I like *this* so recommend me.....

Antoxx

Journeyed there and back again
Read Bloodsong. Loved it. The beginning and the school reminded me a tiny bit of the Left Hand of God.
Wow. Haven't read Left Hand of God, but the whole school thing did have me thinking of Harry Potter at one point. Mostly though it feels like a mix of Lawrence, Weeks' Night Angel with a dash of Cook's Black Company thrown in for good measure. So far, at least, as I'm about 40% of the way through.
 

Stefan

Possibly a Darkfriend
Hi,

I'm new to this forum.

This might be more of an "I don't like this, so recommend me..." post, as I think many of the most popular fantasy books
are pretty bad. However there are a few series I've enjoyed so much that I keep on searching for new stuff. Recommendations
would be great, especially if you agree a little with my taste, also I welcome any kind of discussion. I'd be happy to
explain in more detail why I like or dislike a certain series.

The two series I really love:

- Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, by Tad Williams
- The Chronicles of the Dragonlance, by Weis and Hickman

The reasons are similar: interesting and plausible characters, an ending that answers most open questions, you get the
feeling that the author knew what the ending would be before he started the first book, and, most important, the world and
the plot gradually unfold, which gives the reader a feeling of adventure and discovery.

Other series I like with some reservations:

- A Land of Ice and Fire (really well written, plot goes nowhere in later books, will obviously never be finished)
- The Legends of the Dragonlance (almost as good as the Chronicles, but time travel is never logical)
- Sword of Shadows by J.V. Jones (well written, plot goes nowhere in later books)
- His Dark Materials (excellent, didn't like the anti-religion propaganda)
- Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (well written, but somewhat dry)
- Lord of the Rings (great world, but dry writing)

Series I finished but don't find that good anymore:

- Shadowmarch by Tad Williams: (not bad, but a little monotonous and boring, Motivation of characters partly unclear)

Series I read a lot of, but put down and now dislike:

- Wheel of Time: (interesting world and large-scale plot, but very repetitive, static characters, bad gender stereotyping)
- The Name of the Wind: (unlikeable main character, plot goes completely off the hook in book 2)


Then there are a lot of books I started, but put down very soon. Instead of trying to list them all, I rather describe the
reasons that are responsible most often:

- Author has built an elaborate world, but never bothers to explain to the reader what's going on: Malazan Book of the
Fallen, The Black Company, Book of the New Sun, Riddle-Master

- Some character explains the plot to the other characters, who accept it without being much surprised (takes the whole
magic out of a book for me): Wizard's First Rule, Mistborn

- Author clearly wants me to like some character, but I don't: The above mentioned Name of the Wind, Assassin's Apprentice,
Riftwar Saga.

- Emotions and Behavior of characters are not motivated: This actually subsumes the above three reasons and is the greatest
problem for me in a fantasy book.


Kind Regards
Stefan
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
Hi,

I'm new to this forum.

This might be more of an "I don't like this, so recommend me..." post, as I think many of the most popular fantasy books
are pretty bad. However there are a few series I've enjoyed so much that I keep on searching for new stuff. Recommendations
would be great, especially if you agree a little with my taste, also I welcome any kind of discussion. I'd be happy to
explain in more detail why I like or dislike a certain series.

The two series I really love:

- Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, by Tad Williams
- The Chronicles of the Dragonlance, by Weis and Hickman

The reasons are similar: interesting and plausible characters, an ending that answers most open questions, you get the
feeling that the author knew what the ending would be before he started the first book, and, most important, the world and
the plot gradually unfold, which gives the reader a feeling of adventure and discovery.

