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

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Yep. The fact that I needed to go into the garage and procure a wheelbarrow in order to transfer the book from one room to the next did nothing to help endear it to me. :)
 

ofer

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.
Actually, that's a pretty good assessment of the books, although, for some reason, I get the feeling I liked it a lot more than you did. ;)

Zelazny was pretty big on duality - not good vs. evil but more of order vs. chaos, energy vs. entropy, and that sort of thing, and he usually chose individual characters to express (or, more accurately, champion) his ideas. Hence, his dispassionate description of the army scenes, as opposed to his vivid descriptions of duels and one on one scenes.

He was also heavily into mythology, which he incorporated into several of his books - Hindu mythology (Lord of Light), Egyptian mythology (Creatures of Light and Darkness) and Scandinavian mythology (The Mask of Loki). Out of those, I consider Lord of Light his best work, and one of the best standalone fantasy books I ever read - although it just might have something to do with my personal preferences, such as grey characters, mythology background, and clever schemes - oh yeah, and some kick-ass duels. I did mention the duels, didn't I? :cool:
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Actually, that's a pretty good assessment of the books, although, for some reason, I get the feeling I liked it a lot more than you did. ;)

Zelazny was pretty big on duality - not good vs. evil but more of order vs. chaos, energy vs. entropy, and that sort of thing, and he usually chose individual characters to express (or, more accurately, champion) his ideas. Hence, his dispassionate description of the army scenes, as opposed to his vivid descriptions of duels and one on one scenes.

He was also heavily into mythology, which he incorporated into several of his books - Hindu mythology (Lord of Light), Egyptian mythology (Creatures of Light and Darkness) and Scandinavian mythology (The Mask of Loki). Out of those, I consider Lord of Light his best work, and one of the best standalone fantasy books I ever read - although it just might have something to do with my personal preferences, such as grey characters, mythology background, and clever schemes - oh yeah, and some kick-ass duels. I did mention the duels, didn't I? :cool:

Perhaps I missed the point or it was all just over my head. Wouldn't be the first time. I read it and it was lengthy, I didn't like or care about any of the characters and nothing interested me and I therefore found it dull. Maybe if I read it years ago when there wasn't much else out there I would have viewed it differently.
 

epicfantasyfreak

Journeyed there and back again
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel... :D
Yes, those are the only restrictions. :wtf:
After I polish off Russell's catalog, I think I'll need a dose of adrenaline to get the heart pumping again... :hilarious:
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel... :D
Yes, those are the only restrictions. :wtf:
After I polish off Russell's catalog, I think I'll need a dose of adrenaline to get the heart pumping again... :hilarious:
I really enjoyed Talion: Revenant (Michael Stackpole). A cracking standalone which should have what you're after!
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel... :D
Yes, those are the only restrictions. :wtf:
After I polish off Russell's catalog, I think I'll need a dose of adrenaline to get the heart pumping again... :hilarious:

Swans War is coming up on my TBR list in a couple of months. I bought the entire series during the "all for $3.00 sale. I've asked about it before and heard good things here but is it REALLY that much lacking in action? But it's a worthwhile read and not exactly boring, right? I will be reading some Dresden books and other stuff in between each book.
 

epicfantasyfreak

Journeyed there and back again
I really enjoyed Talion: Revenant (Michael Stackpole). A cracking standalone which should have what you're after!
Oddly enough, that one was at the top of my list of choices already, your rec bumps it up a notch, but I'm still open to other possibilities... :cool:
Swans War is coming up on my TBR list in a couple of months. I bought the entire series during the "all for $3.00 sale. I've asked about it before and heard good things here but is it REALLY that much lacking in action? But it's a worthwhile read and not exactly boring, right? I will be reading some Dresden books and other stuff in between each book.
Swans' War is his most action-packed work, followed by Initiate Brother, then the Farr books (Moontide and Magic Rise and The River Into Darkness). You liked Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, Thorn? If so, you'll probably like Swans' War as well, as Russell puts up large walls of very vivid description just like Williams did in the first novel there, only less massive, and Russell has better pacing, like in the second MST novel. Russell does lots of dialog too - massive walls of it in fact, but it all feels rather natural. There is action, chase scenes and such, but not much actual combat at all. And no, I certainly wouldn't call it boring and would definitely say it's worth the read. I'd rank Russell's works thus:
Swans' War/Moontide and Magic Rise
The Initiate Brother
The River Into Darkness (though I'm not done with this one yet)
 
