Just started in Epic Fantasy - What to read? / Epic fantasy suggestions... (Merged)

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by jafa, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. jafa

    jafa New Member

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    I read The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings trilogy and I loved these books so much that I am now searching for more epic fantasy to read.

    As I don't know any authors in the genre, I have spent the last few hours searching the internet to see which books to read. And to be honest I am lost.

    What I liked about Lord of The Rings is the huge world with a huge history that Tolkien created: I fell in love with the cosy life of hobbits, the wisdom of Gandalf, the fairness of the elves and the beauty of Lothlorien. I liked the epic battles, the stories about kings and great kingdoms that have once been etc.

    In my search for a book I'd like to find something not similar to Lord of The Rings, but something that can give me the same 'feel', if you know what I mean.

    Also, I would like to read a story that has an ending. Like a single novel or a trilogy. But no 12 books series that never seems to end.

    I'll list the titles that I have come accross and what refrains me from buying/reading them:
    - Wheel of Time: Seems too long, too massive.
    - Sword of Shannara: Seems like a LOTR ripoff. From what I've read it also seems like the world and its history aren't as developed as you would like and characters are one-dimensional.
    - Sword of Truth: Too long.
    - A Song of Ice and Fire: Seems too dark for me, doesn't have the 'feel' I'm searching for. I don't think I can handle almost all of the main characters being killed. Also how many more books are still being written in the future? I like the prospect of an ending.
    - The Riftwar Saga: Not sure if it's the right 'feel' that I'm searching for. Does this trilogy have an ending or do you have to read the other ones too? This one might have a chance though.
    - The Farseer Trilogy: Written in the first person, which seems odd to me. Although this one might have a chance if I can overcome the first person issue.


    As a final note: As you might have noticed, English is not my first language. Nevertheless I prefer to read books in English, because I hate translations. I managed to read Lord of The Rings in English, so I don't think that will be an issue. I must say though, that it wasn't an easy read for me either, as Tolkien's English, especially when he is describing stuff, can become hard to read.


    I would very much appreciate any help on this one. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  2. fk1523

    fk1523 Registered User

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    your english is better than mine, maybe since I was educated in america.
     
  3. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    So many choices...You're lucky.
    If you're interested in the 'feel' of LotR (the really cool people abbreviate all titles btw - is there a saracasm emoticon?), then I wouldn't toss out Riftwar. For feel alone, Magician gave that same sense of wonderment. Of course, I was 15, but heh, it was magical back then.
    Wheel of Time isn't complete, but the first few books are wonderful. For massive world-building, not much competes or compares. Some recent massive fantasy series have tremendous world-building, like Martin and Erickson, but they aren't into wisdom and wit, but more grim and dark.
    Sword of Shannara is 'inspired' by Tolkien. Avoid it if you must. Elfstones of Shannara, I still think is an unappreciated classic. Or at least not one that gets tons of attention anymore. It's worth reading, again, based on what seems like your desire to read about people you'd care about.
    Can't comment on Hobbs as I haven't read Farseer.
    I think books 1-3 of Sword of Truth might still fit your bill. Of course, they are more vivid when it comes to things like sex and torture than Tolkien ever dared to be, but if you're ok with that, book 1 - Wizard's First Rule - is wortha shot.
    Several series not mentioned: Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip is an absolute classic and definitely in the Tolkien vein. The Pyrdain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander is also a classic. Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin. These may be best categorized as Young Adult, but they might still be worth reading.
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. I hesitate in recommending this but in terms of shear beauty of the world created, this is a great one. In terms of wonderful people that make you care, this is a great one. The major problem is that the eponymous main character is an utter and complete prat. He's an awful person for much of the series, but his redemption is sweet. To enjoy this series, you have to focus on the secondary characters, and most especially on the world that Donaldson created -The Land. Focus on Covenant too long and you might slit your wrists. Yeah. He's that depressing. There are Chronicles 1 and 2, and 3 is in the works, but you don't need to read past 1 to have a complete story, or even book 1.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  4. Bad Heartburn

    Bad Heartburn Registered User

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    Agreed.