Other series I like with some reservations:

- A Land of Ice and Fire (really well written, plot goes nowhere in later books, will obviously never be finished)
- The Legends of the Dragonlance (almost as good as the Chronicles, but time travel is never logical)
- Sword of Shadows by J.V. Jones (well written, plot goes nowhere in later books)
- His Dark Materials (excellent, didn't like the anti-religion propaganda)
- Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (well written, but somewhat dry)
- Lord of the Rings (great world, but dry writing)

Series I finished but don't find that good anymore:

- Shadowmarch by Tad Williams: (not bad, but a little monotonous and boring, Motivation of characters partly unclear)

Series I read a lot of, but put down and now dislike:

- Wheel of Time: (interesting world and large-scale plot, but very repetitive, static characters, bad gender stereotyping)
- The Name of the Wind: (unlikeable main character, plot goes completely off the hook in book 2)


Then there are a lot of books I started, but put down very soon. Instead of trying to list them all, I rather describe the
reasons that are responsible most often:

- Author has built an elaborate world, but never bothers to explain to the reader what's going on: Malazan Book of the
Fallen, The Black Company, Book of the New Sun, Riddle-Master

- Some character explains the plot to the other characters, who accept it without being much surprised (takes the whole
magic out of a book for me): Wizard's First Rule, Mistborn

- Author clearly wants me to like some character, but I don't: The above mentioned Name of the Wind, Assassin's Apprentice,
Riftwar Saga.

- Emotions and Behavior of characters are not motivated: This actually subsumes the above three reasons and is the greatest
problem for me in a fantasy book.


Kind Regards
Stefan
Hi Stefan and Welcome to the Forum !

The first series of books that come to mind are The Drizzt Do'Urden books by R.A.Salvatore, and since you like The Dragonlance books they should fit in with what you like, you haven't mentioned them but you may have read them already.

These books are set in the same world as the above books, and maybe worth a look are The War of the Spider Queen books. Their not written by Salvatore but each book has a different author and I think that there's six of them.

Again set in the same world you could try is the Starlight & Shadows Trilogy by Elaine Cunningham, which is based on a female Drow.

Another Trilogy that you may enjoy is Blades of the Moonsea by Richard Baker, never heard of him before but I liked all three of his books.

Then Lastly are some Warhammer books By Dan Abnett & Mike Lee based on a Dark Elf called Malus Darkblade The first book is called The Demons Curse.

Hope I have given you a few ideas there.

Lastly
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Hi,

I'm new to this forum.

This might be more of an "I don't like this, so recommend me..." post, as I think many of the most popular fantasy books
are pretty bad. However there are a few series I've enjoyed so much that I keep on searching for new stuff. Recommendations
would be great, especially if you agree a little with my taste, also I welcome any kind of discussion. I'd be happy to
explain in more detail why I like or dislike a certain series.

The two series I really love:

- Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, by Tad Williams
- The Chronicles of the Dragonlance, by Weis and Hickman

The reasons are similar: interesting and plausible characters, an ending that answers most open questions, you get the
feeling that the author knew what the ending would be before he started the first book, and, most important, the world and
the plot gradually unfold, which gives the reader a feeling of adventure and discovery.

Other series I like with some reservations:

- A Land of Ice and Fire (really well written, plot goes nowhere in later books, will obviously never be finished)
- The Legends of the Dragonlance (almost as good as the Chronicles, but time travel is never logical)
- Sword of Shadows by J.V. Jones (well written, plot goes nowhere in later books)
- His Dark Materials (excellent, didn't like the anti-religion propaganda)
- Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (well written, but somewhat dry)
- Lord of the Rings (great world, but dry writing)

Series I finished but don't find that good anymore:

- Shadowmarch by Tad Williams: (not bad, but a little monotonous and boring, Motivation of characters partly unclear)

Series I read a lot of, but put down and now dislike:

- Wheel of Time: (interesting world and large-scale plot, but very repetitive, static characters, bad gender stereotyping)
- The Name of the Wind: (unlikeable main character, plot goes completely off the hook in book 2)


Then there are a lot of books I started, but put down very soon. Instead of trying to list them all, I rather describe the
reasons that are responsible most often:

- Author has built an elaborate world, but never bothers to explain to the reader what's going on: Malazan Book of the
Fallen, The Black Company, Book of the New Sun, Riddle-Master

- Some character explains the plot to the other characters, who accept it without being much surprised (takes the whole
magic out of a book for me): Wizard's First Rule, Mistborn

- Author clearly wants me to like some character, but I don't: The above mentioned Name of the Wind, Assassin's Apprentice,
Riftwar Saga.

