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  1. #1

    Is Prince of Nothing really gritty?

    Hi,

    Here's the situation. I am planning to read the following series:

    Prince of Nothing
    Farseer (and others like Liveship, etc)
    Malazan Book of the Fallen
    Song of Ice and Fire

    Why? Because these seem to be the popular names out there and I want to get a feel of what good fantasy should be like, with an epic scope.

    Now, I was wondering if Prince of Nothing is really gritty because while I do enjoy grey characters and a dark world, I am looking for something simply more fun and enjoyable to read. I want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

    So what order should I read the above four titles in? Right now, they are ordered such that best is saved for last. This may not necessarily be true, but just what I perceive from looking around the forums and other places.

    I think saving best for last would be nice but I also don't want to start off with something very gritty so definitely not SoIaF first. I can't say much about Farseer trilogy, haven't read enough info. Right now, Malazan seems to be the most fun and enjoyable series to me, from the reviews and stuff I've read, so I was thinking of starting with that? What do you guys think? And also, is it worth it to read now, or should I wait for more books to come out? Hate waiting, but that applies to waiting to read the series and waiting to read the next novels in the series too.

  2. #2
    Just another traveler.
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    Going best first, which is how I'D read them -
    Why would you save best for last? You could be hit by car next week and never have the chance to read the best at all !!!
    LIVE TODAY.

    SoIaF
    Malazan books of the Fallen
    Bakker's books
    Farseer

  3. #3
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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    the books you are planning to read are indeed diamonds in a crown of fantasy but none of them is a particulary light read, i'm sorry. so if you want to read something good, witty and fun try Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - which I believe suits the demands you are posing at this moment. And when you will be ready for something more realistic please do read the series you mentioned - they are all a tremendous experience!

  4. #4
    None of them are "light," but you can definitely enjoy the ride with something that isn't light.
    I found SOIAF very enjoyable despite, or maybe because of, the grit. The Characters were very compelling to me and Martin's stuff is just fun to read for me. Just the whole vibe of his books are enthralling.

    Malazan is fun too, but it takes a LOT of concentration and for me each book hits a point that's overwhelming where you don't really know what's going on. Plus there's a crapload of characters and plotlines and many times a plot thread is left for several hundred pages, and sometimes an entire book. Malazan also has some gut-wrenching scenes, especially in Deadhouse Gates.

    Farseer is great, although I probably 'enjoyed' it less than the first two. It feels kind of light to me in some respects and heavy in others. The protagonist takes a beating through the series, but that's not necessarily a put off.

    Bakkers series is technically brilliant, but I never enjoyed it. If you're looking to "sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride," this is the last series I'd recommend. It's brutal, cynical, nihilistic, and philosophical. If that sounds fun to you, go for it.

  5. #5
    Right now, Malazan seems to be the most fun and enjoyable series to me, from the reviews and stuff I've read, so I was thinking of starting with that?
    I'd say Malazan is actually the grittiest of the lot. Although having comedic asides they are swamped by desolate descriptions of death marches, mindless cannibalistic hordes, emotionless undead armies, and characters endlessly moaning about their empty existence.

    You need to define what you mean by "fun". Read one of the series and if it doesn't satisfy, modify your definition. If levity is high on your list of priorities, you've created the wrong list.

  6. #6
    Thanx for replies guys.

    I don't particularly hate gritty, because I realize that some of the best books out there are good because of that gritty element, plus a whole lot of others.

    However, right now I am looking for something light. It is somewhat disappointing to find that none of these great series are light reads.

    To be honest, I really don't know what is implied when a book is called gritty... Lots of violenece? Unnecessary killing? Rape? It's just that I have read so many reviews and comments where 'grit' just puts people off, and I suppose I figured it's the kind of thing I'd want to avoid too. Not to say that the grit element in a story can't be done right. So please tell me, what is it in these books that make them gritty? Perhaps then I can better judge what to read first.

    Also, if not one of these, which series should I pick up? By enjoyable and fun, I mean something like Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn, which I believe is not gritty. I cant think of any others, but I think you know what I mean. An epic fantasy and an exciting adventure, etc.

  7. #7
    Uh, Moderator
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    The Farseer books are probably the closest you'll get there to MS&T. I wouldn't call them gritty, but they're not light. You might want to try someone like Naomi Novik for something that's a bit lighter action/adventure in the epic space. I'd recommend Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books if you're comfortable reading something in a more contemporary setting.
    There's a lot of good YA offerings out there that are quite good and may meet your criteria. I'd recommend Sabriel by Garth Nix.
    If you haven't already you may also want to try Tad Williams' Otherland books, which I enjoyed more than MS&T.

