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Reading Suggestions?

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So, I've read The Wheel of Time (1-11) twice now in the last year since a friend of mine told me about it, and have loved every page both times.

 

I got turned onto "The Song of Ice and Fire" (or Fire and Ice ... whichever) by George R.R. Martin and have read all four books that have been written in that series so far ... and loved them.

 

Now, I'm looking for more suggestions on what series to try out next.  Since you folks have pointed me in the right direction before, I thought I'd start here and see if anyone has a suggestion.  I've already read the staples of fantasy ans Science Fiction (Tolkien, Asimov, Herbert, Bear) as well as most of R.A. Salvatore's stuff (great fun to read, but not really deep).  So, have at, and thanks in advance!

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I have a few I liked, though it seems not too many people here have read them.. at least only a few that I know of have.

 

I really liked "The Symphony of Ages" by Elizabeth Haydon.. there are 6 books in the series currently. I have yet to read the last one though. It's a good story with a lot of detail. It's based on a lot of Norce mythology and another that I can't remember right now. I loved the characters. I will say that I really didn't like the first book until I got past the first hundred or so pages, but after that I read all the following books quite quickly.

 

I also liked "The Runelords" by David Farland.. there are 5 out now.. again, I have yet to read the latest. These, I believe are the first books he has written.. they're good, but in my opinion, he leaves out a little detail and rushes things, but then I'm also more used to RJ's way of writing. The idea behind the story is pretty cool, and the characters are relatable. I also read that it's being made into a movie. 

 

I have a few other series that I'm planning to read, but haven't had the chance yet. I just bought the first book in "The Saga of Recluce" series by L.E. Modesitt Jr.. it sounds good, but as I haven't read it I can't really give any kind of review of it.

 

I plan to read "The song of fire and Ice" too, but again haven't yet. 

 

I hope if you read any of these that you don't think to come hunt me down.. they're just a few that I enjoyed.

 

Good luck, and I'm sure you'll have many more people recommend more to you.  :)

 

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The Dresdan File by Jim Butcher are really good.  Harry Dresdan is the next coolest character in fantasy after Mat Cauthorn.

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there is a sieries that i sarted to read, got the first three books sent me by my mom, and can never rember the authers nam when im out book shopping, but they are relly good.  the authers name is c.j. cherryh.  the tital of the first book is fortress in the eye of time.  i started it about the same time as i started weel of time but obivously weel wone out.... might have to go back and see if i can find the rest of them to read again.

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Wow - reading suggestions? I read *A LOT* of fantasy (library at 814 books and counting). I'll try to be brief (ha!). I'll include age ranges too since you never know who might stumble by.

 

I'll echo what Son said about "Symphony of Ages" - good read!

 

"Sword of Truth" series by Terry Goodkind (Adult) - The beginning of the first book, Wizards First Rule is a bit slow, but it picks up. The storyline can be a bit frustrating at times, but that's what makes it a good read.

 

"Memory, Sorrow & Thorn" series by Tad Williams (Older Teen to Adult) - It has been a while since I read this series, but I liked it. Good coming of age type story.

 

"Dragon Prince" and "Dragon Star" series by Melanie Rawn (Adult) - Awesome series by an author who fleshes her characters out very well. You could also check out her Exiles series (which is even better than these two) but I'm currently incredibly frustrated by the lack of progress/news on the third book.

 

"Kushiel" series by Jacqueline Carey (VERY Adult) - I love this series, but it is meant for adults only. Even the adults who read it should be the type who don't mind explicit writing. The explicit content is not gratuitous and plays an integral part to the story, but again it's not for the faint of heart or easily offended. The characters are well written and the story has some amazing twists.

 

"Crown of Stars" series by Kate Elliot (Adult) - My name comes from the main character in this series. The story is great even if the characters are left a bit underdefined.

