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Any Fantasy recommendations?


Monkeyboy
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1 hour ago, Laine said:

I have one audible credit I need to spend. Any recommendations for a good standalone fantasy? Bonus if it’s long! Last fantasy I read was the farseer trilogy and I loved it. 

 

Not standalone (it's another trilogy) and perhaps a bit of an obvious suggestion, but have you considered the Liveship books? They're the successor trilogy to Farseer; set in a different part of the same world, and with a different cast, but very good (and ultimately tie back to Fitz in the later series, if you end up following the Realm of the Elderlings books to the end, but honestly they stand perfectly well alone, just as Farseer did).

 

That said, I've seen some people who loved Farseer and bounced off the Liveship trilogy, but personally it's my favourite trilogy of the series. Just know that where Farseer is One Boy and His Pack (Wolf/Fool/Various Surrogate Father Figures) overcoming evil in a troubled kingdom, Liveships is a tale of disparate characters struggling to survive/attain their personal goals across a frontier archipelago, with a lot of focus on the relationships between major groups (original settlers/newcomers/pirates/empires); so has a very different feel.

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On 19/07/2021 at 15:11, Wiper said:

 

Not standalone (it's another trilogy) and perhaps a bit of an obvious suggestion, but have you considered the Liveship books? They're the successor trilogy to Farseer; set in a different part of the same world, and with a different cast, but very good (and ultimately tie back to Fitz in the later series, if you end up following the Realm of the Elderlings books to the end, but honestly they stand perfectly well alone, just as Farseer did).

 

That said, I've seen some people who loved Farseer and bounced off the Liveship trilogy, but personally it's my favourite trilogy of the series. Just know that where Farseer is One Boy and His Pack (Wolf/Fool/Various Surrogate Father Figures) overcoming evil in a troubled kingdom, Liveships is a tale of disparate characters struggling to survive/attain their personal goals across a frontier archipelago, with a lot of focus on the relationships between major groups (original settlers/newcomers/pirates/empires); so has a very different feel.

Thanks - I do have that in real book format actually, thanks for reminding me. I listened to the audible versions of the first two three body problem books but got the kindle version of the third and I just couldn’t get into it. So I don’t think mixing and matching is a good idea for me! 

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On 19/07/2021 at 14:30, joemul said:

I've been reading the Gentleman Bastards books. Really really enjoyed them.

 

I picked up the first after seeing someone recommend it on the forum. I read the first and really enjoyed it after a slowish start (maybe that was just me), and then it was a great surprise to find out after the finishing the first that it was a troligy. I've just finsihed the second book, which i enjoyed just as much as the first, and about to start the third on my way home from work later. 

 

 

Be interested to hear what you think after book three.

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On 21/07/2021 at 20:13, Laine said:

Thanks - I do have that in real book format actually, thanks for reminding me. I listened to the audible versions of the first two three body problem books but got the kindle version of the third and I just couldn’t get into it. So I don’t think mixing and matching is a good idea for me! 

 

Ha, fair enough — I don't have that problem, but rather the opposite: if I start reading a book I can't listen to a different audiobook, as I can't switch focus between stories at will: I end up having to get the same audiobook and book if I want to listen to an audiobook and also read, which isn't the cheapest way to enjoy a story!

 

So, a selection of highlights; none of these are particularly obscure, so apologies if you've already read them, but I wanted to give a bit of a spread of styles (and have limited this to books where I've enjoyed the audiobook versions specifically; I know that a bad narrator can ruin the best of books):

 

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie is a grim, if darkly humorous little bit of low fantasy. It's a standalone novel in a larger universe; the First Law trilogy would be the normal starting point for his books, but, well, that's a trilogy, and you favoured standalone works! Abercrombie's a good writer, and this is a capably narrated version of an enjoyable, bleak bit of fantasy.

 

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip. Very short, I'm afraid — as are all of McKillip's books — and you'll either love or loathe her dreamy, light-touch approach to prose and story, but I adore her work, and this is a very accurate reflection of her style, so makes a good taster to figure out if you like her work or not. I also really like Dina Perlman as a narrator, though I know she's very divisive. A divisive author and a divisive reader: listening to the sample first would probably be a good idea!

