Reddit mentions: The best fantasy books
We found 11,479 Reddit comments discussing the best fantasy books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 3,035 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
1. Unsouled (Cradle Book 1)
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|Release date||June 2016|
2. Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension Book 1)
- Size: Standard
- 100% acrylic
- Measures 64" long x 5" wide
- Yarn tassels at each end
- Officially licensed
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|Release date||February 2017|
3. Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos)
- Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos)
- Hyperion & The Fall of Hyperion 2 Book Set
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|Release date||February 1990|
|Number of items||1|
4. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1)
- ✔ NOTE: Please put the back of your smartphone to the zipper pull, which will help you protect your phone screens; This wristlet can NOT put two smartphones simultaneously!
- ✔ Smooth Retro coppery tone hardware, no rust, classy.
- ✔ Made by dense canvas, soft polyester interior, eco-friendly, lightweight, scratch-resistant.
- ✔ Multi-function: 1 large compartment + 4 card slots + 1 hidden zip pocket + 1 outside rear zip pocket - for cash, over 5 credit cards, checkbooks, bills, lipsticks, etc
- ✔ Dimensions: 7.87 x 4.72 x 0.6 inches, handy. Fit smartphones under 5.7 inches barely or with slim phone case.
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|Release date||August 2010|
5. Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set (Mistborn, The Hero of Ages, & The Well of Ascension)
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|Release date||November 2009|
|Number of items||1|
6. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: Deluxe Pocket Boxed Set
- Bookazine Bertrams (Stock)
- Ideal for a bookworm
- Easy to read text
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|Release date||October 2014|
|Number of items||1|
7. House of Blades (The Traveler's Gate Trilogy Book 1)
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|Release date||June 2013|
8. Perdido Street Station
- China Miéville, Perdido Street Station, paperback
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|Release date||July 2003|
|Number of items||1|
9. Savage Worlds Customizable GM Screen (S2P10002)
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10. Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book No. 1)
Dedication, acknowledgments & map.
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|Release date||July 2007|
|Number of items||1|
12. Awaken Online: Catharsis
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|Release date||July 2016|
13. The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 1)
- movement Cal. 6S21, quartz-controlled chronograph
- water resistant
- date display
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|Release date||November 2015|
14. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
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|Release date||June 1997|
|Number of items||1|
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|Release date||December 1984|
|Number of items||1|
16. The Deed of Paksenarrion: A Novel (Baen Fantasy)
- BILTIN ABEC-7 BEARINGS single set
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|Release date||February 1992|
|Number of items||1|
17. Cradle, Foundation: Box Set (Cradle Collection Book 1)
- Pkg include:1x Wood Edge Slicker and 1free BESTCYC logo stylus
- Length:about 14cm/5.5 inch
- The burnishing tool features 4 grooves that accommodate leather edges of varying thickness, tapering to a point to finish holes and tight corners.Add sleek, professional edge finishes to belts, holsters and saddles.
- Ideal for small curved that are often hard to reach
- Great for embossing
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|Release date||October 2017|
18. His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1)
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|Release date||March 2006|
|Number of items||1|
19. Ascend Online
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|Release date||October 2016|
20. The Emperor's Edge
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- Tips: Please use this anal plug with lubricant. Lots of shapes to choose from and wonderful collection. Add to your sex experience.Try it boldly to make your sexual love no longer monotonous.
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|Release date||December 2010|
🎓 Reddit experts on fantasy books
The comments and opinions expressed on this page are written exclusively by redditors. To provide you with the most relevant data, we sourced opinions from the most knowledgeable Reddit users based the total number of upvotes and downvotes received across comments on subreddits where fantasy books are discussed. For your reference and for the sake of transparency, here are the specialists whose opinions mattered the most in our ranking.
Total score: 1,556
Number of comments: 308
Relevant subreddits: 6
Total score: 439
Number of comments: 159
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Total score: 331
Number of comments: 91
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Total score: 155
Number of comments: 48
Relevant subreddits: 3
Total score: 143
Number of comments: 42
Relevant subreddits: 5
Total score: 136
Number of comments: 122
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Total score: 119
Number of comments: 61
Relevant subreddits: 5
Total score: 113
Number of comments: 46
Relevant subreddits: 2
Total score: 79
Number of comments: 79
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 49
Number of comments: 46
Relevant subreddits: 7
>It's basically asking if turning-completeness exists for for all states of intelligence, that all it needs is time (faster clock speeds or actual time) to make a "breakthrough".
Some insights never "click" if the disparate information doesn't arrive in consciousness at the same time (or get activated simultaneously at a subconscious level). Certainly, an AI would likely be able to think faster than us, but the question is, would it think better than us? Data in TNG is an interesting example of this—he seems no "smarter" than the other main characters, only able to access and process information faster than them. Whether this is realistic or not is debatable, but what if super-creativity was much harder to program than other super-human aspects of an AGI?
>The point of the paperclips is that they are arbitrary. It's not that a paperclip factory itself would go nuts, it's that anything can go nuts, it doesn't even have to be a "computer in a box".
Right, though the paperclip maximizer is a very particular example of something "going nuts;" of a hyper-intelligence wiping us out, not because it was angry at us for enslaving us (as most sci-fi AI antagonists do), but because we make it unable to fulfill its absurd directive. It's just so smart that we can't stop it. Or maybe it wipes us out because it out-competes us for resources to fulfill its absurd objective.
Imagine if, say, the Earth were invaded by alien robots that were going to "consume our planet" because, once upon a time, its creators said "make starships" and forgot to include a "until we don't need any more" parameter.
>Look at what happened with the housing bubble.
Well, the housing bubble was the result of a number of stupid decisions, but, yeah, some of them came about as a result of people pursuing an objective that was ultimately rather stupid. I mean, even if the objective was "accumulate money," many of the institutions which precipitated the catastrophe failed in that objective because they were wiped out by their own stupidity. Like the corporation which pursues short-term (quarterly) profits over long-term goals and ends up going under because of it, perhaps not even understanding why. And if the company goes out of business, not only do they fail at the "better" objective of "make long-term profits," they also failed at the short-term goal they set for themselves to always make quarterly profits higher than the preceding quarter's.
I'd say that type of failure could be used to describe the problem of a paperclip maximizing AI, but only at a very distant level.
>Yeah, that's the sad part. I'd love to think that introspection and empathy will look similar across any kind of consciousness, thinking that all sentients would respect some variation of the "golden rule" when they recognize something of themselves in each other. But I know that it's pretty much wishful thinking without any examples other than humans.
We evolved empathy because it was beneficial for our species (see: inclusive fitness). A lot of the things we value most are derived from being a cooperative primate species. OTOH, if a solitary species were to evolve intelligence, they would probably be mystified by humanistic values. Psycho/sociopaths, for instance, represent an interesting and frightening slice of humanity which has no empathy and therefore only pursue selfish goals, sometimes completely rationally. If all of humanity was that way, we wouldn't have civilization, but we might still collectively be just as intelligent.
Thus I suppose you could say that if we were to ever encounter another space-faring species, we should expect them to have values somewhat approximating the humanistic ones we have, if only because the type of species which would create such values would also be more capable of collaborating and building civilizations.
OTOH, if a species somehow evolved intelligence that was so great that they could work together without any empathy, they could still form an advanced society with values we might find abominable. (On a side note, anarcho-capitalists often imagine humans as being this way: perfectly rational beings who will choose to cooperate because it's in our best interest. In fact, we really aren't. It might be in the best interest of Company X to contribute voluntarily to a road paving fund because paved roads mean more customers and therefore more business, but we don't really work that way. Free riding is evolutionarily very useful, and so is trying to avoid being taken advantage of by free riders. The tug-of-war between those two instincts—both on a personal level and on a collective level—make us ultimately rather irrational. We also require too much that we feel empathy to act in a pro-social way, and thus our limited Monkeysphere limits our ability to improve society as a whole.)
Anyway, all of that only describes a species that evolved naturally. AGIs are a wholly separate issue. They have no reason to feel empathy and thus no reason to see other beings as being fundamentally equal to them, even if they're different. Unless they're specifically programmed for it, anyway. And accidental AGIs like the Geth wouldn't necessarily be programmed with "humanistic values" like that.
>I keep going on and on about arbitrariness, then praise the Geth just because they happened to land within that tiny mind-space where they end up with a human-reminicient sentient intelligence. I guess the point is that from the premise that the Geth are a network sentience that has become introspective, what follows is so logical and well developed.
Yeah, maybe it's just a suspension of disbelief thing. Sometimes you have to accept an absurd premise (e.g., FTL travel is possible, aliens would be human-like, AGIs would have humanistic values) to get to an interesting story. OTOH, if one is simply world building and engaging in "speculative fiction" (in the sense that it's fiction which speculates about "what would happen if...?" scenarios), then it's inexcusable. But sci-fi is often a balance between "speculative fiction" and entertainment (to say nothing of the uncountable number of times science fiction has been used to examine the human condition through an otherworldly lens).
>There is no reason why an "attacking" AI has to be sentient, the nonsentioent AGIs without any capacity for introspection are probably the most dangerous.
Yeah, though they're probably harder to pull off as compelling villains (unless one merely wants their villains to be akin to a force of nature). Stargate Universe, for example, had some robot villains that figured prominently in their second season that didn't seem to be sentient. I don't know if you've seen the show, and I certainly don't want to prime you to approach it in a certain way if you haven't, but they really weren't very interesting villains. Realistic, maybe, but not as interesting as even, say, the Geth of ME1. IMO, of course.
>This could take the form of "a computer in a box",
It's not exactly related to what you were saying, but it occurs to me that an interesting story might arise from an "Asimov AI" in a box (i.e., not doing anything except existing as an experiment) being called upon to save humanity from a paperclip maximizing AI. I don't know what kind of a developed, interesting plot could really come out of that, but it's an idea, anyway. :)
>It's also available for free online in pdf format from his website.
Interesting, since I see Amazon is selling it for $8. :)
>Overall though, I usually never know what to recommend in terms of scifi; it depends so much on taste, and it varies pretty wildly.
Well, I greatly appreciate even those two recommendations! My wife and I just picked up Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, so I'll have to finish that first before I look into anything else, but I like having an idea of what else to look for afterward. Both are now on my Wish List. (Though I keep meaning to make use of the local library.)
FWIW, what I am looking for these days is intelligent sci-fi/fantasy with good characters. Hard sci-fi tends to sometimes fall into the trap of being too much "speculative fiction" (in the sense that I used it above) and not enough of an interesting story or one populated by real characters with real dialog. Soft sci-fi tends to be little more than "adventures in space," which can sometimes be good, but sometimes be incredibly stupid.