 

Here are a few more that are well worth checking out - "Valdemar" series (Mercedes Lackey), "Cheysuli" series (Jennifer Roberson), "Witches of Eileanan" series (Kate Forsyth), "LonTobyn Chronicle" (David B. Coe)

 

I could go on forever (or at least long enough where it would feel like forever) - so I'll let it rest here LOL

 

Peace,

Liath

 

 

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Guest silver89

I've got you beat Liath. Currently got 895 in my collection. :D

 

Anything by these authors:

 

Raymond E. Feist

David Eddings

Jennifer Fallon (Aussie author, love her books)

Chris Bunch

David Gemmell

Robin Hobb

Anselm Audley

Terry Brooks

James Barclay

Sara Douglass

Lynn Flewelling

and Kate Jacoby

 

to name just a few. ;)

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The Dresdan File by Jim Butcher are really good.  Harry Dresdan is the next coolest character in fantasy after Mat Cauthorn.

 

Someone mentioned this at work the other day ... this is the book series the television show is based upon, yes?

 

 

Also, thanks for all the suggestions so far, I'm going to have to start reading up on some reviews... For those of you that have not read George R.R. Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" I suggest you do (first book is "A Game of Thrones").  It is very much an Adult oriented explicit book though, so you know.

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In critical terms the three big SF&F authors around at the moment are George RR Martin, Scott Bakker and Steven Erikson.

 

GRRM you're already familiar with. If you've sampled the four novels you may want to check out the two short stories set in the same world, The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword. The former can be found in GRRM's anthology collection, Dreamsongs (Volume II) whilst the latter is in the Robert Silverberg anthology Legends II. The Hedge Knight is also available as a graphic novel from Dabel Brothers. A graphic novel version of The Sworn Sword will be out next year from the same company. Then there's GRRM's other novels: Fevre Dream, the best vampire novel ever written, full stop; The Armageddon Rag (a thriller with supernatural elements); Dying of the Light, Tuf Voyaging and Windhaven (SF) and his long-running Wild Cards series, co-written with many other authors. The two-volume Dreamsongs collection is also worth a look.

 

Scott Bakker's signature series is The Prince of Nothing (first book: The Darkness That Comes Before). It is quite dark, gritty and heavy-going (far more so than GRRM). It depicts a bloody Holy War between two rival religions which is being orchestrated by shadowy forces whilst a very unique man twists the conflict to his own ends. The trilogy is complete but a sequel series, The Aspect-Emperor, begins next year with The Great Ordeal.

 

Steven Erikson's series is The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Seven books out of a planned ten are available now and the eighth is nearly done. Erikson is also gritty, but he's a lot more colourful and far more magic-intensive than Bakker. The first book, Gardens of the Moon, takes no prisoners and it can take a while to really understand what is going on, but the series is fresh, fast-paced and the structure is highly unique: it's basically three separate series set on the same planet which occasionally touch upon the others. Beware that this series is bigger and more complex than even The Wheel of Time.

 

Other writes worth taking a look at:

 

Joe Abercrombie has written a very fast-paced trilogy called The First Law. Quite funny with some great characters, he is reasonably influenced by GRRM. The first book, The Blade Itself, just came out in the USA. The sequel, Before They Are Hanged, is out in the UK now (and March in the USA). The final book, Last Argument of Kings, is out in the UK in March. He's now writing a stand-alone book set in the same world called Best Served Cold.

 

Scott Lynch is writing a series of seven books entitled The Gentleman Bastard, about a bunch of thieves and con-men working in a fantasy world. The books are reasonably stand-alone. The first one is called The Lies of Locke Lamora and the second is Red Seas Under Red Skies. The third book, The Republic of Thieves, is out next summer.

 

Patrick Rothfuss has made a major splash with his debut novel, The Name of the Wind, the first volume in The Kingkiller Chronicle. Book 2, The Wise Man's Fear, is out in the USA in February.

 

Amongst already-complete series, I would recommend Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy (starting with The Dragonbone Chair) and Otherland quartet (starting with City of Golden Shadow); Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series (King's Dragon); JV Jones' Book of Words Trilogy (The Baker's Boy); and Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts' Empire Trilogy (Daughter of the Empire).

