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Recommended fantasy novels?

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    Mongrel IdiotMongrel Idiot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I see a lot of love for Robin Hobb in here, I may have to check her (him?) out.

    My biggest problem with Martin is he goes too far in trying to be "edgy" and to duck fantasy cliches, to the point where you can call what'll happen because it WILL be the opposite of what a more traditional author might do. Knights will be evil, heartless sons of bitches, the noble-minded characters will be killed by the ruthless ones, and so on. Also, his books are sloooooooow, and the jumping narration is kind of annoying. Just when I'm getting interested in one person's plot, he springs to a different one and I have to do some mental gymnastics to catch up on what was going on with them, since the last time we heard from them was four chapters ago.

    And the SEX, my god, the SEX! It is constant, it is filthy, and it is just too damn much. You'd think after reading A Song of Ice and Fire that Westeros is just one nonstop orgy. With midgets and incest. One comes off it with the feeling that George Martin desperately needs to get laid.

    Also, this
    The Warhound and the World's Pain by Michael Moorcock is good.
    made me chuckle.

    Mongrel Idiot on
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    cytorakcytorak Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I would recommend Jim Butcher's Codex Alera trilogy. Lots of political intrigue and a unique use of magic by the characters.

    cytorak on
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    DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I didn't find the sex to be too bad actually. People fuck. It gives people motive to do things. Why not write about it? Nobles fucking incestually? Um, yeah, that's kinda their thing. So it's not such a big stretch to have

    [spoiler:2ec3dffe4d]some brother sister action[/spoiler:2ec3dffe4d]

    I really like Martin's books because they're about the people, not about fireballs or the super lance to end all dreams/nightmares/whatever. The heroes actually feel heroic. When they accomplish something, it's something grand, because you know Martin doesn't give two shits about killing off a main character if the dice falls the wrong way.

    Martin's books don't feel like bullshit out of focus fairy tales, and that is one of the main reasons I love his work.

    Derrick on
    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    My only real complaint about Martin, other than the at times iffy sex, is the completely retarded dwarf stuff. Dwarfs are quite handicapped. They would not be capable of heroic feats on the field of battle.

    Dynagrip on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    - wrong thread.

    zeeny on
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    seraphiminiaseraphiminia Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    No one has mentioned R. A. Salvatore yet? Granted, yeah, you'll find a typo/cliche every few pages, but the books are a good read. Start off with the Icewind Dale trilogy (or read the prequels if you want, I actually haven't gotten around to that yet). You're not going to come away with a clearer understanding of the universe, but they're fun books.

    Two other favorites are The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. The Hero and the Crown takes place before The Blue Sword, but was written second; so you can either read in the order that they were published (I think that's what I did) or in chronological order story-wise. Strong female protagonists FTW.

    Also, if you do read Terry Pratchett, pick up Witches Abroad. Actually, just go get that now. And read it.

    I *almost* want to mention The Once and Future King... so I will. Go read that too.

    seraphiminia on
    my anaconda don't want none
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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
    Yeah, if we count classics, La Morte D'Artur is an awesome read. Get Penguin edition, with awesome English!

    Fencingsax on
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    MorgensternMorgenstern ICH BIN DER PESTVOGEL DU KAMPFAFFE!Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    As soon as Salvatore was mentioned, this thread was over and had lost its way.

    Also, I recommend anything from Gene Wolfe.

    Morgenstern on
    “Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.” - Loren Eiseley
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    Conditional_AxeConditional_Axe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    To the poster who was looking for another Greg Keyes fan, hi.

    Age of Unreason and Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone are both really entertaining and readable, if a bit formulaic. Perhaps that makes them trash, but I have no problem being entertained by a well-crafted if unoriginal story.

    Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle also get another recommendation from me. I love Matt Stover's stuff, and he's a pretty nice guy, to boot.

    Conditional_Axe on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Martin's good. Realistic fantasy all the way. People have sex,

    [spoiler:934a97eb26]just like the real world -- shocker, i know[/spoiler:934a97eb26]

    knights are generally fucktards, just like they were in the real world. It's realistic, gritty fantasy. I love it. He creates quite the believable world.

    This is perhaps influenced by my being a history major with a concentration in medieval studies, but I'm really struck, when reading Martin, by the way everything is well researched. And the way magic is subtle, and ever returning to the world. So, for instance, every other page isn't "olol dragons and fireballs olol."

    I would highly recommend Martin.

    As far as trashy fantasy goes, the one I cut my teeth on was the Shannara series. Competently done, and nothing revolutionary. Also sometimes gets tedious with the whole "The moonlight shone on the vale like a thousand diamonds in the night. The shadows crept across the treeline as the water pushed its way past the mountain line..." etc. etc. Like literally 40-50% of his physical text in that series is descriptions of land features, rivers, sunlight, seasons, etc. It holds a dear place in my heart, because I read it when I was 12, but it hasn't held up well. You can set your clock by the time Allanon shows up, after some bad stuff happens. But it's well done.

