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  1. #1

    Thoughts on this annoyingly large list of potential TBR books?

    I know this is a very long list, I am working through it myself but don't mind opinions if you have any, good or bad! This is basically a collaboration of many "Top 25" or "Top 10" lists of fantasy series. I added only the ones I thought might be worthy. Obviously ignoring books I have read or already know I plan to read in those lists.


    I have researched a bit already and broken them down some...

    Read First
    • Abhorsen Trilogy (Garth Nix)
    • Watership Down (Richard Adams)
    • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson)
    • The Long Price Quartet & The Dagger and the Coin (Daniel Abraham)
    • Among Thieves (Douglas Hulick)
    • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (Barry Hughart)



    Read Soon
    • Elric (MichaelMoorcock)
    • The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories (Fritz Leiber)
    • Black Jewels (Anne Bishop)
    • Riddle Master Trilogy (Patricia A. McKillip)
    • Monarchies of God (Paul Kearney)
    • The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
    • A Man of his Word (Dave Duncan)
    • The Chathrand Voyages(Robert Redick)
    • The Dying Earth Trilogy (Jack Vance)
    • The Steel Remains (Richard Morgan)
    • The Black Magician (Trudi Canavan)
    • Empire in Black and Gold (Adrian Tchaikovsky)


    Don't read
    • The Belgariad (David Eddings)
    • Shadowmarch (Tad Williams)
    • The Swan's War (Sean Russell)
    • The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Robert V.S. Redick)
    • Left Hand of God Trilogy (Paul Hoffman)
    • Call of Cthulhu (HP Lovecraft)
    • Acacia series (David Durham)
    • Green Rider (Kristen Britain)
    • Godless World Trilogy (Brian Ruckley)
    • The Deed of Paksenarrion (Elizabeth Moon)


    And here are some that I am either undecided, or haven't seen a lot of opinions on...still researching!

    • The King of Elfland's Daughter (Lord Dunsay)
    • The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)
    • The Macht (Paul Kearney)
    • Folding Knife(KJ Parker)
    • The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper)
    • A Kingdom of Thorn and Bone (Greg Keyes)
    • Death Dealer (James Silke)
    • The Hill of Dreams (Arthur Machen)
    • The Innkeeper's Song(Peter Beagle)
    • Trinity, Quickening, or Valisa (Fiona McIntosh)
    • The Etched City (KJ Bishop)
    • Thieves(David Chandler)
    • Lyonesse(JackVance)
    • Imajiica (Clive Barker)
    • Crown of Stars (Kate Elliot)
    • The Half-Made World (Felix Gilman)
    • Initiate Brother (Sean Williams)
    • Winds of the Forelands (David B. Coe)
    • Oath of Empires (Thomas Harlan)
    • Boreal Moon (Julia May)
    • The Chronicles Of King Byren’s Kin (Rowena Cory Daniells)
    • Thieftaker Chronicles (D.B. Jackson)
    • The Bronze Knight Series (John Marco)
    • The Shadow Saga (Jon Sprunk)
    • The Wardstone Chronicles (Joseph Delaney)
    • The Mythago Cycle (Robert Holdstock)
    • The Edge Chronicles (Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell)
    • Obernewtyn Chronicles (Isobelle Carmody)
    • A Tale of Einarinn (Juliet McKenna)

  2. #2
    It's only moderately annoying.
    You realize it's entirely individual?
    Igor

  3. #3
    I'm confused. You have Redick on both your "Read Soon" and "Don't Read" list.

  4. #4
    I think that after some research on a title any additional effort doesn't help too much. I mean, for every book you love you'll find opinions saying it's awful, and you'll find people who love every book you dislike.

    Have you tried reading the free samples that many online stores offer, to see what grabs you?

  5. #5
    MJ Dusseault Spears&Buckler's Avatar
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    Watership Down is a masterpiece. I highly recommend you read it.

    I absolutely love the Thomas Covenant books. I'm smack in the middle of rereading the ones I've already read to freshen up for the last 3 books which I haven't read yet. It stands the test of time and is still one of my favorite series. Check these out for sure.

    I really enjoyed Among Thieves, and have preordered its sequel, Sworn in Steel, which is due out next month. I don't think it'll ever go down as a classic in the genre, but it was a fun book.

    The Thorn and Bone books by Keyes are strange for me. I liked the first 2 books well enough, but for some reason I didn't continue with the series. Someday I probably will.

    I have The Steel Remains at home, but haven't read it yet. It sounds pretty good though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    I know this is a very long list, I am working through it myself but don't mind opinions if you have any, good or bad! This is basically a collaboration of many "Top 25" or "Top 10" lists of fantasy series. I added only the ones I thought might be worthy. Obviously ignoring books I have read or already know I plan to read in those lists.