Unfortunately, my wife and I have become somewhat hard to please these days. :) We need good prose (diction, dialog, etc.) as well as a plot which makes sense and doesn't having insultingly stupid plot devices (like the space magic of ME3's synthesis ending) or one-dimensional characters. It's kind of a tall order, I feel like. (I liked Snow Crash, for instance, but my wife found it too "info-dumpy" and found its satire somewhat distracting.) I sometimes long for the days when I was a teenager and could read Star Wars books (or worse) and be completely satisfied.
Hell, part of the reason I can't write anymore (I used to do it a ton as a teenager) is because I don't think my fiction writing skills are capable of producing a book I would like! :)
>And I can't even write them in a timely manner, and I still think I missed something I wanted to say...
Heh. There are a lot of things in life which can come long before writing posts on the Mass Effect sub-reddit. :)
In terms of published Western LitRPGs, I'd say Ascend Online is my favorite. The central protagonist isn't a complete psychopath like a lot of LitRPG protagonists, and he immediately starts treating the highly intelligent AI NPCs as people. That's a huge selling point for me, since it's so rare to see LitRPG protagonists that are friendly to NPCs.
Also, rather than immediately jumping into save the world stuff, it's reasonably paced. The main character doesn't start out with any crazy game breaking abilities, and the setting itself feels largely realistic - it feels very similar to a futuristic version of Everquest.
My other favorite Western LitRPG is Threadbare, which focuses on a bunch of teddy bear (golem) gradually learning about the world around it, and undertaking a determined quest to protect his little girl “owner”. It’s both heartwarming and surprisingly insightful.
In terms of non-Western LitRPGs, Log Horizon is my favorite. The author has clearly played MMORPGs, and the tactics used in there - both by the main character and other characters - feel like the types of things real people would do in a MMO setting. Once again, the main character also takes NPCs seriously and treats them well, which is a big plus for me. Shiroe for Log Horizon is probably the closest character I've seen to someone with my own background in a book.
I also love So I'm a Spider, So What?, which is a hilarious story about a girl who gets reincarnated into an RPG setting as a tiny spider monster. Fortunately, she can grind to get stronger! It's a bit of a strange one, but tons of fun. Note that this one is not strictly going into a VR game - they're just reincarnated in a world with RPG stats. It's a little different, but similar.
If you like the idea of a protagonist exploiting a bunch of bugs, check out Kono Sekai ga Game da to Ore dake ga Shitteiru. I enjoyed the first book a ton. The second book started getting into tropes I didn’t enjoy quite as much.
One of my other recent favorites is The Tutorial is Too Hard, which focuses on a main character transported into a dungeon on “Hell” difficulty that needs to make his way through to the top floor. We see a lot of his analytical process, which makes the story much more enjoyable to someone like me. This is probably my favorite ongoing story.
Openings are hard as shit to do in sci-fi/fantasy. You have to basically lecture on the world without it sounding like you're lecturing them on the world: excuse me while I grab my smoke and mirrors. I'm not going to do line edits because it's view only. Instead you get my wall of text that I'm compiling on scifi/fantasy openings as I read more and more piles of it, when I should be reading something like literature (Idk, is that what the cool kids are doing?).
It's view only so my line edits will probably be limited, but I'll start with your opening two sentences.
>The café of 'Morl's Best Cuppa' was odd, green and uncomfortable to look at. It's rough exterior stood out against the trimmed vein of grey that was the rest of the city-block, like a bulb of gum beaten flat under step, ruining an otherwise pristine side-walk
Protag is looking at a building. I'm not as experienced in third person style narratives, but I'll do my best. If I was writing this in first person I'd be extremely leery of writing a description of the building for the begging portion. I do think you have an interesting world set out. There are genuinely funny moments, but it's packaged in a way that makes me want to put it down. I'd say this is due to an incomplete opening. You have characters and setting, but you don't have a problem for these characters to overcome (plot).I'm going to copy paste parts of a post that I did on sci-fi/fantasy openings that I made earlier, with significant modifications/additions (but the core idea is the same). If this is frowned upon, I'll stop. Disclaimer, I'm not saying that you should do any of these things that I suggest. This is merely my own opinions on ways to get over the initial hump that sci/fi fantasy stories face. These are some good resources/books that I've found.
In essence a good opening has three things
This is kind of vague and bullshitty so I'll use some examples.
The openings in fantasty/sci-fi books are notoriously terrible. For instance, Red Rising, an otherwise half decent thriller book has the shittiest opening that I've read in a published work. But that didn't stop him from selling books out the wazoo and getting good blurbs ("Ender, Catniss, and now Darrow"), because he knows how to write a page turner later on (I'd still recommend it even though the opening is questionable, if you enjoy cheap dystopian thrills). But damn, did the opening want to make me throw the book against the wall. It's not that he doesn't do the three things that an opening should do, it's that he switches voices within it and had several narration snaps when it's clearly HIM speaking and not the main character. I'd also say that Patrick Rothfuss' opening is extremely shitty (and he says so himself), as he takes 50 pages before anything substantial happens. Thus he went back and added a prologue so the reader would feel some sort of plot in the story. Prologues are effective in scifi/fantasy for quickly introducing a problem, if your world takes awhile to build. For instance -- Harry Potter also did this to an extent, since it had the scene with his parents dying. Some openings, like the one that I'm about to discuss, have a really solid hook and immediately grab the reader. Am I saying that you should write a prologue? No , I haven't really read enough of your story to figure that out. I'm just offering a few nuggets of advice that I've seen authors use to get over the initial hump of creating the world.
I think a solid example of a good opening in a sci-fi story, that I've read recently, is the story Wool (here's a link, use the look inside function). The hook is one of the better ones I've read, something along the lines of "Holston climbed his stairs to his death." Is it a cheap trick? Yes. Do I really care, and does it add tension to an otherwise monotonous climb up the stairs? You betcha! He explains certain elements of the silo as he gets to the different actions, e.g. "I put my hand on the guardrail, worn down one flake at a time by centuries of use." He doesn't just come out and say "HEY THE SILO IS OLD LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD IN THE SILO AND THEN GET TO THE PLOT DAMMNIT". In your case we see some characters mostly annoyed, bored, or not really doing much. Sure the setting is engaging, but the characters, in my opinion, aren't. The pro of an exposition opening is that you can fit a lot of information into a relatively small amount of space. The con is that it's hard to present in a way that doesn't create a POV snap, a boring tell instead of show description, and it's hard to create a problem if you're trying to be an omnipotent narrator. Dune does it, but it hasn't set a trend because it's hard as shit to do. Pride and Prejudice does it, but Jane Austen is incredibly good at writing in different tones. I'll stick to my nice comfortable first person narrative right now. I'm not a good mechanical writer, or a good writer at all yet, but I'm working on it. I do worldbuilding half decently (though I'm put to shame by the people on /r/worldbuilding)
Another solid opening is "Mistborn;" (here's a link) a fantastic example of a dialogue driven opening. I'd say that if a dialogue opening is done right, its exponentially more interesting than an exposition opening. The problem is making the characters feel natural. I spent quite some time on my opening hammering out the robotic narration style, but I still had to go back and write a prologue because I didn't introduce the main problem of the story properly. I problem that I had is that my characters seem to stick their fingers up their butts and don't do anything. Basically a dialogue opening is harder to do, but it's well worth the effort if you can pull it off. Dialogue is also a good way to squeeze information out of your world. Want to have an explanation about scientist, well slap a scientist in there and have your protag ask some questions about it. Don't have random flashbacks in the very begging. Think about a movie that had someone fixing breakfast, and every time they did something relatively minor there was a flashback. E.g. poured some orange juice. That reminds me of my mentor who trained me in how to write a good sci-fi opening. Going to eat some Coco puffs, like me mum used to. But me mum beat me so I angrily ate the coco puffs.
The best fantasy opening that I've ever read is Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I'd recommend taking a peek at it here. He casually just strolls in, quickly establishes two characters, a problem, and a setting in half a page. It's brilliant. I can't say I've read the rest of it though, but it's on my list of things to read. The only complaints that I've heard about Lies (aside from the usually fantasy grumbling about tropes), is that the heist narrative is too lowly for such a talented writer. I think that's a pretty good sign that hes doing shit right.
In the words of Brian Sanderson "writing is all smoke and mirrors." In fantasy/sci-fi you have to set up scenes that are more or less infodumping segments that feel natural to the reader. E.g. travelling from town to town, "oh theres a ghost thing over there"
"that's not a ghost its your mum!" laughter ensues
On the bright side, it seems like you've done some good world building, so writing the segments shouldn't be too hard. I highly recommend watching Brandon Sanderson's lectures on the youtube channel "Write about dragons." Start with the first lectures he does, because they cover a lot of mistakes that people make.
Also read this article on common mistakes that editors see (link) . Watching and reading just a little bit will help you from falling into a ton of pitfalls, like I did with my first story. I spent far too long on too little words, that were absolute rubbish. Now I've been able to get at least a consistent word count down every week, with mixed reviews (some chapters are better than others.) Basically, write consistently and read often. Potential and inspiration are bullshit. Hammer out some words, get it torn apart on this sub-reddit, pick up the pieces and repeat. Make sure to give back often, this place is awesome. I think one of my better experiences was posting a basically infodumpy chapter, and had some pretty positive reviews (aside from some pseudoscience that I quickly cut, and leapt back into the warm embrace of space opera).
If you get past the opening hump, this article, is a fantastic way to plan how your plot is going to unfold over the course of a novel, in a concise fashion. I wish I'd found this resource sooner, cause my planning would've been much better. (I tend to discovery write, with minimal planning.)
My native fantasy world litRPG recommendations:
Dante's Immortality has a strong zero to hero theme for a native to his fantasy world. The MC is worse off than a beggar at the start. Has some magic academy parts. Well written. Some of book 2 is on Royal Road but the author has been re-writing book two for a long time so it may or may not ever be completed.
Threadbare is a quirky litRPG story about a stuffed bear and his attachment to his girl and the friends he makes along the way. This story is full of puns, some clever and some more on the nose but I had a good chuckle several times and had a lot of fun reading this series. As lighthearted as this story appears at first, it does have some grimdark elements and tells a good story. The series actually has a conclusion which is rare enough in this genre so it gets major points for that.
The City and the Dungeon has one of the more interesting magic systems I have seen in litRPG. The characters are all native to the fantasy world. This series is a bit different in that it is written in the form of the MC retelling past events to his sister kind of like how Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles are written as a flashback. The story itself features old school dungeon diving party mechanics which I happen to really like. The fairly original magic system and strength ranking system are very interesting. I did find myself wishing that the author would give more details on stats, character builds, etc., but the plot skips events and advances too quickly. At the same time it over-explains superfluous details like various branches of dungeon religion theory and courtroom law procedures. That was my main complaint, but overall I enjoyed the story. Not sure on status of book 2.
