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Topic: 2010 Fantasy Challenge -- FEBRUARY DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2010 Fantasy Challenge -- FEBRUARY DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Welcome to month 2's discusson thread!

I hit my goal for the month (4 books) with a minimum of struggle. . . the only struggle for me is deciding which book I want to list as my "best of the month" over in the Hidden Gems forum. . . The Ladies of Mandrigyn or The Anvil of the World! I may give The Anvil of the World the edge, since it has a bit more thematic heft an in honor of Kage Baker's passing. . .

Then this month I'm probably starting with Anne Bishop's Daughter of the Blood -- I've had so many people recommend it to me that I finally broke down a got a copy from another challenge participant. . . and of course, I'm continuing Little, Big by John Crowley. We didn't get that far last month, so if anyone wants to jump on the discussion now there's still time! So far I can't recommend the book highly enough. . . really beautiful writing, well drawn characters, fascinating locations, and plenty of stuff to ponder!

So how did all of your first months go, and what do you have planned for month #2?

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
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I also read four books for this challenge in January, which puts me right on target, but I'm really behind on the SF challenge and haven't started the classics one yet.  I'm going to need to start looking for some overlapping books. :)

The only book I have planned for this month so far is Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead.  It's due back at the library on Thursday (which is why I have to read it first!), and I'll be counting it as paranormal. 

Amy
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
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I was only able to complete one book for the challenge, Naamah's Kiss (High Fantasy Category). Classes started back up for me two weeks ago, so I'll be reading sporadically until the semester is over. Boo!

I did start Spindle's End (Fairytale Fantasy category) in February, though, but it didn't keep my interest and I read through a couple of other books instead.

We'll see how February goes!

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I am defininitely in over my head with these challenges, but I started Little, Big yesterday.  I am liking it a lot, but it is not written in a style that lets me breeze through quickly.

I am also slowly working on City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams in short chunks...it'll probably take me another coupel of months to finish. 

Believe it or not, I have never read The Two Towers or The Return of the King by Tolkien.  I am re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring in preparation to finally finish the trilogy, but set it aside to join the Little, Big group read.

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Glad to have you in the group read!

I tried to label my posts in the Little, Big group with the chapters I was talking about, so if you want to comment on any of the stuff we've already discussed you should be able to find it while skipping over the discussions of chapters you haven't read -- and then just let us know where you are, so we don't spoil anything for you!

But you really must get back to finishing LotR afterwards. . .

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2009
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I also read four books for the challenge last month, though I had been hoping to do five.

Right now I'm reading Acacia by David Anthony Durham, which I'll use for the Non-Caucasian Author requirement.

After that, I'm looking at:

The Sad Tale of the Brother Grossbart by Jesse Bullington (third-person omniscient perspective)

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (Heroic Fantasy)

The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham (High Fantasy, probably)

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 447
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Oh now that I've got the library fiasco under control -I am never going to reserve more than 6 books at a time from now on.  Even though I will never have them all show up on the same day again-  I'm just reading and hoping I can fit the book to a category.  I don't really have anything set yet. The fantasy books I am looking at right now are:

The War of the Flowers Tad Williams  (high fantasy? or maybe dark fantasy? don't know which one it is yet)

Into the Thinking Kingdoms Alan Dean Foster -book 2 of Journeys of the Catechist

Perdido Street Station China Mieville

Cast in Shadow Michelle Sagara -know nothing about this one

The Lies of Locke Lamora Scott Lynch

Illusion  Paula Volsky

oh and one son says I should read The Way of the Shadows series Brent Weeks, Leviathan Scott Westerfield and Zelany's Amber series for this challenge

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 12:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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Does reading 13 for the challenge mean I have no life?  That's not counting a half dozen or so non-challenge books. 

My favorite, by far, was The Curse of Chalion.

Currently reading: 
The Frog Prince's Daughters by Wendy Palmer (Fairytale, but I'm counting it as a new-to-me author)
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Urban Fantasy, Locus Award, Mythopoeic award)
Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (James Tiptree Jr. Award)
and of course Little, Big by John Crowley

What to read after that?  Possibly Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.  Maybe Swordspoint.  Maybe Terry Pratchett.  I really don't know. 

 

Ann, let me know what you think of Perdido Street Station, if you would.  I picked up a copy when Amazon was giving it away, but really haven't even taken the time to figure out what it's about.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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LOL, no, it doesn't mean you have no life. . . it just means a big part of your life is books!