    I have researched a bit already and broken them down some...

    Read First
    • Abhorsen Trilogy (Garth Nix)
    • Watership Down (Richard Adams)
    • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson)
    • The Long Price Quartet & The Dagger and the Coin (Daniel Abraham)
    • Among Thieves (Douglas Hulick)
    • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (Barry Hughart)



    Read Soon
    • Elric (MichaelMoorcock)
    • The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories (Fritz Leiber)
    • Black Jewels (Anne Bishop)
    • Riddle Master Trilogy (Patricia A. McKillip)
    • Monarchies of God (Paul Kearney)
    • The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
    • A Man of his Word (Dave Duncan)
    • The Chathrand Voyages(Robert Redick) Gave up cause too YA
    • The Dying Earth Trilogy (Jack Vance)
    • The Steel Remains (Richard Morgan)
    • The Black Magician (Trudi Canavan)
    • Empire in Black and Gold (Adrian Tchaikovsky)


    Don't read
    • The Belgariad (David Eddings)
    • Shadowmarch (Tad Williams)
    • The Swan's War (Sean Russell)
    • The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Robert V.S. Redick) Noted above
    • Left Hand of God Trilogy (Paul Hoffman)
    • Call of Cthulhu (HP Lovecraft) Actually pretty good stuff
    • Acacia series (David Durham)
    • Green Rider (Kristen Britain)
    • Godless World Trilogy (Brian Ruckley)
    • The Deed of Paksenarrion (Elizabeth Moon)


    And here are some that I am either undecided, or haven't seen a lot of opinions on...still researching!

    • The King of Elfland's Daughter (Lord Dunsay)
    • The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)
    • The Macht (Paul Kearney)
    • Folding Knife(KJ Parker)
    • The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper)
    • A Kingdom of Thorn and Bone (Greg Keyes)
    • Death Dealer (James Silke)
    • The Hill of Dreams (Arthur Machen)
    • The Innkeeper's Song(Peter Beagle)
    • Trinity, Quickening, or Valisa (Fiona McIntosh)
    • The Etched City (KJ Bishop) Fantastic book
    • Thieves(David Chandler)
    • Lyonesse(JackVance)
    • Imajiica (Clive Barker)
    • Crown of Stars (Kate Elliot) Two books too long
    • The Half-Made World (Felix Gilman)Really good but actually recco his Thunderer duology more
    • Initiate Brother (Sean Williams)Good stuff though not much magic
    • Winds of the Forelands (David B. Coe)
    • Oath of Empires (Thomas Harlan)
    • Boreal Moon (Julia May)
    • The Chronicles Of King Byren’s Kin (Rowena Cory Daniells)
    • Thieftaker Chronicles (D.B. Jackson)
    • The Bronze Knight Series (John Marco)
    • The Shadow Saga (Jon Sprunk)
    • The Wardstone Chronicles (Joseph Delaney)
    • The Mythago Cycle (Robert Holdstock)
    • The Edge Chronicles (Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell)
    • Obernewtyn Chronicles (Isobelle Carmody)
    • A Tale of Einarinn (Juliet McKenna)
    My recents that are well worth checking out: the Red Knight, Red Rising, Emperor's Blades, Blood Song, All the Windwracked Stars, the Psalms of Isaak, Grim Company, Acts of Motherf*cking Caine, the Troupe, the Milkweed Triptych.......that's all I got right now.

