It's September 2019: What fantasy book are you reading?

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#21
Never got around to it due to so many people saying the series goes way downhill later on. If you liked all of it I might just move it to the top of my pile.
I personally don't think that it went downhill so much as the structure of the narration changed. First book is very much a 'chosen one' trope and it has only one POV. I usually hate 'chosen one' books, but the story was really new and interesting and in the end I didn't care.
The second book changed in a better way imo. We got more POVs and it veered more into proper epic fantasy instead of 'boy with the sword' that it was.
The last book was the worst of all, but that doesn't mean bad. It just means that the story's conclusion wasn't as good as it could have been.
The series as a whole is still worth it imo, because in the end it's a really solid and unique story.

I loved the first two books of Ravens Shadow. Third book a big disappointment. I’ve yet to find a trilogy on Goodreads where the final book drops in value so much from the first two. It goes from 4.44 to 4.17 to 3.67.
I gave these ratings:

Blood Song 9/10
Tower Lord 9/10
Queen of Fire 8.5/10

The drop in the second book is largely because Vaelyn was the only POV in book one and they went to four in the next book and some hated that change.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#22
I'd give the third book a 5/10. I'd probably give Blood Song a 10/10 with Tower Lord 9/10. Anthony Ryan does have an issue with creating too many secondary characters that are hard to remember. The series is best read close together to help the memory. The last book was a major disappointment to me.

Here was my review at the time for book 3

(minor spoilers)

I actually went back and re-read both Blood Song and Tower Lord right before the Queen of Fire since I simply could not remember enough from the first two books to read Queen of Fire properly. But that’s one of the issues with this trilogy – the author Anthony Ryan packs in a lot of cultures, regions and minor characters to the point they are too hard to keep track of. (Why the author adds a girl for Reva to adopt in this final book is a perfect example of wasted pages and too many minor characters). I actually made notes during my re-reads in an effort to solve the mystery of the One from Beyond or Ally. Even at the end of Queen of Fire he refers to a question between two main characters from the first book and requires us to remember it! I’m sorry but you have to give your readers a little more help imo.

The biggest problem with Queen of Fire is that is just wasn’t that interesting, was far too focused on world/religion building and lacked good dialogue and memorable scenes. I read it because it finished off a trilogy that I loved initially. What made Blood Song so great was Vaelin. The character was very interesting and it was largely set in one area with limited fantasy elements. I remember great scenes and dialogue with his masters and the Aspects, Sister Sherin, etc. You’d be hard pressed to find any memorable dialogue with Vaelin and anyone in the final book. Just travel from A to B to gather more world building and religious information. Simply too much information and side characters the reader doesn’t care that much about. Also I viewed Vaelin’s gift as special but as the trilogy unfolded there seemed to be a gifted character around every corner and I preferred the trilogy when the fantasy elements were a bit more subdued.

I actually liked Tower Lord and enjoyed the re-read as well. Splitting into 4 main POVs from just Vaelin annoyed many but I enjoyed Reva and Frentis while also enjoying Lyrna to a lesser degree. They had interesting stories to tell. In Queen of Fire Vaelin is neutered, Frentis is repetitive, Reva is uninteresting/ignored until the end and Lyrna bounces back and forth between harsh, cunning and nice along with boring. The inner battle over guilt from all the main characters is overdone by the end of the series and I hope to never read another quote over the innocence lost by youth during their hard times. But the biggest crime is that the characters all play second fiddle to the author trying to force all the world building knowledge on us at all times. All the religious histories of every culture dominated far too much as well. It felt like a Timothy Dalton Bond movie – all flash and little substance. There were certainly a lot of large scale action scenes but after so many I didn’t really care about them by the end. Veniers was the most interesting of them all and I wish he had more time in the book.

