Fantasy and SF Recommendations: Series

225 posts in this topic

Malaazan Book of the Fallen- Steve Erikson One often hears in reviews this-and-that is a must-read so i won't say that. This is a master-piece.

If you like A Song of Ice and Fire, I'm quite sure you'll like this as well.

Yeah, it's epic. There's war, strategy, philosophy in it. The plot switches from one character to another simultaneously (as in ASOIAF) and gradually entwines. There are profound monologues and witty conversations. Descriptions are rich but not too vast and tiring.

You want to read it! NOW!

Edited by nordic Wolf

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I am going to second these recommendations:

The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny: I read this after hearing George RR Martin suggested it in an interview and I loved it. The Corwin cycle, the first 5 books in the series were so interesting. It's a well-written, with surprising plot turns, and complex characters.

The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss: I was so engrossed when reading this series. Rothfuss is such an incredibly visual writer, I felt as though I was watching the story, rather than reading it. His characters, particularly the main character, Kvothe, are so real. I would definitely recommend this to everyone who likes ASoIaF. I could not put the first two books down, and I wish that the third one was out.

Edited by ceo408

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Magister Trilogy by C. S. Friedman, easy to read, not very large books (a shame, because there's so much more to tell) and she's not too afraid to kill main characters as well, although not as much as GRRM of course :P

Her other trilogy, Coldfire in contrast is much harder to read, but it has quite a unique setting compared to most fantasy imo.

Edited by Job Snow

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Bartimaeus trilogy by Johnathan Stroud was light, original, funny and a great read. Im a huge epic fantasy fan but this is more of a lighter fantasy with a very original magic season.

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The Windhover Tapes, by Warren Norwood. first 3 of 4 books take format of log entries by the protagonist to his ship's log. Initial plot involves the protagonist (roving stellar diplomat) trying to figure out why he cannot remember part of his past.

Asgard/Journey to the Centre by Brian Stableford 3-book series (2 different title sets) Protagonist is a freelance explorer on a planet covered in artificial layers abandoned for millions of years. Events ensue, discoveries are made.

The Last Viking, by Poul Anderson. 3-books. Historical fiction of the life of Harold IIII of Norway, who died at Stamford Bridge in 1066. He apparently uses all the extant saga and anglo-saxon sources in building this.

The Man of Gold/Flamesong and 3 subsequent novels by MAR Barker These were written in a world with a former advanced civilization which fell very far in the past. Heavy emphasis on the polytheistic system. This was written to fit into his Petal Throne pen-paper rpg. Once I started, I couldn't put them down. Does this count as a series?

Chronicles of The Dread Empire by Glen Cook. Written before The Black Company in Cook's distinct style. Gritty epic fantasy. Has great battles, some political intrigue, romance, and adventure. Sadly not as widely read as they deserve. Just freaking read it, Glen Cook is awesome.

The Gap Cycle by Stephen R Donaldson. A retelling, or an interpretation of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Its the same dude that wrote The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, except now we're in space, so you can expect it to be well written and have above average characterization ( they are somewhat unsympathetic ) in a bleak setting. Gets better after the first book.

Worth noting that Cook is finally publishing a new final volume of Dread Empire's second trilogy in January, the original having been stolen decades ago. I enjoyed the gap series a lot, this was the first time Donaldson starting working plots with 3-4 factions actively pursuing interests (ignoring the elohim in 2nd chronicles).

Edited by Woofdog2

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If duologies count as series, I'd like to recommend Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) and Stephen Donaldson's Mordant's Need series (The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through).

A King Arthur story I enjoyed a lot is Mary Stewart's four-part Arthurian saga, which opens with The Crystal Cave. It differs a bit from other tellings of the Arthurian saga (like, say, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon), but it's well-written and engaging.

English lit buffs should definitely seek out Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, which is set in a weird England where everybody is obsessed with literature and history is changed through time travelling. The heroine, the implausibly named literary detective Thursday Next, can hop into books, where she meets famous literary characters like Jane Eyre, Miss Havisham, etc, often to hilarious effect. The whole series is highly recommended to those who know their Victorian literature and appreciate a good spoof.

Those looking for fantasy with a strong heroine with magical powers might want to check out Maggie Furey's Aurian series. Yes, it's derivative and yes, it's a little too fast-paced for its own good, but the first three books are a pleasant enough read. Sadly, the later books aren't nearly as successful.