  7. #7
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    The King of Elfland's Daughter (Lord Dunsay) -- no don't read it, I don't think you'd like
    The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander) -- probably too much like Eddings for you
    The Macht (Paul Kearney) -- yeah, he'll probably work for you
    Folding Knife(KJ Parker) -- may have some Perdido trouble, but it is military fantasy, worth a look
    The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper) -- probably not your thing
    A Kingdom of Thorn and Bone (Greg Keyes) -- hmm, maybe him, I haven't read that particular series
    Death Dealer (James Silke) -- don't know
    The Hill of Dreams (Arthur Machen) -- don't know
    The Innkeeper's Song(Peter Beagle) -- sort of a sequel to The Last Unicorn, but different in tone; I think probably not your thing, maybe try Last Unicorn first --it was an influence in grimdark
    Trinity, Quickening, or Valisa (Fiona McIntosh) -- maybe, haven't read that one
    The Etched City (KJ Bishop) -- maybe, haven't read that one
    Thieves(David Chandler) -- don't know
    Lyonesse(JackVance) -- I'm guessing not for you
    Imajiica (Clive Barker) -- Clive is kind of a godfather to grimdark, coming through horror. Did you try and like Stephen King's Dark Tower? Were you okay with Stover? Then this may work
    Crown of Stars (Kate Elliot) -- I'd say worth you trying
    The Half-Made World (Felix Gilman) -- he's in Abercrombie's neighborhood with this one, I've been meaning to try it; I liked his Thunderer, which was a bit more Victorian in focus, but this is western in focus, so a try, I suspect, got a lot of good buzz
    Initiate Brother (Sean Williams) -- not sure he's your thing, could investigate further
    Winds of the Forelands (David B. Coe) -- don't know
    Oath of Empires (Thomas Harlan) -- don't know
    Boreal Moon (Julia May) -- I suspect not, so lower on the list maybe
    The Chronicles Of King Byren’s Kin (Rowena Cory Daniells) -- don't know
    Thieftaker Chronicles (D.B. Jackson) -- don't know
    The Bronze Knight Series (John Marco) -- don't know
    The Shadow Saga (Jon Sprunk) -- yes
    The Wardstone Chronicles (Joseph Delaney) -- don't know
    The Mythago Cycle (Robert Holdstock) -- ooh, toss up, the style is not your thing but the content maybe, since you like Rothfuss, worth trying, Mythago was very likely an influence for Rothfuss
    The Edge Chronicles (Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell) -- don't know
    Obernewtyn Chronicles (Isobelle Carmody) -- probably not grimdark enough
    A Tale of Einarinn (Juliet McKenna) -- like some of her stuff, but don't know this one

  8. #8
    Registered User oasis seeker's Avatar
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    I won't bore you with my own take on any of the books on your list (I've read about 80% of them.) But I did just finish Vance's 'The Dying Earth' and I have to say that while it might not be for everyone (some may find the prose a little flowery, though it's deliberately so), I thought the characters were fantastic and there were some very long stretches where I would laugh out loud at least once each page.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by oasis seeker View Post
    I won't bore you with my own take on any of the books on your list (I've read about 80% of them.) But I did just finish Vance's 'The Dying Earth' and I have to say that while it might not be for everyone (some may find the prose a little flowery, though it's deliberately so), I thought the characters were fantastic and there were some very long stretches where I would laugh out loud at least once each page.
    Well, you wouldn't bore me. Are there any on that list, besides that one, you have strong feelings for or against?

    Quote Originally Posted by farseer2 View Post
    I think that after some research on a title any additional effort doesn't help too much. I mean, for every book you love you'll find opinions saying it's awful, and you'll find people who love every book you dislike.

    Have you tried reading the free samples that many online stores offer, to see what grabs you?
    I disagree. I am merely looking for input, not someone to make my decision for me. I realize plenty of people like one book while others may hate it. But it's their reasons that interested me, not the final opinion. I like to read many pros and cons and make my own decision on whether or not I think it fits for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haliax View Post
    I'm confused. You have Redick on both your "Read Soon" and "Don't Read" list.
    I did not realize one was the name of the first book while the other is the name of the whole series. Well this complicates things. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Quote Originally Posted by Igor View Post
    It's only moderately annoying.
    You realize it's entirely individual?
    Igor
    See my response to farseer. I like to tally "individual" opinions and judge whether or not they apply to me.

    Imajiica (Clive Barker) -- Clive is kind of a godfather to grimdark, coming through horror. Did you try and like Stephen King's Dark Tower? Were you okay with Stover? Then this may work
    Loved Dark Tower. And if you mean Stover's Acts of Caine?...then yes. Thought Heroes Die was maybe the best single book I've ever read.
    Last edited by chris777; April 10th, 2014 at 05:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    I know this is a very long list, I am working through it myself but don't mind opinions if you have any, good or bad! This is basically a collaboration of many "Top 25" or "Top 10" lists of fantasy series. I added only the ones I thought might be worthy. Obviously ignoring books I have read or already know I plan to read in those lists.
    I haven't read most of these, but here are some quick opinions on the ones I have:

    The Long Price Quartet: Good, but the whole series sort of plods along, sometimes at an annoyingly slow pace. I never read the last book; I just called it a trilogy and went on my way. Maybe the 4th book is an action-packed thrill-ride.
    The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox: Okay to good first book. Very funny in parts. Never read any of the others. Actually, when I read the first one, I didn't know there -were- others.
    Riddle Master Trilogy: One of my all time favorites. Lyrical prose and a great story. You may find yourself re-reading the same paragraph several times due to the complexity of the writing, but I think it's worth it.
    The Belgariad: It's not horrible, and I'd say it's worth reading just for historical perspective. But it's also utterly forgettable. Something about a farm boy, I think.
    The Chronicles of Prydain: I think this is a must-read. It's important for no other reason than you need to have some recommendations for your children when they get to reading age. I recently re-read these books and still enjoyed them.
    The Dark is Rising: Another must-read, but this series is definitely for older children. There are some dark moments. But the title could have told you that.
    Lyonesse: Jack Vance is a true master of the language. You owe it to yourself to try something of his, but I quit Lyonesse after the first book. I'm undecided whether I'll ever continue.
    Initiate Brother: You might try this. It's better than average, although I wasn't a fan of the ending.

