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Good Fantasy Books


Heijoushin

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Hey chaps. You guys seem like you'd read a lot of fantasy. I'm looking for something to read at the moment. Can you recommend anything?

 

My favourite fantasy titles are:

 

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch

The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie

Half a King by Joe Ambercrombie

A Wise Man’s Fears by Patrick Rothfuss

The Night Angel by Brent Weeks

Red Knight by Miles Cameron

 

So... anything like that. Extra points for anti-heroes!

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Try Glen Cook's Black Company series. Maybe Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker (it has a somewhat anti-heroic POV character out of... 4, if I remember correctly?) Or Steven Erikson's... thing, **** if I remember what it was called*. I only seem to recall it was pretty horrible, but it's also somewhat dark-ish and seemed to have gathered quite a following for some strange reason. Full disclosure, I read it in translation, the original may not be as bad as I remember it.

 

I also really, really, really like Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel, but I don't think you'd share my enthusiasm for it.

 

* Edit: it was The Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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If you like a slight turn of city guardsman and world building, Michelle Sagara's "Chronicles of Elantra" series can be entertaining, but if you want that sprawling, intertwined fantasy epic, she also writes under Michelle West and has done the House War and Sunsword series which twist around together.

 

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn set have their anti-hero aspects, although personally I felt the 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy weren't quite as great as the first.

 

Trudi Canavan's Black Magician set has a few things to recommend it.

 

Gail Z William did the Chronicles of the Necromancer - although I enjoyed the first two of the series, I just haven't been able to get myself in the right mood / frame of mind to run through the rest yet.

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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...And I totally forgot to mention Michael Moor****'s Elric of Melniboné books. Which is weird, given that they're pretty much the granddaddy of the whole "dark fantasy mostly about horrible people doing horrible things to each other" subgenre. They also happen to be quite good.

 

Edit: And by "good" I mean "actually resembling fantasy instead of Gritty Pseudo-Medieval ****land that seems to be ashamed of its fantasy roots and avoids magical shenanigans like the plague".

 

...Wow, I never realized I was so bitter about the recent trend of "fantasy realism"  :lol:

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid
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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Does Stardust count? That's one of my favourite fantasy novels, though it's closer to fairy tales and such than it is to modern high fantasy.

 

Stardust is very cool, but also tonally very different from the books OP mentioned to like.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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That's why I phrased it as a question. :p The only one from his list I've actually read it Patrick Rothfuss The Wise Man's Fear - which I thought was very inferior to it's predecessor, The Name of the Wind, because I don't need fantasy books about a kid dealing with student loans for most of the book. I have enough of that in real life. :lol: An uninteresting story that was extremely well told because Mr Rothfuss has an amazing gift for prose.

Edited by TrueNeutral
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Try Glen Cook's Black Company series. Maybe Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker (it has a somewhat anti-heroic POV character out of... 4, if I remember correctly?) Or Steven Erikson's... thing, **** if I remember what it was called*. I only seem to recall it was pretty horrible, but it's also somewhat dark-ish and seemed to have gathered quite a following for some strange reason. Full disclosure, I read it in translation, the original may not be as bad as I remember it.

 

The Malazan book of the Fallen. To each their own. I'd rank it amongst the best books I've read. It's certainly the best fantasy series I've read within the past decade. It isn't for everyone certainly; nothing is. It's a bit deeper, more complex, and at times subtle than most everything else of any genre out there. It took me longer to read that first book (Gardens of the Moon) than any other fictional work I've read since I was a kid, as I had to constantly reference what was going on, on previous pages (this wasn't a bad thing).  ie: The plot is very complex, and figuring out what is going on doesn't happen until a long way through the book on a level I've not seen elsewhere; I read the first half of that book at least three times before finishing it, and more than any other series I've read I found myself referencing the earlier books as I read the later ones.

 

No other author has been able to paint on such an epic scale as well as Erikson has in my experience, and I've read hundreds of books of various fictional genres by this point of my life. Like all of the best fictional authors he has an exceptionally good understanding of how humans work.

 

Other than Malazan. There is of course The Song of Ice and Fire. Excellent books I'd rank only slightly behind Malazan (both series are treats). The worst thing about this series is that it is not done (where Malazan is), and doesn't look as if it's going to be done for many years yet. The author has at least two books to go and is averaging 5+ years between the publication of the last few, and he's not getting any younger or thinner so there's a lot of reasonable speculation that the books will never be finished. A conservative estimate for when we'll see the final book published if the rate of publication stays the same is 2020.