    Agreed.

    Agreed about the 'feel' being different than trad. fantasy, but I gotta say, I really like this feel.

    *record scratch*

    Disagree. The feel is similar to Tolkien, imho. I think this could be right up your alley. Also, the first book Magician (which is usually split into two volumes) is a stand-alone story. The rest of the books are more like sequels to it.
     
  5. Aurian

    Aurian Dragon Lady

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    May I recommend Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of the Ages? (Its two trilogies at present). Interesting characters, several different races, and an epic story. Rhapsody is the first book of the series.
     
  6. Whiskeyjack

    Whiskeyjack sapper-in-chief

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    fk1523, don't misunderestimate the quality of an American edumacation!

    Jafa, I second Radone's suggestion of Elfstones of Shannara as a great, underappreciated quest adventure which has all the quaint charm and creepy atmosphere that you seem to like. The book's Reaper and Changeling are still two of my favorite "bad guys" in the fantasy genre. EoS is a nice stand-alone novel that should be easy reading compared to Tolkien. I also liked Sword of Shannara and Wishsong of Shannara, but I seem to be an outlier on that. They're both simple-escapism books that can fill some loose time between harder reads.

    Another choice would be McKiernan's Iron Tower trilogy (available in an omnibus edition). This is another Tolkien ripoff, but it's good, clean reading fun with likeable protagonists and grand quests across a creepy world. As you can see, I don't mind Tolkien clones. They can be good introductions into the fantasy genre at a time when originality is less an issue. As you advance into the genre you'll soon grow out of the "milk" of fantasy and want to try some "meat" such as Erikson's Malazan series or GRRM. But even after 40 years of reading the genre I still like to go back occasionally and reread some of the earlier (clone) books, just to reexperience a simple quest story without all the darkness, grit, and moral ambiguity that is common these days. Whatever you choose, happy reading!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  7. tyme2read

    tyme2read New Member

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    I also think the Riftwar Series is a good read along with the Riddle Master series. Think you should take a look at the Belgariad Series loved the characters and has a easy feel that you should like
     
  8. Shayna

    Shayna Greyscale

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    You really can find alot of books in the recommendations that are offered to you here!

    I would look into reading Tad Williams. The Dragonbone Chair to begin with!

    Another series begins with The Wayfarer Redemption-Sara Douglas.

    Have fun!!:)
     
  9. grey_tinman

    grey_tinman Registered User

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    I second the recommendation for Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. I think it's perfect for you. It has some slow parts (especially the first 100 pages or so), but I think it has the atmosphere you're looking for. It's still one of my favorites.
     
  10. Dirty Hands

    Dirty Hands Registered User

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    You might try The summer tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. It's a great epic fantasy sereis that reminded me of LotR without feeling like a rip-off. Another series you may enjoy is Brandon Sandersons Mistoborn.
     
  11. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    First welcome to the the forums, jafa.

    Second, Epic Fantasy is probably one the most popular flavors of fantasy in the forums here so if you poke your head around for a few pages worth of threads, chances are you'll find a good handful (oh, maybe 7-10 at least) new series you'll want to try.

    Thirdly, check out this earlier thread, last updated in April:
    Fantasy Epics (Ones to read, ones to steer clear of)

    Fourthly, here are some recommendations:
    Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams - Kitchen boy, prophecy, magic swords, elves (Sithi) and an overall good story.

    GemQuest by our own Gary Wassner - a magical epic fantasy involving prophecy, sentient trees, and elves.

    A Song of Ice and Fire what's too dark about it? Martin fairly realistically depicts the harshness of a world similar to ours during the 1400s and the threat of war. Of course it will be dark. Also, not all of the main characters are killed - again, in a war people die.

    Farseer
    Why is this odd? Why would you have to 'overcome' this?
     
  12. JamesL

    JamesL Speculative Horizons

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    Not sure you're going to have much luck finding a novel/series with the same 'feel' as LOTR, simply because there aren't really any. There may be countless Tolkien/LOTR clones but the 'feel' of them doesn't come close to that achieved by Tolkien.

