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The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Essentially its a quadrilogy with a prequel book now but the original story is a trilogy.

It is based in modern London, the governments/empires are forged by magicians however the magicians don't have any power themselves, they bind demons to them and they are essentially their slaves while under their command.

The plot follows a young magician named Nathaniel and a djinni(3rd class of demons, there are 5 if I remember correctly) named Bartimaeus.

It is not high fantasy or Epic on the scales of LOTR, ASOIAF etc but it is a very engaging read and the first time I read the books I couldn't put them down.

Those readers that like a bit of fun in their reading should definitely give this a go. If you at all like the Tyrion chapters I think you will absolutely love Bartimaeus. He has a wicked sense of humour and very enjoyable to read

The trilogy is comprised of:

The Amulet of Samarkand

The Golem's Eye

Ptolemy's Gate

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Not sure if anyone posted these yet, but they have been keeping me reading for the past couple of years

Terry Goodkind - Sword of truth - A long series of medium fantasy, very romantic and also quite harsh. There is a deep meaning throughout the series. Great read!

Raymond E. Feist - Riftwar- Though i've read all of Feist's books up to now, i can recommend only the Riftwar saga as a good read. After these 5 books it becomes it bit of same ol' same ol', but the first series he wrote is a great one!

So that's my 2 cents :)

edited for typos

Edited by BoarHunter

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the Inheritance Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin.

A series that focuses on emotional bonds, characterization, and personal conflicts. If you are looking for sword-fighting or armies clashing you'll be disappointed, but battles of will, cruel and complex plots, betrayal, love, and surprising but logical plot twists abound. Well-written technically.

Jemisin creates an interesting world based on a unique take on gods, godhood, and the interaction of such with humanity. Some of the main supporting characters are gods, though the protagonist herself is human. Some authors flounder when using gods in their fiction, but Jemisin shows a deft hand, making them at once immensely powerful and vulnerable to their own natures.

Edited by Lord Pendragon

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Ok so many...several of these have been mentioned maybe all :)

Heavy Hitters

Tolkein- I don't often read High Fantasy...but when i do....it's Tolkein.

Frank Herbert - Dune is the ultimate in political intrigue Sci FI. It's sets the standard and has been covered about as many times as Tolkein and the Beatles. (see Robert Jordan)

Issac Asimov- Foundation series like Dune is so different from anything that came before it it sets the standard going forward.

Dark and Gritty just how i like it

Brent Weeks- Both Night Angel and Black Prism are a little fast placed action movie made novel for my tastes...but they are fun, nasty, and move at the speed of sound. The characters are interesting and have a cool different take on magic.

Glen Cook- All of the Black Company series are a lot of fun. I love the mixture of band of brother military campaign mixed with some magic and intrigue. The characters are cool, you feel invested in them and feel it when he mercilessly bumps one off...and he does this without pause.

Joe Ambercrombie- A young major rockstar in Scifi fantasy and for good reason. The first law trilogy is a perfect blend of the journey of Tolkein with the gritty brutality of Martin. I also love the way he uses his stand alone books as extensions of his world without playing out his major characters from the trilogy past the jump the shark point(Again see Robert Jordan)

Phillip Pullman- He is the anti-C.S. Lewis. What is someone had the sheer testicular fortitude to turn C.S. Lewis use of pagan mythology as a means to indoctrinate children back on him using Atheist ideals in a young adults story with talking animals and steampunk. Pullman did just that. The movie has nothing to do with this awesome world with a distinct personality and one of the greatest showing of sheer gall ever in a novel. (C.S. Lewis was awesome when i was a kid and still a worthy writer...just acknowledging Pullman's nerve in writting a novel for kids that attacked the church.)

