Books Fantasy Reads

Beachryan

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Binged Harrow the Ninth, directly after reading Gideon. All thoughts in spoilers:

- I guess it's a nice 'gimmick' with the Harrow self-lobotomy, but I assume everyone sees through it in the first 10 pages, then has to spend 72% of the damn book dealing with both the butchered narrative structure, prose and so forth before we actually get some story going again. For me, an awful decision than an editor should have snuffed out. We get it, it's kinda clever, do it for a chapter.
- Similarly, I basically could have skipped the alternate timelines entirely. It adds up to nothing, has no purpose whatsoever in this book and again, it's incredibly obvious what is going on.
- The only reason this all bugs me is how good the author is at story-telling when they decide to do so. The last 25% of the book kept me up til I finished in the early hours of the morning. It's excellent. So why force us to wait so long, for that self-indulgent mess? Reminds me a bit of the worst of Stephen King.
- I know it's somewhat the point, but I have real trouble visualising parts of the 'river' stuff. Bit like the magic in Malazan Books of the Fallen. Doesn't stop my enjoyment, but would like a bit clearer language personally.
- Wonder how long the wait now is. Definitely felt like I was supposed to gasp at the reveal of Alecto, but was really like, oh yeah, it's his cavalier, and he didn't have to kill her, ok cool.
- 10,000 years is a long time to still be that upset imo.
 

Revan

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Shit, there have been 2 released books in 'Legends of the First Empire' from Sullivan. And this thread forgot to remind me about that.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Yes, but I really found the concept of Gods in those books very interesting, and this book seems to be giving the payoff, of who they are etc.
Let me know how it goes. For me I felt it was trilogy stretched to 6 books. Books 1 & 4 introduced characters, Books 2 & 5 were journeys into unknown on a quest. Books 3 & 6 were the finale. I think I read 4th and gave up after that. Post up your reviews for 5 & 6 once you finish them.
 

Revan

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Let me know how it goes. For me I felt it was trilogy stretched to 6 books. Books 1 & 4 introduced characters, Books 2 & 5 were journeys into unknown on a quest. Books 3 & 6 were the finale. I think I read 4th and gave up after that. Post up your reviews for 5 & 6 once you finish them.
Cool, I'll write about it when I finish these two books (probably next week or so).
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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A Thousand Li books by Tao Wong
- The First Step
- The First Stop
- The First War

My first foray into the Xianxia/Cultivation genre. The books is all about development of the protagonist with overall plot taking a backseat. Like LitRPG, there's lots of infodumps on levelling up, skill streams etc all set in ancient China'esque world. It's like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in a game'esque setting.

Decent distraction and serves as break from between other heavier reads.

All books are about 6/10.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Cradle Series by Will Wight - 8/10 for all books

#1 - Unsouled
#2 - Soulsmith
#3 - Blackflame
#4 - Skysworn
#5 - Ghostwater
#6 - Underlord
#7 - Uncrowned

A fantastic Xianxia novel that entertained me enough to binge read all the books released now in a couple of days.

This is not a true 'cultivation novel per se as the development elements are kept to a minimum. What is exciting is the world building. From a martial artists to magic beasts to dragons, titans, dreadgods, celestials etc, the books has a stellar world that gets gets bigger with every book. Add in the xianxia names likes, Part of Endless Swords, School of Flying Leaf etc it just gets better and better. Contrary to some other xianxia books, this has a cracking macro plot which follows the lead character, but also hints a meta-plot involving multiple worlds and a micro plot of protagonists family, all woven together well.

Though the story is standard to this genre, there are enough twists and turns to keep me guessing on direction and every time, I feel the setting was epic, it just gets bigger.

If you like a book filled with Asian magical martial arts fight, an epic plot and one of the best fantasy worldbuilds (that I've read), then dig in.
 

giorno

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I've read Unsouled and and part of Soulsmith, but dropped it. Bored me

Lots of people i know love it though!
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Like LitRPG, xianxia also has a dedicated fanbase. Though cradle should be more mainstream than other books dedicated to these genres.
It doesn't really have a critical component to it that can be appreciated. Like reading a mega magical fantasy version of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
 

celia

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I am reading Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire and I have started Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells.

