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Old 10-21-2006, 01:59 AM   #561
Saurreg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddwen
I just read "Anansi Boys" - I'd been wanting to read some of Gaiman mostly because of the talk around here. I'd read "Good Omens", but wasn't really impressed with the subject matter.

It's weird..."Anasi Boys" is very close to Douglas Adamses "Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". I found it an easier read (less "british" I suppose), but wow. Is Gaiman is the next Adams? Hmm. I'll have to get my hands on something else of his to be sure.
Anasi Boys was what my friends and I describe as Gaiman off tangent. It is a good read but nevertheless it fails to capture the dark gothic essence that made American Gods and Neverwhere such nightmarish pleasures. I thought the only good part was when "fatty' entered the African Dreamland and enlisted the aid of the animal spirits against his brother. The birdlady bit was scary.

Mr. Nancy (Anasi the Spider sprite) was fun, but I would have prefered it if the book was on other characters such as Mr. Ibis (Thoth), Mad Sweeney (Irish Leprechaun) or my fav, Mr. Jacquel (Anubis).

For those of you who are not in touch with mainstream comics, Mr. Gaiman is now scripting The Eternals for marvel comics.
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Old 10-21-2006, 11:23 AM   #562
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Saurreg, what didn't you like about Wizard of Earthsea? I read this not that long after reading LotR for the first time and it was one of the scant few other fantasy books that impressed me - a failing which lasts to this day. I must read Earthsea again soon.

However, I can't as I've a few new books now. I've just got hold of the compilation of the first four Books of Magic - scripted by Neil Gaiman, with some Charles Vess illustrations. Some of the following volumes also look good, despite not being scripted by Gaiman; there was an interesting one telling the story of the Faerie Queen's life. I saw a new collection of Neil's shorter fiction and other writings has just come out - Fragile Things. Here's a poem by him in Journal Of Mythic Arts.

I've also picked up Susanna Clarke's new volume of shorter writings - The Ladies of Grace Adieu. This includes a story about the Raven King, John Uskglass. It's a very nice edition as I decided to splash out an extra £10 and get the boxed, special edition one.
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Old 10-21-2006, 12:36 PM   #563
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I did not like the Wizard of Earthsea because it was IMO lacking in descriptions and details unlike LoTRs or the other fantasy books. I couldn't picture anything much from the narrative and felt so detached from the characters that I couldn't care less whether Ged won or lost at the end... Perhaps the Tombs of Atuan with its ancient temples, blood sacrifices and such would work better.


Susanna Clark eh? Did she write Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell? It was voted by my varsity's book club as the best fantasy book of the year back when it just came out. I should make time to look for a copy of that book that everyone swore by, however priority must be given to Don Quixote by Cervantes (Penguin Books edition).

P.S: Anyone here read Promethea by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III? Some would consider it as mere main stream comic or worse, cheesecake filler. I however think that the story was as good as that of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
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Old 10-21-2006, 05:31 PM   #564
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Originally Posted by Saurreg
I did not like the Wizard of Earthsea because it was IMO lacking in descriptions and details unlike LoTRs or the other fantasy books. I couldn't picture anything much from the narrative and felt so detached from the characters that I couldn't care less whether Ged won or lost at the end... Perhaps the Tombs of Atuan with its ancient temples, blood sacrifices and such would work better.


Susanna Clark eh? Did she write Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell? It was voted by my varsity's book club as the best fantasy book of the year back when it just came out. I should make time to look for a copy of that book that everyone swore by, however priority must be given to Don Quixote by Cervantes (Penguin Books edition).

P.S: Anyone here read Promethea by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III? Some would consider it as mere main stream comic or worse, cheesecake filler. I however think that the story was as good as that of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
Well from what I remember (I really must read it again, I picked it up and read a chapter a few weeks ago but had to lay it to one side as I was in the middle of something else) there wasn't all that much description either! Funnily enough I found the first book the best - not all of them had even been published when I read it (think it was only a trilogy?). But Ursula Le Guin seems to go more for getting into the heads of characters. I liked the way it was a lot darker than LotR though - you need contrasts like that - darker books and more hopeful stories.

Now I'd recommend Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to anyone. A mad mixture of dark faerie, the Napoleonic wars and all served up in an Austen/Dickens style. With footnotes. A slow building story, you won't be able to put it down as you hit the final third part. The Penguin Don Quixote is a good translation anyway so davem says - he read it last year.

Also I opened up my copy of The Ladies Of Grace Adieu earlier (it was sealed in plastic) and was pleasantly surprised to find its full of fab Charles Vess illustrations.

