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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Telwar View Post
    The Oath of Empire, by Thomas Harlan, starting with Shadows of Ararat. I'm rounding up on this one, since the first came out in 1999. This is an alternate history where Rome never fell, magic works, but it ...kind of...matches with real world history, with real world characters. I love the epic scale of the series and the vast battles (with maps of unit positions and movements included!), with magic worked in; one of the viewpoint characters is (inhales) an Irish sorcerer sold to Roman witchfinders as a child, trained in an Egyptian sorcery school, and drafted for a campaign against Persia and fights as a skirmisher alongside a prince and princess of Palmyra (exhales). There are also significant lovecraftian overtones in the background. Some of the magic is based on Pythagoras, so there's a little bit of science to it, but not everybody's magic works that way. Also, ahem, the last book is titled The Dark Lord, but I'm just going to point out that "who" the Dark Lord is is very, very up in the air until the end. The series is done, though the author has mentioned he wants to do something more, but hasn't had anything published since 2011, so...
    You had me at Palmyra, and then you really had me at Pythagorean magic and Lovecraft.
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    If I may toot my own horn...

    I released a short story and a novella on DriveThruFiction
    . It's pay-what-you-want, though I would, of course, appreciate if you tossed a coin to your ficc'er. The short story is available as the free preview, or from my blog.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    I will second the recommendation for Unsouled by Will Wight, and the rest of the books of the Cradle series. And his other series, Of Shadow and Sea/Of Sea and Shadow are the first book. It's actually 2 books, each from the point of view of the main protagonists, who are on opposite sides.
    Custom Melayl avatar by my cousin, ~thejason10, used with his permission. See his work at his Deviant Art page.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    Another series I've been enjoying that while not.... entirely 'Fantasy' definitely kind of fits.

    The Ascend Online series by Luke Chmilenko.

    The long and short of it is that it's a pair of incredibly lengthy books, about a group of people playing in a full immersion VR fantasy game. Where they've basically got nanites running through their bloodstream hacking their brain into feeling the sensations the game wants them to feel, so they are more or less IN a fantasy setting.

    90% of the action is in the game world basically making the VR thing mostly a 'time crunch' thing. "We have to accomplish this now before we hit our weekly logoff!"
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    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

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    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by KatsOfLoathing View Post
    I'll try to sum up The Fifth Season. Essentially, we're sequentially introduced to three different women who are all "orogenes" (earth-manipulating mutants) at three different time periods, and follow their stories on parallel tracks, which eventually tie together towards the end of the novel for reasons I'll avoid spoiling here.

    [...]

    The second, Damaya, is a teenage girl just discovering her orogene powers. She gets recruited by a Guardian named Schala, a government operative tasked with keeping track of the orogenes and ensuring they don't do anything dangerous with their powers. He takes her to the Fulcrum, a school in the capital for orogenes (though think more "military academy" than "Hogwarts stand-in"), where she develops her abilities and learns more about the truth behind her country's origins.
    And I would say "slave (wizard) plantation" more than "military academy". I think your summary is missing the biggest element of The Fifth Season -- what being an oppressed minority does to people. (It's even right there in N. K. Jemisin's dedication on the first page.) The entire society oppresses orogenes and regards them as less-than-human. They treat orogenes like, well, like blacks in the antebellum South. Kept as slave labor if they are useful, killed otherwise, feared always. For goodness sakes, Essun's son is murdered by his own father when his father discovers the son is an orogene.

    (That isn't a spoiler, it's in the first few chapters.)

    How three main characters deal with having their entire society tell them that they are worthless, that they aren't even human, and how they do or don't cope with being the (very) oppressed minority in the society is such a major part of that book that I don't think you can talk about the book without mentioning it.

    Don't get me wrong, the book is not grimdark, though it has some dark moments -- the characters do deal with it, and do try to make a life for themselves, and have some happiness in the moments society isn't looking.

    I know you, KatsOfLoathing, were trying to just give a barebones summary. But the theme of oppression and being the oppressed minority is absolutely central to the book, and I don't think anyone can really know if they are going to want to read it without knowing that.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    The Codex Alera books are pretty interesting as well. Humans have the ability to bind (or manifest) elemental spirits to do, well, magic. Not to give away spoilers, but the scale of the conflict does escalate exponentially as the book continues. But it's a cool and fairly original magic system, with different systems for some other races, and unique setting.
    Link with some info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera
    This one gets even better when you find out the inspiration for it. The full article can be found here, but...

