Can you recommend some good fantasy books?

#1 Posted by xxninja666xx (396 posts) -

I'm taking a break from gaming to read something. Can you recommend something in the fantasy genre? I don't read much, so you can give me any title you'd like, as long as it fits the criteria for the genre. I'd love something that isn't about the typical stuff, though - no badass heroes saving the world and fighting evil, but rather something darker and more atmospheric, can have a little of horror too. Also, as I'm practically a non-reader and this would be my first book in a pretty long period of time, something easy to digest would be appreciated. I'm not afraid to think while reading, but I don't like to be overwhelmed with 10-pages long descriptions of a character's thoughts full of symbols and metaphors, if you catch my drift.

#2 Edited by Aljosa23 (24306 posts) -

Read some Sci-Fi instead. The Fantasy genre is pretty bad besides Frankenstein.

#3 Edited by TruthTellers (3396 posts) -

50 Shades of Grey. No way that shit's real.

#4 Posted by Hatiko (4504 posts) -

The Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander . It has five books:

The Book of Three

The Black Cauldron

The Castle of Llyr

Taran Wanderer

The High King

It is a children's series but there are deaths and stuff. It does follow a young boy through to his maturity but there are a lot of adults and the whole "kid saves the world" thing isn't the thing. And if you ever saw the Black Cauldron cartoon from Disney from the 80's, just know that the movie is nothing like the book. I know people say that a lot about movies and books but this is not like little changes here and there, the movie left out major characters, included characters that weren't in the book, changed the age and look of characters, changed the races of characters (a character that is a dwarf in the book was changed into a pixie... wtf), and the whole plot and how everything was completed was changed, and the way characters acted was changed. Basically the only similar things between the book and the movie were the names of characters, the name of the book/movie, and the fact that there was a black cauldron.

If you want a dark and scary children's fantasy there is "The Wardstone Chronicles" that starts with "The Spook's Apprentice". There is a movie adaptation coming out called "Seventh Son" with Jeff Bridges.

Obviously "The Hobbit", as Tolkien wrote it for his kids ages originally.

The only reason I'm recommending children's books is because they are lighter and easier to read, but I tried to include one's that were not a cast of teenagers who think they know everything. Sadly, there aren't that many.

#5 Edited by xxninja666xx (396 posts) -

@Hatiko:

I kinda felt insulted when I read through your suggestions. As if you thought I'm not intelligent enough to be capable of reading anything more ambitious than a children's novel. Unless those are legitimately good reads that I'll truly enjoy, despite the target group being children, when looking for a "non-typical" dark fantasy book.

#6 Posted by Behardy24 (2345 posts) -

I don't read books so I can't help you friend. Sorry.

#7 Edited by Makhaidos (1611 posts) -

@Hatiko:

I kinda felt insulted when I read through your suggestions. As if you thought I'm not intelligent enough to be capable of reading anything more ambitious than a children's novel. Unless those are legitimately good reads that I'll truly enjoy, despite the target group being children, when looking for a "non-typical" dark fantasy book.

Forget fantasy; you need this: http://www.amazon.com/How-Grow-Backbone-Strategies-Influence/dp/0809224941

#8 Posted by Tokeism (2275 posts) -

A Song of Ice and Fire series

The Dark Tower series

#9 Edited by playmynutz (5925 posts) -

The book of mormons

#10 Posted by lostrib (31690 posts) -

@Tokeism said:

A Song of Ice and Fire series

The Dark Tower series

I've heard the Dark Tower does not end that well, I got through Wolves of the Calla

#11 Posted by Hatiko (4504 posts) -

@Hatiko:

I kinda felt insulted when I read through your suggestions. As if you thought I'm not intelligent enough to be capable of reading anything more ambitious than a children's novel. Unless those are legitimately good reads that I'll truly enjoy, despite the target group being children, when looking for a "non-typical" dark fantasy book.

Woah no! I didn't mean to insult you at all. These books are ones I actually enjoyed. People for some reason tend to think that children's books are just for children when they are not and I was trying to help you find some beginner books for fantasy rather than jumping in head first into stuff like Lyonesse and King of Elfland's Daughter.