But I would have read more than four if I were doing fewer challenges. . . it was the fitting in four SF Challenge books, a mystery challenge book, a classics challenge book, and a couple books I desperately wanted to read that couldn't count for any challenge that kept my Fantasy challenge production down to four. . .

It's always really exciting to me when somebody loves a Bujold novel. . . it means she'll stay in print longer! Do you plan to read the other Chalion books? (Forgive me if I've asked before. . . I'm a little forgetful sometimes!) And have you read any of the Vorkosigan Saga?

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 1:02 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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This was my first experience with Bujold.  I put Paladin of Souls on my wishlist, but it's moving pretty slowly at the moment.

Baen has Mountains of Mourning in their free e-book library.  I think that's a novella? And a handful of other Vorkosigan omnibus editions you can buy.  

Since you've brought it up, would Young Miles be a good starting point?  It's an omnibus of The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game.  I'd really rather get the ebooks direct from Baen, if I can.  Support the author and no drm.  Win-win situation.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 1:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Young Miles is a good starting point, but I think the best starting point is with the omnibus just before that one: Cordelia's Honor, which combines Shards of Honor and Barrayar. Those are the only two novels in the series about Miles' parents, but I prefer to recommend people start with them because Miles is a bit, um, angsty and teenager like in his early novels, which has turned a couple people I know off the series. If you're already invested in the family you're more likely to have some patience with Miles. . . although I must admit, it you like fast-paced plotting and madcap adventure, then the Miles books would be more up your alley. :)

I really like the omnibus editions Baen put out. . . makes it easier on the wallet to get into such a long series! You can definitely give The Mountains of Mourning a try before you read any of the novels. . . it takes place between The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game, so it's still really early on, and if you wanted to start with Miles instead of his parents it'll give you some grounding for his craziness. The one warning I have with the omnibuses is that there is a single novel that isn't included in any of the current omnibuses, because it didn't fit thematically with any of the other books; but the reason it doesn't fit with any of the other books is that it's where the series takes a sharp left turn, so you definitely mustn't miss it! It's Memory. . . still a ways a way if you're just starting out, but keep it in mind!

I hope whenever you get to more Bujold you continue to enjoy her as much as I do! :)

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 2:43 AM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2009
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"oh and one son says I should read The Way of the Shadows series Brent Weeks, Leviathan Scott Westerfield and Zelany's Amber series for this challenge"

Your son made some pretty good suggestions.  I enjoyed The Way of the Shadows, though admitedly not enough to read the sequels.  I haven't read Leviathan, but critically it has been extremely well recieved.  The Chronicles of Amber is a very interesting series, although it might be hard to find places for all 10 books.  I was told there was a drop in quality after book 5, so that's where I stopped reading, but book 6, Trumps of Doom, would satisfy the Locus Award requirement.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/2/2010 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I loved the first five Amber books.  I also read Trumps of Doom...the tone is different and it focuses on a new main character, so it doesn't even feel like part of the same series.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
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Hrmmm I read 4 books last month. This month I am not sure what I am going to read. I have many tom holt books, that can count in various areas.
Might see what they have in the ebooks that will count and read them at lunch. hrmmm.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 447
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My other son has the shadow trilogy so I have access to all 3 books.  I'll try the first one and go from there.  His room is not as bad as the older son's room where I have to venture to get the Zelany book of all 10 Amber novels and Leviathan.  When they leave for school I just shut the vents & doors and hope that there is nothing in there that will start to smell.  Once I shut the cat in for 2 days.    Maybe I'll wait until spring break  and they can get me the books.  Perdido Street Station is mine so Melanti I will let you know how it is once I finish it.

Meanwhile I hope everyone enjoys Little, Big.  It's one of my favorites.  It's most certainly a fantasy classic.

Subject: Does re-reading count?
Date Posted: 2/3/2010 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 9
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I only get to the library once a month, especially during bad weather and the library doesn't have some of the newer authors. However, I do have a pretty extensive collection on my personal bookshelves, which I go back to after I read the latest library "haul".

If the "re-reads" count, I re-read all of Bujold's "Sharing Knife" series in January. She is probably my favorite fantasy author and has been for a number of years. Have others I like very well, but she is the only fantasy author that I automatically buy the newest book she writes as it is first published. Don't wait to read first from the library, or wait for the paperback to come out ... or for cheaper copies to become available on eBay!

