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Recommended fantasy novels?

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    JinxJinx Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    * A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. It's really long and there are a lot of characters to focus on, and god only knows when it will be finished, but it's still compelling. The politics and backstabbing is wholesome fun.

    * His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I originally thought I'd dislike this because I'm not fond of fantasy that spills over into the modern world (I usually see it as some kind of cheap escapism) but this is incredibly well done.

    * Kushiel's Dart/Chosen/Avatar by Jacqueline Carey. This might not be something that appeals to everyone, as I find most of its audience to be female. The prose is stunning and the main character manages to be sympathetic and admirable in spite of a combination of character traits that are shunned in modern society. You won't find traditional fantasy here though... no dragons or wizards. Just an alternate historical Europe where religious stories sometimes really happen.

    * The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier. This trilogy is based on historical celtic mythology, specifically the tale of a girl who had to knit shirts of nettle to break a spell that a witch put on her brothers, turning them into swans. It's very character driven, so if action and epic wars are your thing you probably wouldn't like it.

    Jinx on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Jinx wrote:
    * Kushiel's Dart/Chosen/Avatar by Jacqueline Carey. This might not be something that appeals to everyone, as I find most of its audience to be female. The prose is stunning and the main character manages to be sympathetic and admirable in spite of a combination of character traits that are shunned in modern society. You won't find traditional fantasy here though... no dragons or wizards. Just an alternate historical Europe where religious stories sometimes really happen.

    <3 u. I always forget this - not sure why. Still, agreed - beautifully written, and capable of emotional highs and lows no other series has matched, none - the third book was the only novel to make me feel physically sick besides Hannibal.

    Still, female? Really? Interesting... There's almost another thread in there, I think - I know it's a woman writing the books, but I'd still love to see some sort of serious critical analysis of whether women actually find Phedre a believably feminine POV. I applaud Carey for trying either way, but I've always been intrigued. Anyway, carry on.

    Eight Rooks on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Jacqueline carey along with Catherynne Valente are two of the top 5 fantasy female authors out there, IMO.

    Edit: Some say she's the female GRRM, but the aSoIaF fanboys scream heresy and go for the torches;o)

    zeeny on
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    BalefuegoBalefuego Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    A Song of Ice and Fire. It dosen't get any better than this. I read A Game of Thrones (the first novel) in 6th grade and it completley blew my little fucking mind. I'd been weaned on crap like WoT and Sword of Truth (please for the love of god avoid that series at all costs) and this book was almost more than I could take, probably the first adult novel I ever really read and it holds a special place in my heart, everyone should fucking read these books.

    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. This is actually 2 seperate trilogies (and a 3rd series currently being written) and while it is 10 shades of awesome I am hesitant to reccomend it to someone just trying out the genre, because the writing in the first book especially is not so great. The story is great, but it was the first thing he'd ever written and it shows, the writing gets better with every book and really if you can make it through the first, you're good to go.

    Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. Honestly its been awhile since I have read these and I don't know them as well as I used to, and I remember some parts dragging a bit, but that said when these books were on they were fucking ON. While some details are fuzzy there are specific scenes that still stand out in my head, and thats enough for me to be able to reccomend it to others.

    The Farseer Trilogy There's a sequel series too but I havent gotten around to that one yet, these books however I can heartily reccomend. Although I have to warn you they are sad. Like, really fucking depressing. I cried. Manly man tears, but I cried all the same.

    The Coldfire Trilogy.
    The Hunter.

    These are the cream of the crop for me, there's other stuff I've read and enjoyed and if you want a pm I can give you a really long list, but this right here is what I consider must-read.

    Enjoy.

    Also: To the person who asked about the Ice and Fire side stories, both The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword are great reads, he says he has a whole series of short stories planned out for Egg and Dunk, and they are great characters. Plus there's little callbacks to the stories (which take place about 100 years previous) in the main series, including the fact that (spoiler for the 4th novel follows)

    [spoiler:4d435bc4d1] Brienne of Tarth just happens to be a descandent of Dunk.[/spoiler:4d435bc4d1]

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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    O_o for that spoiler. Wouldn't have guessed at that. Kind of neat, though.

