Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day of Rest


Shhhhhhhhh. One needs to gather one's wits from time to time. The thundering hooves of enemy combatants could be heard at any moment. Resting up now for upcoming battles.

Something to discuss (quietly) in the comments: Nathaniel is reading Don't Make a Scene by Valerie Block (about the manager of a cinema revival house) and enjoying it a lot but this picture of Viggo has Nathaniel thinking about how much he enjoys fantasy novels and he'd like to pick another up, soon. Problem: There are billions of them and they all sound/look the same on cover and jacket. Nathaniel will gladly take your recommendations in the comments, if you share this particular reading quirk.

22 comments:

Michael Parsons said...

Well if you haven't read them I urge you to read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Blew me away.

I loved "The Time Travelers Wife" and "Wicked" (of course.

Right now I am reading "City of Ember" and although it is a teenagers book, I am enjoying it to bits (some of us never 'mentally' age)

crazycris said...

dunno if you've read it yet... but I was more than pleasantly surprised by Paolini's Eragon and Eldest which I picked up for the first time last year...

otherwise, I also highly recommend an author I discovered a few years ago in Australia: Isobel Carmody. I picked up the "Legendsong" series (Darkfall and Darksong, impatiently awaiting the thrid), and I've heard that her "Obernewtyn" chronicles are excellent also (but I can't find them in Europe, have to wait for my next trip down under)

and then closer to sci-fi than fantasy (and closer to home for you): Tara K. Harper's "Wolfwalker" series... one of my favourites!

and on a slightly different note (originally intended for a younger audience), Isabel Allende's trilogy "City of Beasts", "Kingdom of the Golden Dragon" and "Forest of Pigmies"

Anonymous said...

the abhorsen trilogy by garth nix- sabriel, lirael, and abhorsen all very good.

Aaron said...

I second Michael. If you haven't read His Dark Materials or if you've only read the first one, keep going. I am in the middle of book two and I can't put it down.

Carl said...

Nathaniel:

I am not a big fan of fantasy; I tend towards hard science fiction. However, I have a "can't miss" prospect for you from one of the best writers working in speculative fiction today, if you have missed her so far -

"The Curse of Chalion" and "Paladin of Souls" by Lois McMaster Bujold.

The former is the first book that introduces her Quintarian fantasy realm; the second is her Hugo Award-winning follow-up. And (stop me if you've heard this one) these books massively reward in the re-reading.

Really, Bujold is brilliant. Getting started on her Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series is the literary equivalent of taking up crack.

viennarain said...

"Veronica" by Nicholas Christopher. I'm not even that big a fan of fantasy, and yet I loved this book. Very inventive and beautifully written.

JS said...

I don't know but how do you feel when it comes to female roles in literature? Do you think they don't get that good characters/characterization?

I recommend The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. You might feel it a bit feminist but I say just go and enjoy how much the ladies get to have this time around (you might have great thoughts on how they turned it around on the men as their society's premise).

El Gigante said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norel by Susanna Clarke is a great blend of historical fiction and fantasy (it takes place during the Napoleonic Wars). It's a dense, witty novel that never scrimps on period detail (an ongoing joke features pages and pages of cleverly written footnotes). It's about two dueling magicians (but VERY different from the Prestige).

My other suggestion would be The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfus which combines the academic setting of Harry Potter and the grueling adventure and heroics of Lord of the Rings.

Bernardo said...

I think they just translated the Memorias de Idhun (um...Memories of Idhun) Book 1 to English. It's by Laura Gallego Garcia and is one of my favorite fantasy novels ever

Anonymous said...

Ohoh - you've asked a question that really interests me - Sorry for the length of the post...

