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8 Awesome Stand Alone Books

By / May 25, 2012 / no comments

Fantasy usually takes time to build up. There are worlds to introduce, magic systems with rules and characters that are many shades of grey. This is why so many fantasy books these days are trilogies or series. A few recent ones come to mind; Name of the Wind, The Warded Man and Mistborn to name a few.

One of the problems with series is that you have to wait for the next book(s) and that can be a tedious wait (re: GRRM). Sometimes we’ve read so many books in between waiting that when the new book comes out we have to read the series again just to refresh our memories.

So to help you out here are some great stand-alone books that rate highly in my opinion (I didn’t write the Top 25 Standalone books). This list isn’t in any particular order.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
This is a fantastic story. It takes the form of Alice in Wonderland but adding  an adult feel to it. It is very strange and has you trying to find out if the person is who they say they are. Neil Gaiman is an author who can very quickly get you to know the protagonist. His characters are always in the thick of it and there is never a lull moment. Perhaps more well known for American Gods or Sandman, I liked this book more as it was darker, scarier and had more fun while reading it. (this is the opposite view of owner Ben Kong!)

 

 

 

 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I just said Neverwhere was my preferred book but it doesn’t mean that American Gods isn’t also an amazing book. Starts with a man called Shadow newly released from prison. Although not long out he is approached by a man called Mr Wednesday, nothing illegal, a glorified errand boy. He soon finds out that Mr Wednesday is none other than Odin the All-Father who is set on destroying the ‘New Gods’ of the digital era and making us all remember the Nordic gods.

 

 

 

 

Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging is a sci-fi book with touches of fantasy in it. We follow a bunch of space explorers looking for a lost ark in space. This ark contains vast amounts of knowledge from Old Earth and it could make all the explorers rich. However, when the explorers find the ark, it has many self defence mechanisms.
This book isn’t just sci-fi live most people think, aliens, spaceships etc. But it is a true science fiction book where it delves into the “what if” category. True science fiction books makes you think. Big tick!

 

 

 

 

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a book by Philip K. Dick who’s book was made into a movie called Blade Runner. His story follows a bounty hunter called Rick Deckard and his journey in retiring the newest android models the nexus-6. Deckard goes through a lot of information while hunting down the 6 renegade androids. He is paranoid of everyone, because androids and humans look a like he has to administer empathy tests on practically everyone he meets even himself. He starts feeling empathy towards non-living objects and has to deal with all this and make a living.

Dick does not just write a simple science fiction books but delves much deeper philosophically and psychologically. Many times while reading this book I was placed in Deckard’s world and thought, can I do it?

 

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
What I found with GRRM is that he has a talent to write a variety of genres. Fevre Dream instantly hooked me in and I finished it within several days. The setting, the character depth and the storyline just draw you in. You can really start to appreciate Martin as an absolute genius and that he is not just a one series wonder. Fevre Dream is set in the steam boat era in the Mississippi. Abner Marsh has a failing business but when a mysterious stranger by the name of Joshua York offers to build him his dream boat, he cannot reject his offer any longer. However, when Joshua York refuses to come out during the day and makes unscheduled stops that takes up valuable delivering time, Marsh’s crew become disgruntled and Marsh has questions he would liked answered.

 

 

I am Legend by Richard Matheson
If you’ve seen the movie and haven’t read the book. Go get this book now. If you haven’t seen the movie, go get this book now! It isn’t a long read at 160 pages or so but in those few pages Matheson is able to describe to us the desolate world, the world that has been ravaged by a plague that killed off 90% of the population but leaving the other 10% transformed into zombie/vampire hybrids.

Robert Neville is the sole survivor. The book follows him as the last man on Earth. What if you had no one to talk to, nothing to do and at night, have to board up your home and pray the monsters don’t find a weakness in your homes’ defence.

 

 

Warbreaker by Brandson Sanderson
Warbreaker has a very unique magic system (as do all Sandersons’ books) where souls can be given away. The more souls a person have, the more power they have. From increased passive perception to animating objects to do the master’s bidding.

The storyline is about a God King who is about to marry a princess from a country called Hallendren. The King of Hallendren refuses to give up his precious daughter who wouldn’t survive the political onslaught but to refuse would be death to his kingdom. So instead he sends his second daughter. The treaty never mentions which princess…ah cunning, or is it?

Probably better known for his trilogy Mistborn and his ghost writing on ‘A Whell of Time. Sanderson has produced a couple of stand alone books, the other being Elantris. Warbreaker is better than Elantris because it has a better ending. Both books have very good writing and storylines and in Ben Kong’s list Elantris makes it over Warbreaker.

Legend by David Gemmell
Druss is The Legend. He has helped many kings conquer many difference foes. He is the most feared of Warriors. So isn’t it appropriate that he carries a giant axe larger than what most men could carry, let alone swing? However, Druss is now an old man but is still called upon by the Drenai Empire. The Nadir horde has come to invade, but to do so they must defeat the stronghold that is Dros Delnoch first. Out numbered, can one man really turn the tide?

Gemmell has written many books but this is the book that I recommend people to read if they want to read heroic fantasy, fantasy in general or want a new author to read. It is all action all of the time. It has great characterizations and descriptions of battles that you can vividly imagine them in your head. This book is perhaps really hard done by in Ben Kong’s Top 25 List.

Hope this list helps you to find some good reading. Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t suggest good books such as Heroes by Joe Abercrombie or Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson and such like books. The reason is, yes they are stand-alone books per se, but they are more enjoyable if you have read previous series to fully understand the characters which are in such said books.

 

About the author

Ben

Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!

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