 

The undisputed master of the single-volume epic fantasy novel is Guy Gavriel Kay. I recommend Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, The Lions of Al-Rassan (soon to be a major motion picture) and The Last Light of the Sun.

 

Then there are the all-time genre-defining books. Lord of the Rings, obviously, and its prequels (The Hobbit and The Silmarillion) by JRR Tolkien. Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy is heavy going, but I think essential reading for any fantasy fan, as is Gene Wolfe's brilliant Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer). Jack Vance (GRRM's favourite author) is also an essential read, particularly the Dying Earth Series (The Dying Earth) and Lyonesse Trilogy (Suldrun's Garden).

 

For science fiction I recommend Christopher Priest (best known for The Prestige, recently a major movie, and the genius novel The Separation) and Peter F. Hamilton, who writes enormous, fun space opera series. The Night's Dawn Trilogy (starting with The Reality Dysfunction) is his finest work. Richard Morgan's dark future noir thrillers are excellent, starting with Altered Carbon. Alastair Reynolds is also worth a look for his Revelation Space universe. Chasm City is probably the best place to start there. David Brin, Brian Aldiss and Paul McAuley are also all worth a look in the field.

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I can't believe noone has mentioned Robin Hobbs yet. Her 'Farseer trilogy' definitly deserves its place among the finest works in fantasy. 

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A couple of authors no-one has mentioned yet: China Mieville and Steph Swainston. Mieville is the author of several books set in a world called "Bas-Lag". All the books are standalone, and he tells a good story, with some good characterization. Steph Swainston is the author of 3 (so far) books, all standalone, set mostly in the Fourlands. The central protagonist of the books is Jant, who can fly. (He's a unique cross breed, a father from a winged but flightless race, and a mother from a race which is lightly built, and very fast, but lacks the wings, hence his ability). Jant is one of a group called "the Circle", given immortality in exchange for leading the fight against a race of rather large and very aggressive insects (all the members of the Circle get their by proving themselves the best in a given field - Jant is the fastest messenger going, and others have skills in archery, swordfighting, sailing, etc.). Obviously, these people all being the best at what they do leads to quite a few big egos, so plenty of room for conflict there. Jant is also a drug addict, but his addiction sends his conciousness into another world, called the Shift. Swainston's books are among the best fantasy books I've read recently. And I'll be very disappointed if I can't get someone to try at least one of these authors.

 

Books by China Mieville: Perdido Street Station, the Scar, Iron Council, Looking for Jake and Other Stories, King Rat

Books by Steph Swainston: the Year of Our War, No Present Like Time, the Modern World.

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Yes, China Mieville is an excellent writer.Perdido Street Station and his most recent novel, Un Lun Dun, are superb. I'm going to read The Year of Our War in the next few weeks, actually.

Hope you enjoy it.

 

Since I have no shame, I'd also suggest checking out my blog for tons of good reviews, and Pat's Fantasy Hotlist for even more  ;D
That's pretty bloody shameless alright.

 

Another couple of authors I could mention - I'm reading Michael Swanwick's "the Iron Dragon's Daughter" at the moment (among several other books) which is excellent so far, and I would also like to recommend harry Turtledove, an author of many alternate history titles (some with fantsy or sci-fi twists). Currently reading "How Few Remain", set in the early 1880's, where the USA and the CSA (victorious in the civil war War of Secession) are preparing to go at it again. He follows this up with the "Great War" trilogy, the "American Empire", and the "Settling Accounts" tetralogy, which concluded earlier this year with the publication of "In At the Death". The timeline progresses through WW1, the inter-war years, and WW2, ending in 1945. Turtledove isn't the best writer going, but this series is a good story, well told, and well worth a read.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a fabulous read! It is heavily about magic but it is far different from any fantasy you've ever read. I would classify it as historical fiction more than anything. It is set during the napoleanic wars and the history is very spot on. It is sluggish for the first 100 or so pages but stick with it and you will be quite rewarded.

 

If you haven't already read it and can find it, the very first Magic: The Gathering novel, The Arena, is a great read and draws heavy influence from the card game itself.