    My 2 cents.

    MikeMan on
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    AbstractDaddyAbstractDaddy Registered User new member
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Fair enough, but this is why you didn't like ASoIaF
    I'm not sure what you mean.
    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.
    I noticed them, but they weren't enough.

    AbstractDaddy on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Fair enough, but this is why you didn't like ASoIaF
    I'm not sure what you mean.
    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.
    I noticed them, but they weren't enough.

    The point he's making is by the end magic plays a bigger role.

    MikeMan on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Fair enough, but this is why you didn't like ASoIaF
    I'm not sure what you mean.
    I read the first book and didn't like it at all. There was no fantasy whatsoever,

    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
    Does this make it easier for you? You said you liked Farseer trilogy, listing one of the things as a plus that you disliked about A Game of Thrones...

    Dynagrip on
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    AbstractDaddyAbstractDaddy Registered User new member
    edited November 2006
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Does this make it easier for you? You said you liked Farseer trilogy, listing one of the things as a plus that you disliked about A Game of Thrones...
    Well yeah, but there was fantasy in Farseer, whereas Ice and Fire had almost none. Additionally, Ice and Fire had absolutely no other content, whereas Farseer did.

    AbstractDaddy on
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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is, in my humble opinion, better than the Tolkien books by a fairly significant degree.
    I did not think this book would be your bag. I really really hated it.
    I'm really big on immersion. JS&MN succeeded exceptionally in immersing me in the time period it took place. The very style of the book felt like it was a classic piece from that time period; it felt like Susanna Clarke didn't write it and some dude in the Victorian age was writing about these two as the events unfolded. That is a huge plus in my book. In addition, it was a fairly novel premise and it didn't follow the typical LotR plot that pretty much every fantasy novel in existence follows.

    Premier kakos on
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    Conditional_AxeConditional_Axe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    One of my beefs with Martin is that it's almost too realistic. I don't need to read a book about people being total assholes. I can walk down the street and fill my quota of that. I read fantasy for escapism. That's not to say that ASoIaF is bad. I keep up with it, and it's well written, but being misanthropic, grim and gritty is not my prime criteria for what the genre should have. I'd rather read a Dave Duncan novel and have clear cut good guys and fun sword fights.

    Conditional_Axe on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Weird, I felt that it was incredibly bad at setting the period. I was not a fan of the writing at all. Different strokes and all that.

    Dynagrip on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    One of my beefs with Martin is that it's almost too realistic. I don't need to read a book about people being total assholes. I can walk down the street and fill my quota of that. I read fantasy for escapism. That's not to say that ASoIaF is bad. I keep up with it, and it's well written, but being misanthropic, grim and gritty is not my prime criteria for what the genre should have. I'd rather read a Dave Duncan novel and have clear cut good guys and fun sword fights.

    We have different definitions of fantasy.

    I read fantasy for good stories in fantastic locales.

    If I want to escape I read what I call "trashy fantasy" that's big on magic and stuff but not too deep.

    That's not to say fantasy can't be great without grittiness. I'm just saying the genre as a whole has so many cliches that they're sickening after a while.

    MikeMan on
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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Weird, I felt that it was incredibly bad at setting the period. I was not a fan of the writing at all. Different strokes and all that.

    The writing is very good imitation of classical Victorian writing. It could be put alongside Dickens or Bronte and it would seem right at home. Now, that writing style is very difficult to get in to, which is a lot of people's problem with the book. *shrugs*

    Premier kakos on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Weird, I felt that it was incredibly bad at setting the period. I was not a fan of the writing at all. Different strokes and all that.

    The writing is very good imitation of classical Victorian writing. It could be put alongside Dickens or Bronte and it would seem right at home. Now, that writing style is very difficult to get in to, which is a lot of people's problem with the book. *shrugs*
    I've read a lot of Dickens and really liked him so that wasn't it for me. Curious.

    Dynagrip on
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    Mongrel IdiotMongrel Idiot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    MikeMan445 wrote:
    One of my beefs with Martin is that it's almost too realistic. I don't need to read a book about people being total assholes. I can walk down the street and fill my quota of that. I read fantasy for escapism. That's not to say that ASoIaF is bad. I keep up with it, and it's well written, but being misanthropic, grim and gritty is not my prime criteria for what the genre should have. I'd rather read a Dave Duncan novel and have clear cut good guys and fun sword fights.

    We have different definitions of fantasy.

    I read fantasy for good stories in fantastic locales.

    If I want to escape I read what I call "trashy fantasy" that's big on magic and stuff but not too deep.