- Emotions and Behavior of characters are not motivated: This actually subsumes the above three reasons and is the greatest
problem for me in a fantasy book.


Kind Regards
Stefan

Welcome Stefan! Wow, you are a critical reader. I find it interesting that you say most popular fantasy books are bad, but yet you like Dragonlance. I've never read it, but that's mainly because I've heard so many negative things about it. So I'm curious what supposedly bad books you equate with popular fantasy? You've already mentioned Wizard's First Rule, so I'm guessing that's one, but then again you also listed Mistborn right after it, and Mistborn is one of the most innovative fantasy trilogies ever. I kind of agree with you about Kvothe. Some of his decisions didn't make any since at all. I also didn't like Fitz has much as I wished I did. I'm not usually real crazy about books where the reader is supposed to love the main character which is why I typically enjoy multiple POV's more. Liveship Traders is a lot better than The Farseer Trilogy. You might want to try it even if you weren't real crazy about Assassin's Apprentice. The Way of Kings is also quite a bit better than Mistborn. A lot of the issues in Mistborn aren't present in The Way of Kings. I'll give you more recommendation when I can concentrate better and I'm not rambling.
 

Stefan

Possibly a Darkfriend
Thanks for your answers,

let me explain on "bad". I think in fantasy writers can often get away with bad writing in one aspect, since readers are willing to ignore it and concentrate on other aspects.

Wheel of Time is an extreme example. Most people would probably agree that the series went downhill at some point, but nevertheless many were prepared to read through whole books they didn't like, just because the large-scale plot was very interesting and they wanted to know how it would be resolved. By the way, I stopped in the middle of the fifth book.

Another is the Malazan Book of the Fallen. I've only read the first book, but I suppose people like it because the world is so complex and original, and are willing to only look at the 50% of it that actually makes any sense.

I seem to have a lower tolerance. When I pick up a book, I want to like it, after a while some things start to annoy me, I try to ignore them at first, and then there usually comes a particularly annoying part (e.g.
the sudden appearance of a supposedly mythical sex fairy
in The Wise Man's Fear), when I finally say "enough is enough" and put it down.

The Chronicles of the Dragonlance surely isn't a piece of art either. The language is simple and it does read a little like a roleplaying game. For example, the main characters form a typical party (a few fighters, a knight, a mage, a ranger, a thief, a barbarian cleric). Hidden beneath the roleplaying surface are some great characters each one with their little inner conflicts. For example, Tanis, the leader of the group is a half-elf, at first glance a ridiculous stereotype taken straight out of the D&D Rulebook. But the authors make the most out of it, and very elegantly show how he is torn between his human and elvish heritage. Then there is Sturm, a knight who is a sad fellow with his moral code that has no place in his time anymore. I could go on like this for a while, but let me just say that I'm usually very critical with fantasy characters, but here I find them utterly convincing and even moving. The quality of the plot is more uneven, I have to admit, maybe a little too fast, but, as I said, that's better than having a neverending series with a bogged down plot like in WoT or A Song of Ice and Fire.

Maybe if I read the Dragonlance today for the first time, I'd put it away because of its shortcomings. But as a teenager I loved it, and rereading it last year didn't change much. These books are highly enjoyable if you cut them some slack, and, uncharacteristically for me, I'm able to do that here.

Your recommendations, Hand of Fear, are all based on some roleplaying game. I haven't thought of that as an advantage in a book before, but maybe it's no coincidence I liked the Dragonlance, and now I remember I've read a few Star Trek books with pleasure. Conventional is not a problem in itself for me. Elaine Cunningham and Richard Baker go on my list. I've already tried Drizzt. Guess I also tend to favor books with multiple POVs. He became too badass too soon for my taste, and the description of the dark elf society was very simplistic.

Mistborn:

I didn't get very far, but I found the "allomancy" concept very interesting. I guess that's one of your reasons to call the series innovative.

What I didn't like: One of the main characters, Kelsier, is already very powerful and knowledgeable at the beginning. He has an answer for everything, it all seems like a game to him. This always takes the excitement out of a book for me.