 

Salvatore's works are good and aside from the Drizzt novels the Cleric Quintet is quite good.

 

Another of the Forgotten realms series that is very well written is the Starlight and Shadows series by Elaine Cunningham.

 

 

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Guest silver89

Also Stephen Donaldson and his Thomas Covenant Trilogy is a excellant read. :)

 

 

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a fabulous read! It is heavily about magic but it is far different from any fantasy you've ever read. I would classify it as historical fiction more than anything. It is set during the napoleanic wars and the history is very spot on. It is sluggish for the first 100 or so pages but stick with it and you will be quite rewarded.

 

I read this. I don't agree. I would say the first 80% of the book is sluggish, and the prose is obnoxiously affected. I kept reading only because I kept waiting for the book to start, which it doesn't do until near the end. The end wasn't bad at all, but there are a LOT of pages between the first and the last, and it's slow, slightly painful going through most of it. On the plus side, the hardcover copy I was given had those unevenly cut pages, which gave the physical book a nice feel.

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I suppose I should have put a disclaimer about Strange & Norrell. Being a fan of historical fiction such as War and Peace and dryer literature like The Great Gatsby, the reading was quite pleasurable for me. Definitely skip the annotations as they really are unnecessary to the story.

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a singular work of genius which will be a touchstone of fantasy literature for some time to come. I found the opening very effective. The only place where the immense length began to tell for me was in the sequences in Venice towards the end, which got a bit dull.

 

Susanna Clarke's friend Neil Gaiman is also worth reading. The Sandman is the definitive fantasy graphic novel series. American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, and Stardust (now a major motion picture!) are all excellent.

 

Terry Pratchett is obviously well-recommended. The biggest-selling fantasy author in the world (after Rowling and King) and the funniest, with a very high rate of output (1-3 books a year) but generally very high in quality as well. His massive Discworld series is approaching 40 novels in length. I'd suggest starting with a stand-alone (Small Gods, maybe Moving Pictures or The Truth) or with the first City Watch novel, Guards! Guards!, and taking it from there.

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  Obviously as stated above the Tolkien books are a must. 

  Then check out L.E.Modesitt Jr's "Saga of Recluce" (14 books and counting) and "Spellsong War"  (3-4 books?).  Saga bases it's magic theory on the differences between Order and Chaos.  In Spellsong the magic is derived from musical talent (singing). 

  Next try C.S.Friedman's "Coldfire Trilogy".  The magic base in this one is almost a sentient being in itself.  It also has a touch of SciFi in it as well.

  A bit more historical series with fantasy embellishment is "The First North Americans" series by Kathleen and W Michael Gear(13 books and counting).  Also called the people of... series, each book covers a different region and era of Native American life. 

  If you are not put off by religion and absolute belief in the devine I would suggest the "Left Behind" Series as well.

  Finally, C.S.Lewis, Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance (I am currently atempting to gather all the novels for DL).  Have fun with the reading... :o

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It should be noted that the Left Behind series is nearly universally reviled (because it's badly-written pap, not because it's based on a fundamental misreading of a religious text).

 

There are some good Forgotten Realms books. Amongst FR authors, Paul Kemp and Troy Denning are very reliable and early RA Salvatore (up to about Siege of Darkness) is pretty good. The Empire Trilogy is excellent and some of the authors are fun, like Jeff Grubb, James Lowder and Douglas Niles. Avoid anything by Ed Greenwood, as he is one of the worst authors writing fiction today (a shame as he's a good creator of game materials). However, there's a lot of poor books in the setting. Same with Dragonlance. The original Chronicles and Legends trilogies are okay for younger readers, but a lot of the other books are poor-to-middling.

 

CS Friedman is pretty good and Modesitt is reliably entertaining, if sometimes overwritten.

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There was a TV series based on The Dresden Files called, oddly enough, The Dresden Files.  I watched the series on DVD then grabbed the books. 

 

The series was good, the book are so much better.

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All of the Shannara books from Terry Brooks are awesome. I also enjoy Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms. I've also really gotten into the New Jedi Order series.