    That's not to say fantasy can't be great without grittiness. I'm just saying the genre as a whole has so many cliches that they're sickening after a while.
    This is a good point, and a primo reason I don't actually read much fantasy anymore: you've read one, you've read most of the rest.

    Regarding some people's replies to my comments on sex in ASoIaF: yes, I have noticed that people sometimes fuck one another (I live in a college dorm, for God's sake), but it always felt overplayed and overdone in Martin's work. I'm of the opinion in general that what a writer doesn't say is more powerful than what he does; implication is greater than a flat statement, and I think that goes doubly for sex scenes. Too much gritty detail and you wind up coming off like a cheap romance novel.

    That isn't to say that you can NEVER have a gritty, realisitic, no-holds-barred sex scene where the reader is right there with them, but I don't think they should be the norm, and in ASoIaF they are.

    As for the grittiness of the story, I can see where it could be appealing, but I felt, while reading it, like he was being gritty for the sake of being gritty. A sort of "look at my book, it's realisitc, grrrrrr, scary!" to make him stand out from other fantasy novelists. A little forced, if you will. That may just be my personal taste, though.

    I feel bad ripping on Martin in here, because I did enjoy the books and think he's a quite talented writer, but I feel that I have to throw a comment against all the "Martin is the greatest fantasy EVAR" folks. :P

    Mongrel Idiot on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I feel bad ripping on Martin in here, because I did enjoy the books and think he's a quite talented writer, but I feel that I have to throw a comment against all the "Martin is the greatest fantasy EVAR" folks. :P

    Hehe, well I certainly ain't sayin that. He's damn good though. :)

    MikeMan on
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    Mongrel IdiotMongrel Idiot Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    MikeMan445 wrote:
    I feel bad ripping on Martin in here, because I did enjoy the books and think he's a quite talented writer, but I feel that I have to throw a comment against all the "Martin is the greatest fantasy EVAR" folks. :P

    Hehe, well I certainly ain't sayin that. He's damn good though. :)
    We are in agreement!

    Let us have filthy sex with our midget siblings!

    Mongrel Idiot on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Weird, I felt that it was incredibly bad at setting the period. I was not a fan of the writing at all. Different strokes and all that.

    The writing is very good imitation of classical Victorian writing. It could be put alongside Dickens or Bronte and it would seem right at home. Now, that writing style is very difficult to get in to, which is a lot of people's problem with the book. *shrugs*

    Not fantasy, really, but have you read any Christopher Priest? If you're big on aping bygone literary aesthetics you... might like his stuff. </shrugs> I enjoyed The Prestige and The Space Machine in large part for that same reason.

    Eight Rooks on
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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
    Dynagrip wrote:
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is, in my humble opinion, better than the Tolkien books by a fairly significant degree.
    I did not think this book would be your bag. I really really hated it.
    I'm really big on immersion. JS&MN succeeded exceptionally in immersing me in the time period it took place. The very style of the book felt like it was a classic piece from that time period; it felt like Susanna Clarke didn't write it and some dude in the Victorian age was writing about these two as the events unfolded. That is a huge plus in my book. In addition, it was a fairly novel premise and it didn't follow the typical LotR plot that pretty much every fantasy novel in existence follows.

    Except for a few questions it purposely kept dodging and ignoring, I too enjoyed the book. Also, I was in Montreux when I was reading the Byron stuff. Neat.

    Fencingsax on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I am going to veto any recommendations of R.A. Salvatore. He is the worst fantasy writer I have ever read, worse than Jordan (who is awful) and worse than Goodkind (who is even worse because he thinks he's so fucking great). Salvatore writes the kind of self-indulgent Mary Sue garbage that I expect from bad fanfiction. Drizzt is invincible and incredibly boring because of it.

    Gene Wolfe gets another vote from me as a heavy but interesting read, as does the Deathgate Cycle for a fun pulp-ish fantasy kind of thing. And of course, Martin.

    Evil Multifarious on
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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
    I am going to veto any recommendations of R.A. Salvatore. He is the worst fantasy writer I have ever read, worse than Jordan (who is awful) and worse than Goodkind (who is even worse because he thinks he's so fucking great). Salvatore writes the kind of self-indulgent Mary Sue garbage that I expect from bad fanfiction. Drizzt is invincible and incredibly boring because of it..

    I like his early work some, but yeah by the time Drizzt becomes the consort of a Goddess, it's getting pretty ridiculous.

    Fencingsax on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Fencingsax wrote:
    I am going to veto any recommendations of R.A. Salvatore. He is the worst fantasy writer I have ever read, worse than Jordan (who is awful) and worse than Goodkind (who is even worse because he thinks he's so fucking great). Salvatore writes the kind of self-indulgent Mary Sue garbage that I expect from bad fanfiction. Drizzt is invincible and incredibly boring because of it..

