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Author Topic: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.  (Read 1929 times)

locustsofdeath!

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Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« on: 02 December, 2013, 01:18:39 AM »
All right, help me out fellows. I'm looking for a new fantasy series to read, but bookstores do little but offer me a wall of what seems like endless Tolkien ripoffs. I'm pretty well-read when it comes to fantasy, so maybe I'm nearing the end of the line when it comes to the "good" stuff. Or maybe one of you is on to something I don't know about yet...

Here's what I'm into:

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun is my favorite series.

but also:

Robert E Howard's Conan/Bran Mak Morn/Solomon Kane/Kull stories.
Michael Moorcock's Elric series.
Glen Cook's Black Company series.
Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories.
and I like the first three and a half Game of Thrones books.

So I guess I like gritty, "realistic" novels featuring anti-heroes. Any suggestions for further reading?

Cheers!

Radbacker

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #1 on: 02 December, 2013, 10:17:56 AM »
If you really want a series to dig into Steven Eriksons Mallazan Book of the Fallen series might fit your bill, it's an epic 10 books but the first 3 or 4 are pretty stand alone with different  characters on different parts of the world the focus it all starts to mesh about book 5.  Lots of anti-heroes that certainly aren't over the edge to be truly evil or too dark, and it's definitely gritty, the main characters in the first book are a company of Sappers "The Bridge Burners", First over, under or through the walls and one of the gimmicks of the series is the fact the Mallazan Empire have access to explosives which are handled by the sappers and make for a massive advantage in battle, everything else is Swords and Sorcery.
As I said the first book "Gardens on The Moon" is very stand alone and the character from this don't turn up again till about book three, the second and third book give you perspective from outside the Malazan Empire with them as the bad guys.  very interesting structure and if you like the first couple it builds into an epic ten book series.

CU Radbacker

Theblazeuk

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #2 on: 02 December, 2013, 12:46:40 PM »
All of Joe Abercrombie's The First Law books. These were gripping.

Ever tried David Gemmell?

von Boom

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #3 on: 02 December, 2013, 02:21:59 PM »
I second Gemmell.

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss is only in book 2, so you'd be on the ground floor there.

I, Cosh

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #4 on: 02 December, 2013, 02:57:53 PM »
You're going to struggle to find anything else like the Book of the New Sun (and feel free to explain the time stuff to me while you're here.)

Gemmell's heroes tend to be a bit more clean cut. King Beyond the Gate is probably his best largely because it bucks that trend. I remember Raymond Feist's ..Empire books being refreshingly lacking in pat morality.
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Theblazeuk

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #5 on: 02 December, 2013, 03:14:15 PM »
Abercrombie is more the compleat Anti-Hero. I really couldn't recommend it enough on that basis.

However, Gemmell's characters are not all so clean cut, though there are clean cut characters in there - it's not all empty glasses. Even Druss has his dark points. Both Bane and Connavar try to be heroes but fall a little short. And no one was ever really happy to see the Jerusalem Man....

I'd just recommend Gemmell as the best heroic fantasy ever written, with enough complications in there to avoid token morality tales. Heroes are just the biggest murderers on the battlefield as the legend puts it.

locustsofdeath!

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #6 on: 03 December, 2013, 03:54:09 AM »
You're going to struggle to find anything else like the Book of the New Sun (and feel free to explain the time stuff to me while you're here.)

I've read the series three times, and I'm still not sure how it works...I think it's got something to do with the occult (or something like that, alien magic...). There's a passage in The Shadow of the Torturer about mirrors reflecting images for so long they bring them into being, and the mirrors throughout the whole series seem to work like doorways. The Cacogens' ship in Sword of the Lictor is equipped with them, and if you remember time is a big deal to the Cacogens; they say they have a shorter lifespan then men, yet they shape mankind throughout aeons...and they're all about those mirrors. But who knows?!

Thanks for the recommendations! I have heard that the Kingkiller series is good, so maybe that's what I'll try next.

I have read Gemmell and Feist (like Feist's early stuff a lot), and enjoyed both. I haven't read Gemmell in some time...might have to revisit his stuff.

The Enigmatic Dr X

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #7 on: 03 December, 2013, 08:08:32 AM »
I love The Belgariad by David Eddings. And its sequel/ re-telling The Mallorean.