#12 Posted by Zelda99 (728 posts) -

@xxninja666xx: There just isn't that many "new" adult fantasy series that are famous at this moment in time. Many fantasy series are written for children or teens. That's where the money currently is so that's what people write. Even A Song of Fire and Ice came out years ago and just recently gaining popularity. The adult fantasy genre is sadly thinning out. There may be some out there, but i haven't heard of any worth reading.

#13 Edited by airshocker (28296 posts) -

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is probably one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time.

#14 Posted by svenus97 (2289 posts) -

Try anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, such as Tigana, The Lions of Al-rassan or A Song for Arbonne. They are all standalone novels so you don't have to wait for sequels or anything. The characters, the settings, the plots are all wonderful, and his prose is just great. Though, TLoAr doesn't have any magic in it.

But, tbh, they aren't that easy to digest. Not hard, of course, but he doesn't hold your hand or hit you over the head with bluntness.

If you'd like something equally good but a bit more simple and quicker I'd recommend The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. It has two sequels, but the trilogy is over, so again, you don't have to wait.

Of course, there is also A Song of Ice and Fire. But it might be better to just wait 10 years for the series to be over.

#15 Edited by chessmaster1989 (28960 posts) -

The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson)
The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)

Both of these are awesome especially Way of Kings

#16 Posted by majadamus (10202 posts) -

King James Bible.

#17 Posted by R3FURBISHED (10043 posts) -

Wheel of Time series - One thing to realize with the Wheel of Time series is that there are 14 books and each book averages 1000 pages (audio books are ~24 hours)

#18 Posted by ferrari2001 (16677 posts) -

Read "All You Need is Kill" (Edge of Tomorrow) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. I was pleasantly surprised by the book and it's short and easy to read as well. I'm excited for the film now.

#19 Posted by Master_Live (13625 posts) -

The Bible.

#20 Posted by Master_Live (13625 posts) -

I'm so original.

#21 Edited by platinumking320 (642 posts) -

@xxninja666xx: If its by Brandon Sanderson, you'll be in for a great read. He mixes political, religious intrigue, pain suspense and quirky characters extremely well IMO. and before him I used to only read Tom Clancy and Halo spin off books. His first one Elantris or War breaker which has free drafts on his website is a good start.

@Master_Live: Late to the party my friend. But I'm sure you'll get 'em next time.

#22 Edited by El_Zo1212o (6001 posts) -

@lostrib: You should finish it. Just remember to do one thing, though- in book 7, rip out the Coda and burn it before you begin.

I've only got a couple of suggestions. The Sword of Truth is every inch the Epic High Fantasy series. It has quite a few of the things you mentioned you didn't want(which is likely why it hasn't been suggested yet) but the characters really breathe and the story does go deeper than generic fantasy world saving. Plus, every time Richard(the hero) makes a speech, you just want to go out and kill something with a sword.

Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle is another big winner. 3 out of the (estimated) 5 books have been released. Post apocalypse, magic has been revived. Mankind goes from hiding and surviving to standing and fighting, though the two would-be saviors have startlingly different approaches to the task.

#23 Edited by Boddicker (2274 posts) -

A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

The way George RR Martin wrote each chapter from a different character's perspective with an average chapter length rarely going over 20-30 pages really keeps it fresh. I don't like using the term "page-turner" lightly, but ASOIAF definitely qualifies (atleast the first 3 books). Most books I can only stand to read 50ish pages in a day. With ASOIAF I would wake up in the morning and immediately want to read. Don't let the length of each book scare you off.

I hate, hate, hate, hate Tolkien. But I found the world of Westeros actually believable and I loved the way magic is slowly reintroduced. Very much recommended.

#24 Posted by chessmaster1989 (28960 posts) -
I hate, hate, hate, hate Tolkien.

Burn the heretic!

#25 Posted by RadecSupreme (4608 posts) -

If you want something dark, then obviously read the Song of Ice and Fire series which is what the HBO show Game of Thrones is based on.

#26 Edited by Makhaidos (1611 posts) -
#27 Posted by Rhocky (21 posts) -

As much as I love A Song of Ice and Fire, I don't think it really fits in accordance with the OP's request. I quote, "I don't like to be overwhelmed with 10-pages long descriptions of a character's thoughts full of symbols and metaphors, if you catch my drift." That's about 25% of ASoIaF, and it's fully 100% of the Cersei chapters.

