Best Ever Fantasy Series.

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Sausages

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Wow - reading through this list from years ago ITT shocked me....I have read a third of those books/series, I would never have thought it was such a high percentage.

One that is sorely missing though is The Tales of the Bard trilogy by Irish author Michael Scott. Won't cater to all tastes, but it's a rich echo of Celtic mythology - the author is an Irish historian. He did write some other stuff, but I found it lacked verve. He's clearly passionate about early Celtic myths.

I haven't read much fantasy though since the turn of the century - HP just wasn't my bag at all (maybe if I was 12 when it first came out I would have gotten into it, I dunno). GRR Martin can blow me. Jordan's WoT was good until he lost his marbles.

Fantasy as a genre has really suffered since the mid 90's imho - the idea that "more is better" somehow got mixed in there. There have been exceptions though.

Almost everything in the "speculative fiction" basket from the 50's-70's was superb. Brooks' first 3 Shannara novels were decent, after that trash. Feist's Magician was good, the next 2 in Riftwar less so, everything after was trash. Everything by Gemmell is top shelf, although he missed a few targets here and there - standouts would have to be everything Druss, everything Waylander and everything Shannow. Hobb's work in the world she introduced in Assassin's trilogy is excellent.

Initially simple characters who approach complex situations heroically - that's what does the job for me. As a consequence, they get to reflect on their philosophy and either change or not as the story unfolds. Any novel that doesn't consider the philosophy of the Hero's Journey loses a chunk of value - most just seem content to have the hero be more bad ass/get a better sword/bigger fireball, rather than undergo a challenge to their perspective/morality/choices. Dull and unimaginative.

Signed
Grumpy Old Bastard
 
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Shai

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Wow - reading through this list from years ago ITT shocked me....I have read a third of those books/series, I would never have thought it was such a high percentage.

One that is sorely missing though is The Tales of the Bard trilogy by Irish author Michael Scott. Won't cater to all tastes, but it's a rich echo of Celtic mythology - the author is an Irish historian. He did write some other stuff, but I found it lacked verve. He's clearly passionate about early Celtic myths.

I haven't read much fantasy though since the turn of the century - HP just wasn't my bag at all (maybe if I was 12 when it first came out I would have gotten into it, I dunno). GRR Martin can blow me. Jordan's WoT was good until he lost his marbles.

Fantasy as a genre has really suffered since the mid 90's imho - the idea that "more is better" somehow got mixed in there. There have been exceptions though.

Almost everything in the "speculative fiction" basket from the 50's-70's was superb. Brooks' first 3 Shannara novels were decent, after that trash. Feist's Magician was good, the next 2 in Riftwar less so, everything after was trash. Everything by Gemmell is top shelf, although he missed a few targets here and there - standouts would have to be everything Druss, everything Waylander and everything Shannow. Hobb's work in the world she introduced in Assassin's trilogy is excellent.

Initially simple characters who approach complex situations heroically - that's what does the job for me. As a consequence, they get to reflect on their philosophy and either change or not as the story unfolds. Any novel that doesn't consider the philosophy of the Hero's Journey loses a chunk of value - most just seem content to have the hero be more bad ass/get a better sword/bigger fireball, rather than undergo a challenge to their perspective/morality/choices. Dull and unimaginative.

Signed
Grumpy Old Bastard
Seriously, Jordan lost his marbles.? Robert Jordan remains my favorite fantasy writer apart from Tolkien, who was way before his time.

The last few books in the Wheel Of Time series were co written (interpreted), or entirely written by Brandon Sanderson, due to the fact that Robert Jordan was dying from cancer. IMO he (Sanderson) killed the series by introducing characteristics that were nothing like the original, took the story on a different slant and the intent of the overall concept was lost.

Edit - I do like the other authors you've deigned to mention.
 
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Sausages

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Seriously, Jordan lost his marbles.? Robert Jordan remains my favorite fantasy writer apart from Tolkien, who was way before his time.

The last few books in the Wheel Of Time series were co written (interpreted), or entirely written by Brandon Sanderson, due to the fact that Robert Jordan was dying from cancer. IMO he (Sanderson) killed the series by introducing characteristics that were nothing like the original, took the story on a different slant and the intent of the overall concept was lost.

Edit - I do like the other authors you've deigned to mention.
Well, it's all open to interpretation - I think it got away from him a bit though from about Book 5/6 onwards - and yes, I know he wasn't well at the time and I think that probably had a bit to do with it.

I agree once Sanderson got his claws into it, it really went to crap. The best books in the series, for me, were the first 4 - the characters were vibrant and interesting. I just felt over time that they got a little too predictable, especially the main female characters. But, it's all subjective. The Shattered World by Michael Reaves is another worth mentioning - he did do a sequel which I felt wasn't quite as good. But his fantasy world is solid and the concepts interesting.

