Have You Read This Book?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by btkong, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. btkong

    btkong Journeyed there and back again Staff Member

    At the request of Hand of Fear I've created this thread.

    The idea is to ask fellow members for their opinion on a book you are considering reading/buying and get some feedback on the book before you sink your time/money into that book!

    Of course, if you guys post anything specific related to the plot, please use the SPOILER tag (located as the far right button on the toolbar).
     
  2. bobo

    bobo Knows how to pronounce Kvothe

    Doesn't this kind of serve a similar function to the "I Like this, so recommend to me..." thread?
     
  3. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    Hi Bobo, It's different to that thread because the person who posts will be looking to buy/read a singular book that they maybe interested in and is a little bit unsure.

    So the person who posts a message there, would be looking for feedback, with the other post it's a little different in that people will make suggestions based on what you have read before.
     
  4. bobo

    bobo Knows how to pronounce Kvothe

    OK, then let me get the ball rolling. I've been on the lookout for a fast paced UF and a friend recommended to me a series called Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia. Anyone here read this and care to comment? Seems like he self published at first but was later picked up by a major publisher when it did well. Online reviews seem positive but would value any inputs from the BFB community.
     
  5. btkong

    btkong Journeyed there and back again Staff Member

    I've read the first, or part of it. I'm a fan of butcher's The Dresden Files so I wanted something in that vein. In short, MHI wasn't what I was looking for. I had problems really getting into the book. If you want a series that doesn't take itself to seriously, heavy on action, and has a sort of high-school like romance theme (uncool kid trying to impress the cool girl), give it a read.

    IMO, much better Urban Fantasy books out there:

    Felix Caster series
    Dresden Files series
    Sandman Slim series
    Twenty Palaces series
    The Iron Druid Chronicles
     
  6. Buffy V Slayer

    Buffy V Slayer Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Hey fellow BFBers, I was recently given a couple of new series by a family friend who found out I read fantasy, and who reads a lot of fantasy himself. Just wanted to see what you thought about them before I give them a read so I know what to expect (Ie. What kind of fantasy they are, how well they are written, good/bad characterization, plot etc). The first is Glenda Larke's Stormlord series, and the other is Karen Miller's Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series. Let me know what you think!
     
  7. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    So. I have actually read both, though it's been awhile. I had some annoyances with Larke's Stormlord series (e.g. character names, traveling on giant insects, how water is allocated), but I think it is better than anything I've read by Karen Miller. The characters do face some tough choices. Although for me, it bordered on YA (sometimes I read YA).

    I actually find Miller's work painful to read. It's not any specific grammar mistakes I remember, but rather the way the characters talk. (This does not give away any of the plot, so there are no spoiler tags.) There are two groups of people living in one country; one group (Doranen, I think) makes up the upper classes and speaks basically normally. The other group (Olken, if memory serves) has lived alongside the Doranens for hundreds of years (at least) but talks in a bizarre dialect, which is, unfortunately, written out in painful detail on the page. Not so much spelling but words, expressions, turns of phrase. Think Huckleberry Finn but with more than half the characters talking like Jim, only not done as well. There's some former ruler/wizardess type who has been elevated almost to the status of a goddess, and her name is Barl. Really. Just Barl. So all the characters' curses invoke her name. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
     
  8. Buffy V Slayer

    Buffy V Slayer Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Thanks for the advice. You and I seem to have the same penchant for smooth language, so I will definitely be wary of the Karen Miller series. Do you think that the Stormlord series is worth a go?
     
  9. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    Well, I just re-read my review on my blog of the third one (don't go there if you don't like spoilers, by the way). I was kind of "meh" on the whole series. I did not mention any language issues in my review (other than the character names), and usually if there is something that really bothers me, I'll mention it in a review. (You may notice too many phrases in the book beginning with the prefix "water-" -- that, I do remember.)

    If you have a lot of time on your hands, it's not a bad choice. Especially if you didn't have to pay for the books. There are certainly some Amazon reviewers who love the series. (Also, I think the characterization isn't fully realized until the final book in the series, so the first one may be rough going.)

    I see that I'm hesitating to say "go for it" or "avoid it" with any kind of certainty. If your friend thinks you'll like it, maybe give at least the first one a try? Then you'll have something to discuss with him and an idea of whether or not to go further.
     
  10. Laurentius

    Laurentius Super Moderator Staff Member

    The Stormlord series is below average in my opinion. Run of the mill 'boy goes on a lifechanging journey' story. It's okay as a filler, but not more. It's not very creative and there are next to no surprises.

    Kingmaker, Kingbreaker on the other hand I loved. Sneaky summed the plot up pretty well, but what she thinks detracted points, I just thought gave it a curious quirk.

    A quick backstory: Thousands of years ago the Doranen people fled to a new country, and Barl (the goddess) created a magical barrier to keep out the evil Morg (a legendary sorcerer. Pretty evil too). This new country was populated by the Olken people. The thing is, the Doranen people has magic, and the Olken does not.
    Fast forward to the present (where our story takes place) and the Olken has been subjugated to be a servent-like people, ruled by the Doranen magicians.

    There's class seperation, and a pretty big one at that. I found the slang to be annoying sometimes too, but I enjoyed it more than I disliked it. It's fitting, and there are a few fun phrases inbetween.

    The story itself is standard, but above average. I really loved the maincharacter. He's so indifferent about some things and oblivious sometimes. He's likeable and so very very frustrating. He's that kid you know can do very good if he applies himself, but making him do it is a battle in and of itself.

    I'm not a native speaker, so I didn't find the language to be any problem, and actually enjoyed the book more once I familiarized myself with the slang. Have read the series a few times and still find it equally parts frustrating and enjoyable.