Then I will finish a YA fantasy series, start a praised fantasy series (so far I am a bit more likely to pick the Licanius trilogy) or start a series from authors I like but not that popular (K. J. Parker or Miles Cameron).
 

SmashedHombre

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The Spider - Leo Carew. The second book in his Under the Northern Sky trilogy. The fact that this guy is such an accomplished writer at such a young age is pretty impressive. As is the fact he looks like he should be hosting an extreme adventure show with Ben Fogle.

The first book in the series, The Wolf, was a great read and this one is nearly equal to it. Not as good, but still very good. I'd recommend it if you enjoy heroic fantasy. It's intense, it's full of interesting characters and sub-plots, it's a definite page-turner- and it'll leave you needing to put it down for brief periods as you fear what might happen next. I have no idea how book 3 is going to end in all honesty, though I have a bad feeling in my gut about it. It's just unfortunate that I'm going to need to wait 6 months to find out.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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*edit* @Edgar Allan Pillow just finished it. Can only call it bizzarre. Some of the writing and premise is good, the characters are all different and it is original but I felt a bit unfulfilled at the end.

6/10 for me.
Certainly is. I can't think of any other book similar to this. Just hits you over the head like a ton of bricks. Yeah, the ending kinda expands the scope a lot, but we are left without any details. I don't think this is a trilogy, so it certainly was underwhelming.
 

WI_Red

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Binged Harrow the Ninth, directly after reading Gideon. All thoughts in spoilers:

- I guess it's a nice 'gimmick' with the Harrow self-lobotomy, but I assume everyone sees through it in the first 10 pages, then has to spend 72% of the damn book dealing with both the butchered narrative structure, prose and so forth before we actually get some story going again. For me, an awful decision than an editor should have snuffed out. We get it, it's kinda clever, do it for a chapter.
- Similarly, I basically could have skipped the alternate timelines entirely. It adds up to nothing, has no purpose whatsoever in this book and again, it's incredibly obvious what is going on.
- The only reason this all bugs me is how good the author is at story-telling when they decide to do so. The last 25% of the book kept me up til I finished in the early hours of the morning. It's excellent. So why force us to wait so long, for that self-indulgent mess? Reminds me a bit of the worst of Stephen King.
- I know it's somewhat the point, but I have real trouble visualising parts of the 'river' stuff. Bit like the magic in Malazan Books of the Fallen. Doesn't stop my enjoyment, but would like a bit clearer language personally.
- Wonder how long the wait now is. Definitely felt like I was supposed to gasp at the reveal of Alecto, but was really like, oh yeah, it's his cavalier, and he didn't have to kill her, ok cool.
- 10,000 years is a long time to still be that upset imo.
Ok, so I just finished Gideon and I have some thoughts I am going to spoiler just in case:
- I thought the first 60% was blah and final battle was stupid and predictable.
- Gideon herself is awesome and her dialogue was hilarious, especially since I did the audiobook and Moira Quirk is the absolute shit. One of favorite narrators.
- not sure if the second book answers it but why the hell is an advanced space fairing civilization using metal swords.

So this leads me to this question. Is the second book worth reading? Gideon and the last 40% before the final battle were what kept me interested. Thoughts?
 

Beachryan

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Ok, so I just finished Gideon and I have some thoughts I am going to spoiler just in case:
- I thought the first 60% was blah and final battle was stupid and predictable.
- Gideon herself is awesome and her dialogue was hilarious, especially since I did the audiobook and Moira Quirk is the absolute shit. One of favorite narrators.
- not sure if the second book answers it but why the hell is an advanced space fairing civilization using metal swords.

So this leads me to this question. Is the second book worth reading? Gideon and the last 40% before the final battle were what kept me interested. Thoughts?
I quite liked Gideon and definitely found the first, erm, 72% of Harrow to be downright tedious. So probably not if you didn't enjoy the first one!
I love stories that lay out an insane setting - like your mentioned space faring sword wielders - without ever really explaining why or how it came to be. That said, there is way more in the second one about what is going on with the world, and why sabers are useful. My take after Gideon was that something is up with this universe and maybe metal and guns aren't a thing. But spaceships are. Second one kind of goes there though, so don't want to spoil it.
Finally if you enjoyed Gideon's 'voice' - which I did too - again the second book is probably not for you. The third on the other hand...guess we'll see.
 

