Books Fantasy Reads

Revan

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Liveship for me by a wide margin.
I didn't particularly like Tawny Man because The Fool happens to be my favourite character in the series, and I didn't like how Fitz treated HER one little bit.
Her? I thought that their gender was deliberately left ambiguous, and is probably gender fluid, but I thought that biologically the Fool is a male. Isn’t something in the last book where it is revealed that the Fool has a child but didn’t give birth to it, or I am making things up?
 

DMacgraw

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Her? I thought that their gender was deliberately left ambiguous, and is probably gender fluid, but I thought that biologically the Fool is a male. Isn’t something in the last book where it is revealed that the Fool has a child but didn’t give birth to it, or I am making things up?
I decided The Fool had to be female mostly because of Liveship Traders. In all the other books her gender is left ambiguous, even though Fitz thought she was male mostly because of unverified rumors. Yet, in Liveship she shared a cabin with two other women for months. I find it impossible to believe that a male can pretend to be a female for that length of time under such close confines without his female cabin mates finding him out. Also in Liveship she made it clear to her cabin mates that she was in love with Fitz, and I think one of them came to Fitz during Tawny Man to tell him what an idiot he was being.
 

harshad

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Her? I thought that their gender was deliberately left ambiguous, and is probably gender fluid, but I thought that biologically the Fool is a male. Isn’t something in the last book where it is revealed that the Fool has a child but didn’t give birth to it, or I am making things up?
Thought that was a reference to Bee
 

ivaldo

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Her? I thought that their gender was deliberately left ambiguous, and is probably gender fluid, but I thought that biologically the Fool is a male. Isn’t something in the last book where it is revealed that the Fool has a child but didn’t give birth to it, or I am making things up?
I think originally the Fool was written to be male. I remember Hobb speaking about when she first sat down to write the story, and she always referred to Fool as 'he.' The Fool wasn't meant to be heavily involved initially, he was just meant to flutter in and out with a bit of mystery and a helping hand. But as Hobb wrote more she realised how integral he would be, and as he was fleshed out she realised his gender was ambiguous, and decided to leave it that way. Interestingly, Burrich was also meant to be the protagonist and Fitz his faithful sidekick, but found his story was to be far more interesting.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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My reads:

February:

Broken Council
(System Apocalypse #10) by Tao Wong
Continues the System Apocalypse plot. As good as other books. 7/10.

The Primus Initiative by Robert Davis
A sci-fi story about a bunch of feuding civilizations forced to come together to fight a bigger enemy intent on annihilating all if them. Told as a backdrop to the context of people and civilizations finding common ground themselves. Poignant read. 7/10

Santiago: Myth of Far Future by Mike Resnick
A fun space western with outlaws and wanted posters in wild frontier. Over the top colorful characters and larger than life myths makes this a cracking read. 8/10

Cinnamon Bun by Ravens Dagger
It was a refreshingly naive and fun MC who depends on sweeping and making friends to navigate the plot. Started off well, but for a bit repetitive. 5/10

March:

Siege of Skyhold
(Mage Errant #5) by John Bierce
Continuation of a super fun coming of age fantasy with some unique and beautiful worldbuilding. 4/5

Solo Leveling Vol. 1 by Chugong
A LitRPG read that is nice but kinda ends abruptly in middle. 3/5

Songs of Insurrection by JC Kang
A Asian based fantasy with a glorious cover that just made me pick it. Unfortunately the plot and characters weren't mature and prose lacked the punch to keep me interested. 2/5

The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice #2) by Mark Lawrence
Continues superbly from book 1. Has some pacing issues in the middle before a climax that'll resonate well with those who've read Book of the Ancestors trilogy. 4/5

Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette
Seven people wake up to find themselves sole survivors of humanity. They find each other and work their way to figuring out what happened. Would make a good movie. Lot of nice buildup with a punch climax that puts the science in the fiction. 3/5

The City of Brass (Daevabad #1) by SA Chakraborty
Phenomenal read. Beautiful world, gripping prose! 4/5

Fugitive Telemetry (Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells
Murderbot rolls on in another fun and satisfying novella. Loved it. 4/5

Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston
Seven Samurai with all anti-heroes. Oh, my. Another spectacular book from Cam. Gloriously villainous fun. 5/5
 
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Edgar Allan Pillow

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It's Tawny Man for me. It hits the sweet spot between political intrigue and emotive development of the characters. The falling out between Fitz and the Fool is beautifully well written. I think most fans have these two trilogies as their top two.
I'd agree with this. Tawny Man > Liveship for me.
 