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Guest silver89

Finally someone else who likes Terry Brooks, I've always found them to be an enjoyable read.

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We do seem to be going backwards here. The best order to read these authors to really appreciate them is:

 

JK Rowling-David Eddings-Terry Brooks-Raymond E. Feist-Tad Williams-Robert Jordan-George RR Martin.

 

If you've already read Jordan or Martin, going on to read Eddings or Brooks may be disappointing. Eddings is mainly aimed at younger readers (The Belgariad is an excellent 'first fantasy' to get for youngsters you want to get into SF&F) whilst Brooks is okay but derivative of a lot of other authors (The Sword of Shannara, his first novel, is ripped off from Lord of the Rings; his later books show much greater originality though).

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Couple things!

 

Topic 1:

More and more great suggestions!

 

Of the major authors, I've of course read Tolkien (numerous times) and loved his work.  Between what he wrote and what his son Christopher has edited and released (Silmarilion among other collections) is one of the most fleshed out universes that is there.  Rowling is a fun read, but as it was originally meant for children, its a great romp but in the end about as satisfying as most Salvatore's work (though the Cleric quintet was quite good).

 

I've read some Terry Brooks in the past and couldn't get into his stories for some reason, though I can't remember why, maybe I'll have to pick one of those books up again.

 

"Sword of Truth" (Terry Goodkind) & "Memory, Sorrow & Thorn" (Tad Williams) seem to be a couple that I'm going to look into.  I've heard mixed reviews about some of the Sword of Truth books, how they seem to slow down a little (some say the same of RJ's WoT books 6-8 -- but I loved them just as much as the rest) and was wondering what you all thought of that.

 

I ordered Kushiel's Legacy book 1 to check it out and we'll see where that goes.  Thanks for all those suggestions, it's really helped broaden my horizons for finding something to read!

 

A good side note that people should check out is the Myst (Rand and Robyn Miller) series of books.  If you liked the games at all (and even if you didn't) you can really get a feel for the world that they created.  There are only three books in the series (no more are planned as far as I know), and they must be read in order.

 

-------------------------

 

Next topic:  What about science fiction?  I (like probably many of you) love both fantasy and science fiction.  Personally I've read almost all of Issac Asimov's works (yeah, I know, its quite a library) along with the Dune series (old and new).  My personal favorite are those that seem grounded in real science, however far in the future.  This is another genre that I'm always looking for new authors and/or new books to read.  The following are a few of my favorite authors:

 

Asimov -- Like I said before, Asimov was a genius and pretty much any of his works are golden.  His short stories are wonderful along with both his Robot series and (my personal favorite) his Foundation series.  Other than these series there are numerous other stand alone books (Like Nightfall) and single books set in the same universe.  If you've never read Asimov, you'll be surprised how many other authors and movies have borrowed ideas from him!

 

Greg Bear -- He's got a couple of series that are good, but he's a difficult read sometimes -- this is true hard SF.  His Darwin series (Darwin's Radio, Darwin's Children) is quite good, and one of his easier reads.  Its set in the near future with the human race evolving before our eyes.  Radio is a much better read than Children, but if you really enjoyed the first book, then the second is more of the same, and its great to see the same characters return. He also has a series that is a bit older (first published in 1985) that begins with Eon.  This series has a true 'cold war' mindset to it.  Like I said before, if you like hard SF, this is a great series for you.

 

Orson Scott Card -- His Ender series is great, though gets a little weird as you approach the end of the series, much the same as his "Homecoming" series (which is apparently loosely based on the Book of Mormon -- not being religious myself, I didn't pick up on anything).

 

James Alan Gardner -- If you can find his books, they're all very standalone but are set in the same universe which fleshes itself out more in each book.  I like his style of writing, and his books are a little shorter 3-400 pages making for a quick read in a universe that seems to have much more depth than you see in each story.  He hasn't written anything in a while that I could find, but I hope he keeps writing.

 

These are a couple great SF authors that you folks can check out, and if you know of one that is a must read, let me know!

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