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  #1  
Unread 17th of December, 2004, 07:59
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The Fantasy Book Recommendation Thread

Well, I'm always on the lookout for good books to read. And usually when someone mentions a good book to me, I think to myself "Hey, I'll have to look into picking that up." Of course, by the time I make it to the bookstore I've completely forgotten what book I'm looking for. So, I thought I'd start a thread to keep those recommendations where I can find them.

I'd like to keep the thread primarily fantasy, and it would be nice if you would provide a bit of description. Also snazzy would be a link to the book on amazon.

I'll list a few of my favorites to get things started.

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Probably best described as "Science Fantasy", Zelazny manages to mix technology with good old fashioned fantasy elements. The prose is excellent and he manages to fill things with flavor without being overly wordy.

Ill Met in Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber
The first book in the reprinted Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser series. Lieber is a great mood setter and these stories come across both witty and darkly humorous. There are three other volumes that complete the series, all well worth the read.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
The first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Definitely the best new fantasy series I've read in a long time. Martin's characters are grittily realistic and the world comes alive. This is followed up by A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords

Last edited by Gralhruk; 12th of May, 2005 at 05:15.
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 08:21
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Wow. You have great timing Gral. So far next to my brother's name on the Christmas list is "Book - ??"

Frostwing by Richard a. Knaak.
Elements of gothic romance, epic fantasy and horror story blend in this intriguing tale of a centuries-old curse destined to be fulfilled in, of all places, Chicago. Grigori Nicolau has wandered the earth for hundreds of years, but he's unable to recall his origin or most of his past. The source of his confusion is a giant gargoyle who materializes in Grigori's dreams and systematically removes pieces of his memory. *Stolen from Amazon*

Running With the Demon by Terry Brooks
Another modern fantasy book; and the first in a trilogy. It's a good book, where the Hero isn't someone you'd want to be, and the Villain is the perfect manipulating evil, that always seems one step ahead. A good read, with likeable characters, and a good pace.
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 08:56
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Personally I hate almost all fantasy books

However, Robin Hobb is the light in the darkness. Somehow she does the impossible and writes good books which happen to be fantasy

Currently she has three trilogies all set in the same world (they all mesh together nicely) and a fourth is in the works

The Farseer Trilogy
1.Assassin's Apprentice
2. Royal Assassin
3. Assassin's Quest
Starring Fitz, and the Six Duchies

The Liveship Traders Trilogy
1. Ship of Magic
2. The Mad Ship
3. Ship of Destiny
Starring Bingtown and the Vestrit family, further South down the coast from the Duchies

The Tawny Man Trilogy
1. Fool's Errand
2. The Golden Fool
3. Fool's Fate
And back up the coast to the Duchies with Fitz many years on


I don't really want to mention the plots as I feel that even knowing what they are about might spoil the fun (I started the first one when my Brother thrust it at me after I said I'd run out of things to read). Just go to the shops. Now. Buy them. Read them. Understand what well written fiction is.
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Unread 17th of December, 2004, 23:29
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I have nothing to say except the following:

I want to have George Martin's lovechild. That is all.
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Unread 18th of December, 2004, 00:35
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If you haven't, check out The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.
The first book is Wizard's first rule, This guy tells killer stories and I like his style.
The world it takes place in develops with each chapter thoughout the [nine-book] series. www.terrygoodkind.com

I'm not a major Stephen King fan but he wrote a really good fantasy novel which I seem to remember as something like The (or behind the) eyes of the Dragon.
In fact that's where I picked up on the screenname Flagg.
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Unread 18th of December, 2004, 06:26
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War of the Spider Queen Series. Especially Dissolution, the first one.
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Unread 21st of December, 2004, 06:23
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More of my recommendations:

Conan by Robert E. Howard
I'm talking about the original stories, not the stuff written or edited by anyone else. In my opinion, the real beauty of Howard is in the way he tells a story. The descriptions are impressively vivid and concise. The original versions of the stories are in the process of being reprinted, with two volumes currently available and more slated for the future.
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
The Bloody Crown of Conan

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
Depending on who you talk to, these books are either excellent or horrible. I'm in the group that considers them excellent. Definitely a different take on a fantasy hero. Donaldson excels at drawing you into the motivations and feelings of his characters.
Lord Foul's Bane
The Illearth War
The Power that Preserves
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Unread 21st of December, 2004, 06:47
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What about the Second Chronicles?
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Unread 21st of December, 2004, 06:54
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Third Chronicles, too, now.
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Unread 21st of December, 2004, 07:00
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I figured if you like the first ones, you'll probably read the second chronicles. In my opinion, they are better written than the first. I haven't read the third chronicles yet, but book 1 is on my christmas list.

If you are interested in Thomas Convenant, then Gilden Fire is also noteworthy. It's basically a chapter that was cut from the original chronicles, told from the point of view of one of the Bloodguard (Korik, I believe).
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 04:40
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I have another two series of books to recommend and I think both fall under the category of fantasy. Plus this thread needed revival as I've been needing something to read for a while now and as much as Fantasy isn't usually my bag, I may well take a ch-chance.

I'm bad at writing the little blurbs for these. This is largely to do with how I pick and read books. I try to know as little about them as possible. I soley base my decisions on people saying "such and such is good" and following authors I like. I prefer everything about a book to be a suprise and I refuse to read the blurbs on the back (often those things give far too much away).

Both of these should be obvious...

