It's December 2018: What fantasy book are you reading?

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#21
Started Many Are The Dead by Anthony Ryan, a Raven's Shadow prequel novelette. Pretty good through the first half.
No audiobook darn it! I'm interested in more of his Raven's Shadow world, even though books 2 and 3 of that particular trilogy were somewhat unfortunate.

The other prequel story was enjoyable, I've read it last year.

On another note - I've finished re-reading The Gentlemen Bastards trilogy, Malazan 1 and The Slow Regard of Silent Things, all of those books being quite solid.

I've also finished Infinity Blades book 1, which was a pleasant surprise from Sanderson, I expected a more generic book, considering how it's inspired by a game. I'm currently on book 2! :)

I'm also still reading Forever Fantasy Online by Rachel Aaron - I'm undecided on this one, but it's more like a pleasant 6/10 book. Nothing groundbreaking and probably the narration is a tad unfortunate as well - it turns an already childish concept into a childishly narrated childishly executed concept. The main male dude sounds like a guy who's playing with wooden horsies and the main female protagonist sounds like a try hard "I am gonna show my big brothers and sisters how Mary Sue I am" kind of character. Over-all - a very poorly executed idea and a very awkward choice for the narrator. He is just too friendly to carry out this book well enough. This book needed a more gruff narrator to give it some seriousness - I'm quite sure reading the ebook/papeback format is a better experience than the audiobook.

I'm also re-reading the masterclass of bromance and top notch narration that the Riyria Revelation series is. Royce + Hadrien + Tim Gerard Reynolds = fantasy utopia!

I'm already on book three and it's still buckets of fun.

And Arista is one of my favorite female characters of all time. She's bad ass without being flawless at the same time - I can appreciate that. I really wish the Percephonie from his new series was as relatable as Arista is, but they are almost the two perfect opposites. One is getting closer to the people around her by deliberately dismantling her walls, while the otr is deliberaly buildig walls to get separated from her peers and subjects. The biggest problem being that the latter isn't done for any particularly good reason in my opinion.
 
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Bill Door

Killed a Balrog
#23
I just started the 3rd book in in Butcher's Codex Alera series, Cursor's Fury. I'm really enjoying the series thus far. I'll have to give his Dresden Files a read some time in the future.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#24
What's the best book for getting into Neil Gaiman from a high/epic/coming-of-age/assassin/court intrigue- fantasy sub-genres point of view?

Should I just follow the publication order of his works or is there some universal entry point for new Gaiman readers?
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#25
What's the best book for getting into Neil Gaiman from a high/epic/coming-of-age/assassin/court intrigue- fantasy sub-genres point of view?

Should I just follow the publication order of his works or is there some universal entry point for new Gaiman readers?
Uhm... uhm... American Gods or Neverwhere. I think. Maybe. Well. Assuming that reading Sandman isn't on the table.

I might be very wrong though. I've never really heard of or thought of a good starting point for Gaiman and there's nothing in his books that particularly screams "Trad fantasy".
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#26
I just started the 3rd book in in Butcher's Codex Alera series, Cursor's Fury. I'm really enjoying the series thus far. I'll have to give his Dresden Files a read some time in the future.
I'd say hold off on Dresden until the next book is out. It's almost 5 years since the last one and it's absolutely ridiculous.

Myself I just read Dragon Reborn. Not as strong as the one before but still pretty good. I know the series gets drawn out in the middle but I really don't see any reason why this story needed to be 14 books long. One disappointment I have, there hasn't been any new characters since book 1. I don't want it spoiled but I seriously hope there will be some new additions eventually..
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#27
What's the best book for getting into Neil Gaiman from a high/epic/coming-of-age/assassin/court intrigue- fantasy sub-genres point of view?
I read Good Omens, which is Terry Pratchett and Gaiman, then American Gods then Anansi Boys then Neverwhere. I imagine most people start with American Gods. Having read Pratchett's Small Gods several times I recognized that that idea was used by Gaiman in AG and I hope he thanked Pratchett for it. There is no order in Gaiman books but Anansi Boys should be read after American Gods.
 

