It's January 2021: What fantasy book are you reading?

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#1
Happy New Year guys!

I'm on Toll the Hounds, Malazan #8. First time reading it. Malazan books I've read in 2020 were a second read, but from now on it's first time reads.
I had a great time reading them the second time. I rediscovered some old favorites and also discovered I liked some of them way more than the first time. It was only a positive experience. That's usually hard to find with books :)
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Happy New Year Alucard. I have waffled for years on trying Malazan again. I own like 9 of the books and have read the first 3 I think.

I finished Dark Age the other day and my thoughts remain the same as my earlier post about it as I was reading. I am finally fully in the camp that any fan of the first trilogy should give this new one a chance.

Now I am reading Hero Forged by Josh Erikson. 100 pages in and so far it just meh for me. The writing feels amateurish and nothing specifically in the plot is very engaging to this point. It is a short book (comparatively speaking) so I will likely finish it regardless. Hopefully it finds its stride.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#3
Happy New Year Alucard. I have waffled for years on trying Malazan again. I own like 9 of the books and have read the first 3 I think.

I finished Dark Age the other day and my thoughts remain the same as my earlier post about it as I was reading. I am finally fully in the camp that any fan of the first trilogy should give this new one a chance.

Now I am reading Hero Forged by Josh Erikson. 100 pages in and so far it just meh for me. The writing feels amateurish and nothing specifically in the plot is very engaging to this point. It is a short book (comparatively speaking) so I will likely finish it regardless. Hopefully it finds its stride.
Cyphon, the description of Hero Forged sounds very interesting and I'm going to give it a shot after I finish Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie. Thanks for the heads-up.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#4
Cyphon, the description of Hero Forged sounds very interesting and I'm going to give it a shot after I finish Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie. Thanks for the heads-up.
Haha glad I was able to mention a book that caught your attention. That being said, I just finished and can't say that I am a fan of the book. I hope you like it more than I did.

- The first and most important issue for me is that we get 1 POV (there is a 2nd POV but not prominent enough to matter to my point) and I never became a fan of the main character. We have this (apparently) really good con man who somehow seems to lack all confidence around pretty women and waffles on decisions the entire book. Those things don't work together for me.

- You could tell the author thinks he is funny and did his best to make the character funny but none of it worked for me.

- I never found the plot especailly interesting until the very end and by that point I knew I wasn't picking up the next book. In fairness, the book did seem to continually get somewhat better though.

- This could either be good or bad depending on how you want to frame it, but I thought the book blurbs at the beginning of each chapter were some of the better writing as opposed to the actual story. Interesting snippets and some of the better character development.

The last thing I will say is that by the end there were definitely some intriguing plot points I might not mind exploring in future books, but I would need to find out the author switched to multiple POV's because I have no interest in reading permanently through Gabe.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#5
I have waffled for years on trying Malazan again. I own like 9 of the books and have read the first 3 I think.
What seems to be the problem? I know it can be a daunting task when you know there's more than 10.000 pages ahead of you for just a core series, but Malazan has this wonderful characteristic of griping and holding one's attention, especially if one gets to Deadhouse Gates.

Or is it that you don't like the writing style? It can be weird to get thrown in the middle of some epic battle with no explanations like in Gardens of the Moon.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#6
What seems to be the problem? I know it can be a daunting task when you know there's more than 10.000 pages ahead of you for just a core series, but Malazan has this wonderful characteristic of griping and holding one's attention, especially if one gets to Deadhouse Gates.

Or is it that you don't like the writing style? It can be weird to get thrown in the middle of some epic battle with no explanations like in Gardens of the Moon.
You basically nailed it. There were parts I really enjoyed or was enjoying and then a chapter later you are thrown into an entirely different cast and plot and have to re engage with the book all over again. This not only happened within a book but from book to book as well, at least from my memory of it. The plot felt similar where you kind of have a feel for what was going on and then all of the sudden there are a bunch of random details they make sound significant but have no significance because we don't have the background for why they should be.

