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Topic: Any suggestions for good fantasy books?

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Subject: Any suggestions for good fantasy books?
Date Posted: 5/14/2009 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/30/2009
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Hello all!  I'm still relatively new to PBS, and I'm almost overwhelmed at the amount of books I can find on here!  I'm a fantasty junkie - can't get enough of the stuff.  I'm a big fan of Anne Bishop, and I've read stuff by Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Sara Douglass, Melanie Rawn, Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey and enjoyed it.  (I've read just about everything Terry Goodkind and Anne Bishop have written.)  I'm also starting to get into the Dresden Files and the Southern Vampire series, but it's not enough for me!  I must have more books!


Which brings me to my question.  What books (or authors) do you guys recommend?  I'm open to new books and new authors, and I forsee a summer spent reading since I'm newly unemployed.

Date Posted: 5/15/2009 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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Have you read Catherine Asaro or C.L. Wilson? They are both too new to me to really recommend.  I have a couple Asaro books in my TBR. I'm currently reading Lord of the FAding Lands by C.L. Wilson.  So far I like it but I'm only about 50 pages into it so I can't say for sure.

Date Posted: 5/15/2009 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 18
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Try Laurell K. Hamilton.  She has 2 different series.  The Anita Blake series is about a vampire hunter and the Merry Gentry series is about a faerie princess living in Los Angeles.  Just be warned, they are both very explicit with the sex, so if that bothers anyone, don't read them.  They are very cool books story-wise, though.

Date Posted: 5/16/2009 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/27/2009
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If you wish to go insane, try Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series - BUT - Robert Jordan died before finishing the series and a different author is completing the last book which is not yet released.  Since each book is about 900 pages and has about 5-8 concurrent story threads running, it's a tour de force like few others and Jordan is a brilliant, but complex writer.

Naturally, Raymond Feist's Rift War novels are a great choice as well.  The Magician, in a 2 part paperback due to length, can be a bit hard to get into because he named a main character Pug (this was a BAD idea). Otherwise, a teriffic series and one of my all time favorites.

Out of print now, but occasionally available in used book stores, Walter John Williams Drake Majistral series, The Crown Jewels, The House of Shards and Rock of Ages are excellent.

L. E. Modesitt, Jr is also excellent and Jim Butcher's Codex Alera are also worth a look and easier to find.


Last Edited on: 5/16/09 9:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/19/2009 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,761
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If you'd like to try an author newer to the genre, check out Donita K. Paul's Dragon Keeper Chronicles.

Also Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle.

Date Posted: 5/19/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 3,387
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orson scott card is my favorite author ever, so i always suggest his books!

as far as fantasy goes for him, i would suggest his alvin maker series.  they are:  The Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, Heartfire, The Crystal City.

the series takes place in a time much like basic american frontier times, but people have "knacks" which allow them to complete certain tasks easily.  i got sucked into that series almost immediately!

i also enjoyed Enchantment by him.  good luck!  :)

Date Posted: 5/21/2009 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 273
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If you like vampires then you need to read Twilight series  but all the books are WLed with a long line for most of them.I suggest you get them all before you start reading them because once you start you can't stop.

Date Posted: 5/21/2009 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2009
Posts: 285
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I like so many authors it's hard to choose!

Lois McMaster Bujold - her Chalion series is a great fantasy series - I especially like the second novel The Palidan of Souls (not often you get a forty-something heroine in these types of novels).  Her Vorkosigan Novels are not fantasy but are very good, more character-driven than a lot of sci-fi.  If you try them, I'd start with Shards of Honor.  (everyone has a different recommended reading order)

Jacqueline Carey - (there's two authors by that name, but only one write fantasy)   Her two Kushiel series are outstanding (although there are explicit non-traditional sex scenes).  Not as big a fan of the Sundering duology, although it was interesting (she basically re-tells the Lord of the Rings, but sort of switches the bad guys and the good guys).  Her latest novel Santa Olivia is pretty good, but different from her other work.

Garth Nix - his Abhoresen series is great.  It's labeled "teen" but is really a complex story.  I also like his "days of the week" series, although it's not complete yet so you might want to hold off on that one.

Terry Pratchett - I find his Discworld novels laugh-out-loud funny but great stories still.  If you find his humor appeals to you, he's written enough books to keep you going all summer.