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Old 10-21-2006, 11:28 PM   #565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
Well from what I remember (I really must read it again, I picked it up and read a chapter a few weeks ago but had to lay it to one side as I was in the middle of something else) there wasn't all that much description either! Funnily enough I found the first book the best - not all of them had even been published when I read it (think it was only a trilogy?). But Ursula Le Guin seems to go more for getting into the heads of characters. I liked the way it was a lot darker than LotR though - you need contrasts like that - darker books and more hopeful stories.

Now I'd recommend Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to anyone. A mad mixture of dark faerie, the Napoleonic wars and all served up in an Austen/Dickens style. With footnotes. A slow building story, you won't be able to put it down as you hit the final third part. The Penguin Don Quixote is a good translation anyway so davem says - he read it last year.

Also I opened up my copy of The Ladies Of Grace Adieu earlier (it was sealed in plastic) and was pleasantly surprised to find its full of fab Charles Vess illustrations.
As far as I know it, there are four Earthsea stories in the compilation (The Earthsea Quartet, Penguin Books 1993 edition) that I bought.

The Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
Tehanu

I have finished the first story and am into the third chapter of the second. Suffice to say I am starting to like Arha the High Priestess of the Nameless Ones very much for she strikes me as more "human' than Ged. I liked her vulnerability, her loneliness, haughtiness and shockingly yes, even her nonchalance in giving death or life. The description of the tombs and the ritual of seance with the Old Gods was also highly agreeable with yours truly.

So it is settled! The book about English magiks immediately after the book on a wayward insane Spaniard. Thank you for your recommendation.

I have read the illustrated Stardust that was illustrated by Charles Vess. IMO one of the best graphic novels for the pictures conveyed atmosphere and moods that the words cannot. Oddly, I like to read that book whilst listening to Kate Bush's The Dreaming. So I will keep in mind The Ladies of Grace Adieu whenever I head into the bookshops.

I have a feeling that my free time for the rest of this year would be spent very fruitfully.
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:48 AM   #566
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I have read the illustrated Stardust that was illustrated by Charles Vess. IMO one of the best graphic novels for the pictures conveyed atmosphere and moods that the words cannot. Oddly, I like to read that book whilst listening to Kate Bush's The Dreaming. So I will keep in mind The Ladies of Grace Adieu whenever I head into the bookshops.

I have a feeling that my free time for the rest of this year would be spent very fruitfully.
The Charles Vess illustrated Stardust is the best. And I only managed to pick it up by mistake, when I found it in York's excellent little comic book shop when I was just browsing one day. Well worth the few extra quid and effort involved to get it!
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:24 AM   #567
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Currently reading The Moonshae Trilogy .
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Old 10-23-2006, 09:31 PM   #568
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Has anyone read R.A. Salvatore, Terry Brooks, David Farland, Steven Eriksson?
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:00 AM   #569
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On the Earthsea-books

They certainly lack the sort of detailed description most fantasy books (walking in Tolkien's footsteps) are full of, but I don't see it as a fault. On the contrary, it works. Le Guin uses a certain simplicity and roughness and it impressed me greatly when I reread the books a while ago. She has no need to overdo anything. I, for one, love her personal style and name her one of my favourite authors.

After A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, two Earthsea books have been published. Tales from Earthsea is a collection of short stories set in the Earthsea and one of them works as a kind of bridge from Tehanu to the next actual book. The next actual book is called The Other Wind and "completes" the story.

In my opinion, the original three (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore) are brilliant and way better than the newer ones, but the newer ones are not bad either. I especially recommend the short stories of Tales from Earthsea. Of all the books my favourite is the Tombs of Atuan, it has a wonderful, dark atmosphere I've found in no other book.
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:28 AM   #570
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What about Neal Stephenson's highly acclaimed Baroque Trilogy? Now those were the best fantasy books I've read in a while.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:38 AM   #571
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Quote:
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Has anyone read R.A. Salvatore, Terry Brooks, David Farland, Steven Eriksson?
Salvatore is of my faves, and Brooks is very good.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:29 PM   #572
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As of now, The Thousand Orcs , and about to start book 2, The Lone Drow . I highly recommend them!

By the way, these are part of The Hunter's Blades trilogy by R.A. Salvatore, just in case.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:06 AM   #573
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I've had a quick look at Naomi Novik's (I think that's how its spelled...) Temeraire, and so far it looks to be a decent 'young adult' fantasy novel. Out on the blog circuit we've been talking about Eragon too, as I'm tempted to read this, with the new film coming out. Opinion seems divided over whether it's good or just a 'Rings-rip-off'. Anyone else here care to let me know if its worth a go? After all, I do like dragons...

