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Author Topic: Need fantasy books for my X-mas list  (Read 2784 times)
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Gratch
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« on: November 30, 2004, 02:17:41 AM »

I need some fantasy suggestions I can ask stick on my X-mas list.   I know there were a ton recommended here before, but I can't for the life of me remember names & authors.  So start throwing some out.

Read and like:
-  Greg Keyes
-  George R.R. Martin
-  Tolkien
-  Robin Hobb
-  Most Dragonlance
-  Terry Pratchett
-  Terry Goodkind

Read and didn't like:
-  Gene Wolfe
-  Terry Brooks
-  Robert Jordan
-  R.A. Salvatore (didn't really dislike, just not crazy about)
-  Stephen Donaldson (jury's still out.  Halfway through "Lord Foul's Bane" and am pretty bored.  Don't like the Covenant character at all, although I suppose that's the point.)

Any suggestions would be great!
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2004, 03:19:21 AM »

Guy Gavriel Kay!

Read (in order) Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan and A Song for Arbonne.

You will be spoiled for the rest of your life.  Few books even get close to his stuff.  Especially those three.
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slackerjoe
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2004, 05:52:59 AM »

I would recommend some Stephen King. He does quite a bit of fantasy  and his writing is really terrific.

Try any of the following:
- The Stand => Super long tale with many many unique characters in a tale of how the world responds after 99.9% of the population is wiped out by a biological virus. If you like long books that build to big finish, this one is a winner.

- The Gunslinger Series (now completed at 7 books) => One of the best fantasy series ever written. Many struggle through the first book, but once you get a good feel for the characters and style, you will really appreciate the epicness.

- The Talisman and its sequel The Black House => Written with Peter Straub, The Talisman is a tale of boy that travels in an alternate world on a journey. The sequel takes place years later as the boy is now a retired police detective called in to help solve some crimes that ultimately tie into the alternate world of his childhood. Really fantastic books.

- If you want more of a variety, try some of King's collections of short stories or novellas. I particularly enjoyed Four Past Midnight which includes the unforgetable time travel story, The Langoliers.
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ericb
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2004, 12:51:55 PM »

From your list I would try Katherine Kerr with the huge Deverry series.  If you can adjust to her style of writing she has a ton of books out and most all of them are great.  It's a far ranging series and after reading the first two I bought the other eight.

Also Stephen Erikson with the Malazan series.
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2004, 04:39:35 PM »

Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell- Awesome book.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2004, 04:57:12 PM »

If you can find them, here are some alternate fantasy novels that are fun:

The Shattered World - Michael Reaves
     Very fun book about a shapeshifting thief in an intriguing world setting

Dream Park - Larry Niven
      Futuristic Theme Park running D&D games in real life.

The List of 7 - Mark Frost
       Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a Political-Mystical intrigue.

Eragon - Christopher Paolini
        Fun book with Epic ramifications about a kid finding a dragon's egg.

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Leguin
        First book in a trilogy about a young wizard and the danger of pride.
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2004, 05:29:47 PM »

Good thing you mentioned Robert Jordan on your list of "Don't Wants." That man needs to have his word processor taken away from him forever.

I'm planning on cranking up the Dark Tower series pretty soon. I've got all but the last one, and that's tops of my Christmas list. biggrin
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2004, 06:02:05 PM »

On top of seconding both Guy Gavriel Kay and Steven Erikson, I'd add R. Scott Bakker to the list. He's written the first two books of a trilogy "The Prince of Nothing", which are excellent, with the third due sometime next year. The two in print are "The Darkness that Comes Before", and "The Warrior Prophet".
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Gryndyl
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2004, 06:05:41 PM »

I'll second Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Fantastic book.

Also, skip the Thomas Covenant stuff. Donaldson's best fantasy was the Mordant's Need duology. "Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through". Excellent pair of books.
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2004, 06:07:16 PM »

Perfect.  Thanks gents!
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2004, 06:12:38 PM »

I second the Steven Erikson recommendation - Gardens of the Moon.  I think the second novel will be published in the US very soon.

OH!  Stick it out with Lord Foul's Bane.  As dispicable as the character is the story is really excellent.  If you go for any Sci Fi then Donaldson's Gap series is very good but the characters are almost as pathetic as Covenant.

-Crusis
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ArmyOfOne
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2004, 06:55:11 PM »

Quote
Good thing you mentioned Robert Jordan on your list of "Don't Wants." That man needs to have his word processor taken away from him forever.


Ok, I have a question.  I missed the documentary on why everyone hates Robert Jordan.  So I'm rather uninformed.  I've been reading his Wheel Of Time series for a while now.  I'm mid way through the 4th book.  Other than the fact that it's rather long and drawn out.  WAY out.  That and he seems to go off on some rather confusing tangents.  But overall I wouldn't think that his books are as horrible as some would have you think.

Then again, I probably don't know a lick about what I'm talking about.

 :shock:  :?