 

Other fantasy authors off the top of my head that I think write good stuff (at least what I've read). Note the styles of some of these authors varies quite a bit.:

 

Fred Saberhagen (some of the Book of Swords stories are enjoyable, and relatively quick and easy reads)

Terry Brooks (the first few Shannara books. Not to say the latter ones aren't good, I just haven't gotten around to reading them)

Terry Goodkind (Wizard's First Rule)

Robert Jordan (the first few books of a Wheel of Time at least are gems)

Stephen R. Donaldson (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)

J. R. R. Tolkien (of course, and I feel bad for you if you've seen the movies before reading the books)

T. H. White (The Once and Future King)

David Eddings (The Belgariad and The Mallorean)

 

No doubt I'm forgetting at least a few good fantasy authors I've read.

Edited by Valsuelm
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Hey chaps. You guys seem like you'd read a lot of fantasy. I'm looking for something to read at the moment. Can you recommend anything?

 

My favourite fantasy titles are:

 

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch

The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie

Half a King by Joe Ambercrombie

A Wise Man’s Fears by Patrick Rothfuss

The Night Angel by Brent Weeks

Red Knight by Miles Cameron

 

So... anything like that. Extra points for anti-heroes!

some people is giving you their favorites w/o considering your actual query.  bad forum junkies. bad.

 

is not necessarily a Gromnir favorite, but given your list we expect that you would enjoy the caine books by matthew stover.  

 

https://www.sfsite.com/01b/hero49.htm

 

david gemmell were noteworthy for writing anti-hero protagonists, but you is rare gonna see that protagonist for more than a single book.  

 

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/618177.Legend

 

old skool lankhmar books by fritz leiber would be worth considering if you wanna impress nerd friends with your knowledge o' the masters o' the genre.

 

is sci-fi instead o' fantasy, but we would consider the stainless steel rat books by harry harrison. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com/series/94586-stainless-steel-rat-chronological-order

 

got a smart rogue protagonist but if you don't like dark humor, the stainless steel rat will fail.

 

...

 

am hesitant to mention steven brust...

 

oh well.  before any o' the books on your list were popular, brust were writing first-person narratives with a smart assassin protagonist who gots a personal code if not an admirable sense o' morality.  his vlad series is long, but each volume is relative short. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com/series/40334-vlad-taltos

 

am not a fan, but the books is having a certain harmony with the books from your list.  check the reviews and some o' brust's free on-line short stories for a painless introduction.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

ps aluminum had already mentioned glen cook, but we will second his recommendation.

Edited by Gromnir

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I'm much more of a Science Fiction and Historical Fiction reader than fantasy.

 

But of the limited fantasy I've read --only Tolkien, GRRM, Robert E. Howard, and Neil Gaiman have held my interest. Haven't read Rothfuss yet but will probably get around to it.

"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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Try Glen Cook's Black Company series. Maybe Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker (it has a somewhat anti-heroic POV character out of... 4, if I remember correctly?) Or Steven Erikson's... thing, **** if I remember what it was called*. I only seem to recall it was pretty horrible, but it's also somewhat dark-ish and seemed to have gathered quite a following for some strange reason. Full disclosure, I read it in translation, the original may not be as bad as I remember it.

 

The Malazan book of the Fallen. To each their own. I'd rank it amongst the best books I've read. It's certainly the best fantasy series I've read within the past decade. It isn't for everyone certainly; nothing is. It's a bit deeper, more complex, and at times subtle than most everything else of any genre out there. It took me longer to read that first book (Gardens of the Moon) than any other fictional work I've read since I was a kid, as I had to constantly reference what was going on, on previous pages (this wasn't a bad thing).  ie: The plot is very complex, and figuring out what is going on doesn't happen until a long way through the book on a level I've not seen elsewhere; I read the first half of that book at least three times before finishing it, and more than any other series I've read I found myself referencing the earlier books as I read the later ones.

 

 

 

To me, the prose is way too stilted, the characterisation way too shallow, and the sheer amount of Existential Risk Arms Race is more comical than threatening. Again, possibly the translation's fault, and it had some seriously cool ideas. If only my local library had copies of the original, I'd totally give it a second chance (people are saying the writing gets better in later books).

 

 

 

old skool lankhmar books by fritz leiber would be worth considering if you wanna impress nerd friends with your knowledge o' the masters o' the genre.

 

...

 

am hesitant to mention steven brust...

 

oh well.  before any o' the books on your list were popular, brust were writing first-person narratives with a smart assassin protagonist who gots a personal code if not an admirable sense o' morality.  his vlad series is long, but each volume is relative short. 

