Amph Book Recommendations

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by NYCitygurl, Feb 4, 2006.

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  1. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    Jul 20, 2002
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    Oh, yeah, I know, I was just replying to Excellence's question.
  2. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    On the contrary, Raja_Io, I'd never recommned my favouite books, the way fashion designers are really making clothes for their costume catwalk mannequins and not you. I mentioned a few barely average reads in my list.

    I pointed out only a small sample that I found to be better written to the others I've read. I saw The Magicians' Guild recommend above, but didn't include it myself as it's just a Potter wannabe for kids, with serious writing issues. Neither did I offer The Second Sons Trilogy. While having some good electric tension in the first book, the subsequent two are predictable, never surprising and seriously simply prosed. Hardly works of art. How Myrren's Gift got even published is absolutley incredible. It's an absolute joke.

    LOTRers might like Ian Irvine's View from the Mirror quadrilogy. I personally don't recommend it for a sithload of reasons, but I could see how it would appeal to others. I regrettably bought all four at once, so one day I'll have to finish them off.

    I should point out, most books I've mentioned here have very little or no disgusting fantasy archetypes. No fair-haired elfs, no bearded dwarfs with axes, no chili breath dragons and other cliche elements that disease fantasy like fleas on a dog.
  3. The_Flargg Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
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    Matthew Stover's Blade of Tyshalle. I know some of you don't like Stover's style of both prose and character development, but this book is superior to anything he's placed in the Star Wars universe. But you should read Heroes Die first.

    Also, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem is excellent. Weird, provocative, and well-written. It's the best psychological sci-fi I've read.
  4. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    e War of the Flowers, Tad Williams

    I am reading this currently! I am not that far in yet though. But i liked his otherworld series and the memory sorrow and thorne books quite a bit.
  5. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 28, 2002
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    Really? Heard it had excessive filler material to expand the Otherworld books.
  6. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I bought the first book in the Otherworld series, but I'm only a couple pages in.
  7. RolandofGilead Manager Emeritus

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    Jan 17, 2001
    star 7
    I'm so uncool I'm not familiar with most of these recommendations. I guess I'm more of the Reader's Digest kind of Sci-fi/Fantasy fan. :(
  8. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    2yrs ago, I knew nothing of fantasy myself. Two dozen books later, that has changed. You can't actually research the stores, you have to research with people for the finer meat.
  9. RevantheJediMaster Jedi Master

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    Jun 12, 2005
    star 4
    I know the Prydain Chronicles is a young adult series but it really is a great fantasy series in my opinion.
  10. FatBurt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 5
    I recommended the Magicians Guild above simply because it has Potteresque tendancies and as a result I felt it would appeal to alot of people.

    I agree that there are writing issues but I found the idea behind the story to be very good and as such found the book to be enjoyable, it's far from being one of my favorites (Thats reserved for Magician) but for a book to pick up, read and enjoy I found it to be very capable.


  11. malcolm-darth-am-i Jedi Master

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    May 21, 2005
    star 4
    Any Timothy Zhan book SW or no SW. Amazing, one of the best Sci/Fi authors of all time.
  12. Queen_Pixie Jedi Master

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    Jul 20, 1999
    star 4
    Good luck on Otherworld. I've had the book for awhile now, and can never make it thru chapter 3. It's rather slow moving.
  13. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

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    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    Good luck on Otherworld. I've had the book for awhile now, and can never make it thru chapter 3. It's rather slow moving.

    I have to say, the first book was so confusing. I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on with the Jonas character. But once i made it through thr first book, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were awesome.
  14. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    The Magicians' Guild was one of my first fantasy reads the other year, and it's littered with problems. Like Shadow Hunter repeating the same scene from different povs---idiocy---this too repeats the same chase-the-girl plot for not chapters, but hundreds of pages.

    Many of the other issues I'd bring up are due to it being a young adult book, I would dearly have loved to see some label in the interior flap saying it was, so I can avoid such books. You can't tell from the backcover what is mature and what is teen. It's infuriating; word of mouth is my only hope.
  15. dontlookatmethatway Jedi Knight

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    Jul 5, 2005
    star 3
    How fascinating. In the past, I always have recommended the books that I like the most. Very rarely have I said "I didn't like this, but you might." Now I'm trying to decide whether I really should pick my recommended books that way. This brings up another thing that I like about this site: the people that visit. I have started to look for book reviews from Mastadge and Excellence. I find that I often agree with Mastadge (I found the Malazan Book of the Fallen series and the Prince of Nothing series because he recommended them. I love those books.) and Excellence, while he criticizes a lot of books, always has interesting comments.

    On the subject of book recommendations, I can only add The Prince of Nothing series. My other two recommendations (Malazan Book of the Fallen and A Song of Ice and Fire) have already been mentioned.
  16. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I've yet to read The Prince of Nothing Trilogy, but hear it also underclasses women, as 80 percent of fantasy does. Along with elf/dwarf/dragon cliche, this severely limits my fantasy reading, but also means I'm focusing on the best. I'm fed up with seeing seeing weak and strong women inferior to males, and was pleased the Malazan books dispense with this nonsense. Why authors base their totally imaginary worlds on primative medieval European history I don't know.
  17. Sanctimoniously Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2005
    star 5
    Your silence tells me I made good suggestions...
  18. dontlookatmethatway Jedi Knight

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    Jul 5, 2005
    star 3
    I still don't see why you don't like this. It's nothing more than a common feature of the world that fantasy authors create.