WI_Red

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I quite liked Gideon and definitely found the first, erm, 72% of Harrow to be downright tedious. So probably not if you didn't enjoy the first one!
I love stories that lay out an insane setting - like your mentioned space faring sword wielders - without ever really explaining why or how it came to be. That said, there is way more in the second one about what is going on with the world, and why sabers are useful. My take after Gideon was that something is up with this universe and maybe metal and guns aren't a thing. But spaceships are. Second one kind of goes there though, so don't want to spoil it.
Finally if you enjoyed Gideon's 'voice' - which I did too - again the second book is probably not for you. The third on the other hand...guess we'll see.
thanks for the feedback. I'll need to think about if it it's worth an audible credit since actual reading is not terribly doable at the moment (it's amazing what a pandemic does to ones workload at a biomedical company).
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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thanks for the feedback. I'll need to think about if it it's worth an audible credit since actual reading is not terribly doable at the moment (it's amazing what a pandemic does to ones workload at a biomedical company).
Agree with @Beachryan , but have to add that the last quarter is pretty epic and sets up nicely for book 3. Overall I thought it was worth it.
 

Revan

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Finished a few days ago the last two books on 'Legends of the first Empire' from Michael J. Sullivan.

I thought that the penultimate book was a bit boring, but the last book was great. Sure, the saga in general is not as good as Riyria, but it is still decent, and it gives a lot of worldbuilding and details that you see in Riyria.

Essentially, you get definite answers about all the gods, who they are etc, as you understand how Nephron became the Emperor, the city of Percepuolis etc.

@Edgar Allan Pillow , would still recommend to read them, just for the information. If you do not want to do so, below are a compressed version of BIG spoilers.

The Gods are actually Gods for real. Kind of. Actually, the real Gods are the Sky and the Earth. They had a daughter (the tree near the closed door in elf's capital) who created the animals and the plants. Then they had 3 sons who created the giants. But then the main God put them in some version of afterlife (hell) where no one else is sent. Finally, they got another 5 offsprings and they are:

Turin/Malcolm/Kile/The Invisible Hand/Erebus - he is actually the God of the main religion in Riyria, as we already knew. He created the Goblins.
Trilos/The Ancient One/Esra's teacher.
Ferrol - she (yes a she) is the God of Elfs.
Drome - she twin brother of Ferrol - the god of dwarfs.
Mari - she (yes, Maribor is a she), the god of humans.

Turin has also a daughter. You guessed it, Muriel aka the Teklin Witch. So far, so good, we already knew this. Now comes the big shock.

While they are powerful wizards, they kind of are not real Gods. They have power, and can predict the future, but are not immortal. Except for Turin, who kind of is, after he ate some fruit from his sister (the tree). He also shared the fruit with Muriel. And he became so arrogant, that he declared himself King, and made Erebus his capital. Rex Uberlin (Uberlin is the god of goblins according to the religion, and the son of Erebus and Muriel, after Erebus betrayed Muriel). As a king, he became a total dictator and started fights. He killed his brother Trilos when he realized that he is in love with Muriel. The other three siblings left, and then wars happened. He defeated and executed Ferrol and Drome, followed by making genocide on elfs and dwarfs. Then he went to Mari's city. Mari surrendered in return for Turin sparing her people (humans). At that stage Turin had gone insane, though he loved Mari. Still, he killed her, but kept the promise of not killing her people (main reason why humans are more in numbers). He then wanted to defeat the Sky, but considering that it is impossible he fails to do so, and wants to die (especially when he sees that his older sister that everyone loved and whom gave the immortality to him, has been transformed to a tree. It is only after he talks to his mum, when he says that he is evil and wants to die, that she advices him that he can still redeem himself. All he has to do is to find someone who hates him with every fiber of her body, and convince her to love again (this is obviously Muriel). This is what Malcolm calls by the 'breaking of the world'.

Now, when people die, they do not die for sure. They actually go in underearth, which actually is alright. And the 3 siblings quickly make it their domain. Mari's place is essentially a paradise of sort, where heroes (like Raithe go). Ferror (who is evil) is a place where the ambitious go, and it is mostly a place of never-ending wars (though it is more games than wars). And Drome's kingdom is boring, and most people go there.

