Fantasy Epics?
May 13, 2011 7:13 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to try to read a fantasy or even a sci-fi epic. I really have no experience in either realm besides Lord of The Rings, one Dune book, the Ender Series, and Hitchhikers. All of which I enjoyed but especially LOTR. What would be a good series to start off? The epic is the key thing as I want some nice thick books that I won't read in a day. I'm leery of things with faeries in them. Or twee YA books.
posted by kanata to Media & Arts (118 answers total) 170 users marked this as a favorite
The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov.
posted by tomswift at 7:14 PM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Usually comes highly recommended by all who read it :)
posted by sprezzy at 7:17 PM on May 13, 2011 [25 favorites]

Maybe obvious: have you read the Harry Potter books? I read the first couple when I was a kid, but just (literally a month ago) went and read through the whole series. Depending on how obsessive you are, the books are kind of readable in a day...and obviously YA. They were much better than I thought they'd be, though.
posted by phunniemee at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

How about The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King?
posted by Houstonian at 7:22 PM on May 13, 2011 [9 favorites]

Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. It's sci-fi, though not hard sci-fi. If you like Ender's Game and its sequels, you'll probably enjoy Hyperion. Bonus: it's meaty. Downside: it's four volumes, that I don't believe are sold in any combination form.
posted by devinemissk at 7:24 PM on May 13, 2011 [12 favorites]

The Red/Green/Blue Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson. Epic science fiction. v good
posted by crush-onastick at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy?
posted by Knicke at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some people don't, but I like the Eragon series of books by Christopher Paolini. The movie did not do it justice whatsoever. The books are thoughtful and engaging IMO, and the universe richly painted.

Of course I agree with tomswift that the Foundation Trilogy is it first as a child and many times since.
posted by forthright at 7:26 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tad Williams' Otherland series. You said fantasy, but you also mentioned Ender. Otherland has both fantasy (but not faeries) and science-fiction. And four pretty huge books. And is quite a wild ride.
posted by Glinn at 7:26 PM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

The Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends were a fun read. Yes, they are D&D books, but there are no dice or saving throws or rules-lawyering, just adventuring and magic and conniving and questing and all that jazz. You don't need to know or play D&D to be able to enjoy them.
posted by Gator at 7:27 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'll second both Hyperion and the Mars Trilogy, and add Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle
posted by hobgadling at 7:27 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Thirding Hyperion. It's a series of only two books, but is followed by the Endymion series (of two books). All reasonably priced on amazon.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:28 PM on May 13, 2011

I loved the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It starts with the Eye of the World.

If you get into the Dragonlance stuff, read the Legend of Huma.
posted by Silvertree at 7:29 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Check out the Dresden series by Jim Butcher. Starts with Storm Front and is easily one of my favorite sets of books now. 13 books so far, so a good long series.
posted by meowf at 7:30 PM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe is my favorite fantasy/sci-fi epic (it's a little of both). Gigantic imagination, staggering ambition, and yet a great character story. Both the first chapter and the sections immediately afterward are a little deceptive/off-model in tone and content compared to the rest, but no less impressive.
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:30 PM on May 13, 2011 [10 favorites]

I've only read a little of it, but I understand that Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels are the fantasy equivalent of the Hitchhiker's Guide series. There's also a lot more of them -- you can find a good "reading order guide" here.

You may also like Iain Banks' "Culture" novels, which are harder science fiction while still retaining an element of humor. There's lots of discussion about the series in this thread, including recommendations on where to start.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]

Oooooh. Duh! Seconding The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Ho. Ly. Cow. So epic. I got to the end and immediately wanted to start over again.
posted by Knicke at 7:31 PM on May 13, 2011

(Wolfe is a huge Tolkien fan, but he's a huge fan of the kind that takes spiritually from his hero but doesn't imitate his surface at all. He doesn't hesitate to shout out to Melville, though!)
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:32 PM on May 13, 2011

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has lots and lots and lots of pages.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:34 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara, and the whole Shannara Trilogy and most of the following world of Shannara books are pretty good. The earlier books in the series bear a very strong resemblance to LOTR, but is different enough to still be enjoyable.
posted by semp at 7:37 PM on May 13, 2011

