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

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
I'm assuming it will have some good magic,
The magic in JS&MN is very subtle, so don't expect fireworks. It's also very much seelie based, so it has all that mythology going for it.
They are not really wizards (not in Dumbledore sort of way). They are magicians. I feel like there's a difference.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
Despite having a TBR list as long as my house, I thought I might make use of you guys, because I think I'm in a bit of a reading lull at the mo!

After finishing Malazan, I wanted to read a load of standalones, so turned to Sci-Fi. Now I'm king of missing the whole epicness thing, and want to sink my teeth into something. Currently reading Emperor of Thorns, and am not bowled over by this series; it's not what I was looking for on my 'return to F after reading a load of SF' trip. Also currently on Dresden #11 and it's not done much to get me over my 'Dresden burnout stage'. So hence the 'lull'.

I think what I want is something epic, but not too long (no more than 5 books), something which I'll get engrossed in, something like Malazan in scope, but could be Sci-Fi, but something that's more epic than say, The Broken Empire trilogy. Like I say, could be S-F, but really don't fancy one of the classics. Really want it to be an author I've not read before (so no Hobb, Sanderson, Donaldson etc), and it needs to be a finished series.

Suggestions?
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
Yeah .. Don't want to limit myself to one man's opinion though. I've disliked quite a few things Ben has adored (no offence Ben!)
Of course not...it's just that there is like 50 suggestions there. I seriously doubt any of us can give you that many ;)
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
Despite having a TBR list as long as my house, I thought I might make use of you guys, because I think I'm in a bit of a reading lull at the mo!

After finishing Malazan, I wanted to read a load of standalones, so turned to Sci-Fi. Now I'm king of missing the whole epicness thing, and want to sink my teeth into something. Currently reading Emperor of Thorns, and am not bowled over by this series; it's not what I was looking for on my 'return to F after reading a load of SF' trip. Also currently on Dresden #11 and it's not done much to get me over my 'Dresden burnout stage'. So hence the 'lull'.

I think what I want is something epic, but not too long (no more than 5 books), something which I'll get engrossed in, something like Malazan in scope, but could be Sci-Fi, but something that's more epic than say, The Broken Empire trilogy. Like I say, could be S-F, but really don't fancy one of the classics. Really want it to be an author I've not read before (so no Hobb, Sanderson, Donaldson etc), and it needs to be a finished series.

Suggestions?
Out of Ben's list, I can recommend 2 series:
1. Amber Chronicles by Zelazny - 10 fairly short books, so the whole series is about the lenght of, say, Mistborn. What most people don't know is that it wasn't written as a single series. The first 5 books (which were great) were written in the early 70's, and the next 5 books (which were good, but nowhere near the level of the first 5) in the mid-80's. It's told from a first-person POV. Apparently, it's a love or hate series, and I fully expect @Darth Tater to come here and explain how awful those books were ;). He hated this series, I loved it. Funny old world.
2. Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham - Wouldn't consider this too epic, but still a damn good series. Light on the action, though.

I can also throw in 2 other recommendation:
3. Any of David Gemmel's series - if you want a shorter one, you can try the Rigante, or go for his stanalones (Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown seems to be the favorites)
4. SF - well, since you like Hyperion, why not give Simmons another go? He has another 2-book series, consisted of Illium and Olympos. Hell, it's Simmons, it's SF, and it's damn good. Nuff' said.

Hope this helped :)
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
Out of Ben's list, I can recommend 2 series:
1. Amber Chronicles by Zelazny - 10 fairly short books, so the whole series is about the lenght of, say, Mistborn. What most people don't know is that it wasn't written as a single series. The first 5 books (which were great) were written in the early 70's, and the next 5 books (which were good, but nowhere near the level of the first 5) in the mid-80's. It's told from a first-person POV. Apparently, it's a love or hate series, and I fully expect @Darth Tater to come here and explain how awful those books were ;). He hated this series, I loved it. Funny old world.
2. Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham - Wouldn't consider this too epic, but still a damn good series. Light on the action, though.

I can also throw in 2 other recommendation:
3. Any of David Gemmel's series - if you want a shorter one, you can try the Rigante, or go for his stanalones (Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown seems to be the favorites)
4. SF - well, since you like Hyperion, why not give Simmons another go? He has another 2-book series, consisted of Illium and Olympos. Hell, it's Simmons, it's SF, and it's damn good. Nuff' said.

