Welcome to the second edition of my Top Fantasy Reads!
Firstly, on a personal note; I just want to thank you all for the time you’ve put into reading my ramblings… This believe it or not, is my first attempt at a blog, and although I hope it’s not too easy to tell, but I’ve actually never done anything like it before… I mean shit, before the first edition of Top Fantasy Reads, I’d never even written a review before!
I honestly hope that you guys stick around, grow with me as I develop my skill… almost like finding your voice whilst writing, I’m still there at the beginning, like a baby that just muttered its first words. Damn, now you’re obviously imagining a baby version of me sat at a laptop with a great frown, drool dripping down his chin as he hammers at the keys with a pudgy babyfat fist. And if you weren’t before, you obviously are now. Shit. Shut up Matt, just move it along.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is thank you, thank you for your interest, your support and your patience; I know there’s not a whole lot on my page yet, but there will be! just watch this space!
Now that the soppy shit is over and done with, we can get to business, the real reason you came here… Without further adue… (Do me a favour and pretend there’s some kind of drum roll happening in the background yeah?) I present the second installment of my personal favourite fantasy novels, and the second attempt at enlightening you gremlins with my superior knowledge.
Thank you your majesty!
yes yes, just get on with it.
Scott Lynch: The Gentleman Bastards
So, although I found out much later on after reading this breathtaking series, it appears that the Gentleman Bastard series is already one of the most famous modern fantasy series out there, which probably should have been obvious as I got the first book in a “Top ten sci-fi and fantasy” book set, which if im honest, should have been renamed “Top 3 fantasy books and 7 trees that were murdered to create pages for a pile of wank to be written on” or maybe “Top 3 fantasy books and 7 more to burn incase you get cold”, Seriously, I don’t even remember what the other books were called they were that bad, the set was a present, nothing official obviously, but… wait this is totally unimportant… where was I?
Oh right, so the first book was in this collection that I purchased, every book in the collection had had it’s cover art removed so that all that was left was a mouldy solid yellow covering…. Shivers. Luckily, what caught my eye was the title, and to this day; I still think “The Lies Of Locke Lamora” is one of the best, most poetic titles of any book I’ve ever come across. The main character’s name, Locke Lamora (obviously), just seemed to resonate inside of me, just from the title I could tell this one was going to be worth a read… And I was right.
Locke himself is loveable right from the get go, his little scoundrel friend’s equally so, it seemed almost right from the start to be one of those books where you feel that odd sort of connection with its characters… You know the feeling I’m talking about, and you’re a liar if you say you don’t, for me, it’s not uncommon whilst reading a good book, but what was different about this one was how fast it happened, usually it takes a relatively long while to build that relationship between reader and character, but with this it was instant.
Again this is another book that has a very strong sense of character development, you notice Locke’s personality gradually change, his almost happy-go-lucky charm twisting into something more dark as the world he knows is shattered before him at every turn…
I’m not going to say anymore on this, as I wouldn’t want to ruin the story for you… But it’s a good’un.
The only downside to this one is that the story is planned to be told via seven books, only three are currently out, with the fourth, “The Thorne of Emberlain” out any day now… Again, you may remember my rant about Partick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicles” and the time between the last book and the supposed next one… This, I must admit is a similar situation, although this time with slightly more leeway. I read somewhere, that Scott Lynch endured some fairly substantial personal problems quite recently, if you want to know more, then im sure you could find out; but as much of a jackass as I normally am, I don’t feel right reporting on other people’s personal business (Even when they’re holding my damn book back from me) No offence Scotty L.
So, in reflection; I would definitely still say these books are worth a read, although I wouldn’t hold it against you if you waited for the series to be completed, if you’re that type of peasant. Sorry I mean person.
Brandon Sanderson: Mistborn
Mistborn… Wow, what a story. These are those type of books that all come together at certain points, and leave you almost feeling like you’ve just been abused. in a good way, say for example if Scarlet Johansen touched you inappropriately, that type of abused. The moments im referring to are like the scenes in a film where literally everything clicks into place, as if it was a key, right on the edge, teetering over the pins of a lock, then bam. Everything makes sense. There’s a part in the first book, were it literally felt as if I was watching an action/fantasy movie in my head, the way the book is written creates a completely solid image of whats going on literally to that extent, it feels like you can really see it.