Jim Butcher- The Dresden files doesn't deserve any pulitzer awards. However it's witty, sharp, has an interesting take on several common monster stories. It also has a fantastic audiobook version read by James Marsters(Spike from Buffy the vampire slayer)

Brian Lumley- Titus Crow series is British Author Lumley's take on the HP Lovecraft mythos. It has a bit of Over Adrenalized Scientists Dan Brown thing going....but still fun in spite of that.

Amin Maalouf- Balthasars Odyssey is a fun historical fiction meets religious mythology. Very well written and well researched to help bring the historical aspects to life.

I could go on but this is definitely the top of the list :)

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No one mentioned: The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence.

Book 1: Prince of Thorns - released August 2011

Book 2: King of Thorns - August 2012

Book 3: Empire of Thorns - August 2013

Very good series, I am halfway into book 2, very nice anti-hero (the protagonist)

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The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning is great if you want something entertaining and fast to read that doesn't take a ton of thought. I mean that in a good way. Some days I just want to be entertained without working at it lol This series did that for me.

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I really have been enjoying The Expanse trilogy by James S.A Corey. Can't recommend it enough for anyone who loves a decent sci fi space opera.

It's not Firefly (swoon) but it's pretty damn good. The characters aren't stuck in some typecast role either - actual depth is nice.

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I would continue the praise for Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy. I read it after finishing ASOIAF for the first time and was hooked. I have yet to read his standalone novels that take place in the same world but I hear they are even better. Logan Ninefingers is an effing beast.

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I highly recomment Steven Brust's work.

He has two main series.

The first is his Vlad Taltos series which begens with the book Jhereg. This begins as a low fantasy series where the main character Vlad Taltos is just a human assassin trying to make his way in a world of more powerful Draegarons (elves).

However, as the series goes on (he plans 19 books, much shorter that GRRMs) he is clear he has a higher destiny.

Steven Brust has also created a fully formed world with a history and in his other main work he delves into the history of his world Draegara. But he does it in the style of Alexander Dumas. It is absolutely brilliant. He captures the humor of Dumas without insulting Dumas' work.

Steven Brust is a moderately successful fantasy writer who should be wildly popular. He is brilliant and everybody here should at least give his work a try.

The first novel of his theory is Jhereg. Its writing style may be a little rough because it is first, but the story is brilliant.

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The Trader Tales Series set in the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper Universe:

Quarter Share, Half Share, Full Share, Double Share, Captain's Share, Owner's Share

by Nathan Lowell.

No freaky aliens, space battles, etc, just making a living on a freighter in the Deep Dark.

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I read the first trilogy of Stephen Donaldson a long time ago and really liked it, the second one wasn't as good though imo. Didn't know he continued the series after that.

I would recommend Alastair Reynolds "Revelation Space" series:

Revelation Space

Redemption Arc

Absolution Gap

Chasm City

The Prefect

Diamond Dogs/Turquoise Days

Galactic North

They are all part of the same SF universe, the first three listed books should be read in that order, but the other ones are stand alones, and Galactic North is a collection of short stories from the universe. Scientifically believable, with no FTL travel, but with a very gothic feel to them.

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Stephen Deas-The Adamantine Palace, The King of the Crags, The Order of Scales. Dragons, wizards and wars. Full of intrieges. The dragons are slaves, but one escapes and starts fighting with humans.

Susan Price-Elfgift, Elfking

Edited by QueenSnow

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I would have to echo the praise for the Frank Herbert Dune Series. It is absolutely foundation futuristic sci-fi with a healthy dose of politics and religion thrown in. If you like the game part of ASOIAF, the interplay of the politics will really appeal to you. The only problem is that the series is "unfinished" in that Frank Herbert died before he could finish it. His son ultimately finished the series with 2 more books, which I guess you can read if you want completion, but it in no way matches Frank Herbert's style. A warning though, DO NOT READ THE SON's BOOKS that take place in between the Frank Herbert books. As there are intentional gaps in the series created by FH, and for some reason no one can know, Brian Herbert decided to fill them in. Frankly I consider those to be an insult to his father's memory. In spite of that, I will say I did like the first prequel series that Brian Herbert released, The House Series (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, House Corrino) ultimately because it explains why everything that happens in the first 150-200 pages of Dune happens.