Also, the whole premise is ridiculous: there is this almost godlike tyrant that has ruled all of the known world (?) for generations, and the whole society is built around him. So I guess I should be mightily afraid of him. But I'm not, since our guys plan his demise very matter-of-factly like a bank heist. Actually they want to start a revolution and throw the whole country into turmoil just to lure his army out. What's more, they want to do all this just for some treasure in the throne room, and nobody asks what they are going to do with it once the whole world is turned upside down.

OK, this is intentional, but I don't see the point. A revolution can't be planned like a bank heist, these are two entirely different things.

Maybe this sounds a little harsh or even angry, but I wanted to illustrate how I got frustrated enough to put the book away even though parts of it were interesting.

Moonspawn, I'd like to hear more about your issues with Mistborn that are missing in The Way of Kings. I'd be ready to give Sanderson another chance, although wikipedia says it is part of a planned (!) ten-novel series.
 

Laurentius

Super Moderator
Staff member
I'm having trouble pinpointing what your preference is, as there's a huge difference between Dragonlance and ASOIF. Makes it a hit or miss scenario on almost all books I can imagine suggesting. I will none the less give you some suggestions.

However if you want something plausible, fantasy is probably not for you. Untill science invents magic that is.

If you want, you can pick all fantasy books/stories apart. Not plausible, bad story, horrible character- or worldbuilding, magic!
Fantasy stories have to build a whole world, a good magic system and find a farmboy with lots of potential, before they can start their story. It's not just another crimenovel set in the "oh so mysterious city of random-number-generator" in 2013, where you have to solve another murder. Those writers can focus on the character and the story and get away with it.

I think I can count the number of fantasy series who has all of these (to me) on one hand. But I don't mind so much if there's something a miss once or twice in a book.

My suggestions because of Dragonlance:
As has already been suggested, you could try out Malus Darkblade. I've read all the books in the series so far, and found em to be an enjoyable read.

Also in the Warhammer universe, you could jump on the Gotrek and Felix wagon (get past the short stories in the first omnibus, and the real tale begins). Those two characters are some of my favourite fantasy characters ever.

Of other stuff, you could try Brent Week Night Angel trilogy or his Black Prism series (though it's not yet finished).

If you haven't already (which I would hazard a guess you have) how about Salvatores DemonWars Saga. It's set in his own universe and also have a bit of that well known "gather a band of heroes"-thing going on. It's a decent series. If you like it, you should try out his Saga of the First King series as well. Set in the same world, but a millenia (or so) earlier, featuring a young disabled man, who wants to be a monk. Not a religious-type monk, but more of a Batman Zen monk.

What I didn't like: One of the main characters, Kelsier, is already very powerful and knowledgeable at the beginning. He has an answer for everything, it all seems like a game to him. This always takes the excitement out of a book for me.
There's a reason for this. You'll get to know everything at some point, and it's intended that way. I would say stick keep at it through book one. There is very much a plan with everything going on from Sandersons side, and much like your "likes", I felt that Sanderson knew all along how he wanted to end the series. I think Mistborn is one of the best series in fantasy. I'm a bit biased towards Sanderson, so you should keep that in mind.

Lastly, some random suggestions:
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
The Dresden Files (start at book 3 and onwards. Read the first two later if you like the series)
The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
Shadow Ops series by Myke Cole
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Mistborn:

I didn't get very far, but I found the "allomancy" concept very interesting. I guess that's one of your reasons to call the series innovative.

What I didn't like: One of the main characters, Kelsier, is already very powerful and knowledgeable at the beginning. He has an answer for everything, it all seems like a game to him. This always takes the excitement out of a book for me.

Also, the whole premise is ridiculous: there is this almost godlike tyrant that has ruled all of the known world (?) for generations, and the whole society is built around him. So I guess I should be mightily afraid of him. But I'm not, since our guys plan his demise very matter-of-factly like a bank heist. Actually they want to start a revolution and throw the whole country into turmoil just to lure his army out. What's more, they want to do all this just for some treasure in the throne room, and nobody asks what they are going to do with it once the whole world is turned upside down.

