The work week begins. Time for me to strap on my business suit and head back into the office to save the world one case at a time. And usually, I have a list of books that are going to help me through the trials and tribulations of life, but last week, something horrible happened: real life interfered in my reading!
The nerve of work deadlines and family problems rearing their heads!
Since I’m still trying to finish up reads from last week, I wondered what I should post here, then I decided I’d list a few fantasy series I really need to try out and see which one you guys think I should start first.
So help me out a little with my next reading choice.
1. MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE (MISTBORN) by BRANDON SANDERSON
Most of you are Sanderson fans. On the other hand, I’ve never read any of his books. When I tell my reading friends this, they understandable get upset. After they can breath again, they inevitable tell me I have to fix this terrible problem right away. Mistborn is the book that they always instruct me to start my journey into Sanderson fandom with.
So is this the Sanderson epic that will blow my mind, or should I begin somewhere else?
2. THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA (GENTLEMAN BASTARD) by SCOTT LYNCH
“In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…” – Goodreads
Does it live up to that description?
3. THE BLADE ITSELF (THE FIRST LAW) by JOE ABERCROMBIE
This is the book that began the grimdark revolution according to some articles. Not going to waste the time posting a synopsis, since most of you have read this series. (At times, I think I’m the only fantasy fan who hasn’t.) And this novel has been toward the top of my “To be read” list for a while, but then I tried Half a King (Abercrombie’s YA fantasy novel) and I wasn’t quite as eager to start this one. Should I be?
4. THE NAME OF THE WIND (THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLES) by PATRICK ROTHFUSS
This epic fantasy masterpiece, as it is called, gets lots of hype. But even people who seem to love it also scatter in tidbits of negativity about Kvothe being a bit Gary Stu, or the writing being long winded, or nothing much happening for large parts of the novel, or that a reader knows more about Kvothe’s current financial situation than anything else. All these things flashing before my eyes as warning signals of a dull reading experience.
Just so you know, I’m a simple man with humble demands from my stories. I simply want an interesting tale that will transport me to a world far away where I can tag along behind some people having a grand or exciting or suspenseful adventure. Poetic language is fine, but I personally do not read fantasy to be awed by the stellar sentence structure and immaculate usage of punctuation or for philosophical theories. I’m past that point in my life journey.
So what I want to know is if this is an exciting story?
5. THE BLACK PRISM (LIGHTBRINGER) by BRENT WEEKS
“Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.” – Goodreads
Interesting. But I have to admit I’m wary of Weeks, because of the numerous negative reviews of his writing style. Things like “teenage boys fantasy” and “video game storytelling” have been used by a few reviewers. That isn’t what I’m looking for. So should I be concerned or not?
6. GARDENS OF THE MOON (THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN) by STEVEN ERIKSON
“Bled dry by warfare, the vast Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Sergeant Whiskeyjack’s Bridgeburners and surviving sorceress Tattersail wanted to mourn the dead of Pale. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, holds out, Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds, and the gods intend to intervene.” – Goodreads
I’m not intimidated by many things. Dealing with murderers on a daily basis will toughen your skin, I suppose. But I’m not ashamed to confess that the sheer immensity of this one terrifies me. So should I even try? Help me decide.
7. BLOOD SONG (RAVEN’S SHADOW) by ANTHONY RYAN
“Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.
Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.” – Goodreads
I’ve heard all the hype, but what I need to know is the hype true.
8. FURIES OF CALDERON (CODEX ALERA) by JIM BUTCHER
“In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.” – Goodreads
Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files speaks for themselves, but epic fantasy is a different genre that his talents might or might not translate to. Plus, I’ve heard this series is ancient Rome with Pokemons. I can’t think of a description that is a bigger turn off. So what is the truth?
9. BLACK SUN RISING (THE COLDFIRE TRILOGY) by C.S. FRIEDMAN
This one has been on my radar for years, since I really enjoyed Friedman’s In Conquest Born series back in the day. Naturally, though, I’ve kept putting it off until a day when I was caught up with my reading. Something that obviously isn’t going to happen. But it sounds really interesting.
“On the distant world of Erna, four people–Priest, Adept, Sorcerer, and Apprentice–are drawn together to battle the forces of evil, led by the demonic fae, a soul-destroying force that preys on the human mind.” – Goodreads.
10. WIZARD’S FIRST RULE (SWORD OF TRUTH) by TERRY GOODKIND
I’ve had this book on my “to be read” list ever since it was first published long ago. I even watched the short lived “Legend of the Seeker” television series and thought it was okay. Nothing special, mind you, but not so horrible I immediately turned the station. But I’ve never tried the novels out. So what is stopping me, you ask?
Reviews. The sharp divide between people who love it and hate it has always scared me off. The sexual brutalization, political rants, and Gary Stu main character being my main turn offs.
So should I give it a try or not?
11. HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON (TEMERAIRE) by NAOMI NOVIK
“Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.
Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.” – Goodreads
Sounds good. Your thoughts?
12. THE DEEDS OF PAKSENARRION by ELIZABETH MOON
“Paksenarrion, a simple sheepfarmer’s daughter, yearns for a life of adventure and glory, such as was known to heroes in songs and story. At age seventeen she runs away from home to join a mercenary company and begins her epic life . . . Book One: Paks is trained as a mercenary, blooded, and introduced to the life of a soldier . . . and to the followers of Gird, the soldier’s god. Book Two: Paks leaves the Duke’s company to follow the path of Gird alone—and on her lonely quests encounters the other sentient races of her world. Book Three: Paks the warrior must learn to live with Paks the human. She undertakes a holy quest for a lost elven prince that brings the gods’ wrath down on her and tests her very limits.” – Baen publishing
I tried the first book in the series when it was initially published years ago. We didn’t hit it off. Now, though, I’m older and wiser. Is it worth giving it another go?