.

I did a nice long post about Name of The wind as I finished it last week, forum went mental and lost it. So I'll just say I loved it, just annoying it just stops.

My other half ended up loving Blade Itself even though like me she took a bit to get into it. But once your there its amazing. Book 2 she started straight away.

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This, although I thought The Liveship Traders trilogy was even better. Abercrombie's ace too, just to add to the recommendations. I didn't realise he had a new book out, but that will be bought soon. :angry:

The Liveship Traders was good, but it just didn't feel as well thought-out as the Farseers trilogy. That and it had no Nighteyes.

Have you read the new one? I'm tempted by it, but I hate waiting for series of books to be released. I'm already being punished by George RR Martin and Russel Kirkpatrick. Slow writing bastards.

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The Liveship Traders was good, but it just didn't feel as well thought-out as the Farseers trilogy. That and it had no Nighteyes.

Have you read the new one? I'm tempted by it, but I hate waiting for series of books to be released. I'm already being punished by George RR Martin and Russel Kirkpatrick. Slow writing bastards.

I'm a bit behind on my Hobb. I read the first Tawny Man book ages ago (

Speaking of Nighteyes :angry:

), and haven't been back to her since.

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George R R Martin - Ice & Fire (all a must read! at least up to A Feast For Crows)

David Eddings - Belgariad Series, Lion of Macedon (must read if you want a stand-alone!!!)

Robin Hobb - Farseer Trilogy

Tad Williams - Shadowmarch Series

Scott Lynch - Lies of Locke Lamora

I would also recommend Steven Erikson's Malazan series, but be warned - it's hard work. I didn't really get into it until Book 3, but it was worth it. And how.

I'm currently reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, up to Book 4. It's a reasonable read, his writing isn't always on the button though.

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I would say bewary about Erikson. Excuse the term but he's probably the most marmite fantasy author around. I tried several times to see what all the fuss was about, but then realised that the reason people like it was exactly the reason I don't like it.

It seems to me that he has a load of stuff going on in his head that seems cool but no way to fashion a coherent story with the elements.

There's magic and gods and ascendants and all this kind of thing, but it happens so often and without reason that it kind of makes the idea redundant in my opinion.

Also, Tad Williams has become a really poor writer. I put Shadowmarch down after starting to get into it when I realised he was treating the reader like an idiot.

And Eddings is for young adults, so I'm assuming Erasmus is still a teenager (no bad thing - I wish I was).

Things I've heard good stuff about but not got round to reading yet (still reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which looks to be my book of the year).

Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost

The Stress of Her Regard - Tim Powers

Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson (free on his website in eBook form)

Cordelia's Honor - Loius McMaster Bujold (Sci Fi, but reads like a fantasy and is superb)

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I'm a bit behind on my Hobb. I read the first Tawny Man book ages ago (

Speaking of Nighteyes :coffee:

), and haven't been back to her since.

The Tawny Man trilogy is well worth a read - it never reaches the heights of the Farseer trilogy but it does wrap things up nicely.

And THAT part in the first Tawny Man book is amazing. Genuinely moving stuff.

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Lion of Macedon is David Gemell rather than Eddings and I remember it being pretty good, although its been ages since I read it.

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I'll echo some of the earlier suggestions- Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and George RR Martin, all of these are excellent.

I really like the David Gemell books, but they are kind of like the junk food option, pretty much the same thing happens in every book, but they are good fun and he knows how to stir the emotions with epic last-stand battles and the like.

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I would say bewary about Erikson. Excuse the term but he's probably the most marmite fantasy author around. I tried several times to see what all the fuss was about, but then realised that the reason people like it was exactly the reason I don't like it.

It seems to me that he has a load of stuff going on in his head that seems cool but no way to fashion a coherent story with the elements.

There's magic and gods and ascendants and all this kind of thing, but it happens so often and without reason that it kind of makes the idea redundant in my opinion.

Also, Tad Williams has become a really poor writer. I put Shadowmarch down after starting to get into it when I realised he was treating the reader like an idiot.

And Eddings is for young adults, so I'm assuming Erasmus is still a teenager (no bad thing - I wish I was).

Things I've heard good stuff about but not got round to reading yet (still reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which looks to be my book of the year).

Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost

The Stress of Her Regard - Tim Powers

Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson (free on his website in eBook form)

Cordelia's Honor - Loius McMaster Bujold (Sci Fi, but reads like a fantasy and is superb)

Not sure I'd agree that Eddings is for young adults - The Belgarion is perfect fantasy light and very readable. Eddings problem is since then he was re-written the same series of books about four times with ever decreasing results.

Fantasy books tend to be multi volume - nature of the genre really - I can think of relatively few great stand alone works.

One that does spring to mind is The End of Mr Y by Scarett Thomas which is somewhere between Gaimen influenced fantasy, Victoriana and contemporary fiction.

Other then mentioning the same old usual suspects - George R R Martine Joe Abercombie et al I'm really enjoying Sara Douglas' work at the moment - vivid and bloody fantasy with some nice character development. Ironically her latest trilogy - The Serpant Bride being the first book is a good starting place as it takes a number of characters from her other books and thrusts them into a new world.

Also Ian Irvines View from the Mirror and Well of Echoes series are highly enjoyable (I prefer the second series which is slight SF edged the first one is more pure fantasy).

And then there's older classics like the rather dated but still very readable Dragonlance Chronicles.

Tad Williams has gone off the boil in recent years (Otherworld was just plain dull for instance) but Memory Sorrow and Thorn is a great series and one that should be read by anyone who loves the genre.

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And then there's older classics like the rather dated but still very readable Dragonlance Chronicles.

.

Yeah, I love the original three books. It's not exactly original but it's a thoroughly enjoyable read. In fact I tend to pick it up every couple of years or so and still never fail to love it!

As to other suggestions, I'd always have to go with the majority of stuff Michael Moorcock has written. For me, he's the most original Fantasy author there's been, and almost certainly the most prolific! The Elric books are probably the best fantasy stories I've ever read, and when you then discover it's really just one part of the whole Eternal CHampion cycle it suddenly becomes even more impressive.

Get 'em - the great thing is that individual tales are fairly short, so you can whiz through one easily to see if you get on with it!

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