The only appealing part of Queen of Fire is to finally see the unveiling of the Ally although the mystery behind him and the agents was overly convoluted. Even the assassin woman’s motives at the end (and throughout) weren’t fully understood. But it didn’t really matter. At the end we have a conclusion of a book that travelled all over the map but failed to capture the reader unlike the first two books.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#23
I got the sudden urge to read something by Stephen King. It chapter 2 had something to do about that I suppose. Besides The Stand, It and The Shining, what else would you recommend? I have 9 more WoT books to go, and then I intend to read Realm of the Elderlings, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Hyperion books and try Neal Stephenson. All that will probably take me years considering I'm in school, so just give me your best recommendations.
I'm definitely interested in his Dark Tower series too. Is that something that would be a good fit next to these 3 books, or do you need to read most of his other stuff first? Or is it the other way around? I know his books are connected somewhat but not much more than that.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#24
I got the sudden urge to read something by Stephen King. It chapter 2 had something to do about that I suppose. Besides The Stand, It and The Shining, what else would you recommend? I have 9 more WoT books to go, and then I intend to read Realm of the Elderlings, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Hyperion books and try Neal Stephenson. All that will probably take me years considering I'm in school, so just give me your best recommendations.
I'm definitely interested in his Dark Tower series too. Is that something that would be a good fit next to these 3 books, or do you need to read most of his other stuff first? Or is it the other way around? I know his books are connected somewhat but not much more than that.
There are a few things that reference some of his other books but I wouldn't let it stop you from reading the series. It's fantastic. If you've read The Stand you will be ok IMO.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#25
I agree. The Dark Tower is one of the best fantasy series out there in my opinion.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#26
Good afternoon, hope we're all well :)

So I've finally gotten back on the fantasy bandwagon after quite a bit of time away from the genre (and reading altogether truth be told), and have most recently been demolishing the Riyria books by MJ Sullivan. Only 1 and a bit left to go and they're superb, I've been well and truly hooked!
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#28
I'd give the third book a 5/10. I'd probably give Blood Song a 10/10 with Tower Lord 9/10. Anthony Ryan does have an issue with creating too many secondary characters that are hard to remember. The series is best read close together to help the memory. The last book was a major disappointment to me.

Here was my review at the time for book 3

(minor spoilers)

I actually went back and re-read both Blood Song and Tower Lord right before the Queen of Fire since I simply could not remember enough from the first two books to read Queen of Fire properly. But that’s one of the issues with this trilogy – the author Anthony Ryan packs in a lot of cultures, regions and minor characters to the point they are too hard to keep track of. (Why the author adds a girl for Reva to adopt in this final book is a perfect example of wasted pages and too many minor characters). I actually made notes during my re-reads in an effort to solve the mystery of the One from Beyond or Ally. Even at the end of Queen of Fire he refers to a question between two main characters from the first book and requires us to remember it! I’m sorry but you have to give your readers a little more help imo.

The biggest problem with Queen of Fire is that is just wasn’t that interesting, was far too focused on world/religion building and lacked good dialogue and memorable scenes. I read it because it finished off a trilogy that I loved initially. What made Blood Song so great was Vaelin. The character was very interesting and it was largely set in one area with limited fantasy elements. I remember great scenes and dialogue with his masters and the Aspects, Sister Sherin, etc. You’d be hard pressed to find any memorable dialogue with Vaelin and anyone in the final book. Just travel from A to B to gather more world building and religious information. Simply too much information and side characters the reader doesn’t care that much about. Also I viewed Vaelin’s gift as special but as the trilogy unfolded there seemed to be a gifted character around every corner and I preferred the trilogy when the fantasy elements were a bit more subdued.

I actually liked Tower Lord and enjoyed the re-read as well. Splitting into 4 main POVs from just Vaelin annoyed many but I enjoyed Reva and Frentis while also enjoying Lyrna to a lesser degree. They had interesting stories to tell. In Queen of Fire Vaelin is neutered, Frentis is repetitive, Reva is uninteresting/ignored until the end and Lyrna bounces back and forth between harsh, cunning and nice along with boring. The inner battle over guilt from all the main characters is overdone by the end of the series and I hope to never read another quote over the innocence lost by youth during their hard times. But the biggest crime is that the characters all play second fiddle to the author trying to force all the world building knowledge on us at all times. All the religious histories of every culture dominated far too much as well. It felt like a Timothy Dalton Bond movie – all flash and little substance. There were certainly a lot of large scale action scenes but after so many I didn’t really care about them by the end. Veniers was the most interesting of them all and I wish he had more time in the book.