 

 

Oh, right, Leiber's Lankhmar series. It was definitely a huge influence on Lynch's Locke Lamorra series, so you should give it a shot.

 

Also, if we're doing the first-person narrative with assassin protagonist thingie, Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy should be mentioned. It's nowhere near Game of Thrones, but it's readable.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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To me, the prose is way too stilted, the characterisation way too shallow, and the sheer amount of Existential Risk Arms Race is more comical than threatening. Again, possibly the translation's fault, and it had some seriously cool ideas. If only my local library had copies of the original, I'd totally give it a second chance (people are saying the writing gets better in later books).

 

 

I read the first three books and that was pretty much exactly my reaction, so it probably isn't the translation's fault. I'd add rampant continuity errors as well. The author doesn't care about them, but to me they're the mark of a highly sloppy writer.

 

OTOH they are worth checking out as a lot of people do like the Malazon books a very great deal.

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To me, the prose is way too stilted, the characterisation way too shallow, and the sheer amount of Existential Risk Arms Race is more comical than threatening. Again, possibly the translation's fault, and it had some seriously cool ideas. If only my local library had copies of the original, I'd totally give it a second chance (people are saying the writing gets better in later books).

 

 

I read the first three books and that was pretty much exactly my reaction, so it probably isn't the translation's fault. 

 

 

Oh thank god it's not just me.

 

Credit where credit is due, though: "mining the veins of dead gods" as the source of all magic is pretty much the coolest idea (or, at the very least, one of the coolest) I ever encountered re:fantasy spellslinging.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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To me, the prose is way too stilted, the characterisation way too shallow, and the sheer amount of Existential Risk Arms Race is more comical than threatening. Again, possibly the translation's fault, and it had some seriously cool ideas. If only my local library had copies of the original, I'd totally give it a second chance (people are saying the writing gets better in later books).

 

 

I read the first three books and that was pretty much exactly my reaction, so it probably isn't the translation's fault. I'd add rampant continuity errors as well. The author doesn't care about them, but to me they're the mark of a highly sloppy writer.

 

OTOH they are worth checking out as a lot of people do like the Malazon books a very great deal.

 

 

Aside from the notable and acknowledged minor errors between Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates, name me some continuity errors.

 

I've found none. But again, the plot is so thick and intricate there's a lot that's easily missed, and why I reread and referenced earlier books time and again as I read the later books. My guess is that what you think is an error is just you missing something that wasn't obvious. There's a lot packed in some of those chapters, and Erikson generally doesn't spoon feed the reader. ie: The full significance of what happens in the prologue of Gardens of the Moon isn't apparent until many books in.

 

On book translations in general though, it's easily imaginable that some are very inadequate, especially when the author has a very expansive vocabulary such as Erikson. And as for stilted..... I'd say that's just a judgement based on one's own limited vocabulary. I'd suggest hanging out with people whose vocabulary matches Eriksons in order to expand your own. Or reading more works such as his. Another good modern fiction author for that is Umberto Eco (though he doesn't write the genre in which this thread is concerned, I do highly recommend his books). Authors from the 19th century and earlier are generally also good for this.

Edited by Valsuelm
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as for stilted..... I'd say that's just a judgement based on one's own limited vocabulary. I'd suggest hanging out with people whose vocabulary matches Eriksons in order to expand your own. Or reading more works such as his. Another good modern fiction author for that is Umberto Eco (though he doesn't write the genre in which this thread is concerned). Authors from the 19th century and earlier are generally also good for this.

 

 

I've read Eco, numerous 19th century (and older) authors, even Gravity's Rainbow, a book generally considered to be "one of the longest, most difficult, most ambitious" novels of the last century, without running into the same problem. I'd hazard the guess it's not a vocabulary issue.

 

Side note: people generally don't appreciate being condescended to.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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as for stilted..... I'd say that's just a judgement based on one's own limited vocabulary. I'd suggest hanging out with people whose vocabulary matches Eriksons in order to expand your own. Or reading more works such as his. Another good modern fiction author for that is Umberto Eco (though he doesn't write the genre in which this thread is concerned). Authors from the 19th century and earlier are generally also good for this.

 

 

I've read Eco, numerous 19th century (and older) authors, even Gravity's Rainbow, a book generally considered to be "one of the longest, most difficult, most ambitious" novels of the last century, without running into the same problem. I'd hazard the guess it's not a vocabulary issue.

 

Side note: people generally don't appreciate being condescended to.

 

 

If you've read all that, and comprehended what you were reading, then why you would refer to Erikson's work (or anything else at all really) as stilted is beyond me. That's a word best used by someone whose reading hasn't gone much beyond Stephen King's level, not by someone who is well read.

