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Topic: Historical Fantasy

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Subject: Historical Fantasy
Date Posted: 7/11/2010 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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So, I thought I didn't like fantasy. But I'm reading Deryni Rising and I think I'm hooked. Plus, I read Stephen Lawhead's Taliesin earlier this year and liked it a lot. I also read his Byzantium and enjoyed it.

Now I'm wondering what I must have read that turned me off the genre. Or, scratch that, I just want to move on and try some other books in the genre.

The description for George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones sounds interesting:

 Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the Yorks and Lancasters. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest.

There is much bloodshed, cruelty, and death, but A Game of Thrones is nevertheless compelling; it garnered a Nebula nomination and won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. So, on to A Clash of Kings!

What do you all think? Any other historical fantasy I should try?

Date Posted: 7/11/2010 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Genie, I was just thinking today that I like fantasy because it reminds me of historical fiction, usually set in my favorite Middle Ages.  Martin has four books in his series, and fans are waiting with baited breath for Book 5. (Which has been pushed back several times, I might add.) sad

Another popular series is Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.  Both very good reads, but I had to take breaks rather than read straight through.

Date Posted: 7/11/2010 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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My venture into the fantasy genre has been VERY limited, but I've read both Jordan's Wheel of Time and Martin's Ice & Fire series.  I definitely recommend Martin.  Someone "sold" it to me as War of the Roses meets Tolkien -- although the writing style is NOTHING like Tolkein.  I've about given up on Martin ever finishing the series, though, and it annoys me to no end.  I want to know happens to the Starks, dagnabit!

Date Posted: 7/11/2010 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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With my interest in Richard III, I think I have to give Martin's Ice & Fire series a try. Is anyone willing to join me a mini-historical fantasy challenge. Say, 6 books of your choice?

Date Posted: 7/11/2010 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Heck I'll do it I looked at some of Martins books they have them all at the library.  I haven't read fantasy forever so I bet there is a lot to choose from.

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 7:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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You guys...I have all Martin's books, but I was sort of waiting for Book 5 to come out; the people I've talked to are irate that he seems to have abandoned this series without finishing it.  I've heard good things about his books...but do I really want a REAL cliffhanger ending?  I think it's been five years now since Book 4 came out..

But hey; what's another challenge, right?  I haven't finished three!  I might as well sign up and not finish four!!blush

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Vicky, I hear that cliffhanger endings are quite common in the fantasy genre. But I think I'll dive into The Game of Thrones as soon as I get a copy. The War of the Roses is one of my historical interests. It will be interesting to see what the genre does with it.

Let's see if we have any others interested in a mini-challenge. If so, I'll post something separately.

OK, group, are we challenged-out yet? devil

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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but do I really want a REAL cliffhanger ending? 

Oh, but it's worse than merely a cliff-hanger.  They all have that.  This last book was especially annoying because he ended up with too big a book, and so split it in half, but not chronologically.  Instead, he split it by story-line.  So book 4 follows roughly half the characters and their doings down in the southern area of the kingdom, while book 5 is supposed to be what was happening during that same period in the northern part.  And of course, my favorite characters are in the the northern part.  So I'm one of those irate people. 

I would stress that the parallels between the family royalty and politics in Ice and Fire are inspired by the War of the Roses, but they don't correllate directly.  At all.  Some of the characters seem pretty clearly patterned after a historical one, but the relationships (family and otherwise) don't follow form at all.  It's interesting to step back and see how he took pieces of the real history and scattered them about, but you aren't thinkin about that while reading.  You are just caught up in to the characters and the story, and going along for a pretty wild ride. 



Last Edited on: 7/12/10 9:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/12/2010 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Is anyone willing to join me a mini-historical fantasy challenge?  NOPE!

OK, group, are we challenged-out yet?   YEP!

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I would join a fantasy challenge! I'm already obsessing over and failing in 3 challenges; a 4th would be gravy! ;-)

I love fantasy! My favorite, and, Genie, I think you would love this one, too, is Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel's Legacy" series, starting with "Kushiel's Dart". These books are naughty, full of adventure, political intrigue, and did I mention that they are naughty? I really love, no, I really LUUURVE these books! Usually, I love the first book in a series, then I gradually lose interest, but with this one, I think each book is better than the last. Try it. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/jacqueline-carey/

I also love Jules Watson, but I think she would probably be called a "Romantic Fantasy" author, if there is such a genre, dunno. I just recently finished her book, "The Swan Maiden", and I'm eagerly awaiting "The Raven Queen". The Swan Maiden is a re-telling of the "Deirdre of the Sorrows" myth and I loved how mystical it felt. I also enjoy Watson's "Dalraida Trilogy", also Celtic, but I haven't read the 3rd book yet. I wish Watson could write just a bit quicker. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/juliet-marillier/

Juliet Marillier's "Sevenwaters" series, starting with "Daughters of the Forest" is another excellent Celtic tale about the "Six Swans"; the tale where the sister had to knit sweaters made of nettles for her brothers. This is a great series, haven't read any of her other books though. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/juliet-marillier/