GaryLifo

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I've an audible credit burning a hole and was considering getting the first book in the storm light archive series.

As I'm potentially committing to about 200 hours of listening time, what say you all about this decision?
 

Revan

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I've an audible credit burning a hole and was considering getting the first book in the storm light archive series.

As I'm potentially committing to about 200 hours of listening time, what say you all about this decision?
The first two books are really awesome (especially the first one), but then it kinda drops in quality IMO. It is not that book 3 and 4 are bad (they are still decent), but he could have really cut them in half. There is just so much needless padding there.
 

GaryLifo

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Ok thanks folks.

I've got the two main kingkiller books in my library, but don't want to start them until the third one is out. No desire to finish the first two and then have 5 years before the final one given how long the delay is already.

Just got done with the second John Gwynn trilogy, which was okay, but not as good as the original one. Could easily have been two books not three. First one took far too long to get going and I nearly gave up about halfway through.

Been also considering something like black company or grey bastards but think both have American narrators and I just don't enjoy American narrators of fantasy books
 

Revan

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I'd say they're a lot better than decent. The first two are definitely the best so far, but I thoroughly enjoyed the last two as well.
I agree. But at the same time I felt that often I was reading so many pages of nothingness. Gave a bit the vibe of WoT (8-11), who also had strong endings.
 

WI_Red

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Just finished the behemoth that is the second Villains Code book: Bones of the Past.

I absolutely loved it, but I am biased as I love pretty much anything Hayes has written. Plus he's also one of the best values on Audible (35 hours!!!).

My only concern is that Hayes may be writing himself into a corner. He establishes that Fornax and Loadstar are basically unstoppable, so will be interesting to see how this goes. The last scene sets up a potential plot line for the 3rd book so we will will see.



 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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My only concern is that Hayes may be writing himself into a corner. He establishes that Fornax and Loadstar are basically unstoppable, so will be interesting to see how this goes. The last scene sets up a potential plot line for the 3rd book so we will will see.
I thought the reason for villains actions was very cliche'd. Lodestar can defeat Fornax and Nexus has found a way to kill Lodestar.

Nexus seems to be only unkillable character in the universe.
 

WI_Red

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I thought the reason for villains actions was very cliche'd. Lodestar can defeat Fornax and Nexus has found a way to kill Lodestar.

Nexus seems to be only unkillable character in the universe.
I agree, but I think that is on purpose as I am reading these books as almost a satire on the stupidity of the traditional cape/villain tropes. For me the interesting parts are the relationships, not necessarily the fights/etc and I thought the main plotline was weirdly blah. I loved the deep dive into Fornax though, both his history and his relationship with his son. I honestly think, as I said above, that the main thrust of these books for Hayes is to explore the lives of the people after the masks are taken off, and the Villain/Cape crap is background noise.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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I agree, but I think that is on purpose as I am reading these books as almost a satire on the stupidity of the traditional cape/villain tropes. For me the interesting parts are the relationships, not necessarily the fights/etc and I thought the main plotline was weirdly blah. I loved the deep dive into Fornax though, both his history and his relationship with his son. I honestly think, as I said above, that the main thrust of these books for Hayes is to explore the lives of the people after the masks are taken off, and the Villain/Cape crap is background noise.
Yeah, that I agree.
 

ivaldo

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Finally finished The Poppy War. I can't say I was overly impressed. It was like the first half was written by an entirely different author to the second. It begins with all the hallmarks of a cliched YA novel. We've got the downtrodden child, the revelation of magic, the innate ability of the protagonist to accomplish anything she sets her mind to. Then comes the magic school with all the usual sociopolitical hierarchy, where our prodigious child discovers she's superpowered.

Then we're suddenly and unexpectantly picked up and dropped in the middle of a war, with our protagonist now part of a suicide squad. The transition is so jarring it completely rips away all immersion. We go from a YA magic school to a full on gory war, with scene after scene of violence, cruelty and hopelessness, while the author does little to keep the two parts of the book connected. It's not that we can't have that sudden change in mood and seriousness; Lev Grossman does it wonderfully with The Magicians series. All the time you feel the story is still connected, the first part remaining as important as the last.

I feel that if the author hadn't borrowed large aspects of Chinese history and culture (a criminally underused source of inspiration), then the book wouldn't get nearly the same level of praise.