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I just read The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I tell ya', I'm hooked! I'm probably going to take some shrapnel for this but I was more engrossed in Kvothe's misadventures than I was reading about the events in Westeros. I can't wait for the third book to come out!

Edit: I had to come back because I'm not doing the series any credit by the recommendation left as it is. Even continuing won't do it any credit. It's not an epic fantasy, exactly. It's a first-person account of an exceptional person who grows up and does exceptional things. What I loved about it were the characters in the novel. The way they're portrayed is amazing. Kvothe's dialogue on his own life makes even the most mundane of actions (e.g. playing his lute) fascinating. I've never been this emotionally moved with a novel.

I started reading the first book (The Name of the Wind) on a Friday and finished the second book (A Wise Man's Fear) on the following Tuesday. Pretty much didn't stop reading except to rest my eyes, eat and get a few hours of socializing in.

If I can find another series I like as much as this one, I'll be surprised.

Edited by Windmill

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Shadows of the Apt - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Secondary world fantasy with some unusual twists and wildly original worldbuilding - a society undergoing a full blow industrial revolution, a societies divided into those capable of comprehending either technology or magic, and 'races' associated with insects. These start as curiosities but quickly become utterly integral as the series builds momentum from good fun into darkly compelling excellent.

Loosely divided into arcs of books 1-4, 5-7 and the forthcoming 8-10, the first arc follows the conduct of a brutal continent spanning war at a breakneck pace, while the second consists of more restrained character driven books that examine its social and personal fallout. (Though the first batch features some strong characterization and the second still has plenty of consequential plotting as well.) Anyways, read it.

Matthew Swift Series - Kate Griffin

A London set fantasy series that manages to eke remarkable poignancy out of the fairly worn trope of urban magic. Oh, theres all the usual running around and getting into cool fights and making witty quips, but it's underlaid by a constant and insistent melancholy hopefullness thats often elegantly echoed in the plot, characterizations and most notably the fantastic worldbuilding. Urban fantasy often strikes me as a bit of a hodgepodge - lets throw it all in and see whats coolest, which is a fair and often successful approach, but these books have all that color and variety, but growing seamlessly from the logic of the city.

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The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher

The best series on Wizards and magic available. Its like Sherlock Holmes if he were a Wizard mixed with a thousand different folklore legends brought to life and some Lord of the Rings thrown in with it. Currently awaiting the 14th book, Cold Days, which is continuing the arc that started in Book 4 Summer Knight. It has great characters like the titular Harry Dresden who is described by one character as "Gandalf on crack and an IV of Red Bull." Enemies range from vampires, faeries, demons, fallen angels, gangsters, sorcerers and evil wizards, and zombies. Truly brilliant series, would recommend it to anyone.

Vampire Hunter D - Hideyuki Kikuchi

Supernatural thriller mixed with tragedy with science that is practically magic. More like novella sized books but each one is brilliant with plenty of potent fight scenes, engaging storylines and a tragic ending with just a silver lining of fortune and hope. And each book has a few well designed images scattered in its pages to show particularly important or cool things in the story. A post-apocalyptic society where vampires ruled only to fall and humans live in the day but monsters own the night, and hunters ply their trade across the world but only the greatest are Vampire Hunters, and the greatest of them all is D.


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Hi everyone,

I am new here. First post has to go into this topic :D

Fantasy (not much into Sci Fi):

Malazan Book of the Fallen (Steven Erikson)

Epic is the only word that does it justice. It's huge and sometimes it is slow, but over all one of the best series ever (imho). The world buildng is superb and Erikson also has a way with words (above average prose). If you like epic military fantasy with a lot of powerful protagonists, this is for you.

Prince of Nothing (R. Scott Bakker)

Another one of those series with superb world-building. Scott's prose is superb. The man can write! The story is very dark and not to everyone's taste (some really disturbing things happen to some of the characters in the book - not for the faint-hearted). For me, there were no really likeable characters but in the end, i still liked the books. It is a fantasy holy war in a mediterranean kind of world (so it is a refreshing change to all the european middle-age like settings).

