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Fantasy and SF Recommendations: Series

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Thank you guys for the recommendations.

I've been trying to get into Best Served Cold by Abercrombie and the first Malazan book.

Got farther along on the Abercrombie, then went back to rereading Martin. Then went back to Malazan.

I always seem to start looking for something else when I hit a Sansa chapter- they were all good the first time but the second time it's a little laborious.

I think I may have started with the wrong Abercrombie story- great writing but it seems to just be a revenge tale.

At least I know Abercrombie understands why we don't skip points of view mid-paragraph and tell the plot before it happens!

I'll check out Bakker, thanks! What is Abercrombie's best work?

I really liked Thomas Covenant except for some of the stupid names like Lord Foul...names like Darken Maul also really irk me.

Start with The First Law trilogy for Abercrombie. Also, check out the Assassin's Apprentice by Hobb. It was what I read after Martin and absolutely delivered for me. Lies of Locke Lamora is an awesome tale with great writing and only a couple POV's. I absolutely LOVE the Dagger and the Coin series and feel it's right up there in both writing and tone to Martin.

Martin isn't the only game in town, just need to find other stories that get you. BSC IS a revenge tale, but like most of his stories, while the overall story can be summed up that way, it is delivered in a way that's still fresh and exciting IMO. That's a big skill of Joe's.

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The Heroes is Abercrombie's best book, and imo, Best Served Cold is his worst (but it's definitely his most divisive). I'm also of the opinion that they should be read in publication order, but that isn't necessarily necessary.



If Martin has ruined you for other fantasy, then you really need to read more fantasy. Bakker is a great recommendation, and some other authors you should look at are Daniel Abraham and Felix Gilman.


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If Martin has ruined you for other fantasy, then you really need to read more fantasy. Bakker is a great recommendation, and some other authors you should look at are Daniel Abraham and Felix Gilman.

This. Once the post-ASOIAF excitement wears off, you'll see there's loads more out there that's as good as Martin, and some is even better for some people.

As always, I recommend Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Otherwise, I second the recommendations of Robin Hobb, Abercrombie and Bakker. Plus Dune, which is more Sci-Fi than Fantasy.

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I recommend the following series:

* The Ties That Bind by Rob J. Hayes: Sort of an George R.R. Martin meets Conan-esque series. It's about some truly horrible people who are less horrible than the people they fight but very likable nontheless. Very black and black sort of morality books but charismatic leads in a messed-up world. R-rated Sword and Sorcery with a plot of, "Inquisitor recruits a ruthless bandit and mercenary woman to hunt down traitors in his demon-summoning cult." Funny too.

* GnomeSaga by Kenny Soward: At the opposite end of the spectrum is this lighthearted adventure series about steampunk fantasy gnomes in a D&D-esque world dealing with an invasion from another dimension. Very whacky sort of hijinks from the 19th century-esque gnomes vs. everyone else's Medievalism.

* Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch: Just love this series to death. Renassiance Fantasy thieves and conmen struggle against a completely cruddy world around them. The main characters are, however, perhaps too capable but we've seen them lose and suffer losses to so it's not insufferable.

* The Blood War Trilogy by Tim Marquitz: In a low fantasy setting, a couple of thousand magical items end up being stolen from the elf-equivalent's storage bins and being given to the most ruthless and terrible races/cultures in the setting. It seems some elves think the best thing to do is let the other races kill each other off and give them the means to do it. Our heroes try to deal with this man-made apocalypse.

Edited by Charles Phipps

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love The Kingkiller Chronicles, and The Demon Cycle.



i can't believe that The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E Fiest hasn't been mentioned. i saw the Empire Trilogy in the main section once, but i've read the entire 33 book series and love it. started it in 1986 and finished last year when the last book came out. i enjoyed the earlier books more, but also really like the way each subsequent trilogy adds on to the previous and tie the whole big picture story together.



and for some things i haven't seen at all yet mentioned:



Tales of the Kin by Douglas Hulik, 2 books so far, good action and cool magic system and culture.


The Fallen Blade series by Kelly McCullough 6 books, i think it's done. cool philosophy, original magical type system.



of the ones i saw mentioned once:



The Iron Druid Chronicles, love this series as a nice fun, quick read. i use it as a sort of palate cleanser between other, darker, more complex series.


The Broken empire Trilogy, may not be for everyone, but the darkness and growth of the main character is good to see develop, and the 3rd book really wraps up the story nicely, and made the whole trilogy seem better after finishing. each book got better as you go.