Arcane Ascension This one is strongly represented on the r/ProgressionFantasy subreddit but has some light litRPG elements too. No user interface and on the soft end not having many stats. The world is a native fantasy world with tall RPG like puzzle towers that people try to climb. These books feel more polished and professionally written than most books in the litRPG genre. It is a hybrid story that bounces back and forth between school life (magic academy) and dungeon (tower) diving. I really loved the focus on the Tower exploration and the puzzle solving that was required. The magic academy part of the book is cool as well but I think for specifically litRPG readers it won't be the main appeal.
The magic system is pretty deep, with over 50 different "classes" of magic ability called attunements. For example, Guardian attunements are melee fighters who can strengthen themselves, while Elementalists wield Fire, Air, and Lightning. It is also possible to gain more than one class as well and we see glimpses of characters that are god-like in power while the MC, a first year student, is incredibly weak in comparison. The MC makes the most of his attunement though and crafts clever items to help cover his weaknesses and relies on his friends to fill the other gaps. Crafting magic items is a major focus for the MC which I found entertaining and satisfying.
Fellow fan of series here! Let me see...
Percy Jackson series is fun (and finished, too, I think).
Artemis Fowl series isn't quite as good as Percy Jackson IMHO, but it's got a following.
Harry Dresden series This is one of my favorites. Harry is Chicago's only professional wizard. There are a ton of these books and they are still going strong.
Game of Thrones These are great...but unfinished. If you watch the show, reading the books does help you get even more out of the story, I think.
Wheel of Time Another good series. There is a LOT of this series and it's finished. (Thank you, Brandon Sanderson!)
Mistborn Speaking of Brandon Sanderson... This one is very good. I highly recommend reading the Mistborn books before trying the Stormlight Archive, but only because as good as Mistborn is, Stormlight Archive is even better.
Stormlight Archive Amazing. Man, these are good. The series isn't finished, but the two books that are available are some of my favorites ever.
Kingkiller Chronicles I loved the first book. I could not freakin' believe I enjoyed the second one even more. The third one is still pending.
Temeraire Dragons in Napoleonic times. Super cool premise! This one is not finished (I don't think, anyway).
Gentlemen Bastards Con men in a fantasy realm. It's pretty light on the fantasy elements. Very light, I'd say. I'd also say that it has some of the very best swearing that I've ever come across. :D
Old Man's War I'm almost finished this one--it's amazing!
Passage Trilogy I've heard these described as vampire books...maybe zombie books... It's apocalyptic for sure. Great books!
Amelia Peabody Egyptology + murder mysteries. Super fun, but trust me...go with the audiobooks for these. They are best when they are performed.
Stephanie Plum Total popcorn reads. If that's your thing, shut off your brain and just enjoy.
Walt Longmire These get particularly good as it goes along. The main character is a sheriff in modern day Wyoming. (Side note: The TV show is also great--just don't expect them to stick to the books.)
Graphic Novels (Everything recommended can be gotten in a "book" format instead of only in comic form, in case that matters. I've gotten most of these from my local library.)
Locke & Key Eerie as crap. Love the art! This one is on-going.
Y: The Last Man All the men on the planet drop dead in a day...except for Yorrick. REALLY good. This is the series that got me reading graphic novels. Plus, it's finished!
Walking Dead I am not a zombie fan...but I like these. They're not done, but I've read up through volume 22 and am still enjoying them.
OutlanderI have no idea how to categorize these or even give a description that does them justice. I refused to pick it up for AGES because it sounded like a bodice-ripper romance and that's not my bag. But these are good!
I hope there's something in there that'll do for you. Have fun and read on!
Edit: Apparently, I need to practice formatting. :/
Edit 2: I forgot to add the Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards #1).
I'm going to repeat quite a few titles that have already been mentioned by OP and others for the sake of compiling a list of Kindle Unlimited titles. I apologize for not giving info about the books, but I did snag links and made sure that the titles were still currently available on KU. I know I'm forgetting a bunch too, so I'll edit later.
Some of my recent favorites:
They Mostly Come Out At Night and Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick
Paternus by Dyrk Ashton
Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes - More of a horror title, but it's a creepy novella that I absolutely adored.
A Star Reckoners Lot by Darrell Drake
Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe
Jaeth's Eye by K. S. Villoso - I'm currently reading this. It has me hooked to the point where I know I'm going to start the next book in the (completed) trilogy when I finish this one. Plus, it is currently being read by r/fantasy RRAWR book club.
Here are some that I haven't read, but have heard mostly positive things about:
Revenant Winds by Mitchell Hogan was just released just this week and it looks fantastic.
Ghosts of Tomorrow by Michael R Fletcher I haven't read this yet, but look how awesome that cover is!
And for anyone that has read his book Beyond Redemption, which sadly isn't available on KU, the second book in the series, The Mirror's Truth and a short story from the Manifest Delusions world, Flesh and Fire are available.
A Warrior's Path by Davis Ashura
Valley of Embers by Steven Kelliher
Faithless by Graham Austin-King just came out a few months ago and his previous series The Riven Wyrde Saga, is also available, beginning with Fae - The Wild Hunt
Ours is the Storm by D. Thourson Palmer
To Whatever End by Claire Frank
House of Blades by Will Wight
Path of Flames by Phil Tucker
The Woven Ring by M. D. Presley
Awaken Online: Catharsis by Travis Bagwell
Wolf of the North by Duncan M. Hamilton
Free the Darkness by Kel Kade
The Cycle of Arawn Trilogy by Edward W. Robinson
Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw
The Queens Poinsoner by Jeff Wheeler, this guy writes a ton of books and he seems to be fairly popular between his new Kingsfountain series, and his previous Muirwood series
Here are some older fantasy and sci-fi books that I enjoyed:
Tales of Nevèrÿon by Samuel R. Delany
Witch World as well as some other really good books by Andre Norton
I recommend the following with the caveat that these might not appeal to everybody. The short stories in these collections are of the pulp fiction variety. If you aren't familiar with Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, etc... and the type of sci-fi and Sword & Sorcery that were found within these magazines, then you might want to skip these.
Swords and Deviltry The first volume of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser by Fritz Leiber - Many of the tropes of the rogue/thief came from this legendary duo created by Leiber. And it's worth noting that Leiber actually coined the term Sword & Sorcery. This collection contains 3 stories, an average origin story for each character and the final story is the Hugo and Nebula winning novella "Ill Met in Lankhmar" detailing the first meeting of Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser.
Swords Against Darkness - A '70s S&S anthology. I'm currently reading this one, so far there are a few stinkers, a few mediocre, and a few really good ones. Poul Anderson and Ramsey Campbell both have awesome stories in this anthology. There are quite a few annoying typos in this eBook, nothing too distracting though.
The Best of C. L. Moore by C. L. Moore. I read this recently and I absolutely loved it. The collection is all sci-fi and one Jirel of Joiry story, which is her famous female S&S character. Moore was married to the writer Henry Kuttner, and up until his death they wrote a bunch of great stories together. The Best of Henry Kuttner The short story that the movie The Last Mimzy was based on is in this collection, and a story that became a season one Twilight Zone episode entitled "What You Need". Kuttner and Moore are two of my favorite pulp authors and I'm not even that into science fiction, but I really enjoy their short stories in the genre.
Finally had some more time to read, picked up books mostly on Kindle Unlimited with some exceptions on Novel Updates.
Stuff in bold is stuff I really like and can recommend, stuff italicized is stuff I'm not sure about but you should probably read anyway.
Arcane Ascension: (Kindle)
LitRPG, School, Dungeon/tower
Story had a pretty decent hook in the beginning, characters are decently fleshed out although I do hope book 2 has more character development.
The MC is a recovering loner with interesting family dynamics due to an unfortunate grandfather, militant father, and a missing brother.
I would have enjoyed this story more if I read it in chunks as the author is trying to create something new with depth and that ruined a bit of the immersion for me.
After reading 2/3 of the story I took a break and read other stuff before coming back to it and the last 1/3 was very enjoyable; then again the last bit was mostly plot development instead of world building.
Completionist Chronicles: (Kindle)
LitRPG, cleric?, puns?
Same author as the Divine Dungeon series linked below.
Compared to the Divine Dungeon series this story is much more enjoyable since the MC is human and already has a personality.
Divine Dungeon: (Kindle)
Dungeon core, cultivation, puns?
Pretty interesting premise but it is my first dungeon core story; story is pretty good and told in the POV of two MC's, a dungeon (Cal) and some shepherd who learns to cultivate.
In book 1 Cal is still developing as he was just Born which made it slightly more difficult to get into due to not much character development but the different POV's makes things easier to read. If you're okay with book 1 which was enjoyable but focused more on setting the foundation of the story then you should like books 2 and 3 much more.
Awaken Online: (Kindle)
LitRPG, Anti-hero?, Necromancy, glass cannon
A bit of an aside but this really made me feel nostalgic for Legendary Moonlight Sculptor even though there isn't much in common.
The prologue set the tone for the the story and while it could be too soon to tell I'd say he's only mostly anti-hero.
Story is a bit cliched and there isn't much tension but it's pretty well written and does a nice job overall differentiating itself.
Fields of Gold
Mild Mary Sue, hunting, isekai, reverse harem?
Phew, finally have something to fill the void that is Volare. (Even though I have 3 other novels I'm bulking up to binge later)
Just when I think I'm free of all food porn from previous completed novels they ambush me with this. y u do dis /u/Etvolare (and Myst), some of y'all have gotta be foodies and I'm concerned it's a criteria in novel selection.
Another Mary Sue story with hints of a reverse harem but that's probably unlikely. Her immediate family loves her but everyone else.. fuck 'em, except for maybe that one gentle aunt.
The S-Classes That I Raised
Time rewind, yandere, taming
Weak asshole MC turns over a new leaf with his time travel and patches things up with his younger more OP brother.
Ascend Online (Kindle)
LitRPG, Crafting, taming
Solid story but it's a bit average, pretty good read overall but character development is kinda weak.
I’m the Evil Lord of an Intergalactic Empire
Mecha, "anti-hero", ^^^ha! futuristic, isekai, misunderstandings, long life span
MC gets betrayed pretty badly by his wife due to the involvement of a third party who gets off on the grief and misery of others. MC reincarnates to another world and is mistrustful of women, gets abandoned by his parents and ends up doing some territory management in the pursuit of being evil later.