The other novel that should be mentioned is I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - nothing at all like the Will Smith movie, which I didn't see as it bore little to no resemblance to the book from the shorts I saw and the reviews I read - and later confirmed by a friend who did see it and had read the book! Utterly brilliant piece of fantasy/speculative fiction though, in the manner of many great works in the 60's in that genre. The Incredible Shrinking Man is another of his that I'd recommend, although less fantasy and more purely speculative fiction.

I have spent some time since posting ITT and reading up on more recent fantasy releases and cannot help but feel so many of them are less story-driven and more marketing driven. Maybe it's because I am older and more cynical, I don't know - but the vibrancy and simplicity of the Hero's Journey seems now to be either a rehash of boring ideas or awash with modern concepts of gender, economics, politics etc....stuff which I don't feel has a place in a fantasy work, at least not as a focus of character anyway. I want to see the main characters go through the pits of hell and win or die, not grapple with sexuality ffs :p
 

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Seriously, Jordan lost his marbles.? Robert Jordan remains my favorite fantasy writer apart from Tolkien, who was way before his time.

The last few books in the Wheel Of Time series were co written (interpreted), or entirely written by Brandon Sanderson, due to the fact that Robert Jordan was dying from cancer. IMO he (Sanderson) killed the series by introducing characteristics that were nothing like the original, took the story on a different slant and the intent of the overall concept was lost.

Edit - I do like the other authors you've deigned to mention.
I think the Jordon's illness was heart related rather than cancer but he was certainly fighting an illness for the last few years of his life. excluding the books written by Sanderson, did you enjoy the second half of the series as much as the first?

I was in high school when I first started reading them (I think only the first 4 were released at the time) so I had the time and the inclination to reread books I had enjoyed and I was a huge fan of the Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising could actually be the book that I've reread more than any other. Partly because I rarely reread books now but still I wore through my first copy of TSR with rereads and being the library to a lot of my friends.

IMO the next two weren't quite as strong but the story was still moving along, its from A Crown of Swords that I really felt like Jordon was adding too many characters and view points and the main storyline was stagnating. Obviously this is just my point of view but its also not an unusual one among WoT readers.

Apparently Jordon left a lot of notes for Sanderson (definitely the ending) but it must be almost impossible to write someone else's characters and have them sound the same. There were lots of little comments and conversations where I couldn't help wondering if that really sounded like Matt or Perrin from the earlier stories. In the end my personal opinion is it would have been a much better series overall if it had been wrapped up in 10 books rather than 14.

Interesting that there is finally a TV series in development (Amazon) will probably be a low budget mess where they change everything but the name but I'll certainly be checking it out and hoping the TV series does it justice.
 
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Bomberboyokay

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I haven't read much fantasy though since the turn of the century - HP just wasn't my bag at all (maybe if I was 12 when it first came out I would have gotten into it, I dunno).
Harry Potter is for kids. 12-14 when I read most of them. Was a blast. But 19 when the last came out... the moment in time had passed.
 

Brick Loosener

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Wow - reading through this list from years ago ITT shocked me....I have read a third of those books/series, I would never have thought it was such a high percentage.

One that is sorely missing though is The Tales of the Bard trilogy by Irish author Michael Scott. Won't cater to all tastes, but it's a rich echo of Celtic mythology - the author is an Irish historian. He did write some other stuff, but I found it lacked verve. He's clearly passionate about early Celtic myths.

I haven't read much fantasy though since the turn of the century - HP just wasn't my bag at all (maybe if I was 12 when it first came out I would have gotten into it, I dunno). GRR Martin can blow me. Jordan's WoT was good until he lost his marbles.

Fantasy as a genre has really suffered since the mid 90's imho - the idea that "more is better" somehow got mixed in there. There have been exceptions though.

Almost everything in the "speculative fiction" basket from the 50's-70's was superb. Brooks' first 3 Shannara novels were decent, after that trash. Feist's Magician was good, the next 2 in Riftwar less so, everything after was trash. Everything by Gemmell is top shelf, although he missed a few targets here and there - standouts would have to be everything Druss, everything Waylander and everything Shannow. Hobb's work in the world she introduced in Assassin's trilogy is excellent.

Initially simple characters who approach complex situations heroically - that's what does the job for me. As a consequence, they get to reflect on their philosophy and either change or not as the story unfolds. Any novel that doesn't consider the philosophy of the Hero's Journey loses a chunk of value - most just seem content to have the hero be more bad ass/get a better sword/bigger fireball, rather than undergo a challenge to their perspective/morality/choices. Dull and unimaginative.

Signed
Grumpy Old Bastard
One of the best trilogies of all time. Spent ten years hunting down first edition copies. Underrated.

Tales of the Bard I mean.
 

