March 2016 - What fantasy books are you reading?

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#81
I like to refer to that book as the 900-page battle. You'd never think that would work, but at that point, you're so invested in the characters and world that it's simply amazing to read.
Yeah, it grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go. It was like getting caught in a Terumi rushdown. I've never been so simultaneously elated and devastated by a book in my life.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#82
@moonspawn Sanderson's work wasn't always that way. It's happened slowly. His characters were often very samey, with one default male personality and two default female ones, but lately it's not just noticeably lazy character archetypes, but noticeably lazy gimmicks-as-characters. Whether or not you liked him to begin with I think he's gotten visibly worse lately.
So you're saying he's worse than a hack now?

Never read the Flat Earth series (never seen it in a store before), but I'm glad to see Tanith Lee getting more love. I thought the Secret Books of Paradys series was very good (wasn't as crazy about the middle book), and The Blood of Roses is one of my favorite books of all time. She swung and missed a few times (I was REALLY not fond of the Birthgrave books), but that's basically true of any writer who writes so far off of the standard for their entire career.
I read a compilation of her short stories Tempting the Gods first - which was mostly good with a few duds - and then chose to read the Flat Earth because it's considered her magnum opus. It doesn't surprise me that you've never seen the Flat Earth series in a book store since they are rare and out of print but starting in May I believe the Flat Earth is going to be released for Kindle so that will definitely make it much more accessible. The Secret Books of Paradys will probably be the next thing I read by her. It sounds very weird and poetic and the weirder it is the better!
 

Fantam

Journeyed there and back again
#83
For what it's worth, I actually liked The Grim Company, which is strange because I'm usually not the biggest fan of Grimdark.
I found The Grim Company to be fast paced, with plenty of action and liked the world building and characterisation. The plot seemed fairly straightforward to begin with, but Skull surprised me with some unexpected twists and I enjoyed the humour which he injected into the story. Am very much looking forward to reading the sequel Sword of the North to see how the series develops.

I just started A Memory of Light yesterday and to be honest... it's going to be a little emotional to finally be at the end of the WOT. It was a long ride but well worth it at the end.
I felt the same way when I picked up AMOL, which is one of the few hardbacks I now have as I could not wait for the paperback to come out. I just checked and a certain battle chapter was 190 pages ! What impressed me so much was that the series had been leading up to this event for such a long time (understatement, lol), and that Sanderson seemed to carry it off without it becoming a disappointing anti-climax, which could not have been easy. Overall, I found the book to be an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the series, which while I was glad that it was finished also knew (if some could believe this) that I would miss the world and its characters now that it was finally over.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#84
I've read a few books since I last posted. I've been taking advantage of free Kindle ebooks. Lots of free reading, most of it really enjoyable.

Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. Pretty much exactly what I was expecting, and that's a good thing. I love this style of classic sci-fi.(Tons of his work is free with Kindle unlimited)

Trysmoon saga,by Brian K. Fuller. I took a chance on this one, but it turned out to be better than a lot of the highly praised fantasy I've read lately. Simple plot, light read, and some cliche characters. However, great action, pacing, and a few original thoughts. I'd give it 8.5/10. Four shortish books, reads like one long novel. (Free with Kindle Unlimited)

White Fang, Jack London. Because Call of the Wild was one of the first books I read as a child, and got me interested in reading. It was great. Coming of age tale, but the protagonist is a wolf. (Free Kindle classic).

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms/ The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. I really enjoyed these, and could discuss them more if I had time. However, I don't feel compelled to read the third book just yet. ( Not free, but the first book was only $1.99 so what the hell!) I'll wait till I finish the series to rate it, but I'm thinking 8+.