    Robin Hobb > George R R Martin, IMO, if you want to bait any fanboys out there. I adore A Song Of Ice And Fire, but there's nothing in there that elicited the primal, emotional gut reactions the Farseer's Apprentice or Liveships trilogies awoke in me. I stayed awake until 7 am finishing Farseer's; no-one does grim medieval fantasy with unhappy yet wholly apposite endings that well. No-one. The Red Wedding was good, yet it doesn't match that ending. </shudders>

    Eight Rooks on
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    JinxJinx Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I thought Phedre was an amazing heroine. She was human, she had flaws, but she also accepted who she was (even though she sometimes struggled with her own nature) and she ultimately strove to do good. For me the idea of her greatest weaknesses also being her greatest strengths really made her compelling.

    Jacqueline Carey is an amazing writer. The fact that she managed to make a masochistic prostitute/spy/diplomat an admirable character is a testament to her skill. However, I will admit I didn't really like the Banewreaker/Godslayer books. They just never struck a cord with me.

    If you liked the Kushiel books I recommend taking a look at the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. It also has a kind of dark feel about it but I liken it kind of to leather pants dark instead of velvet dark. Good stuff.

    A quick note on the Farseer trilogy... I liked it but found it kind of tedious to read. It actually seemed to require energy on my part. If any of you read Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages, with the journey along the roots of the World Tree or whatever it was, that's how my entire experience with the Farseer books was (absolutely draining). There's definitely good story in there but my main impression of the trilogy was that it exhausted me.

    Jinx on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Jinx wrote:

    If you liked the Kushiel books I recommend taking a look at the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. It also has a kind of dark feel about it but I liken it kind of to leather pants dark instead of velvet dark. Good stuff.

    I thought they're very good story with average writing, but I enjoyed it. I really couldn't get into the prequel tho.....
    [spoiler:7019fb1566]
    cold rage ftw.....;o)
    [/spoiler:7019fb1566]

    Edit: And I really disagree that Hobb is better than Martin and I'm no Martin fanboy.....

    zeeny on
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    FandyienFandyien But Otto, what about us? Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Belgarath The Sorcerer, followed by the Belgariad.

    Not exactly great literature, but that shit kept me unbeleivably entertained for a while.

    Fandyien on
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    JinxJinx Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    zeeny wrote:
    Jinx wrote:

    If you liked the Kushiel books I recommend taking a look at the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. It also has a kind of dark feel about it but I liken it kind of to leather pants dark instead of velvet dark. Good stuff.

    I thought they're very good story with average writing, but I enjoyed it. I really couldn't get into the prequel tho.....

    I never got into the prequel either... or the short stories that followed. I read them but more because I was bored than because they were good. There were a couple annoying points in the trilogy, but for the most part I enjoyed the world and the characters enough to overlook the few gripes. :)

    Jinx on
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    BalefuegoBalefuego Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    O_o for that spoiler. Wouldn't have guessed at that. Kind of neat, though.

    Robin Hobb > George R R Martin, IMO, if you want to bait any fanboys out there. I adore A Song Of Ice And Fire, but there's nothing in there that elicited the primal, emotional gut reactions the Farseer's Apprentice or Liveships trilogies awoke in me. I stayed awake until 7 am finishing Farseer's; no-one does grim medieval fantasy with unhappy yet wholly apposite endings that well. No-one. The Red Wedding was good, yet it doesn't match that ending. </shudders>

    True story about The Red Wedding. When I got to that part, I actually had to put the book down, and pace for a couple minutes before I could make myself finish reading it.

    Also I had lent my copy of ASoS to my friend who I had gotten to read the series, about 3 days later she calls me and I can tell she's been crying and says "fuck you for getting me hooked on these books." After that she hands the phone to her brother, who tells me my hardcover copy had just sailed across the living room into the wall.

    Guess what part she was reading :wink:
    But for all the pub that scene gets, it dosen't hold a candle to

    [spoiler:a618f2f3a6]You know nothing, Jon Snow.[/spoiler:a618f2f3a6]

    Balefuego on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Oh, I think the Red Wedding's amazing.

    Which should tell you how much I love Robin Hobb. :P

    Well, the latest saga doesn't really grab me, but everything else is gold.

    Eight Rooks on
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    LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Dennic L. McKiernan is pretty good, a little generic and Tolkienish (his first trilogy started life as a sequel to LOTR), but some of his books that aren't The Iron Tower trilogy are pretty awesome. He's in the middle of a series of reimagined fairy tales I'm quite liking. I'd say his best is The Eye of the Hunter. Only book that's ever made me cry, actually.
    I would say the Iron Tower trilogy was actually pretty awesome too. Everything in it is a blatant ripoff of LotR, but all that aside from what I remember it's fantastically dark and has great action.