Tamora Pierce - I go through her YA novels like popcorn, but most of them are not substantial enough for typical adult readers.  But her last two novels - Terrier and Bloodhound have really brought her writing to a whole new level and I'd recommend them to any fantasy lover.  The only caution is that there are more in the series still to come, and it's hard to wait!

lots more, but that's probably enough to get you started. :-)

Date Posted: 5/22/2009 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
Posts: 11
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What a lot of they said!

Lois McMaster is terrific no matter which series of hers you pick up first.

Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books are unputdownable.

Orson Scott Card is an exciting story teller, no matter where you start. 

You say you like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Try his Codex Alera series.

C.S. Marks' high fantasy novel Elfhunter is breathtaking.

Charles de Lint with Terri Wilding and Emma Bull and Will Shetterly were some of the first writers to explore "urban fantasy," which can mean modern cities and technology existing alongside magic and magical characters like phoukas and shape shifters and wars between Native American magics and imported magics from Ireland and other places.  So look at de Lint's Someplace to be Flying, Forests of the Heart or Trader or The Ivory and The Horn or his newest novel The Mystery of Grace. Wilding wrote the novel The Wood Wife and is the editor of many, many wonderful books. Emma Bull's books to look for are The War for the Oaks, Finder and Territory.  Will Shetterly's are Elsewhere, Nevernever and Dogland.

Happy Reading!


Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 5/23/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I just finished Tad Williams' novel The War of the Flowers, which I highly recommend.  I haven't read any of his other books yet.

Last Edited on: 5/23/09 8:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/24/2009 2:00 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Highly, highly, and very loudly second the recommendations of Jacqueline Carey and Lois McMaster Bujold. :) Both authors are on my "re-read every year" list.

Elizabeth Bear is a skilled (and very prolific - 15 novels in 8 years) writer; you could start with her Jenny Casey series if you want straight sci-fi, or her Promethean Age series if you want fantasy (Blood and Iron would be urban fantasy; others in the series are set in the past), or A Companion to Wolves (with Sarah Monette) if you loved Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels and want more companion animal fantasy.

Sheri S. Tepper is a fantastic author if you don't have a problem with a strong eco-feminist slant; I don't find the message overbearing, but she's preaching to the choir with me.

Connie Willis writes very funny (if you like dry British humor) and sometimes very melancholy novels; my favorites are Bellwether (funny and light) and Doomsday Book (her award-winner; definitely on the melancholy side).

And if you want to get into the classics, I strongly recommend Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels (some of my favorites are The Spell Sword/The Forbidden Tower); Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels or Elijah Bailey/R. Daneel Olivaw novels; Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai novels (a bit lesser known, but very good); Orson Scott Card's Ender novels (the first two are by far the best), Enchantment, Pastwatch, The Worthing Saga, or Songmaster; C.J. Cherryh (she's up and down; my favorite is The Faded Sun trilogy, but most people like either her Foreigner saga, her Chanur saga, or the books in the Merchanter Universe); and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series.

Last Edited on: 6/12/09 12:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 56
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Here are some of my favorites:

Robin McKinley - especially Beauty (a version of Beauty and the Beast) and Sunshine (a sort of vampire-style novel)

Patricia McKillip - The Forgotten Beasts of Eld reads a lot like an old, classic piece of literature

Michelle Sagara - Chronicles of Elantra series

Sharon Shinn - (one of my favorite fantasy authors - especially Mystic and Rider)

Patricia Briggs - She has a lot of lesser known fantasy that I like, but she's most known for her Mercy Thompson series

Jeaniene Frost - Really recommend her Night Huntress series (as long as you like vampires and romance, that is). 

Paula Volsky - I've only read Illusion.  It's one of those books you think won't work, but somehow you become completely addicted.  It's a sort of fantasy/alternative reality version of the French Revolution.

Elizabeth Vaughan - Only read Warprize in her Chronicles of the Warlands series.  It was pretty decently interesting.

That's all I can think of right now, good luck!


Last Edited on: 5/26/09 7:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 1
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If you're interested in more realistic fantasy (limited magic and whatnot), George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series is fantastic. It kicks off with A Game of Thrones. I'm three books in right now and they're easily some of the best books that I've ever read.

