Help me find an outrageously fantastic fantasy book to read to my darling

#1
Good day everyone.
While i adore fantasy in every form, i have only read the typical fantasy books until today. Elves. Dragons. Wizards. Vampires. Sauron look-alikes. Magic. Teenage drama soap camouflaged as literature.

I can't read another one just to see the usual variation of the sassy subhuman or endearing sarcastic author stain the pages with their respective (and repetitive) trades.
I crave wild fantasy. Much more because my sweeter half has requested a fantasy book and i want to show her how great it can be, yet i don't currently have the physical chance to write one myself. (And she has read LotR.)

So please, i would like some recommendations. The wildest fantasy you have read, unlike every staple of the genre. The wildest thing i have read is perhaps Terry Brooks' Landover cycle, but i loathe the bland traditionalism of his endless Shannara Cycle... or perhaps those Artemis Fowl books, which still reeked of a post-modern neverland. Peter Pan and The Neverending Story are actually fairly wild and the best examples i can think of, ultimately.

Finally, consider i am an avid fantasy manga reader and am pretty well versed with the dlightful fantasy hodgepodges the nipponics can do with their media culture. I can't believe we have nothing alike in our western literature!

Thank you in advance.
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
#2
wildest?? Oh wow here we go.

Abercrombie = dark humor + badarse characters

Butcher's dresden files = Humor + ocassional sex + bad arse sarcasm )loved these ones)

ASoIaF = politics + murder + intrigue + sex + dragons

I love all of these and these would be my rec if you want something new and out of the box.

For awesome ... i guess what we would call our staples here on the forum i'd go ...

Sanderson = unique magic + awesome characters + awesome wourld building

Rothfuss = uniqu magic+ fantasic character development (some consdier it slow)

On a last note try reading it aloud, hilarity with ensue when youtry to do different voices for different characters if you are reading ASoIaF :p
 

Dale

Mixes poisons and sharpens knives with Kylar
#4
When you say wild, the first author that springs to mind is Neil Gaiman. He has a very distinct style, and he puts a lot of thought into his work. Stardust and American Gods are two of the most bizarrely wonderful novels I've read.

I'd also recommend the books Danica has mentioned above (with the exception of the Dresden File which I haven't read).
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#5
When you say read to my darling...does that mean your son/daughter?

I'm currently reading Coraline by Neil Gaiman to my kids. Captivated is a good word. As Dale said, Gaiman is wild. Neverwhere is by him is also very good.
 
#6
When you say read to my darling...does that mean your son/daughter?

.
OY! Good catch Jon.

When you say wild, what exactly do you mean?

Sam Sykes' books are funny, full of wild magic, running around fighting monsters, characters are very colorful to say the least. Violence. Definitely for adults.
 

Laurentius

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
It sounds as if you want a standalone book.

For a lot of great books, looky here: Top 25 Best Stand Alone Fantasy Books | Best Fantasy Books

Aside from these, i would suggest:

Stardust by Neil Gayman (there's a fantastic, fun and brilliant movie of the same name. Neil Gayman was involved in the movie aswell!). Neil Gayman is a master of creating fantastic worlds, characters with little quirks, and making it a fun and addictive read at the same time, in my opinion. Perhaps my favourite book made into movie. Both are great!

Warbreaker or Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Both books are great, with unique magic systems and a solid story. Warbreaker is the better book, althought Elantris is a close second in my opinion. I consider Brandon Sanderson to be the best writer in modern fantasy right now. The proverb "the sky is the limit" was not meant for him. He often supercedes my expectations and have a nag for writing the most addictive books. Hard to put down once you begin.

If you want something which is part of a series, I suggest going for "the Farseer trilogy" by Robin Hobb. Fantastic books, considered by many here to be some of the best fantasy written to date. There's 3 books and they are not too long. Male protagonist, good solid story, exciting story and world. Great character-writing. If you want to get her hooked, go for this series.

I hope you find what you're looking for and remember to let us know if you liked the book(s) or not.
 