    Also, you can't go wrong with Harry Potter or Discworld, but stay the fuck away from Dragonlance. "The Soulforge" was probably the first novel I ever stopped reading a hundred pages in because it didn't seem like there was any point when I could just play Neverwinter Nights and experience a more compelling story with fewer cliches.

    I second the Earthsea motion. I'm still gonna contend that Ursula Le Guin sucks at writing characters that you can identify with, but it's a highly original and memorable series nonetheless. (Though to this day I'm not sure what the point of Tombs of Atuan was.)

    Edit: Whoah, since when are there more than three Earthsea books? Guess I should look into this...

    LoneIgadzra on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    thorpe wrote:
    fuck yes Earthsea.

    I thought that Sabriel was an excellent book too, though Lirael and Abhorsen didn't entirely live up. It's good fantasy with a largely original world, though apparently the ways the swarming undead work are largely borrowed from eastern european mythology.

    I guess if you want original fantasy, loot a different cultural tradition.

    MrMister on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Balefuego wrote:
    The Coldfire Trilogy

    Also, I loved those when I read them in Junior High. I'm not sure how well they'd hold up to a reread, but I have the feeling that if you want fantasy that's somewhere between Eddings and LeGuin in pulp level, it's a good bet.

    MrMister on
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    LoganAW622LoganAW622 Registered User new member
    edited November 2006
    Go with the classics:

    The Iliad!

    If that's a little too classic for you I'd suggest the Conan books. Either you'll find them awesome or you'll find them hilarious, probably both.

    LoganAW622 on
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    thorpethorpe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Balefuego wrote:
    O_o for that spoiler. Wouldn't have guessed at that. Kind of neat, though.

    Robin Hobb > George R R Martin, IMO, if you want to bait any fanboys out there. I adore A Song Of Ice And Fire, but there's nothing in there that elicited the primal, emotional gut reactions the Farseer's Apprentice or Liveships trilogies awoke in me. I stayed awake until 7 am finishing Farseer's; no-one does grim medieval fantasy with unhappy yet wholly apposite endings that well. No-one. The Red Wedding was good, yet it doesn't match that ending. </shudders>

    True story about The Red Wedding. When I got to that part, I actually had to put the book down, and pace for a couple minutes before I could make myself finish reading it.

    Also I had lent my copy of ASoS to my friend who I had gotten to read the series, about 3 days later she calls me and I can tell she's been crying and says "fuck you for getting me hooked on these books." After that she hands the phone to her brother, who tells me my hardcover copy had just sailed across the living room into the wall.

    Guess what part she was reading :wink:
    But for all the pub that scene gets, it dosen't hold a candle to

    [spoiler:7c6cb375a7]You know nothing, Jon Snow.[/spoiler:7c6cb375a7]

    [spoiler:7c6cb375a7] Fuck that stupid wildling bitch. The Red Wedding made me forget to breathe for a few moments. For the rest of the book, I kept on waiting for GRRM to reveal that it was just a marvelous hoax and nothing had actually happened.[/spoiler:7c6cb375a7]

    thorpe on
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    World as MythWorld as Myth a breezy way to annoy serious people Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Balefuego wrote:
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. This is actually 2 seperate trilogies (and a 3rd series currently being written) and while it is 10 shades of awesome I am hesitant to reccomend it to someone just trying out the genre, because the writing in the first book especially is not so great. The story is great, but it was the first thing he'd ever written and it shows, the writing gets better with every book and really if you can make it through the first, you're good to go.
    I'm glad to hear this. I'm about three-quarters of the way through the first book and I was about to completely discredit the person who recommended this series to me. God, that book is terrible.

    World as Myth on
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    BalefuegoBalefuego Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Balefuego wrote:
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. This is actually 2 seperate trilogies (and a 3rd series currently being written) and while it is 10 shades of awesome I am hesitant to reccomend it to someone just trying out the genre, because the writing in the first book especially is not so great. The story is great, but it was the first thing he'd ever written and it shows, the writing gets better with every book and really if you can make it through the first, you're good to go.
    I'm glad to hear this. I'm about three-quarters of the way through the first book and I was about to completely discredit the person who recommended this series to me. God, that book is terrible.

