Help required! Please......

JohnG

A farm boy with a sword
#1
Since childhood i have always had an interest in Fantasy, and during my younger years i read a lot of children's Fantasy books until i was about 12 years of age, at which time i stopped reading altogether.

About 2 years ago i started reading again when a friend introduced me to 'A Song Of Fire And Ice' by G R R Martin, i find this series absolutely brilliant and have since read all books in the series to date. After this my passion for Fantasy was re-ignited, and i was keen to find another series to get my teeth into, everything pointed to 'The Wheel Of Time' series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. I started this series and quite enjoyed the first four books, the fifth book i struggled through and i gave up completely half way through book 6 (I wasn't surprised by this as it's widely reported that this series totally flops around books 5, 6 & 7).

Not being disheartened too much by my disappointment i eagerly sought another series to try, when i stumbled into Steven Erikson's awesome "Malazan Book Of The Fallen'. I found this series unbelievably engaging and was absolutely addicted from the start of 'Gardens Of The Moon' to the end of 'The Crippled God', I seriously believe that i will never find a Fantasy series that even comes close to the sheer brilliance of these books.

Unfortunately upon finishing the series i realised that i needed to find another series to get stuck into (I know Erikson has recently released part one of 'The Kharkanhas Trilogy' and has another trilogy rumoured to be lined up after that, however after 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' i am reluctant to start another series that is not yet finished).

I have tried Raymond Feist's 'Riftwar Saga', Robin Hobb's 'Farseer Trilogy' and Joe Abercrombie's 'First Law Trilogy'. The first two supposed Fantasy classics, and the latter by supposedly one of the best upcoming Fantasy authors.....I gave up part way through the first book in each of these Trilogies. After the brilliance of Martin and Erikson, these books felt like children's books to me, i just could not engage with them at all. Not enough characters, not enough description, not grand enough in scale, you don't have to think about the plot at all, everything is too straight forward.....I seriously felt like i was reading Harry Potter, or the 'Spooks' series. I know some people will say that Joe Abercrombie totally flips all the typical Fantasy conventions on their head part way through 'The Blade Itself' but i just couldn't bring myself to get far enough to see any evidence of this at all. For me the writing in all three of these is not in the same league as Martin and Erikson.

So really what i'm trying to say is what other Fantasy series' will cater for my taste?

Only last night i started 'The Darkness That Comes Before', Book One of 'The Prince Of Nothing' series by R Scott Bakker. After reading both the Prologues and the first chapter i am quite excited about this series and hopefully it will not disappoint.

I have also looked at 'Shadows Of The Apt' by Adrain Tchaikovsky which i may try in the future, however this looks to be more Sci-Fi than Fantasy.

Any suggestions on other series' for me to try will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Sounds like you're a military fantasy kinda guy! Why don't you check out the 'best military fantasy list' on the homepage. I imagine there'll be something there that floats your boat! I haven't read them myself but it sounds as though Glen Cook books might be up your street!
 

blitzburns4

Owns a Ring of Power
#3
Sounds like you're a military fantasy kinda guy! Why don't you check out the 'best military fantasy list' on the homepage. I imagine there'll be something there that floats your boat! I haven't read them myself but it sounds as though Glen Cook books might be up your street!
Like Tom said, Glen Cook should be right up your alley. Her Black Company series inspired Erikson (At least to some degree) to write Malazan. I even think one of his books is dedicated to Glen Cook.

To an extent, I agree that those two series are unquestionably the best and most epic. If you want to take a different route then Military Fantasy (Erikson) and Gritty Fantasy (Martin) then you could always go For Historical Fiction. Let me tell you, (Especially the classics) there is some damn good Historical Fiction out there. Do some research and see what suits you. I personally recommend Dumas (If you want something contemporary) and the Homeric Epics (If you want something similar to Epic Fantasy) and similar works, however. (Beowulf, Icelander Sagas, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Das Nibelungenlied.) What's really interesting is that many works of Epic Poetry are gross exaggerations of a real event(s) or important leaders/warriors in history. It really gives you something to think about. The best part is that most of these works can be found for free online.

Epic Poetry is truly the precursor Epic Fantasy. Even after reading ASoIaF, and starting to read MBotF, I still think The Iliad is better then any individual work within any given fantasy series.