#10
Ayreos,

do some research on these books. People on this forum read really heavy stuff, and their twisted black humor (I mean this as a compliment) may not be something your other half likes. Books that you have read so far they read them to their kids. If you have something specific in mind you'll find help here.
 
#11
Oh, but i am receiving marvelous recommendations. Luckily my nearby library is quite stocked! And that despite my vague request. Not for nothing, it's a forum about fantasy literature!

To make it clear, my sweeter half is, of course, my wife. (Albeit we're not married.) We have already found a few books you guys recommended and will give them a go soon. (We read them aloud.)

As for what i meant with wild fantasy, well, i left it vague on purpose. In my imagination i was envisioning something that transcends the common notion of "fantasy literature" and actually provides more "raw fantasy", as in, i am looking for the most imaginative books! However, i am quite satisfied with the interpretation of "wild" this forum seems to tend to as well!

Stardust by Neil Gayman (there's a fantastic, fun and brilliant movie of the same name.
We watched the movie and loved it. The book will surely fit in our bookshelf.

Peter Pan and Neverending Story threw me off......if that's wild.
In my eyes they're more imaginative, in concept, than stories about wizards and dragons and knights. They provide a unique outlook on fantasy that, at the very least, doesn't clearly stem from the epic genre which most fantasy writers seem to aspire to or make fun of (or both!).

I remember reading various shannara cycles from Terry Brooks years ago, and today i can't really remember one book from another, although i can vaguely recall the overarching plot and basic events. Zimmery Bradley's books are more unique in my memory, but again, other than the twist of the alien world, it's hard for me to recall it in the same distinguished manner as books like The Neverending Story, Peter Pan or even Alice in Wonderland. I liked all those books when i read them, but they haven't stimulated me as much as i crave to be stimulated from fantasy literature. (Science fiction books seem to fare much better in my memory, so i believe this is the fault of the High Fantasy genre!)
 

Frizzo0133

Is a wondrous friend of modest Kruppe
#12
You want original fantasy look to Brandon Sanderson, it doesn't get more original than him. He's the master of creating magic systems that no one has come close to imagining. He's a great character writer as well, there's a reason he was chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series, a huge reason. Elantris, the Mistborn books, Warbreaker, and the Stormlight Archives series are all some of the best/most original books to come out in the last 20 years by a long shot.

I'll most certainly, as I always do, recommend Joe Abercrombie's works, he prides himself on turning fantasy conventions on their heads. His stuff is dark, brutal, and incredibly hilarious, you'll laugh out loud against your own will several times no matter how wrong the scene is.

Patrick Rothfuss is pretty much can't miss any day of the week.

Seriously though, just look to the main website for your needs, there's only one series I picked up that was recommended on the main site that I regretted bothering with, all of the other recommendations have been spot on.
 
#13
AAAAh, creative, different, good writing, no cliches ... now you're talking. Forget about Sam Sykes unless you are in a mood for something light and funny although different.
Malazan Book of the Fallen Stephen Erikson is beyond words
R.Scott Bakker The Prince of Nothing, I have never read anything like it
Richard Morgan The Steel Remains beats all cliches in fantasy
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#14
AAAAh, creative, different, good writing, no cliches ... now you're talking. Forget about Sam Sykes unless you are in a mood for something light and funny although different.
Malazan Book of the Fallen Stephen Erikson is beyond words
R.Scott Bakker The Prince of Nothing, I have never read anything like it
Richard Morgan The Steel Remains beats all cliches in fantasy
Bakker is either love or hate...and I LOATHE! hehe
 
#16
Wild and fantastic, huh? For me, Piers Anthony's Xanth series comes to mind. It balances childlike wonder and adult themes pretty well, and it's literally the punniest series out there. I've only read the first nine or so, but the series runs over twenty seven books long, and only gets more creative and fantastic it goes along.