Instead, I'd recommend The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It's easier to get into for a non-reader, it doesn't have long descriptions of character's thoughts and not a lot of allegory to worry about. It's a darker take on the Arthurian takes, with some excellently written combat scenes and ambiguous magic that the reader can accept as being either magical or instead as having more practical explanations.

#28 Posted by Korvus (2423 posts) -

I recently got a bundle of New York Times bestsellers and there was some nice stuff there, plus they're mainstream enough to be easy to find...if you're just starting to read again you don't want to spend a week hunting for an obscure book. Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (15 book series so far, ongoing), Women of the Underworld by Kelley Armstrong (13 books total) and Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks (it's a trilogy =p). The first 2 were made into series but meh, as always the books are a lot better. They're entertaining, easy and quick to read, and it's not a "hero saves the world" story, it's mostly about a small group of people with their own problems, so no mighty quests. If you're going for dark and morally ambiguous the Night Angel Trilogy has it =)

#29 Posted by jasean79 (2253 posts) -

Have you tried the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis? Those are some good books. 'The Lion, the Witch, and the wardrobe' still rates as one of my favorite books of all time.

If you're looking to go more the sci-fi/horror route I'd recommend 'Xom-B' by Jeremy Robinson. I'm reading it right now and it's kind of like the movies 'Minority Report' meets 'I, Robot' meets 'The Walking Dead'. Sounds silly, but the way the author melds the three together really works well. Jeremy Robinson is one of my favorite authors. His "Chess Team" novels rock!

#30 Edited by bowchicka07 (1069 posts) -

This

@Tokeism said:

A Song of Ice and Fire series

The Dark Tower series

ASoIaF is hot right now. That show is booming and is gaining followers everyday. Read all the books and you will be ahead of probably over half the people who watch the show.

It will make you feel like an elitist which is always a nice feeling. All in all they are great books and very rewarding to read IMO.

#31 Edited by Boddicker (2274 posts) -

@chessmaster1989 said:
@Boddicker said:
I hate, hate, hate, hate Tolkien.

Burn the heretic!

Simmer down, guys.

I just pledged eternal hatred to the man who more or less created an entire genre of books. No biggie ;-P

#32 Edited by ferrari2001 (16677 posts) -

The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson)

The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)

Both of these are awesome especially Way of Kings

I had some amazon credit from a recent class action lawsuit so I just bought "The Way of Kings" ended up costing like $.80. So far it's really good.

#33 Edited by Iszdope (9415 posts) -

Anything by Clive Barker.

#34 Posted by musalala (2097 posts) -

The malazan series be warned though it doesn't hold your hand or explain anything you sought of have to piece things together.

#35 Edited by mattykovax (22693 posts) -

@Iszdope said:

Anything by Clive Barker.

Not anything. his early stuff is balls to the wall horror, and his later stuff is all over the place. However weaveworld is truly great, but his masterpiece in my mind will always be Imajica. Seriously TC Imajica is epic and crosses so many theme and genres at once while still always maintaining a great fantasy feel.

#36 Posted by Blueresident87 (5195 posts) -

@lostrib said:

@Tokeism said:

A Song of Ice and Fire series

The Dark Tower series

I've heard the Dark Tower does not end that well, I got through Wolves of the Calla

That's about where the series gets 'questionable' as far as I'm concerned. Remember too that Stephen King suffered near-life-threatening injuries during the lengthy amount of time between book 4 & 5. Many people attribute the change in the series to this, as it does seem to get more flimsy after the 4th book, but I wouldn't say it's bad. Still a great series and I actually kind of like the ending.

King has never been known for his endings though, in fact, they are usually pretty awful. He's still my favorite author by a long shot though.