I am a big fan of both Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire and also am reading Sandersons Stromlight Archive books as they come out. So I am used to these massive stories with tons of characters where it is impossible to track everything. The difference is that they always had the consistency of plot to keep you tethered. You might have forgotten a character or 2 but it was easy to go back and make connections. With Malazan it felt like you had to do a research paper for each book to keep it all relevant.

So yeah, seems like a major investment into something I am not sure will change my opinion a second time through. It is the one series I don't actually knock on quality that I have low on my list of fantasy books.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#7
Happy New Year everyone!

I'm currently reading Blood of Elves (Witcher #1 or #3, depending on how you look at it). More than halfway done now and I like it a lot. In the short stories the characters of the world are introduced and you get to know them quite well, but in the series proper you also get to learn more about the wider world. The countries, cultures, races, history etc. Makes for engaging reading.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#9
Just finished Blood of Elves. Very enjoyable and it ended with a nice wizard school type chapter, which was very well done in my opinion. Interesting magic system.

I started on the next book in the series: The Time of Contempt.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#10
I just finished Unsouled by Will Wight.

This is one of those ones where it is probably a little slow for a lot of people at the beginning, but something about it had me hooked right away. I am a big fan of anime and manga but have never read a book that was geared toward that same Shonen style. I saw a reviewer compare it to Naruto and I can definitely agree with that assessment. While I am thoroughly hooked into the story of the main character I am not sure how I feel about the god plot, for lack of a better term. In some ways it just feels sort of dumped on us an adds more confusion than mystery for me. This was a good book, not great, but it laid a great foundation I can't wait to follow up on. Already ordered the next 2 books and should have them Monday. With an expected 12 in the series I am so glad I found this and hope it keeps my interest.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#11
So yeah, seems like a major investment into something I am not sure will change my opinion a second time through. It is the one series I don't actually knock on quality that I have low on my list of fantasy books.
Totally get it. As long as you have books to enjoy Malazan can wait. I do hope someday it manages to grip you and not let go :D
 

Jakyro

Journeyed there and back again
#12
Happy New Year everyone !!!

I'm currently reading Malice, the first book in the Faithful and the Fallen series from John Gwynne. It also takes place in the Banished lands. It's the series before Blood And Bone, the one that Khartun is currently reading. I'm really liking it so far. It uses some well know tropes, but I'm not bothered by it. The writing is good, no Erikson style, but decent enough and easy to read.

I didn't read much fantasy last year, mostly sci fi (The Expanse), so for my first fantasy book of the year this seems an excellent choice to get back into the genre.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#14
Haha glad I was able to mention a book that caught your attention. That being said, I just finished and can't say that I am a fan of the book. I hope you like it more than I did.

- The first and most important issue for me is that we get 1 POV (there is a 2nd POV but not prominent enough to matter to my point) and I never became a fan of the main character. We have this (apparently) really good con man who somehow seems to lack all confidence around pretty women and waffles on decisions the entire book. Those things don't work together for me.

- You could tell the author thinks he is funny and did his best to make the character funny but none of it worked for me.

- I never found the plot especailly interesting until the very end and by that point I knew I wasn't picking up the next book. In fairness, the book did seem to continually get somewhat better though.

- This could either be good or bad depending on how you want to frame it, but I thought the book blurbs at the beginning of each chapter were some of the better writing as opposed to the actual story. Interesting snippets and some of the better character development.

The last thing I will say is that by the end there were definitely some intriguing plot points I might not mind exploring in future books, but I would need to find out the author switched to multiple POV's because I have no interest in reading permanently through Gabe.
Cyphon, I read the sample of Hero Forged and didn't continue. Yet. I might and it's cheap as it's a Kindle Unlimited selection.

I may have mentioned this before, but the very good trilogy Path To Ascendancy by Ian Esslemont would be a good intro to the Kellanved and Dancer backstory as it ends at the point that Gardens of The Moon begins. It's the much needed prequel to Mazatlan and is quite entertaining. I think Esslemont writes with a lighter hand than Erikson.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#15
Cyphon, I read the sample of Hero Forged and didn't continue. Yet. I might and it's cheap as it's a Kindle Unlimited selection.

