March 2016 - What fantasy books are you reading?

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
Just finished up Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding. It probably makes more sense for me to get the bad out of the way first so I will start there. World building isn't a big thing for me in books unless it is really great and adds a little extra or is really bad. In this case, it is pretty bad. Again, not a big deal for me but I couldn't tell you about a single place in this book as nothing at all stood out about any of it. I also found the action to be very wanting. It wasn't bad per se, there was just nothing about it that stood out. I feel like any one of us on these forums could throw together any of these action scenes, writer or not.

The same goes for the magic. Very lightly used and exploration of it was almost nonexistent. I think what was introduced could be very interesting, but there was nothing to it. lastly I will touch on the characters. There wasn't a single character that jumped out at me as someone to latch onto. No particular person was all that interesting to me. As for the positives, by the end of the book the whole crew of the Ketty Jay came together for me as something I could be interested in despite there not being one particular character I am attached to. I thought the growth from beginning to end on the whole, was very well done.

Despite the bigger list of negatives, I still mostly enjoyed reading this book for whatever reason. There was just enough interest in the plot and character backgrounds to keep me going and the end left a better taste in my mouth than would be expected given my complaints. Nothing great here but a solid read.

7.5/10
The first book is definitely the weakest in the series. The second two both improved for me, and though I haven't read the last book yet, I've heard it's the best.
 

Kalavan

Journeyed there and back again
Finished Kearney's The Heretic Kings, another amazing entry in this quite underrated series. Definitely a transition book, and the rigid separation of the different storylines between the two continents didn't help the pacing, but a great book nonetheless: intrigues, great combat scenes, likable characters and above all the brutal realism of the setting.

Because especially in book two and the first half of book three - the characters`es decision make little sense and I've felt like they are making stupid decisions just because the plot needs them too.
I agree, I'm around the 20% mark in The Last Mortal Bond, definitely a compelling reading, but the idiocy of some choices, especially by Adare, is seriously endangering my enjoyment of this novel
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
@lyraseven I just finished The Amber Spyglass.
The book definitely got better, and I liked the ending. It's that bittersweet ending that you hate but like all the same because it really makes you feel. It came out of nowhere while also making perfect sense, and then I saw instantly how it would end and just.. It was sad:(
 

Andrew.J

Journeyed there and back again
Reading the First Law trilogy by Abercrombie. About 200+ pages in and it reminds me of The Axe and the Throne in some ways. Grey characters, character based story in which I don't see the overall plot line. There isn't a save the world or super bad guy at the moment that is introduced to compell you forward. It's mainly been about 3 people and their lives. They are interesting and I am enjoying it. Curious as to where this is going.
Oh, it's going places. First Law and the standalones are fantastic, one of my favourite and memorable books/series out there. Each book is also better than the last, you can really see Abercrombie improve as a writer during the course of the series.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
Oh, it's going places. First Law and the standalones are fantastic, one of my favourite and memorable books/series out there. Each book is also better than the last, you can really see Abercrombie improve as a writer during the course of the series.
So are books #4-6 in the First Law World all standalones then? I thought it might have been another trilogy. How did you feel about his YA trilogy starting with Half a King?
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
His Dark Materials ending
At first I was a little disappointed and thinking, is this it? Since that whole war against heaven came into play I was expecting a big showdown that never came. BUT, thinking about it that ending was perfect. No big war or confrontation, just a very non fantasy like ending which was very emotional and felt so real.
 

Andrew.J

Journeyed there and back again
So are books #4-6 in the First Law World all standalones then? I thought it might have been another trilogy. How did you feel about his YA trilogy starting with Half a King?
Yes. All 3 are set after the events of the First Law trilogy in differet corners of the world. Best Served Cold ~3 years after, The Heroes ~7 and The Red Country ~13 years after. Best to read them all in publishing/chronological order. All 3 are great in their own right.
I've yet to read his Shattered Sea trilogy and I know very little about it. I'm planning on reading it this year. Right now I'm more excited for Sharp Ends (a collection of 13 short stories from the First Law universe) due in April. :)
 

ams7

Killed in the battle against the Mad King
I'm reading a novel called "Knights of Eternity". It's fantasy but a bit different to what you might expect.
I found it very inspiring and really liked the way the author delved into ideas of spirituality and philosophy -
and mixing it well with traditional fantasy elements.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
So, today I've finished The Spider`s War, the last book of "The Dagger and the Coin" series by Daniel Abraham. And I am not quite sure how to describe it, or the series as a whole, less I do it disservice by being too shallow in my telling.

I've been introduced to the series less than a year ago, finding it in the Best Fantasy Series Top 100 list on the site. And I am very glad that I did.

I have the feeling that this is one of those series which quietly, but unforgivenly, makes an impression in a person`s life. Not by being spectacular in a flashy way, but more for being soothing, and real, and pleasant for the soul. Because this is how I felt reading this series. It isn't full of action, as we are usually understanding action. The story is more about people, ordinary people who are good at what they are doing, than about fantasy characters destined to fight dragons.

The series somehow have depth that many others don't. The world is magical, rich, - and yet, ordinary and familiar. It's as much part of the story as the characters are. The society, the politics, the military and banking aspects - they are there too. And they unveil a wonderful world about how the lives of ordinary people entangled daily in those activities could be interesting, and profound, and world-changing.