I would recommend the Saga of Recluse

#37 Edited by Renevent42 (5009 posts) -

Try the Eisenhorn Omnibus. It's set in the Warhammer 40k universe and is a damn good read IMO. The Omnibus is actually 3 books, all centered around Eisenhorn who is an inquisitor for the Imperial Inquisition. He's kind of a bad ass, but he relies heavily on his followers and as the story progresses goes through major changes. The scope of these books is huge with him doing investigations across the galaxy on multiple worlds and is filled with lots of cool characters and amazing situations. While Eisenhorn is the central hero, It's not just one bad ass saving the world...the 40k universe is really dark and by the end of the series...well...I don't want to spoil it for you :P

I know you said fantasy, but the 40k universe is pretty much sci-fi/fantasy so you should be good.

http://www.amazon.com/Eisenhorn-Warhammer-40-000-Omnibus/dp/1844161560

Anyways this review summed up the book a lot better than me:

Eisenhorn, as the collected works are now known is the quite possibly best of Dan Abnett's work. Originally published as three separate paper-back novels named Xenos, Malleus, and Hereticus this new edition includes the unabridged contents of those three books as well as two "arching" short stories of about twenty pages that connect books one to two and two to three. This is an amazingly opportunity.

Covering a period of nearly three hundred years, Eisenhorn is an epic tale of the far distant future of humanity. The galaxy has been colonized by mankind and is united together in one glorious and dark Imperium that spans nearly forty-percent of the galaxy, untold trillions of human beings spread across thousands and thousands of worlds struggle for survival as the Imperium's tenuous hold on its territory and its way of life is threatened from without and within by forces both malevolent and ancient. Principle among these foes are the insidious taint of warp-spawned daemons and their corrosive chaos that corrupts the very soul of and body humanity, aliens who range from disdainfully arrogant to primordially evil, and the threat of insurrection from within the ranks of humanity itself.

Set in the Helican Sub-sector, Scarus Sector, Segmentum Obscurus, but a small part of the massive Imperium, Eisenhorn will sweep you away across a region of the galaxy which spans nearly two dozen worlds. Named for the central protagonist of the novels, Gregor Eisenhorn, this tale follows his life of as Imperial Inquisitor, a man who has the power to devastate worlds and commandeer virtually any of the forces of humanity in his pursuit of the purification of the human race and the eradication of the mutant, the alien and the heretic. It is a tale with more in common with the epic poems of the Norse and Greeks than with modern science fiction for not only does it cover matters military but it has more than its share of, intrigue, desperation, a vast cast of characters, poignant moments of drama, betrayal, hopeless odds, sacrifice and mad hope.

Abnett's setting and visuals almost leap out of the page and his characterization and storytelling is not only the best in the Black Library but one of the best in genre. Part Tom Clancy and part Robert Jordon, Abnett's tale of Gregor Eisenhorn from age 30 to nearly three hundred is a magnificent experience both sinister and sublime. You will not be disappointed.

#38 Edited by Korvus (2423 posts) -

@Renevent42: There was a time I was wanting to read Warhammer novels but never got around to. Apparently you recommend them (some of them, at least). Would you say Omnibus is a good one to start with?

#39 Edited by Renevent42 (5009 posts) -

@korvus:

I've only read two of them so I can't say much about the other titles in the series. Just some background though while I think the 40k universe is cool, I am not a gigantic fan of it and don't play the board games so I'm coming from more of just a general reader who has some interest in 40k. Anyways besides Eisenhorn, the other book I read was Soul Hunter:

http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Hunter-Warhammer-000-Novels/dp/1844168115

Good read as well, but told from the evil side of things (Chaos Marines). It's more action packed, but also has less character development. I did enjoy it, but the Eisenhorn trilogy is a more complete read (better character development, deeper story, etc). I will say Soul Hunter makes cheering for the bad guy fun as hell, and there's some absolutely bad ass fights packed in there :P

Eisenhorn is probably the best place to start...and it's regarded as one of the best books in the black library. I would recommend you at least be familar with 40k in general though. There's a lot of descriptions and references to things that I think someone who has zero knowledge of 40k would not immediately understand.

#40 Edited by Korvus (2423 posts) -

@Renevent42: Yeah, I only played the video games too, but the first 40K in particular was quite good and got me interested in the universe; seems like the kind of science-fantasy I'd enjoy reading. And yeah, writing books where the bad guys are the protagonists is a pain in the ass to do right (or at least it is for me; I always struggle in my attempts to make them interesting, slightly relatable without turning them into good guys).

Thanks for the advice =D

#41 Posted by Renevent42 (5009 posts) -

@korvus:

Oh if you've played the video games you should be good to go :)