I just started gathering the books of another fantasy author that I think will be great; Joe Abercrombie. He write the "First Law" series, first book is titled "The Blade Itself" and it's the only one I've read so far. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/joe-abercrombie/

I've read and loved 3 Guy Gavriel Kay books and will definitely be reading more, just as soon as I gather the next books in the series together. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/k/guy-gavriel-kay/

The next fantasy author I will be trying is Scott Lynch. He writes a series titled the "Gentleman Bastard", the first book is "The Lies of Locke Lamora". These have been described as swashbuckling and adventurous, right up my alley. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/scott-lynch/

Oh, one more! If you think you'd like a misture of steampunk and fantasy, try Stephen Hunt's "Jackelian" series, starting with "The Court of the Air". Court of the air is the only one I've read, but I've gathered the rest and will be getting to them soon. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/stephen-hunt/



Last Edited on: 7/12/10 11:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/12/2010 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
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I was also going to mention Guy Gavriel Kay. Most of his books are set in fantasy kingdoms that reflect real-world places at different times in history. For example, "A Song for Arbonne" is set in a version of medieval France in the time of the troubadours. "Sailing to Sarantium" and "Lord of Emperors" are inspired by Byzantium.

I'm hoping to get to Naomi Novik's series soon about the Napoleonic Wars - with a Royal Air Force made up of dragon riders! The first book is "His Majesty's Dragon."

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,479
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Reading David Eddings books years ago is what turned me off on fantasy. Always with the cliffhanger endings - and then I would be watching and waiting for that next book. Nope, no more of that. I get over loaded just trying to follow series! So, right now, I'm with Deb. I will just try to plod my way through the challenges I'm into now. To those of you who are going to do this challenge - good luck and have fun with it. My hat's off to you!! smiley

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Felicia..thanks for the reminder about Naomi Novik!  I confess; whenever I see a free e-book on Amazon that I think I might enjoy, I nab it.  I got "His Majesty's Dragon" free about a  month ago.  I think I would have enough to do another challenge.  If I'm crazy enough...

Date Posted: 7/12/2010 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Deb, who asked you?! wink

My favorite, and, Genie, I think you would love this one, too, is Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel's Legacy" series, starting with "Kushiel's Dart". These books are naughty, full of adventure, political intrigue, and did I mention that they are naughty?

Valli, you are getting to know me too well. This series sounds right up my alley.

All of your recommendations sound good. I have a couple of the WL'd. I also spent about $50 at AZN on 4-for-3 deals. The fantasy genre seems to have many more MMPB than HF. Which is good for the budget, right?

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 7:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,109
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The Deryni series is excellent by Katherine Kurtz, also her Adapt series is good about the Knights Templar. I have read all of both series. She has a couple of stand alone books that are good two, one about George Washington and masons and St Patricks Gargoyle.

Oh yes in the new Deryni series Christa  would have lots of her historical hunks. King Kelson, Alaric Morgan and Duncan McKay are to die for. One of my favorite all time series. Read them in order. Start with the oldest published first.

Another couple of recommendations is Talesin by Stephen Lawhead and of course Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mist of Avalon. She has a few others too that I can't think of title

Right now I am read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer by Seth Graham-Smith, I guess that qualifies for HIstorical fantasy. I also read Queen Vicoria Demon Slayer it was pretty good. Neither book is disrespectful to with Lincoln or Queen Victoria. Nice blend of history and fantasy.

One comment on Robert Jordan, it is extremely verbous. I could only read the first two and gave up. what most people could say in a paragraph takes him a chapter to spit out. With that said my father in law loves this series and a friend has read this series 3 times.

My all time favorite fantasy series is Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover. The first book in the series Darkover Landfall is excellent. Short and quick to read.

Alice



Last Edited on: 7/13/10 7:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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I read the first book in Terry Goodkind's series, Wizard's First Rule. It was fine, until the 50+ pg torture scene with a black-leather clad dominatrix wielding an electric cattle prod at our Marty Stu hero. Then the book lost me and I didn't bother with the others. From what I've seen elsewhere, Goodkind's personal politics have overtaken the series and that turned me off even more. I don't want to read agendas in my books.

But the series has quotes like this, so it might be fun on an unintended level:

Hissing, hackles lifting, the chicken's head rose. Kahlan pulled back. Its claws digging into stiff dead flesh, the chicken slowly turned to face her. It cocked its head, making its comb flop, its wattles sway. "Shoo," Kahlan heard herself whisper. There wasn't enough light, and besides, the side of its beak was covered with gore, so she couldn't tell if it had the dark spot, But she didn't need to see it. "Dear spirits, help me," she prayed under her breath. The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.-- Soul of the Fire

More Evil Chicken quotes here.