OK, this is intentional, but I don't see the point. A revolution can't be planned like a bank heist, these are two entirely different things.

Maybe this sounds a little harsh or even angry, but I wanted to illustrate how I got frustrated enough to put the book away even though parts of it were interesting.

Moonspawn, I'd like to hear more about your issues with Mistborn that are missing in The Way of Kings. I'd be ready to give Sanderson another chance, although wikipedia says it is part of a planned (!) ten-novel series.
Ridiculous premises are an issue I have with fantasy novels as well, particularly Prince of Thorns. But the thing about Brandon Sanderson is that his novels are very logical. You can't really judge the series until you've reached the end of the last book; it is the best ending I've seen. There is a reason for everything that happens in Mistborn. However, I have to admit there was some really awkward dialogue, especially in the Well of Ascension, and moments where I thought "really?" The romance was handled very poorly and he explained too much. On the other hand, The Way of Kings really shows Brandon Sanderson's development and improvement as a writer. Character development was better, dialogue was much better, and he doesn't explain as much about the magic system. He took a completely different approach when writing The Way of Kings then he did with Mistborn so even if you didn't list Mistborn, you might like The Way of Kings. He builds the world very carefully, never revealing too much at once, but instead giving the reader hints and drops for them to follow. Mistborn was more focused on the magic where as Way of Kings is more focused on character relationships and the world it's self. The Way of Kings is my favorite book by the way.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
You might have already thought of that, but if you liked Tad Williams work you could try otherland. It's not exactly fantasy - best way I can describe it is a cyberpunk story which reads like fantasy and has a lot of fantasy elements
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
What I didn't like: One of the main characters, Kelsier, is already very powerful and knowledgeable at the beginning. He has an answer for everything, it all seems like a game to him. This always takes the excitement out of a book for me. Also, the whole premise is ridiculous: there is this almost godlike tyrant that has ruled all of the known world (?) for generations, and the whole society is built around him. So I guess I should be mightily afraid of him. But I'm not, since our guys plan his demise very matter-of-factly like a bank heist. Actually they want to start a revolution and throw the whole country into turmoil just to lure his army out. What's more, they want to do all this just for some treasure in the throne room, and nobody asks what they are going to do with it once the whole world is turned upside down.
I find it funny that this is what people bag about this book, yet don't finish it. I'm playing a bit devil's advocate and really actually defending the book.


What I didn't like: One of the main characters, Kelsier, is already very powerful and knowledgeable at the beginning. He has an answer for everything, it all seems like a game to him.
So you want him to be weak find magic item that makes him all powerful instead? If you read any of the battles he faces with Inquisitors, you know he is weaker than them, that he fears them.

This always takes the excitement out of a book for me. Also, the whole premise is ridiculous: there is this almost godlike tyrant that has ruled all of the known world (?) for generations, and the whole society is built around him. So I guess I should be mightily afraid of him. But I'm not, since our guys plan his demise very matter-of-factly like a bank heist.
Actually, it is a kind of a bank heist, if you read further you would have known that Kelsier was keeping "killing" the lord ruler a bit of a secret to himself.

Actually they want to start a revolution and throw the whole country into turmoil just to lure his army out. What's more, they want to do all this just for some treasure in the throne room, and nobody asks what they are going to do with it once the whole world is turned upside down.
Again...atium in the "treasure room" was an excuse. Usually plans are one step at a time.


I think you really need to read the book to the end because a lot of it you find out later. You say you like books that from the get go the author knows how this is going to end. Well fark me, this is one of those series. Someone tell me that this wasn't a good ending to the trilogy.

Also, innovative...the dude had TWO unique magic systems in one book. Find me another that has two unique systems.

/rant
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
However, I have to admit there was some really awkward dialogue, especially in the Well of Ascension, and moments where I thought "really?"