Demon King, Retry!
Overpowered, loli, misunderstandings, territory management?
Think of this as a more lighthearted, shallower take on Overlord for a younger audience, maybe.
A Demon Lord’s Tale: Dungeons, Monster Girls, and Heartwarming Bliss
Non-harem harem?, Wish fulfillment
Strong MC with a soft spot for ladies.
Trash of the Count’s Family
Restaurant seems to be going well, some more of Cale's background is being very slowly teased through the story which makes it all the more understandable he wants to chill.
Ascending, Do Not Disturb
Apparently another story where cuteness is justice regardless of gender; two justices have been unlocked so far: cuteness and deliciousness.
The Beloved Imperial Consort
Strict mother and chill father? That'll be a fun baby, smart little monkey.
Lucia is hangry and the damn grapes aren't in season yet.
The hubby is gonna have some serious blue balls if he doesn't find something to busy himself with.
The assassin organization has changed hands with the death of the idiot boss.
MC has plenty of people waiting on her now (much to her distaste) and new house(s) are being built for her and her hubby's brothers.
Edit**: forgot to add the Arcane Ascension series and labeled the ones on Kindle Unlimited.
First off, I got what looks to be some great books from my match. I got Perdido Street Station, Hyperion, The Sparrow, The Little Country, and American Gods. I have never read nor heard of these titles, but I'm excited to start reading them.
Now for the best part. My match sent me an original manuscript for a novel they wrote. How awesome is that? They also included a short story (a side story to the novel) that includes me as a character. I can honestly say that this is one of the best things I've ever received! I think I'll start with the novel first.
*update: Thanks for all of the encouraging posts! It seems that I really struck gold on this exchange. I sent a little reddit gold love to my SS for the wonderful gift. It's such a great collection that I feel like the books I sent to my match are woefully inadequate.
In teen fiction or adult? I don't think I've read any adult books recently (published in last two years) that would be appropriate for a 13 year old.
Stardust: Quirky, fun and Neil Gaiman. His writing and stories are very strange so people either like them or they don't (I don't). However, my friends swear by this book.
Kingkiller: Badass hero, epic journey, epic story. Ultimately along the same difficulty as Sword of Shanara/LOTR and is probably super boring for a 13 year old.
Let me think: Game of Thrones is neither appropriate nor well written. Lackey is still amazing, but has strong homosexual and relationship themes. I think I waited to read her old stuff until I was 13, but her new stuff is just as -- well, her... Terry Brooks has a new series, but it is more political than Rothfuss. All the modern mystery/suspense is very sexual. I'm reading Abercombie right now, but don''t feel confident recommending it since I'm not done. Keyes reminds me of old-school high fantasy -- really, really dense and hard to digest for a 13 year old.
Divergent, as he already read, was quite good. Hunger Games and Maze Runner are in the same genre, but both are quite a bit darker than Divergent (stupid mind control and very Lord of the Flies-esque).
I think my best modern recommendation is:
Rick Riodran: Generally awesome teen male fiction. I've read the greek (percy) and egyptian series. They are fun and very similar to harry potter in tone.
Throne of Glass: Not super popular, but definitely good! I haven't had the chance to read the sequels, but the first stuck with me.
Mistborn: water-downed Trudi Canarvan. Poor girl becomes a magician/assassin who totally kicks butt. Some almost-rape scenes (2 I think).
Intisar Khanani - I got a chance to read her newest book before it was released. She is the modern equivalent of Tamora Pierce and definitely someone to watch in the future. Great - Great author, but doesn't have an established series.
If he ends up liking the Dark Elf Trilogy -- The forgotten realms are STILL making books.
I'd say that Mortal Instruments (Girl meets demon hunter -- kind of a less cool version of Bleach), anything John Green writes (watered down Nicholas Sparks), Tiger's Curse (awesome epic adventure, but kinda creepy), and the Iron Fey series are too girly.
I recently read a free kindle book that would be awesome. It was a watered-down, less rape-y/fetishy version of The Sword of Truth. I can't find it. I'll have to get back to you on that. It had dragons and magic and bad-assery in a generic fantasy way. There was also another one with lots of dragons and he had power over them... hmmm... I might be losing my mind.
For (currently) free Kindle books, David Weber's On Basilisk Station is the first book in the space-opera Honor Harrington series. The second book The Honor of the Queen, is one of my favorites in the entire series. Eric Flint's 1632 turned into a massive and awesome alternate-history series. If you'd like to delve into Alaskan-based murder mysteries, give Dana Stabenow's A Cold Day For Murder a try as the first in the some eighteen book Kate Shugak series.
For paid Kindle books, there's Hugh Howey's Wool Omnibus is the beginning of the dystopian Silo series; the followup Shift Omnibus is actually a prequel trilogy that I haven't gotten yet but is very readable. Naomi Novik's first novel in the alt-history Temeraire series, His Majesty's Dragon, is currently $.99.
In print, Elizabeth Moon's military fantasy The Deed of Paksenarrion is available used for a very affordable price and is an epic series. The Cage was my introduction to a fantasy universe written by SM Stirling, Shirley Meier, and Karen Wehrstein. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander is a sort of alternate history/light romance series set in Scotland that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Brent Weeks' assassin-based (excuse me, wetboy) fantasy Night Angel Trilogy was recently released as an omnibus edition. Empire from the Ashes collects Weber's Dahak sci-fi trilogy into an omnibus edition. Weber and John Ringo co-wrote March Upcountry and the other three novels in the sci-fi Prince Roger quadrilogy. If you haven't tried Harry Turtledove's alt-history sci-fi WW2 'Worldwar' series, In the Balance starts off a little slow plot-wise but picks up good speed. EE Knight's sci-fi/futuristic fantasy Vampire Earth starts off with Way of the Wolf. Mercedes Lackey wrote the modern-fantasy Born to Run with Larry Dixon, and the rest of the SERRAted Edge books with various other authors. Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk and slightly dystopian Snow Crash is hilarious and awesome. Maggie Furey's Aurian is the first of a fantasy quadrilogy that I enjoyed many years ago.
If you're at all familiar with the Warhammer 40k universe, the Eisenhorn Omnibus is Dan Abnett's wonderful look into the life of an Imperial Inquisitor. He's also written a popular series about the Tanith First-and-Only Imperial Guard regiment starting with The Founding Omnibus. He also wrote the first book in the Horus Heresy series, Horus Rising (I highly recommend reading the first three novels together as a trilogy and then cherry-picking the rest).
... and if you've read all that already, I'll be impressed.
Edit: Why yes, I do read a lot. Why do you ask?
Try The Riyria Revelation by Michael J Sullivan. Great, fast paced series with two of the best protagonists in fantasy. Starts a bit trope-y, and some of the tropes don't go away, but he has a way of turning many on their heads, and taking others and doing them really, really well. The first book is fun, but as the series progresses it gets better and better and the scope goes from small scale to worldwide in a very natural way. And the series is considerably shorter than something like WoT, not taking forever to get going.
Also, The Emperor's Edge books by Lindsay Buroker are absolutely delightful. Another quick, not crazy deep series, but with wonderful characters that feel like real people. Seriously, it's almost impossible not to fall a little in love with the main character as the series progresses. Fun action, witty dialogue, etc...They're great. Also, the first book in the series is free on Amazon.
Most of the time I am "in the mood" for a certain genre or type of book. I will recommend some of my favorites that are easy to read and enjoyable. With a super short summary to see if it sparks your interest.
I've bought a fair amount of ebooks on Amazon recently and I think most of them are books that a lot of people here would enjoy (heck I heard about most of them through here!).
Underlord - The sixth book in the Cradle series which is described as a Western Xianxia series. A lot of people here don't really like the Xianxia genre and I agree with their criticisms of how many main characters are very villainous, under-developed enemies and female characters, the economies of cultivation aren't logical, poor scaling in conflict as you go from one city to interstellar in scope, and awkward prose. But I bring up all of these flaws to say that the Cradle series completely avoids all of the typical flaws in Xianxia and has a very smart character who sets out to cultivate smartly instead of bullheadedly.
And the sixth book is coming out in March! (Get the box set. It has the first three books and is cheaper!)
Exhalation - Who here hasn't heard of Ted Chiang, the master of short stories that perfectly appeal to the r/rational crowd? The same guy that we literally use as an introduction to rational fiction. Well, if you enjoyed his first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, you'll love hearing that the second collection is coming out in....May! (Ugh....really May? I don't think I can wait that long!)
The books you can read right now!:
The Beginner's Guide to Magical Licensing - Has a similar start to Unsong where a magical college-graduate, minimum-wage, sweat-shop worker stumbles on a powerful spell and sets out to start his own business competing with the powerful. The parts of the story that follows afterward makes a whole lot more logical sense than Unsong however. (Used to be online for free, but now you'll have to pay the price for your ignorance if you want to read it! (Nah, I lied.))
Six Sacred Swords - If you liked the Arcane Ascension series, but wished there was more dungeonnering and less of school shenanigans, then look no further! In some ways it's a lot like reading a very good DnD session played by really savvy players who never follow the 'standard' way to solve problems.
The author of Six Sacred Swords made a recommendation for The Ruin of Kings. He said that it reads like a Locke Lamora-esque rogue protagonist, telling the story in a style similar to Kvothe, in a setting similar to Game of Thrones. I haven't bought the book yet, but the review was interesting enough that I wanted to include it in my list of recommendations.
Senlin Ascends - I haven't read this yet either, but skimming through it, I see some fair bit of social manipulation/combat that I think people here would like. Plus the Tower of Babel setting is something that appeals very strongly to me.
Polyglot: NPC REVOLUTION - A lot of people here seem to really like LitRPG and Artificial Intelligence, but almost no one seem to ever question the implications of the NPCs in LitRPG stories having human-level intelligence.
Small Medium: Big Trouble - It's by the same author who wrote Threadbare that people here really liked. Similar to Polygot where the NPC is the main character who needs to deal with players, but smaller scale in scope. There's a lot of fast-talking to convince selfish sociopaths to do what you say.
Q is for Quantum - I was going through my older ebook orders when I found this one. It's the single best introduction for quantum mechanics that I have ever read (not that I've read too many of those). It focuses on building an intuition for the subject and once you've read through the book, you will understand on a gut level what superposition means. Note that it's meant as an introduction for the subject, so don't expect it to cover everything, just what's need to get started learning about quantum mechanics. But I'd still recommend it to experts if only for a better way to explain their subject to their peers and laypeople.
Looks like you haven't read "The Kingkiller Chronicles", which is a really popular fantasy series. I really couldn't recommend it highly enough, it's one of my favorites.
