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Fantasy Works

Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:11 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:11 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I realized recently that while I've always considered myself a fan of the fantasy genre my actual reading scope has usually been pretty limited - I tend to enjoy re-reading things and got into a rut with some of my favorite works. To that end I've been trying to branch out a bit, and thought other people might enjoy doing the same. So I'm starting this thread to just list some of the works people have read and a brief summary of what they are like.

Here are a few of mine:

The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin - Most of you have probably heard me talk about this series before. It definitely qualifies as Epic Fantasy, but has a much grittier tone to it than series like Shannara or Wheel of Time. Relatively low magic setting, although that's been getting less true as the books progress. The most engrossing part of the books are the complex inter-house politics that occur between the great houses vying for control of the kingdom they joined forces to wrest away from the monarchy that had ruled there for years.

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake - Probably most of you have not heard of this previously. The work itself is massive, ponderous, and at times painful to read (I know, this is a compelling sales pitch). Despite all that the reason I keep coming back to it and taking another stab at this trilogy is that Peake's writing is some of the best I've ever seen - clearly evoking utterly absurd and fantastical images in a way that seems completely believable. The story is basically about a castle and its inhabitants that live their lives completely by routine, the entire place is almost in stasis. When the Earl of Groan has a baby son, and this marker of change enters everyone's lives. The first book of the trilogy concludes with one of the best fight scenes of ever seen and it's between a chef and a secretary whose hatred for one another started on simmer and came to a slow boil over the course of the book. Bonus points for having the kind of character names that could only be invented if Dickens and Poe got drunk in a bar.

Mouse Guard by David Peterson - Mouse Guard is a comic book series about a kingdom of mice, and specifically the Ranger-esque members of the Mouse Guard who protect the open, dangerous spaces between the few safe enclaves the mice have. The series is basically a (really good) D&D adventure with mice as characters. But the selling point here is definitely the artwork - each panel of the comic is like an individual painting, and the detail is unbelievable.

The Black Company by Glen Cook - I've actually only just started reading this but have been absolutely blown away by it (it's what prompted me to start this thread). The series is unbelievably dark, and the main characters (ostensibly the heroes) are a downright villainous mercenary company who like some rape and pillage just as much as the next group. The vibe I'm getting so far is somewhere between Ice & Fire and The Wheel of Time. The writing is kind of strange, consisting largely of very blunt, short sentences, but one gets the impression that it is meant to be the record written by the company's doctor, so the idea that it's a roughly written history (which glosses over some of the company's worst points) works out rather well.


I could do a few more, and maybe I will eventually, but that seems like a good start.



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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:38 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:38 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I hope you don't mind me butting into your book recommendations, but I just finished a book that may not be on people's radar that I'd like to recommend.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Stephenie Meyer is the author who writes the adolescent series "Twilight". The Host is her new book that is targeted to adults. I went into this book with a little bit of trepidation, but Sara basically told me I had to read it so I did. To my pleasant surprise, I though the book was well written and quite grabbing. It was one of the best books I've read in a while.

The story is of an Earth that has been taken over by alien parasites called Souls. These parasites are peace loving and extremely pacifistic, but need bodies to live. When they found humans, they decided to invade earth to take control of the bodies because of how violent we are. In their eyes, taking us over to instill peace better for us. Typically when a Soul takes over a body, the Soul gains the memories of the host, but the host's personality is completely subdued by the Soul. This, in effect, kills the host. This book follows the story of a Soul who takes one of the few remaining adult "wild" humans as her host, only to find that she can't suppress the human personality. There's a lot of interesting questions that arise about how the Soul can function in the new society and deal with having to share a body with a "violent" human who is rather upset about being controlled.

But you don't have to take MY word for it! ♫Do doo doot!♫

Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:43 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:43 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, no, by all means, the whole point was for other people to chime in with their thoughts as well Smile

And I have heard of this series, but I work in publishing and its currently undergoing a "next big thing" phase, so it's hard not to have heard of it.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:47 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:47 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Well, I don't read that many books, so I really only have one thing to say on the matter...

READ MISTBORN

Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:50 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:50 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, I figured people have heard of it (since it's all over the place), but, like me, I didn't know if it was on people's radar to actually read. I'm here to say it should be. Sara would be here to scream at people it should be if she was actually here Smile

Also, do you know for sure it's going to be a series? I know it certainly could be and the ending is one that could be a setup for a next book, or just as easily be a stand alone ending. I almost don't want there to be a sequel because it feels like it wouldn't be as good as this book and thereby cheapen this one. Does that make sense? Maybe I just don't have enough faith in the author yet.

Anyway, if you want more recommendations, I'll try to get Sara to post a few. She reads just about everything, especially if you're looking for adolescent book suggestions.

Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:52 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:52 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Talraen wrote...
Well, I don't read that many books, so I really only have one thing to say on the matter...

READ MISTBORN

If only that was blinking I might have got your message. But as it is... *sigh*... I just don't know. You could be trying to get me to read anything really.

Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 3:52 PM (edited 8/20/08 11:52 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Dude, it's already a series, there are four books in it. Just look up Stephanie Meyer on Amazon.

And James, the idea was some degree of detail and synopsis about why you like the books Smile

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 5:12 PM (edited 8/20/08 1:12 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, no. You're thinking of the Twilight series Matt. Yes, there are 4 books in that series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn), but "The Host" is standalone. Nothing to do with Twilight. Further, Twilight is aimed at adolescence and has been described by many people who have read it as "too girly" for general appeal, which is why I was a bit worried when starting to read The Host. Sara has said I wouldn't enjoy Twilight (soon to be a major motion picture) too much, so I'm assuming that extends to you guys as well. But The Host is a good read which I am recommending.

If you want to know more about Twilight, then I'll try to get Sara on to talk about it. From what I can tell though it's about vampires living is Seattle with a lot of romantic drama going on. Kind of like Buffy, but more focused on love relationships and less humorous dialog.

Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 6:00 PM (edited 8/20/08 2:00 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Ahhh, indeed, yes I am thinking of that. That's good, because Gina told me the Twilight books are crap Smile

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Fantasy Works – August 20, 2008 6:16 PM (edited 8/20/08 2:16 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
It's funny, because if you look on Amazon at the reviews for Twilight, almost all of the reviews are 5 stars, or 1 star. I guess it's a love it or hate it series. I don't get the impression that Sara loves Twilight, but she likes it enough to keep reading them as they come out and to see the movie in December.

Also, I don't particularly trust Gina's opinion on books. She seems to have read too many for her own good, you know? Like a movie critic who pans a fun summer blockbuster because it doesn't compare to a rare French indie film from the 1940's.

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