Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
bink_winkleman

Epic Fantasy

Recommended Posts

There were a couple of really amazing epic fantasy threads here, and I'd like to reignite that discussion.  Those threads were what got me into the Malazan series.  I'm now finishing book six and would rank them so far:

 

1. Midnight Tides

2. The Bonehunters

3. Memories of Ice

4. House of Chains

5. Gardens of the Moon

6. Deadhouse Gates

 

I hear that the next few never reach the heights of the earlier books, but I don't trust anyone else's opinions because, well, no one seems to enjoy Midnight Tides as much as I do.  I flew through that book.  And I really think the first few hundred pages of House of Chains, with the Karsa focus, are far and away the most captivating part of the series so far. 

 

Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice have some of the most amazing, incredible scenes, but once the focus goes back to the grunts, I get pretty bored. 

 

I tried reading the first Esslemont book and it was fucking awful.  Is the second one any good?  I hear its got some important plot points, but really, I'd rather just Wiki it. 

 

When I finish these, I'll probably move on.  I was a huge nerd for this stuff as a kid, but moved on and subsequently missed most of the great epic fantasy books of the last fifteen years.  These days I read so much fucking theory and policy for work that I only want to read shit with spaceships or dragons, no more realistic fiction for the time being.  I've got a lot of catching up to do, and refuse to dig into Martin until GoT ends.  I do love Patrick Rothfuss and will be there day one when the next Kingkiller book drops. 

 

Anyway, use this thread for all things epic fantasy or even sword and sorcery. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The second Esslemont book is much, much better. Still not as good as Erikson (and I didn't read the entire Malazan series for the prose by a long stretch), but a large improvement. It also covers some pretty major chunks of plot that only get passing mentions in the main series, so it's worth a look.

 

I'm with you on loving the Karsa opening in House Of Chains. That, the underground sequence in Bonehunters and a couple of others that aren't leaping immediately to mind are the highlights of the series, and I reckon it's because they're where he treats the reader to a relatively self contained narrative for longer than 20-30 pages at a time before jumping to the next load of characters. I love the Malazan world, and in principle I love that he credits me with the intelligence to process all of it but in practice, and I say this as someone who's read 10,000 odd pages of it,  the series could have benefited from being a bit easier to digest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, I'll give the second Esslemont book a shot, then.  I'm still holding strong in marching through the series, but a change of pace would be nice.  I'm reading these on an e-reader, so I tend to print out the cast and the glossary beforehand, and I always keep my phone nearby in case I need to consult the Malazan wiki.  This gets, yeah, a bit tedious and sometimes I wouldn't mind a good ol' fashioned narrative.  I do kind of love that after Memories of Ice, when you've finally got a grasp on who's who, he introduces a completely new plotline in the next book.  I can see where that would have pissed off a lot of people who were reading the books as they came out, but I kind of loved it.  And by The Bonehunters, I feel like I've graduated to the upper level Malazan courses, where things are getting more complicated but are still comfortably familiar.  

 

I'll probably check out the novellas at some point, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a lot out of it the first time.

 

I got a hell of a lot more out of it the second time. In a couple of years I'll probably be going through for read #3. There is a fairly anemic wiki out there too. Part of me kind of wants to update it as I read just for my own sake. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just finished the first book, thee is no question I'm getting the next one. I like all the characters introduced thus far, but have my favorites (Crokus is just waiting to become this epic level badass). Amazon recommended The Mistborn books to me based on my ordering the first 2 Malazan books. Anyone read those?

 

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mistborn is basically a heist novel with a really well developed magic system in an equally well-developed mythos that turns a lot of genre trappings on its head. Very self-aware stuff. The second and third books don't hit the enjoyment level of the first, but are still worth reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We all know about "A Song of Ice and Fire" and the "Malazon Book of the Fallen" series, any recommendations on less discussed fantasy series? 

 

I've read some Joe Abercrombie, which i really liked, but I'm looking for something new. 

 

Has anyone read "The Legends of Muirwood" books? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael Scott Rohan's Winter Of The World series is something I enjoyed as an adolescent. It just got republished for Kindle. Might give it a whirl and see how I like it as an adult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mistborn is basically a heist novel with a really well developed magic system in an equally well-developed mythos that turns a lot of genre trappings on its head. Very self-aware stuff. The second and third books don't hit the enjoyment level of the first, but are still worth reading.

I actually enjoyed the second and third books even more than the first. I love the way they build and directions they take the world and characters. Will also trow out the the spin-off novel that takes place 300 years later, Alloy of Law, is quite good as well. Its probably the most of fun of the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alloy of Law is great.

 

As with all Sanderson books, he does annotations on his website which should be read when you're done basically.

 

I'm 150 pages into his new YA book today and really enjoying it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a freshman in high school, I read The Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn. This was, I think, the first fantasy novel I had read at that point. It was a little different in the fact that it was actually a future version of our reality, if I'm not mistaken. The wikipedia page doesn't help too much to jog my memory, but it mentions some Catholicism, which I don't really remember. It did give me the name of a future born daughter, though. It's certainly worth a read, as is the second one. The only problem is that the author never put out the third one because of issues with depression, so you should know that going in.