    Yeah even when I went back to reread the series the first book was a little rough for me. But stick with it, it's well worth it. The 2nd book is actually one of the best cause:

    [spoiler:abc0cad803]Hile fucking Troy[/spoiler:abc0cad803]

    Balefuego on
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    MorskittarMorskittar Lord Warlock Engineer SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I haven't been able to get enough pulp swords and sorcery stuff.

    You can't go wrong with Michael Moorcock (yeah, Moorcock). The original Elric books are to be released in compiled format in the next year or two, and his current series is pretty interesting, if a bit tangenitally verbose.

    The Dreamthief's Daughter and following books are basically a big mess of mythology surrounding brief bits of gratiuitous violence. The first involves cross-dimensional souls, dragons fighting airplanes, and Nazis being chopped up with a giant, soul-sucking sword. The rest make even less sense, but are a hell of a lot of fun.

    I fucking love Robert E. Howard. The man's Conan stories feature nothing but conniving city-dwellers, naked wenches, lots of improbable fights, and/or Lovecraftian Things From Beyond (or Aeons Past). Howard's writing... I struggle to find a cliche that describes how dynamic it is. Exploding ninjas? Dragonforce after a half pound of coke? Something like that.

    For filler, not all Warhammer books are complete crap. I've already written this up, so look here.

    Morskittar on
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    DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Dalboz wrote:
    I've been looking into reading The Age of Unreason series by Greg Keyes (first book being Newton's Cannon), despite the fact that I didn't particularly like The Waterborn. It seems to be sort of a fantasy/alternate history series in which Isaac Newton was successful in his experiments with alchemy and created Philospher's Mercury, which changes the course of European history and scientific development.

    Wow, I'm amazed to see another Keyes fan here, though honestly I thought the Waterborn was better than Age of Unreason; I though Unreason started to drag a bit in the last two books. Pratchett's an obvious and good call, though. I can see why someone might want to skip some of the early books, since he definately improves his style as he goes. Small Gods is not a bad entry point, since it's one of his few stand alone storylines and he was well established at the time.
    Well, I'm not really a Keyes fan. Like I said, I really didn't think much of The Waterborn, but the premise of Age of Unreason sounded interesting.

    As for The Chronicle of Thomas Covenant, great series. The first book is very much just an introduction, helping you learn the ways of the Land. After that, the books really pick up, The Illearth War actually being my favorite of all six books (okay, there's seven now, but I haven't read Runes of the Earth yet).

    Dalboz on
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    BalefuegoBalefuego Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Runes is pretty cool. As a fan of the series it's something you should pick up.

    Balefuego on
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    You may look into some of Clive Barker's works. I'd classify Weaveworld in as fantasy with a bit of horror tossed in for fun. Not everything he does is leather clad BDSM nightmares. A lot is, yes. But not everything. Still wish I could find a copy of Hellbound Heart, the story they based the Hellraiser series off of. Can't find a copy though. Anyway, back on topic...

    Toss another vote for Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle, also a pre-emptive vote for the third in the series whenever Stover gets it released. There are very few authors I'll buy based on name alone, and he's high on that list.

    Also, if the fact that part of the novels take place in a dystopian future run by faceless corporate overlords who feed the public brutal murderous reality programs as entertainment to keep them under control makes it too Sci-Fi for you, then you may want to avoid these books.

    An excerpt, for your reading pleasure...
    Heroes Die

    see317 on
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    awesome_andyawesome_andy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Try some Robert Jordan if you have the stomach for some EPIC fantasy.
    Also Jim Butcher's Dresden series is a great read.
    Can't say enough good things about Hyperion.
    Oh and the Elric saga never hurt anybody.

    awesome_andy on
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    KusuguttaiKusuguttai __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2006
    Wasn't a Song of Ice and Fire mentioned already?


    Why is this thread not locked?

    Kusuguttai on
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    Mongrel IdiotMongrel Idiot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Wasn't a Song of Ice and Fire mentioned already?


    Why is this thread not locked?
    Because A Song of Ice and Fire isn't THAT good? Can we please all stop sucking George Martin's cock now?

    Mongrel Idiot on
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    tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    George Martin is a hack.

    tynic on
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    Dublo7Dublo7 Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    tynic wrote:
    George Martin is a hack.
    Oh, you filthy, dirty, son of a bitch!!!!

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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Guards, Guards is a pretty good place to start. I would recommend other stuff, but I'm pretty much an Eddings whore, so my opinion is suspect.

    Fencingsax on
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    GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    China Miéville.

    Start with Perdido Street Station.

    Go. Go now.

