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Book advice? Fantasy.

WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm a bit of snob as far as it goes. Which makes it hard to like a lot of the fantasy genre. I do love a cheesy page turner sometimes but I'm probably not going to buy em. I would love to read more. I love love reading, I would love some help!

Fantasy(ish) authors I like:

China Meiville
Jeff Vandermeer
Brian Sanderson is competent and fun.
George RR Martin (naturally)
Joe Abercrombie

Fantasy authors commonly suggested that I can't stand. Theres probably others as I remember them:

Robin Hobb. Ugh.

Wassermelone on
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Posts

  • UsagiUsagi WOMP WOMPRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I would respectfully suggest that you change the tone of your OP, as people are less likely to aid your search for "acceptable" fantasy literature when they risk being labelled as having terrible taste.

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  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Usagi wrote: »
    I would respectfully suggest that you change the tone of your OP, as people are less likely to aid your search for "acceptable" fantasy literature when they risk being labelled as having terrible taste.

    My apologies, It was a poor attempt at being facetious. I'll edit it out.

    I'm just mostly a picky git.

  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    sounds like you're more into stories that are kind of realistic (as fantasy goes)

    i.e. not the YER A WIZARD, HARRY!! kind of books

    personally I'm a big fan of Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series (and I know a lot of people here are as well)

    Erikson has woven a buttload of stories, characters and lore together which (while i occasionally get a little lost) are really fun to read; the characters do things i imagine real people would, war is not really glamourised in the books, and the characters aren't all black and white

    Another book I've just finished is The Company by K J Parker, which is kind of a fantasy novel

    It focuses on a group of ex-soldiers who, out of respect for and belief in their old commander, follow along with his plan to start their own little society on a remote island

    There is no magic in it or anything as far as I can remember, but the place names and so forth are all fictional. Really good read though, it's a standalone novel but i'll defintely be on the lookout for anything else by the author after reading it

  • InterpreterInterpreter Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    One author that I've enjoy and whole heartedly recommend is P. C. Hodgell.

    http://www.baen.com/author_catalog.asp?author=pchodgell

    Her first two books(God Stalk and Dark of the Moon) have just be rereleased in mass market form from Baen as The God Stalker Chronicles. Give it a whirl.

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Also recommending Steven Erikson and the Malazan Book fo the Fallen series. Most especially the second novel, but they're all good. His is a series that keeps on giving.

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  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Give a try to Glen Cook's The Black Company series. GG Kay has a bunch of what are classed as fantasy novels with very little magic in them. The Last Light of the Sun and The Sarantine Mosaic are ones I really like. Most of his novels are set in stand ins for various parts of ancient or medieval Europe. Those two I mention are set in analogs of England at the time of the Viking invasions, and post fall of Rome Byzantine Empire. May or may not be too sappy for you.

    I also just re-read Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. I still think it's pretty good, even if it does have several chestnuts of the genre. For a series that is nominally about magical swords, there's actually very little magic in it.

    Also, peruse your local library and pick things at random, even if you start in the middle of s series. It doesn't cost you anything and you can discover authors you might otherwise ignore.

    Also, there's a whole thread about Fantasy in D&D that will turn up if you search, it's probably slipped towards the back pages of the forum by now.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
  • khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is is set in an alternative history in the 19th century where magic once existed in England and has returned with the two men in the title. I didn't really like it, but it fits in the literary/snobby category of fantasy.

    R. Scott Bakker is somewhat similar to GRRM and has a series as well as a standalone.

    While I really enjoy Erikson, he has problems with writing style and his books have a unedited feel to them which I think turns a lot of people away.

    David Gemmell is I would say the embodiment of cheesy popcorn fantasy and should be available at the library.

    KJ Parker is also good with the gritty, no magic world though there's normally multiple disturbing twists in the books and to many coincidences to be realistic.

    Though it doesn't really go with any of the authors you mentioned Pratchett is always amazing and highly recommended.

    edit: It might also help to say why you like each author on your lists, since some like Sanderson have a lot of authors that are fairly similar and none of them really relate to the others.

  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Seconding R. Scott Bakker.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
  • Caramel GenocideCaramel Genocide Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Another for Guy Gavriel Kay. Just don't start with Ysabel - that one should be read after his others, or at the very least after the Fionavar Tapestry triology.

  • BelruelBelruel naw Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    raymond feist, he writes great stuff for sure.

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  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell is really great.

    I know a lot of people dislike him, but I think he's fantastic, so I'd recommend anything by Stephen R. Donaldson. I think he does a really amazing job with characterizations.

    A friend recommended Gene Wolfe to me recently, but I haven't read anything of his yet so I can't speak to the quality beyond other people liking him.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    King's The Eyes of the Dragon is fantasy themed but most definitely isn't high fantasy, more like medieval history with a dash of fantasy.

  • Caramel GenocideCaramel Genocide Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Oh, Gabe and Tycho just recommended an author on the front page the other day - Patrick Rothfuss, "The Name of the Wind". I plan on snagging it the next time I'm near a bookstore.