  8. #8
    Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Classic fantasy story, some heavy elements, very well written although not without it's problems.

  9. #9
    boss of several cats... Severn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockwirk View Post
    Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Classic fantasy story, some heavy elements, very well written although not without it's problems.
    Eww...I so wouldn't go there! The problem with reading the Fionavar Tapestry is that it colours the rest of Kay's work in a very negative light. His standalone novels, and one duo, are far far superior - almost as if they'd been written by another, better author.

    Why are these four series gritty? Hm:

    Lots of violenece? Unnecessary killing? Rape? It's just that I have read so many reviews and comments where 'grit' just puts people off, and I suppose I figured it's the kind of thing I'd want to avoid too.
    Yup. They do. The unnecessary killing part is subjective though. Personally, I wouldn't say any of them have gratuitous killing - but there is lots of it, particularly in the Malazan series. In droves. Rape occurs here and there - for instance in Bakker's series women are treated as less than slaves sometimes. They have a very defined place in the world, and it isn't a nice one.

    The Farseer trilogy is one of my favourites: grand adventure, wonderful writing, superior characterisation. But, like Clockwirk said, the protagonist definitely 'takes a beating' - physically, emotionally. He's a wreck throughout, which is one of the main reasons I like it. He's real to me. He struggles.

    If you want a fun, relaxing read steer clear of Malazan for now - you need to think, and remember lots of detail and whatnot, while reading these. They're huge, wonderful reads, and I love them. But they're not light sunday reading that's for sure.

    To me 'grit' can make a novel - like Ash by Mary Gentle, or the Malazan series, or ASOIAF. If it's dirty, it can feel more real. And that's what I like most of the time. So, when you're in the mood for real, seek them out.

    Suggestions for romps without quite so much grit:

    J.V Jones - The Book of Words trilogy - does have some violence.
    Sarah Zettel - The Isavalta trilogy - a portal story like the Fionavar Tapestry
    Carol Berg - The Rai-Kirah trilogy - one of my favourite main characters here. Does have some hard themes - slavery, loss, death, grief etc

  10. #10
    If you're looking for something light, then I suggest you steer clear of both Bakker and Erikson for the time being. . .

    Both series are as far from light reads as can possibly be!

    Patrick

  11. #11
    ok, i know it s not epic fantasy, but if you re looking for something light, while being very good and witty, go for the Dresden files by Jim Butcher... as i was saying, i know it s not epic fantasy, it s urban fantasy, but as far as light reading goes, i feel that s the best serie out there right now.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Severn View Post
    Eww...I so wouldn't go there! The problem with reading the Fionavar Tapestry is that it colours the rest of Kay's work in a very negative light. His standalone novels, and one duo, are far far superior - almost as if they'd been written by another, better author.
    Oh c'mon, it's not THAT bad. It's got a lot of cliched elements, but many of those elements weren't cliche when it came out. And it's decent for a light, non-gritty, series with some fairly moving dramatic scenes. And even though he was young, Kay still wrote very poetically, in my opinion.

  13. #13
    Peckish hippokrene's Avatar
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    Charles de Lint's works are excellent, non-gritty contemporary fantasy.

  14. #14
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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    you said you don't want gritty but that you don't really know what that means, just that a lot of people are put of by gritty literature; and also that in a way you like a bit of realism in your stories contradicting yourself a bit...

    well...gritty means "rough" in a most basic and simple translation...so the story is not "smoothed", you have sex, you have a bit of rape, you have gore and killing and swearwords and so on...but i kind of like these things in my fantasy, thank you - but gritty elements must add a flavour to the story, they should not be the main course itself ofcourse!

    and i'll say again...try Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch...it's like Oceans 11 in a fantasy setting

  15. #15
    Ancient Member Barbarossa's Avatar
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    When it comes to simple enjoyment, I personally would put SoIaF first of the four series. Farseer i liked very much, but for me it was a tougher read, mostly because it's at times so self-reflective (one of its strength but not helping with an easy time).

    I personally couldn't get into Erikson or Bakker, and it has nothing to do with lots of names or complicated plots. Neither provided me with characters in which i got invested emotianlly, and that made it a very hard read for me. In both series i got stuck in volume 2.

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