The best Trad Published epic fantasy authors who got their start in the past 4 years?

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#61
Hmm...

I don't want to be Sanderson's advocate or anything, but the guy practically carries the whole genre on his shoulders for the past 10 or so years. Non-medieval Europe world-building, well-developed magic systems, more linear plot-structure - you can trace them all those influences down to him.

Rothfuss, while not having brought anything ground-breaking to the genre, have brought the literary to the well-developed fantasy world/story.And more importantly - he have brought the fantasy-transcends-genre effect, where he manages to attract young-adult and adult readers toward the genre, simply because many people consider his work a greatly-written story before they consider it to be fantasy.

I could even argue that Abercrombie has nothing on them both, because all he did was take G. R. R. Martin's concept of grey characters and add more dynamic plots and a little bit more gore to the story.

In my opinion the fantasy as a whole is in a great place right now. Let's not pretend as if the old influencing fantasy stories have aged well at all. Each generation makes the best of its circumstances, being influenced by the old one, and then comes the new wave, and they extrapolate on the works of the previous ones.
I can think of plenty of non-medieval European worlds prior to Sanderson - Jordan, Feist & Wurts, Morwood, Howard, Moorcock - and suspect plenty of those written after him owe very little to his influence. Likewise, well-developed magic systems are nothing new imo either, starting with virtually every author who obviously played D&D. I'm curious about what you mean by linear plot-structure.

And helping make fantasy popular is great, but it isn't bringing anything new to the genre. If someone sets out to imitate Rothfuss, they'll most likely write deritive fantasy. If they want to write literary fantasy (again, nothing new), they're better off reading the literary greats.

Abercrombie did a lot more than taking Martin's grey characters to the logical conclusion. He brought a far different atmosphere to his books, one that's almost more like Tarantino or Leone than a fantasy. That atmosphere is the best thing in Epic Fantasy in the last decade or so. That he took grimdark to a whole different level and did a decent job mixing up the tropes is gravy.

And I am pretending nothing. I am merely giving my view as I see it - if you disagree, fair enough, but don't make out like I'm arguing for the sake of it. Personally, the most recent wave of Epic Fantasy does very little for me.

But, attempting to be objective - sales are down as a percentage of the book market and publishing trends are blowing against first time Epic Fantasy authors (they don't want it long and they don't want a series). And apart from Kenubrion, there hasn't been a deafening rush of people talking about this or that great fantasy author in this thread, or a huge amount of epic fantasy titles in that "Best books of the last three years" thread. That doesn't sound great to me. There's a lot of love for Game of Thrones and computer Fantasy rpgs, but it isn't translating to a love for the Epic Fantasy literature genre. Maybe there's some other stats/facts out there that paint a rosier picture... but doing great? Doing okay maybe.
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#62
Hmm, I found this here


So, 250 words x let's say 750 pages for epic fantasy comes at 187k.
That sounds reasonable enough for me. I guess there can be variants if a book has a lot of dialogue or if it's a dense text.

@Maark Abbott
Your 200k book according to this guy would be anywhere around 720 to 880 pages, which sounds reasonable to me as far as epic fantasy goes.
I take to the view that a novel, unless hardback, shouldn't be above size 10, size 8 is what I deem reasonable. Think of the initial prints runs of Locke Lamora. Typed using the same font size and formatting, Incarnate is about 660 pages long, which I would consider mid-length. A long fantasy novel (as is my standard read) would be more towards Erikson or Elliott lengths where we're at 1k pages and 300k+ words.

I am glad that you see the length as reasonable, though. There seems to be a dichotomy as to what the reader wants and what the industry wants, or at least from my perspective. It's one reason I've held off on reading The Witcher series - they're just too short to justify full price.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#63
I take to the view that a novel, unless hardback, shouldn't be above size 10, size 8 is what I deem reasonable.
I can't comment on that. I haven't read a paper novel in years. I crank that font size up on kindle pretty much every time because my eyes get tired with small 'print'.
It's one reason I've held off on reading The Witcher series - they're just too short to justify full price.
Be sure to pick them up on sale. They were already on a couple of times.
There actually is a hardcover collector's edition for 7 books (in polish)

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And it's 2530 pages. So yeah pretty short :) But then again Witcher is more sword & sorcery, and that genre does tend to be shorter than high fantasy.
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
#64
I think it should be said - those word counts are for debut novelists. Once you've shown you can write, worldbuild, engage readers etc things become a little less defined.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#65
I think it should be said - those word counts are for debut novelists. Once you've shown you can write, worldbuild, engage readers etc things become a little less defined.
And there's nothing stopping someone from writing a few things in shorter formats, proving themselves, and then moving to Epic Fantasy like Fonda Lee has. Or arguably Jen Williams. Or publishing the doorstopper sized book as SP and collecting the plaudits when people love it, like Sullivan and again Williams. Or sending your doorstopper off to a smaller publishing press.

Or hell, beat the odds all ends up like Ed McDonald.