    Back in the early 2000s, Butcher was discussing his craft in an online writers’ workshop. When the subject of good ideas vs. good execution was brought up, Butcher took the stance that any author truly worth their salt can create an enticing story with not one, but two terrible ideas. A challenge was put forth: write an interesting story mashing together Pokémon and the fate of a lost Roman legion. At this point, most authors would laugh heartily and go back to surfing the web. Ever the iconoclast, Butcher dove in head first.
    "That's a horrible idea! What time?"

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by caputiq View Post
    The Wheel of Time?
    Good fantasy....and the series is expected
    Oof yeah, I wouldn't have thought to recommend it but if Yora really isn't familiar with anything from the last 30 years, WoT just barely makes it under the line having started in 1990.

    But it definitely hits all of the requirements Yora had laid out in the earlier post. Not grimdark, no assassin protagonists, no dark lord, lots of exploration and discovery.


    I'm really bad at summaries, but this summary I just found online I like: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    This one gets even better when you find out the inspiration for it. The full article can be found here, but...
    I've come to think the anecdote has somewhat of a flaw - neither "Pokémon" nor "the lost Roman legion" were terrible ideas to begin with. If you were looking for sources to draw inspiration from, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the most widely sold media franchise on the planet and a concept drawn from the most widely known epoch of ancient history.

    Or, for that matter, the lore of one of the most acclaimed real time strategy games ever made. Of course, that real time strategy game itself started development as an adaptation of another franchise of tabletop tactical combat.

    Everybody steals from everyone, and that's ok. But if Butcher proved anything conclusively, it's that "Pokémon" and "the lost Roman legion" were, in fact, great ideas. Really, it's like saying "I'm going to make an awesome remix based on two terrible songs. The songs I've chosen are Lady Gaga's Telephone and Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit."
    This signature is boring. The stuff I write might not be. Warning: Ponies.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I love fantasy, I love reading. I really love some fantasy writers from half a century ago, but I actually have not found any newly written and released books that look appealing in decades.

    The big problem I always have is that its very difficult to actually learn about the existence of books that might appeal to me. When you go looking for book recommendations and best fantasy books of the past years, you get a lot of results, but almost universally you only get a title and "ohmygosh ermahgerd I love this so much! Best thing ever! Everyone has to read it!" That only tells me that someone liked it, but nothing about what the book is about.

    I think it would be great to have people make recommendations for fantasy books from the past few year (post-2000?) that they come across and liked, with maybe a paragraph of description what the book is about, and a paragraph of what makes it interesting.

    I do have my own preferences of what I would like to read, but I don't think those fantasy books have been written in the past 30 years, so I'm not asking for that specifically. I'd like to know what's out there and what qualities make the books interesting for readers who are into those kinds of things.

    The 10,000 Doors of January - one of my best
    by Alix E Harrow

    It is a rare thing to relate to a book’s character in such a way that similar situations evoke empathy across your lives. Enough parallels can be drawn to feel almost as if the book is catered specifically toward you in some existential way. I have not read much portal fantasy, but I have always felt a feeling of smothered repression through my youth that has tamped down my will to explore. Instead, my portals to elsewhere revealed themselves in books and stories at an early age, and they’ve been with me ever since. Alix Harrow captures this feeling of finding oneself through the stories we share in her stunning and unforgettable debut novel The 10,000 Doors of January. It is a beautifully written and lovingly crafted adventure about the strength of love, the importance of stories, and the timeless power of words.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    I've come to think the anecdote has somewhat of a flaw - neither "Pokémon" nor "the lost Roman legion" were terrible ideas to begin with. If you were looking for sources to draw inspiration from, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the most widely sold media franchise on the planet and a concept drawn from the most widely known epoch of ancient history.
    It wasn't that they were "terrible ideas" they were considered so by the person he was having the argument with.

    There's a longer version of the story in this interview from Eastercon 2015. (Audio only and it's quite quiet).

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Well, I've got to put in a plug for my favorite fantasy novel of all time: Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls (which just barely qualifies, being from 2003).

