Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Epic Fantasy

I had a relative ask me for a recommendation for Epic Fantasy.  I got so into writing one up, I thought it worth posting.  This is hardly an exhaustive list, merely what first jumped to mind for someone who knew of Tolkien and Jordan, and looking for more.

Name of the Wind (Kingkiller series) - Patrick Rothfuss
    (This one was a *lot* of fun.  It was the breakaway novel of last year with a lot of fun extra touches you don't always see with Epic Fantasy these days.  It's part of a trilogy, and unfortunately, the second isn't out yet, but it was pretty satisfying on it's own, too.)

The Summer Tree (Fionavar Tapestry), Tigana, Song for Arbonne or virtually anything else by Guy Gavriel Kay
     This guy just has such a beautiful poetic prose.  Everything he writes is simply gorgeous.  Fionavar is one of the few Tolkienesque stories that outrank Tolkien.  Most of these are older, however, so anyone reading fantasy for awhile will probably already know him.  Recent stuff includes the Sarantine Mosaic (2 book series) that was just as wonderful as the earlier stuff.

Mistborn (Final Empire) - Brandon Sanderson
     This is the rising star of Epic Fantasy, the guy they tapped to finish Robert Jordan's colossal Wheel of Time.  He's got lots of books, 5 different series or so.

Her Majesty's Dragon (Temaraire) - Naomi Novik
     Take the Napoleanic Wars ala Hornblower, but remove all the ships and stick in dragons.  With all the right historical touches, this was pretty awesome if you've got any swashbuckle in you at all.

Neverwhere, American Gods or Anansi Boys - Neil Gaimen
     (This guy is the Midas of Fantasy.  Everything he writes is fantastic.  He's got no real trilogy, only isolated works, but just about all of them are well-deserved award winners.  He'd by my favorite on this list if Kay didn't edge him out.)

Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
     We're moving from light to dark here, and this one gets *dark*, but it's because of the gritty realism that a lot of Epic fantasy folks just went absolutely nuts for it.  Really made this one gripping and unique.  Bonus points for having 5 books already out, so lots to read.  (I actually wrote this list before I'd seen any of the shows, but that's just an added bonus now!)

This is clearly just the tip of the iceberg.  I'd love to see comments with further recommendations for the ones I missed.   :^)

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