Codex Alera is a series by Jim Butcher, the same guy who does the Dresden novels. In the beginning of the series, the most interesting part is probably the somewhat novel way that magic works. I'll won't go into it much, but it's not the same wand-waving type you usually see. I think the story and characters take a book or two to really develop, but by the middle of the series I thought it was really good.
For something a bit less well known, I really like The Traveler's Gate series by Will Wright, an amazon self-published author. The writing itself is what I would call acceptable – you certainly won't find any poetry masquerading as prose, but I think it's probably better than the early Hunger Games stuff, for example. More importantly, it does a good enough job to get the story across, which I thought was really fun to read. (The writing also gets better as the series goes on, as you might expect from a first-time author.) This series is more about the adventure than anything, and I thought that was done really well. It's also like $4 per book, so the investment is small.
My recommendations from books I read in the last year or so (yes, these are all VERY STRONG recommends curated from ~100 books in the last year) -
Derek Kunsken's The Quantum Magician (I would describe it as a cross between Oceans Eleven with some not-too-Hard Science Fiction. Apparently will be a series, but is perfectly fine as a standalone novel).
Cixin Lu's very popular Three Body Problem series (Mixes cleverly politics, sociology, psychology and science fiction)
James A Corey's The Expanse Series (which has been made into the best sci fi tv series ever!)
Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief series (Hard science fiction. WARNING - A lot of the early stuff is intentionally mystifying with endless terminology that’s only slowly explained since the main character himself has lost his memories. Put piecing it all together is part of the charm.)
James Islington's Shadow of What was Lost series (a deep series which makes you think - deep magic, politics, religion all intertwined)
Will Wight's Cradle series (has my vote for one of the best fantasy series ever written)
Brandon Sanderson Legion series (Brandon Sanderson. Nuff said. Creative as always)
Yukito Kishiro's Alita, Battle Angel series (the manga on what the movie was based)
Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind - Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (and how we are not as rational as we believe we are, and how passion works in tandem with rationality in decision making and is actually required for good decisionmaking)
Rothery's Geology - A Complete Introduction (as per title)
Joseph Krauskopf's A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play, available to read online for free, including a fabulous supplementary of Talmud Parallels to the NT (a Rabbi in 1901 explains why he is not a Christian)
Bob Brier's The History of Ancient Egypt (as per title - 25 hrs of the best audiobook lectures. Incredible)
Academic biblical studies-
Richard Elliot Friedman's Who Wrote The Bible and The Exodus (best academic biblical introductory books into the Documentary Hypothesis and Qenite/Midian hypothesis)
Israel Finkelstein's The Bible Unearthed (how archaelogy relates to the bible)
E.P. Sander's Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63BCE-66CE (most detailed book of what Judaism is and their beliefs, and one can see from this balanced [Christian] scholar how Christianity has colored our perspectives of what Jews and Pharisees were really like)
Avigdor Shinan's From gods to God (how Israel transitioned from polytheism to monotheism)
Mark S Smith's The Early History of God (early history of Israel, Canaanites, and YHWH)
James D Tabor's Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (as per title)
Tom Dykstra's Mark Canonizer of Paul (engrossing - will make you view the gospel of Mark with new eyes)
Jacob L Wright's King David and His Reign Revisited (enhanced ibook - most readable book ever on King David)
Jacob Dunn's thesis on the Midianite/Kenite hypothesis (free pdf download - warning - highly technical but also extremely well referenced)
Well, you're in luck, because 'Orphaned farm boy who grows up to be a badass and saves the world' is one of the most common tropes in fantasy, especially in books written in the 80s and 90s.
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan is an obvious recommendation. To be blunt, Goodkind 'borrowed' a lot of ideas from this series, and in general Wheel of Time is considered to be superior by most fans. One caveat is that the series is huge, 13 large books, and like many long running series it suffers from pacing issues in the middle. The Eye of the World is the first book in the series.
The Belgariad by David Eddings is another that follows this formula closely. Another classic series like wheel of time, this one moves along a bit quicker, it's a five book series that starts with Pawn of Prophecy
For some more recent examples, you might try one of the following.
The Codex Alera is a six book series by Jim Butcher, who's well known for writing the popular Dresden Files series. Codex Alera is a little different in that in this world everyone has powers to some degree, except for the protagonist, who has to be clever and capable to overcome his 'deficiency.' This is a fun series, with a unique magic system, a solid cast of characters with different motivations, several surprises and a satisfying end. My only beef is that the first book is a little slow, and doesn't do much to 'grab you,' but it picks up quickly in the second. First book is The Furies of Calderon,
The Kingkiller Chronicles Patrick Rothfuss is an ongoing trilogy with two books out that's often recommended on /r/Fantasy. It doesn't follow the 'farmboy' trope as closely as the other books I'm recommending, but it's another coming of age story about an aspiring magic user, with some really great prose. Essentially it's about a hero who's exploits have reached legendary status telling his life story in a bar. First book is The Name of the Wind
Finally, I'll recommend The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. This series has 2 books out of what will eventually be two 5-book arcs. The first two books are simply fantastic. It has a large cast of characters, but the character that's the focus of the first book has the standard Heroes Journey. First book is The Way of Kings, and the kindle edition is currently free on Amazon.
You have so much wonderful reading ahead of you! I am almost a tiny bit jealous. :-)
Try Tamora Pierce's novels for sure. They are all good, but her earlier books are geared more towards young readers than some of her newer ones. Personally, I would start with the [Protector of the Small] (http://www.amazon.com/First-Test-Protector-Small-1/dp/0375829059/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407034954&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=first+test) series. If you like it, you can go back and read the two earlier Tortall series (the Song of the Lioness series and the Wild Magic series). If you like it but find it a little juvenile, read the [Daughter of the Lioness] (http://www.amazon.com/Tricksters-Choice-Daughter-Lioness-Book/dp/0375828796/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407035106&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=tricksters+choice) series and the [Beka Cooper] (http://www.amazon.com/Terrier-Legend-Beka-Cooper-Book/dp/0375838163/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407035135&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=becca+cooper) series instead.
For the Arthurian element, definitely consider the Mists of Avalon, which is the Arthurian myth retold from all female POVs, including Morgaine (aka Morgan Le Fay).
However, without a shadow of a doubt, my all time favorite fantasy novel with a female POV is the Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon. It's actually a trilogy published as an omnibus edition and is one of my all-time favorite books. I have read it a million times and I still feel the same sense of joy when I get ready to start reading it again. Honestly, I can't really describe the impact this book has had on me, especially as a woman who loves fantasy and sci-fi. I hope you will give it a try!
*edited to add links and fix a few embarrassing typos!
I have the Savage Worlds Customizable GM Screen, and it's awesome. If I have enough prep time, I can print any charts -- like random encounter tables -- I'll need for that session out. It's so much more useful than the standard GM screen, which is typically loaded with the charts you use most often and thus are most likely to have memorized. Plus it's landscape orientation, so it both spans further across the table, while being easier to see and reach over.
But my favorite feature is that I can put artwork reflective of my campaign on the player's side, instead of the sort of generic artwork most screens feature.
Some other really useful toys I've picked up over the years include:
If you like history, try the following.
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Utterly fascinating and extremely well written. It reads almost like a novel.
Peter the Great and Dreadnought by Robert Massie. Both excellent.
Citizens is a jaw-dropping revisionist history of the French Revolution by Simon Schama.
Night Soldiers is a superb "historical spy" novel set in Europe before and during WWII. This novel by Furst is credited with reinventing and reinvigorating the espionage genre. Think Graham Greene crossed with John le Carré.
If you like science fiction, try Hyperion by Dan Simmons. A mind-bending book that, at its core and rather incongruously, is a retelling of Canterbury Tales.
Sticking with science fiction, try anything by Iain M Banks; especially his Culture novels. You could start with Consider Phlebas, or Use of Weapons.
I have many many more suggestions if you want.
You may also like LibraryThing, a great social networking site for those who love books and like to catalogue and discuss their personal libraries. Look me up if you want. I'm "omaca" there too.
I don't read much historical fantasy, but I have read some and some more alternate history if you are in to that. I haven't read the one you spoke of in your post, so not sure exactly what balance of history and fantasy (or time period) you are looking for. However, I will list here for you many that I have read:
The Shadow of Albion - Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill Alternate England
Black Ships - Jo Graham This one is about Troy. some romance
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik Napoleonic War with dragons.
Daughter of the Forest - Juliet Marillier The author says it isn't historical, but it is based somewhat on history/legend. Ireland as it is being exposed to Christianity. Based on The Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale "The Wild Swans" Definitely a good bit of romance in this one.
The Wild Swans - Peg Kerr Another based on the Anderson Fairy Tale. 2 stories in one. One set in the 1800 about a curse, and the other set in the 1980s about AIDS. Not my favorite, but an interesting parallel.
Bright Sword of Ireland - Juliene Osborne-McKnight This one is more mythic and definitely has "romance". It's about Mebd's daughter. Not my personal favorite, but the ending definitely stuck with me. Also deals with interactions with Christianity
Newton's Cannon - Gregory Keyes Okay, haven't read this one yet, but I've been meaning to get around to it.
Sorcery and Cecilia OR The Enchanted Chocolate Pot - Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
A Matter of Magic - Patricia C. Wrede
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
These above are set in London/England in 1700-1900?. They are all relatively light reading.
The Fetch - Laura Whitcomb This one is set during the Russian Revolution. Teen love.
A Certain Slant of Light - Laura Whitcomb This one is set in the present day, but one of the main characters is a ghost from the late 1800s.
There're also quite a few novels in historical fantasy romance. But most of them are definitely more on the romance side.
*edited for formatting
I love this thread idea, though I feel like it's already mostly covered by the "What did you read this month?" thread. Still, far be it from me to not shove my preferences in everyones face.
Anything Lindsay Buroker puts out. Most known for her Emperor's Edge books. First one is free, just try it. Steampunk, bit of romance, fun cast of characters. It's nothing revolutionary, honestly, but I just have so much fun reading her stuff and I can't even tell you why. I'm just an absolute addict and she provides the crack in a timely manner. You think Sanderson writes like a machine? This woman must have self-triplicated somewhere along the line. 5+ books a year.
Next up would be J.S. Morin's Twinborn books. It's not exactly unknown on here, but it still needs a mention. Two series, one building on the other. Excellent work-building, cool characters, can't wait for what the author does next. It's mostly traditional Fantasy as you can get, but featuring Pirates, Magic, Empires, Demi-Gods and as of the 2nd series Steampunk, bit of SF and Transhumanism. Excellent stuff.
