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Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels 
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Post Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
Yo.

So I read all the time, but have never really delved into fantasy. I feel like I should, because simple logic dictates that there are great stories being told there. But I have no idea where to start. So I come to you!

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Not because I think you're dweebs, but because I think you're smart.


I've read Tolkien. I get the point of it, but it's meaty in the wrong ways for me. I understand that world-building is an enormous part of the appeal for some fantasy readers, but I prefer something a little more immediete. I read and appreciated American Gods by Gaiman, but I don't really dig the mesh of fantasy & reality -- I prefer something more straight-up fantasy if I'm going to go that route. I've watched Game of Thrones and enjoy it, but am not compelled to read them. I don't particularly care about magic but I'm not opposed to it. I just want something hearty and meaty but also riveting and page-turning, if you will.

Some have pointed me in the direction of Patrick Rothfuss and Joe Abercrombie, and both seem interesting. But I'm coming to you fine folk because you haven't steered me wrong thus far. What say you?


Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:53 pm
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
Not much of a fantasy guy (outside of Neil Gaiman...), but I remember liking the Redwall books a lot as a kid. It's one of those "fantasy tropes + anthropomorphic animals" things.

Also in the world of fantasy tropes + anthropomorphic animals is Mouseguard, the comic art series by my home state guy David Petersen. I haven't delved deeply into it, but he's a creative guy and a hell of an artist.

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Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:57 pm
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is worth your time.

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:34 am
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
I'm not sure it deserves to be called fantasy, but I never miss the opportunity to plug Watership Down. Some of the best developed characters I've ever read...they just happen to be rabbits.

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:12 pm
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
In terms of series, I've been reading Fantasy since the mid 80's. Admittedly the stuff I have generally consumes has been lightweight compared to some of the stuff out there. Also, many series startout good and then get whored out and diluted. Some titles I've enjoyed:

David Eddings "Belgariad" and "Mellorean" series (2 5-book series telling 1 long story). By book 10 you know the characters inside and out, but it can meander a bit.

Terry Brooks writes some pretty good, if lightweight, stuff. His initial "Sword of Shannara" novel was good (really nice artwork from the Hildebrand brothers) and the next 2 were OK. From there he's really taken that world in some strange directions.

Weis and Hickman's initial "Dragonlance" trilogies were pretty good, then it kinda ballooned with guest authors and anthologies that watered down the material.

I liked Fred Saberhagen "Book of Swords" series, but by the end I think he was struggling for ideas.

The "Thomas Covenant" series from Stephen Donaldson has some real believers out there. He wrote the first 6 books between 1977 to 1983 and recently started churning out new novels. It's pretty slow, though, and dark, but well thought out. I have not read the new books yet. His "Into The Gap" series was Sci-Fi Fantasy and pretty bleak and graphic.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
Oh...and as far as "The Song Of Fire And Ice" series goes (aka "Game of Thrones"), Ragnarok and MunichMan may bitch-slap me on this, but I find the books to be a bit overly ambitious at times. Martin has indeed woven together a very complex world with a fairly rich history and distinct tribes with their own idosyncracies much like our own world. But he tends to bloat the stories with trivial characters who in some cases you get to learn a great deal about, before they are dispatched unceremoniously 30 pages later, or who may disappear and pop up briefly 100 pages later. Unlike Martin while he was writing the text, I don't keep a wall of flow-charted charcter arcs and post-it notes handy while I'm reading as he probably did. The first 3 books are pretty darn good, but I felt that the latter 2 kinda stalled and sputtered. He has many concurent storylines going and it is my suspicion that Martin's central story is in 2 or 3 of them that he has meticulously plotted. The remaining storylines he has he winds up of padding or dragging along to meet the pace of those central stories until it all can converge in the final chapters. Also, watching the TV series, I am reminded about how good the series was in books 1-3 and how far off some of the characters have gone by book 5 to the point of thinking about events in the latter books and thinking "are they really going to film that?" (For you fans of the book series, I am thinking about things like a certain dwarf and a certain pig.)


Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:01 am
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Post Re: Recommend Me Some Fantasy Novels
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm not sure it deserves to be called fantasy, but I never miss the opportunity to plug Watership Down. Some of the best developed characters I've ever read...they just happen to be rabbits.


Fantastic, fantastic work. Thanks for the ideas, fellas.

I read Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes. It was essentially Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels set in a very lightly fantastical world (more just medieval than straight-up fantasy). I dug the dialogue and he kept the pieces moving well and clearly, and I'd recommend it, but I'm still looking for something a bit more high-fantasy.

Johnny, I appreciate the ideas! I'll be checking something there out... although I think I'll stay away from Brooks for now as you're one of many who have told me he's a bit more lightweight/jolly than some.


Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:49 pm
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