    While you might not be able to find any novels with the same 'feel', you should be able to find plenty that will appeal to you for different reasons.

    Sounds like what you're looking for is a more traditional epic fantasy.

    I think The Wheel of Time would actually appeal to you, but as you say it is a bit of a mammoth undertaking and some of the later books have been slated to the point of ridicule for their lack of plot movement.

    True, The Sword of Shannara is very similar to LOTR (almost to the point of being a bit of a joke) but it's still an enjoyable quest story. The sequel however, The Elfstones of Shannara is an excellent adventure fantasy and easily Brooks' best novel.

    Sword of Truth - don't waste your time. Not what you're looking for.

    A Song of Ice and Fire - for my money, the best epic fantasy series. I even rate the third novel A Storm of Swords as the best epic fantasy novel ever written (yep, I think it's better than LOTR).

    Riftwar Saga - Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon are pretty good, but the first novel Magician is a classic epic fantasy. Probably the closest thing to what you're looking for.

    Farseer trilogy - never read any Hobb, so can't comment.
     
  13. Neffalathiel

    Neffalathiel Obviously up to something

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    Do yourself a favor: try and overcome your issue. I know what you mean, because I was thinking the same thing when I first picked up the first book. But it's absolutely worth it. Gave me the same 'feel' you described in your post. It's not too epic, in my opinion, but the characters are wonderfully worked out and have so many layers and dimensions...
    Hobb rules! *cheers*
     
  14. jafa

    jafa New Member

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    Ok, I just bought the whole Riftwar Saga trilogy. I'm just waiting for the shipment to arrive.

    When I'm done with that I'll probably try The Farseer trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and The summer tree. Don't know the order yet.

    After all of the recommendations I'd also like to read The Elfstones of Shannara. However it still seems to me that I'll have to read Sword of Shannara too then, because that's the only way to get into the whole trilogy and enjoy Elfstone of Shannara completely.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  15. Seak

    Seak and I like to party.

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    Let me just add some support for the Riftwar saga. I just barely finished Magician: Master and it was amazing. Seriously, the last half of the book, I just could not put down. Lots of good fun.
     
  16. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    Go ahead and read the Summer Tree if you must but I recommend you start with something else by Kay first, that way you won't be scared off of Kays good books when you read the garbage that is The Fionavar Tapestry.
     
  17. Self

    Self Registered User

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    Opinions vary as always - Fionivar was my introduction to GGKay & I liked it alot.

    Hobb - I read the 1st trilogy & found it ordinary / borderline dull.

    Tad Williams - I could not make it through the Dragonbone Chair...

    I am enjoying The Name of the Wind at present, only half way through - might be what you are looking for.
     
  18. Maela

    Maela New Member

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    I agree with that and would like to say this:

    Though I am sure many may disagree with me I would recommend the first Paolini book Eragon. The second is not that great though (as a matter of fact it is rather awful). The third is a great installment however and if you can manage to get through at least the Roran portions of the second book you will love the third. (you'll understand what I'm talking about if you read the first).

    Also, just some advice, do NOT watch movies to get an idea of the book you are thinking about reading!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  19. WyrvenGuard

    WyrvenGuard I Has Good Writing

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    I agree

    I know it's a tad bit different than what you'd expect, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson are my favorite of all time for two reasons: His characters are as real as I've ever found (personal opinion) and The Land (the world he creates) is as original and creative as any I've found.

    Also, Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy is really good... a little different, as Drizzt's path starts him in the Underdark and eventually he moves into a more "epic" landscape.

    And for a few more try Ed Greenwood's Elminster novels or for a really original world (I think anyways) try Margeret Weis/Tracy Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  20. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    Only read the first Covenant trilogy, and the Gap Cycle by Donaldson, but totally agree that his characters are as real as it gets. Despite that I had a little bit of trouble getting into the Covenant books. I found it a little slow and characters who spend the whole time doubting themselves tend to drive me crazy and that pretty much defines Covenant.

    Also agree that The Death Gate Cylce was very original. And the LOTR references made me smile.