And then we get to my pet peeve in fantasy fiction: The reliance on the characters to make alarmingly stupid decisions in order to progress the story. I won't go into detail as it might ruin it for others who still want to read it, but for a bunch of unimaginably committed, intelligent individuals, they sure do like to take the stupidest of choices.
I'm glad I finished it but there's no chance I'll pick up the second book.
 

celia

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The second book is more original (at least I don't know what the author used as references) or maybe it is just Rin has more agency in the second one since I think that she seemed more a witness in a large part of the second half of the first book... . I wish someone knowing Naruto would read The Poppy War. I am quite sure I finished the book disliking a lot the MC. But I still read the second book and I am currently trying to finish the last book of the trilogy. Also disliked a lot Quentin from The Magicians and never read more than the first book.
 

ivaldo

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That book has been getting some rave reviews too.
It's just my two cents. I'm also not a great lover of Brandon Sanderson and I'm very much in the minority with that too.

The second book is more original (at least I don't know what the author used as references) or maybe it is just Rin has more agency in the second one since I think that she seemed more a witness in a large part of the second half of the first book... . I wish someone knowing Naruto would read The Poppy War. I am quite sure I finished the book disliking a lot the MC. But I still read the second book and I am currently trying to finish the last book of the trilogy. Also disliked a lot Quentin from The Magicians and never read more than the first book.
See I love those books. Quentin was a self-centered, narcissistic prick, but he felt very real to me. He whined and made unpopular decisions, but I could understand why he did it, and unfortunately, I could see myself making some of those same decisions. Rin on the other hand felt one dimensional. Like Quentin, she was a prodigy that made remarkably stupid decisions. Hers, however, didn't feel like they came from any logical ground, and were there simply to progress the story.
 

celia

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I see, my opinion was more I found the Poppy War entertaining (though I was annoyed with the borrowings like a real life shock value thing (what can happen if someone discover they unknowingly hurt a child in a peaceful time with a vehicle in this country) that seems to have no relevancy in the fictional world) while The Magicians was more a disenchanted view of a world with magic.

This is probably partly why I like Brandon Sanderson since he usually has some optimistic stories and why I dislike Never let me Go.
 
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The Cat

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Nevernight
- Jay Kristoff

Overall: +9

Cracking read. from the start, it keeps you interested all the way to an epic climax with a twist I didn't see coming. There's some explicit sex content that honestly didn't add anything to the book, but apart from that, it's been brilliant. Looking to dive into book 2 straight away....

Writing/Plot/Pace: +9

The plot is woven brilliantly between a university/teaching type and still gives a hint of the macro. The sub-plot makes it much of interesting and we get a balance of learning/skills upgrade and good development of overall plot.

As said before, the explicit sex scenes don't add value but they are only a couple of pages, so nothing too detrimental. The romance is very understated (which is good as I hate romance in stories) and kept very realistic. I certainly isn't grimdark, but it has some bloody scenes which fall under "gritty realism" better.

Characters: +9

Story is told from pov of protagonist, but the supporting cast is interesting and influential. They all play a key part in the book which makes it all the more colorful.

@harshad @Revan @ivaldo @Fosu-Mens @The Cat @Art Vandelay If you liked Red Sister, this is similar kinda grittier and darker. The magic is a bit understated, but I'd recommend this definitely.
I finally got around to starting these this week, I'm only up to around Chapter 6 but I'm hooked already and nothing much has happened yet - very promising. The footnotes are pretty humourous I'm making sure I read them all.
 

Beachryan

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Just finished the behemoth that is the second Villains Code book: Bones of the Past.

I absolutely loved it, but I am biased as I love pretty much anything Hayes has written. Plus he's also one of the best values on Audible (35 hours!!!).

My only concern is that Hayes may be writing himself into a corner. He establishes that Fornax and Loadstar are basically unstoppable, so will be interesting to see how this goes. The last scene sets up a potential plot line for the 3rd book so we will will see.



Blind ordered both of these from your track record, really enjoying the first one - thanks! Not what I was expecting from the cover so far (40% in), but hooked.
 

WI_Red

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Blind ordered both of these from your track record, really enjoying the first one - thanks! Not what I was expecting from the cover so far (40% in), but hooked.
Glad to help! The one awesome thing about Hayes is you most definitely get your money’s worth! Dude is insane.
I knew this was a super hero genre book, but the premise also threw me for a loop. Superpowereds (his other super hero series) is decent. It’s is told from the perspective of the capes, but in a different universe. This series is much better and I love the characters and the second book really dives into backstories. I Would love you feedback when you finish it in 3 months :D
 

The Boy

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I've got the two main kingkiller books in my library, but don't want to start them until the third one is out. No desire to finish the first two and then have 5 years before the final one given how long the delay is already.
I have a feeling that means they will sit in your library for ever.
 

