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Calibandar

Abercrombie/Lynch/Rothfuss/Abraham/Ruckley

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There's been a lot of discussion about the newcomers to the epic Fantasy genre in the last two years, and these names have been mentioned often. I'd like to do a poll of sorts and see how people actually rate them when compared to one another. Obviously you don't have to make a top 5 if you haven't read them all.

So how would you rank them?

I'd go with:

1) Abercrombie

2) Lynch

3) Rothfuss

4) Ruckley

5) Abraham

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I'd agree with your top two, but I'd put Rothfuss further down. My list would be

1. Abercrombie

2. Lynch

3. Ruckley

4=. Rothfuss

4=. Abraham

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It's difficult for me to judge, personally. (I also haven't read Rothfuss or Ruckley, so I'm only trying to rank three.) I find them all good, and am definitely adding all three to my 'get the next book' list.

Having said that, I'd put them as follows:

Abercrombie -- The Blade Itself was slow going for me at first, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it and Before They Are Hanged. I also like that what is on first glance an 'ordinary' fantasy story is not the way things turn out.

Abraham -- (This review refers to the omnibus edition of the first two books in the Long Price quartet. :P) I got into this much more easily than I did the Abercrombie, but it always just stayed at that level for me. I appreciate the idea of a non-"medieval Western European" setting and culture, but some things about it still bothered me.

SPOILER: possible mini-spoiler discussion of language and culture
In a land as big as the Empire, with its long sea journeys and mountain-curtained kingdoms, and everyone has the same accent and fashion and whatnot? I can *almost* buy that the courtly language is copied everywhere, but surely dock workers don't give a damn about that, and would be harder to adapt to? Look at English and the fact that, for example, they put English-language subtitles into an English-language film (Trainspotting) because native speakers of nominally the same language couldn't understand a word of what was going on.

Also, a trader - even a foreign one - who's been in the country for at least a decade doesn't make a point of learning every single nuance he can of his new language? He might not be able to express himself as subtly, but it's in his interest to understand as much as possible -- he doesn't strike me as the type to blindly trust anyone, even any interpreter he uses. I have a hard time that the 'insult' his forewoman gave him was the first time anyone'd ever used it in his presence, and (more) that he wouldn't even realise there *was* a difference. And so on.

What bothered me more was that all of that was what I came away from the book thinking about, rather than about what happened in the first two books or where I think it's going. Still, I really like that he's trying something different with the setting and with communication, and that bumps it up for me.

And then third -- but still very high -- I'd put Lynch. Let's be honest, this one is pretty much pseudo-Medieval (okay, he switched it to Renaissance or even a bit later) Western Europe in which our intrepid hero and his nicely-balanced gang of friends have an objective and crazy hijinx ensue. But my goodness, what great fun it is to read. (And yes, I know there are deeper plots still underneath, but at the moment, at least, they aren't the driving force behind The Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas Under Red Skies.

I'll devour these in one sitting, and will pre-order them so that they're in my grubby hands on the day of release, but once they're done I just say 'Ah, that was fun' and put them away. They don't linger with me the way the other two authors' works do. (OTOH, these are also probably the books I'd recommend nearly universally -- I think the Abercrombie and Abraham have slightly narrower audiences.)

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1) Abercrombie

2) Lynch

3) Rothfuss

I haven't read the others. I LOVE those three, though.

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1) Abercrombie

2) Lynch / Ruckley

4) Abraham

haven't read Rothfuss

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Abraham, Abercrombie and Lynch pretty much equal

then

Rothfuss and Ruckley pretty much equal

Each writer has his strengths and weaknesses (some are better at characterization, others at dialogue, still others at plot machinations), but at least I finished (and enjoyed) the books by Abraham, Abercrombie and Lynch. My problems with Rothfuss, I've already articulated. Ruckley, I couldn't get into the book. Maybe it was medieval fantasy overload, but I was bored. I'll give it a try in a year or so.

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I've read one from each author:

1. Abercrombie

2. Rothfuss

3. Lynch

GAP

4. Abraham

5. Ruckley

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I haven't read Rothuss so 'll just rank the four.

1) Abercrombie

2) Lynch

3) Luckley

4) Abraham

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From this selection, I'd go with

1. Abercrombie

2. Abraham.

3. Lynch.

There's hardly a cigarette paper between them, though.

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I have not yet read anything by Ruckley or Abraham (although I want to read them both, especially Abraham).

Out of the other three, I would rank them as follows:

1. Abercrombie (just finished The Blade Itself about a week ago and loved it)

2. Lynch

3. Rothfuss

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1) Abercrombie

2) Abraham

3) Lynch

4) Rothfuss

Abercrombie gets into first place because of Last Argument of Kings. Based on the first two books alone I'd have put Abraham above him. Interesting to revisit this a few months down the line when An Autumn War is out, as that is supposed to be much, much better than the first two books in Abraham's series as well.

Haven't read Ruckley but I've got it. I flipped through and I suspect it'll slot into fifth place.

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Haven't read Ruckley, so for the others:

1) Abraham, Abercrombie

3) Lynch

GAP

4) Rothfuss

Based on first books alone I would have put Lynch first, but Red seas under Red Skies was not as good as I wanted it to be. Abraham and Abercrombie I both completely enjoyed, and look forward their next novel. Even though they are very different I couldn't say which I like more.

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I haven't read Abraham, but of the others I'd say:

1. Lynch

2. Rothfuss

3. Abercrombie

4. Ruckley

I loved both TLoLL and RSuRS, so Lynch goes top. I was also gripped by TNotW. I would have put Abercrombie equal with Rothfuss, but parts of BTAW dragged a little for me so I'll put that below. Didn't really get into Winterbirth all that much, so Ruckley goes to the bottom.

Sir Thursday

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1) Lynch

2) Rothfuss

3) Abraham

4) Abercrombie

5) Ruckley

I read "the Blade Itself" way back when it was first released. Didn't like it much, but I'm going to to revisit it, seeing as I think I was on the crazy pill that autumn. I hated pretty much anything I picked up except tLoLL, and I've later on found I was mistaken about a lot of the other books. Hopefully I'll enjoy the series just as much as everyone else seems to, and now I don't have to wait for Abercrombie to finish it. Yay!

As for the other contestants, I'd say that Lynch is my absolute favourite and Rothfuss and Abraham are nearly equal. I found tNotW to be a much more enjoyable read compared to The Long Price Quartet, but the latter was better written. "Winterbirth" was a poor debut in my eyes; so boring it nearly stole my will to live.

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Having finally read all of these authors, I'd have to say that to date, Abraham in the writings of his that I've read shows the most range of storytelling modes - collaborative, short story, and of course a full novel in a series. I think he has quite a bit of potential in creating interesting characters, and his Jonathan Hive character in the about-to-be-released Wild Cards: Inside Straight shows quite a bit of character development.

I've only read Abercrombie's first book (still need to write that full review) but somewhere I commented on how it read like an AC/DC guitar riff. Three chords that are just so damn cool, but it'll be a wait-and-see before deciding if there's a strong melody there.

Rothfuss, warts and all, has quite a bit of potential to create some imaginative and funny scenes, but again, it's a wait-and-see with him to see if he'll deepen his story (as I think he's about to do).

Lynch is okay, but a bit too one-note for me, I guess, as the second book just didn't develop the characters enough in my opinion.

Ruckley's first novel was tedious to read in many places, but there's enough of a promise of improvement that I'll read the second one later this year.

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