The Grim Company, by Luke Skull. :banghead: :rolleyes:. This is one of the most overrated pieces of rubbish I've ever read. I dropped it after 200 pages, over halfway through. Something I almost never do. I was in the mood for simple action packed sword and sorcery, but I found this to be unreadable. (Local library)

Currently I'm enjoying The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LeRoux. So far so good. I always enjoy Gothic horror.(Free Kindle classic)
Great post, Sir. Thanks for the books list and your thought on each. I loved Grim Company and think it's well ahead of John Gwynne's Faithful and Fallen series (Malice, Valor etc). Glad you're back.
 

Kalavan

Journeyed there and back again
#85
Finished Belcher's The Shotgun Arcana. I thought that the first book of this series was very good, if a little bit too crammed with too many POVs, storylines and weird things. In this second installment Belcher decides to go completely over the top, throwing in the mix a whole bunch of serial killers, pirate queens, deranged angels, the Pinkerton agency, chupacabras and several new POVs. And romances, romances everywhere, spring has definitely arrived in Golgotha and nearly every main character somewhere finds also the time to deal with the opposite - or if they prefer same - sex.
Somehow all these things work well together, again with some pacing problems, an extremely engaging urban-ish fantasy series.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#86
When I was on vacation I read 2 books in 7 days. I came home on the 22nd, started The Amber Spyglass, and I'm only 100 pages in. Either I read like crazy or I don't at allo_O
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#87
This is a curious thing to say. The only story I've read by Lovecraft is the Dunwich horror and I wasn't especially impressed by his prose. There is no doubt that his paragraph's and sentences are extremely well crafted, that he is a really good technician but I just didn't find his prose to be as....lively as some authors of similar genre. It was like some spark was missing from the writing, that spark that really makes me say wow!
@moonspawn: The reason I'm impressed by his prose is because the sentences are very well crafted and his use of English is nothing short of phenomenal. I agree though that it's not very lively. The Dunwich horror is a cool story, but Lovecraft is not at his best in that one. I can recommend the Call of Cthulhu and at the Mountains of Madness. These are both better stories than the Dunwich horror.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#88
Finished Belcher's The Shotgun Arcana. I thought that the first book of this series was very good, if a little bit too crammed with too many POVs, storylines and weird things. In this second installment Belcher decides to go completely over the top, throwing in the mix a whole bunch of serial killers, pirate queens, deranged angels, the Pinkerton agency, chupacabras and several new POVs. And romances, romances everywhere, spring has definitely arrived in Golgotha and nearly every main character somewhere finds also the time to deal with the opposite - or if they prefer same - sex.
Somehow all these things work well together, again with some pacing problems, an extremely engaging urban-ish fantasy series.
I'm quickly becoming Belcher's fan. Last year I've read Nightwise, which is a terrific dark urban fantasy with elements of horror. This year he published The Brootherhood of the Wheel, set in the same world as Nightwise, featuring now one of the cameos of Nightwise, a trucker who's actually a knight templar.

I've read both of these as audiobooks and I highly recommend this format for both of them, the narrator is great. He makes my blood run cold and the horror elements draw from reality (zodiac serial killer for example) and the narrator really scares me, I have to remind myself it's just a book.
Belcher does something similar as Tim Powers, using real historical events/places/people as a base and then he twists and molds it into something fantastical and scary.

I'm around 40% now with The Brootherhood, and it's shaping up to be a 4-5 star book same as Nightwise. Belcher really does things differently, with a lot of originality to his books, especially the way he choose his settings and characters. I mean who would have thought to write about knights templars in urban fantasy subgenre using american highways, truck stops and rest places as a backdrop to the story. You got to praise that different approach to the tropey sub-genre that urban fantasy can be.

It's obvious now that he's building quite an urban fantasy world with Nightwise and The Brotherhood, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more intersections between these two series. This world-building isn't something quite common in urban fantasy, and I'm really happy to see some books break away from the stereotypes like this.

I haven't read his Golgotha series yet, but as far as I know it belongs more to weird west sub genre than an urban fantasy. That doesn't really matter much, as I have bought both books you mention and will get to them soon. Btw, this is an ongoing series. The next book is The Queen of Swords. Publishing date is yet to be determined, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it later in the year.
 