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The first fantasy series I ever read Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony. The premise of the series is that a person ascends to a supernatural office (Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil, Good, Night) and has to administer the office. Ask youself, what would happen if death went on strike? The series was written in the 80's so there should be plenty of used books out there. I didn't know PA added an 8th book in 2007, until I went to the wiki to copy the booklist. Glad I looked it up.

2 Bearing an Hourglass (1984)

3 With a Tangled Skein (1985)

4 Wielding a Red Sword (1986)

5 Being a Green Mother (1987)

6 For Love of Evil (1988)

7 And Eternity (1990)

8 Under a Velvet Cloak (2007)

Agreed. i have read all PA's fantasy books, over 100, and really enjoyed them all. i have noticed a lull in Xanth for a bit, but the last couple have been better, still not the first 5 or 6 or so, but better than a bit of a stretch recently.

love his Apprentice Adept series, the Mode series was original and different, but very enjoyable, and his newer ChroMagic series blends sci-fi and fantasy with very nice magic system and cool cultural ideas.

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i have not read this but cannot believe that there isn't one mention of Terry Brooks' Shannara series. it is a classic from an amazing writer. i really enjoy his Landover series, for a fun clean quick read. and his Night & the Void trilogy was very original.


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The Broken empire Trilogy, may not be for everyone, but the darkness and growth of the main character is good to see develop, and the 3rd book really wraps up the story nicely, and made the whole trilogy seem better after finishing. each book got better as you go.

The third book was excellent, but I didn't like very much the first two books (though still, liked them enough to continue).

They aren't for everyone, I agree. Extremely dark, Lawrence makes Abercrombie look cute in comparison.

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The third book was excellent, but I didn't like very much the first two books (though still, liked them enough to continue).

They aren't for everyone, I agree. Extremely dark, Lawrence makes Abercrombie look cute in comparison.

Wow, it's weird because I loved the first book and thought the next two were progressively weaker. Still quite good, but too much dues ex machina in the 2nd book for my taste, and the third book was just too all over the place for me. Really enjoyed the first one though.

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Wow, it's weird because I loved the first book and thought the next two were progressively weaker. Still quite good, but too much dues ex machina in the 2nd book for my taste, and the third book was just too all over the place for me. Really enjoyed the first one though.

Actually after looking at Goodreads it seems that I have rated them as:

Prince 3/5

King 2/5

Emperor 4/5

I definitely enjoyed the last book more than the other two, but yep, find Prince quite a good and unique reading. The second book was weak IMO.

Jorg was a fantastic antihero (to not say a villain-protagonist) but I thought that the series lacked other fleshed characters.

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Agreed. i have read all PA's fantasy books, over 100, and really enjoyed them all. i have noticed a lull in Xanth for a bit, but the last couple have been better, still not the first 5 or 6 or so, but better than a bit of a stretch recently.

love his Apprentice Adept series, the Mode series was original and different, but very enjoyable, and his newer ChroMagic series blends sci-fi and fantasy with very nice magic system and cool cultural ideas.

What the hell is happening here?

Is this some sort of long con that I'm not in on?

A Brooks and Anthony Rec in the same thread? One a mediocre hack and the other a dirty old man? Neither belong here. We're above that.

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Some series that most people may enjoy:



- The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (the second book, Words of Radiance, is one of the best fantasy books) Overall: 5/5



- The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny (they are all great, light reads. Won't take you too long to get through the series) Overall: 5/5



- Kingkiller Chronicles (it's lost a little bit of steam, but the prose is still quite good, and the books are essentially recounts, which makes them pretty interesting. A different type of fantasy from most.) Overall: 4/5



- Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (great series, with one of the best magic systems in all of fantasy. Plays around with tropes, but also tries to subvert them.) Overall: 4.5/5



- Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch (the first book is amazing. The ones after are nowhere near as good, but can still be decently entertaining.) Overall: 3.5/5 (the first is a 5)



- The Dark Tower by Stephen King (a lot of people like it, hence why I put it here. A bit of fantasy flavoured with sci-fi and a little bit of the western genre. For me, the first three books are good, but the rest are pretty underwhelming.) Overall: 3/5



- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (very different from your traditional affair. Good read, although takes some time getting into.) Overall: 4/5



- Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (has a great protagonist, and the first book is good. I found the next 2 just ok, but many have loved them, so you might too.) Overall: 3.5/5



- The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (the series is weird in that it gets progressively better. The first few books are a chore to get through though - the first 2 are fun, but it gets tedious after that for the next three or so because they follow the exact same formula. After that it really comes into its own though.) Overall: 3.5/5 (books after the first 5-6 are about 4-4.5)



- The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence (good stuff [weak middle book though] if you are fine with quite dark reads. I enjoyed it, but the second book did drag the rating down.) Overall: 3.5/5



- Malazan Book of the Fallen by Stephen Eriksen (epic in scope and littered with great moments.) Overall: 5/5



For context, I would give ASOIAF a 4/5. The first three are 5/5, but the last two have been 3/5 for me.