Oh.. and my wife suggests Peirs Anthony
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2004, 07:17:27 PM »

Wait till you get to book 7 or 8.  You'll wish you had those 4,000 pages of your life back.
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Crusis
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2004, 07:26:22 PM »

Ok, I have a question.  I missed the documentary on why everyone hates Robert Jordan.  So I'm rather uninformed.  I've been reading his Wheel Of Time series for a while now.  I'm mid way through the 4th book.  

The problem with Jordan is that he sort of forgot what he was doing after book 6.  What WAS a great series with tons of plot, sub-plots, great characters and really bad bad guys, has turned into the Seinfeld of fantasy series.  It has become a series about nothing (but not in a good way).  

I don't know why I still plod through them - I read book 10 and was absolutely pissed when it ended and nothing had happened!  Every few years I read though book 1 - 6 and remember what a great writer he was.  

Just my opinion.

-Crusis
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walTer
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2004, 07:51:55 PM »

David Eddings---The Belgariad- 5 books in the series

The Mallorean- that is the second 5 books in the series


He has another series out to- the Elenium - only 3 books, followed by the Tamuli which is 3 more books to finish up that series.

Lots of reading with that.

I am actually re-reading all of them now.... pretty good imho.
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2004, 07:56:47 PM »

The newish hardbacked Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy compilation is mighty nice.

Edit: Oh, and I almost forgot, the series I always have to try to pimp is the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove.  The first 4 books are a thing of beauty.

It's got the political intrigue and epic scope of A Song of Ice and Fire, with a very cool sci fi backdrop in which China has come to dominate the world.  Great read with some very memorable characters.

s
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2004, 07:59:30 PM »

ANYTHING by David Gemmel. I recommend the Drenai series starting with Legend.

The Feist Magician series is good as well. A little simplistic fantasy for some, but a great escape and very fond memories for me.
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2004, 11:19:16 PM »

Quote

I'll second Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Fantastic book.

I've been trying to get back into reading more so I picked this up over lunch.  Thanks for the recomendation guys, looks good.

s
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2004, 11:35:49 PM »

Sweet I have a chance to rip on Jordan again. Let me count the ways.

1) As stated before, his books are way too drawn out.  For God's sake stop at the fourth book.  Ever watch those kid's anime series?  Samurai X, Slayers, Cardcaptors, Digimon?  They all tend to have the same plot episode to episode.  Kids with power meet bad buy, beat bad buy, continue on quest to collect em all.  Occasionally a new character gets introduced, or some new power gets added.  Jordan's book are exactly like that. EXACTLY.  How sad is an author when it takes him 7 books to top the epic-ness of a climatic battle he wrote in book 2? Let me tell you, pretty damn sad.

2) Can't write characters worth a damn.  One thing great about GRRM. If you listed a quote from a character, you know exactly who said that, and generally even under what circumstances.  The whole series was a bunch of quotable quotes. Rand/Perrin/Mat all talk the same, they ponder the same shit, and have the same doubts (they all think each other is better with women).  Did you ever play pretend wizards and warriors when you were a kid?  Half the game was just making more and more powers for yourself.  That's Jordan in a nutshell regarding character development.  He doesn't add depth, he adds width.

3) His female characters suck. They're really bad.  And I mean really bad. Besides the fact that they all talk the same and have the same quasi man-hating mannerisms (cleverly disguised as an Aes Sedai trait), they all contribute to Jordan's psychological profile.  Think about it. Rand, three wives? All these powerful women suddenly getting all hot and bothered for these strong men? Jordan has women problems up the ass.  Oh god it just burns me up.

4) Not only is the series way too drawn out, but the plot isn't even that memorable anymore. Honestly, I can't remember anything that happened between book 4 and book 8.  Everyone was jizzing over book 8 because finally something happened.

Well that's all I got so far.  I usually use this disgusting metaphor about how Jordan couldn't write a female character if his penis suddenly got sucked into his body and formed a makeshift, functional vagina. Oh wait I just used it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2004, 11:41:47 PM »

I only got through the first 2/3 of the first book before I was bored to tears.  Nothing about his characters or world interested me at all, so I didn't bother to read any further.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2004, 11:50:53 PM »

Quote from: "Sepiche"
Quote

I'll second Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Fantastic book.

I've been trying to get back into reading more so I picked this up over lunch.  Thanks for the recomendation guys, looks good.

s


Think that what I found most refreshing about it was that it's about as far from formula fantasy as it's possible to get. That plus it is extremely witty
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« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2004, 03:57:25 AM »

Hmm... nobody has mentioned Tad Williams? I'm reading War of the Flowers and enjoying it quite a bit.  He seems to be rather prolific - not quite up to Jordan standards for series length, but definitely one of the Big Book boys.  :wink:
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« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2004, 04:16:32 AM »

Quote from: "Gratch"
I only got through the first 2/3 of the first book before I was bored to tears.  Nothing about his characters or world interested me at all, so I didn't bother to read any further.


I remember that the first book was actually pretty cool for the most part and that things happened and there was an actual threat. Good to know that 9 books later exactly nothing has changed.