    Paladin of Souls is the second of Bujold's World of the Five Gods series, being a sequel to Curse of Chalion (also a wonderful novel). Paladin's main character is Ista dy Chalion, a high-born noblewoman in her 40s, the widow of the previous Roya (king of Chalion) and mother of the current ruler. She is fiercely intelligent and well-educated; unfortunately, she was also badly afflicted by the aforementioned curse of Chalion, which gave her a kind of decade-long, magically-induced nervous breakdown. The curse has finally been lifted, she can think straight again, but everyone who cares for her still thinks of her as "Mad Ista", a wreck to be coddled and cared for and patted on the head, but not a person to be respected or listened to. This is driving her crazy (so to speak, and yes, she's aware of the irony), and she decides to go on a pilgrimage. Not because she wants anything more to do with the Gods, but just to get away from people who are so blinded by who she was 5 years ago that they can't see who she is now.

    Some of the book is about her pilgrimage. Much of the book is about what happens when she
    Spoiler: Second half of Paladin of Souls
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    encounters Arhys, the son of Lord Arvol dy Lutez. Ista accidentally killed Arvol dy Lutez a decade earlier, during a failed attempt to end the curse, and the guilt still haunts her. At first she thinks the Gods are dragging her though her stale guilt again -- "fetch a bucket of water for the drowning woman!", as she puts it -- but They are more practical than that and want her to cure the body of Illvin, Arhys' half brother, and rescue the soul of Arhys, both of which are in mortal danger. She does so while finding a new purpose and calling in life and finally casting off the shackles of her old identity.


    Why do I love the book so much? First and foremost, the characters. Ista, in particular, just feels like a living, breathing, interesting person. She's got a dry wit and self-deprecating humor (Bujold excels at dry wit and characters who can laugh at their own flaws); she has conflicts and hopes and pains. I love just spending time in Ista's company.

    She's also a different heroine from so many other stories. So many fantasy stories are about a young person setting off, trying to make those first, early dreams of youth come true. Ista is a middle-aged woman. She's finished with those youthful goals -- some she succeeded at, some she failed at, but so much of the story's heart is a middle-aged person looking around and saying "OK, now what?". I'm also middle-aged. Like Ista, I've raised my children to adulthood and have largely finished my parenting journey. Like Ista, I've failed in some of my early goals, and succeeded in others, but both are now in the past, and I look around and say "OK, now what?" Ista is one of the few models for that second journey.

    And Ista is not a great warrior. She could barely lift a sword; her fighting ability is pretty much nil. In most stories, she would just be the mother-type that the professional badass would rescue and she would get two lines amounting to "Oh, thank you!" She doesn't have physical strength. But what she does have is wisdom, the wisdom born of years and sorrows and of deep, deep pain. That wisdom, that understanding, is what makes her the heroine of the story, not any of the flashy swordsmen who accompany her. It's a really different character and a really different story from so much of the fantasy novels out there.

    For what it's worth, I'm hardly the only person impressed by Paladin of Souls. It won the triple crown of fantasy awards -- a Hugo, a Locus, and a Nebula -- and the series World of the Five Gods won the Hugo for Best Series.
    Last edited by Sermil; 2020-04-11 at 03:01 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    But it definitely hits all of the requirements Yora had laid out in the earlier post. Not grimdark, no assassin protagonists, no dark lord, lots of exploration and discovery.


    I'm really bad at summaries, but this summary I just found online I like: Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.
    Eh, the Dark One does kind of fulfill the dark lord role. But it fits well enough otherwise that I'd second the recommendation... with the usual caveat that it gets very slow in plot progression as the books grind on, especially beyond the 3rd book or so.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Seconding the recommendation of The Broken Earth trilogy. Too much has been said about the plot already, in my opinion - particularly the first book is one that shouldn't be spoiled - but no one's really discussed the writing. One of the more striking aspects is that most of the narration is done in the second person, which is unusual and works well throughout the first two books (I felt that it fell apart a bit in the third book). Jemisin also has this tic where she introduces a lot of ominous details by saying something and then immediately contradicting it in a parenthetical aside, which works like a fusion of Kurt Vonnegut and modern 'gothic' memes. I really liked it.

    I'd also second Rothfuss, for reasons already discussed. And okay, The Wise Man's Fear comes across as a bit aimless in the context of the trilogy, but the actual content of it is still brilliant. There are scenes and even individual lines that I keep going back to re-read because they're that beautiful.