The Books Of Magic compilation was very good, and had some absolutely stunning illustration, so that's worth finding - it groups together the first four tales, all written by Gaiman. It made me a little suspicious of where the idea for Harry Potter came from though...
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:00 PM   #574
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Out on the blog circuit we've been talking about Eragon too, as I'm tempted to read this, with the new film coming out. Opinion seems divided over whether it's good or just a 'Rings-rip-off'. Anyone else here care to let me know if its worth a go? After all, I do like dragons...
I have heard negative feedback on Eragon, which surprises me since I absolutely loved the book. I originally read it because I knew the movie would be coming out in December- a film I am now looking forward to more than anything. While it may be no work of Tolkien, the novel is exciting and fast paced. I couldn't put the book down and though I don't normally buy hardcovers and usually wait for the paperbacks, I knew there was no way I could wait until March to buy the next book Eldest, so I ordered it before I finished Eragon. I still find it amazing that this author was only fifteen when he started the book- while his writing may not be the most original, he still does a good job and knows how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The way dragons are portrayed in the novel is different than what I'm used to reading- Paolini gives them very humanistic qualities. If you like dragons, then I definitely recommend giving Eragon a try. But beware, the trilogy is not yet finished, so if you like it, you will be left hanging until the final book is published.
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:17 PM   #575
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I tried reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, but couldn't choke through the second book. It was fine, an okay little series, until suddenly without warning I got to some really weirded-up sexual bondage mistress women in the tenth chapter. *gag*

In the past few weeks I also read Sabriel, first in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, I liked it and I'd read more but my new library is less then stellar in the keeping of the second book of a series on the shelf. Either that or

I also picked up the Tiffany Aching & Johnny Maxwell series by Pratchett, and am looking forward to those.

Eragon...it was okay. Paolini goes into a little too much needless detail I think, and the main character is your average insecure boy who comes into posession of a magical object and is the sole savior of the free world. And magical ability is pretty much treated as video-game-like hit points, which annoyed me to no end. I am looking very much forward to the movie though.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:55 AM   #576
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Just got to stick this recommendation on here. Some time ago Pio mentioned a graphic novel called The Book of Ballads, illustrated by Charles Vess and written by a number of people including Neil Gaiman and Alan Lee's wife. Anyway I met with davem in Waterstones yesterday afternoon and he'd found a copy. I've already read most of it and it's superb!

It's a collection of tales/strips based on folk songs. There's a tale based on Tam Lin and another on Sovay, both favourite old songs of mine. It's definitely for grown-ups and those of grown-up outlook (as are most folk songs!), but its a beautiful book which sowns how fantastic the stories of folk songs are. As a bonus at the back you get a section detailing where you might find some of these great songs, mostly on folk-rock and acid-folk albums of the late 60s/70s (e.g. Fairport, Pentangle etc but also on modern albums by Kate Rusby and Martin Carthy.

Well worth reading for any fans of Fairy tales, folk songs or graphic novels!
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:43 AM   #577
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Homeland , book one of the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore.
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Old 11-30-2006, 06:27 PM   #578
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I just started reading Eragon on the adivce of my friend. I'm having mixed respones to it. It has potential, but thus far I am unimpressed. I'm really hoping it picks up, but it could be so good.
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Old 12-11-2006, 01:20 AM   #579
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Tolkien

Oh dear, this list could end up pretty long. I think I'll just list authors. First on the list would be Lewis of course, followed by Robert Jordan, who has started to annoy me lately. I dislike the material by Christopher Paolini and Raymond E. Feist, its just one cliché after another. I was pretty into David Eddings a few months back, but his later series began to irritate me. R.A. Salvatore's all right. I absolutely despise J.K. Rowling, I'm not alone in that. I'm sure there are a bunch of others I could name, but I can't think of them right now.

Huh, that actually wasn't very long. Go figure.

EDIT: Well, I just remembered a few more to give my opinions on. Ursula Le Guin and Susan Cooper are both decent, and surprisingly original.
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:05 AM   #580
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I've owned both the Dark Elf and the Icewind Dale trilogies for years and actually even brought them to school with me. I really ought to start reading them. But confound it all, why do those books have to be so darned heavy?

I enjoy R.A. Salvatore's writing, I do, but I can never seem to finish any of his books I start. His series just seem to last forever, and well, I just don't have the time or money to keep reading a 16 book (plus) series....
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Old 12-11-2006, 11:11 AM   #581
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I've owned both the Dark Elf and the Icewind Dale trilogies for years and actually even brought them to school with me. I really ought to start reading them. But confound it all, why do those books have to be so darned heavy?