Sanderson is also an amazing writer, one who consistently goes better with every book he writes. His magic systems are pretty detailed, and help to freshen up the genre instead of reusing the same old vague systems of wizards and magic words.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Not sure if it would fit your criteria of "wild" but everyone should give Joe Abercrombie's books a read. Terrific writer. I would second the recommendations of Brandon Sanderson. And I assume you are already aware of A Song of Ice and Fire?

As for what i meant with wild fantasy, well, i left it vague on purpose. In my imagination i was envisioning something that transcends the common notion of "fantasy literature" and actually provides more "raw fantasy", as in, i am looking for the most imaginative books!
Well... I hate to say it, but maybe you can give China Mieville a try. His books are by no means typical Fantasy; in fact, they barely qualify as Fantasy at all, and instead offer a mish-mash of various genres and tropes. And they are nothing if not imaginative.
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
#18
oh afa .. bringing out the big ones = Mieville is one crazy arse guy. read up on him first is my suggestion.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#19
Oh, I agree. Mieville is not for everyone (certainly not for me, as regulars here (I like to refer to us as "Regs") are likely aware) but his style does seem to fit with the OP's requirement of novels that go beyond 'normal' Fantasy.
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#20
After thinking quite a bit about this, here is my recommendations for the most "outrageously wild and fantastic fantasy books" or perhaps also defined as "unconventional fantasy books with attitude"

Landover Series (Brooks) -- probably the strangest premise for a fantasy tale. But it strangely, works.
The City & The City (China Mieville) -- one of the strangest ideas I've ever read about, but a very good "detective" tale. For more weird, seek out Perdido Street Station by same author.
The Dresden Files (over the top power-up paranormal urban fantasy with a charming protaganist)
Heroes Die (Stover) -- if god could be worshiped with violence, then this book is the high priest. Absolutely over-the-top-outrageous violence and a unique and compelling plot. Must read if you are not squeamish)
The First Law series (Abercrombie) -- sets up the standard fantasy conventions then smashes them to pieces
Lies of Locke Lamora -- an outrageous protagonist and a compelling story all round
The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (Hughart) -- featuring the wisest and very often drunk protagonist set in a China that never was. With a title and description like that, how can you NOT read it?
A Spell for Chameleon (Piers Anthony) -- I can't believe I recommending this author here, but for different fantasy that's pretty adolescent, romantic, wild, and doesn't take itself too seriously give it a read
The Anubis Gates (Tim Powers) -- for time travel, gods, and just about everything else under the sun in this spectacular novel. So many ideas thrown together into a melting pot with the taste still being good
Gormenghast -- Bizarre gothic fantasy that's baroque, lavish, and delicious. Note, if you're an action fanatic with little patience for the beauty of language, skip.
The Magicians (Lev Grossman) -- one of my favorite novels with some very interesting ideas. It's also got some very sarcastic humor. Sort of a sarcastic evil version of Alice in Wonderland and The Chronicles of Narnia with a depressed Harry Potter thrown in.
The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett) -- some of the funniest fantasy series (Discworld) out there set in an over-the-top world with over-the-top characters.
Terry Goodkind -- for plenty "what the hell is the author actually writing here" and "is the author actually writing this crap?" moments during the 10 or so books
Books of the New Sun (Gene Wolf) -- rich, bizarre, beautiful, strange, exotic -- these words come to mind when reading this SF/Fantasy books. Not necessary an easy read, but true literature.
Fevre Dream (George R.R. Martin) -- forget about Twilight and the normal vampire cliques. This is a unique vampire tale and you won't read anything else like it.
Watership Down (Richard Adams) -- a classic, but fits your description
The Tower of Fear (Glen Cook) -- unconventional. Give it a go.
The Name of the Wind (Rothfuss) -- a wild ADVENTURE in the truest sense of the word and one of the most beloved fantasy books out there right now. Give this to your loved one for sure
Stardust (Gaimen)-- romance, fun, exotic landscapes and peoples, a fairy tale story. Brings to mind The Neverending Story and Peter Pan. A good one for the kids
Neverending Story -- childhood dreams coming true. Other similar reads would include Stardust, Peter Pan, Spirited Away (anime), Alice in Wonderland