As for classics, don't know if it is considered a "classic" but just re-read "Glory Road" by Robert Heinlein ... always a fun read for me.

 

As for February ... just finished "Moon Called" by Patricia Briggs, who I haven't read before for some reason. Liked it well enough that I've got the second book in the series ordered and if that holds up, will continue with the others. So many of the urban fantasy/ vampire/werewolf series seem to degenerate into too much blood and gore for me that I'm a bit cautious about getting half a dozen of a new to me series "up front". Seems like there are too many authors that run out of  "plot" and substitute "splash" ...

I'm hoping the library gets the new McCaffrey/Scarborough book "Catalyst" in ... otherwise I'm running a little short of ideas.

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 2/3/10 11:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Debbie - ,
Date Posted: 2/4/2010 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
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I finished one book for the challenge in January and am now working on two:  Soulless by Gail Carriger and Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2009
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I just finished with my fifth book for the challenge, Acacia by David Anthony Durham.

It could be considered either High Fantasy or Heroic Fantasy, is told from a third-person limited, multi-perspective viewpoint, and is authored by a Non-Caucasian.  I'll be using it to fit that last category.

Acacia was the best book I've read for the challenge yet.  It is a grand, sweeping story, loaded with rich and vibrant characters, but despite its vast scope it never becomes overwheming.  This is a splended example of modern epic fantasy.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
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Aaron I don't know whether to thank you or not  but I now have yet another book on my wish list.   It looks really good.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2009
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Either way, you're welcome. ;)  I've been told the sequel, The Other Lands, is even better.  I plan to find out.

Amy
Date Posted: 2/4/2010 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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Last night I started Merlin's Ring by H. Warner Munn. I have this listed for the Sword and Sorcery category, but I'm still unsure about it. It's turned out to be very good so far, but it's definitely not what I was expecting. I might end up using this for the Romance category.

Date Posted: 2/5/2010 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I just finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I over all liked.  I liked that not all the questions were answered and thought it was a strong first book.  I think I may however be finally ODing on post-apocalyptic fiction.  Or maybe there was just too much zombie action for my taste.

Subject: Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop
Date Posted: 2/6/2010 2:02 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished: Magical Human Protagonist
Filled with: Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop
Other categories this novel would fill: High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy, Set in a royal court, Told from a third-person limited, multi-perspective viewpoint.

My capsule review: Flawed, but ultimately moving enough that I want to keep reading.

My full review, no spoilers: http://community.livejournal.com/fantasyreaders/84233.html

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I just got done with Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.  Not quite as good as American Gods but hilarious at points and a much lighter/easier read.  I had several people at work laughing out loud at a passage where Fat Charlie is daydreaming about getting helicopters to bomb his boss/office building with napalm.  -- Locus Award, Mythopoeic Award or Urban Fantasy.

Yesterday, I read Smoke and Mirrors, an anthology also by Gaiman.  There's some great stories in here.  I especially enjoyed the one about Santa Claus and the one about the vampiric Snow White. 

There was also a couple Cthuhlu based stories.  I really wish I liked Lovecraft's style a bit better so that I could fully appreciate all these stories based on him.  I've read a couple of the Cthuhlu mythos stories, but really not enough.

 

Hm.  What else?

Dream Thieves by Steven Lee Climer.  Slightly creepy and surreal story about a wood carver who is jealous of his nephew's ability to dream and turns him into a statue.  It's written mostly from the carver's point of view, so you get a first hand account of him going more and more insane.  It fits with Dark Fantasy.

The Frog Prince's Daughters by Wendy Palmer.  The premise is that in this realm, fairy tales are expected to come to life.  The story comes when the prince DOESN'T show up to rescue the princess like he's supposed to.  Cute story, but I think it's aimed for a bit younger audience.  It would fit the fairy tale category or the protagonist under 18 category.

I also read another anthology and a few novellas, but those were all sci fi.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I just started Chains of Gold by Nancy Springer.  In a moment of weakness about a week and a half ago, I ordered a different book from the system, looked to see what other books the member had listed, and this one seemed interesting. 

I haven't decided on a category yet, but it should fit into one or two easily.  If nothing else, I can count it as young adult fantasy. :P

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