    Aye. But I didn't much dig The Scar.

    I would also recommend Dave Farland's "Runelords" series. I suppose it's "trash fantasy," certainly not deep. But they're fun reads.

    Borderline sci-fi...Dan Simmons "Ilium" is a nanotech retelling of the Trojan War. I'll be picking up "Olympos" soon.

    GoodOmens on
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    Mongrel IdiotMongrel Idiot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    tynic wrote:
    George Martin is a hack.
    Well, I wouldn't say HACK; the books are quite good, but they certainly aren't the end all, be all of good fantasy, and I don't really think they're as fabulous as some people claim.

    Mongrel Idiot on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    tynic wrote:
    George Martin is a hack.
    Well, I wouldn't say HACK; the books are quite good, but they certainly aren't the end all, be all of good fantasy, and I don't really think they're as fabulous as some people claim.

    They're pretty fucking good, but they won't really suit anyone looking for more fantasy and less political nonsense.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Don't read the Wheel of Time. Just don't do it. It is morally wrong to read the Wheel of Time.

    Evil Multifarious on
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    JebuJebu Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Don't read the Wheel of Time. Just don't do it. It is morally wrong to read the Wheel of Time.

    Ditto for Sword of Truth. God do I regret ever starting to read that series.

    Also, Gene Wolfe FTW. The awesomeness of Latro cannot be denied.

    Jebu on
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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Tim Powers

    Start with Anubis Gates, then Drawing of the Dark. These will give you a good feel for his method of world-tweaking as well as for the sort of mythology he mixes into his stories.

    Then read Last Call. It is pure unadaulterated awesome, with a heavy side of Oh-my-God-creepy.

    And yes, those are the three Powers books that always get recommended. He has lots of other books, but Anubis Gates is his most famous, Drawing is his easiest to read, and Last Call is his best.

    Regina Fong on
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    Conditional_AxeConditional_Axe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora.

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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    GoodOmens wrote:
    Borderline sci-fi...Dan Simmons "Ilium" is a nanotech retelling of the Trojan War. I'll be picking up "Olympos" soon.
    I did really like those books, but [spoiler:897dc9f30e] the ending is rubbish, it just happens and everything that has been building up just ends up as an anticlimax.[/spoiler:897dc9f30e]

    Tastyfish on
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    AbstractDaddyAbstractDaddy Registered User new member
    edited November 2006
    Because A Song of Ice and Fire isn't THAT good? Can we please all stop sucking George Martin's cock now?
    I read the first book and didn't like it at all. There was no fantasy whatsoever, and 90% of the book was devoted to political scheming and sex (including but not limited to incest). Total crapfest.

    I don't really read a lot of fantasy, but I've always liked the first three Dragonlance books by Weis & Hickman. I think the series starts to take a nosedive right around Dragons of Summer Flame. The DL book Doom Brigade by Weis & Perrin is also good, and very funny.

    The Warhound and the World's Pain by Michael Moorcock is good. It basically combines 17th century Europe with fantasy and religion (Lucifer himself sends the protagonist on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail). I heard Moorcock made a series about it and fucked it up, but I've never read any of those books.

    Then there's the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb which is interesting because it's more realistic than most fantasy. There's almost no magic, there are only humans (as far as I can remember), and the protagonist is the polar opposite of Drizzt, which means that he's actually vulnerable and may, at times, even injure himself (getting shot with an arrow is actually dangerous).

    edit: I see someone else mentioned Farseer earlier.

    AbstractDaddy on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    I really liked Weiss and Hickman's Deathgate cycle, though it probably isn't anything special really. Lot of fun though.

    Dynagrip on
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    TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I read the first book and didn't like it at all. There was no fantasy whatsoever, and 90% of the book was devoted to political scheming and sex (including but not limited to incest). Total crapfest.
    Fair enough, but...
    Then there's the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb which is interesting because it's more realistic than most fantasy. There's almost no magic, there are only humans (as far as I can remember), and the protagonist is the polar opposite of Drizzt, which means that he's actually vulnerable and may, at times, even injure himself (getting shot with an arrow is actually dangerous).
    ...this is why you didn't like ASoIaF

    Not to mention you missed the undead in the very first chapter, the magic throughout the Daenarys chapters and that there are Dragons. One of the themes of the series is the return of magic to the world - the fantasy elements increase a lot more as the story progresses.

    Tastyfish on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    I was wondering that too...

    Dynagrip on
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