 

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. Okay, so this is the first entry in a trilogy, and it's science-fantasy rather than pure fantasy, but it's absolutely brilliant. The best bit of genre fiction I've read that was written in the past decade, to be sure. I also really like the narrator.

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On 19/07/2021 at 14:10, Laine said:

I have one audible credit I need to spend. Any recommendations for a good standalone fantasy? Bonus if it’s long! Last fantasy I read was the farseer trilogy and I loved it. 

Have you spent it?

 

If not, The Stand!

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On 26/07/2021 at 21:44, Timmo said:

Have you spent it?

 

If not, The Stand!

I'm reading it at the moment! Currently 22% in with 33 hours to go my kindle tells me. I recommend it if you like classic King. It's a little dated in some aspects, especially after 40 more years of Stephen King novels (all the stereotypical characters you love are there) but it's a real page turner and I know those 33 hours will be gone in no time. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's not traditional fantasy, but I know a few people here are fans of Senlin Ascends and the other Books of Babel. I just noticed that the final installment, Fall of Babel - which I'm sure was previously delayed to 2022 - now has an earlier release date of 9 November. 

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On 19/07/2021 at 21:30, joemul said:

I've been reading the Gentleman Bastards books. Really really enjoyed them.

 

I picked up the first after seeing someone recommend it on the forum. I read the first and really enjoyed it after a slowish start (maybe that was just me), and then it was a great surprise to find out after the finishing the first that it was a troligy. I've just finsihed the second book, which i enjoyed just as much as the first, and about to start the third on my way home from work later. 

 

 


I read the first in 2019, and have just finished the second. Not sure why it took me so long to read it given I loved the first but I’m so glad I did. It was great! Maybe even enjoyed it more than the first. Will definitely be reading the next one soon. 

 

3 hours ago, sandman said:

Anyone read Dragon Mage by ML Spencer?
 

Its 99p on kindle today 


Not read it but the reviews look positive so will give this a go for 99p. 
 

Have to get through the Percy Jackson series first though, which I’m reading at the same time as my son. Good timing with Hades recently released on Xbox :)

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On 19/08/2021 at 12:39, Miner Willy said:

It's not traditional fantasy, but I know a few people here are fans of Senlin Ascends and the other Books of Babel. I just noticed that the final installment, Fall of Babel - which I'm sure was previously delayed to 2022 - now has an earlier release date of 9 November. 


l’ve still got the hod king to read. Bancroft finished the fall of babel a few months ago (might even have been February), so it’s not that surprising that it’s out this year.

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@WiperThanks - Sorry, replying ridiculously late! I’ve got The Fifth Season but I’ll keep an eye out for those other on maybe actual book format! 
 

@TimmoI bought The Stand with my second to last audible credit. 
 

Anyway I’m sure you’re all keen to know what I got and it was Mordew by Alex Pheby, first in a planned trilogy. 😬

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  • 1 month later...
On 22/08/2021 at 23:02, footle said:


l’ve still got the hod king to read. Bancroft finished the fall of babel a few months ago (might even have been February), so it’s not that surprising that it’s out this year.


Hod King: great, if more fragmented than I expected. Fall of Babel preordered.

 

The poppy war/dragon republic/burning god: has to be the bleakest young orphan goes to posh school story I’ve ever read. Definitely not Harry Potter. Last hundred pages of Book One is not child friendly. Remainder is less graphic, if still decidedly not pleasant.

 

Can’t quite decide if Kuang managed to really nail the characterisation she was aiming for, and there’s a lot of Authors Intent going on, but I did read all three in seven days - and I’ve not really read anything else this year. It doesn’t really hang together, and the twists are predictable, but then maybe it doesn’t need to.

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On 16/07/2021 at 19:03, Wiper said:

I read it, and came away disappointed. It's been a while and, like Sirloin, I don't remember it all that well, which isn't a great sign! The setting is refreshing (always nice to have fantasy that isn't drawing heavily on Anglo/Norse/Greek mythology), but the story is pretty rote, and it has that thing where the main character is endlessly being challenged/victimised in a way that ends up feeling contrived.

 

It's also very graphic in its descriptions of violence, torture and rape, so, you know, be aware of that going in. I seem to recall its determination to be Proper Grimdark conflicting with the general characterisation and plotting feeling more like a YA novel. Just a weird juxtaposition.