Sunsword (Michelle West)

One of the most underrated authors, if you ask me. She has also a very nice writing style and a very distinctive voice imo. Read the Hunter's duology first, if you can. It is not strictly necessary to understand the Sunsword series, but you have a much better picture of the world if you do. Michelle's strenght, besides world-building (yes, worldbuilding is an important fact for me as a reader :D ), are here characters. She can invoke emotion in the reader, or at least she could invoke them in me. She has very threedimensional characters.

As another recommendation, but in a more general way: Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay is always worth a read. I really enjoyed the Fionavar Tapestry but some of his standalone books are also very good (for example Tigana or A Song for Arbonne). He also has a stronge prose and he is, besides the above mentioned Michelle West, the best when it comes to characterization.

That's it for now.

Looking forward to a lot of interesting discussions on these forums.

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Sergei Lukianenko: Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch

A combination of fantasy and political thriller that plays in Moscow of today. The "others", the magical people live amongst the normal people. For centuries they have task of preserving the equilibrium in the world and to keep the darkness at bay, while the normals are not supposed to know about their existence. There is a strict code of conduct to respect, vampires and other dangerous species are to be controlled and deviant magicals gone bad are to be punished - apart from preventing the apocalypse.

No easy task when central heating does not work, corruption rules, the potatoes are out and the magical IT has a breakdown due to blackout in the city. And buerocracy is everywhere!

Great read, highly ironic and dead serious at the same time!

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Surprised nobody here has mentioned anything by David Eddings yet.

The Elenium

The Tamuli

The Belgariad

The Malloreon

Are all good reads, trilogies each, but arguably 2 6-book series divided into separate story-lines. Admittedly a little juvenile for an audience used to the depth and characterization from ASOIAF, but still worth reading. Witty, engaging, well built worlds, and decent depth to the characters, with elements of politics, philosophy and religion in all, as well as a smattering of magic.

Paul Kearney

The Monarchies of God

The Macht Trilogy

The Sea Beggars

Plenty of advice on the Monarchies so far, so I"ll leave my interpretation out. The Macht Trilogy (The Ten Thousand, Corvus, Kings of Morning) are gritty, unique, bloody, and deep. You see in this series another author who isn't afraid to annoy his readers by killing characters to advance his plot, and will consistently break your heart when someone dies, or battle is engaged.

The Sea Beggars is an unfinished series with elements of the main character that could be considered akin to an ayra-esque storyline throughout. The Mark of Ran, book 1, describes a youths efforts to find himself in a world he has been thrust into after living a sheltered life as a fisherman. Magic is not uncommon, reveals are shocking, and characters are multi-dimensional. This Forsaken Earth, book 2, relishes in blood and gore, puts you on the front lines and in the command tent describing battles in detail I've only seen reading Kearney. Storm of the Dead, book 3, (upcoming late 2012) promises to be an exhilerating read that will bring together and account for characters that I've been reading about since the release of book 2 in 2006.

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The Kane series by Karl Edward Wagner. A most excellent Dark fantasy series. The man Character Kane is a heroic villain. :)

1. Bloodstone

2. Dark Crusade

3. Darkness Weaves

4. Death Angels Shadow

5 . NightWinds

Other things wager has written Conan novel Conan Road of Kings

And he did a spectacular novel based on another Robert E Howard character Bran Mak Morn The book is Bran Mak Morn Legion of the Shadows.

Wrote a really good hurry anthology book IN A LONELY PLACE.

Co- wrote with David Drake and a science fiction novel Killer . I'ts about a an alien bounty hunter tracking down a monster loosed in ancient Rome.


Edited by Bronson

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The Stormlight Archive: Book one The Way of Kings- By Brandon Sanderson

The world of The Way of Kings is one constantly assaulted by hurricanes, referred to in the book as highstorms.Flora and fauna have evolved to cope with this condition.[3]

In response to an attack by malevolent entities (known as Voidbringers), the "Almighty" fashions magical weapons and suits of armor, called Shardblades and Shardplates. The "Almighty" equips knights known as Radiants, with these, and, eventually, the Radiants defeat the evil Voidbringers.

Then, for unknown reasons, the Radiants turn against mankind, ignoring their cause and vanishing. They leave their Shardplates and Shardblades for all who want them, thus creating wars and strife. The book begins at a phase where warlords have, for many years, been gathering armies around Shardblade-wielding fighters. These armies fight over possession of the remaining Shardblades in an attempt to acquire a decisive advantage.