WI_Red

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I don't doubt you are right. But I made the error with GOT and I don't want to make it again
I am torn on this, The first book is so so so good, and the second one is right there as well. While I get your thinking I do believe you are missing out by not reading Name of the Wind. That book was, in my opinion, lightyears ahead of anything Martin wrote.
 

GaryLifo

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I am torn on this, The first book is so so so good, and the second one is right there as well. While I get your thinking I do believe you are missing out by not reading Name of the Wind. That book was, in my opinion, lightyears ahead of anything Martin wrote.
I guess if they are that good I could always re-read them if the 3rd one ever comes out and it's been a while.
 

ivaldo

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I guess if they are that good I could always re-read them if the 3rd one ever comes out and it's been a while.
I have no doubt Rothfuss will eventually finish the 3rd book. The work he needs to do is undoubtedly less than Martin, and he has a hell of a lot more time to do it in. Perhaps most importantly, he isn't going to die in the next 10 years, so won't have that get out clause. :D

If you like elegant prose and big worlds then you'll love it.
 

WI_Red

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I have no doubt Rothfuss will eventually finish the 3rd book. The work he needs to do is undoubtedly less than Martin, and he has a hell of a lot more time to do it in. Perhaps most importantly, he isn't going to die in the next 10 years, so won't have that get out clause. :D

If you like elegant prose and big worlds then you'll love it.

I don't know man, Rothfuss is not a uhmm.....physical specimen either.

The other good thing, and it's absolutely depressing this is a thing, is that his audiobook narrator is young too. I will likely never finish GoT's (if Martin ever finishes it) because for me Roy Dotrice WAS GoT. He was so good. Now that he has passed away I just don't think I will expend the energy to relisten to all the previous books to catch up and then deal with a new narrator for the final book.
 

The Boy

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I guess if they are that good I could always re-read them if the 3rd one ever comes out and it's been a while.
I've re read both of them about three or four times now waiting for the third, I love them every time.
 

WI_Red

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Okay - I've got the Red Sister trilogy lined up next, but after that you folks have convinced me to give the Rothfuss books a go. :)
You won't be sorry....well you will be pissed because you can't finish the story :) , but you won't be sorry. I really liked the red sister trilogy, but Rothfuss is on a different level of writing compared to Lawrence.
 

ivaldo

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I don't know man, Rothfuss is not a uhmm.....physical specimen either.

The other good thing, and it's absolutely depressing this is a thing, is that his audiobook narrator is young too. I will likely never finish GoT's (if Martin ever finishes it) because for me Roy Dotrice WAS GoT. He was so good. Now that he has passed away I just don't think I will expend the energy to relisten to all the previous books to catch up and then deal with a new narrator for the final book.
He isn't, but he's also 25 years younger. If he wants to stay relevant, as I'm sure he does, then he'll have to finish the book. The biggest disappointment for me is we probably won't ever get another Dunk & Egg installment, which I've enjoyed more than ASOIAF.

I haven't listened to GOT on audiobook but regularly go back to Kingkiller. Rupert Degas does an awesome job.
 

WI_Red

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He isn't, but he's also 25 years younger. If he wants to stay relevant, as I'm sure he does, then he'll have to finish the book. The biggest disappointment for me is we probably won't ever get another Dunk & Egg installment, which I've enjoyed more than ASOIAF.

I haven't listened to GOT on audiobook but regularly go back to Kingkiller. Rupert Degas does an awesome job.
Holy crap, I just realized, thanks to your post, there are two version of each book. I listened to it with Nick Podehl narrating. Just looked it up and it is b/c of UK vs US publishing rights. We get Podehl here and the UK got Degas. I'm not going to argue as he is one of my favorite narrators.
 

ivaldo

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Holy crap, I just realized, thanks to your post, there are two version of each book. I listened to it with Nick Podehl narrating. Just looked it up and it is b/c of UK vs US publishing rights. We get Podehl here and the UK got Degas. I'm not going to argue as he is one of my favorite narrators.
I didn't know that either! I did wonder why you were called Degas young at 50. :lol:
 

WI_Red

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Ooo cheers, that's exciting. About to start Forging Hephaestus - these books are yyuuugggeeee.
i will wait for the audiobook, but looking forward to it. Just started Nevernight, so I have trilogy for a bit.

I think you are going to like FH, and if you think it’s big take a gander at the second book:D