Also, size 8 in a book is for nutters.
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#66
In my opinion there should be no limits on art, at least not the artificial limits imposed by trad publishers aimed at saving them 5 cents per book for the sake of many authors out there not getting a real chance at trad publishing their debut works.

Fortunately, there's self-publishing - yet one more important piece of it, at least. People have managed to create themselves lucrative sub-sub-genres which haven't existed before, because trad publishing plays it safe.

So there's even less credence that could be given at each occasion where a trad publisher/editor trashes self-publishing as a concept.
 
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Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#69
I can't comment on that. I haven't read a paper novel in years. I crank that font size up on kindle pretty much every time because my eyes get tired with small 'print'.
Be sure to pick them up on sale. They were already on a couple of times.
There actually is a hardcover collector's edition for 7 books (in polish)

View attachment 921


And it's 2530 pages. So yeah pretty short :) But then again Witcher is more sword & sorcery, and that genre does tend to be shorter than high fantasy.
I'll keep an eye out for them, thanks!

I think it should be said - those word counts are for debut novelists. Once you've shown you can write, worldbuild, engage readers etc things become a little less defined.
The fact that there's this limit imposed upon debut novelists is another reason to walk away from the trad route. I'm not interested in writing (what I perceive to be) short stories. I write the sort of thing I'd enjoy reading. Again, it comes to the dichotomy of what the reader wants versus what the industry wants. I remember when I was signed with RPG there was an expectation that I get a new book out once per year. Wasn't feasible for someone who writes mid-length stuff, really.

And there's nothing stopping someone from writing a few things in shorter formats, proving themselves, and then moving to Epic Fantasy like Fonda Lee has. Or arguably Jen Williams. Or publishing the doorstopper sized book as SP and collecting the plaudits when people love it, like Sullivan and again Williams. Or sending your doorstopper off to a smaller publishing press.

Or hell, beat the odds all ends up like Ed McDonald.


Also, size 8 in a book is for nutters.
Size 8 is standard. A book should always be big enough to kill a man with. What use is it otherwise?
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#70
Abercrombie did a lot more than taking Martin's grey characters to the logical conclusion. He brought a far different atmosphere to his books, one that's almost more like Tarantino or Leone than a fantasy.
I never heard anyone put it like that, but that makes so much sense to me! It also explains why I like Abercrombie's stuff so much, because I also like early Tarantino and Leone :)
For me Abercrombie shines when it comes to characters, but his main strength is writing good dialogue.
Personally, the most recent wave of Epic Fantasy does very little for me.
Same. It's either mediocre - Sullivan with The Legends of the First Empire, Brian Staveley with his Chronicles, Peter V. Brett with Demon Cycle or straight up bad with Ken Liu Dandelion Dynasty, Anthony Ryan with Draconis Memoria or most recent Kevin Hearne with his A Plague of Giants.


These are just the books that I have read in last couple of years and with epic fantasy there's been more and more disappointment for me.
There are many others that are universally disliked here like The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan, but I personally haven't read that.

It's no secret here that I dislike Sanderson's work. His books for me go between annoying and boring af.

So for me finding a good epic fantasy is a crapshoot at this point. The only author whose books haven't disappointed me (yet) is Erikson.
Martin let everybody down, and the quality of his books has been going down since book 3 of ASoIaF.
Would like to try Rothfuss and Lynch but they don't deliver either so no thanks.
And Robin Hobb was brilliant in her 1st book of Farseer Trilogy, but I was severely disappointed with book 2 - Royal Assassin in comparison.

I don't count Abercrombie among epic fantasy authors, because I personally find his work to be closer to S&S, but so far he hasn't let me down either.
 

Davis Ashura

Told lies with Locke
#71
Apropos of nothing but I think Nicholas Eames' Kings of the Wyld counts as a successful newly published epic fantasy author. Haven't read it yet, but I plan to.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#72

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#75
Hey Alucard, off the thread topic here, but I see you're currently reading The Steel Remains. Any thoughts yet? I really enjoyed it. In some ways the series seems the most fitting to the term Grimdark of anything I've read.
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#77
I can wholeheartedly vouch for Nichlas Eames' book Kings of the Wyld. Quality-wise it's way beyond average or good. However, it's more of a Sword and Sorcery book than an Epic one.

And it's meant to be more of a guilty pleasure enjoyment rather than it being a flagman of any new fantasy ideas, although it had made many, many tropes its own by being outstandingly brazen in their usage.

It's one self-satisfied book, really, and it's even better for being such. Unapologetic humor, aiming for every clever or obvious joke there is, mocking absolutely everything fantasy, but relishing on being fantasy itself nonetheless.

I cannot explain it better, unfortunately. But as far as debut books go, it's quite awesome in doing almost perfectly the things it had set out to do.

It certainly deserves every single one of those positive ratings raining on it. And some of the negative ones too, but as I've said - the whole concept of the book is to be a damn funny guilty pleasure, and as such - it's unbeatable.