I read all of every couple of years - I made a point of reading them when each of my kids was born so I could be sure what I was reading at the time - and I just enjoy them. Simple, comfort reading. They've been mysteriously re-packaged as teen lit in recent years, but don't let that put you off (the slightly hackneyed characters might but they do get rounded out). Plus, any series where a bad guy is thrown off a cliff and they heroes discuss him learning to fly is got to be worth a look-in ("What's he doing?" "Learning to fly." "How's that going for him?" "Not very well, unless bouncing counts.")

Then: The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. Hard sci-fi until the dead start to possess the living.

Or: The System of the World Trilogy by Neal Stephenson. Who'd have thought historic derring do could be so fun.

Or: The Amber Series by Roger Zelazny.

And if you haven't read them, Thomas Covenant Chronicles or (better in my view) The Gap by Stephen Donaldson. The Gap is a cross between Zenith, Pirates of the Caribbean and Event Horizon.
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CrazyFoxMachine

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #8 on: 03 December, 2013, 08:43:35 AM »
I love The Belgariad by David Eddings. And its sequel/ re-telling The Mallorean.

My Geoffery is a huge fan of Eddings - and also writes a fantasy thing called "Holem Vav" that is grand (although I'm biased). http://geofferycrescentsholemvav.weebly.com/

Theblazeuk

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #9 on: 03 December, 2013, 10:43:00 AM »
I loved Eddings when I was younger. From the Belgariad and all of its eventual tie-in books, to the later Redemption of Athalus and the lesser/more derivative trilogies featuring Sparhawk. It took me so, so long to read all of the Belgariad and the Mallorean as a kid. Libraries scoured, books hunted down, I had #3 and #4 but the library only had #1 and #5 - it was my own personal quest finding all those books over a couple of years. Took me a long time to get all of the Mallorean together in the right order.

I reread them so many times yet it was my last re-reading of Redemption of Athalus which broke Eddings for me - I realised every single story was the same. Characters with inhuman lifespans fulfilling grand destinies, with opposing deities/fates facing off against each other through their mortal servants. Not a bad thing in itself but I stopped caring about anything other than the Belgariad.

Of course, similarities appear in all author's works. Gemmell's books certainly have recurring trends. Yet it's made clear in those books that ultimately the march of history will overcome all those who are legends in their own lifetimes, and no matter how crucial things were in those moments it may mean little in the long run.

paddykafka

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #10 on: 06 December, 2013, 11:03:12 AM »
I'd heartily recommend "Thieves' World", edited by Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey. Set in the grimy, cesspit medieval-like town of Sanctuary, TW is a series of twelve collections of fantasy/ sword & sorcery stories, focusing on a variety of interesting and colourful characters: Enas Yorl, a mighty magician cursed to live forever in a body that regularly changes it's shape and form, sometimes into grotesque creatures; the cocky young master-thief Hanse Shadowspawn; the Witches Ischade and Roxanne; Jubal, former gladiator turned slaver and drug-smuggler; the Barbarian Lord Jamie the Red and Tempus, an immortal and almost unstoppable warrior. The stories themselves have a very gritty and quite modern feel to them despite their fantastical setting. There is lots of magic, swordplay and intrigue making them well worth a read.

You're best off to try the likes of Amazon.com to find them as they were first published by Ace books way back in 1979. There are also a number of spin-off books of varying quality from some of the authors, featuring some of the characters they created.

von Boom

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #11 on: 06 December, 2013, 01:04:45 PM »
I'd forgotten about Thieves World. Fantastic stuff. I may have to go dig out my books and give them a reread.

Theblazeuk

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #12 on: 06 December, 2013, 02:10:27 PM »
Oh and I liked The Lies of Locke Lemora by Scott Lynch though its sequels leave me less than satisfied.

HOO-HAA

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #13 on: 10 December, 2013, 09:31:16 AM »
What about the Fighting Fantasy series by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Forest of Doom, baby! Come on! ;)

Mikey

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Re: Recommend Some Fantasy Series.
« Reply #14 on: 10 December, 2013, 10:17:42 AM »
The Stone Dance of the Chamelion series by Ricardo Pinto might be worth a punt. The first book is brilliant in particular, though the other two books dont' hit the same high for me. I also enjoyed The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb, but I wouldn't really describe them as 'gritty'.

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Then: The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. Hard sci-fi until the dead start to possess the living.

By jiminy I was pissed off how that ended!

Quote
Or: The System of the World Trilogy by Neal Stephenson. Who'd have thought historic derring do could be so fun.
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Yup. I'll add Anathem as a recommendation too.

M.
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