Agreed. Sanderson doesn't write the best dialogue for Vin
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Agreed. Sanderson doesn't write the best dialogue for Vin

I wasn't really pointing the finger at any specific characters, especially not Vin. lol. I can't remember all of the characters names right now, but a lot of what some characters said was very stereotypical. In general the dialogue needed some improvement.

You brought up some good points John. The people who don't like Mistborn don't really have much of a basis for their argument. The premise is ridiculous, but at the same time it's very logical and well thought out. In other words he makes the ridiculous believable.

In my epic fantasy series I'm also using a dual magic system. No reason to say who inspired that idea.
 

bobo

Knows how to pronounce Kvothe
Actually, doesn't Mistborn have 3 magic systems? Although they're all kind of related, i.e. requires the use of a metal. Sanderson even tries to balance them out by saying one is a nett gain system where the metal is consumed to give power, one is a negative system where power is stolen and one is a neutral system where power is stored and reused later.

I love everything about the series, but my favourite part is the little twist he had at the end of who became the new "god" fitting neatly and unexpectedly in with the prophecy.
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
Actually, doesn't Mistborn have 3 magic systems? Although they're all kind of related, i.e. requires the use of a metal. Sanderson even tries to balance them out by saying one is a nett gain system where the metal is consumed to give power, one is a negative system where power is stolen and one is a neutral system where power is stored and reused later.

I love everything about the series, but my favourite part is the little twist he had at the end of who became the new "god" fitting neatly and unexpectedly in with the prophecy.

Which power is the negative stolen one? You have allomancy, feruchemy and?
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
I find this series the one where people leap to defend it in such a passionate manner, this and Malazan. I find it amusing.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
I find this series the one where people leap to defend it in such a passionate manner, this and Malazan. I find it amusing.

That's what happens when people attack some of the best fantasy literature ever. I think less people are going to jump to defend aSoIaF or Wheel of Time (kind of insulting to shade these two in the same light, I know) because the arguments against either of those actually make since and are understandable. To gain any perspective on Malazan or Mistborn, you kind of have to read the entire thing. Both authors knew exactly what they were doing right from the beginning. From what I've heard Robert Jordan didn't and it has yet to be seen whether or not George Martin knows where his epic story is going.
 

Frizzo0133

Is a wondrous friend of modest Kruppe
I find this series the one where people leap to defend it in such a passionate manner, this and Malazan. I find it amusing.
I just finished rereading the whole Mistborn Trilogy again just because it's been a while and I needed to get my mind working in the right direction for Words of Radiance so I've still got all three books fresh in my mind.

The Mistborn Trilogy absolutely has it's problems, almost all of them have to do with the characters and their growth, spontaneously huge or nonexistent. There is absolutely some awkward dialogue, I particularly recall "Hat Trick" popping up, and while the use was clever and funny, it completely threw me out of the book for a moment.

All of the issues I found in Mistborn through are easily attributed to Sanderson's inexperience as a writer when the books were published. Sure he'd been writing on his own for a decade or so, but he had one published novel when Mistborn was picked up as a trilogy, and they all came out in fairly rapid succession and the lack of polish shows, especially in Well of Ascension.

Despite the lack of polish, knowing what I know now about Sanderson's Cosmere, the books are pretty remarkable for all of the work and hints he puts into the books about future books and worlds that hadn't even been picked up to be published at that point.

At this point we know there are some things that Sanderson is going to do well, he's going to have a well thought out world, a cohesive plot, and his magic systems are going to be innovative and usually fairly mind blowing, but his growth when it comes to characters and dialogue from Mistborn and even Warbreaker to where they are in Way of Kings is remarkable. I know he attributes allot of his growth to working on the WoT books and it shows that if he learned nothing else from working in Jordan's world, he learned how to make his characters work within his own.

Now that I've ragged on Mistborn enough, in my opinion it's certainly worth reading at least the first book all the way through it's allot of fun without having to worry about the themes and Cosmere work that the other two books get into, I think they're still worth reading but that's me commenting on my tastes.

I could go on and on about the Malazan books and their virtues, but I won't, if you can't get into them I understand. I read the Prince of Nothing and Aspect Emperor books and they turn off more readers than actually finish them I suspect.