Fantasy with well developed magic system

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Christoffer, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Christoffer

    Christoffer A Muggle

    I have been looking for this for ages and i cant seem to find much that i like. What im after is fantasy with great magic, like Wheel of time wich is so far the ebst magic system i've come across.

    Im not sure if im supposed to post this here, im new to the forum, if im in the wrong spot just move me/tell me where to go, thanks!
  2. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    What about Brandon Sanderson, he has great magic systems and I'm sure a few other forums memebers will mention him.
  3. Christoffer

    Christoffer A Muggle

    maybe i should've mentioned what i've read

    GoT,WoT,Way of kings, the mistborn trilogy,Eragon, harry potter, hm i cant actually think of anything more right now but yeah.
  4. Hovannes

    Hovannes A Muggle

    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time, is one of my favorites as well. I get the feeling that you want to sink your teeth into something where the writer understands how magic actually works, at least within his own universe. Rituals, material components, projection of magical force, and how it is organized/classified so you can follow its development/use.

    Try reading Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy. It was published in the 1980s if memory serves and is the first of the trilogy.

    Just my tow cents;
  5. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    I haven't read Malazan book of the Fallen yet but that seems to have a good magic system and you seem to like epic books.
  6. moonspawn

    moonspawn Journeyed there and back again

    I'm glad somebody decided to post a thread like this since I'm also looking for fantasy with interesting and consistent magic. Like Hand said, Malazan does have a very complex and interesting magic system, but as the reader you're not going to have much understanding of it until book 5. How much did you enjoy Mistborn and The Way of Kings? I ask because Brandon Sanderson is the best author at fabricating creative and consistent magic systems that I've read.
  7. Christoffer

    Christoffer A Muggle

    I really enjoyed the first and second book, the third book was alright, but not really good. The actuall magic system was cool though

    Also i really loved the way of kings, though it will be years and years untill we see all the books
  8. Christoffer

    Christoffer A Muggle

    Im just going to bump this because im looking for something new to read
  9. Aikura

    Aikura Became a Faceless Man

    Completely agree! (assume you were talking about Mistborn there)

    If you haven't already, try the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks.
  10. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    Really good recommendation there, it does take a little while to get used to light being used as a source of magic, but it does come together. I'm over halfway through The Black Prism, and can see me buying the second book even though I haven't finished the first one yet !
  11. TCSimpson

    TCSimpson Might as well be a Malazan regular

    I'll give that a third thumbs up.
  12. Adrian Diglio

    Adrian Diglio Killed in the battle against the Mad King

    I would recommend The Instrumentalities of the Night series by Glen Cook. I don't want to ruin it, but I really liked his system.
  13. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    I just like that series in general. But Glen Cook is one of my favorites. Bad thing: I don't think it's finished yet. However, Cook is not as slow at writing subsequent volumes as some other authors out there.
  14. btkong

    btkong Journeyed there and back again Staff Member

    Ok, what I consider the best magic systems in the fantasy world:

    Updated November 27 with a bunch of new suggestions
    • Wheel of Time probably the most well-developed of any magic system I've yet read. And it should be with 13 massive books in the series. Jordan was pedantic about building the fundamental rules of the magic system into a rigid, well developed set of rules.
    • Master of Five Magics: Very detailed breakdown of a magic system; almost mathematical in the way the rules are laid down. Engineering meets magic!
    • The Name of the Wind: Kind of reminded me of Master of Five Magics in a way. Different Magic Schools of study, some precise rules (especially the Sympathetic magic system which reminded me of Master of Five Magics)
    • A Man of His Word series by Dave Duncan: Awesome magic system based around a magic word that when spoken grants power to the user. The more the word is shared, the less power that word has as more users share that same power. Creates a world of scarcity where a select few are keeping magic words secret. Words are extremely rare and the people who have them are extremely powerful. The more words you collect, the more powerful you become. One word and you become very gifted in something. Two words and you become an Adept -- supremely skilled at one task (master swordsman, fighter, etc). Three and you become a mage. Four words and an all powerful sorcerer. This is a highly underrated series that most people have not read
    • Mistborn: Allomancy is one of the more interesting magic systems created in the fantasy landscape. Sanderson is very precise in the way he lays the whole magic system down with the consistent rules of what can be done and can't.
    • The Black Prism & The Blinding Knife: Color magic and completely unique -- I've never read any other fantasy book that has a magic system like this. It isn't fully developed until the second (AWESOME) book, but lots of details, lots of internal rules, and some seriously powerful people.
    • The Rune Lords: Another very cool magic system where you steal the power of others and add that power to your own. Very precise set of rules. I can't say I enjoyed the series as a whole, but the magic system is very well done.
    • The Warded Man: Demon Magic, diagrams, and wards. A detailed magic system that's, for the most part, internally consistent.
    • The Stormlight Archive: so many magical elements here with a great and fascinating magic system. It seems like there are multiple magic systems with ninja battle sorcerer like guys, knights with magical armor that gives them super human abilities, magic fairy creatures that bestow power upon users, ancient gods and evil demons. But only one book in, so we don't know how everything yet connects.
    • The Wizard of Earthsea: another epic fantasy with a good magic system that's internally consistent. A high emphasis placed on the COST of using magic and the entire plot of the last book is based on the cost of the protagonist's use of magic.
    • The Rithmatist: Another Sanderson magic system, and one that's very mathematical and precise. Nothing out there like it. Kind of reminds me of The Warded Man magic system, but more mathematical and better explained. Minus the demon magic part.
    • Mazalan Book of the Fallen: It's complex and takes books to figure out what's going on. But that complexity and the vast rules of warren magic make this a very detailed magic system. It's just not easy to understand what the hell is going on.
    • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: Treats magic kind of like a scientific field of study where it is possible to learn it if you understand the basic rules. Very well done, but the book is slow and many people who appreciate huge magical battles and calling fire from heaven ala Jordan might find themselves bored with the details. It isn't until near the end of the book where you start to see real powerful magic thrown around that can shake cities.
    • Mordant's Need by Stephen Donaldson: Mirror magic. A skilled imager can open a portal to infinite worlds. Sounds old and worn idea wise but Donaldson does some awesome new things with it.
    • The Magicians by Lev Grossman: A fantasy that subverts fantasy. One of the best fantasy books I've yet read (even if it's unappreciated) with an interesting magic system that's very detailed in the application and study of it. If you like the whole boy goes to a wizardry school conceit of Harry Potter, The Name of the Wind, The Wizard of Earthsea, you'll love this one.
    • Harry Potter: a good set of rules that govern the magic system.
    • The Magic of Recluse: another fantasy series with a quality magic system. This one divides magic into two sides: order and chaos with both being fundamentally apposed to each other. Practitioners on each side tend to have certain personalities and usually end up in conflicts. A heavy emphasis on the price of magic. You can perform great deeds but at extreme cost to your health.
    • A Spell for Chameleon: a kind of funny magic system that's pretty consistent. It's a system of magic where everyone (except the protaganist) in born with an innate magical talent that could be extremely powerful to as something as useless as making dots appear on the ground. I don't like any of the other books in the series, but this was the first and best of the Xanth series and it was pretty entertaining