    I've not read The Raven Tower, but I have read Ancillary Justice and its sequels (sci-fi novels by the same author), and they are excellent. The writing is sharp and engaging, avoiding the kind of cringiness that you often see in these sorts of books, and the themes explored (primarily relating to gender, AI and personhood in Ancillary Justice; no idea about The Raven Tower obviously) are interesting and well-handled. It feels like the characters are in genuine peril in the critical action sequences, even though you know intellectually that their plot armour should protect them most of the time. The Hugo & Nebula awards are well-deserved.

    aaaand that's pretty much the only recenty fantasy I've read. Maybe I should take some of the recommendations in this thread too.
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  14. - Top - End - #74
    Ogre in the Playground
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    I'm repeating books already mentioned, and some of these are rather well-known too.

    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

    The protagonist, Paks, is a sheepfarmer's daughter who runs away from home to join a mercenary company. She's not a rebel or a heroine, just unable to set in, so she set out to find something else. She's also an innately good person in a world where that's difficult, which makes her quite doubtful of the good gods who seem unable to protect their believers. The protagonist also isn't sexually active and I don't remember there being any romance, either.

    The author was inspired by paladin-like warriors, and wanted to write a story about what such a person's story would really be like. The first book, as was mentioned, is told from the viewpoint of a common soldier on a medieval fantasy-ish world, where war isn't nice. I liked the first book quite a lot! From the second book onwards I enjoyed the series less, since it transitions into a more typical kind of fantasy adventure story. I think the first book / the first part of the omnibus is worth reading, though.

    It's not exactly a feel-good series, and the books deal with rape as a thing that could happen to female soldiers.


    Another series in somewhat similar vein is
    The Balanced Sword, also known as Phoenix in Shadow, by Ryk E. Spoor

    The protagonist here, Kyri, is also a young woman. Her parents were murdered, her brother becomes the setting's equivalent of a paladin, and her patron god is Myrionar, of justice and revenge. That's what her story is about - like Paks in the Deeds of Paksenarrion, when faced with gods' inability to stave off evil, she joins the action herself. In a way, both book series are about discovering that there is something wrong with the world, and both stories then go on to show the protagonist growing to the point where they can do something about it. Both also toy with the idea of divine power, whether good gods can keep the world safe, and what role good people in the service of those gods can or can not do.

    The phoenix books are set in a rather typical fantasy world, but there are enough small variations to keep it interesting. It's nothing ground-breaking, but the small tweaks help it from overstaying its welcome. The story itself is similar - nothing groundbreaking, but it's not a fully derivative copy either. It's a more straightforward fantasy story than the first Paksenarrion books was, but in this case, I enjoyed the adventure, while in Paksenarrion's case, I would've preferred to read something more like the first book.


    The Wizard Knight duology by Gene Wolfe (separate The Knight and The Wizard)

    Gene Wolfe is a very good writer. He crafts beautiful and terrible worlds, his narrators and characters are very unreliable, and the world if a fantastic and terrifying blend of old legends, stories and mythology.

    The books tell the story of a man from our world, who gets lost while hiking, and the story is told through his memories and narration of what he did in this new world, and the books are told like a story - slightly out of order, sometimes referring things that happened earlier, or later, or things he only discovered much later. His name is Able, or perhaps he was given the name Able once he arrived on the new world. Able is often confused, and often weak. I've never read a fantasy book with tone quite like these - the world is scary, but not hopeless. People are weak, but brave and noble and capable of good. But add in the unreliable narration, the way his thoughts bounce back and forth in time, and the way the books focus on how he felt at the time (sometimes scared, or sad, or horrified), and it becomes something quite different. With different narration, the same events could be used to tell a rather typical fantasy story.

    At first glance, the world seems to be a typical, if dark, take on the Scandinavian myths about Midgard. There's the world of mortals, and in the sky above, there are gods (similar to Aesir) who fight Giants of Winter and Old Night. But when you scratch the surface, it becomes apparent that the world is full of other influences as well - Arthurian myths, Christianity, old stories about fairy realms and changelings, and more. And all clad in that wonderfully unreliable narration, where you can't really tell how much of what he saw or claims he saw is true. Many things in the books also sound like typical fantasy things, but the way they were described makes them much darker than usual - evil giants, slaves, dragons and so on feel much scarier here than in most other books. For example, arranged political marriage is something mentioned in parts of the story. A princess tells Able what it's like to be traded like precious jewelry, a mere object given away for promises of alliance and peace, and it's her duty whether she likes it or not. The description was harrowing, and has stayed with me since. it made me so uncomfortable I almost had to quit reading the book! It took me some time to collect my thoughts so I'd be able to push forward.