Date Posted: 5/27/2009 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
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The Black Dagger Brotherhood  by JJ R Ward, the first book is dark lover, it is my fav!!!

Date Posted: 6/2/2009 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2009
Posts: 91
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Into the Out Of was a ver good book, though regretably I can't name the author off hand,

Date Posted: 6/3/2009 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
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Beware George R.R. Martin, he is an amazing author, but he is indiscriminate in who dies next, so if you get really attached to characters, you may end up throwing the books across the room. To minimize damage, I would therefore recommend the softcover versions. ;)

I'll second Lois McMaster Bujold, Jacqueline Carey (only if you are not squeamish), and Robert Jordan, easily.

No one has mentioned Maria Snyder yet, but she is a wonderful author. I enjoy her stuff.

If you like reading that feels like candy, check out Patricia Briggs or Kim Harrison.

Catherine Asaro write some fantasy, but the real gem is her science fiction, and as someone who reads fantasy almost exclusively, I was amazed and addicted by her sci fi stuff almost immediately. She rocks!

Also not for the faint of heart, Susan Wright has some wonderful fantasy stuff, but it contains a lot of dark eroticism. I happen to love that, but lots of people do not.  (I think she also has some sci fi stuff, but I haven't read any of that.)

Date Posted: 6/4/2009 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2008
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George R.R Martin's Game of Thrones is by far the best  realistic fantasy books I've read, but also beware that the series is not yet complete. Though he keeps promising to deliver the next book within the year, we shall see. The story he weaves is  complex  and the characters have depth. Though as someone else noted don't get attached, to anyone.

My popcorn reads  are Piers Anthony's Xanth novels. Full of puns, and very odd humor.

Last Edited on: 6/4/09 4:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2009 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2007
Posts: 175
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I second the recommendation of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Stick with it through the beginning of The Dragon Reborn (the first book). It starts out kind of slow, but when you get farther into it, you'll appreciate the first few chapters that sort of set the scene before the action really starts.

I haven't read a whole lot of Orson Scott Card--and one of his books I read, I didn't really like-- but I highly recommend the Ender's Game series.

Date Posted: 6/6/2009 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 2,402
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Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day is a very interesting read. I couldn't put it down--the plot actually felt fresh!  The only disappointment, in my opinion, was that several issues are unresolved at the end to be revisited in the second book in the series. All in all, I highly recommend it.

Date Posted: 6/7/2009 5:15 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2009
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If you've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time & Tolkien---then you've read the father's of fantasy & can piece together almost any story. They setup the central archetypes, plot dialation, etc. I highly recommend Robin Hobb. Assasin trilogy & the Fool trilogy are woven together beautifully, so you'll have 6 books set in the same world. Then the soldier boy trilogy is excellent! It is a proxy story of early america and westward expansion, among other things. Fantasy is a male dominated genre & I have a hard time reading guy authors. I just don't identify. I was able to get delve into fantasy better with Hobb.
Date Posted: 6/7/2009 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
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I definitely agree with Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker. Excellent series, more on the folklore side of fantasy.

Date Posted: 6/8/2009 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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If you can find them, I highly recommend Susan Dexter's books. I adore the hero of the books--Tristan and his cat, Thomas.


The Ring of Allaire, The Sword of Callandra, and The Mountains of Channadran are the books I would recommend by her.

Date Posted: 6/9/2009 2:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Nina K Hoffman.  Has a slightly more magical realism slant.

Kim Wilkins.  Very dark, very lush books.  Takes obscure mythology and runs with it.  Not light reading at all.

Again, Robin McKinley.

Rob Thurman.  Urban fantasy about brothers.

Subject: Fantasy books
Date Posted: 6/10/2009 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 2
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David Gemmell,  The  Drenai series, The Rigante series.  In my opinion the best Heroic Fantasy I have ever read.

Terry Goodkind.  Sword of Truth series. 12 books all good.

George R.R. Martin. A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Raymond Fiest. Start with Magacian Apprentice. Will introduce you to the world of Midkemia




Date Posted: 6/10/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2009
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I'd highly recommend Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile and her Galactic Milieu Series.  They deal with the powers of the mind and I have re-read them at least 5 times.