Jakyro

Journeyed there and back again
#89
I’m still reading Acts Of Caine 2 – Blade of Tyshalle. It started off pretty good with the first chapter, but after that I thought the book wasn’t always as interesting; it went along with some ups and downs. Sometimes I really loved it and at other times I thought Stover dragged it out a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, but not as good as the first book. The plot is still intriguing but there aren’t as many interesting events/scenes as in the first book. I’m around the 40 % mark now and in the first book there would have been a lot more bloodshed by then. Not so with book 2, and this is partially because the story also focuses a lot more on the events at earth. Due to this we do get a better view on Earth as it exists in the book. I also feel I’m arriving at a turning point and that the focus will now be placed more on Overworld. Just a feeling I have …

because I’m expecting Hari and Tan’elKoth to return to Overworld. I think I would be disappointed if they wouldn’t return

What also plays a role is that I just didn’t have much proper reading time the past week; most of the book was read in bits and pieces and I still prefer to read large portions instead of small pieces. I get much more engrossed that way.
 

Kalavan

Journeyed there and back again
#90
I'm quickly becoming Belcher's fan. Last year I've read Nightwise, which is a terrific dark urban fantasy with elements of horror. This year he published The Brootherhood of the Wheel, set in the same world as Nightwise, featuring now one of the cameos of Nightwise, a trucker who's actually a knight templar.
.......
I haven't read his Golgotha series yet, but as far as I know it belongs more to weird west sub genre than an urban fantasy. That doesn't really matter much, as I have bought both books you mention and will get to them soon. Btw, this is an ongoing series. The next book is The Queen of Swords. Publishing date is yet to be determined, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it later in the year.
Belcher is an author that I’m going to follow as well. I’m usually not a fan of urban-fantasy, or more exactly of urban-fantasy set in contemporary times, but I’m definitely going to check out also these books. Especially considering that I worked for several months as a trucker. Short-range deliveries mostly, but I’ve slept an handful of times on a truck, and this Brotherhood book seems extremely interesting.

Regarding Golgotha, first of all I have to say that this series also has, amongst all other things, its fair share of horror elements, and it could be, especially in the second book, quite graphic and gory. As per its categorization, I’d say it is an urban fantasy series set in the weird west: a living city as a background, a bunch of heroes, most of them with their own supernatural power, fighting paranormal menaces in some way unknown to most of Golgotha’s citizens, this series reads definitely closer to Dresden than to The Dark Tower or to the few other weird west books I’ve read
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#91
fair share of horror elements
It would appear like all of his books have this. The Brotherhood opens with an especially creepy and graphic chapter.
quite graphic and gory
Wait till you get to Brotherhood and that 1st chapter. Clive Barker would be proud.
Side note, Clive Barker has some beautifully written prose in the midst of that horror. I was blown away by some passages in The Hellbound Heart.
Anyway, back to Belcher, he doesn't shy away from horror that's for sure. Nightwise has the same dark tone to it as well, as well as one of the most unlikable bastards of a main character ever. I'm pretty sure 99% of the readers hate his gut, but still like this book. That's a hard line to walk if you are a writer, writing someone like that to carry the whole book. I didn't like him either, but I understood his motivations and they made sense.
Brotherhood is easier to read because the main character, that knight templar is much more easier to love and sympathize with.
fighting paranormal menaces in some way unknown to most of Golgotha’s citizens
So same as Nightwise and Brotherhood. Seems like there are some common themes that keep popping up. Though in this book, the main bad guy feels like something from Stephen King work. If you have ever read The Man in the Black Suit by King, a short story....it gives the same kind of vibes (so far) as that.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#92
I’m still reading Acts Of Caine 2 – Blade of Tyshalle. It started off pretty good with the first chapter, but after that I thought the book wasn’t always as interesting; it went along with some ups and downs. Sometimes I really loved it and at other times I thought Stover dragged it out a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, but not as good as the first book. The plot is still intriguing but there aren’t as many interesting events/scenes as in the first book. I’m around the 40 % mark now and in the first book there would have been a lot more bloodshed by then. Not so with book 2, and this is partially because the story also focuses a lot more on the events at earth. Due to this we do get a better view on Earth as it exists in the book. I also feel I’m arriving at a turning point and that the focus will now be placed more on Overworld. Just a feeling I have …

because I’m expecting Hari and Tan’elKoth to return to Overworld. I think I would be disappointed if they wouldn’t return

