Author Topic: Standalone fantasy novels thread

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Jimmy

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2015, 10:46:34 AM »
In that case, the Drizzt books probably are right up your alley. The Dark Elf Trilogy and The Icewind Dale trilogy are both good. I didn't read any beyond that though so I can't comment on the rest. Also, R.A. Salvatore may not be the best fantasy writer, but the dude can write the hell out of a fight scene. There are actually over 30 Drizzt books, but they're usually told in an insular trilogy format so you don't really need to read one trilogy to hop into another.

Dincrest

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2015, 05:37:22 PM »
Can we do a semi-hijack and make this a general fantasy thread?

I'm looking for some recommendations for a fantasy book or series. I'd like a fantasy/ dark fantasy setting, something like the Dark Souls world where you exist in something deep but might not be aware of the history and not a Tolkien thing where they beat you over the head with history and detail. Do the Drizzt books fall in this style? Sorry if I spelled that incorrectly.

I'd rather not tangent this into a generic fantasy thread because then it would be like every other generic fantasy thread, and this one focuses on standalone fantasy novels for those who want to read a fantasy novel but not want to commit to a multi-book series. 

That being said, I think you might like R. Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" trilogy.  I personally couldn't get into it, but it has the elements you're looking for to scratch your particular itch.  I also think you might enjoy some of Brandon Sanderson's work, like the first Mistborn trilogy- it isn't "omg grimdark" but it does have a pretty bleak setting. 
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Towns Car Marty

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2015, 07:40:18 AM »
Ever read Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker? It's not fantasy in the traditional sense but it's worth a read. The writing style take a little bit of getting used to, but I found it to be a pretty rewarding book.


D-Rider

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2015, 09:49:53 AM »
One book that comes to mind is "The Folding Knife" by K.J. Parker.  I'm not gonna do it a disservice by trying to summarize it, but trust me when I say it's excellent.

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" is another one.  There have been a couple of sequels to it that I haven't read yet, but that's a modern gold standard for a well-crafted fantasy novel that wraps up everything by the end.

Dincrest

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2016, 06:37:54 PM »
I know this is a bit of a necro-res, but it's something that hits home with me now.  

I actually abandoned some epic-beyond-epic series because these days I simply don't have the time, patience, or energy to dedicate to a huge multi-book series like Wheel of Time, Malazan, or Stormlight Archive. I had to throw in the towel on The Stormlight Archive, because though it is an incredible-beyond-words series, it was simply too much, too dense, and simply eking out any time to read it felt like Sisyphus pushing a rock.   Yet I still get those epic fantasy cravings and am always looking for some good standalone fantasy novels.  

Anyway, I recently downloaded some Kindle samples that were recommended here.  

"The Folding Knife" by K.J. Parker- I recognize it as a good book and I can totally see why D-Rider likes it.  I feel like it's the kind of book that resonates with his persona.  However, it just didn't do "it" for me.  I use this analogy all the time, because it's true.  It's like with dating.  Sometimes you date a girl and you know she's a great girl but she's not the one for you.  

"Warbreaker" by Brandon Sanderson- As much as I love and respect Sanderson, his books are hit-or-miss for me.  I mentioned Stormlight Archive before and I LOVED the first Mistborn trilogy; I got my mom to read it and she loved it too (yeah, she's the reason I'm into fantasy.  She got me into Tolkien, I got her into Mistborn and Song of Ice and Fire.)  In the second Mistborn trilogy, Alloy of Law was okay, but still need to read Shadows of Self which I've been told is really good.  I couldn't get into The Rithmatist at all, Steelheart and Legion seemed totally up my alley but somehow didn't do it for me... and unfortunately Warbreaker is among those latter books.  I could not get into it at all.  The whole "breath" based magic system didn't do it for me, the prose was not as strong as his later works, and the characters weren't very interesting.  Still, for a freebie it's solid.  