Diskworld by Terry Pratchett - this series is just fantastic. Both intellegent and very funny. There are too many books in it to list individually but frankly there really hasn't been one that I haven't enjoyed.

The Empire Trilogy by Raymond Feist I think also deserves a mention. The Rift Trilogy is the best, but the Empire Trilogy also has a lot of the poltics interplay that many like about ASOIAF

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Sci Fi: Peter F. Hamilton quickly became my favorite sci fi author, if not my favorite author altogether. The first book I read by him is called "The Fallen Dragon." After that read I decided that I have to read everything he wrote and didn't touch another author until I was done with all his work.

It lead me to his absolute masterpiece: "The Nights Dawn Trilogy" consisting of "The Reality Dysfunction," "The Neutronium Alchemist," and "The Naked God"

The above trilogy is an epic space opera that tops out at nearly 4000 pages. It contains a ton of main characters with different story arcs that come together towards the end. A kick ass main character and a villain that makes your skin crawl. Now the author does use a lot of physics to explain how things work in space and at certain points I was like "I'll take your word for it Pete"

But he is incredible at creating worlds, creating species(there's one chapter in the book that details an entire evolutionary cycle of a particular species, and not just from them being bacteria that grew up, the guy starts with the formation of the Solar System of that species and how it facilitated the creation of those organisms over millions of years, very detailed).

I love all his books in general and like I said, he's my favorite author, but The Night's Dawn trilogy is his best work(although fans of the Commonwealth Universe books might disagree and they wouldn't be wrong, I love that compilation too)

A bit late on commenting on The Night's Dawn trilogy since I finished it about a year ago (it not more), but I've been away from this forum for a while and after coming back this post reminded me of the series.

First things first, I came to this thread looking for something to read, to fill in the ASoIaF withdrawal. I'm a big fan of science fiction so after reading this post I was pretty much sold on this trilogy. I decided to read Fallen Dragon (a stand alone title) by Peter F Hamilton first, before plunging into the massive undertaking that would be the Night's Dawn Trilogy. Fallen Dragon was pretty good. I wasn't a fan of the deux ex machina plot device used at the end, but I still really liked how the story wrapped up so I felt that I could go on to something longer by the author.

So I dove right into The Reality Dysfunction, and, for the most part, it was everything I wanted. Amazing universe (probably the best I've experienced), great technological concepts and imaginative universe, and enough mystery to want to keep reading. It took a while to get going, but it's a massive book (and massive series) so I was okay with that. The last quarter of the book was very intense and overall it was a joy to read. The whole idea behind what the "reality dysfunction" is, was amazing and I was really curious to see how the author would develop it, and it was great just to see how humanity in the book would cope with it. Very intriguing and powerful stuff.

So I went on to book 2, which was pretty good but largely forgettable in my opinion. Peter F Hamilton's style became very apparent, and very formulaic, very quickly. Instead of keeping with the momentum that was created in the first book, it felt like it pretty much went back to zero and started building again, with even more branching story lines (quite a few which I just really did not care for, at all). But it wasn't bad. The core concept of the "reality dysfunction" was still there and I wanted to see how that developed. There was still enough story lines to keep me hooked, and once again the last quarter of the book was intense the same way book 1 was, so there was still hope that book 3 will bring all together in style.

Onto the third and final book. Once again we go back to zero. A lot of slowwwwwww building, and at this point I found myself thinking that there's just too much side stories that really have no relevance. It's as if he dragged it out on purpose. But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst part was how he handled the ending. For such a unique concept to have such a cop-out ending was insulting to me as a reader. It was without a doubt one of the worst examples of that deus ex machina concept ever. It just made me think "what the f*** was the point??" For all the work that the author put in, in developing the world, the technologies, the different cultures of humans and different races...to pull an ending like that just made the whole series feel like a total waste of time. And why was the second book even titles "The Neutronium Alchemist" when that whole theme would be pretty much ditched? As a whole, the second book and what it dealt with was completely irrelevant to the bigger picture, and the third book (and the whole series) felt like the ending was thought up on one drunken/stoned night where the author just couldn't be bothered to think of something creative.