The following two books are definitely not YA. I can’t decide why the huge tonal shift was left in there, given the expectations of the two audiences^, but she presumably sold a load so it worked for her.
 

^ well, I can, and it mirrors the change the character is undergoing as she’s released into the world, but it’s one hell of a stylistic conflict and doesn’t quite work for me. Also twee esoteric professors with a dark secret are ten a penny.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Reading Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff and it's not bad, a couple of cringeworthy GRRM style sex scenes aside. Kind of a mashup of Castlevania and Bloodborne in 17th Century not-France* where an unknown event (possibly a meteor strike) has covered the skies and the vampires went hog wild day and night and took over the country. It has a kind of True Detctive framing device where  the protaganist is a priosoner and is telling his backstory to his captor. siwtching between when he's young and trains to be a vampire hunter and later in life when he's a bitter drunken broken down mess.

 

* You know its meant to be based on France because every now and again the author will insert a French word ino a sentence someone says like the old Christ Claremont X-Men comics. Zoot alors mon ami!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’m wondering if there’s a series that varies so much in quality - improving from start to finish - as The Witcher books in translation (and also not in translation - clearly French is better than the first translator, but…)

 

The first short stories are fairly basic. Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire improve a fair bit but are still straightforward in the way they tell the tale. Tower of The Swallow and Lady of the Lake suddenly start using broad framing devices that work, and the second of those a relatively audacious one.

 

I’ve no idea whether Lady of the Lake will actually work, but it’s immediately far more interesting a perspective than the previous books. But it’s also so different from the previous books that it’s just odd in view of concluding the quintet.

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  • 5 weeks later...

What's the general opinion of the Wheel of Time books in this thread? I watched a few episodes of the Amazon series and it didn't seem great but was enough to make me curious about what the books are like. I've been listening to the new edition of the first one read by Rosamund Pike and I'm not really sure what to make of it. It's keeping me interested enough and the magic and social systems are intriguing, but other than that it seems quite dated now. Some of the naming I can't help but cringe at, "The Dark One" and "trollocks" feel very trope-y to say the least, even for fantasy literature standards. And at the beginning the whole light vs dark thing doesn't feel particularly interesting or unique. It also starts with quite a clichéd on-the-run journey which adds to the Tolkien parallels feeling a bit too on the nose.

So at first glance I'm a little confused as to why Amazon decided this was the series to pick up and run with. I feel like fantasy has moved on from a lot of these themes and into outright subversion of them, and that was part of the reason GoT managed to gain so much popularity. But admittedly I'm right at the start still, so maybe the series does start to bend and twist the tropes a bit and grow into more of its own thing as it progresses.

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Because it gets interesting over the first five books, without ever being as utterly bleak as game of thrones or as moronic as Eddings.

it then takes a turn for the elongated worse, though the last two books are ok.

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I've just re-read them all and yeah, like the first five books are pretty good. The next few are pretty terrible, with some good bits in them. The last couple a lot of things happen and there's actually a decent conclusion to it all, although it does actually seem rushed, which is bizarre when it's like 14 800 page books or whatever. It's a weird experience getting through them all in one go. As regarding the tropes, it doesn't really play with them that much, as it's pretty much a pillar of setting the tropes. It is straight down the line high fantasy, with some odd attitudes to women and light bondage.

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Has anyone else read ‘The Coward’, by Stephen Aryan? I picked it up literally on the basis that I liked the cover, and the blurb mentioned something about an Ice Lich, which in the grand scheme of fantasy tropes is not used often enough ;)

 

Anyway, it was a good and enjoyable read. Not going to set the world alight, but worth a go.

 

It may well be how my mind works, but it almost read like a book designed to one day be a tv series. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I think it could work pretty well…it’s certainly not a bloated affair like the WoT series is. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Finished the latest trilogy by Abercrombie. I really love his writing, even when the characters are doing next to little I still love to hear about it. The story itself is a nice conclusion the universe he's created, and I can see him not going back any time soon. Albeit, of course, there are tales left to tell. 

 

A great set of nine books, and a couple of hundred hours of listening read by one of the best narrators around.

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