Orson Scott Card's Ender series would keep you busy for a l-o-n-g time. Besides the first book, which totally blew me away, the series develops in an unusual direction. The most interesting part IMO is that he then went back to the first story and retold it from the perspective of one of the other characters.
posted by DrGail at 7:41 PM on May 13, 2011

Fourthing Hyperion. Also by the same author (Dan Simmons): Illium and Olympos.
posted by ish__ at 7:47 PM on May 13, 2011

Glinn: "Tad Williams' Otherland series. You said fantasy, but you also mentioned Ender. Otherland has both fantasy (but not faeries) and science-fiction. And four pretty huge books. And is quite a wild ride."

I've never read that series but Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is excellent and one of the fastest four volume series that you'll read.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Wow, tonnes of bad recommendations here; lots of YA, and sci fi does not equal fantasy. If you liked epic like LOTR, I recommend:

The Liveship Traders trilogy, by Robin Hobb, or her assassin's trilogy.

Tigana, The Fionvar Tapestry, or any of Guy Gavriel Kay's books - he helped collate the Simarillion for J.R.R Tolkien's estate back in the day. Great writer.

The Black Company Chronicles, by Glen Cook.

Perhaps The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham.

All of these are epic fantasy novels, written for adults. Other epic recommendations for writers that I personally don't think are as strong would be:

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, by Tad Williams.

Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan are really not great writers in my opinion; you can do a lot better nowadays.
posted by smoke at 7:52 PM on May 13, 2011 [16 favorites]

I liked the Dancing Gods series by Jack Chalker.

His concept of "Books of Rules" was a particularly nice innovation.

Chalker's "Flux and Anchor" series is also pretty epic.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:56 PM on May 13, 2011

OP, you may also find my previous recommendation asking for huge fantasy novels useful, though I too got many answers which just seemed to be people's favourite books, rather than what I was asking for!
posted by smoke at 7:57 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Agree with smoke that David Eddings isn't a great writer, but he's a rippingly good storyteller, and it's hard to beat the Belgariad for fun, light fantasy epic. (The further in his career he gets, the less his editors edit him, and the worse the writing gets. His early work is better because much more tightly-edited.)

It's not as dense, symbolic, rich, or dark as LotR, but if you wanted a sort of "summer beach read" version of a fantasy epic, Eddings is your man.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:58 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

David Brin's Uplift series is really good, especially Startide Rising. There's 6 books in the Uplift series, but I've only read the first 3 (I outgrew SF about 20 years ago).

I did reread Heart of the Comet recently, and it's also an amazing book.

Greg Bear's The Way series is also immersive and thought-provoking.

Obviously I'm a hard SF fan
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you like fantasy, have you checked out Delany's Return to Nevèrÿon series?
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 8:03 PM on May 13, 2011

Seconding the Foundation series, and Book of the New Sun. Book of the New Sun might appeal more to you if you're looking for fantasy, because it has sort of the fantasy aesthetic, but is "technically" really sci-fi.

Also, The Night's Dawn Trilogy is a good sci-fi epic. IMO not quite as good as most of the other answers here, but it is sort of hailed as a new sci-fi classic, and is a big part of the space opera revival. You might not like it so much if you like fantasy, but you might put it on your to-read-eventually list. The same author also more recently wrote the Void trilogy, which I haven't read.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 8:03 PM on May 13, 2011

if you want to check out some sexy alt-history fantasy try Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. very fun, very readable!
posted by supermedusa at 8:05 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Gormenghast might be worth a look. It's less YA than LOTR, certainly. It's been many years since I read it, but the castle still remains vivid in my memory.
posted by bricoleur at 8:06 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I realize you asked mainly about fantasy, but you did mention sci fi, so here goes. If you're looking more for space opera style scifi here's a few recommendations. I'm kind of picky about writing style and these were very readable.