It isn't a story about great heroes. Not exactly. It's more a story about friends, who are doing their best in a harsh world, who are shaping their world, even before they are aware that they are indeed - friends.

I haven't felt so good and bittersweet about finishing a series since I've finished The Wheel of Time. And now I count Cithrin, and Marcus, and Kit, and all the other characters as dear friends, whom I'd like to meet for another ride, someday. Because the good stories stay with us, and "The Dagger and the Coin" did that for me.

I don't want to give it a rating based on numbers. I am sure that some people could and would love it, the same way I did. And I am sure that others won't, because it's a different kind of fantasy, but not in a bad way. And it's a shame there aren't more series like this one out there. A real shame.
 
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TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
I'm reading a novel called "Knights of Eternity". It's fantasy but a bit different to what you might expect.
I found it very inspiring and really liked the way the author delved into ideas of spirituality and philosophy -
and mixing it well with traditional fantasy elements.
Did you write it or do you know the author?
 

Sotiris

Knows the real name of Lower Corte
I too did a back to back read of the Unhewn Throne (that's why it took me a while to post). Overall I liked the series a lot. But let me elaborate a bit:
The characters I thought was the strong point here. Even Adare whom I hated with all my heart was (in my opinion) very consistent with her mannerisms and choices. Very well-written dialogues and some very interesting personalities (Il Tornja, Triste, Tan). Most of all I liked Kaden, Gwenna and Valyn.
The worldbuilding... I found lackluster. I didn't quite connect to it, although I found some parts very promising and interesting (the Rassambur and the priests of Ananshael for instance).
Finally, the story... was uneven for me. For example,
I really liked Gwenna and her chapters in the last book, but I found very little meaning to her whole storyline and side-characters. The story of the Eyrie toook 25% of the book and of all those characters only Jak mattered in the endgame with a very brief appearance.
. Overall that was my only and actual complaint, that some of the storylines I wanted to be more detailed (Oshi and Nira) were not and some others I really liked were kind of pointless.

Now I am about 50% in the Magicians. I am really digging this one and if it is true that the first book is the weakest in the series, I think I am gonna have a blast by the end of the trilogy.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
I just finished The Color of Magic (audiobook) by Terry Pratchett today. This is a series I have always been interested in given the premise but hadn't pulled the trigger because of how many books there were. I am definitely disappointed in the results. The premise holds up and I find the world Pratchett created mostly intriguing but nothing else about this gives me any reason to carry on with the series. The plot felt all over the place and mostly uninteresting, and I never got into any of the characters. Doesn't help when a book dedicates so much time to certain POV's if you don't like them. The magic system has some minor interest from me but there wasn't enough time to laying it out and making it clear. Random pieces about it here and there basically running along with the incoherent plot that didn't seem to have any ultimate direction.

I haven't fully decided on whether or not to continue and want to research more to see how much the series changes over time because I really do want to explore the world he created.

3/10
 

GreyMouser

Journeyed there and back again
I'm 80% into As Flies to Wantan Boys and really enjoying it. Definitely enjoying this one more than Steel Blood & Fire although that was a very good book as well.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
I'm 80% into As Flies to Wantan Boys and really enjoying it. Definitely enjoying this one more than Steel Blood & Fire although that was a very good book as well.
I felt that As Flies to Wanton Boys was the strongest of the three. Unfortunately, I felt that Corpse Cold was the weakest of the three but still obviously good.

I'm currently reading too many books to list so trying to get through a few of them and get back to just reading one at a time. Currently listening to "Nightwise" by RS Belcher. I probably would have put this book down if I was reading and not listening but the narrator (Bronson Pinchot) is so good, I can't stop listening. I don't think I'm a fan of Urban Fantasy but there is just enough here, including the excellent narration to keep me going.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
Yes I've heard there is a lot of walking around and not much happening, but to be honest that kind of stuff is intriguing to me. It's so much easier to get invested in anything from characters to the world if you're there with the characters day by day and not just following them from big event to next big event, without seeing what happens in between.

I've been putting off Hobb for a while but that's only because of all the stuff I haven't gotten around to yet, her's seem to be the best fit for me. Don't want read the best right away.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
Fixed that now, thanks.

I loved the Farseer trilogy. It's a pretty classic story overall, but the character writing is absolutely some of the best around. In fact, I'd have to say the Farseer characters feel the most real of anything I've ever read, and I love them. You don't need some new meta twist or trendy grimdark antiheroics when the character writing is this good.

The last book in particular struck me as being the main quest from Lord of the Rings* done by someone who's good at telling a story instead of a philologist.

* Different goal, so I don't think that's a spoiler (it's called Assassin's Quest after all) but lots of walking and adventures along the walk.

The latest trilogy (in progress) has declined in quality a little, but the Farseer trilogy and Tawny Man were fantastic.
I agree and will add that I thought Liveship Traders was better as a trilogy than Farseer, although each of the individual Farseer books was better than any of the Liveship Books. If that makes sense?

If anyone can point me to an author that develops characters as well as Robin Hobb, please let me know!
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
Did you write it or do you know the author?
When I went to check it out at Amazon, I noted that a very negative 1-star review was just left for this book today, while the only other reviews, 2 of them, were written in 2014. What are the odds?