    I like his early work some, but yeah by the time Drizzt becomes the consort of a Goddess, it's getting pretty ridiculous.

    Yeah, the Icewind Dale and Dark Elf trilogies were good, I thought, I always enjoyed the way he wrote combat more than anything else.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    Conditional_AxeConditional_Axe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Salvatore's a mixed bag. Yeah, Drizzt's a bit of a Mary Sue at times, but he can also be a compelling and sympathetic character. Those of you complaining about his invincibility may want to check out The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, as he gets his ass beaten hard.

    Conditional_Axe on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Salvatore's a mixed bag. Yeah, Drizzt's a bit of a Mary Sue at times, but he can also be a compelling and sympathetic character. Those of you complaining about his invincibility may want to check out The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, as he gets his ass beaten hard.

    The big problem with Drizzt, and really, any fantasy series with one main character, is that there's no suspense. Drizzt will never die, or if he does, he'll come back. That's part of why I like the more ensemble cast of series like ASoIaF, because people can be killed off, and the story still moves.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    Conditional_AxeConditional_Axe Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Salvatore's a mixed bag. Yeah, Drizzt's a bit of a Mary Sue at times, but he can also be a compelling and sympathetic character. Those of you complaining about his invincibility may want to check out The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, as he gets his ass beaten hard.

    The big problem with Drizzt, and really, any fantasy series with one main character, is that there's no suspense. Drizzt will never die, or if he does, he'll come back. That's part of why I like the more ensemble cast of series like ASoIaF, because people can be killed off, and the story still moves.
    the funny thing to me is that it's drizzt's natural progression to die at some point. i honestly thought that he was going to die by the end of the last trilogy.

    And it's not even an issue of it being his main character, it's that it's a licensed property, and a popular one. Look no further than Lucas's mandates in the Star Wars EU to see how damaging that can be (Lucas forcing Salvatore to kill a certain other character instead of Luke, the semi-infamous 'there can't be two Anakins, because prequel fans will be confused' mandate, etc.)

    Conditional_Axe on
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    RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Not nearly enough people know about Melanie Rawn... I can't recommend enough her Dragon Prince/Star trilogy (Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll, Sunrunner's Fire/Stronghold, The Dragon Token, Skybowl), and also her as yet unfinished Exiles trilogy (The Ruins Of Ambrai, The Mageborn Traitor, and the unreleased The Captal's Tower). Also, she wrote the truly excellent novel The Golden Key along with two other authors.

    Her characters are so intensely, vividly memorable. I urge people to read them.

    Rohan on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    I know about Melanie Rawn and hated her. Then again, I hate lots of stuff.

    Dynagrip on
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    GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    So what's the general opinion on Michael Moorcock?

    Glaeal on
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    Bad KittyBad Kitty Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Glaeal wrote:
    So what's the general opinion on Michael Moorcock?

    The only story of his that I actually enjoyed was The Eternal Champion. And even then only the original first story of Erequois. Afterwards it got boring and confusing and I find it difficult to read his stories. I think he somehow worked in The Eternal Champion into his Elric series, which I also found quite boring.

    Also I read Melanie Rawn and I thought it was silly and trashy. I didn't care at all for the characters and I cared even less when they died.

    Bad Kitty on
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    DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Yeah, I thought she was super trashy. Especially the part where the evil princess captures the male protagonist and incites him to rape her so that she might have his child. Meanwhile, his wife, the female protagonist, is being gangraped in a closet somewhere by the princess' guards. Classy!

    Dynagrip on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Glaeal wrote:
    So what's the general opinion on Michael Moorcock?

    That too few people have read his Mother London or King of the City and comment only on his Elric saga and such......

    zeeny on
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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
    I, for one enjoyed The Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Hayden. I have heard it described as a "Romance disguised as Fantasy", though. So it may not float your boat.

    Fencingsax on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Fencingsax wrote:
    I, for one enjoyed The Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Hayden. I have heard it described as a "Romance disguised as Fantasy", though. So it may not float your boat.

    Heh, the first book that came up on amazon when I searched for Melanie Rawn was some fucking book about modern witch romance or some shit. No thanks.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    JinxJinx Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Fencingsax wrote:
    I, for one enjoyed The Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Hayden. I have heard it described as a "Romance disguised as Fantasy", though. So it may not float your boat.

    It is romance disguised as fantasy in some sense, and that aspect can get really annoying because all of the characters suddenly get lobotomies when they get near each other. Rhapsody, the protagonist, swings back and forth between brilliant and unbelievably dense. She's the most beautiful woman in the world and has no idea, speaks only the truth, etc. etc. She sometimes seems like the ultimat MarySue and loses her appeal. Achmed and Grunthor, the two supporting characters, are really the ones who drive continued interest in the story. Perfection like Rhapsody's is not interesting.

    Jinx on
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