  • .kbf?.kbf? Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Oh, Gabe and Tycho just recommended an author on the front page the other day - Patrick Rothfuss, "The Name of the Wind". I plan on snagging it the next time I'm near a bookstore.

    I'm reading it now and, so far, i'm really enjoying it.

  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Oh, Gabe and Tycho just recommended an author on the front page the other day - Patrick Rothfuss, "The Name of the Wind". I plan on snagging it the next time I'm near a bookstore.

    I'm pretty sure Rothfuss was involved in a spat in the Writer's Block a while back.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    You seem to be looking for the more genuinely well-written, literary brand of fantasy, so:

    Gene Wolfe, especially Book of the New Sun.
    Jack Vance's Lyonesse.
    Obviously, if you've never read it, Gormenghast.
    Arthur Machen's short stories.
    Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar
    Anything by Tim Powers.
    Also thoroughly agreeing with Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, or anything else by Susanna Clarke.
    Neil Gaiman seems almost too obvious to mention, but if you haven't read him...

    Can't guarantee all of the above will be to your taste, but they represent the best of most styles of fantasy between them.

    Also un-recommending Feist. If you didn't like Hobb, you won't like him either.

  • CognitiveChaosCognitiveChaos Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Hmm, I don't recognize most of the authors mentioned in the OP so can't evaluate the type of fantasy you most enjoy. Given that, I'll suggest the following:

    Patricia Kennealy (or Kennealy-Morrison):
    The Keltiad (a series of books that melds the idea of high tech, magic, and the Celtic mythos.)

    Brent Weeks:
    The Way of Shadows (Very little magic, low tech, high violence story of a street rat training to be an assassin.)

  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Oh yeah, Rothfuss' book was fucking amazing too

    I read my friend's copy and it was one of my favourite books ever, but I never remember the name of anything that isn't on my bookshelf

    The "spat" Rothfuss had in the writers' block was more him misunderstanding the general tone of the place, i.e. people say what they think regardless of whether someone says "be gentle to me".

    He posted a rant of sorts, but it basically boiled down to "man why are you being so harsh, the guy asked you to sugar-coat it". With a lot more angry words, admittedly.

    BUT he is an awesome author despite his big neckbeard

  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Oh, and now that I'm thinking of it, Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series might be up your alley.

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  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Terry Pratchett writes a lot of awesome satirical fantasy.

    Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series is also amazing fantasy set in the modern world!

    -Tavataar
  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Thirding Steven Erikson's Malazan books (although the first one can be a little tough to get through)

    Seconding Steven Brust, although it doesn't really seem to fit in with what you listed, it's different enough that it might work out.

  • PeenPeen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Guy Gavriel Kay is fantastic. Read the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy first and then keep going.

    The Malazan books are excellent.

    The Name of the Wind is the best fantasy debut I've ever read. I can't recommend it highly enough.

  • InkSplatInkSplat 100%ed Bad Rats. Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The first book of His Majesty's Dragon is quite good. Set in an alternate history during the Napoleonic Wars where dragons are used as a sort of airforce.

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  • Page-Page- Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards books were the last fantasy I could stomach after ASOIAF. Of course I've only read the first in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and haven't been able to get my hands on the second, but I trust it's good as well.

    It had GRRM's approval on the cover at least.

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  • AddaAdda Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Scott Lynch, fantasy meets Ocean's 11.

    Steven Erikson just good quality and large scale low fantasy.

    Glen Cook's Black Company books. More low fantasy and a big inspiration for Steven Erikson's work.

    Patrick Rothfuss, Only one book of his series out so far but it's pretty refreshing stuff if you read a lot of fantasy

    R Scott Bakker, pretty in depth story telling.

    James Barclay's Raven books are quite good fun.

    I've also just churned through Adrian Tchaikovsky's 'Shadows of the Apt' which is an interesting take on different races of people bonded to insect archetypes yet still very human.

    The Thomas Covenant books can be pretty hard reading but I feel are well worth stickign with as they have some clever concepts.

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  • vorinvorin Registered User
    edited March 2010
    What about David Eddings? I thought the Elenium series was well written and more of your grittier low-fantasy type of stories. There is a bit of magic and some occult, but the story is engrossing and the character development, I thought, was engaging.

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  • CrowlestonCrowleston Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Stephen King's Dark Tower series is a hefty read and my favorite fantasy series ever. What's best is after that, a lot of his other books have to do with the Dark Tower series too. It's virtually endless.

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  • TarantioTarantio Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    David Gemmel. I'd start with Legend or Sword in the Storm, but the majority of his books can stand alone fairly well.

    The man knows how to write epic heroes.

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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny is weird, and maybe actually not great, but also really fun and basically the only capital-F Fantasy to interest me since ever.

  • Fourier_seriesFourier_series Registered User
    edited March 2010
    I'm seeing very little Wheel of Time in this thread, which is especially mindboggling now that it's good again.

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  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I'm seeing very little Wheel of Time in this thread, which is especially mindboggling now that it's good again.