Matticus Primal

Journeyed there and back again
#28
What's the best book for getting into Neil Gaiman from a high/epic/coming-of-age/assassin/court intrigue- fantasy sub-genres point of view?

Should I just follow the publication order of his works or is there some universal entry point for new Gaiman readers?
Sandman is by far his best work IMO and is epic in scope if not in high-fantasy feel. But if you want a more traditional/ high fantasy entry point, I'd suggests Stardust, which blends a lot of those familiar tropes with Gaimen's more Urban/ Historical fantasy leanings. After that, American Gods since it has a lot of intrigue, although I found it far too short IMO. As much as I adore him, I don't think prose is his strong suit, which is why I still think comics are his best medium.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#29
Sandman is by far his best work IMO and is epic in scope if not in high-fantasy feel. But if you want a more traditional/ high fantasy entry point, I'd suggests Stardust, which blends a lot of those familiar tropes with Gaimen's more Urban/ Historical fantasy leanings. After that, American Gods since it has a lot of intrigue, although I found it far too short IMO. As much as I adore him, I don't think prose is his strong suit, which is why I still think comics are his best medium.
Sandman is definitely his best and most epic work. This truth we hold to be self-evident.

I read Good Omens, which is Terry Pratchett and Gaiman, then American Gods then Anansi Boys then Neverwhere. I imagine most people start with American Gods. Having read Pratchett's Small Gods several times I recognized that that idea was used by Gaiman in AG and I hope he thanked Pratchett for it. There is no order in Gaiman books but Anansi Boys should be read after American Gods.
Tbf, the concept of gods being heavily influenced by belief didn't originate with either, and I'm pretty sure there's parts of Sandman that precede the publication of Small Gods that play with it. Hell, they play with it a bit in Good Omens.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#30
While you guys are talking about it, what is Sandman about? And how is it a comic? I guess I've wondered about this for a while now.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#31
While you guys are talking about it, what is Sandman about? And how is it a comic? I guess I've wondered about this for a while now.
How is it a comic?

As for what its about... it stands with the personification of Dream being captured by Occultists, and Dream dealing with the consequences, but it balloons into a giant dark fantasy about ... everything, I guess. Matticus can probably give a better answer than me.
 

Matticus Primal

Journeyed there and back again
#32
Sandman was part of the British invasion in comics in the 80/90s including Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, which led to the DC Vertigo label. These were not the spandex comics for kids, but were instead aimed at adults. Gaiman's Sandman was probably their crown jewel and is the only comic to win one of the biggest fantasy awards (I'm too lazy to look up which one, but they changed the rules the next day so comics would be ineligible).

As to what Sandman's about... it's the very pale and skinny anthropomorphic representation of Dreams, which means he also rules over stories and nightmares. It begins when an Alister Crowley analogue captures him and he has to regain his kingdom, but it's also so much more than that. Its 75 issue reign is probably one of the most epic stories I'm aware of, spanning from prehistory to current urban fantasy (90s) and involving pretty much every major culture and mythology you can think of. Some plotlines off the top of my head include: A convention for serial killers, the unnatural origin of Shakespeare's inspiration, a Stephen King analogue literally capturing his muse, how Baghdad ended up hidden in a bottle, a quest by a bunch of women into a secondary realm to stop a coo-coo bird, Lucifer abdicating his kingdom (the show Lucifer is based on this plotline), and a man who has lived for centuries going to a medieval fair.

Yet somehow, despite all the weirdness that comes with being the ruler of dreams, it's got some of the tightest plotting I've ever seen, and stuff that occurs in the first book will affect the twists in the latter volumes. The characters too are some of the best I've ever seen, and it's impossible not to love his rendition of either Death or Delirium. Hell, even the personification of Destruction is awesome. Desire, not so much.