Hope this helped :)
It did help. Thanks.

Not considered Amber Chronicles before either.Do you think it's the sort of book you need to read as a youngster to enjoy, or at least be new to the genre? Just wondering why you and Darth had such different views on it ...
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Out of Ben's list, I can recommend 2 series:
1. Amber Chronicles by Zelazny - 10 fairly short books, so the whole series is about the lenght of, say, Mistborn. What most people don't know is that it wasn't written as a single series. The first 5 books (which were great) were written in the early 70's, and the next 5 books (which were good, but nowhere near the level of the first 5) in the mid-80's. ]@Darth Tater[/USER] to come here and explain how awful those books were ;). :)
Yeah. I thought it was repetitive and boring. You know Shadow walking. Ten straight pages 15 times of the same thing. Stuff like: purple roses under a green sky; a man rubbing down his horse; a woman with three eyes walking a small dog; I'm walking walking; a thunderstorm with wicked lightening... Blah blah blah.

Plus those flat characters you couldn't tell one from the next. All doing anything for power. That damned checker board on the floor. The second five books were the same crap except the main character wasn't as despicable as the first guy. No. I didn't like it at all. My blood boils thinking about it. But, hey, I liked it more than The Hitchiker's Guide. I know more people like it than not. But I just don't get it.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
Not considered Amber Chronicles before either.Do you think it's the sort of book you need to read as a youngster to enjoy, or at least be new to the genre?
Not at all. Definitly not YA stuff. There's a little sex, tons of violence and some pretty hard scenes. The characters are all grey - it's not good against evil, but more evil against ruthless or ruthless against other ruthless. You could place most of Amber's characters in Abercrombie's First Law and they'd feel right at home - although Zelazny doesn't pack the sense of humor that Abercrombie does. But man, there are epic duels scenes there.
Yeah. I thought it was repetitive and boring. You know Shadow walking. Ten straight pages 15 times of the same thing. Stuff like: purple roses under a green sky; a man rubbing down his horse; a woman with three eyes walking a small dog; I'm walking walking; a thunderstorm with wicked lightening... Blah blah blah.
This criticism I get, and it's valid, but it didn't bother me as it's only (in my view) a minor point and only a very small part of the story. It's one of those things that you don't mind if you like the books, or mind a lot if you hate them. Still, some of the descriptions are so weird that you have to wonder just how much LSD Zelazny was on when he wrote those.
Plus those flat characters you couldn't tell one from the next. All doing anything for power. That damned checker board on the floor.
Lol that was one of my favorite things about the book. There's only so much of "Good triumph over evil and saves the world" that I can take, but I guess on this one we'll have to agree to disagree. :)

Well, you heard the pros and cones. Up to you, Tom. I wonder if anyone else read the books except from me and Darth Tater and can bring in their view?
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Not at all. Definitly not YA stuff. There's a little sex, tons of violence and some pretty hard scenes. The characters are all grey - it's not good against evil, but more evil against ruthless or ruthless against other ruthless. You could place most of Amber's characters in Abercrombie's First Law and they'd feel right at home - although Zelazny doesn't pack the sense of humor that Abercrombie does. But man, there are epic duels scenes there.

This criticism I get, and it's valid, but it didn't bother me as it's only (in my view) a minor point and only a very small part of the story. It's one of those things that you don't mind if you like the books, or mind a lot if you hate them. Still, some of the descriptions are so weird that you have to wonder just how much LSD Zelazny was on when he wrote those.

Lol that was one of my favorite things about the book. There's only so much of "Good triumph over evil and saves the world" that I can take, but I guess on this one we'll have to agree to disagree. :)

Well, you heard the pros and cones. Up to you, Tom. I wonder if anyone else read the books except from me and Darth Tater and can bring in their view?

When you look at the Covenant series it's closer to a .500 ratio with the likes a bit higher. With Amber it isn't even close statistically. In different polls on BFB it's about 69% likes on one and 80% likes on the other. Both of those figures have it in the top 20. Plus Ben has it sitting pretty at #11!!