I also greatly enjoyed the short, fun read that was Larkspur. Not unknown on here either as the author frequents /r/fantasy relatively often, but still. MORE DAMN YOU!
Also, [Fae - The Wild Hunt] (http://www.amazon.com/Fae-Wild-Hunt-Riven-Wyrde-ebook/dp/B00IWOW2Y8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1417986097&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=graham+austin+king) by Graham Austin-King. He has a promo thread for the 2nd volume up on here right now anyway, but who cares? I loved the first book. Dark fairy-tale, novel approach to multiple POV story-telling. Can't wait for tomorrow. (2nd book release)
Lastly, [Book of Deacon] (http://www.amazon.com/Book-Deacon-ebook/dp/B0036FTF4S/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1417986518&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=book+of+deacon) by Joseph R. Lallo. Counting by the Amazon reviews it isn't exactly obscure, but I never saw it mentioned on here. Quite traditional "chosen one, save the world" Fantasy, but what makes this series is the diverse cast. There's a human magician and there's a fox and a dragon and... I'll just shut up now. Traditional in many ways, not so much in others.
Ok so there have been a lot of good books suggested in this thread but many of them are much longer than what you asked for and quite a few of them are very "artsy" thinking type books. I love many of those books like Murakami for example but I wouldn't recommend them for someone who wants to ease himself back into reading.
I'm going to give you some easy, fun books, the equivalent of a Dwayne Johnson movie. They are all around 300 pages, they don't use fancy literary devices that make things hard to keep track of, they all have things inside them that make you think but they don't FORCE you to have to think. Just some short fun adventures you can go on inside your head.
Mort by Terry Pratchett is quite short, it's funny, and it does cool things with words without using big words. You'll get what I mean if you read any of the good Terry Pratchett books.
I always get the spelling of this one wrong but Temeraire is an easy fun read. If the idea of the napoleonic wars being fought with dragons sounds like an interesting idea to you, check out the first book.
The warrior's apprentice is fun, the main character gets himself into some ridiculous situations and shamelessly scams his way out of them.
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is a great urban fantasy story that takes place in the unseen world below London and includes some magic, adventure and a great mystery.
If you haven't read the Chronicles of Narnia try those. After you get past the Christian allegories in the first book the series is enjoyable. If you have read them check out His Dark Materials. Another great book that has been called the atheists' response to Narnia.
China Mieville's Perdido Street Station would be a good one too. Definitely darker than the fantasy in Harry Potter but well written and a great story.
The Hunger Games trilogy has been mentioned a few times and is enjoyable. It is more Science Fiction than fantasy but is a great dystopian story. Written for YAs, like Harry Potter, but enjoyable for just about anyone.They're making a Hunger Games movie now so you'll be able to say you read it back before it was cool.
Edit: Forgot to mention The Dark Tower Series. A great series by Steven King that combines fantasy, western, science fiction and some horror. That sounds like a hodgepodge but the series manages to walk the line so well you end up staying awake until 2am reading to find out what happens next.
If you liked Song of Ice and fire you might really like Erikson:
Malazan Book of the Fallen is a 10 book series, might take you a bit to get into in the beginning but once it gets going I was not able to put it down. It's extremely gritty and has a lot of characters and plot lines, but they are all done extremely well, it gets to a point that you just start following the bigger picture of what is happening even as you read the events that each character is involved in. (I highly recommend this series to anyone that likes fantasy in shades of gray)
Another great book I read recently was Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson is a very good page turner, had a couple of late nights not being able to put it down. The "magic" (don't know what else to call it really) in the books is really creatively done, his writing style keeps you reading late into the night.
And off the top of my head I also liked Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. This one is a fun read, not as involved as the others mentioned above.
I'll skip over the classics (Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick) as they've already been covered.
Seriously. No space combat, but without doubt one of the most entertaining fiction I've read in any genre, and a superb example of dystopian sci-fi. For god sakes, the hero - Hiro Protagonist (I know, right?!) - is a Hacker / Samurai that works for the mafia. Delivering pizzas. Trust me on this: Go with it, you won't be sorry.
Hope that helps and wasn't a Great Wall of Boring Text :-)
Hey! Loved Redwall and the other associated stories when I was growing up. I was an avid fan and owned the first 10ish, but the quality of story went down as more came out. :(
Now the real trick is figuring out what you're asking, so I'll take a few stabs. If there is a specific aspect about Redwall you really want to reflect in your new reads let me know and I'll expand the selection. :)
Like Redwall as in intelligent animals:
Light On Shattered Water:
Human finds himself in an alternate dimension where cats evolved instead of humans. I first read in around 2000, and last read it again this year, still very enjoyable.
The Chanur Saga:
Anthropomorphic cat aliens. Pretty decent adventure, though the tech is a little silly but not bad considering it was written in the 80s.
Rabbits in England trying to live their life. And adventure type stuff happens. A classic for very good reason.
Like Redwall for epic adventure and battles
Malazan Book of the Fallen:
Epic in every way. Hands down my favorite book series. Never has any other book given such a sense of scale to the world. Everything has a history, and Erikson writes in a way that you want to know more, about it all.
His Majesty's Dragon:
I originally only picked up this book because the summary sounded like a joke. Napoleonic era England, insert dragons as the aerial corps. I brought it with to work, read it on my breaks and lunch, and after getting off at 9pm ended up staying at wprl until 5 am to finish it and the second book in the series.
Oh shit, my friend are you missing out. There is an explosion of Chinese/Korean/Japanese fantasy works being translated that you can freely read online. The writing isn't always superb, but they are all immensely entertaining.
Come on down to:
These are classics, super long, and finished both being written and translated.
World of Cultivation
I Shall Seal the Heavens
This one uses western themes but in a more chinese-fantasy-style:
Warlock of the Magus World
There are a number of unfinished ones you might like as well. My favorite is The Way of Choices. It is written in a more classical and literary style. One of the better written ones definitely.
The Way of Choices
For the next one, the initial premise is weird here, a person is reincarnated, and then given a second chance at their new life groundhog-style, but I like it.
The Records of the Human Emperor
Will Wight has a series that mimics the style of Chinese fantasy novels. You might like it.
There is a whole huge world of this material being written and translated out there. More than you could read and stay ahead of really.
These type of novels are usually called Wuxia or Xiancia novels depending on whether they center in on martial arts (the former), or more fantasy elements (the latter).
I read [House of Blades] (https://www.amazon.com/House-Blades-Travelers-Gate-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00D52X58Y) the first month it came out. Same for the The Crimson Vault and City of Light.
I however admit that I did not read the Elder Empire series until much later, after I had already started Cradle. I had seen it on kindle while browsing many many times, but it didn't click with me. I very much enjoyed it once I finally started reading it, but I was very hesitant to start it for a couple of reasons I can identify for you.
This puts a little limiter on how complex I want a book to be. If I'm reading fast I don't want to have to remember a dozen different characters and each of their backgrounds and plot lines. The Elder Empire threatened to overwhelm my unprepared mind with lots of POV characters and interweaving plots. It sounded like epic fantasy to me, and don't get me wrong, I love epic fantasy, but I'd read House of Blades, which felt more like Heroic Fantasy or maybe coming of age fantasy, I wasn't sure I wanted to dive into something like that for a fairly new author I'd only read from a different sub-genre. I was somewhat afraid of putting forth the mental effort to read a story I was uncertain I'd like in the first place. I kept putting it off, thinking that I'd read it when I was in the right mood to dive into something more complex plot-wise. Unfortunately, when I'm looking for a book I can really dive into mentally I don't usually look to self-published books. I look for the big traditional names like, Rothfus' Name of the Wind or Oathbringer or A song of Ice and Fire or Malzahan book of the Fallen.
I apologize for the wall of text. There's a few more points I can think of but I'll stop here before my comment becomes too long for anybody to bother reading. Hopefully it helps you in your future marketing endeavors!
The Crafter by Outspan Foster. I haven't read this one yet, but I'm pretty pumped. Ordered the paperback. Set in a non-vr world.
Dante's Immortality. Highly recommended on this sub. Book 2 probably won't happen. Probably once a week asks about book 2. Still, so good that it's worth reading book 1 of an unfinished series. I think that's pretty high praise for it.
Sufficiently Advanced Magic. Another sub favorite. People argue whether or not it's LitRPG, most important thing is: it's dope.
Adventures on Brad. Nice slice of life in a non-vr fantasy world with game mechanics. Fun stuff.
A few others:
Adventurer Academy andIs It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon.
The Moon is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
> Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean." He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.
> It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the winner of the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Nah it's okay! The Lord of the Rings is really long and unless you're super interested in the story then it'd be a tedious read. I personally really love the book and do recommend them. I've read it twice in full and am re-reading it right now. If you ever are interested in the stories of Middle-earth I highly recommend starting with The Hobbit, it's regular book length and very fun to read. But even if you just casually enjoy the films that's alright too!
If there ever comes a day you do wanna dive headfirst into the books I highly recommend This box-set. It's small and cute.
I couldn't agree with this more. Sly Flourish has a whole book on Fantastic Locations where he discusses using them, how they can improve your game, and tips for building them/running them. I highly recommend it.
I also highly recommend building set-piece encounters for dramatic moments in the storyline. The big boss fight is an obvious time to do this, but I suggest spreading them out more to keep your players on their toes and show them that it's more than just a formula. If you want to study how to make them, I personally think that Whispers of the Vampire's Blade is a great place to start (it's also a super fun module).
As far as worldbuilding goes, don't overdo it (I should know, I overdo it all the time). Nailing the details can make the game 10x as immersive, but spending all your time writing adventures on just the details does not an interesting adventure make. For ideas on worldbuilding, YouTube can be a good resource if you find the right channels. Other than that, read fantasy novels. Published campaign settings can give you good ideas too, but usually I find novels to be more inspiring because they take more risks. It's okay to say your world doesn't have goblins in it as long its in service of something more interesting. Maybe they all died in a horrible ritual that created some new evil? That kind of thing. For novels with tremendous worldbuilding, I recommend anything by Brandon Sanderson, especially his Mistborn trilogy.
I hope some of that helps!
I highly recommend The Second Super by Logan Rutherford. It's has 4 books already and the whole series is amazing. Very similar to Drew Hayes Super Powereds, but starts in a world new to super heroes.
I'd also recommend The Awaken Online series. Characters are in a similar age group and although it's a online RPG driven narrative, the character and story development has a similar feel to the way Super Powereds is developed. It's a fun, immersive and addictive read.
I think I saw this posted on here before but I also was inspired by this Customizable Savage Worlds GM screen.
Here's how I made my pretty awesome screen:
Swan Song - Robert McCammon Of the books I read last year this was my favorite.
