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Do you have fantasy authors that you come back to over and over? Who are your favorites? What do you like about their writing? I have some favorites that I've read and re-read but I'm always on the lookout for someone new!
I've recommended the group of authors below so many times that I worry that I'm flogging a dead horse, but they still do it for me.
Robert Holdstock -- Sadly Holdstock passed away last year, so no new books will be coming. His books always explored myths and their power. I'm kind of at a loss as to what I would compare his work to. Really thought-provoking and evocative stuff, often about modern age people being pulled into the worlds of the earliest myths.
Jim Butcher -- Writer of the Dresden Files and Codex Alera series. The Dresden books are contemporary urban fantasy that are almost more hard-bolied detective novel than fantasy. Codex Alera is more traditional fantasy and IMO a more enjoyable read. The magic system Butcher devised for Codex is interesting and the characters are what keeps me coming back. Neither series is very 'deep', but both are enjoyable page-turners.
Tim Powers -- Writer of inventive fantasy. I like that most of his books are stand-alone novels among other reasons. Every page seems to hold a new surprise and protagonists who never seem to make it through the whole book unscathed.. Again, my feeble attempt to describe what sets his writing apart is failing miserably -- just go find a copy of The Anubis Gates and find out for yourself.
Neil Gaiman -- Like Holdstock, Gaiman deals a lot with myths and the power that they still have many centuries after they originally appeared. His book Anansi Boys is at turns funny and scary and altogether brialliant. He's kind of the glossier, hipper, more commercial version of Holdstock IMO.
What about yourself Naomi? Who are you favorites?
I'm like Rich -- I fear I become repetitive, but here are mine:
Lois McMaster Bujold. I discovered her through her long-running space opera series (the Vorkosigan Saga) but all of her books are a blast the first time through and then really reward re-reading, because there is a great deal of wit and a great deal of wisdom embedded in even the most minor of scenes.
Patricia McKillip. She really can do no wrong for me -- absolutely exquisite, dream-like prose and a real flavor of old fairy tales, when fairy tales were the myths that people shaped their lives by rather than just stories for children. Every once in a while her books veer into being too dreamlike and fail to cohere at the end, but for the most part I think she's one of the greatest fantasy writers living today.
Jacqueline Carey. I read Carey mostly because I just love Terre d'Ange so much -- it's the sort of fantasy world I want to live in. But at the structural level she really is an excellent writer. With the exception of her newest trilogy (which isn't finished yet, so I can't pass judgement on it) each of her novels has a plot arc exactly the right size for its length which gets resolved yet which still adds to the trilogy-long story arc -- and that's a structure that I really appreciate, because I HATE cliffhanger endings. Even better, she layers resonances into her stories, so by the time you're reading the third book of the trilogy there's this weight to the story that really amps up the emotional payoff. Plus, Phedre is just about my favorite character ever. :)
Robin McKinley. Like Patricia McKillip, McKinley is an author to read when you want fairy tales told with power. Her favorite story is Beauty and the Beast (which she's retold twice) but I actually think she's at her best in her unique worlds -- Damar (in The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown) and the paranormal-esque (except SOOOOO much better than all the other vampire sex novels) Sunshine.
Sean Stewart. Like Bujold, there's always more to his novels than you catch on the first reading. My personal favorite is Nobody's Son -- a novel about what happens after the peasant boy wins the magical sword and the hand of the princess.
Kage Baker. She's known better for her SF series (the Company novels) but I actually think her best books are her adult fantasy novels. The Anvil of the World is exuberantly zany, gleefully turning genre conventions on their head; The House of the Stag looks like just another 'peasant goes through fire to become hero' story until you realize she's completely subverted everything that type of novel usually stands for. She died, unfortunately, early this year, but there is one more novel set in that world (titled The Bird of the River) due out in July I think, and I am eagerly looking forward to it.
And that's it for my fantasy favorites authors. . . the list would have been longer if I was including SF-only authors or if I was including favorite books (whose authors I don't necessarily always love or who I've only read one or two books by).
oh, you guys have listed a lot of authors that I haven't read yet! I'm going to start makint a list of authors to check out the next time I got to B&N. I like to read a chapter of a book before I buy it because I can usually tell by then if I'm going to like how the author writes.
Ok...so here are a few of my favorites:
Stephen Lawhead ~ I really love almost all of his stuff. I haven't read his "Hood" series yet. I started it at one point and couldn't get in to it, but that could have been just from other circumstances (I have two little kids who are just getting to the age where they are letting me read again! lol).