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The first fantasy series I ever read Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony. The premise of the series is that a person ascends to a supernatural office (Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil, Good, Night) and has to administer the office. Ask youself, what would happen if death went on strike? The series was written in the 80's so there should be plenty of used books out there. I didn't know PA added an 8th book in 2007, until I went to the wiki to copy the booklist. Glad I looked it up.

2 Bearing an Hourglass (1984)

3 With a Tangled Skein (1985)

4 Wielding a Red Sword (1986)

5 Being a Green Mother (1987)

6 For Love of Evil (1988)

7 And Eternity (1990)

8 Under a Velvet Cloak (2007)

I never hear anyone talk about this series!! Kind of older stuff, but really good. My favorite was the first. Definately recommended!

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I appreciate all of these reviews guys, truly!

You made me pick up Prince of Thorns and The First Law.

Thanks bunches.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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At the risk of self-promoting, my books The Rules of Supervillainy and Esoterrorism have since come out but don't take my word for either on whether they're any good.

Frank Errington's review of Esoterrorism

Of the series mentioned here, I'd like to second some of them:

The Name of the Wind: I really like Patrick Rothfuss' low-key fantasy story here. Kvothe is a terrible braggart and I question events having happened the way he describes them but I think the story is quite entertaining nevertheless. It also has some incredibly laugh-out-loud funny moments like the scene with Kvothe jumping off a house. The weakest think I maintain is Kvothe's love-interest who is one of the most singularly frustrating women in all of fantasy literature and I have the Catelyn Stark hater feelings towards her. Which is strange because I like the vast majority of Rothfuss' other female creations.

The Name of the Wind

Wise Man's Fear

The Witcher series: I also like the works of Andrjez Sapkowski but the translations, I can't help think, lose something in the equation. Despite this, the world-building in the main stream of the novels is very good for those who like their fantasy nice and grimdark. The short stories are, arguably, better, though if you don't want to feel like banging your head against a wall because you hate the world.

The Last Wish

The Sword of Destiny

Blood of Elves

The Time of Contempt

The Wheel of Time remains a classic fantasy series for a reason and I'm doing a re-read of it all the way through. The book is very very PG-rated fantasy and the Tolkien roots are heavy but not overwhelming, especially once you get past the first book. Some people have severe issues with the way that Jordan writes women and how the magic system is gendered but more than half the cast is women and powerful women at that, which was something of a revelation for me when I first started reading them in high school.

The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn

The Ties That Bind is something I mentioned earlier but I didn't really give much detail on them so I'll probably do that again. They're a Abercrombie-esque set of Hyborian Age-style stories which follow a murderous bandit, a fanatical religious Inquisitor, and a blademaster swordswoman in the decidedly R-rated style environment. The first book is kind of rough but the second book is a major improvement with some really awesome line-crossing. The third book is very-very controversial for good reason.

The Heresy Within

The Color of Vengeance

The Price of Faith

The Dresden Files is a series I can't recommend enough because it's funny, action-filled, has great world-building, great characters, and great fun. The problem is the books KIND of have non-white characters but they rarely show up and it's kind of noticeable for a book series set in CHICAGO of all places. Also, the lavish description of women and their sexual attractiveness gets a little on the eye-rolling side. We still haven't gotten any gay characters who aren't bisexual femme fatales either.

Still, I read and reviewed the entirety of the series. Very few stinkers.

My Blog's Archive for them

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Another couple of series which I think deserve to be touted:

 

GnomeSaga by Kenny Soward

 

I think people who liked Dungeons and Dragons fantasy novels in the Nineties will really enjoy GnomeSaga as it's very deliberately trying to ape that sort of style. The setting is on a D&D-esque fantasy world except taking place in the mountain of a bunch of 19th century-style gnomes who live in a steampunk lifestyle surrounded by Medieval ruffians.

 

A pair of twins (one a necromancer dandy and the other a mad inventor) are the stars who get involved when a race of stone elementals come to the gnomes for help escaping enslavement by a Other Planar Conqueror.