    Webnovels:

    A Practical Guide to Evil

    I started this post by describing two novels where the young female protagonist works more or less for the forces of good. Well, this is the opposite. The young female protagonist of this story lives in the area that was once a kingdom aligned with power of light, but it was conquered by an evil empire. The evil empire promptly rounded up all the orphans and put them in orphanages that teach them a suitable trade - accountants, tailors, cooks, that sort of things. Boring stuff that keeps them busy and off the streets and away from any fateful encounters. In this world, stories are something like a force of destiny - if certain situation looks like the start of a story, and a certain person looks like they could play a role in the story, they might get a Name fitting a hero or a villain. Name,with capital N, is stuff like Good King, Warlock, Archer, Sage - something similar but not quite the same as a character class, with supernatural powers that match the person's role in the story.

    One of the orphans grew up seeing the kingdom suffer - but mostly under the weight of bureaucracy and heavy taxes. She thinks the best way to improve the kingdom's lot is to join the evil army, rise in the ranks, and then once she has enough skill and power... ease up on the bureaucracy, from the inside. What kind of a fool would try to solve poverty and food shortages with a war? However, it turns out that the destined orphan thing goes both ways, and she has the makings of a good Villain. And that's how it starts.

    Our protagonist here isn't the moustache-twirling, maniacally-laughing bumbling villain type. She has goals, and she's ruthless in her means to reach them. She gets trained, and she learns, and she grasps interesting powers that are a weird mix of story tropes and RPG class stereotypes. She fights against Heroes who she finds both infuriatingly naive and unfairly powerful. She fights against other Villains, because infighting is in their nature. She goes to evil military school where the Legions of Evil train their soldiers and officers (orcs, goblins, humans...), makes friends, and eventually, goes to war. It's interesting to read about a villain musing about what's right and wrong, and where to draw the lines that should not be crossed.

    The books are rather humorous and funny. Bad things happen, but the books don't really focus on the gory details that much. Instead, it's about out-planning, out-gunning or out-maneuvering your enemies, whether good or bad, heroes or villains. While the characters do grow and change, my fondest memories are either about the humour, or about the moments of triumph, rather than the characters themselves.


    A Mother of Learning

    It's the story of a teenager - an asocial jerk with a huge chip on his shoulder, an inferiority complex towards his brother and horrible relationship with his family - studying magic in a magic university. There's an accident, and he ends up in a strange situation that forces him to interact with all kinds of people in all kinds of strange situations. As he gets a better understanding of the people around him, he eventually starts growing up. He never stops being a jerk, but he learns to handle social situations, opens up to certain people, learns more about himself and why he acts like he does, and so on.

    The situation he finds himself in is a time loop - every 30 days, time resets. He has no idea what's happening, he's pretty sure it should be impossible, and he's too paranoid and asocial to find anyone to help him, so he just keeps learning. Basically, Groundhog Day as a setup for a weak-to-strong fantasy novel. It's not great literature, but it's nice for what it is. It was very entertaining when read as individual chapters released sporadically, but now that it's complete and can be read in one sitting, it can be a bit rough at times.

    Magic and its rules do appear in the story, and lots of the story is about the protagonist learning new things about magic, so it might not be what Yora is looking for. In the story's defence, there are very few actual rules revealed. The magic is clearly drawing lots of inspiration from D&D rulesets - there are magic missiles, fireballs, teleportation spells, enchantment, magic potions and so on. Wizards have a mana pool, though, not spell slots - and mana pools can't be precisely measure. There are also magical mysteries to unravel. However, it all reads more like someone's D&D adventure idea than a magic system built from the rules up. There's a cool idea, which then gets an explanation that more or less makes sense, but there's no overarching magic rules system beyond "D&D with mana pools".

    Also, spider-themed monsters keep popping up for some reason, so arachnofobics might want to stay away.

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    I'll offer two series and one standalone book by one of my favorite authors of the past couple of decades: Janny Wurts. She's not an unknown but she definitely doesn't get a lot of publicity.

    The Cycle of Fire trilogy:

    The story follows three teens who are drawn into a conflict between demons and humanity when the Stormwarden--humanity's strongest defender against demonkind--is trapped in ice. One is seduced to ally with the demons, while the other two must find the mysterious Vaere to acquire the powers they need to fight against the demons' poweful psionic abilities. I enjoy this series for three main reasons. I enjoy the characterization and the interactions between the characters. I like the world and the backstory for the setting that is revealed as you get deeper into the trilogy. And I very much enjoy the magic system and the discoveries made about it during the series.

    The Wars of Light and Shadow series.