Robert Jordan ~ yeah, he's probably on most peoples "must read" lists for fantasy, but I really love his stuff. I am currently reading through the Wheel of Time for the second time.
Jennifer Robberson ~ I haven't been able to get into all of her stuff, but I really love her Chronicles of Cheysuli series and her Sword-dancer Saga.
Mercedes Lackey ~ again, a lot of her stuff is sort of "fluff" reading, but I did really like The Obsidian Trilogy and her Enduring Flame trilogy. I like all her books but those are the ones I LOVED.
Robin Hobb ~ love her stuff although I just can't seem to get into the Soilder Son series.
Russell Kirkpatrick ~ I'm reading his Fire of Heaven series right now. I like it a lot. I'm just getting ready to start the second book...I think what is keeping me from loving it is that I wish he characters were a little more full.
I have read a lot of Fantasy, but not a lot of it really grabs me and pulls me in. I read kind of fast so at least if I'm reading Robert Jordan a book will take me 5 or 6 days to read instead of an evening. I've read some Piers Anthony, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan, Brian Jacques, CS Lewis, Katharine Kerr, Katherine Kurtz and the sort but the ones above are the ones that I come back to more than once.
Thanks for sharing your favorites!!
Last Edited on: 6/22/10 3:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Robert Rankin- I buy his books sight unseen and always find them rather funny and clever. I like his british humour and the strangeness of his plots.
Terry Pratchett- was one of the first adult fantasy authors I read and love his discworld.
Jaqueline Carey- I find her way of writing awesome and her books very detailed. I own nearly all her books. Just waiting on getting the next 2.
Robin McKinely- awesome book Sunshine! I have read a few others by her and enjoyed them too.
Jasper Fforde- funny books, clever ideas and likeable characters.
Juliet Marillier, Jacqueline Cary, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin McKinley, Diana Paxson to name a few.
I like all of these authors because they typically always have strong female leads, which is something that attracts my interests.
I'll second a lot of these (Bujold, McKinley, Gaiman, McKillip, Butcher) for pretty much the same reasons.
Charles de Lint ranks up there for me. Urban fantasy but no elves, werewolves or anything like that. Just little bits and pieces of magic in everyday life. I'm not sure how to put why I like him. Maybe just the sheer unexpectedness of what you find? If you want to try him out, read his short story collections first.
Another favorite of mine is Tad Williams. Great worldbuilding, great characters. Though he tends towards series of 4 books with 1000+ pages each, so he's a bit long winded sometimes.
In the fantasy genre J.R.R. Tolkien is the one author I have enjoyed the most. In the sense that fantasy can be anything over the top, outlandish, crazy, and/or beyond fairies and wizards I love Brian Lumley. His world of vampires in the Necroscope series are some of the best and most ruthless vampires I have enjoyed in both literature and film.
Steven Erikson is A MUST!!!
His series Malazan Book of the Fallen is one of the best fantasy series I have ever read.
Nobody mentioned Glenn Cook's Black Company series or her Garrett PI series. The Black Company series is several books about a mercenary company of soldiers who fight midieval style but have to deal with Sorcerors and mythical animals. It is written from the viewpoint of the "doctor" of the company. It has several books and tended to be an edge of the seat type of story from what I remember. It has been a while since I read any of them.
Her other series about Garett PI is about a Private Investigator in a land where Dwarves, Elves, Centaurs and Wizards live. In fact his main love interest is an elf woman. Think Travis McGee in the land of the Hobbits. It is really fun with a good mystery tossed in. Again with several books in the series.
I also like Christopher Stasheff. He has a couple of Fanatasy series. The one I'm currently rereading is a Her Majesty's Wizard. A guy from college gets transferred to an alternate dimension where by using poetry he performs magic and helps a princess win her land back. Lighter fair and a fun read. It makes me think about what i would do in that situation; sort of like a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court type story.
Lastly, I loved Gorden R. Dickson's Dragon and the George series. Again a college kid and his girlfriend get sent to an alternate dimension but he winds up there as a Dragon and needs to rescue his girlfirend from and Evil Sorceror, an Evil Knight, an Evil Dragon and an Ogre. There are several in this series and all are fun as he learns that he has a knack for magic but not a very reliable one.
I haven't read either Glen Cook or Christopher Stasheff, so couldn't include them on my list, and while I've read (and loved) Dickson's SF I haven't yet gotten around to his fantasy, so I couldn't include him either. Happy to hear somebody putting his name out there though!