    Like I said, I haven't read much, but I do appreciate the list. There are some series here with which I'm not familiar.
    Last edited by DJ94122; April 10th, 2014 at 04:44 PM.

  11. #11
    Registered User oasis seeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    Well, you wouldn't bore me. Are there any on that list, besides that one, you have strong feelings for or against?
    Okay, you asked for it .

    • Abhorsen Trilogy (Garth Nix)
    Read this about ten years ago and can't remember exactly, but believe I liked it very much. If I recall correctly though, I think I was slightly disappointed in the last book.

    • Watership Down (Richard Adams)
    I found this book in school when I was around 12 or so. I read it and loved it. I remember at the time I was quite surprised as when I picked it up, I thought "A book about rabbits? How stupid."

    • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson)
    Not everybody likes it but it's one of the few series I can read again and again. Donaldson's prose takes a little getting used to and again, not everybody likes it – but I'll tell you what: he's a master at setting up tension and delivering those "Pow!" moments.

    If you can live with his style and use of words that make even dictionaries say "huh?" then I think you might be rewarded with a story that really builds up the tension and delivers satisfying surprises.

    I enjoyed the Second Chronicles better than the first but from what I've seen, mine is a minority view. To me, the second had a much better and varied world, and much more tension and conflict and better characters.

    Another good thing (to me) is that he doesn't really leave you hanging at the end of each book. Each book, while not completing the whole story, has a satisfying ending, yet leaves you eager to read the next installment.

    Unfortunately, I felt his last and latest installment of Covenant trilogy dragged a bit and seemed kind of stretched out and at times boring. I haven't finished them yet.

    • The Long Price Quartet & The Dagger and the Coin (Daniel Abraham)
    I read the first book and while I found nothing wrong with his writing style or the world, overall it wasn't very compelling to me and I have yet to read the second.

    • Elric (MichaelMoorcock)
    Read these as a young un. Actually, I think I read these directly after LOTR, which was the series that got me started in fantasy. I devoured them and remember I would go with a buddy of mine scouring the bookstores in Greenwich Village (in NYC) looking for the next book. Back then, fantasy books weren't as widespread as they are now.

    • The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories (Fritz Leiber)
    Read these as a kid also and loved them then. But remember – a lot of books I might've loved as a kid, I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy now. These were more along the lines of Conan etc which I was reading around the same time also.

    • Monarchies of God (Paul Kearney)
    Read the first one. And while I liked the writing and world, the plot just wasn't compelling enough for me to have yet read the rest.

    • The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
    Read this once long ago and then again recently. Enjoyed it both times. But to me, Wolfe is kind of an unknown quantity. He definitely has a unique style.

    While I really liked the New Sun books, some of his other books haven't quite hit it with me. I read the first Wizard Knight book and when I finished I was like, "Well... nothing really happened..."

    • The Dying Earth Trilogy (Jack Vance)
    I mentioned this one before. If you begin reading and don't immediately dislike it, I think you'll find it enjoyable. Highly imaginative and at times, hilarious.

    • Empire in Black and Gold (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
    Another one where I only read the first so far, but I don't know if it was the plot or the style.

    It seems to me (and this is just me) but a lot of fantasies aren't written compellingly. By which I mean, they kind of go "X goes here, then goes there, then Y goes to the other place, they meet and do this, then they go there..."

    I might like the world but the characters either aren't compelling or there aren't story questions that have me turning pages to get answered. Not saying that's specifically the case with this book, just usually the reason why I'll often read someone's first book and then not feel any pressing need to read the second.

    • The Belgariad (David Eddings)
    Good first series for a young reader. Yeah, I definitely wouldn't recommend for an adult in this day and age.

    • The Swan's War (Sean Russell)
    Another one-book-only read. But I did enjoy his "Initiate Brother" series.

    • Left Hand of God Trilogy (Paul Hoffman)
    I'm giving my thoughts on this one because it highlights another reason why I sometimes don't finish a series or book.