The only appealing part of Queen of Fire is to finally see the unveiling of the Ally although the mystery behind him and the agents was overly convoluted. Even the assassin woman’s motives at the end (and throughout) weren’t fully understood. But it didn’t really matter. At the end we have a conclusion of a book that travelled all over the map but failed to capture the reader unlike the first two books.
I kind of agree with everything you said and yet I wasn't let down so much. Maybe because I read all three books consecutively and didn't pick at the inconsistencies or things that were done sub-par. But who knows, I just hope this next book has something of that Blood Song magic in it.

Besides The Stand, It and The Shining, what else would you recommend?
Those three are really good. With King I started with his short stories, then went to Dark Tower (which is also great), stopped half-way through and started reading King in publishing order. I've read the three that you mentioned and all of them were great.
I've also read The Talisman and really liked that. He wrote that with another writer, and that book is more fantasy than horror in a similar vein as Dark Tower (it has some connection to it as well). It's more of a contained story and has that 'boy with a sword except it's not a sword' thing going for it.
Oh and I liked 'Salem's Lot as well.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#29
Dark Forge by Miles Cameron dropped so I dropped everything to read it.
 

HeroineOfCanton

Downed a vial of metals
#30
*waves* So, it's been a million years since I've popped in, but I just finished A Little Hatred, and I figure someone around here must have finished it as well and is just dying to talk about the awesome return to the Circle of the World.

Other than this, I recently finished Priest of Bones by Peter McLean, and I liked it a ton. And now I need to go back up thread and read the Anthony Ryan spoilers. Honestly, after loving Blood Song and liking Tower Lord, I tried three times to finished Queen of Fire and just couldn't get through it.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#31
I’m almost halfway through the first Mistborn book. Really got tired of reading a real book. It sucks when lying on a couch at night and lacking light along with a cumbersome book. Bought the trilogy on my Kindle instead. Large books are made for a Kindle lol. But as a trilogy this also lacks page numbers on the Kindle so my percentage is for the whole series.

Anyways, I like the magic system. The lore behind what has happened to the world since the Ascension and Lord Ruler intrigues me. After a very interesting opening the book ground to a halt for awhile and I read fairly slow. It has picked up a bit so hopefully I end up liking the whole thing.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#32
Well I finally finished Mistborn book 1. I thought it was a good book that I gave 4/5. I really liked the characters and magic system. I liked the lore and mystery behind how the world exists now. The start of the book was very good too. I just found the middle of the book too slow. A lot of WOT type political intrigue, game of houses stuff, that slowed the book down. I found I would read and give up as I got disinterested. But the ending of the book was fantastic. Probably read for 2 straight hours last night to finish it off. I really enjoyed the fact this book can be read as a standalone for the most part. While there is a continuing saga the main story reaches a satisfying conclusion. Definitely reading book 2.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#33
@rudyjuly2 Glad you liked it! Book 2 is great but it definitely does drag a bit, just as the middle of book 1 slowed down a bit, ''Well of Ascension'' does the same for the whole trilogy. Book 3 however is incredible all the way through.

I myself decided to put down Lord of Chaos about 250 pages in. It's great as usual but with school taking up all my time I just don't have the energy for something that dense. Instead I bought The Shining, my first ever Stephen King book. Felt like the appropriate time of the year to finally start!
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#34
I'll chime in here (after a long time away). Been reading Masters & Mages series by Miles Cameron, his new(ish) fantasy series after Traitor's Son Cycle.

I really like it so far. It's everything that the Traitor's Son cycle was and more -- heroic clashes, awesome magic battles all over the place, grand world-ending plots to defeat, and a good coming of age story. Anyone who liked his previous books (or a good epic fantasy read) will like this.