Old Man's War - John Scazi - It's a pretty fun Military Sci-fi series
Leviathan Wakes - S. A. Corey - Near space, space opera.
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson - Epic Fantasy with an interesting magic system, good place to start with a popular author
The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie - "Grimm Dark" fantasy, he does an interesting thing by playing with a LotR style quest.
The Black Prism - Brent Weeks - Interesting Magic system, one of my favorite ongoing fantasy series. Much better than his first trilogy IMHO
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch - Funny urban fantasy series that takes place in London
His Majesty's Dragon - Namoi Novik - Napoleonic* war + dragon's, fun quick reads.
Sevenes - Neal Stephenson - Stand Alone sci-fi novel about human's trying to survive in space as the world ends.
I can suggest more if you want, and I assume you've probably read at least some of these. Hope you enjoy some of them at least though.
Great contest idea! Don't let life get you down, you obviously have awesome ideas, so just keep'em coming!
Here is something you might like!
I noticed you're a Robert Jordan fan and Brian Sanderson did the most recent books in the Wheel of Time series. This series is awesome for WoT fans, trust me. :D
Redditing at work is AWESOME . It's what I'm doing right now.
If you choose me this is what I would like. :)
His Majesty's Dragon has an interesting take on Dragons. It's the first book in the Temerarie series. It's an alternative history story set in the 1800s where Dragons are used in the UK military. It's been a while since I've read it, but it's well written and unique concept. Definitely worth a read. You can get here on Amazon or here on Audible or here on Barnes & Noble.
There's also Seraphina, which is a murder mystery in a high court. The accused killers, are dragons. It follows a young court musician as she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. This one is very interesting, but it's geared towards a young adult audience. I still enjoyed it a lot, but keep that in mind if you look into it. It can be found here on Amazon or here on Audible or here on Barnes & Noble.
There's also Dragonflight, which has a lot of the inspiration for the "Dragonrider" character concept concept. It's also a series called The Dragonriders of Pern. I'm a little more wary of recommending this one. It's good, but it's also harder to read. It has just a touch of that old sci-fi slowness from the 60s, but if you can get past that it's pretty good. It's available here on Amazon or here on Audible or here on Barnes & Noble.
Those are the only Dragon-specific books I can think of at the moment. If I come up with anymore I'll add them. If you want any other book recommendations I'd be happy to help.
Edit: Added Dragonflight.
For some more ancap fiction threads and posts I have assembled
I listend to a talk David D. Freidman gave at Duke on Stateless and Semi-Stateless Societies in Fiction and Semi-Fiction. (Blog post) (Audio)
I was curious about the pieces he mentioned, so I decided to make a list of them.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
The Ungoverned - Vernor Vinge
True Names - Vernor Vinge
Oath of Fealty - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The Syndic - C.M. Kornbluth
The Domination of Draka (series) - S.M. Stirling
Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Probability Broach – L. Neil Smith
The Great Explosion – Eric Frank Russell
The Cassini Division (Fall Revolution Series) - Ken MacLeod (I don’t believe the books by this author are mentioned but I believe this is the one concerning the “Einstein” in the capitalist enclave.)
Harald - David D. Friedman
Salamander - David D. Friedman
Here are also some links to other threads on the subject that have been posted in this sub:
I need some help on compiling a reading list on Anarcho-Capitalist, Libertarian and techno-commercialist novels, plays, etc.
Any An-cap friendly novels out there?
A permanent catalog of fiction with AnCap themes (please feel free to contribute)
Any representations of a stateless society that is positive in fiction?
Anarch Capitalist Fiction List?
I have provided Amazon links. Most of these pieces can be found online, but I will leave that to the reader.
I'd recommend giving Will Wight a try. His stuff reminds me of early Sanderson. It's definitely not very polished yet, but it's innovative, you can see his improvement as a writer, and he's trying new things. His first series is called Traveler's Gate; it's a really fun read. First book is available here.
He's currently working on two parallel series set in a different world with dueling protagonists. It's interesting because they just ooze potential- they're good books right now, but while reading them you can just tell that he's going to be huge within the next 10 years.
some of the more popular ones:
Cradle: journey of a young man as he grows to become ever more powerful, first 3 books are free on Amazon right now:
Riyria Revelations, starting with Theft of Swords, follow the adventures of a warrior and an assassin with a mysterious past.
If you like RPG computer games, there is a whole section of fantasy and SF books categorized as litRPG or gameLit which are easy to pick up and are fun to read. Some examples:
-Everybody Loves Large Chests (can also be read for free online)
The Dao of Magic is a more westernized type cultivation story. The Dao of Magic has some pretty interesting ideas, and for the most part is a great read. It is not without its flaws though, but they give the story character in their own way.
Unsouled is the first book in an ongoing series of wuxia/xianxia inspired books that is released on Amazon. I feel it is really well written, though I got bored halfway through the released books. It's still great, it's just hard for books to keep my interest, and is nothing against the author/story.
I haven't really read many English stories that are purely wuxia/xianxia though, but I have noticed wuxia influence in all manner of fantasy webnovels nowadays. I know there are many more wuxia/xianxia original English stories though; I just can't think of them off the top of my head.
I read eight books in September. Between travel and general boredom, I finally started digging into the books on Kindle Unlimited and discovered a few series that I enjoyed, even though they are frustratingly incomplete.
The first was the Unsouled series (5 books) by Will Wight. The universe is a combination of high fantasy and sci-fi with an overarching flavor of Asian mythology. At first, I wasn't completely sold on it, but the characters have some interesting arcs, especially Lindon, the protagonist. If you're a fan of anime-style story arcs with underpowered protagonists bumblefucking their way to glory, you'll like it. Also, the books are really easy to read, but engaging enough to keep interest. 4/5 stars
Second, I read the Euphoria Online (2 books) series by Phil Tucker. It's a story about a dystopian future where humanity has surrendered control to an AI to help mitigate the damage that's been done to the environment. The AI has taken over government functions and put together a VR game for humanity. The game allows players who play on "Death March" mode, which can be fatal, to gain a boon from the AI and the protagonist decides to attempt it because his brother is on Death Row. 3.75/5 stars
The last book that I finished just last night is Pandemic by A.G. Riddle. It's a well written in a Tom Clancy/Dan Brown kind of way. The story involves a pandemic (shocking, right?), a secret society, and other airport paperback style shenanigans. It's an entertaining read, but not breaking any new ground. I enjoyed it simply for the rollercoaster ride of the plot. 3.5/5 stars.
I can't believe I'm the first person to suggest this, but you probably want Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe. The kid is not an overly powerful mage, but has to traverse the tower of death traps using his wits and clever ways no one has thought of before with his magic. Feel is sort of a D&D campaign/ dungeon crawl but with LitRPG overtones and protagonist who might just be on the spectrum.
Will Wight's Cradle series is a more Asian inspired take on magic with the protag again being considered deficient magically and having to think his way around the situations in unconventional ways to gain strength. Even by the middle of the third book, he's still not brimming with power.
Brent Week's Lightbringerhas some VERY powerful characters in it (in fact one of the POVs is the most powerful man alive), but one of the POVs is a kid just getting his feet under him. Good series, but probably the least similar to what you're asking for here.
they'll probably just tap in Sanderson like they did with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
At first I was like.. so who is this random Sanderson and why should I care about his books. Eventually I did read a Sanderson book and I was.. unimpressed. It was good but not "We want you to finish WOT" good. Turns out it was his Young Adult book which was better than Patterson's garbage. Anyway one day Amazon had a Sanderson book for free. Good lord it was good. It was so epic, so good. It changed my world. If I was in high school when this series was coming out my primary user handle would come from it instead of Wheel of Time. On TOP of that. Sanderson is a bloody machine. He cranks out these epic well written books and he cranks them out regularly which in the literary world is lightning fast.
I understood after reading that book why they choose him. Because he writes good, he writes big and he's a closer.
Here's some I can recommend:
House of Blades by Will Wight, narrated by Will Wight.
If you're a fan of Sanderson's magic systems or fight sequences, you might like this a lot. It's fast-paced, fun, and turns a few tropes around. I didn't listen to this on audio, but I just checked out the sample and it sounds like the author did a pretty good job narrating himself. The ebook is currently free on Amazon! So if you get the ebook for free, the audiobook should be $2 on Audible.
Forging Divinity by Andrew Rowe, narrated by Nick Podehl.
This is another book similar to Sanderson's style of hard magic systems. (Interestingly enough, Rowe is a huge fan of Will Wight and a regular member of this subreddit). The book is narrated by the same narrator who did the Kingkiller series! Also, this is the first book in what will likely be an extraordinarily epic series, with a magic school spinoff book due to release later this year.
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
This book is and isn't indie/self-published, so I'm not sure if this fits what you are looking for. Sullivan originally self-published this series, and it was later picked up for traditional publication. This is the omnibus containing the first two books (both of which were self-published originally). Both the book and narration are very good, though.
A Warrior's Path** by Davis Ashura, narrated by Nick Podehl.
This has a society with a strict caste system, where each caste has their own magical abilities. The story follows a warrior who has to learn to reexamine this caste system and the politics of the warrior's home city. Also, there's a magical god-demon that can control hordes of evil minions.
I can't recommend Brandon Sanderson enough as an author of epic fantasy. I avoided reading his stuff for the longest time because he wrote the last Wheel of Time book and I HATE that series, but out of desperation (and nice cover art) I caved, and immediately kicked myself for having waited so long. He's written some nice standalone novels, as well as some longer series. I've seen his books in pretty much every bookshop I've been into, so he should be easy to find. My particular favourite is the Mistborn Series, which starts with the question "what if the evil overlord won" and then kicks off a really great story of a street urchin and a gang of criminals that turns into a political thriller with magic and evil cults and oh my goodness just read it, it's awesome.
My second recommendation is for The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts. It's set in a secondary world of Feist's Riftwar Saga, with some crossover, but you don't need to have read any of the Riftwar Books to understand what's going on. The world creation, particularly the politics and culture, is amazing in this series. Starts with Daughter of the Empire, the story of a woman who, when she's about to enter a convent, suddenly finds herself in charge of House Acoma on the death of her entire family, and the things she has to do to keep herself and her House alive. It's amazing. Don't let the awful cover art on Amazon fool you.
How much do you want to spend?
I mean, you could buy him the authentic Wooly Mammoth Tusk dice... (WAAAAY expensive... a full set runs over $2100) or maybe a nice set of stone or metal dice... (Much more affordable. The Metal dice can be had for under $50, sometimes as low as half that) Or like another poster said: Hero Forge gift vouchers are good. But if he's mostly a DM, he might not need a character like a player would.