I enjoy R.A. Salvatore's writing, I do, but I can never seem to finish any of his books I start. His series just seem to last forever, and well, I just don't have the time or money to keep reading a 16 book (plus) series....
I know what you mean. I must have read half of every Forgotten Realms book before having to stop...not that they were bad or anything. But I am on book 2 of the Dark Elf Trilogy, Exile, and I must say that I am screaming through that trilogy. I am really impressed with Salvatore, and this saga is capturing my time.
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:53 AM   #582
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Well...except Tolkien's books not much.
I always enjoy reading from to time my books with different Romanian fairy-tales, they remind me of my childhood, because they were among the first books I ever read.
I also own the Harry Potter series, but I can't say I'm such a big fan...
Lastly I tried to read some other Elf, Dwarf or Orc-related books but I soon stopped. These writers clearly can't be compared to Tolkien and the story always seemed boring to me...
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Old 12-30-2006, 06:50 PM   #583
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Leaf Other fantasy books?

I have read others such as: The Dark is Rising Series, The Harry Potter Series, Eragon and The Eldest.


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These writers clearly can't be compared to Tolkien and the story always seemed boring to me...
I completely agree. The best fantasy books that I have ever read were created by Tolkien, and non can truly compare. Some come close, yet I believe that non have yet to reach that height that Tolkien reached in his writing.
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Old 12-31-2006, 04:18 AM   #584
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And what I also dislike is that many of these writers use Tolkien's fame ro gain more success for there books. I was in the library a few days ago and I saw a book in German called "Orks" and on the cover underneath the title the following was also written:

"Here they return, the villains of Tolkien's writings, the Orks"

I mean, how low can you get to use someone else's name on your cover for more publicity...
Bad thing is many people actually think it's ME- and Tolkien-related and actually fall for that.
I looked through the book and soon found it was not very interesting

There was of course a map at the end, but the names were clearly randomly chosen. That is also one thing I admired about Tolkien, the names always made sense, but here there just some "The Peak of Argizil" or something like that which clearly took them no longer then 3 seconds to mak up.

And the worst is the way some writers find the names for theirs characters.
There is another book called "The Trolls" I also looked in, it was a story about Men fighting Trolls

And to my surprise all Mannish names were of Hungarian origin, and all Troll names were of Romanian origin...
there even was a Troll with MY NAME ! (wasn't very happy about that)
a little more creativity could be shown...

but I guess they don't really care, they know kids these days like something like that and will probably buy no matter what quality it has

another thing I very much disliked are the maps themselves...in the Orks book all took place in some strange land (with a probably just as strange name) which was encircled by mountains...but there as no explanation given as to how it was created...etc.

I don't say all other fantasy books are bad, by noo means...
but some really are
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:56 AM   #585
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I read Mystic Warrior and Mystic Quest by Tracy & Laura Hickman for a book review for the newspaper my mum's working in and was again astonished by the low quality of the "mass" fantasy.

During the long years I've read fantasy, I've developed a radar that sorts the interesting books. As a result, I hardly ever read bad fantasy books; I know one when I see one. (I did read first of the Wheel of Time after my friend persuading me to do it for months - and I almost threw it to the wall on page three after discovering the baddie's name (Shai'tan) and again a few pages later when the hero sees a Black Rider and etc...)

I just dislike Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance and that sort of fantasy. They're flat, predictable, full of clichés, unoriginal and badly written. I wonder who enjoys reading that stuff.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:18 PM   #586
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I recently bought Doppelganger and its sequel Warrior and Witch by Marie Brennan. I've only started on the first few pages of the first book, but I'm excited to read both of them.

Other sci-fi/fantasy books on my shelf that I have yet to read:

-Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card (I need to re-read Ender's Game before starting on this one)
-A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
-Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip
-Mossflower and Red Wall by Brian Jacques
-The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
-The Dark Elf and Icewind Dale Trilogies by R.A. Salvatore

Most of these books were gifts from different people, and I just have not gotten around to reading them...
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:38 AM   #587
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I just dislike Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance and that sort of fantasy. They're flat, predictable, full of clichés, unoriginal and badly written. I wonder who enjoys reading that stuff.
I must say that I agree with you on the most part, but there is one author who holds my attention. Surely you have heard of R.A. Salvatore. He rises so far above the other Forgotten Realms authors with his works.