What also plays a role is that I just didn’t have much proper reading time the past week; most of the book was read in bits and pieces and I still prefer to read large portions instead of small pieces. I get much more engrossed that way.
Don't worry Jakyro. You still have the best of both books coming. Tell me after you've read the ending what you think.

And edit to say that yes, you should read the rest without distractions.
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#93
I found The Grim Company to be fast paced, with plenty of action and liked the world building and characterisation. The plot seemed fairly straightforward to begin with, but Skull surprised me with some unexpected twists and I enjoyed the humour which he injected into the story. Am very much looking forward to reading the sequel Sword of the North to see how the series develops.
For what it's worth, Sword of the North was one of the best books I read last year -- far better than the first book, which I was impressed with as well. Book 2 beat it in every way though and far more developed in every area.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#94
Just finished Corpse Cold. More great stuff and very consistent story, although I found the ending to this one seriously anti-climactic. I think "As Flies to Wanton Boys" was by far the best book of the three but I'm really looking forward to where this story goes in the future as it looks like there is going to be a slight change of course.
 

Fantam

Journeyed there and back again
#95
Recently finished reading The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd, whom I found to be an excellent story teller. This book had a lot going on with a multitude of Gods, warring elves, vampires, witches, mages and necromancers, different races, strange creatures and even a dragon ! Into this cauldron was thrown Isak, our volatile but likeable young "coming of age" protagonist to become embroiled in his warrior tribe's strife, political intrigue and battles, whilst simultaneously undergoing his mage and soldiering apprenticeship.

This was the 1st of the 5 book Twilight Reign series, which I enjoyed and look forward to seeing how this land develops.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#96
Recently finished reading The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd, whom I found to be an excellent story teller
Hhmm .. I really didn't get on with this book, which is a shame as I already own all the sequels. Maybe I'll try it again one day .... maybe ...
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#97
Just finished Corpse Cold. More great stuff and very consistent story, although I found the ending to this one seriously anti-climactic. I think "As Flies to Wanton Boys" was by far the best book of the three but I'm really looking forward to where this story goes in the future as it looks like there is going to be a slight change of course.
Yeah my thoughts as well. And it's so frustrating that btkong hasn't read Steel Blood & Fire, especially now that he's got the new Best of Indie Fantasy list and he doesn't have the best indie book written since Blood Song and which would be number one in the list. It's like everyone raving about it has no affect. Semi-serious emoticon here.

Oh and I am reading his number 1 indie that insists it's number 2 after Steel Blood & Fire, called The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids, which is very well written with an OK story. Tried the samples of the rest of the top five indies and just got frustrated again that Alan Batchelder is still getting shafted when truly amateurish stuff gets props.
 
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kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#98
For what it's worth, Sword of the North was one of the best books I read last year
Yes it is great. But Steel Blood & Fire is even better.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#99
Yes it is great. But Steel Blood & Fire is even better.
Haha, I like your relentless drive to promote that series. Agreed though, it's the best Indie series I've read so far.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
Just finished Corpse Cold. More great stuff and very consistent story, although I found the ending to this one seriously anti-climactic. I think "As Flies to Wanton Boys" was by far the best book of the three but I'm really looking forward to where this story goes in the future as it looks like there is going to be a slight change of course.
I'm about halfway through this now. I am also thinking book 2 was my favorite, but will reserve judgment until the end.