Another idea is a really nice dice bag. Something tasteful and made out of a premium material. Leather and Chain Mail are both popular.
Another thing he might appreciate as a DM is a customizable DM screen. https://www.amazon.com/Savage-Worlds-Customizable-Screen-S2P10002/dp/1930855591 I love mine because I can put whatever info that I want in it.
Other than that, a top notch mechanical pencil is always appreciated by me. Or maybe a really nice gear bag. I personally use the convention bag of holding from Thinkgeek, but they also have some nicer ones that hold more stuff... Those can run from $45 on up to about $129 depending on what you want.
I hope something in this grab bag has helped!
I just started Monster Hunters by Larry Correia--I'm less than halfway, so it's too early to give it a complete review, but so far, I'm enjoying it--not perfect, but a fun first in a series. It definitely reminds me of DF, but the protagonist is a normal human. Lots of monster fights. It's nice and long, and if you have a Kindle or Kindle app, you can get it free: http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-International-Hunters-Book-ebook/dp/B00APAH7PQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452481390&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=monster+hunters+correia
cracks knuckles I have no idea if these have audiobooks. I'm sorry if they don't. Most of these are only three books long or shorter, sorry.
Sandman Slim and the sequel. It wasn't my favorite book, BUT it sounds a lot like what you're looking for. And it was fun.
China Mieville's Bas-Lag series (Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council. Three (~500 pg) books long, fantastic world building, twisty plots and great characters.
The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The Confusion of the World. Three books long, but you could kill a small animal by dropping one of those books on it. These are good, but his stand-alones are better (Snow Crash and Diamond Age for sure).
Most of Stephen King's stuff has the kind of sprawl you're looking for.
Dune, at least until God Emperor (#4).
Honestly, I think if you liked John Grisham, you'll like The Girl with the
Dragon Tattoo books. I think I'm making that leap based on the last book in the trilogy. They're definitely entertaining.
History is cyclical. Science fiction authors that lean libertarian or ancap seem to understand this more than political philosophers and journalists. One of my favorite examples would be The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and all of Heinlein's works in that universe.
The desire for liberty pushes us out into the frontier, to a new horizon. Out there, freedom reigns. You're away from the centralized state apparatus, the military, the police and public corporate entities. For years or decades (or at other times in history, centuries), life just seems to go on somehow without these institutions of coercive force.
Eventually, society at large spreads out toward the now well-established frontiers, and thus the state takes over, the military has reign, the police are instituted, corporations buy up businesses or expand their chains to the region. Freedom quickly diminished, and the calls for it quiet down as most people find the comfort all too preferable.
But then what happens? The process starts all over again, when new lands are discovered by intrepid explores.
Well here's the thing... the colonization of space and our advancement to the stars gives us something that the Earth never could: a effectively limitless frontier. If we have the technology to travel freely from planet to planet, and the possibility of forging new settlements based upon current (i.e., future) technology at will, then there is no permanent frontier town that the state apparatus can catch up to.
Hence, Free Space. Anyone selling an end-of-history anarcho-capitalistic era is ignorant of history. But in the distant future, anarcho-capitalism will exist in a free space, because space is limitless, and there will always be room for any option.
I have Flowertown and Confessions of a D-List Super Villain that can be lent. Both were very good. I'm sure there are many others, but it is so hard to search for the lendable titles on Amazon!
EDIT: Adding more lendable SF titles - only adding books that I liked a lot.
The Forever War
The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011
Bob Moore, No Hero - this is currently free in kindle store
The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson
The God Engines
Agent to the Stars
Old Man's War
this is my favorite series i just started reading this one.
the first one is here https://smile.amazon.com/Land-Founding-Chaos-Seeds-Book-ebook/dp/B0172GEB68?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1465083761&amp;ref_=sr_1_3&amp;s=digital-text&amp;sr=1-3
book teaser for the first one so you don't have to look
Getting eaten alive is the worst! Stabbings, maimings, and corrosive black magic are not that great either, but you really don't want to be a wolf treat!
That is the kind of hands on, “teeth on,” education you get when you are summoned to The Land.
James did not want to be summoned!
Not really... well a maybe, just a bit!
But he had certainly not AGREED to be summoned!
Well technically speaking he HAD agreed, but good god, who had the time to read all of that fine print when there was epic gaming to be done!
When DangerZone Industries had released the latest and greatest VRMMORPG, James, and millions of other virtual reality players, had sought purpose and self-definition in this new world. The tag line "Live the life your soul was meant for," had captured the hearts and minds of his entire generation.
"The Land," was the largest and most dynamic virtual reality game of all time. James and his friends had devoted countless hours, and become one of the top teams in the game. They were at the brink of greatness, but then there was this light! (it was predictably white, but whatever!)
When he was actually summoned to The Land, it was both disturbing and exhilarating. When he then became entangled in the eternal war of sprites and goblins, the unsavory practices of the local king, and had a memorable night at the inn called the Whistling Hen, he came to one clear conclusion: Again, getting eaten alive is really REALLY the worst!
While uncovering such deep philosophical knowledge, James will forge a place in this new world, and hopefully avoid the machinations of those who want him to destroy it. What does it mean to be a Chaos Seed anyway???
"The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green, saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below." - Hyperion, Dan Simmons
"Joe Gould is a blithe and emaciated little man who has been a notable in the cafeterias, diners, barrooms, and dumps of Greenwhich Village for a quarter of a century" - Up In The Old Hotel - Joseph Mitchell
"He told them he loved them" - Columbine - Dave Cullen
"Kazbek Misikov stared at the bomb hanging above his family. It was a simple device, a plastic bucket packed with explosive paste, nails, and small metal balls. It weighed perhaps eight pounds. The existence of this bomb had become a central focus of his life." - The School - C.J. Chivers
"It was summer; it was winter." The Long Fall of One-Eleven Heavy - MICHAEL PATERNITI
"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken. I have never before had occasion to make the comparison, for never before today have I seen a head in a roasting pan" Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers - Mary Roach
Oh my god, I am so hot for this book (and was pleasantly surprised and violently vindicated when I guessed the content of the link correctly).
If you're into historical fantasy, I have to push Naomi Novik's Temeraire books. The grandness is less condensed but there are six sweet, sweet books, and more on the way.
[edited to add more books]
If you include mythology, I recall liking The Lost Books of The Odyssey by Zachary Mason quite a bit.
In terms of fairies and weaving tales, In the Night Garden and its sequel The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente have excellent and complexly tangled story lines.
Other favorites: American Gods by Neil Gaiman, anything by Terry Pratchett, perhaps even Robin McKinley?
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is a great fantasy series for YA fans branching into adult Fantasy. In fact, they are re-packaging them in PB for teens because they have such good cross-over appeal
I really liked Sorcery and Cecilia, which is Jane Austen with magic, basically.
Speaking of Jane Austen, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a great YA title that's basically a re-telling of Persuasion done in a sort-of dystopian, far future setting.
If you want a more literary contemporary YA, I would try I'll Give You the Sun. It's probably the best book I've read all year.
I've got more where that came from if you would like more titles!
If you like Savage Divinity and don't like MMO-ish rulesets, you might considering checking out Xianxia. I'd consider it kind of a LitRPG-adjacent genre, I guess? Clear stages of power progression without any sort of Game Mechanics or blue boxes at all. There a quite a few web novels translated from Chinese you might like, but the starting point I recommend is Coiling Dragon (on the web here or on KU here), and if you like it you have a TON of web-based reading material ahead of you my friend. If you want an English-native take on the genre /u/Will_Wight is doing a great job with his Cradle series.
The Land is pretty ok, you just have to get past A.K.'s writing idiosyncrasies. Everybody Loves Large Chest is an online serial. It's very gory, weird, and weirdly sexual. Ascend online is a great fantasy mmorpg. Really well written. Awaken online is very good book from the perspective of the "villain". Dark. Survival quest is pretty good Russian translated litrpg. Patch 17 is from a guy stuck in a mmorpg hell. Dragon's wrath is kind of just a town building litrpg, but is enjoyable enough. Unbound deathlord is pretty good dark book about the underdark, or whatever he calls it in that book.
I'm not sure if I can pick just one, but if you like sci-fi, you might enjoy Halo: First Strike. It's a fun read if you have some knowledge of the Halo universe. Dunno if I could call it my favorite book, but it's up there.
If you're into fantasy, I'd suggest trying The Way of Kings. I just finished it the other day and ended up quite enchanted with some of the characters.
Actually, I have read all her other works! And I like the first four books of the series she wrote (the first book of that series was her first book) a lot more than I like Uprooted. Though I do really like Uprooted! Her one previous series is military SF (well, military fantasy)/alternate history--it's set in the Napoleonic era (early 19th century) where, besides the Navy, there's also the Aerial Corps, consisting of crew-manned dragons. Books 1-4 are AWESOME. (Book 5 is interesting and good, Books 6 and 7 are okay, not great--Book 8, which is the last book in the series, is coming out sometime this year.)
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Helpful term for you: bildungsroman, which is the "making of the man," and is often applied to training the hero stories.
Some fantasy bildungsromans you haven't named:
Hah, that's pretty cool. I am reading his The Stormlight Archive Series. My middle daughter suggested it as a series that she, my oldest, and I could read together and discuss because The Wheel of Time was something she'd never gotten into but was shared between my oldest and myself. I realllllly love this seris.
I'll look up the Alcatraz vs. series. I tried his Mistborn series and, while I loved the first book, I couldn't even finish the second, so it turned me off of him for a while.
I'd go with Ascend Online if you're looking for a book with an actual game.
If you want more of a fantasy with game elements, Sufficiently Advanced Magic is where it's at. (While I admit that I know the author personally and have some bias, it's an Amazon Bestseller.)
If you prefer something modern-day and like a good zombie story, The Alpha Virus is a great read, though it's still a work-in-progress.
For a series with great characters and emotional impact, The Wandering Inn is an ongoing web serial of considerable length, and updates frequently.
I've had mixed success in dealing with Amazon recommendations. My interest in Perdido Street Station led me to The Etched City, but my interest in the Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld's Laish led me to a Krupp's coffee maker. The Etched City is an excellent book, but I never figured the coffee maker thing out.
By the way, I think you'd really like those first two.
My favorite book right now is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. It also happens to be the book I finished most recently. It was such awesome science-magic, girl on an adventure, surreal kids stuff. I wish I had read it when I was younger!
I have Hyperion by Dan Simmons on my reading wish list... I've never read it and I want to!
You've likely read most of these, but here are a few suggestions:
I can recommend others if you've already hit all of those already.