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July 18th, 2007, 11:25 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Are there any fantasy books where there is no hero (or a villain is the lead)?
I'm interested in finding a few good fantasy novels where there is no "hero" type character out to save the world from the demon/sorceror bent on taking over every living thing. I kinda like books where the central character is flawed and is not really a hero but more of an observer or a low level participant in whatever events might be going on. The Time Master Trilogy by Louise Cooper or The Sarantine Mosaic books by Guy Gavriel Kay are good examples where the lead character is really not a hero out to save the world.
I'm also really interested in books where the lead character is a villain who attempts to acheive some less than virtuous goal. Basically I've read all the typical fantasy books, now I'm interesting in reading something a bit different.
Anyone have a few suggestions?
July 18th, 2007, 11:59 PM #2Ranke LidyekGuest
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazney. The lead character, Corwin, isn't the nicest guy. He's out to accomplish "his" goal. Great series and very morally ambivalent until the final books where Corwin wonders what damage he's done.
Highly recommended because it eschews standard fantasy conventions for a more intriguing, primordial approach.
July 19th, 2007, 01:50 AM #3
I think Corwin is still the "hero" type, he posseses a little antihero qualities though. He isn't out to save the world, but he is sure as hell not a low key character.
If you want an observer, try The Black Company books by Glen Cook, it is told through the eyes of people who are just participating usually (eventhough few books are told from the pov of more central characters).
There are many books with central characters who aren't heroes out to save the world, but it's rare for them to be just observers or low-key characters...
July 19th, 2007, 04:32 AM #4
Yes Black Company by Glen Cook. Let's also not fotget Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Donald E Stephenson...a most disdainful, irksome and grumpy leper-hero of them all. Heroes Die by Mathew Woodring Stover would also count in I believe. How about Scar Night by Alen Cambell? I would definitely say A Song Of Ice And Fire by GRRM althoug it has a few preety good guys and they are definitely not low key (on second thought ASoIaF does not really fit your criteria)...
Last edited by thrinidir; July 19th, 2007 at 04:52 AM.
July 19th, 2007, 04:46 AM #5Ranke LidyekGuest
So, no. He's not a hero. Later on, perhaps.
The Black Company books are very cool, though. Glen Cook has a mythos all his own. GRRM books could be considered to have villains and heroes in equal measure.
July 19th, 2007, 05:32 AM #6
As for Thomas Covenant, Heroes Die, some GRRM characters or Elric, Gerald Tarrant, even Conan or Fafhard and the Grey Mouser, those are all antiheroes, not really villains... there was a thread about antiheroes as well, you might enjoy reading about them, but they are not really the answer to the question.
July 19th, 2007, 07:20 AM #7
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
- Alys Beach
The antagonist Ciris Sarn an assassin in A RESONANCE OF SHADOWS is the lead character.
~ shameless plug of a long overdue book
July 19th, 2007, 08:41 AM #8
July 19th, 2007, 08:50 AM #9
Peter David's Sir Apropos of Nothing series might fit. Apropos is a great antihero who spends much of his time grumbling about how he's a secondary character in some other hero's story.
July 19th, 2007, 12:59 PM #10
My suggestion is "Little, Big," by John Crowley, though only because it doesn't have a clear hero/villain divide. It probably isn't the kind of sword and sorcery fantasy you're looking for, though, as it's very nearly spiritual.
July 19th, 2007, 02:00 PM #11
David Gemmell's Waylander is a pretty good anti-hero (Waylander, Waylander II and Hero in the Shadows), and his character Skilgannon is a brooding figure constantly trying to banish his bloody past (White Wolf, The Swords of Night and Day).
My personal vote goes to Ian Graham's character Ballas from Monument, who is an excellent anti-hero. He's not out to save the world, he's out to save himself, and doesn't care how he does it. Despite this, he's a strangely endearing character and far more complicated than is initially illustrated.
July 19th, 2007, 03:17 PM #12
July 19th, 2007, 04:28 PM #13
I don't know if anyone has already suggested this, but all of the characters in Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged are quite selfish and unheroic in my opinion. It's what makes the books good, all of the characters are deeply flawed.
July 19th, 2007, 07:47 PM #14
I'm looking forward to reading the Abercrombie books whenever they cross the ditch. I've heard a lot of good things.
July 20th, 2007, 02:48 PM #15
Ian Irvine's View from the Mirror series has no immediately obvious good or bad guys, just people with varying degrees of morality.
Last edited by Werthead; July 20th, 2007 at 04:32 PM.