So Tom more than likely will like it. But those are the reasons I rated it terribly low when I voted. Honestly, I wouldn't have been nearly as negative if it was only 5 books. But the omnibus contains 10.

The cover, is elaborate and one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. But please look very close if anyone has it. ( the current omnibus edition). Did I imagine it but looking really closely does almost everything have a face and often bodies too? I've been so curious. The trees, rocks, castle, etc. ? I would state at it for long periods of time. ( no, I wasn't drunk or on drugs). Super cool!
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
I'm in a slump too. I want something light and funny OR something complex and long and full of awesome characters but light on the depression) help?
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Kearney's Macht trilogy?
No offense to your tastes but I thought the story in the second and third book in that series got incredibly repetitive and stupid when it became all about conquering the next city and them capitulating without any resistance which then set up for a really, really lousy ending and its also too similar to Broken Empires to recommend it to someone after reading that. So I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to Kearney. I would, however, recommend Monarchy of Gods which is fantastically written and wonderful and gritty and probably the closest thing I've seen to A Game of Thrones that was written around the same time period.

@TomTheBeliever and @Danica I recommend that both of you read Monarchy of Gods. It's epic and full of intrigue and its 5 books long and each book is relatively short so its not like you're investing too much of your life here and its full of awesome character. I'm not sure Danica that its light on the depression though. In places its very, very graphic and the world in which the plot is set is completely war-torn.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
I'm in a slump too. I want something light and funny OR something complex and long and full of awesome characters but light on the depression) help?
Can't beat Terry Pratchett for light and funny. My favorite is Small Gods which I consider one of the funniest books ever. Yes, I know that's no. 13 in his Discworld series, but it's a total standalone so no prior knowledge required, and there aren't any spoilers if you want to read one of his previous books afterwards.

Other good funny reads:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Faust Among Equals
by Tom Holt
To Say Nothing of the Dog
by Connie Willis.
 

epicfantasyfreak

Journeyed there and back again
I'm in a slump too. I want something light and funny OR something complex and long and full of awesome characters but light on the depression) help?
For light and funny, if want to try someone different than Pratchett, you can give Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds a try - I still literally laugh out loud when I think about the goat scene... :hilarious:
It's part of a three book "series" technically, but they're completely readable as standalones, as the plots are independent of each other, just features the same characters in the same setting.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
I'm in a slump too. I want something light and funny OR something complex and long and full of awesome characters but light on the depression) help?
@Danica The Deathgate Cycle. It's a pretty cool world and Weiss and Hickman have me ROFLMAO. sometimes. I I loved it. It isn't a dungeon and dragons book and even Ben gave it some love. It's on his 50 epics list. I think it's just what yours looking for. Highly recommend. Antoxx was reading it last I heard and I'm pretty sure he really likes it. Good story.
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
The Chronicles of Amber: extremely imaginative. That's definitely the best thing it has going for it. The prose is generally okay, probably reaches its peak in the inner monologues. The whole concept is extremely clever, and the imagery is translated well...but it does have a tendency...to get a little repetitive...and annoying...because Zelazny will describe pages and pages...of random scenery snippets...surrounded by ellipses...until you want to claw your eyes out...like...I eventually started skipping the stuff...and amazing imagery is a big part of what I love about fantasy.

The characters are grayer than average, but most of this is told to you rather than demonstrated. Zelazny puts real gusto and spirit into his plots and counterplots and scheming scenes, which you can tell are likely his favorite parts of the story. The rest of the story doesn't get the same degree of love. I don't really remember the duels, but I do remember the army scenes, which are written dispassionately, and like he's just some desk jockey filling out an impersonal report for a superior. "The army trudged through the swamp, and lost 223 soldiers the first day, and 104 the second day. They met the first sign of resistance on the third day, and when the armies clashed, he lost 3015 of his men. This left him with just over 6500 soldiers to continue his journey."

For what it's worth, I do think you'd probably like it, Tom. It would be unlikely to become your favorite series though. #36 on my personal list though.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
I don't really remember the duels
The duels made my eyes glaze over. Extremely detailed descriptions of each and every move the characters make during the fight.

But, I agree with the rest of your assessment. I liked these well enough. Read all 10 in a row because I had the omnibus containing all 10. The front cover had detached itself from the rest of the book by the time I was done.