Oh, and also The Cold Fire Trilogy and The Broken Empire should be up your alley. They're apparently both pretty dark.
 

JohnG

A farm boy with a sword
#4
Brilliant thanks Guys, i will have a look at your suggestions.

Is 'Shadows Of The Apt' worth a try? I quite fancy it.
 

blitzburns4

Owns a Ring of Power
#5
Brilliant thanks Guys, i will have a look at your suggestions.

Is 'Shadows Of The Apt' worth a try? I quite fancy it.
No problem. I enjoy discussing Fiction.

Anyways, to answer your question, I've never heard of it. Looking at the wikipedia page there seem to be a few negative indicators though. First, the guy seems to be pretty new to the writing world with his first novel being published in 2008. The best authors (Erikson, Cook, and Martin) that you and I love have at least been writing 10+ years (With Martin and Cook writing since the 70s. and 80s.) Next, the series you are asking about is the first and only series he's written. I went ahead and took a peek at the plot summary, and I'm sorry to say it seems a bit cliche. If you are going to go with a cliche plot, you may as well read something that is at least considered literary. (IE Robert E. Howard and/or Tolkien.) Otherwise, a person with your high standards may be disappointed. I'd also like to say, as a side point, is that I've never even heard of him. I'm not a complete addict when it comes to reading, but I consider myself at least somewhat experienced in it. In all my reading ventures, countless times going to the Library, Barns & Noble, and Fantasy/Sci-FI Book Review and/or News Websites I've never even seen the guy's name before.

Mind you, none of those things should be THE factors that decide whether you should purchase those novels or not, as there are some HUGE exceptions to nearly every rule. Some of the best authors are published by no-name houses, and best novels written by new authors. Some of the best fiction I've ever read had the most-cliche plots ever. Some of the best stories where published within only the last five years. As I said, though, they are simply indicators. To give the guy some credit, he's a published author by one of the best publishers. (Tor.) So I'm sure the guy is at least decent. The best advice I can give to you is to read an online sample on Amazon, try to find reviews online, or go to the library and see if they have the first novel. Go ahead and set aside a few hours and read the first novel. If you enjoy it, by all means purchase it. However, even some of the best fantasy authors start to sag after a few books, and this guy has ten. Take it one book at a time rather then purchasing all eight at once.

Again, these novels seem a bit cliche and simple, which is understandable since the guy is a pretty new author as well. Mind you, I'd like to very firmly point out that doesn't bother me the slightest. I'm proud to say that I read the most cliche, weird, preachy, and unpopular stuff out there and seem to be the only one whom enjoys it. (Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Lewis Carroll, and C.S. Lewis.) However, seeing that you seem to have pretty high standards, you may be disappointed.

P.S. I don't know if this is something that may have piqued your interest in these novels, but I couldn't help but notice the awesome book cover art for these books. I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but I'd like to remind you that a book should never be judged by it's cover 90% of the time, as the covers' art and design are usually created and decided by the publisher rather then the author, and specifically made to sucker people into buying books on the spot in bookstores.
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#6
Haha, I'm glad lots of people are giving you suggestion.

I'm all like o_0 at you saying you gave up half way on Book 1 of Farseer. The others I understand. But really..Gave up on Assassin's Apprentice?

Perhaps go read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It is a stand alone but has lots and lots of detail.
 

Antoxx

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Hmmmm, certainly hard to please if you didn't enjoy Abercrombie and Hobb. Seems like you're after epic epics but other than that bit hard to tell what you might also enjoy as you haven't detailed why Erikson and Martin were so good for you. What about Esslemont's Malazan books? Not rated as highly as Erikson but set in same world so should have a familiar feel. Was going to recommend Abraham's Long Price Quartet but feel it might not be grand/epic eneough for you. If you want realism which is low (mostly non existent) on the magic, KJ Parker might suit.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#8
I was wondering the same thing. From what I know of Malazan, it is written on a very large, epic scale, somewhat like ASoIaF. But then, WoT is probably the 'epicest' of all, and you didn't like that.

Very difficult... Well, it's not at all the same as Martin or Erikson, but if you're up for change of pace, try out The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Not really at all like the other books you've enjoyed, but... what the hell, right?

