Hrmmm... so most modern fantasy is out.
What do you like? And what are a few things you've read already? And yes... Malazan is probably worse than ASoIaF when it comes to gritty/depressing stuff.
Mmm, I enjoyed Farseer trilogy. First few books of Wheel of Time. Read all of it but found the last 9 books boring and too long. Really like Fafrd and the Grey Mouser. Lord of the rings is great. The Hobbit not so much. Didn't enjoy Pratchett too much. Enjoyed Dragonlance a million years ago, but I've outgrown it.
And I'm not against depressing stuff. Farseer trilogy was depressing, but in a different way to ASOIAF.
I just get the impression that Martin is writing the worst possible outcome for every scene. He set his character in a situation, let's you imagine the outcome according to traditional fantasy, then tells you that you are wrong, and crush your hope. My feeling is that he painted himself in a corner. In the first book, it was interesting to go against fantasy tropes. But now it's become the norm in his book, and he can't reverse the rend without betraying his readers.
EDIT: Also tried, Gene Wolfe, didn't like it.
Edited by Green Gogol, 20 January 2014 - 02:53 PM.