    There is a lot of disdain for WoT on PA. Personally I think there are much better books to be reading.

  • KirutoronKirutoron Registered User new member
    edited March 2010
    Isaac Asimov - The Foundation Trilogy, there's a few more floating around now 6 or 7, but the original three that he wrote are good. A little more sci-fi than what has been recommended, but good.

  • SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Fletcher wrote: »
    sounds like you're more into stories that are kind of realistic (as fantasy goes)
    I'm unfamiliar with the works of the authors mentioned in your OP, but if this is at all accurate, then I am also throwing my hat behind Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, because it seems to be squarely in this category.

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  • Funguy McAidsFunguy McAids Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    I'm seeing very little Wheel of Time in this thread, which is especially mindboggling now that it's good again.

    There is a lot of disdain for WoT on PA. Personally I think there are much better books to be reading.

    Personally I think WoT is amazing. The character development over the books is something special in any book series, not just fantasy. Plus Robert Jordan's attention to detail paints a vivid picture of the surroundings.

    Almost anything by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (together usually) is creative fantasy world-building at its finest. Very fantastical but incredibly well thought out with a lot of memorable characters. They started Dragonlance with the Chronicles and Legends trilogies. One of my favorite series is the Death Gate Cycle. Plus you've got to love one character showing up in lots of their worlds with a slightly different name.

    I loved the Dark Tower in the beginning but thought it turned into shit for the last 2-3 books.

    L. E. Modesitt Jr's Magic of Recluse series was quite good for me. Cool to read a series that spans generations.

  • dachishdachish Registered User
    edited March 2010
    I would also back up the suggestion for The Black Company series. You can now get them all in easy to purchase omnibus form instead of only being able to find $300 copies of She is the Darkness.
    I'm finishing up the very last (released) book right now, Soliders Live. I haven't been bummed for a series to be over in a looooong time, but I am sad this one is about to be. I'm not sure if I expect it to end on a cliff-hanger (and make me even more sad) or not. I do know Cook has two unreleased (maybe unwritten for all I know) books in the series, A Pitiless Rain and Port of Shadows (I really love his subtitles). The last real updates I can find on those were in 2005 so I'm not holding my breath.
    But definitely check the series out. They set a mood that nothing else has really been able to replicate. Also, it reminds me of Myth.

    And while his Black Company series is SO awesome and probably one of my favorites at this point, his other stuff I've read is TERRIBLE. I read through the Dread Empire omnibus "A Cruel Wind" which, for having such great names, were torture to read. The first part was good enough but the following two I could barely tolerate.

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  • IogaIoga Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    I'm seeing very little Wheel of Time in this thread, which is especially mindboggling now that it's good again.

    There is a lot of disdain for WoT on PA. Personally I think there are much better books to be reading.

    Personally I think WoT is amazing. The character development over the books is something special in any book series, not just fantasy. Plus Robert Jordan's attention to detail paints a vivid picture of the surroundings.

    I don't know if I keep wanting to read WoT because I love the series or because I've read like 11 books and don't want to have wasted that time, but honestly I don't need to hear about the shifting of skirts or every detail of what someone is wearing anymore.

    I also suggest Glen Cook's stuff.

  • Bloods EndBloods End Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The Acts of Caine books by Matthew Woodring Stover. Actually anything by Matt Stover. The man writes some of the best fight scenes I have ever read.

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  • GrisloGrislo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    dachish wrote: »
    I would also back up the suggestion for The Black Company series. You can now get them all in easy to purchase omnibus form instead of only being able to find $300 copies of She is the Darkness.
    I'm finishing up the very last (released) book right now, Soliders Live. I haven't been bummed for a series to be over in a looooong time, but I am sad this one is about to be. I'm not sure if I expect it to end on a cliff-hanger (and make me even more sad) or not. I do know Cook has two unreleased (maybe unwritten for all I know) books in the series, A Pitiless Rain and Port of Shadows (I really love his subtitles). The last real updates I can find on those were in 2005 so I'm not holding my breath.
    But definitely check the series out. They set a mood that nothing else has really been able to replicate. Also, it reminds me of Myth.

    And while his Black Company series is SO awesome and probably one of my favorites at this point, his other stuff I've read is TERRIBLE. I read through the Dread Empire omnibus "A Cruel Wind" which, for having such great names, were torture to read. The first part was good enough but the following two I could barely tolerate.

    I would have loved omnibus editions when I bought the later Black Company books. Man.

    Anyway, I'd toss in a recommendation for those too. Cook's Garrett books are good too, at least mostly. I think they're a better attempt at 'urban fantasy' (blergh) than the drivel Jim Butcher excretes, but I'm probably in a minority there.

    About The Lies of Locke Lamora: The second book shows a really worrying lack of new ideas. There's a lot of same old, which is bad for only being a second book. I did think the first one was good fun, and it's a fast read anyway. The second one isn't terribly either, but you start seeing the limitations of the writer.

    Lastly, obligatory PA fantasy recommendation: Bridge of Birds (Barry Hughart). Just do it.

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