How about Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy? Not as 'gritty' as Martin/Erikson (if that's a priority) but an engaging storyline. And once Sanderson is done expanding on the story as per his plan, it should be hugely epic, spanning hundreds of years...
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
#9
So really what i'm trying to say is what other Fantasy series' will cater for my taste?
I've been thinking about this ever since you posted it. So i'm not ignoring but you have such specific tastes and seem to dislike things outside of it. Most of us here are well read Fantasy wise, but you picked two series known for their originality and brilliance, so short answer, you're going to be hard pressed to find something as awesome. From what I can gather ... you need a few things for a book to engage you.


Not enough characters, not enough description, not grand enough in scale, you don't have to think about the plot at all, everything is too straight forward
The Black Company by Glen Cook has been suggested. Let me tell you a bit more about why I think it fits your needs. The series is about a mercenary company and that is why it is epic in scale. There as so many references to other people that have came before him and the deeds they have done, the history of the company is long and detailed. The draw back to that is it is told in first person, without warning you might hate it first up, i read it so long ago I don't remember if i had trouble to start off with or not. There is description, there are battles and they travel of course, so you get an understanding of the life that the company leads and where they go and what they do. I found it really interesting to escape into a world that a book i've read hasn't explored before.

Ok I am well aware this next one is a pretty tricky one. The series is unfinished (I know i know! I'm sorry) but it fits another one of your indicators like only a very FEW books do. What you need to understand is that a good series with a heap of different characters is pretty rare, it takes a lot of time and effort on the authors part and so many suck because they didn't get it right. To top that off, if it is completed, it means it was started close to a million years ago and probably had a few really crap books (WoT) or the style sucks (my opinion) because it is so old (Eric of Melnibone).

So with that in mind ^^ I will give you the rec, J.V Jones Sword of Shadows series. Now before I start, it is no where near as good as Martins (but nothing is) however it has a few things going for it. There are a crap load of characters. Most are really well developed. There are heaps of shocks in the plot developments and the world is pretty large in scale. There is a vivid history that makes the world so old and interesting it was perhaps my favourite part of the books. There are so many plot points running through the story that you kind of lose yourself in the books trying to keep it all straight (i think you'd like that). I remember while reading a had a lot of similar feelings while reading Martin's series. Like hatred when your fav character has something bad happen to them. The best part of books like these is that you normally know the 'bad' guy too so the anguish and hatred is so much stronger then getting angry at a random person the author didn't bother to tell you about in detail.

Ok one more.

David Gemmell, this guy is a pro, he writes the same type of story but with different characters. So i don't rec you read EVERYTHING has ever written in one go, you'll start to hate on him. I do however rec you read his TRoy trilogy. Everyone on this forum who has read it loved it. Stop thinking Troy the movie and Troy the Greek myth, this book it isn't that. Is an incredibly detailed story with rich histories, amazing characters and epic battles. It isn't as long as the series you have read and loved but i think it is pretty epic in it's own right.

With all of that ^ I will let you go. I've spend like half an hour on this post so please know we are trying to do our best to find books you will love. if you don't like the ones we recommend don't hate us :p just come back and tell us why you didn't like these ones and we'll do our best to try and scrounge up some others more to your taste.

oh and WELCOME to the boards!
 

JohnG

A farm boy with a sword
#11
Ok plenty of suggestions here so thanks to you all for your comments, i will certainly be looking into them when i get chance.

epicfantasyfreak you're exactly right, complexity, intelligent writing, depth etc is definitely what i'm looking for.

I'm currently half way through book one of the "Prince Of Nothing' trilogy by R. Scott Bakker and am enjoying it immensely, The storyline keeps me guessing, i keep wondering about certain things in the plot, who certain characters are and their motives, only for them to be subtly revealed later on in the story. There's plenty of seemingly un-connected things happening (all of which i'm sure will conjoin in some huge way later), so many so that i had to draw myself a little diagram to attempt to piece together all the different goings on. I had to do this a few times during the Malazan series and it's something that i love in a book, the knowledge that i have to work hard to understand and appreciate everything the author is revealing about the world and the characters, as oppose to a straight forward transparent plot when i have a good idea what is going to happen at the end.

So it looks like i've finally found myself a new series to get engrossed in, lets hope it continues to be as good all the way through.

Keep up the suggestions though guys, i'll soon be on the lookout for my next Fantasy fix.