    • Instrumentalities of Night: already mentioned by someone but one of the more fascinating magic systems. Kind of assumes the world was a place of darkness ruled by powers of the night. Those powers can be harnessed by talented people. Hard to explain but a fascinating concept.
    • The Coldfire Trilogy: a very interesting magic system that's based on a world where your imagination creates reality. Only a few very powerful people who can control and shape their mind are able to master their environment.
    • The Darkness That Comes Before: Magic Systems of sorcery and a sort of Monk-style learned teaching that allows you to control people around you by reading what they do. Very cool
    • Full Metal Alchemist (anime). I thought I'd throw this in there too. This amazing anime really has one of the most well developed magic systems I've yet seen.
    • The Deathgate Cycle: Very D&Dish, but the magic system was pretty well done, very precise and pretty damn cool. If you like D&D style magic, this is the best you are going to find in that vein.
    • The Black Company. Interesting magic system with some rules that govern it. It's not as detailed as some of the others, but it's interesting to read about. The focus is not so much the magic system though but rather on a company of mostly regular mercenaries fighting to survive in a hopeless war between the forces of good and evil, with them being stuck squarely and unhappily on the side of evil.
    • Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher: Elemental magic that comes from...elemental creatures called Furies (aka, Pokemon). And the background set in world ruled by a sort of fantasy version of the Roman Legions. Can you say cool! All in all an interesting and certainly unique magic system that's pretty precise with the rules on how things work. Apparently Butcher created this series on a dare that he could make a fantasy series about anything even Roman Legions and Pokemon. And that's just what he did!
    • Warbreaker by Sanderson. Another interesting approach to magic that involves light (kind of like Week's The Black Prisim but not the same) where you generate it by giving your "breath" into something. The more breath that's given, the less color it has. The more breath something contains, the more colorful it is. The less color something has, the harder it is to control with breath
    • Across the Wall series by Garth Nix (Sabriel, etc). Interesting system of magic that's divided into a couple systems: Free Magic which is nature magic that can't be controlled or really understood, Charter Magic which is magic that can be controlled by symbols that define the structure of magic, and Necromancy which combines Charter magic and music with free magic to control the dead. A really cool magic system and an awesome set of novels. Think of the series as a horror fantasy series.
    • Kingdom of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes. Another interesting magic system where magic is derived by walking down a path through the resting place of a (dead) saint will grant certain abilities to the person who walks the path.
    • The Darkness That Comes Before. Competing sorcery schools of magic, an Anti-God adversary, and a martial art monk with observational powers that allow him to master men. Cool.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  15. Aikura

    Aikura Became a Faceless Man

    Am I the only one who has a 'holy crap' moment every time Ben posts something?

    I need to do some serious frickin' reading.
  16. Antoxx

    Antoxx Journeyed there and back again

    Agree with you entirely. Great post @btkong .
  17. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    I've been trying to find this book online for the last half and hour, and can't seem to find it. Is that book out of print ?
  18. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    I've read about 15 things from the list (probably because I've been buying books from the lists on the BFB site for awhile). But I've gotten some new ideas, too.
  19. btkong

    btkong Journeyed there and back again Staff Member

  20. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    OK, I found that one. The author isn't Stephen R. Donaldson, though -- I think that's what was tripping me (and maybe also @Hand of Fear) up.

    I do love used paperbacks from Amazon, though. I got most of the Recluce series that way, and The Swans' War. (I will say for The Magic of Recluce, if you've read one, you've read them all. The author has a tendency to write the same story over and over again.)

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