Somebody stop Jordan before he writes again. I mean seriously. How fucking hard is it to recognize that even you don't know what the hell is going on and call it quits? Even Chris Carter woke up one day, realized he'd screwed up The X-Files completely, then killed a bunch of people so that at least something different happened! Sadly, he then fell back into the well of, "Oh wait, you mean I need more seasons to keep getting paid? Crap."
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2004, 02:37:43 PM »

Quote from: "Pyperkub"


The List of 7 - Mark Frost
       Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a Political-Mystical intrigue.



One of my favorite books.  The sequel, The 6 Messiahs, was also good but couldn't compare to the first.  Frost was co-creator of Twin Peaks.



Quote from: "walTer"
David Eddings---The Belgariad- 5 books in the series

The Mallorean- that is the second 5 books in the series


No need to read the Mallorean if you've read The Belgariad  :wink:

Quote from: "MonkeyFinger"
Hmm... nobody has mentioned Tad Williams? I'm reading War of the Flowers and enjoying it quite a bit. He seems to be rather prolific - not quite up to Jordan standards for series length, but definitely one of the Big Book boys.


Williams is one of my favorite authors.  I'm reading his newest, Shadowmarch, and its excellent so far.

Gratch- I see you mentioned that you enjoy Keyes and I remember you posting on GG how much you enjoyed The Briar King.  If you haven't read them I highly recommend Keyes' Age of Unreason tetralogy which starts with Newton's Cannon.  More of an alternate history-fantasy (it features Isaac Newton "discovering" magic) but its a fantastic read.
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2004, 02:48:28 PM »

I'll second Feist as a quick enjoyable reader and also second Tad Williams who has some nicely written series.

As for Jordan he could fix the problems very easily in the next (11th) book.  First kill some people off.  Have a big battle and kill most of the nobody characters and half of the secondary characters off.  While doing this wrap up most of the subplots (the tower, perrin's wife, etc) and move everybody towards fighting the evil instead of each other.  Have everyone start moving towards each other for the final battle that will take place in the 12th and final book.  While he's at it do a search for every woman's dialog (except Min's) and delete every other line and anything to do with braid pulling.  Now you have a more kickass book more in line with the first 1-5 instead of the crap in 6-10.
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« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2004, 02:50:25 PM »

Quote from: "walTer"
David Eddings---The Belgariad- 5 books in the series

The Mallorean- that is the second 5 books in the series


He has another series out to- the Elenium - only 3 books, followed by the Tamuli which is 3 more books to finish up that series.

Lots of reading with that.

I am actually re-reading all of them now.... pretty good imho.

I really like David Eddings writing, but I never could get into THe Belgariad and the Mallorean.  Elenium and Tamuli however I thought were great books with very, very memorable characters.

s
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« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2004, 04:41:05 PM »

I got so sick of Jordan that I wrote my own tongue in cheek 2 page ending to the series.  I wish I still had it laying around.  

After 10 books I will be a fool again and buy the next one.  And I will be disappointed AGAIN   :x

-Crusis
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walTer
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« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2004, 04:50:26 PM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
....
No need to read the Mallorean if you've read The Belgariad  :wink:

....


Hee...I suppose that is true...I just like the characters so 5 more books of the same story was ok by me.

The good part is that if you like the style and characters then you get a lot of reading with all his series.
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« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2004, 06:33:00 PM »

Another David Eddings recommendation from me.  I picked up the first book of the belgraid 12 weeks ago and I just started the last book of the Mallorean this morning.  Great characters and writing.
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« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2004, 07:19:59 PM »

Ok, so is it safe to suggest that I finish off the 4th book, actually 5th because I already bought that one, and stop there.  Before the dreaded downward spiral where it appears that Jordon stopped taking his meds for a while.  Are the latter books so terrible that they're not worth reading, so I could atleast say that I've read them all?

Keep in mind that I'm not married to the series or anything.  I've found them pretty entertaining so far.  Except for this absurb flashback sequence Rand goes through while he's in some ancient Aiel city, oh and these apparent door frames that send you to parallel dimensions.  Those are pretty dumb too.  But the flashbacks are about people and places with no introductions, and are doing things that have nothing to do with the story.  For me it's like sitting down to watch a movie that's half over.  Needless to say I didn't understand much from that chapter.

Truth be told, this is the first "Fantasy" series I've read.  Besides the Hobbit of course.  I prefer Star Wars novels.  I guess it's like if the only movie you've ever seen is "Ishtar", you might not be repulsed by it due to lack of comparison.
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« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2004, 08:09:52 PM »

Yeah, stopping after the 5th book would be pretty safe. In my opinion, that was where the series peaked. The end of the 5th book had everyone ramped up pretty hard for book 6 only to be let down pretty hard. After 5 just imagine how cool the rest of the series would be in your head, come to your own conclusions about how the story goes and then move on to a different series.
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« Reply #31 on: December 01, 2004, 09:27:41 PM »

Personally I'd stop after the 6th.  Book 5 had some good stuff and the finale to Book 6 kicks all kinds of ass.
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