So I'm torn on whether to recommend this or not. Because on the one hand, the "villian" that's introduced is amazing and has some great philosophical angles, but at the same time having that sort of ending just makes everything feel like a waste of time. I would definitely recommend the first book, but after that read at your own risk.

There's my 2 cents on this series.

Edited by nubreed000

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Oh, and to go along with the topic, a book that I would definitely recommend is Relevation Space by Alastair Reynolds. The universe he creates is much darker/grittier than Hamilton's, and humanity isn't nearly as developed as they are in Hamilton's works, but it was much more satisfying in my opinion. Drags on a bit closer to the end, but finishes in epic fashion. It's part 1 of a trilogy, but it wraps up in such a way that you don't have to read the rest of the books if you don't want to. Oh, and Mr. Reynolds has a PhD in physics, and a former astronomer for the ESA (Euro Space Agency), so the science in the book feels more authentic. The universe he created also has a very mysterious feel to it, with certain parties that are mentioned in the book but never really delved into as nobody really knows much about them

edit just noticed that there were 2 other posts recommending this book/series. Cool!

Edited by nubreed000

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I'm echoing the praise for Dune. Definitely one of the best sci-fi book series ever. If Frank Herbert had lived long enough to finish the story it might have been the best ever.

Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant trilogies are excellent as well. Not many author's would ask us to sympathize with a character who finds himself in a fantasy world and regarded as the reincarnation of one of its greatest heroes and then subsequently rejects the place and declares it a dream. Not to mention what he does not to long after arriving. I've met at least one person who stopped reading after that chapter.

I've skimmed the posts and haven't seen C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner books mentioned. These are excellent and unusual in that the protagonist is a diplomat and has to serve as the intermediary between the aliens native to the planet that a colony of humans are stranded on.

The diplomat known as the Paidhi, has to negotiate the gradual exchange of technology to the Atevi while not upsetting their culture and navigating the intrigues of a society in which assassination is an acceptable way of solving political disputes.

It doesn't help that the Atevi don't feel friendship or loyalty in quite the same way as humans do and some people see Bren as cold and alien when he visits the human colony from time to time. Additionally accurately speaking the Atevi's native language without causing controversy (and perhaps getting killed) requires the ability to perform rather complex math in one's head.

Doesn't sound that exciting but it's actually a pretty good read if you like political intrigue.

Edited by Toshio.Keepiru

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Thank you for all the recommendations. I have just finished reading, and would recommend, Robin Hobb's series of books that relate to the Elderlings. They were recommended to me by a friend and while at first I struggled to get into the story, by the time I got a third of the way into the first book, 'Assassin's Apprentice', I was hooked. There are four series of books, all set in the same world and which in many ways form part of one larger storyline. The first trilogy (Farseer trilogy) follows Fitz, a royal bastard who finds himself relocated to the capital of the Six Duchies under the watchful eyes of his father's stablemaster Burrich. As Fitz ages he must learn to adapt to his new life and remain useful to the King, by being trained as an assassin. Fitz must also learn to control ancestral magics that he barely understands, contend with the riddles of the royal Fool and deal with the spiteful Prince Regal (a villain who appears a little wooden at first, but becomes truly maelovalent as the books go on). This trilogy follows Fitz's PoV and this is well executed as his narrative reflects the character and his situation aptly. I know other readers find his bouts of melachony and depression "whiny", certainly I felt drained after some chapters, but then Fitz has to endure a lot. I would agree that the first two books can feel slow, but the payoffs are fantastic, the end of the second book (Royal Assassin) was utterly superb. The use of magic is a slow-build in the books, but becomes increasingly important and by later books we have a well-established magic use system including the Wit (animal-human linking), the Skill (telepathic abilities and use of "silver") and "dragons".