Your library should have a copy of it since it's just hit the 30 year anniversary of the first issue. And if you have a Kindle Fire and a library card, might I suggest the Hoopla ap, which will allow you to download the series for free. Gaiman's just started writing in the world again, and after trying to sum it up for the last few minutes, I'm hungry to go seek it out again.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#33
Sandman was part of the British invasion in comics in the 80/90s including Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, which led to the DC Vertigo label. These were not the spandex comics for kids, but were instead aimed at adults. Gaiman's Sandman was probably their crown jewel and is the only comic to win one of the biggest fantasy awards (I'm too lazy to look up which one, but they changed the rules the next day so comics would be ineligible).

As to what Sandman's about... it's the very pale and skinny anthropomorphic representation of Dreams, which means he also rules over stories and nightmares. It begins when an Alister Crowley analogue captures him and he has to regain his kingdom, but it's also so much more than that. Its 75 issue reign is probably one of the most epic stories I'm aware of, spanning from prehistory to current urban fantasy (90s) and involving pretty much every major culture and mythology you can think of. Some plotlines off the top of my head include: A convention for serial killers, the unnatural origin of Shakespeare's inspiration, a Stephen King analogue literally capturing his muse, how Baghdad ended up hidden in a bottle, a quest by a bunch of women into a secondary realm to stop a coo-coo bird, Lucifer abdicating his kingdom (the show Lucifer is based on this plotline), and a man who has lived for centuries going to a medieval fair.

Yet somehow, despite all the weirdness that comes with being the ruler of dreams, it's got some of the tightest plotting I've ever seen, and stuff that occurs in the first book will affect the twists in the latter volumes. The characters too are some of the best I've ever seen, and it's impossible not to love his rendition of either Death or Delirium. Hell, even the personification of Destruction is awesome. Desire, not so much.

Your library should have a copy of it since it's just hit the 30 year anniversary of the first issue. And if you have a Kindle Fire and a library card, might I suggest the Hoopla ap, which will allow you to download the series for free. Gaiman's just started writing in the world again, and after trying to sum it up for the last few minutes, I'm hungry to go seek it out again.
Wow, thanks Matticus. By how is it a comic, I meant does it have cartoons and word balloons like, well, comics. Anyway, great explanation. You too Peat.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#35
I remember watching this back in the days and getting excited about putting the comic in my TBR, although I'm not a comic person at all:
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#36
I finished Kings of Paradise, and like all the 5-star reviewers, I'm blown away by this book. The prose is so wonderful, the action so harsh and sudden and non-stop, and the story itself so complex and original. It follows three characters' storylines which only start to merge by the end. The next book is already coming out January 17 thank goodness, I'm coming down and going through withdrawal. You need to read this book. Far better than the other big debut Blackwing last year, this story is more accessible and hell, it grabs you and doesn't let you go.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#37
I finished Kings of Paradise, and like all the 5-star reviewers, I'm blown away by this book. The prose is so wonderful, the action so harsh and sudden and non-stop, and the story itself so complex and original. It follows three characters' storylines which only start to merge by the end. The next book is already coming out January 17 thank goodness, I'm coming down and going through withdrawal. You need to read this book. Far better than the other big debut Blackwing last year, this story is more accessible and hell, it grabs you and doesn't let you go.
Paint me intrigued! The Amazon blurb is a little bit vague though, what is it about, tropes-wise? Pirate ships and naval war( judging from the cover)?

I myself have gone through a few things of my own.

Forever Fantasy Online by Rachel Aaron - 5.7/10 - not the best thing ever. Too much fantasy tropes and most of them poorly executed, for my taste. It feels like the Sword Art Online of the fantasy literature - good ideas, too basic take on them.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire - 2/10 This is not a fantasy book, but a political preaching + Mary Sue self-inserting kind of book. It's just awkward to read, despite its too good prose. But prose isn't everything and if it weren't for it, I would've given it 1/10. It's just not for me as an audience.