* House of Suns or Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds

* A Talent For War by Jack McDevitt or his The Engines of God

* Neal Asher's Polity series and Spatterjay series are great. I read right through all of them in a short period and loved the stories and writing.

Non- space opera sci fi- Connie Willis's time traveling series is fantastic. Awesome. LOVE her. She's been mentioned a fair amount on other threads and very deservedly so.
posted by lyra4 at 8:06 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

smoke: "Wow, tonnes of bad recommendations here; lots of YA, and sci fi does not equal fantasy."

The non-fantasy answers are on-topic. From the first sentence of the question:

I'd like to try to read a fantasy or even a sci-fi epic.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2011

As for your science fiction love, someone who writes single novel doorstoppers is Neal Stephenson. I found his Anathem fascinating.
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 8:16 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Laurie Marks' Elemental series?
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 8:18 PM on May 13, 2011

Seconding A Song of Ice And Fire (the fifth book is coming out in July, so you'll have another entry in that one soon enough, but you may not be through the first four by that time). The Dark Tower series is hit or miss for many, but I love it and it's one of my favorites.

On a related note, you can toss in The Talisman and Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub as two related but self-contained long, but engrossing fatasy tales. The Talisman is much more so, but both fit.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:18 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Peter F Hamilton's recently completed Void trilogy is huge, a meaty, satisfying Sci-Fi epic.
posted by Ookseer at 8:19 PM on May 13, 2011

How about The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss? The second book just came out, and both books are excellent. The writing is really, really good. Orson Scott Card said of him "He doesn't pad."

I think Card was referring to Martin, whose Ice and Fire books are about 50% padding. I've read all of them, and have been very disappointed. The last one, a Feast for Crows, got justifiably bad reviews on Amazon. The writing itself has never been all that strong, and the plot, which started out good, has been getting bogged down significantly by extraneous characters and lots and lots of...padding.
posted by zachawry at 8:24 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dune changed my life. I still quote from it all the time, and it's been 25 years since I first read them. Also, they taught me to understand geo politics and power relationships in the real world.
posted by jbenben at 8:24 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, thanks to whoever first recommended Name of the Wind to me here. And, all the friends I have bought the book for thank you as well. :)
posted by zachawry at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2011

Also, while The Chronicles of Narnia get all the attention, C. S. Lewis' The Space Trilogy is excellent (OK, the second book is too much talk and too little action, but that's typical of trilogies) and not meant for children at all.
posted by bricoleur at 8:29 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

For epic fantasy and lots of long books, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is great. Another long series that I liked was Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series - I think the first one is called Wizard's First Rule - it's a little grittier than Jordan. Nobody can beat Terry Pratchett for sheer entertainment and parody; his Discworld books are fantasy, but you'll love the satire. I like Tad Williams' Shadowmarch series, but they're not as long and more YA than the others. Those are just some of my favorites, but I think if you want long books and a lot of 'em in a series, you'd like Terry Goodkind or Robert Jordan.
posted by aryma at 8:33 PM on May 13, 2011

The George RR Martin Ice and Fire series is really the premiere swords-and-dragons fantasy series in my experience.
Jordan's Wheel of Time starts off spectacularly, but gets bogged down in the later volumes.
The Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch is relatively new (only 2 of 7 planned volumes have been published to date), and so maybe not thick enough to scratch your immersion itch, but it's a fun ride so far.
The first 2 volumes of Robin Hobb's Assassin Trilogy are as good as fantasy gets. I found the third to be woefully disappointing by comparison.
posted by willpie at 8:33 PM on May 13, 2011

There have already been innumerable suggestions, but I will add one more:

Eisenhorn, by Dan Abnett. It's three books, but you can get it in a supremely bulbous omnibus.

It's really great.
posted by kbanas at 8:36 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Quite a few young-read suggestions in there, not really what I would call quality fantasy, guess I agree with smoke.

But I will put forth my suggestions as Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, and Rothfuss books (already mentioned).
posted by lundman at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2011

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series.
posted by Nixy at 9:14 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could try the the Recluce series by L. E. Modesitt; it's at sixteen volumes and counting, and they are all fat books.