I do have one question though. . . isn't Glen Cook a man? ;)
I have tried several times to get into the Black Company series. I plan to give it one more shot. Has anybody read the Erikson series? It has been out for a while in the UK but not as long in the US. I do not read much fantasy anymore - but the Malazan series caught my attention and kept it. It is a rather complex series.
Glen Cook is ok but I wouldnt put him as one of my Favorites.
Gaimen enough said there.
Tolkien, because If it wasn't for my grade school's library copy of The Hobbit I might not read as much as i do.
Butcher's books are really enjoyable and entertaining from strat to finish.
De Lint Because his style and ability at his craft make his books exceptional.
Goodkind, cause of his Sword of Truth sieries which I could always reread.
Homer, The Odyssey is still one of my favorites and I have read it at least 15 time since I was a kid.
but my all time Favorite writer is KIng, the Stand is a masterpiece in my opinion and Salem's Lot gave me nightmares it was so spooky (and this was when I was in the army lol). His Dark Tower series is outstanding (although the 5th-6th book aren't as good as the rest) and his new one Under The Dome while long is amazing.
Robin Hobb. I just finished the Farseer & Tawny Man trilogies. Absolutely loved them. I wasn't patient enough to read the Liveship series before the Tawny Man, so that's on my list to start this weekend.
Jim Butcher. I really enjoyed the Dresden Files. I have not gotten around to reading Codex Alera yet.
Stephen Lawhead. He is almost more historical fiction than fantasy, but I have really enjoyed the Song of Albion and King Raven trilogies. His Pendragon Cycle took a little effort to wade through but I still enjoyed it well enough.
Jonathan Barnes. I read The Somnambulist and The Domino Men earlier this year. I thought that both of them were fantastic.
Neil Gaiman. I have only read Good Omens and Neverwhere but several more of his books are on my TBR tower.
RA Salvatore. I read a lot of RAS when I was just getting back into the fantasy genre. I thought that his Demonwars Saga was a really good. The Drizzt books (we're now at....what....19? 20?) were really starting to get pretty stale until he shook things up in the latest book. After having read books like Robin Hobb's, I see RAS more as fantasy fast food, but every now and then it's still nice to trade in a steak for a double cheeseburger and a milkshake.
Last Edited on: 9/1/10 4:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I see RAS more as fantasy fast food, but every now and then it's still nice to trade in a steak for a double cheeseburger and a milkshake.
That's a perfect description of RA Salvatore's writing! I know I'm not going to have to think real hard, but it's still enjoyable. I couldn't even make it through the first book of Demonwars though. I'm most of the way through the third Drizzt book and have the next trilogy on my TBR pile. It's definitely a good series, but I always just skip the mopey journal entries from Drizzt.
China Mieville - loved The City and The City and have Perdition coming next. Un Lun Dun is a WL
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn series (read the first and trying to snare two and three)
Barbara Hambly - loved the Windrose series, working on obtaining all of the Darwath series
Patricia McMcKillip - read two by her and want more
George R.R. Martin - read so many and keep wanting more
Neil Gaiman and I could go on and on but I'll stop here.
Absolutely agree on Kage Baker, Gaiman, G RR Martin, De Lint, Butcher, Pratchett, J Carey.
Other Authors I like- some may not be considered fantasy, but I think it's OK to vary our diet.
Poppy Z Brite
Jim Butcher (wizard Harry Dresden series) V W
Harry Connolly Child of Fire
Mick Farren (vamp)
M L N Hanover
Tanya Huff (the Blood series, and the Smoke series) V
J.F. Lewis (vamp)
T A Pratt
Steven Brust - Viscount of Andrilanka trilogy, or any of the Vlad Taltos books, or Phoenix Guards
Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim)
Simon Green (nightside series)
Christopher Moore (fabulous)
Kim Newman (kind of a thoughtful vamp book) (Anno Dracula is Queen Victoria's England with Vlad Dracula as her consort)
Love, love, love Neil Gaiman. Definitely check him out if you haven't read him before. Absolutely anything he's written is brilliant. I will also second Carrie Vaughn. She's kind of lesser known, but her Kitty series is really good and then she came out with Voices of Dragons, a Young Adult book which is just outstanding. I also just read Tooth and Claw for the Fantasy challenge. I'm not sure who the author is on that one, but the writing was amazing.
Tolkien is my sentimental favorite. I've read The Hobbit and LOTR several times each.
My newest favorite is Brandon Sanderson. I've read everything he's written, some of it a couple of times (except the Wheel of Time joint effort). I love his original worlds and magical powers.