"The Redemption of Althalus" by David Eddings- Now THIS sample, I really enjoyed.  Eddings is an American writer, but he very seamlessly incorporates older-timey English syntax to really make me feel like I'm reading an old tome and not reading a digital fantasy book on my Kindle.  His prose immersed me.  I want to explore this book's world and its characters even though I'm sure I've met their ilk before in other fantasy novels.  This is my first experience with a David Eddings book and I'm liking it.  I might have to buy this one.  Truth be told, I was apprehensive to read it because of all the stuff people have said, like "Eddings' writing is really repetitive" or "you read one Eddings book, you've read them all" or simply that Eddings is a hack writer.  All that may be true, but since I don't plan on going into his big series, I'd be happy to start and end my Eddings odyssey on this one positive note since it seems this book is a good representation of his style as a whole.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 09:34:07 PM by Dincrest »
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Artimicia

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2016, 06:16:04 AM »
I know this is a bit of a necro-res, but it's something that hits home with me now.  

"The Redemption of Althalus" by David Eddings- Now THIS sample, I really enjoyed.  Eddings is an American writer, but he very seamlessly incorporates older-timey English syntax to really make me feel like I'm reading an old tome and not reading a digital fantasy book on my Kindle.  His prose immersed me.  I want to explore this book's world and its characters even though I'm sure I've met their ilk before in other fantasy novels.  This is my first experience with a David Eddings book and I'm liking it.  I might have to buy this one.  Truth be told, I was apprehensive to read it because of all the stuff people have said, like "Eddings' writing is really repetitive" or "you read one Eddings book, you've read them all" or simply that Eddings is a hack writer.  All that may be true, but since I don't plan on going into his big series, I'd be happy to start and end my Eddings odyssey on this one positive note since it seems this book is a good representation of his style as a whole.

I was WOT fan back when, never got into Sword of Truth, but this Athalus one sounds good to me, something about the older-timey English syntax and "old tome" that got to me =-)

Dincrest

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Re: Standalone fantasy novels thread
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 06:00:55 PM »
I read more of your recommended samples today.  

"Riddley Walker" by Russell Hoban- I did not enjoy reading this at all.  I respect the commitment to writing completely in a dialect and when I took a 20th Century American Novel class in college, I read an entire novel in a dialect.  However, reading novels in dialect is not at all pleasurable for me.  I read to enjoy myself, and I did not enjoy this.  Plus, I felt like there were too many instances where Hoban slipped into "normal speak" too much and too long.  So this one will not be on the docket.

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman- Gaiman is a talented writer, but like Sanderson, his work too is hit-or-miss with me.  For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Stardust.  But while American Gods is a good piece of writing with a grimy grittiness that showcases Gaiman's versatility (a sharp contrast it is to Stardust), it wasn't quite my taste.  

"Under Heaven" by Guy Gavriel Kay- This sample was a total winner.  I LOVED it.  The prose just has this evocative quality that I love about wuxia storytelling.  I mentioned earlier that I've been looking for a good piece of wuxia for my Kindle but haven't been too successful.  Like I wanted a novel equivalent of something like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers.  Under Heaven definitely seems to fit that bill.  I know it's not true wuxia but the way it's inspired by wuxia and lovingly captures that style of storytelling.  

So, yeah, The Redemption of Althalus and Under Heaven are the two winners here.  Those samples have rejuvenated me and made me excited about reading again.  Those two books I will definitely purchase down the road.  

I still have to read my sample of "Curse of Chalion" by Lois Bujold McMaster, and I'm looking forward to reading it.  Most of the epic fantasy I've read has been by male authors, so I'm excited to read more by a female author.  The last epic fantasy series I read by a female author was the Coldfire trilogy by C.S. Friedman.  I liked the characters (Gerald Tarrant is one of the finest anti-heroes in fantasy) and the really dark and bleak atmosphere, but the series was painfully slow for me to read and get through.  

EDIT: I just read the Curse of Chalion sample.  Of all the samples I read, this one would be a third place finisher after Althalus and Heaven... but a distant third.  I liked the descriptive worldbuilding, but the way the exposition was integrated felt too predictable, too "brain dumpy" and disrupted rhe flow.  I also felt like the narrative skipped around a bit.  Not bad, but it didn't grip me the way Althalus and Heaven did.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 09:03:37 PM by Dincrest »
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