"To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis
A time travel employee suffering from time lag is sent to recuperate in an Edwardian summer. Like a P.G. Wodehouse time travel/comedy of manners tale.

http://www.epiphyte.net/SF/nothing-of-the-dog.html

"The Golden Key" by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, Kate Elliot
Renaissance Italy paintings affect real life events - the power of image, plus revenge, crossed love, kidnapping, and the struggle to be an artist.

http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Key-Daw-Book-Collectors/dp/0886778999

"The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde (yes, two f's)
The whole series of 4 (5?) books with Literary Detective Thursday Next are wonderful imaginative fun. A mix of real and literary characters plus time travel.

http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2002/01/24/fforde/index.html

"The Merlin Conspiracy" or the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones
(Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline says "Diana Wynne Jones is, quite simply, the best writer of magic there is, for readers of any age".)
When Jones was an English student at Oxford, her teachers were C.S. Lewis (Narnia series) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) and in some ways, she's better than either of them (wittier, funnier, faster action).

http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/book_jones_merlinconspiracy.html

Jen said...

I'm a veteran fantasy reader, and I just tore through the 4 novels of "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R R Martin (the 5th is still to be published). This series kicked my butt -- it was terrific. Pretty much high fantasy with a LIGHT dose of magic, mostly focusing on the politics of war in a pre-industrial setting.

Have you ever had the feeling, when reading a fantasy novel, that you just wish it could have been the "perfect" fantasy novel? This one totally delivers -- I felt I got everything I could possibly want from reading a fantasy series -- great characterizations, exciting and dramatic plot, a seasoning of the supernatural, an alternate world with its own geography and rules...

One warning -- George R R Martin is not particularly kind to his characters, or his readers. There's quite a lot of tragedy in these books, but they're totally worth it. The first book, "A game of thrones" took me about 100 pages to really get into and get hooked, and then I was a-goner for 4 books running (about 3500 pages!).

Anonymous said...

If you care about laughter, Terry Pratchett. Brilliant satirist, and funnier than Douglas Adams too.

SecretMargo said...

My favourite Sci-fi/Fantasy novels are those that blend the pleasures of both genres, like Joan D Vinge's absorbingly beautiful Snow Queen and Summer Queen 1-2 punch. Epic space opera tinged with fairy-tale and mythologically-drawn imagery and bursting with compelling female characters.

Emily said...

Nathaniel - I second Carl's comment on the brilliance of Lois McMaster Bujold's "Curse of Chalion" and "Paladin of Souls." Both are amazing books covering everything from politics and religion to romance and the quest for life purpose.

I also recommend the Earthsea series by Ursula LeGuin - an amazing set of stories but also a brilliant depiction of the struggle to create individual identity.

Emily said...

P.S. - I absolutely *love* this picture of Viggo - one of my favorites (and that's saying a lot, considering you've posted so many yummy ones over the years)!

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Ron said...

I second Jen's recommendation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. There's a reason why a significant number of readers consider the novels in the series among the all-time best in the genre.

Anonymous said...

I agree that some of the best fantasy novels are categorized under 'young adult'. I really liked the "Wind on Fire" trilogy by William Nicholson (who is maybe also a screenwriter?)

Oh, and Lloyd Alexander is always a classic

NATHANIEL R said...

ooh thanks for all these suggestions.

I've already read Lloyd Alexander's amazing Chronicles of Prydain (boy did Disney mess up that Black Cauldron movie -that has to be one of the dumbest adaptations... they even removed totally adaptable Disney-ish stuff, for less fun stuff. Weird) and His Dark Materials.

but some of these others I haven't heard of so i shall investigate.

I'm currently into Carol Berg's Rai-Kirah saga. but i'm almost finished with it.

Anonymous said...

My favorites are Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword or Hero and the Crown. Both are equally engrossing.

crazycris said...

I totally second Ursula LeGuinn's EarthSea series!!! I've read it at least 3 times! ;o)

mosquito wenzi said...

I third George R.R. Martin. A Song of Ice and Fire (which begins with A Game of Thrones) is the best fantasy I've read. Also, HBO has an option to adapt EACH novel as a twelve hour series. Oh man, I'm waiting for the green light on that one.