Opinions on authors similar to Abercrombie

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by TooNice, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    Hey guys, I want to sink my teeth into another big fantasy series and Abercrombie is my favourite author right now so I figured I'll go with someone who writes work in similar vein.

    Anyway....it seems my best options are James Barclay, R Scott Bakker, Glen Cook, JV Jones and Brent Weeks - from what I've heard. David Gemmell is quite similar too actually when I think about it although much less 'gritty', but I've read enough of him lately.

    So basically I'm just interested in any opinions on those authors, how they compare to Abercrombie, and who I'm probably best going with and what books of theirs that being the case. Also if you have any other suggestions that would be great.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    I've read Glen Cook's Black Company books and Brent Weeks, but not the others. Cook is similar in theme but not at all in style, and Weeks isn't really similar at all in my opinion, outside of having some grittiness to it. Of those two I enjoyed Cook more- the first couple of trilogies were really good, but I lost interest after that. Weeks was good enough, but nothing overly special, for me.

    I've tried Bakker but couldn't get into it. I might try again sometime. I also tried Legend by Gemmel but I don't think I got past the 50 page mark before giving up there. I think Bakker probably fits closest what you're looking for.
     
  3. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    While I'm not "well read" enough to give you firsthand experience - I can say that from what I've heard of the various parties you have picked some good choices. If you really want gritty - you might want to throw in Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I'd also recommend Scott Lynch, Jon Sprunk, Daniel Abraham, Douglas Hulick.

    If you can trust the buying habits of others - than Amazon can be a good roadmap. The authors that cross sell well with Abercrombie are (in order):

    Brandon Sanderson | Steven Erikson | Scott Lynch | Patrick Rothfuss | Peter V. Brett | Brent Weeks | Michael J. Sullivan | Robin Hobb | Glen Cook | Mark Lawrence | Daniel Abraham | Kevin Hearne | George R.R. Martin | N. K. Jemisin | Douglas Hulick | R. Scott Bakker

    Note that while I do cross sell well with Joe, I wouldn't necessarily list my books as "gritty" - a better description would be "unlikely heroes" but they are heroes none the less, so you might want to stay away from those.
     
  4. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    Of that list, from what I've read, Erikson, Lynch, Lawrence, and Martin are all good options. Jemisin is very different from Abercrombie, and Sanderson's grit level is pretty low. Brett would be a decent option as well. Rothfuss is one of my favourite authors, and fits in a way that he's going for the whole satire of fantasy that Abercrombie did in the First Law trilogy. But his story moves much slower. The others I haven't read yet.
     
  5. polishgenius

    polishgenius Registered User

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    I don't think Bakker is at all like Abercrombie, apart from both being dark... I mean, yeah, both are grim twists on traditional fantasy but Abercrombie plays it with humour, a light touch and generally he's going for Tolkienite imitators rather than Tolkien himself, whereas Bakker's modelled on, and twisted, Tolkien himself and he's rather low on humour, high on philosophy and character introspection, and much more epic in scope.
    It is great though.

    I'd say Prince of Thorns hews closest to what you're after (though only one book is out and it's not 'big'). Could also try A Land Fit For Heroes, Richard Morgan's fantasy series. Paul Kearney I don't think has much to do with Abercrombie but does have ground in common with Gemmell so you might find that worth a look too. Especially his Macht series.

    Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards plot is very different from Abercrombie's- it's a city-set thief fantasy for the most part- but it does have that combination of a fun romp, dark corners to the plot and a black edge to the humour.
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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  7. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    Thanks so far guys. I've already read all the Malazan books, Prince of Thorns and The Gentleman Bastards though, and enjoyed most immensely. Sanderson and Rothfuss while fantastic (i've already read all their work actually) are very...PG13, very chaste, and I don't want that.

    So just to clarify, when I say 'like Abercrombie' I mean that I want something gritty and cynical, I guess you could say realistic in a way, and to also feature strong characterization, preferably characters of a darker nature, like Monza or Shivers or Glokta. That would be ideal. Those other authors I mentioned are just what seemed like the best books for that kind of thing in fantasy (that i haven't already read), I'm not actually certain if they are.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  8. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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  9. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    To answer your question, based on the authors you mentioned, I've listed a few similarities from strongest to weakest:


    Glen Cook
    For my money, the dark humor, balance between personal/character scale and grandscale and the focus on less than pristine shiny heroes marks Cook's work - especially The Black Company - as the most similar on your list

    James Barclay
    A bit more like Gemmell than Abercrombie, but there's a similar vein running through both Barclay.

    Brent Weeks
    Brent's series, The Night Angel trilogy is hewing closer to the fantasy tropes and cliches than is Joe's work, but there's still a dark edge that is similar.