I may have mentioned this before, but the very good trilogy Path To Ascendancy by Ian Esslemont would be a good intro to the Kellanved and Dancer backstory as it ends at the point that Gardens of The Moon begins. It's the much needed prequel to Mazatlan and is quite entertaining. I think Esslemont writes with a lighter hand than Erikson.
Never used a Kindle. How much of a sample do you get and is it from the beginning of the book or just some random point? I ask because as little as I would recommend the book I know I am picky and the story did get better as it went on IMO. So if you caught an early portion it still might be worth checking for you.

Maybe that could be a good way to try and start back into Malazan when I come around to it. Thanks for pointing it out.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#16
I'm really struggling to get into the newest stormlight archive book (on audiobook). More than halfway done, but it's a chore.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Never used a Kindle. How much of a sample do you get and is it from the beginning of the book or just some random point? I ask because as little as I would recommend the book I know I am picky and the story did get better as it went on IMO. So if you caught an early portion it still might be worth checking for you.

Maybe that could be a good way to try and start back into Malazan when I come around to it. Thanks for pointing it out.
Kindle samples are always from the beginning. Many books give you a pretty lengthy sample. I find it very useful.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#18
I'm really struggling to get into the newest stormlight archive book (on audiobook). More than halfway done, but it's a chore.
I found the first 450-500 pages slow and a chore as well. I had almost lost my faith in this series after being disappointed with book 3. But after the event that takes place by page 500 the book grabbed me. Everything afterwards was interesting and no longer felt like a boring setup for something else. There are significant character events and action. I’m currently almost done at maybe page 1150 (there are over 1200). W

I don’t know if there is a dedicated Stormlight thread but I’d like to discuss this series a bit more in detail and in overall scope. This is supposed to be Sanderson biggest and best work but it doesn’t feel as special as some other works. I think it ends up solid but not elite. Trying to tie Cosmere stuff in combined with the cognitive and normal realms has made some things overly complicated imo. It’s a unique book for sure. In some ways it feels like Wheel of Time with the different peoples and cultures and politics but mixed with quantum physics. He’s clearly a big science guy. The double slit electron experiment and how he ties that to spren is interesting but sometimes the science goes a bit crazy.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#19
Ok. Finished Rhythm of War and time for a review without spoilers. It’s a hard book for me to grade because the first 487 pages are slow with a lot of setup and not a lot of interesting things happen. We are introduced to some new characters that are interesting but after being disappointed with book 3 I had a feeling this series was going down the toilet. But then a big event happens and we get action. And then what the characters are doing have real meaning and purpose. It gets interesting and stays interesting through the end of the book and the 1200+ pages. There are a few twists and the book largely revolves around the same basic characters. But I really enjoyed it. So how do I rate this book when I found the first 40% a bore and the last 60% really good? Probably 3.5 to 4. IThere are still mysteries to solve and evil to end so that’s good.

Some criticisms here. After reading a lot of other fantasy books between books 3 and 4 I found myself using Wiki pages for this series to remember characters I was very foggy on. The series with all the Heralds, spren and good/bad characters has grown a lot and hard to remember. I think the science part of the series and the involvement of the entire Cosmere/universe in ways is maybe overly ambitious. Shadesmar is weird. I don’t like one thing at the end of the book but I added the spoiler tag.

I really hate “champion” fights. Two whole armies avoid fighting as they pick champions ala David and Goliath. But even those old stories have one army destroy the other one after the loser falls. I just don’t find it realistic or plausible. Is there any real historical war that was fought like this? It’s setting up a big battle for book 5 but it annoys me.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#20
I don’t know if there is a dedicated Stormlight thread but I’d like to discuss this series a bit more in detail and in overall scope. This is supposed to be Sanderson biggest and best work but it doesn’t feel as special as some other works.
I haven't read Rhythm of War, but other than that I'd be up for a Stormlight/Cosmere discussion.

I'm leaning towards agreeing with you about The Stormlight Archive. While I like the series, and will continue reading it, there is something about it that feels a little... off. Mistborn, for me, remains Sanderson's best work. Stormlight could definitely be an awesome series, but I think the biggest problem with it is that Sanderson is trying really heard to make the series Super Epic, and it's coming across as a little forced. There's no reason for the books to be over 1,000 pages each (with #3 and #4 being over 1,200).