    Note this series is incomplete. 10 of 11 planned books are published, and Janny is providing regular updates on her progress with the final book. This series is fantastically epic. It follows two half-brothers, princes, who become cursed to enmity and draw the continent into war. The setting is great, with some of the most original takes on unicorns and dragons that I've seen. It has Bardic magic, witches who channel power through crystals, sorcerers who operate with a system similar to true-naming, and more. It takes a deep dive into issues surrounding morality and rulership. But the thing I like most is how you slowly learn more about the agendas of various power groups, and the more you learn the more it makes you reevaluate what you've seen earlier in the series.

    To Ride Hell's Chasm

    This standalone manages to pack an exceptional amount of worldbuilding into a tight narrative that starts out as a detective-style investigation and shifts gears midway through to a fast-paced action packed rollercoaster ride. Features a skilled mercenary turned captain of the guard, a highly competent commander, sensible nobles, corrupt nobles, sorcerers, a princess who absolutely refuses to become a damsel in distress, and perhaps the only horses that I've ever connected with in literature (I'm not much of a horse lover).

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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    I'll second the recommendation for Cycle of Fire. I'd forgotten about that one; it's been years since I read it, but it was a favorite of mine growing up.
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    BlackDragon

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    I'll second the recommendation for Cycle of Fire. I'd forgotten about that one; it's been years since I read it, but it was a favorite of mine growing up.
    I know I've read "Stormwarden" (the first book in the series, I think) but can't remember if I've read the others--I really need to get that book database together I keep meaning to create so I can figure out if I even still have the books!

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I know I've read "Stormwarden" (the first book in the series, I think) but can't remember if I've read the others--I really need to get that book database together I keep meaning to create so I can figure out if I even still have the books!
    Apparently there were some publisher shenanigans that caused the sequels to Stormwarden to first be delayed and then mishandled in marketing. The publisher didn't reprint enough copies of Stormwarden and also offered no incentive to have it shelved alongside vol. 2 (Keeper of the Keys) so it was easy to miss that the books were connected. Which is to say, there's a pretty good chance you've only read Stormwarden.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    The title you just quoted (Keeper of the Keys) does sound familiar, though...

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    There are a whole bunch of authors, go to a library and check out the sf and fantasy section.

    There are a couple I want to mention in particular. Katherine Kerr wrote a whole lot of books a while ago, all in her Deverry cycles, Wikipedia suggests she's moved on, but there are still a lot. They are set in a land where a sort of Breton/gaelic is spoken, there's a lot of kind of laid back druidic/bardic magic and swords and horses.

    Secondly there is C.J. Cherryh's "Morgaine" chronincles, it's sort of SF if you ask where the magic comes from, but the story is mostly fantasy style, three books are typically collected in one volume, there is also a fourth. The story is set in a set of worlds connected by gates that have broken and need to be shut down. Morgaine is an epic figure, the POV character is her follower, it's mostly swords and arrows and horses, except hers is a monster sword.
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    Legend by David Gemmell, the main character's final adventure... or is it? He is the classic stalwart hero, paragon of martial prowess, honor bound and unmovable, but actually likeable. The first book of quite a few, several of which explore the various factions that have been the heroes or the villains in previous books.
    It's epic fantasy written very well.

    Imajica by Clive Barker (same author of Cabal and Hellraiser)..it's a rather fantastic story involving parallel dimension worlds (think of the nordic cosmology for a similar concept), with Earth being detached from the others and devoid of magic, except for a few people who are able to travel to and from it. Thrown in androginous and shapeshifting assassins, secret societies, shifting alliances and similar... it's fairly oniric and rather complex... quite good.

    neither are recent
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    RogueGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I wouldn't recommend the Way of Kings, currently. I thought the first one was excellent, but the second and third sort of became rambling and unfocused to me, introducing too many new elements at once and kinda destroying what made the first one interesting to me (politics and worldbuilding. It shifted from there to superpowers and the apocalypse, with more and more ever extreme dangers thrown in.)

    Warbreaker is the one I'd most recommend to a newcomer, it's one of his shorter works and it is relatively closed off and knows where it's going. There's a few sequel hooks, but it has a clear ending.
    read alcatraz vs the evil librarians its funny and has a good magic system
    Last edited by el minster; 2020-05-17 at 01:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Recent Fantasy Book Recommendations

    Tried that one years ago. Didn't like it at all. In general, I've always found Sanderson's humour SUPER cringy.
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