    I also don't understand why you have such an aversion to the more common things included in fantasy books. They are just commonly used. I will enjoy a book with elves/dwarves/dragons in it if the author does something interesting with them. I'll even enjoy a book that has them as a classical stereotype as long as there is something else within that book that makes it worth while.

    Why not? What makes basing your world in a medieval time period so bad?
  19. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

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    May 28, 2002
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    I read a series by Octavia E Butler, and I really enjoyed it. It's a series that crosses over like, hmm from 1700s to way way in the future. It focuses on women, alien/human interaction (to a very strong degree), and the series was quite amazing. I don't generally recommend it to people, though, as it's a bit weird. Dawn is the first book though.
  20. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    To put it simply, why, just about every fantasy book has the cliche archetypes.

    It's as simple as that. A delicate synthesied blend of repetition, cliche and unimaginative material. Fair haired elfs who also happent to be wise; growling bearded dwarfs with axes; ugly bad orcies; and lets not forget dragons. Endless dragons. Farmboy heroes with special swords . . . always swords, for some reason, hardly spears or warhammers or Dorothy's magical ruby shoes. Sounds exciting, does it? To read the same stuff. The catch: it's not.

    What's wrong with basing your absolutely make believe world on primative European history? Not only men but even women authors have this incredibly irrestible urge to make females subservient to superior men. It never ceases to puzzle me. One day I must ask a lady author the critical question: why. I could have liked Hobb's Homecoming in the Legends 2 anthology if the wife hadn't loyally submitted to her family-abandoning hubby when he came back for one night, because it was her duty. Discard his family next morning, of course. I've had a Sadowful of it. It's everywhere; I can't escape. No book is really safe to read, I just never know when I might read, someone help meeee---

    Well, I have found a few authors. A few small people willing to take a dangerous risk and show something . . . different. To balance it out, they usualy throw in a dragon or two just to annoy me, but I can't have it all. But what really repulses me more than a blonde elf is subclassed women in books. All because their authors want to do the "realistic" thing and parallel it to our primative society which really wasn't all that long ago.

    Why not make your own creatures and species?

    Good question, one I've given serious thought to. I've narrowed the infection down to two Donkey Kong apes: publisher preference, publisher submission. Perhaps the archetype stories outnumber the manuscripts they get. Perhaps they get a Bithload of subpar manuscripts, and they can't reject too much or have insufficient to publish. Whatever the reason, it's ramifications affect the freshness and creativity buyers can read, and in an odd way, this is actually good for new entrants.
  21. barabel_humour Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2005
    star 4
    You're probably right about it being the publishers pushing for stereotypical, familiar mythical creatures because IIRC The Hobbit was turned down countless times because they thought the little creatures were too out-there; and because he insisted on changing dwarf, dwarfen and dwarfs to dwarven and dwarves.

    Oh, and I agree, it really irritates me that females are subclasses in most fantasy mostly because I find it hard to identify with damsels in distress or love-lorn waifs.
  22. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I like when the fantasy books have strong female leads. Tirzah from Sara Douglass's Threshhold and the sisters (Sarra, Cailet, and their older sis) in Melanie Rawn's The Ruins of Abrai come to mind.

    As for the Magician's Guild trilogy, I actually liked them. Sure, they were lacking quite a bit, and I wish that she could have at least gotten together with Doran at the end, that or the other guy lived but all around, I enjoyed them. Sure, the chase in the first book got really old really fast, and maybe it's because while I have read quite a bit of fantasy, probably nothing compared to most people, and the fact that I'm still a teenager, I liked it (wow, talk about a run-on . . .).
  23. dontlookatmethatway Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2005
    star 3
    That's your only reason? That the authors subclass women more in medieval fantasy worlds? Why is it more to you than a feature of the fantasy world created by the author? From what I've read of your posts, this specific detail is more to you than just another piece of world-building. It affects the quality of the book. The book actually becomes less good if women are subclassed in it. I don't see how you can blur the line between the book and the world created within it. I always keep these things separate. A good example is 1984. I don't like many aspects of the world created in that book, but I think it is a well-written piece of literature.

    This sentence is indicative of what I don't like about your position. You reject the dragon simply because of the fact that it's a dragon. You don't leave room for extenuating circumstances of any sort. You don't say "There's a dragon in this book, but I don't think that including it was a bad idea because of these reasons." For you, putting a dragon in a book is bad no matter what. And to be frank, I find that rather small-minded. Now if I'm wrong, (and I could be) feel free to clarify your position on the matter.
  24. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    That's right. I accept no excuses. :D

    Why don't you count how many authors use dragons and get back to me? You'll find the number quite staggering. Essentially, if a book can't show basic creativity than it's not a book I need to read.

    Nat, I've always been puzzled by that book. Canavan's first novel had so many writing faults I'm buffled how it got past any editor, beating thousands of submissions. The front and backcovers looked interesting, but I didn't know it was so simplistic. I haven't read the rest of the trilogy, but I think there was a touch of homosexual relationship with Danni, wasn't there?

    Interesting to know, Barbel humour. Society was quite different then. A damsel rescuing her rescuers caused a reaction 30yrs ago (Star Wars 4), so who knows? Only other old books I've read was The Time Traveller, some Twain books and a bit of Stoker's Dracula before it vanished. It gives me an idea how prose has developed over a century.
  25. NJOfan215 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    I really like stranger from a strange land by heinline
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