    Kingmakes, Kingbreaker is your go to story!

    Barls tits woman, get to reading it now!!! :D
     
  11. Laurentius

    Laurentius Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've read Dead Six by Larry Correia, and it's an excellent read. It's pure Mission Impossible 1 action. Great and fast paced read. Not fantasy though. Can't speak for the fantasy side of his books, but if it's as enjoyable as Dead Six, it'll be an enjoyable read.
     
  12. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    I was looking for someone else to say this. I think it's why I was so hesitant about recommending it.

    I do think you're right about Asher (from Kingmaker, Kingbreaker). But most of what I said earlier was based on discussions Buffy and I have had lately about writing, language, etc.
     
  13. bobo

    bobo Knows how to pronounce Kvothe

    Thanks for the feedback. Totally agree with you on Dresden Files and Felix Castor series. I've tried the first book of the Iron Druid Chronicles and found it wanting. Iron Druid had too much of a Twilight feel to it. IMO, I'll place it below the Alex Verus series. Still trying to get hold of the first book of the Twenty Palaces (trying to rent it and avoid purchasing if possible).

    Thanks for bringing up the Sandman Slim series again. Read it on the main site (under Dresden similar books) way back when I first started Dresden but forgot all about it. May give it a go.
     
  14. Buffy V Slayer

    Buffy V Slayer Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Thanks Laurentius and Sneaky! I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what I'm getting into if I decide to start one of these series!
     
  15. Zarien

    Zarien Knows how to pronounce Kvothe


    I'm a bit in the 50/50 category here with the two series. I really enjoyed asher, and the original set of books from kingmaker, but I HATED the sequel set of the series. I'm really surprised by the stormlord hate here. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the best series, but If you had asked me to compare the entire storyline of the stormlord series and the entire storyline of karen miller's books, I probably would have gone with stormlord.

    The reasoning there is that though the first book's characterization was a bit bland, and like you all said there were a lot of foreseeable plot lines, I enjoyed the later books where I felt the series picked up more, and the ending of stormlord more than I did the ending of karen millers series. However, I could just be angry with how karen miller executed the sequel Fisherman's children books. I also felt that while I really enjoyed Asher, he was about the only person I really enjoyed in karen miller. Whereas though the characters were a bit more generalized, I felt they were overall better than karen miller's characters, asher excluded.

    If we are only comparing kingmaker/kingbreaker to stormlord, and we stopped with those original books, then start with kingmaker. But if we were honest and looked at both series overall, I wouldn't place one series much above the other, and would label both filler to a lot better series out there.
     
  16. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    I didn't care for those much either. Especially the parts with Asher's son. I think there is now a prequel starring Barl and Morg and I am just going to stay away from it.

    I am with you on that.
     
  17. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    Since I'm the one who asked for this thread I thought I'd put it to you all and ask if anyone one here has read Ocean at the end of the Lane, I know Jon has reviewed it and didn't seem fussed but would like to hear your views.

    It seems to have had good reviews on Amazon and Waterstones, but I value your opinions more !
     
  18. btkong

    btkong Journeyed there and back again Staff Member

    I've got a soft place in my heart for Urban Fantasy. So much so that I'm going to crack out a dedicated list on the main site Just for "Similar Books to Dresden Files"

    Dresden Files series (the one we compare it all to)

    • Alex Verus (Similar to Dresden -- hell even, Butcher shouts out this novel on the cover as something similar to Dresden. Main character is not as powerful as dresden, but has a unique power in that he can foresee some future events and make his plans based on that. Highly recommended.)
    • Felix Caster series (dark, gritty, main character is a down and out detective/exorcist. Some similar feel to dresden, but main character is far less kick ass and tend to get ass kicked most of the time)
    • Garret, P.I. (kind of a supernatural detective that's very norish. By Cook, the author of The Black Company series). Fantastic
      Twenty Palaces series (dark, gritty, main character a more low power version of Dresden)
    • Sandman Slim series (dark with an interesting main character. Kind of a Hell's Angels type goes to hell and escapes to get revenge on the people who sent him there)
    • Dirty Streets of Heaven (A very good urban fantasy in the Dresden vein. Williams is an amazing writer, one of the better novels to come out in this vein).
    • Nightside (dark and gritty. Very over the top with super heroes and super villians being thrown in at will. Funny and dark, but if you want a series where all the rules of magic are laid out in a straight line, this one is not for you).
    • Williams, Liz The Snake Agent
    • Rivers of London series
    • The Iron Druid Chronicles (probably the "closest" theme wise to Dresden. Less dark and gritty. To me though it feels like a copycat that's not as good as original. But give a read if you are desperate for almost an exact Dresden clone, down to his magical amulet)
    • Monster Hunter International (if you like shoot em up monster urban fantasy with lots of guns, battles and gore, you might like this one. The plot and characters are pretty cardboard to me, but if you are looking for something pulpy with a high school-like plot, you might find it entertaining. Disclaimer: I never managed to finish it)
     
  19. bobo

    bobo Knows how to pronounce Kvothe

    Don't forget Glen Cook's Garrett PI series. Haven't read it myself but always here it mentioned when looking for series similar to Dresden.

    And I would think the Joe Pitt series by Charlie Huston should be in the list too. I personally enjoyed this series very much. Yes, the hero's a vampire but the books are strictly for male UF audience and I feel that they have a lot more in common with Dresden then some of the others on the list, in terms of plot pacing and hero treatment. Hero's badass but in the vampire social society, he's an outcast and tries his best to do the right thing.
     
  20. Danica

    Danica Queen of the boards! Staff Member


    Same series ;)
     

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