What happened with Trilos though? Well, he was determined to escape the afterlife. So, he went to that hell (gods of giants), and tried to escape. That was impossible, you have to let something go (sacrifice something big). The only thing he has is his love for Muriel. Considering that he can see in the future, he saw Brin writing. So, he learned to write, and wrote in stone all the love he had for Muriel. Finally, he let it go, totally forgetting about Muriel, and escapes that part. Eventually, he tricks the dwarfs and is able to escape. Since then, he is determined to find and kill Turin, and cares only about the vengeance. He thinks that Turin is totally evil, and the only reason why he is doing good things, is that he is afraid to die cause everyone in afterlife hates him. So by doing good deeds, the afterlife will be filled with his sympathizers. There are hints that this might be correct.

So, what happened then? Without the leaders, the races became divided. Humans without Mari are numerous but ignorant, elfs are in never-ending wars, goblins become totally evil. So, Malcolm gives to Fale (the original faine) the horn and establishes the way of choosing a new leader, while banning elfs killing each other. The Ferrol's law is actually Turin's law. Of course, Trilos eventually gives magic to elfs, to spread division between them (we see how the mage tribe see themselves higher than the others). Then when the elf fane destroys dwarfs, it is Turin who convinces her to not kill them all.

Later, obviously, Turin is behind the war between humans and elfs, with the goal of making Nephron emperor (as we see later, that happens). While Trilos has its own plans (you can deduct who is behing Mawyndyle and the killing of the emperor and then hounding its descendetns until Royce).

So, Turin does good things to fix the world, while Trilos does bad things to force Turin to show himself.

Oh, and the legend of Muriel is totally true. Turin makes a dead with her that he will do good deeds, in order for her to forgive him from breaking the world, and killing her boyfriend. We saw 3000 years later, him still doing that.

The final thing, near the end of the books, it becomes clear that it is Brin who was the main character. Persephone, Nephron etc were important, but most of the story is around Brin. The book of Brin (which is a bastardized version of her real book) becomes the main book of the new religion (which to humans is still in place after 3000 years).

Mostly, it had a decent conclusion without many questions answered.
 

DMacgraw

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Just finished the third book in the Mercy Thompson series, by Patricia Briggs. All three books so far have been rather bland. Will see if it picks up in excitement because I've read good things about this series.
Completed the 12th and latest book in the Mercy Thompson series. The series picked up somewhat after the third book, which kept me reading. But on the whole nothing earthshaking. Not a lot of action, though each book ends on a fight to take out the powered bad guy(s). A lot more plot, world-building, and character development. 6/10.
 

celia

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Finished reading Kingdom of Ash (ok reading but probably too long), Cold Iron by Miles Cameron (I may be disappointed because I don't feel it is as good as the previous series of the author or maybe it is because it is less epic) and L'Enfant de poussière by Patrick K. Dewdney (french fantasy, I may read the next book).

So now, I may start The Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles #1) by Robin Hobb knowing it is a step down from the previous book of the
Realm of the Elderlings Series, read Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) by Naomi Novik or try Gideon the Ninth (I read mixed opinions about it, so I am not sure I will read it till the end). Or maybe force myself to finish another YA series that I don't like but I like some of the following books that happen in the same world.
 

DMacgraw

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Just finished Book 1 of the Nevernight Trilogy by Jay Kristoff. What a powerful read! It is marked YA, perhaps because the main protagonist was 10 years old when the cataclysmic events that put her on her current path started. But the subject matter is far from YA, with a body count in the hundreds. I hope the next two books build up on this great start. Can't wait to find out.
 

Dargonk

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Just finished Book 1 of the Nevernight Trilogy by Jay Kristoff. What a powerful read! It is marked YA, perhaps because the main protagonist was 10 years old when the cataclysmic events that put her on her current path started. But the subject matter is far from YA, with a body count in the hundreds. I hope the next two books build up on this great start. Can't wait to find out.
Wait that series is labelled young adult. Half the thing is killing and death, and all about revenge. I would never have considered it anything other than a book for adults.