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Author Topic: Standalone fantasy novels thread  (Read 918 times)
Dincrest
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« on: June 21, 2015, 04:12:09 PM »

It's clear that many of us here on the forums are avid readers of fantasy novels.  Heck, RPGFan is the reason I read (both present and past tense) series like A Song of Ice and Fire, Coldfire, Mistborn, and currently The Stormlight Archive to name a few.

Now, as much as I like series and I'm currently invested in the still ongoing The Stormlight Archive and A Song of Ice and Fire, sometimes the thought of investing time and money into a big series (even a "manageable" trilogy, which us voracious readers can easily tear through) seems daunting.  Like an obligation or a chore.  Sometimes people only have time to read maybe one book a season and the idea of a 10 book series elicits a "yeah... NO!" reaction, even though they WANT to get into fantasy.  Kinda like how several of us only have so much time to play RPGs that we only play a small handful a year or favor shorter (15-25 hour) titles than 50-75 hour epics. 

So while the "standalone fantasy novel" is a rarity these days for several reasons, what are some of the good ones you folks have read?  The ones that start and end between two covers.  That don't have sequels.  That aren't part of a larger series.  That stand alone as independent entities.  I know several of our favorite authors have had standalone books (like Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay).  How have those works been? 

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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2015, 04:25:31 PM »

Sanderson's Warbreaker is good, and you can download it free from his website, which is even better.

David Eddings has a book called The Redemption of Althalus that I like.  As is always the case with Eddings, though, if you've read one of his things, you've basically read them all.  I just happen to like his stuff, even though it is repetitive.
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 07:45:27 PM »

Does American Gods count? Because that book is RIDICULOUS and I hope everyone here reads it at some point.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2015, 07:48:53 PM »

Why wouldn't it?  Not all fantasy has to be "lol elves." 
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2015, 10:46:26 PM »

"Under Heaven" is the only work of Guy Gavriel Kay's I've read so far, but I was rather impressed.  The novel is set in a fictionalized version of ancient China, with palace intrigue, politics, romance, and even some martial arts.  The fantasy elements, although present, are somewhat understated, and feel like a natural extension of the setting.

I found Kay's prose to be very readable, almost poetic, and his characters are very well detailed (I'm especially a fan of a certain drunken poet).

The ending felt a bit rushed, and I think he could have easily extended this into more volumes, but I'm just as glad he didn't.  I think he wrote another novel set in the same world; I should hunt down a copy eventually.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2015, 05:58:34 AM »

Sounds like 'Under Heaven' takes some cues from wuxia (Chinese martial-arts fantasy).  I'm actually looking for a nice piece of wuxia to add to my Kindle collection.
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 02:24:25 PM »

I agree, I'm a fan of many an epic series but particularly when you pick one up early and have to wait years between books....urgh I'm an impatient soul!

A personal favourite that broadly fits the brief is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke.  A little different but magic is at its core it has a really clever story arc and great setting.
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2015, 12:33:44 AM »

As for stand-alone fantasy, I think either YA or children stories are where it's at (or possibly epic poetry). There is one that has always remained somewhat important to me and I've read quite a few times, which I think goes by Brothers Lionheart in english. Basically it is somewhat like that game "Brothers - A tale of two sons". You got an older brother and a younger one, who end up in a seemingly idyllic fantasy world via spoilerific means. They don't get any super powers or end up as mighty warriors, but become a part of it and live through the events. There is however a more sorrowful theme in it about suicide and sacrifice and it's not necessarily a happy story, from which I understood the author was heavily critiqued for way back when.

I'm not sure why it has stuck with me for so long. Maybe because I used to be closer with my brother? An escapist fantasy in a beautiful land? Perhaps it is these male bonds that imo aren't that common, since everyone thinks it is all about a power fantasy? Probably it is not the best book in the world, but I think it has something in it that I'd like to see more of.
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Aurian
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2015, 11:29:20 AM »

Some good stand Alones:

Curse of Chalion, by Lois Bujold McMaster
Love the characters and interesting world building in this one. Lois goes on to write more books in the same world but each one can stand alone.

Gospel of Loki, bu Joanne Harris
The tales of the Viking gods, from Loki's point of view. Full of snark.

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Dincrest
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2015, 08:35:02 PM »

Cool to hear that there are solid standalone fantasy novels out there and that not everything is part of a daunting series. 

Keep the titles coming, because I'm sure plenty of people are benefiting from this thread.
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2015, 09:45:45 PM »

I don't always hVe time/room for epics... I love hVing some stand Alones around, or even trilogies but longer than that starts to cause some fatigue. A lot of epics just seem to have a lot of filler...

I buy physical copies of stand Alones and keep series on my Kindle
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2015, 11:44:23 PM »

Fire Bringer?
I got this about a year ago for dirt cheap at a bookshop, and it's pretty highly rated on goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58087.Fire_Bringer
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