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If you've read all that, and comprehended what you were reading, then why you would refer to Erikson's work (or anything else at all really) as stilted is beyond me. That's a word best used by someone whose reading hasn't gone much beyond Stephen King's level, not by someone who is well read.

 

 

...Because I'm apparently a dirty foreigner who encountered the word in a review of a book whose prose he found to be **** and assumed without checking that it simply means "it's poorly written". My great shame is now revealed. 

 

(No, really, I never realized this word doesn't mean what I thought it means. I apologize for the confusion.)

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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Не время для драконов is good. I read it because I didn't understand anything about the game's story.

 

Is there an English translation to the work? I can't read Russian.

 

 

Just wait until the Toblakai trilogy is finished.

 

Those books are likely going to be on my 'to read' list after the last one is published. Even as prolific and diligent as Erikson is, after my experiences with Robert Jordan and G.R.R. Martin, I've reached a point where I don't want to start any series until the last book is about to be published. Especially when the author writes as dense as Erikson does. I've found the reading experience to be much better when one can read books in a series right after one another, rather than have to wait months/years in between books.

 

Have you read any of Esslemont's Malazan books? I'm curious as to the opinions of anyone who's read Erikson's work as well as Esslemont's.

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If you've read all that, and comprehended what you were reading, then why you would refer to Erikson's work (or anything else at all really) as stilted is beyond me. That's a word best used by someone whose reading hasn't gone much beyond Stephen King's level, not by someone who is well read.

 

 

...Because I'm apparently a dirty foreigner who encountered the word in a review of a book whose prose he found to be **** and assumed without checking that it simply means "it's poorly written". My great shame is now revealed. 

 

(No, really, I never realized this word doesn't mean what I thought it means. I apologize for the confusion.)

 

 

It happens to the best of us at times. Especially with a language that isn't our primary. It's not uncommon for me to make similar mistakes if I read/write in my secondary languages (German and Latin). Truth be told, your mastery of English is better than my mastery of German or Latin (I don't use either much anymore). You aren't a dirty foreigner (well... I assume you bathe regularly anyways), anyone who makes the effort to learn another language should be applauded in my opinion.

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Why not explore the earlier works of prose?

A very significant and prominent anti hero would be Egil Skallagrimsson, read Egil's Saga which was arguably written by Snorri Sturlusson in the thirteenth century or so. Very raw and powerful stuff.

Brennu Njal's Saga is also quite a nice work, full of doom and anti heroes.

The various Norse mythologies are great symbolic roistering, Thor and Loki make a great team, until the latters Flyting.

Perhaps explore some of Irelands myth and legends, such as Cuchulain, Finn and Lugh.

Beowulf of course stands large over everything, I maintain that Tolkien's translation is the finest.

Speaking of which the Silmarillion is chock full of anti heroes and doom laden fates, but after reading any Norse mythology one can see the inspiration far too clearly.

Lord Dunsany's purple prose is outdated and very stylised but personally I would regard it as obligatory reading.

From there i'd go further afield, explore Ancient Greek mythology and poetry, which is chock full of anti heroes and doom.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Why not explore the earlier works of prose?

A very significant and prominent anti hero would be Egil Skallagrimsson, read Egil's Saga which was arguably written by Snorri Sturlusson in the thirteenth century or so. Very raw and powerful stuff.

Brennu Njal's Saga is also quite a nice work, full of doom and anti heroes.

The various Norse mythologies are great symbolic roistering, Thor and Loki make a great team, until the latters Flyting.

Perhaps explore some of Irelands myth and legends, such as Cuchulain, Finn and Lugh.

Beowulf of course stands large over everything, I maintain that Tolkien's translation is the finest.

Speaking of which the Silmarillion is chock full of anti heroes and doom laden fates, but after reading any Norse mythology one can see the inspiration far too clearly.

Lord Dunsany's purple prose is outdated and very stylised but personally I would regard it as obligatory reading.

From there i'd go further afield, explore Ancient Greek mythology and poetry, which is chock full of anti heroes and doom.

better yet, read the Bible.  not only is it chock-full o' anti-heroes, but knowledge o' the Bible makes you more likely to recognize oblique literary references and allusion that is so often tied to Bible chapter an/or verse. regardless o' your opinion o' religion, any fan o' western literature should have the Bible at the top o' their reading list.

 

OR

 

we might recognize that the kinda stuff the genesis poster used as examples o' what he were hoping to read more o' would likely preclude the prose edda, beowulf and gilgamesh.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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