Last Edited on: 7/13/10 9:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 9:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I read the first book in Terry Goodkind's series, Wizard's First Rule. It was fine, until the 50+ pg torture scene with a black-leather clad dominatrix wielding an electric cattle prod at our Marty Stu hero. Then the book lost me and I didn't bother with the others.

That was my experience, exactly.  I decided to try the first book of the series to see if I was interested in it, and that's where it lost me, too.  I skipped ahead a ways and finished the book, but didn't read any others.  Amazon reviews, taken overall, seemed to indicate that the second book was almost as "good" as the first, but that the series dropped from there. 

Jordan's Wheel of Time -- I've read it all, and I found the first few books (3 or 4? Can't recall exactly) engrossing.  All-nighters engrossing.  Knowing you'll regret it bitterly the next day, but just can't put it down.  But the series spins out of control later on.  Far, far too many characters and plo tlines and subplot lines that meander all over, and eventually it just seems like all the characters and events are re-treads.  I WILL finish the series, as I have far too much time invested in it not to see how he wanted to wrap it all up, but ... the magic is long gone.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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A friend of mine has read all of The Wheel of Time books and even though she said she didn't much like them, the characters were lame, and that the plots were pointless and repetitious, she kept reading them. LOL  For doorstoppers like those books, it'd take me a month or more to read one of them and that time is way too precious. Since it only took her a few days to read one, it wasn't as much of a time investment so I guess she can afford to keep reading a honkin' huge series that has already passed its freshness date.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Has anyone read Terry Brooks Shannara series? One of my friends and I recently gathered all of the books in the series, which isn't actually one series, but several connected series, and she is reading them now. I'll read them after her, if they are good, of course. She says she is enjoying them so far, but she's only read about 6 of the books and says that they are getting a bit tedious. That might be from reading them all one right after the other though.

I'm excited about this challenge! I'm hoping it will make me get back to the fantasy series I have started and just haven't gotten around to finishing; like the Jules Watson Dalraida series. I was just looking at the other challenges and I'm not doing nearly as bad as I thought. I have 4 books left to read in the main H/F challenge, 5 left in the ABC challenge, and 3 left in the mystery challenge. With this one, I have just 18 books to read in order to complete all four challenges; that's nuthin'. I might actually finish all of these challenges! :-)

I'm going to order the first book in the Deryni series; it sounds great!

 

I'm think I'm gonna steer clear of the killer chicken series. ;-)



Last Edited on: 7/13/10 11:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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double post!



Last Edited on: 7/13/10 12:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 12:01 PM ET
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I read The Sword Of Shanara  I really liked it.  But I haven't read the others, by the time they came out I was pretty burned out on Fantasy and I have read very little of it since. That's why I am excited for this challenge.  There has to be some thing new after 30 years right?



Last Edited on: 7/13/10 12:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 1:29 PM ET
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I read the first 3-4 in Terry Goodkinds Sword of Shannara series. they were good not great. Jennifer Robertson's Sword Dancer Series is good too.

Alice

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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About the only other fantasy author I've read is Brent Weeks Night Angel trilogy.  I picked it up on a display shelf, read the first couple pages, and was hooked. Bought it the same day, hunted down the sequel a week later, and then waited VERY impatiently for another month or so for the final book of the trilogy.  Thatt's very unusual for me, especially for a book NOT historical fiction.  This fantasy series feels less "historical", however, than some of the others.  IMO.  Or at least, not European historical. 



Last Edited on: 7/14/10 12:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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It was fine, until the 50+ pg torture scene with a black-leather clad dominatrix wielding an electric cattle prod at our Marty Stu hero.

WTF? Could be fun. wink And evil chickens too. Good grief, what have got myself into?

I have just 18 books to read in order to complete all four challenges; that's nuthin'. I might actually finish all of these challenges! :-)

I love your confidence. LOL!

There has to be some thing new after 30 years right?

Oh, what a coincidence. Read the "most useful" positive review of Martin's The Game of Thrones. The writer talks about being away from the genre for awhile b/c he was burned out. He praises Martin's fresh perspective and for breathing life into the genre.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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I read the first book in Terry Goodkind's series, Wizard's First Rule. It was fine, until the 50+ pg torture scene with a black-leather clad dominatrix wielding an electric cattle prod at our Marty Stu hero.

Please.  With all the whip-wielding that goes on around here, and certain members of this forum beginning to enjoy the wet noodle...this is a problem?  Seriously?? 

Furthermore, I have seen a chicken, and they are, in fact, evil.  They have dinosaurs for ancesters, for cryin' out loud!

The first three books in the Shannara series are a complete and utter ripoff of Tolkien.  But, if you don't care for Tolkien and want the same basic story in a more readable format, they're good.   

ETA: You know, in all seriousness, the more I thought about it...I really don't even remember that scene in Wizard's First Rule.  surprise Now I may have to read it again, just to see what I missed.  Maybe I didn't finish it?  But ....Getting old stinks, my friends!



Last Edited on: 7/14/10 8:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
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