    R Scott Bakker
    Similar tone of cynicism in the two, but Bakker's doing more of a grand scale thing with his series. Not that Joe isn't epic at times, mind, but the feel for me is more personal and character driven in Joe's work. Scott, from my reading memories, sort of put you outside the characters to observe as a fly on the wall while Joe puts you more in the characters head through strong POV scenes (which I think is one reason why folks lump him in with ASOIAF - and rightly so).


    JV Jones
    I've only read one of her books and I don't recall it all that well (I read well over a decade ago), but seems the least similar to what Joe's doing.

    ...of course KatG or Wert could come in here and give you the opposite rendering of the above...
     
  10. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    GRRM, easily.
     
  11. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    Have you read any K.J. Parker? I really enjoyed the Scavenger trilogy and The Hammer. Character driven books with a dark edge and a fair amount of humor (fairly dry). They aren't really written similarly to Abercrombie, but they would seem to fit the criteria you listed.
     
  12. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Morgan.

    And if you enjoyed Abercrombie you will likely enjoy Hulick as well, although I wouldn't really call them all *that* similar.
     
  13. Carlyle Clark

    Carlyle Clark Registered User

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    I've not read anyone very similar to Abercrombie. Still, I'll second Glen Cook, but along with The Black Company, in fact in front of The Black Company, I'd put his Dread Empire ; which is still not that close but it is dark, violent, cynical, and funny. However, Dread Empire is more similar to Malazan--at least so far as I've only just finished Book 2--but smaller in scope (What non scif-fi isn't?!) again, at least so far.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  14. StoneBurner

    StoneBurner Registered User

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    I realize Abercrombie gets compared to GRRM all the time, but I don't think that's fair as his work cuts out all the excess fat and he continuously gets better. I think Morgan's stuff is the closest in terms of overall feel. JV jones is an interesting comparison. I find her stuff hard to categorize. It feels more like traditional epic fantasy than Abercrombie. It also has a distraught horror vibe to it.

    Though parts of Erikson's Malazan books have that same mixture of humor/violence, i think Esselmonts books are closer to Abercrombie as well.

    EDIT: Ari Mammel's Warlord (duology?) is Abercrombie-esque, though far snarkier. But if you want violence mixed with humor, nothing beats Goblin Corps. It's not similar to Abercrombie, but I think a fan of Abercrombie could enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  15. TooNice

    TooNice Banned

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    thanks a lot guys. i looked into brent weeks more and he seems to 'wheel of time' for me. i'll definitely check out bakker at some point, even if he is very different. paul kearney and kj parker will also be added to my to read list.

    but it seems glen cook is the way to go for me right now. as soon as i finish 'yes man' it's glen cook, then the rest of the dresden files. thanks.

    if anyone else has read those authors i'd still be interested in your opinions though.
     
  16. hawkeyye

    hawkeyye Registered User

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    Abercrombie is by far my favorite fantasy author. I struggle to find anyone nearly as must read. The Way of Kings was very good and I agree with those that said Peter V Brett and Brent Weeks. While they are not all that similar, they are some of the more entertaining, action and pace wise, that are out there right now.
     
  17. 3rdI

    3rdI Edema Ruh

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    Bakker writes circles around Abercrombie any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Abercrombie writes gritty, but as mentioned, it is done with a touch of humor. Bakker is writing one of the most important works of secondary world fantasy ever written. His battles are extremely well thought out and the story he is writing is far more brutal than anything Joe has written. Scott also touches on far more complex subject matter and his characters have far more depth. Not a knock on Joe, who is an exceptionally talented author and whose books I love.

    Read Bakker. Trust me on this one.
     
  18. Contrarius

    Contrarius You talkin' to me??

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    Oooooooo.......

    Unfortunately I still haven't read any Bakker, so I can't really argue with this pronouncement...but these sound like fightin' words to me! ;)
     
  19. Luke_B

    Luke_B Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Not so much fighting words, but just to offer a contrary view - one of the reasons I can't read Bakker is because of his writing. I find it very leaden and po-faced. I much prefer Abercrombie's writing, which I find sharper and less weighed down. I have often found it odd that Abercrombie fans are referred onto Bakker. For me, a closer match to Abercrombie is somebody like Iain M. Banks, who writes with the same dark humour and intelligence.
     
  20. HeclaBull

    HeclaBull Registered User

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    Out of all the authors mentioned so far, Richard K. Morgan's the Steel Remains and the Cold Commands come closest to what you're looking for. They're very gritty and cynical(without being overly melodramatic about it) while still having some humor, and they have the same type of flawed, pragmatic characters that Abercrombie does so well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012