I do agree, though, that the Forgotten Realms books and Dragonlance books do seem very predictable on the whole. They seem like they were written for the purpose of expanding a world, and not giving the reader an adventure. So on that note, Thinlomien, I must say that I agree with you.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:18 AM   #588
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I must say that I agree with you on the most part, but there is one author who holds my attention. Surely you have heard of R.A. Salvatore. He rises so far above the other Forgotten Realms authors with his works.
I have heard this kind of comments about Salvatore before. So do you think I should give Salavatore a try? If yes, which book you would recommend for me to read first?
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:06 AM   #589
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I have heard this kind of comments about Salvatore before. So do you think I should give Salavatore a try? If yes, which book you would recommend for me to read first?
If you do not plan on reading Salvatore's whole Drizzt saga from the beginning and would just like to get a good glance at his writing, I would recommend reading The Thousand Orcs or The Crystal Shard. These two are the first of two of his trilogies. The whole Drizzt saga (if you want to start to read from the very beginning) is below.

The Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland, Exile, Sojourn)
The Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, (The Halfling's Gem)
Legacy of the Drow (The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, Passage to Dawn)
Paths of Darkness (The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, Servant of the Shard, Sea of Swords)
The Hunter's Blades Trilogy (The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, The Two Swords)

Right now, I am on Sojourn, book 3 of the first trilogy. I hope you enjoy them, Thinlomien!

Just a heads up: The Dark Elf Trilogy is a really, really dark story. But its good.
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:39 PM   #590
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i've been reading Roverandom, and Smith of Wootton Major.

I enjoyed them alot.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:58 AM   #591
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Thanks for advice, ninja. Having thought of it, I'll probably still start with the dark Elf trilogy, being the most famous one. If I get hooked and have to read that load of books... my own fault I guess. And you can always stop reading a series if you dislike it.
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:33 PM   #592
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I don't read much fantasy nowadays, though I just can't get away from Tolkien. I've read...The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen r. Donaldson
The Earthsea Trilogy
The Mists of Avalon
Lots of Arthurian books, come to think of it.
And, gee, that's about it.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:04 PM   #593
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The Earthsea Trilogy
Very nice - now where did I put mine? The Narnia books got me hooked as a kid. Apart from these I tend to like ancient folk lore and sagas; Beowulf, the Mabinogion and other Celtic stuff, the Viking Sagas etc. The source material for much of the genre, which makes me quite critical of a lot of it.

I have read Conan and Elric, but gave them away - okayish but...

I refuse to touch a Potter book. I don't know why. Snobbery probably.
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:56 PM   #594
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George R.R. Martin is really good. Nowadays I despair when i see all the junk in the fantasy section. I swear the books are full of Mary-Sues and Stews!
Luckily George R.R. Martin writes intelligent fantasy. You can see that he put a lot of thought into his world, characters and plot. So I am really enjoying those books.
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:40 PM   #595
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I read the first two books of the dark elf trilogy...I've got the third requested. They were okay - I was rather disappointed in the Zaknafein character, I thought they'd at least make him a light-elf in disguise or something. Since when did opinions become genetic? Though zombifying him was cool. (I have an innate fondness for it now because it introduced me in a roundabout way to "The Order of the Stick")

I'm re-reading His Dark Materials, I remember they bothered me for some reason but I don't remember why.

I also picked up Pratchett's latest in the Tiffany Aching series, "Wintersmith". It's good. Nothing really special, I think though.
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:17 PM   #596
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i'm half-way on the Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Fesit, the first two books were great, the third one is a little slow but i expect it to pick up faster now

i've also read the Conclave of Shadows series by Feist, so now i have to backtrack myself and start at beginning...
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:33 AM   #597
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Read His Dark Materials recently first two books good third one crap especially the ending. Is that 12 year old having sex??? and I also started reading Wheel of Time but became sick of the awfulness of the female characters and gave up
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:16 AM   #598
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Read His Dark Materials recently first two books good third one crap especially the ending. Is that 12 year old having sex???
Were they really so young?

I'd say that His Dark Materials is one of the best trilogys I've ever read.
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Old 01-29-2007, 12:25 PM   #599
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Read His Dark Materials recently first two books good third one crap especially the ending. Is that 12 year old having sex??? and I also started reading Wheel of Time but became sick of the awfulness of the female characters and gave up
I don't think it went that far to be fair! It was about love, not lust! I thought the last book was a let down too, but now I've been through them four times I think I've really got at what Pullman was trying to say - it's difficult to understand it but re-reading really does bring it out.

Now I have a pile of vintage children's fantasy to read as my parents have brought me my ancient stack of Rupert the Bear annuals (about 1954 - 1980) - they are lovely! There's not enough Raggety though....
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Old 01-30-2007, 04:16 AM   #600
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I think the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy is very good, but the second and the third one just didn't have the same magic and power. I got the feeling Pullman had used his best ideas in the first book and nothing but scraps was left to the later ones.
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