    I bought this book but never got past the beginning. Nothing to do with the quality of the writing, but I just found it too unbelievable. I always have a problem when a book presents an unbelievable protagonist (too perfect or too good etc.) and/or also when the characters just aren't believable.

    They don't act like any human beings I know. Their emotions and reactions might seem suited for the plot the author has created, but just don't correlate with how a real human being would react in that situation. They aren't True.

    In the beginning, the Redeemers, some of the characters and some of the situations were just a little too over the top for me. Unrealistically so.

    But that's just me and my particular taste.

    - A Kingdom of Thorn and Bone (Greg Keyes)
    Like someone else mentioned, I read the first two and liked them well enough, but I felt it kind of weakened as it went along and I never finished it.

    • Lyonesse(JackVance)
    Read the first one and enjoyed it but the second (at the time) was very hard to find. I think they have a kindle version out now though. Has a very fairytale-ish, mythological vibe, if you don't mind that sort of thing.

    But I enjoyed it a lot and Vance has that keen eye for human behavior that really strikes and makes a story more real and enjoyable.

    • The Half-Made World (Felix Gilman)
    Read the first one, but again – for some reason I never got past that. I don't remember why now.

    • Initiate Brother (Sean Williams)
    As mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed this at the time. (Around 15 years ago.)


    Well, that's my input. Good luck and I hope you find something on your list that brings a smile to your face and makes you see the world in a new light again.

  12. #12
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    Well now with the advent of ebooks and stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble putting sample chapters of books online you have much more latitude to try before you buy. Even if you prefer to read "real" books you can read a few chapters on your computer or tablet just to get a taste of a particular writing style. I also always take reviews with a grain of salt. You have crossed off some really great series (Elizabeth Moon's, Kristen Britain, Robert Reddick for example) that you might enjoy if you give them a try. I try to be really open minded about my reading choices (within the genre) and have been pleasantly surprised on many occasions when a book that on the face of it I would hate (say for example paranormal or urban) turns out to be really wonderful. I've also been finding a number of self published authors that are off the beaten track that I like. It isn't always a success, but those hidden gems are worth it. Just to give you a few more suggestions on finished series you might like:
    The Tamir Triad - Lynn Flewelling This is a very dark series which might be right up your ally
    Carol Berg - Rai Kirah This is also very dark
    Sherwood Smith's Inda series - don't let it throw you that the lead character is very young at the start - it is not your typical farmhand coming of age story.
    L.E. Modesitt, Jr. - His Imager series is very good.
    Edited to add:
    I almost forgot probably my all time favorite fantasy stand alone
    Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole This was the first book he ever wrote though it was only published much later. It is fabulous and dark. It is one of the first fantasy books I ever read and it has stood up (for me) through the years.
    Last edited by finnskeeper; April 10th, 2014 at 08:23 PM.

  13. #13
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson) - Some people love these books, others hate them. I loved the first two trilogies (I'm still plodding through the Third Chronicles). As far as fantasy books go, other than the LOTR, these books are the ones I've reread the most times.

    Elric (Michael Moorcock) - Worth reading, although I found the stories heavy going at times.

    The Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories (Fritz Leiber) - Really liked these stories. Well written and amusing.

    The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe) - Worth reading. Wolfe has an inimitable style. Complex, often cryptic with layers of meaning.

    The Belgariad (David Eddings) - I've read this twice. It's not bad, but is best suited for young adults or teenagers.

    The Swan's War (Sean Russell) - I've read all three books. In parts it is very good, but other parts are less interesting. Overall, it's probably worth reading if it appeals and you don't have anything better on your TBR pile.

    Call of Cthulhu (HP Lovecraft) - I quite like reading Lovecraft in small doses, as he has an interesting style. So I wouldn't be too quick to rule this out.

    The Mythago Cycle (Robert Holdstock) - Read one book, but didn't like it all that much. It wasn't bad, just not to my taste.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post


    I did not realize one was the name of the first book while the other is the name of the whole series. Well this complicates things. Thanks for pointing that out!
    Ah, okay. To provide input on that, I thought the entire series was well done.

  15. #15
    I read the first book of the Abhorsen Trilogy. It is young adult, but perfectly ok for adults. Its just a good fantasy. Nothing overwhelming though, and I didn't motivate to continue.

    Watership Down -- I loved this as a kid and read it several times, but the last time I read it, as an adult, kind of felt that I had outgrown it somewhat. I bet you'd like it, but I kind of doubt you'd love it. Again, feel like you could probably find something you'd like better.

    Both are safe, pleasant reads that you should like, just saying that I can't see them breaking your top 20 or anything like that.

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