But… being totally honest with you, the first four books, “The Final Empire”, “The Well Of Ascension”, “The Hero Of Ages” and “The Alloy Of Law”, are completely in a league of their own… you see, the other two books are written hundreds of years in the future, I’m not saying they’re bad by any means, they’re brilliant in their own right, BUT they’re just not the Mistborn that by this point, you’ve really grown to know and love… although saying that, Sanderson really outdid himself with the character “Wayne”, he’s fantastic; at multiple times during this book I laughed out loud because his cleverly written antics, once, on a bus, much to my embarrassment… the stigma of “special” people on busses not really helped right there, so thanks a lot for that Mr Sanderson.
If you’ve already read this series including the two newer books, drop me a comment at the bottom of this post, I’d love to know what you thought.
Joe Abercrombie: Shattered Seas TrilogyThe first thing noticeable about the first book in this series, is how different the main character is… Obviously, most people are used to the handsomely heroic leads, or the shy but good-looking blatant hero in the making, but no. Joe Abercrombie’s starting character is none other than a one-handed crippled weakling.
These books are written in the way that each novel is during a different part of the timeline, for example and without giving too much away, some characters from the first book, whom appear as children, are fully grown in the second etc. Again, this ties in with fantastic character progression, you literally grow up with each person (provided they don’t die) as the story goes on, even better; you’re constantly having to reassess whether you actually even like this character still, as his (or her) personality changes as the tale unfolds.
I’d definitely recommend this trilogy if you’re the type that wants something more than the standard fantasy tale, something with an edge to it, something different.
Raymond E. Feist: The Riftwar Cycle
So let me start this one off by noting that this series is HUGE. The cycle is comprised of THIRTY THREE books, albeit three of which are short stories, but still… I mean Dayyyuuummm.
But please, don’t let the size of this series put you off, its fantastic, I’ve personally read every the entire series three times, where normally I can’t even re read a book once. I remember the first time I read the first part of the cycle, the trilogy aptly named “The Riftwar Saga”, I was but a kid, the novel more than likely stolen from my Uncle’s collection which at the time seemed to be comprised of every fantasy book ever written, although perhaps given to me by my mother, whom was also an avid fantasy reader… Regardless, I read the first three books as a child; which I’ll admit, I didn’t understand a lot of it, but enough that years later, the parts that I did understand, were still stuck in my head, to the extent, that I set to researching what the story was called that I remembered parts of so vvividly… this obviously led me back to the start of the cycle, this time to begin anew with a better understanding.
The books are literally magical… I mentioned in the first edition of my Top Fantasy Reads, how well the books written by Peter V Brett create the world it’s set in, with its lore and mythology, religion and characters… Raymond E. Feist does exactly the same thing, with exactly the same amount of talent, perhaps more as obviously this time, its spread over such a huge scale… Trust me, by the time you’ve finished just the first three books, you feel like you yourself have become an expert on the world of Midkemia, by the end of the Thirtieth… you pretty much feel like you live there.
This is probably the inner nerd in me speaking now, but at one point after finishing the cycle for the second time, I actually accidentally used a word from the book in conversation with someone at work… which of course wouldnt have been so bad if it was just something like… I dunno, Scimitar? But no… not only was the word I used incredibly geek sounding, it wasnt even in english, it was a word used by the Tsurani of Kelewan… Annoyingly, right now I can’t remember what the word actually was, but yeah… it wasn’t my finest moment.
Another thing that’s absolutely fantastic about the cycle, is that it’s not all set in one place, not even one world… each set of books within the cycle focuses on a different character, at some points even the Empress of the invading Tsurani of Kelewan, whom attack the citizens of Midkemia via the open rift between worlds… Shit, come on; what more do you want?
If that hadn’t already sweetened the pot enough, this series is the absolute king of character progression… throughout the cycle you go through generations of heroes and villains, new favourites are born by the book, just as often as old favourites die; and for once, sometimes not even by murder or something equally dark, just simply from old age.
Trust me on this one, if you’re looking for something more substantial to read; then this is most definitely for you.
If you missed the first issue of “Top Fantasy Reads”, click below to check it out.
This is where normally I thank you for reading my jibber jabber and all that nonsense, but unfortunately, this time I feel like I used up all of my soppyness at the beginning of the post, therefore I’m just going to let you bask in the supreme knowledge bestowed upon you by my deity like self… 😉
Have a good night Guys and Girls, And please dont forget to subscribe if you enjoyed the read!