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moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel... :D
Yes, those are the only restrictions. :wtf:
After I polish off Russell's catalog, I think I'll need a dose of adrenaline to get the heart pumping again... :hilarious:
You could try Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I'm not sure its quite as high action as you're looking for but it gets pretty action packed towards the end and all of Sanderson's books tend to be pretty action packed. This was my introduction to Sanderson and I thought it was very interesting and of course since its a standalone you're not committing yourself to a series like you would be with Mistborn or Stormlight Archives and if I'm not mistaken that as been part of the reason towards your aversion of Sanderson in the past.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel... :D
Yes, those are the only restrictions. :wtf:
After I polish off Russell's catalog, I think I'll need a dose of adrenaline to get the heart pumping again... :hilarious:
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny - I could go on and on about how good and action-packed that book is, but you can just read Ben's description of it which is pretty accurate - no. 18 in his standalone list.
Heroes by Joe Abrecrombie - it will be better if you read his previous books before, but not absolutely necessary.
Most of David Gemmel's books - my favorite is Knights of Dark Renown. You could also try Legend.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
You could try Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I'm not sure its quite as high action as you're looking for
It's definitely not. I couldn't finish it. Sanderson wasted so much time setting up the story and suffocating me with descriptions of religion, internal monologues of priests, and how one religion differs from another. By the half of it, I said enough.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
If I'm a bit love/hate with Dresden Files (more love though, must be said), will I be a bit love/hate with Codex Alera? Or are they non-comparable entities? Ta.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
If I'm a bit love/hate with Dresden Files (more love though, must be said), will I be a bit love/hate with Codex Alera? Or are they non-comparable entities? Ta.
Both are easy to read (I read all of Codex Alera in a week and I can finish a Dresden Files book in a day). Both take a lot of tropes and run with them (I mean that in a good way). The descriptions of women are not the same in Codex Alera (as I recall, anyway). I did find the final confrontations in Codex Alera to be a bit repetitive by the end of the series. But again, might not be so noticeable if you don't read all six books in a week. Pretty sure Codex Alera is 3rd person instead of first person (it's been awhile but I remember scenes from multiple characters' points of view) so that is probably going to change things, as well.

So, kind of the same but also kind of not the same.
 

epicfantasyfreak

Journeyed there and back again
Well, my short list was:
Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Based on the feedback (thanks everybody), I'll drop Elantris, and add one, so now I have:
Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole +1
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Knights of Dark Renown by David Gemmel

Further thoughts? I'll be dropping by the library tomorrow to make the request as the local branch doesn't have any of these on-hand.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
I personally thought Elantris was better than Warbreaker. Probably just have to read both and decide for yourself.
 

Laurentius

Super Moderator
Staff member
While it is not strictly a stand alone, it certainly can be read as one, and I recommend it highly, especially considering what you are klooking for.

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover

Almost non-stop action with a good story. Ive read the others on your shortlist, and I would recommend this over any of the others actionwise.
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
I personally thought Elantris was better than Warbreaker. Probably just have to read both and decide for yourself.
Elantris never really built to a crescendo. While the story was good. I thought it was quite flat most of the way. Warbreaker's plot twists were better and generally a more exciting book.

Heroes Die by Matthew Stover
Almost non-stop action with a good story. Ive read the others on your shortlist, and I would recommend this over any of the others actionwise.
I thought it was an ok book. @btkong gushes over that series though.
 

epicfantasyfreak

Journeyed there and back again
As for "what I was looking for" that was simply something completely out of my comfort zone, as I really needed a change of pace, and "action-packed fantasy" worked for that. Sanderson seems to generally fit that bill in most descriptions of his works, so his two standalones were on my short list. I went with that request, as I stated it, simply because I had nothing better to describe my wants/needs at that moment...
FWIW, I went with Talion, and I'm regretting it - :banghead: - should have listened to Laurentius... lol :facepalm:
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
Recommend me a very good, very high action, standalone, fantasy novel
I would also be interested in more recommendations for standalone, high-octane fantasy reads. So, if anyone can recommend more, I'd appreciate it. I've noted down Stackpole's "Talion: Revenant" and "Warbreaker" doesn't really interest me.

I second @Laurentius's recommendation for "Heroes Die". It turned out to be unexpectedly good with tons of action...definitely a great surprise as I wasn't expecting much. Most Gemmell books are action packed, and a majority of them are standalone - just about every novel in the Drenai series is, starting with "Legend". "Knights of Dark Renown" is a great choice, as is "Morningstar".

I know you specifically mentioned fantasy, but I also recommend Richard K. Morgan's "Altered Carbon", a science fiction, hardboiled, noir book with plenty of action and violence.