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
1. The Northern Lights
2. The Subtle Knife
3. The Amber Spyglass
Allegedly these are children's books but I'm not entirely sure that children could appreciate them as fully as they should be. I'd rather not spoil anything, and I'm sure you've heard of these, so if you haven't read them then do.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King
1. The Gunslinger
2. The Drawing of the Three
3. The Wasteland
4. Wizard and Glass
5. Wolves of the Calla
6. Song of Susannah
7. The Dark Tower
Personally I'm waiting on book 5 to come out in paperback (I dislike hardback novels as much as I dislike paperback text books). These books manage to catch the essence of fantasy while subscribing to few of the common cliches of fantasy tales which is quite a feat. Don't worry if you've read other Stephen King novels and disliked them, I'm told that these are something really quite different from his normal work.
The books start with a man following at the heels of another man across the desert. The Dark tower is Roland's destination and he knows this from the outset and once again I Don't want to say anything more in case I give anything away.


... in other news, Hurrah! Robin Hobb is writing a new book.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 04:47
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I read the first three gunslinger books before SK got creamed by a drunk driver, which induced a lengthy recovery period and an even lengthier break from writing. He seems to have taken them up with a vengeance since his muse finally returned, although in the interim I've somewhat lost interest. Maybe I'll pick them up again, though.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 04:54
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I might as well list some of the big ones.

Magician by Raymond E. Feist

If you've read his later works and were discouraged, don't let it stop you from checking this one out. It was his first book and the hight of his work. It was that good enough to sustain every other book that came afterwards - think the original Star Wars saga compared to the new ones. People who are familiar with DnD will notice the similarities as the world was one created by a roleplaying group. (That may be hearsay)
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 04:55
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Dune by Frank Herbert
1. Dune
There are a bunch more to the series, but this is the only one I've read. Well, sort of read. After managing to avoid reading this for nearly 25 years, I finally caved. I'm about bout 3/4 of the way through and I am really enjoying it.

And my other blurbs weren't too revealing were they?
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 05:00
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And my other blurbs weren't too revealing were they?
I didn't read them to avoid taking that chance

I believe there is a copy of Dune in what used to be the spare room at home (ir is now something more like the archive room of a library). I may have to dig it out as it comes under the list of "things I really should read"
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 05:07
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Hmmm. Well, I'll go back and fix the first one, as it does contain a brief overview of the plot. The rest were more descriptions of the author's style and general notations about why I liked them. I figure that information is useful for people trying to decide if it's something they might like or not.

And my copy of Dune was purchased for 50 cents at a flea market or something, many many years ago. I recall it floating around my room for a long while, back when I lived with my folks and finally making it's way into their attic. Recently, they cleaned out the attic and it turned up once more . . .
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 07:03
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Susan Cooper - The Dark Is Rising sequence

Children's books, but wasted on them. The second book is my favourite, and the first my least favourite - I'd recommend starting with the second. (It's OK to do that, because the first two books introduce a group of characters each and have self-contained stories - then the groups meet in the third book.)

1 - Over Sea, Under Stone
2 - The Dark Is Rising
3 - Greenwitch
4 - The Grey King
5 - Silver On The Tree

The 'modern' world' of the books (they are set in England and Wales...mostly) is a bit dated now, as they were written between 1965 and 1977 - but that didn't spoil them for me. They also draw heavily on English myth and folklore; I don't know any US-types who have read them and would be interested to know how/if the stories work for non-Brits.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 07:17
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Sheesh Kebeb! I remember reading those. Must have been at prep at the time...

Phillip Pulman's 'His Dark Materials' are pretty good too, and similarly wasted on children.

Ursula LeGuin's 'Wizard of Earthsea' quartet is good (though most of her others are rubbish).

And I can't believe I haven't got around to plugging Steven Erikson's epic saga (yes, it's one of those...) that starts with Gardens of the Moon. I heartily reccomend any Fantasy novel with beleivable military campaigns in it, and the characters are refreshingly gritty and cynical too. No honest-yeomen-turned-shining-heroes here.

My little brother started reading Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series, which looked vaguely promising (for all that the first few chapters of the first book were a hugely blatant Tolkien rip-off). Unfortunately, we're now as far as book six, and the main characters are still the same bunch of stupid, inbred peasants they were when they started.
It would distress me too much to explain here, but you'll understand when you read the books. Every chapter one of them is faced with some sort of life-and-death choice, and each persists in doing the most moronic and counter-intuitive thing possible. After a while you run out of empathy and start wanting to crawl inside the pages so's you can give them a good kicking.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 09:59
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The Dragonlance series by many authors
i like the ones by Marget Weis and Tracy Hickman
I just finished the last book of the Legend series
Test of the Twins
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 16:34
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Wouldn't Dune be Sci-Fi?
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 21:50
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Whatever.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 21:55
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I was in a bookstore the other day, and they proudly had a list of their top 5 selling science-fiction books. Unfortunately only one of them actually was science-fiction (the Hitchhiker's Guide), the rest were fantasy-fiction.

This amused me.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 21:59
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It's a blurry line at best, most things to do with genres are. I think music genre determination is one of the most bloody battlegrounds in the known universe.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 22:01
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Pretty much any bookstore I've been in groups Science Fiction and Fantasy together, so it wasn't really my intent to make a rigid distinction.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 23:15
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Science Fiction is nothing more than a subcategory. It might put an emphasis on science and technology, but at the end of the day, it is Fantasy. Hence the two are lumped together.
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