The chronological follow-up is the ' Liveship Traders' which is my favourite in the series. These books follow the fate of the Vestrits, a trading family whose ship is sentient (a liveship), plus a pirate and a tangle of serpents. PoVs are shared by multiple characters, and I can't express enough how detailed, beautifully-flawed, interesting and engaging these characters are, with the family dynamics so wonderfully expressed throughout the narrative. The characters of Kennit, Althea and Malta are particularly memorable and the evolution of Malta so well written and paced. The book further features a character well known to the reader from the Farseer trilogy, and although the link is not always clear, its presence works well to link the trilogies together. In these books, the awakening of the Vestrit liveship creates a rift in the family, resulting in much of the family being broken apart, until fate brings the serpents, liveships and pirates together... there are lots of shocking moments and some though-provoking themes (slavery, role of women in society, humans place in the world), which blended with the fantasy elements (the serpents, the liveships, dragons, the mysterious 'Rain Wilds') makes for a mastery of a series.

I actually read the 'Tawny Man' trilogy after the Farseer trilogy -- nothing wrong in doing this, but I would recommend reading Farsser > Liveships > Tawny > RainWildChronicles as this will cause less confusion. In this trilogy we return to a narrative in the Six Duchies many years after we last saw it. A new generation exists now and the appearance of the Tawny Man kicks off a new adventure. It is a good trilogy, and if you enjoyed the Assassin's Apprentice trilogy, then you will love this too. Probably my least favourite trilogy in the set, in part because it doesn't take the risks that the other books do and compared to the "grey-alignment" characters feautured in Liveship Traders, the characters here can feel sullen and too black-or-white. Still far better than most other fantasy I've read though!

Finally, we have the Rain Wild chronicles... literally finished these books last night! This time we follow a new set of characters who are tainted (mutated) by prolonged exposure to Elderling (dragon friends who died generations ago) ruins and artefacts, who must escort malformed dragons away from human civilisation. We also get to visit some of the favourite characters from the Liveship books and even get some returning PoVs from that trilogy later on (although it is unfortunate that Reyn comes off as a bit one-dimensional here). This helps continue an ongoing narrative on the return of dragons to the world. Hobb does an excellent job at making the dragons think so very differently from the human characters, and while Sintara is particularly frustrating you do care for the fate of each of the dragons. We have some very intricate and messed-up characters (Hest, Sedric and The Duke in particular) which make them so much more interesting to read about. This one features a bit of a love-triangle (Thymara, Tats and Rapskal), which was compelling to an extent, but compared to the burgeoning relationship of a married noble woman (Alise) and a captain of a barge (Leftrin), or the destructive, violent relationship between Sedric and Hest, it comes off as a distraction. Book one and three are frustratingly short and book 1 in particular ends in a strange place, but books 2 and 4 make up for this. There are some great twists in these books, both in stroyline and unexpected PoVs which benefit the storyline greatly, and I was really happy with where the final chapter left things, answering most of our questions but still allowing te reader to wonder at the ongoing fate of favourite characters and dragons!

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I'll throw in my opinion with Mistborn trilogy.

It's really weird as a world, has an interesting magic system, but the pinnacle of the trilogy are the twists at the end of each book.

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I'd like to throw in a plug for Linda Nagata's series The Red, the initial book of which, First Light, was recently released. It's military SF, but with a completely different set of political assumptions from most military SF. There's some intriguing near-future military tech, fast-paced first-person narration, and a couple surprising plot twists. There's also a romantic subplot that doesn't quite work, but aside from that it's a thoughtful and compelling read. I'm certainly looking forward to the second book, Trials. You can read an excerpt from First Light here.

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