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The Dark Tower Series - Stephen King:

The Gunslinger (1982)

The Drawing of the Three (1987)

The Waste Lands (1991)

Wizard and Glass (1997)

Wolves of the Calla (2003)

Song of Susannah (2004)

The Dark Tower (2004)

Can't believe it has not been mentioned yet but I guess most of you have read it. If so, feel free to advertise it better than I do:

Set in another world with a western kind of feeling, its the story of Roland, the last Gunslinger and the Dark Tower. It is one of the most mysterious and just plain weird stories that I've read. Nothing like Kings 'It' or 'Pet Sematary', it is just a massive (7 books complete it but there is tons of extra stuff) fantasy\science fiction\western saga with tons of reverences to our world and culture (I mean, Harry Potter is reverenced). Just to give you a feeling:

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed...

Edited by Syseanne

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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds:

1) Revelation Space

2) Chasm City

3) Redemption Ark

4) Absolution Gap

I love science fiction, and I really like space opera by authors like Iain Banks and Larry Niven.

But Revelation Space is special. It's written by a former astrophysicist who worked at the European Space Agency. The series features plausible science based on our understanding of physics -- no magic warp drives, no FTL, etc.

But it's not dry, because Reynolds is not just an astrophysicist, he's also a master of noir. This is science fiction that makes no grand assumptions about how society will change because of technology. There's no post-scarcity society, like in The Culture, and no unified humanity, like in Star Trek. Instead, people act exactly the same as they do now, with all the same motivations. People use technology for good, and they use it for evil. They use it for pleasure and they use it for violence.

But Reynolds explores the dark side of that, and it's like a car crash you can't look away from. It's some of the most disturbing reading I've ever come across, and it's awesome.

I would recommend Revelation Space to any fan of space opera, hard science fiction, horror science fiction, just plain horror...or anyone who likes good genre fiction.

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A Dream of Eagles by Jack Whyte.

King Arthur fantasy, starting 3 generations before Arthur, explaining the events that led to Camelot and Arthur's kingship. A little simplistic compared to a lot of the series mentioned here, straightforward. But still entertaining, and a really interesting take on not just Arthur, but the world and history that surrounded him. Perhaps closer to historical fiction than fantasy...

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The Tunnels Series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. These books have been set in the modern world context, and are really original. The authors effectively used a mix if creativity and logic, fantasy and fact, creating a unique storyline filled with suspense.

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Jacqueline Carey. A must-read.

Kushiel's Legacy series and Naamah Trilogy are 9 books, 3 trilogies, here in reading order:

Kushiel's Dart

Kushiel's Chosen

Kushiel's Avatar

Kushiel's Scion

Kushiel's Justice

Kushiel's Mercy

Naamah's Kiss

Naamah's Curse

Naamah's Blessing

They are, similar to the three Hobb series (Farseer, Lifeships and Tawny Man) all connected and set in the same world, but all finished in themselves.

Carey's land of Terre d'Ange and the surrounding is based on our real medieval world. She creates courts and intrigues that you will love if you liked Game of Thrones. A whole world of very intricate characters. Apart from the court of Terre d'Ange, there is another power in the land: The Night Court, consisting of courtesans and men and women of pleasure, which is not held in contempt, but who hold great power...

Phèdre, the heroine of the first trilogy, is sold into servitude as a child, but purchased by a noble of power. He trains her not only as a courtesan, but also as a spy. Phèdre learns to sell her skills to her noble customers, but her knowledge is given to her lord. Until she stumbles upon a plot that is threatening the whole of Terre d'Ange.

An amazing read. If ASoIaF is what you like, you will definitely like these.

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The Remy Chandler series by Tom (?) Sniegoski. I think these are popular with some folks, but I found the first book deadly dull boring. I liked the idea -- an angel who has renounced most of his powers to live like a human -- but I just couldn't wade through the first book of the series. Also has a telepathically-talking dog (yeck).

To save your opinion of this series, which I like becasue I read it out of order, check out Where Angels Fear to Tread. It's actually an intersting read that has a rather surprising ending. Just throwing that out there, as a suggestion.

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