It could have been very silly but parts are quite dramatic. Three novels are out already. Rough Magick, Tinkermage, and Cogweaver.

 

Rough Magick review
Tinkermage review
Cogweaver review

 

Interview with Kenny Soward

 

Tales of the Black Raven by Seth Skorkowsky

 

I really enjoyed the first novel of Seth Skorkowsky's Valducan series which is basically about a bunch of demon-hunters and their magic weapons in the Modern Era. I was really excited, though, about this series. Which is basically Renaissance-style Sword and Sorcery starring the world's greatest thief, Ahren. Ahren isn't nearly as flamboyant as most of his kind and is more "The Man with No Name" than Lupin the Third or Locke Lamora. However, he's a clever and interesting protagonist who has a lot of Lankmar-esque adventures.

 

I hesitate to call this a series because only Mountain of Daggers is out so far but Sea of Quills, the second book is coming out in October. I should note I originally only gave TOTBR 1# an 8.5 but decided to re-read the story for fun a second time, which I almost never do.

 

Mountain of Daggers review

Interview with Seth Skorkowsky

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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Series I would recommend:
The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost by Jennifer Williams.  
 
It's like a DnD campaign (the protagonists all meet in an inn, to start) writ large, and totally awesome.  Strong central characters, especially Wyldrin the rogue.  If there's a downside it's that the second book is really fucking tonally different (read: incredibly, horribly bleak).
 
The First Law series, particularly Best Served ColdThe Heroes, and Red Country, by Joe Abercrombie.  
 
The Blade Itself is Abercrombie's first book and it definitely shows, particularly in prose and characterization (particularly that of the female characters).  By the time Abercrombie gets to the three standalones he has noticeably improved as a writer.  Grim, gritty, and darkly hilarious, each book subtly adopts a different (awesome) style that greatly enriches the series.  Best Served Cold is Kill Bill meets the Italian Wars meets one exquisitely Tarantino-esque scene that must be read to be believed.  The Heroes is a war story where there are none.  And Red Country is a Western set in a pre-gunpowder age of exodus and gold rush, following a woman as she and her nine-fingered brute of a stepfather set out after the bandits that kidnapped her siblings.
 
Generation V by M.L. Brennan
 
Follow a millennial reluctant vampire as circumstances force him to accept his true nature.  Together with his (utterly awesome) kitsune friend he sets out to secure some kind of justice in a world where the strong care little for the weak, and also keep the peace between a wide array of disparate supernatural communities.  Interesting characters, particularly said kitsune friend, who brings life to the proceedings both on and off the page, and plots.

 

Cassandra Kresnov by Joel Shepherd

 

Following the end of a long and protracted galactic war, the titular highly advanced special operations gynoid defects from her own side in an attempt to seek a peaceful civilian life.  Things obviously do not go to plan.  Great action, great characters, and not the same kind of political bullshit that plagues most MilSF.

 

The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron (The Red KnightThe Fell Sword)

 

Features the Red Knight, an exiled prince, and his mercenary band as he tackles an army of wild demons, a civil war, and (coming this September) a tourney.  Great, hilarious characters (gotta love Sauce and Bad Tom) and realistic depictions of Medieval warfare.
 
I'd contest the recommendation for Name of the Wind/Wise Man's Fear.  While Rothfuss' prose is good, his plotting is glacial (nothing happens!), he actively hates the idea of your having fun, and his characters are all dogshit (especially the female ones).  The author may have intended to write a "tragic hero", but along the way he decided to put all of his high school fantasies to page first. And Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series shows how you can take a Denna-type unattainable love interest and make her awesome, with agency, personality, a strong degree of competence, and a reason why she's setting out on her own path.  

Edited by Mars447

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I'd contest the recommendation for Name of the Wind/Wise Man's Fear.  While Rothfuss' prose is good, his plotting is glacial (nothing happens!), he actively hates the idea of your having fun, and his characters are all dogshit (especially the female ones).  The author may have intended to write a "tragic hero", but along the way he decided to put all of his high school fantasies to page first. And Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series shows how you can take a Denna-type unattainable love interest and make her awesome, with agency, personality, a strong degree of competence, and a reason why she's setting out on her own path.  

 

My recommendation should have been qualified with, "I really enjoyed the books but you will probably hate Denna in the same way jaded Star Wars fans hate Ewoks (but not quite as badly as Jar Jar)."

 

:)

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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