Sausages

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One of the best trilogies of all time. Spent ten years hunting down first edition copies. Underrated.

Tales of the Bard I mean.
Yeah, Paedur rocks :) I loved him. The whole trilogy is fantastic.

Paedur appeared in one other book of his that I know of, A Celtic Odyssey - which is another good read, set within accepted Irish mythology.
 

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Well, it's all open to interpretation - I think it got away from him a bit though from about Book 5/6 onwards - and yes, I know he wasn't well at the time and I think that probably had a bit to do with it.

I agree once Sanderson got his claws into it, it really went to crap. The best books in the series, for me, were the first 4 - the characters were vibrant and interesting. I just felt over time that they got a little too predictable, especially the main female characters. But, it's all subjective. The Shattered World by Michael Reaves is another worth mentioning - he did do a sequel which I felt wasn't quite as good. But his fantasy world is solid and the concepts interesting.

The other novel that should be mentioned is I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - nothing at all like the Will Smith movie, which I didn't see as it bore little to no resemblance to the book from the shorts I saw and the reviews I read - and later confirmed by a friend who did see it and had read the book! Utterly brilliant piece of fantasy/speculative fiction though, in the manner of many great works in the 60's in that genre. The Incredible Shrinking Man is another of his that I'd recommend, although less fantasy and more purely speculative fiction.

I have spent some time since posting ITT and reading up on more recent fantasy releases and cannot help but feel so many of them are less story-driven and more marketing driven. Maybe it's because I am older and more cynical, I don't know - but the vibrancy and simplicity of the Hero's Journey seems now to be either a rehash of boring ideas or awash with modern concepts of gender, economics, politics etc....stuff which I don't feel has a place in a fantasy work, at least not as a focus of character anyway. I want to see the main characters go through the pits of hell and win or die, not grapple with sexuality ffs :p
Thanks, always looking for new authors.

An older author you haven't mentioned is David Eddings, quite like his writing.

I also like Janny Wurts, her War of Light and Shadows series was good to start but got a bit ho hum, as was Sara Douglas' Axis & Wayfarer and Katherine Kerrs' Deverry.

There's been more than a few authors that I've read the first few books and liked, then the following were a letdown. Terry Goodkinds' The Sword of Truth falls into this category, I just stopped reading him.

Jennifer Fallon, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, I find all of these authors easy to read.

I think the Jordon's illness was heart related rather than cancer but he was certainly fighting an illness for the last few years of his life. excluding the books written by Sanderson, did you enjoy the second half of the series as much as the first?

I was in high school when I first started reading them (I think only the first 4 were released at the time) so I had the time and the inclination to reread books I had enjoyed and I was a huge fan of the Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising could actually be the book that I've reread more than any other. Partly because I rarely reread books now but still I wore through my first copy of TSR with rereads and being the library to a lot of my friends.

IMO the next two weren't quite as strong but the story was still moving along, its from A Crown of Swords that I really felt like Jordon was adding too many characters and view points and the main storyline was stagnating. Obviously this is just my point of view but its also not an unusual one among WoT readers.

Apparently Jordon left a lot of notes for Sanderson (definitely the ending) but it must be almost impossible to write someone else's characters and have them sound the same. There were lots of little comments and conversations where I couldn't help wondering if that really sounded like Matt or Perrin from the earlier stories. In the end my personal opinion is it would have been a much better series overall if it had been wrapped up in 10 books rather than 14.

Interesting that there is finally a TV series in development (Amazon) will probably be a low budget mess where they change everything but the name but I'll certainly be checking it out and hoping the TV series does it justice.
I was fine until the main characters started saying & doing things that were so far off how they had been previously represented. Maybe I just don't like Sandersons' writing *shrugs*

WoT would be a very difficult visual to produce, which is probably why it hasn't been done b4 now. I'll certainly take a look though.
 

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Thanks, always looking for new authors.

An older author you haven't mentioned is David Eddings, quite like his writing.

I also like Janny Wurts, her War of Light and Shadows series was good to start but got a bit ho hum, as was Sara Douglas' Axis & Wayfarer and Katherine Kerrs' Deverry.

There's been more than a few authors that I've read the first few books and liked, then the following were a letdown. Terry Goodkinds' The Sword of Truth falls into this category, I just stopped reading him.

Jennifer Fallon, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, I find all of these authors easy to read.



I was fine until the main characters started saying & doing things that were so far off how they had been previously represented. Maybe I just don't like Sandersons' writing *shrugs*

WoT would be a very difficult visual to produce, which is probably why it hasn't been done b4 now. I'll certainly take a look though.
Gave up on wheel of time after 4 or 5 books? Just going nowhere, so can’t comment on what happens later, but I will say sandersons mist born and lightbringer series are enjoyable reads.

Can imagine it’s hard to pick up and finish someone else’s series though
 

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