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  1. #1

    Opinions on authors similar to Abercrombie

    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. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice View Post
    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.
    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. #3
    Riyria Revelations Author sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice View Post
    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.
    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. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sullivan_riyria View Post
    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.
    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. #5
    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. #6
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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  7. #7
    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 by TooNice; February 28th, 2012 at 11:34 AM.

  8. #8
    Riyria Revelations Author sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post

    And #1 is? - I'm going to guess G.R.R. Martin? Or maybe Patrick Rothfuss?

  9. #9
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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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. #10
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sullivan_riyria View Post
    And #1 is? - I'm going to guess G.R.R. Martin? Or maybe Patrick Rothfuss?
    GRRM, easily.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice View Post
    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.
    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. #12
    Morgan.

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

  13. #13
    Registered User Carlyle Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice View Post
    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.
    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 by Carlyle Clark; February 28th, 2012 at 01:05 PM.

  14. #14
    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 by StoneBurner; February 28th, 2012 at 03:54 PM.

  15. #15
    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.

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