 

That led directly into the Sword of Truth series which I fucking loved. However, I did see on the old board that some people really, really hate Terry Goodkind. I was never sure if it was the author personally or the books themselves. In a cool little coincidence, I read The Fountainhead halfway through the S.O.T. series and the next book back was very Randian. I always suspected that was everyones beef with Goodkind, but I don't really know enough about Rand or objectivism to comment. I could see it being very...preachy though.

 

So yeah, Ruins of Ambrai. Always had fond memories of the Shannara books too. Very much standard fantasy tropes though. Elves and goblins, etc. Sorry so rambly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hear that the next few never reach the heights of the earlier books, but I don't trust anyone else's opinions because, well, no one seems to enjoy Midnight Tides as much as I do.  I flew through that book. 

 

Midnight Tides is one of my favourite books in the series. I can see why it throws a lot of people off since it's a huge departure from what had came before but I loved Tehol and Bugg and there was a lot of really good stuff in there.

 

Erikson writes some of the best battle scenes I've ever read. The Chain of Dogs parts of Deadhouse Gates are some of the best fantasy I've read.

 

Other Epic/High fantasy that I haven't seen mentioned that I enjoyed are the "Prince of Nothing" series by R Scott Bakker which are the first triliogy of the Second Apoclypse series. Jim Butcher's "Codex Alera" isn't as good as his Dresden books but aren't bad either. David Gemmell is also really fun if you think of him in this category.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Erikson does have some insane battle scenes.  And magic in some part being used almost like nuclear weapons.  The cannibalism in Memories of Ice is incredible, too.

 

So far, so good with the second Esslemont book.  Writing is clearly of a different caliber, and it helps quite a bit that there are more familiar characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have access to both the Wheel of Time and Malazan Empire series of books.... which one is better? Or, try and sell me on your preferred one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Sanderson's writing a lot, and he develops worlds well, but he can't seem to end any of his stories without (in one instance, literal) deus ex machina. Interestingly enough (to me), this seemed least evident in his Wheel of Time books, where he was presumably working off of Jordan's notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good heavens! Has no one read Scott Lynch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Lynch is something else entirely. I wouldn't call it Epic.

 

It's more of a very self-aware heist book, for the first one and a Pirate/Casino mash up for the second. i am very excited the third is finally coming, post mental breakdown. For anyone interested, I'd suggest the first book only as of yet. Lies is self-contained enough.

 

Of course, John is the one that turned us all onto Malazan here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Lynch is something else entirely. I wouldn't call it Epic.

 

It's more of a very self-aware heist book, for the first one and a Pirate/Casino mash up for the second. i am very excited the third is finally coming, post mental breakdown. For anyone interested, I'd suggest the first book only as of yet. Lies is self-contained enough.

 

Of course, John is the one that turned us all onto Malazan here.

 

Was I really? Cool, I get massive karma points for that...

 

You're right that Lynch isn't exactly "epic" just as Leiber isn't "epic", but I find the small scale sword & sorcery stuff easily as entertaining as the massive world-spanning stuff. While I'm still plugging a defunct company, Night Shade did a pretty nice job with Glen Cook's Dread Empire series. I just bought these a couple of months back and with a little shopping around on abebooks.com I was able to put together a signed set for under $100.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a lot of stuff that still holds up well along those lines, the Dark Company books, a lot of Stephen Brust's stuff. I actually really liked this book called Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick. it had a real Lamora feel but focused on informants instead of thieves. I've not read Brent Weeks' stuff but I know people who do swear by it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Douglas Hulick? I will check that out stat! Also, I don't know whether or not to call it "epic", but author Scott Nicolay turned me on to two of the best fantasy novels I've ever encountered, The High House and The False House. Simply not to be missed. I've got to figure out where to get the $400 to buy the signed limited editiond that were originally published by a micro press a decade ago. The paperbacks are much less expensive. ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Douglas Hulick? I will check that out stat! Also, I don't know whether or not to call it "epic", but author Scott Nicolay turned me on to two of the best fantasy novels I've ever encountered, The High House and The False House. Simply not to be missed. I've got to figure out where to get the $400 to buy the signed limited editiond that were originally published by a micro press a decade ago. The paperbacks are much less expensive. ;-)

 

 

Ordered used on amazon and en route. You can have the $400 version. I'll take the $3.89 version (with Prime shipping).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have access to both the Wheel of Time and Malazan Empire series of books.... which one is better? Or, try and sell me on your preferred one.

 

Malazan books. WOT falls apart somewhere part way in and doesn't come back together until Jordan died and Sanderson came in. It came together for a satisfying conclusion but there is some serious heavygoing in between.

 

Malazan series despite being just as long if not longer didn't feel like it was being stretched out to me and because the universe that Erikson built was so huge he left a ton of room for himself and his co-creator to explore in further series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might move onto it after Joe Ambercrombie 'First Law Trilogy'. Thanks for the advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Following a lot of recommendations, currently started the Malazan Empire books ('Gardens of the Moon' being the first one).

 

I've heard that the writing style of the author/style of the books shifts somewhat between book one and two due to the relative length between writing each book. Any indications as to whether this is true, and what to expect?

 

I've enjoyed the first quarter of GotM. Hard going in places, but kinda getting there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first quarter of GotM is the hardest part of the entire series. Once you're in Darujhistan it's a lot easier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...