Infinity Blades 1 and 2 by Brandon Sanderson - it was satisfying. 8/10 kind of satisfying. There was a strange mix between basic character development and genuine mystery that I've quite liked. But the books are kind of mental too - in the good and in the bad way at the same time. Over-all there were better for being slightly mental, but still.

Same for Legion 3 by Brandon Sanderson. I should probably not have read this back to back with Infinity Blades, since it doubled down, even triples down on the mental part. The book was on the most part disturbing. Mainly in that there was a lot of confusion shoved your way through the character, without a clear goal for the book and with lots of psychological conundrums where you don't have enough clues to guess what's happening until it has happened. I'm giving this book 7/10. Not the best in the series, although it has managed to put a semi-satisfying end on things.

I am on book 5 of my Riyria Revelations re-read. So far I've confirmed for myself that book 4 is probably my least favorite of the bunch, although I've still enjoyed it. I am under the suspicion that I enjoy travel log kind of books with no defined end goal less than any other type of books, while travel log kind of books with well-defined end goals are fine somehow( Riyria 3, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, etc.). I might enjoy the former if it's a first in the series( The Eye of the World), but having an aimless travel log book( Riyria 4) or "we'll deal with things as they come"( Mistborn 2) is not my cup of tea, unless there is some strong opposition against the characters going on at the same time.
 
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Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#38
Read Prince of Fools. Its good, but it only approaches special in terms of the voice; reads like Eddings meets Flashman. Since I'm glancing up the screen, "aimless travel log book" would be a harsh but fair statement regards the book's weaknesses, and I'm not sure the setting is strong enough to really justify a travel log.

@kenubrion - I just googled it on the strength of that.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#39
Read Prince of Fools. Its good, but it only approaches special in terms of the voice; reads like Eddings meets Flashman. Since I'm glancing up the screen, "aimless travel log book" would be a harsh but fair statement regards the book's weaknesses, and I'm not sure the setting is strong enough to really justify a travel log.
Yeah, it's nice, but it just reads too much like Jorg/Makin/Prince of Thorns 2.0 - Mark Lawrence is the only author besides Raymon E. Feist who has managed to plagiarize himself point by point. :p :D I mean ( BEWARE SPOILERS)- small cynical fella and a bulkier wise-brute kind of fella team go on adventure to turn a wheel, visiting 50% of the same places, meeting the same wise hermit( dr. Taproot), small fella tends to lead a siege defense at one point and a save the world party at the end of their arcs... it's basically the same story, the same time frame, the same conflict twice. And you even know the ending from page one( well, at least I did, since I knew the title of the 3rd book when I was starting Prince of Fools - it might have been different for people reading along as the books were being published).

I mostly enjoyed the series, but it was kind of redundant and yes - the aimless travel log structure of the whole trilogy bothered me, especially in book two where it's just "travel and wait for book 3" kind of situation. :)

If you've read the most recent Wax and Wayne book - it's more of the same, 2nd book in a trilogy equals lots of meandering and reacting to whatever the bad guys are doing, but it's just one "yeah, we're just hiking and having fun until the last 20 pages where things would blow and you'll know what it all was about". Same with Stormlight 3 - no clear end goal. At one point of the book you realize to what it's building towards, but before that it's just quest 1, 2, 3, let's find more quests. No real stakes for the good guys, it's just a sequence of smaller stakes until the end goal is presented at 3/4 of the book, so that you could get ready for book 4 with some fireworks hype.
 
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ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#40
Latest read was Skyward and it only took me 4 days. It's very YA and a simple story, nothing complex etc, etc.. It's quite obvious that this is Sanderson ''relaxing'' between his more serious works. All that said, I found it SUPER enjoyable. It was just what I needed after Dragon Reborn.

Now I'm not so sure if I'll continue with Shadow Rising or something else. Because Skyward was such a quick read I think I want to get to some more SF before I head back into Wheel of Time.

I've been interested in Neal Stephenson for a long time. Has anyone here read Seveneves or The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O? I do have Snowcrash but I've gotten the impression it's his best work so I don't want to start with it.