And gripping. I read one in its entirety standing in front of the shelf at my favorite bookstore. I was so embarrassed when I came to that I had to buy it, and I was so stiff I could only limp to the register.

Neither could they be said to be especially twee. At their most benign Modesitt's heroes are about 90% psychopathic killer; you can imagine what the villains are like. I get the strong feeling he writes to keep from going insane. I hope it continues to work for a while longer. I've read about twelve in this series but he does have others as well.

Don't turn your back on Card until you've read the first three volumes of the Alvin Maker series. They are unbelievably good and so much better than anything else he's written I feel like sending him condolences for the horrible thing that must have happened to him whenever I think of them.
posted by jamjam at 9:15 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Until recently I hadn't read any fantasy besides Tolkien (although I've read plenty of sci-fi) and I LOVED the Rothfuss books mentioned upthread. Like, stayed up way too late several nights in a row to keep reading loved. So I add my vote that they're a good place to start.
posted by grapesaresour at 9:39 PM on May 13, 2011

I've been really enjoying Assassin's Apprentice Farseer trilogy which I picked up on a whim.
The bastard sons of kings play a noble role in fantasy: not only were King Arthur and Modred by-blows, but it is often suggested that Merlin himself came to power from the "wrong side of the bed." While Hobb's offering has a few too many illegitimate heirs backstabbing around, this is still a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne. Fitz, who is often called the "Boy" or the "Bastard," was begotten by good Prince Chivalry upon some "peasant" woman. At age six, he is given over to the safekeeping of the prince's man, Burrich. Fitz's impolitic existence causes the prince to abdicate his claim to the throne, and he and his wife leave the court, and the boy, behind. Fitz has inherited the "Skill," a mind-bending talent, and also has the ability to meld his thoughts with those of nonhuman creatures and to mentally "repel" physical advances. When Fitz finally comes to King Shrewd's attention, he is given over to the Royal Assassin's tutelage and trained to carry out the king's devious plans. The novel's conceit-that it offers Fitz's memoirs from childhood through adolescence-allows for several sequels. A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies and Arthurian romances.
posted by lyam at 9:49 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

How fussy are you about writing? Quite a few of the books I see recommended here are full of awkward prose and (hilariously) imprecise metaphors.

If you like Douglas Adams, then definitely try Terry Pratchett. Some of them are a little preachy, but the best of them stand with Wodehouse and Waugh in the hall of comic genius.

I never finished reading the Wheel of Time series, but I thought the characters were endearing and the prose unobtrusive, although it became more repetitive as the series progressed (tugs braid).

How do you feel about King Arthur stories? The Once and Future King is great, although very mid-century British in its love of Freud and its treatment of class and race. Mists of Avalon is terrible, and by that I mean terribly entertaining. It's like a fabulous cartoon of second wave feminism and neo-paganism, like a collaborative novel written by Helen Reddy, Starhawk and a team of rogue writers from Harlequin/Mills & Boon.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:50 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Garth Nix's Abhorsen and Keys to the Kingdom series are fun.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:56 PM on May 13, 2011

kanata: Are you looking for relatively well-written books or do you not really care and just want something long and fun? Because you're getting both kinds of recommendations and I don't know which you are looking for. Some of the recs are for actively bad books, too, but without clarification I'll hold my peace.

So are you looking for something well written or a cotton candy fun series?
posted by Justinian at 9:59 PM on May 13, 2011

The Vorkosigan Saga, science fiction by Lois McMaster Bujold, is available as free ebook downloads from publisher Baen. Her Chalion novels are pretty good, too.
posted by and for no one at 10:03 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

You should try Gene Wolfe's series of series starting with The Book of the New Sun, followed by The Book of the Long Sun, followed by The Book of the Short Sun.

Also his Latro in The Mist, a fantasy series set in Classical Greece.

Then there is Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series and then those science fiction novels and short stories set in her Hainish cycle -- Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, The Word for World is Forest, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, among others.

Jack Vance's fantasy Lyonesse series, his science fantasy series Tales of the Dying Earth -- the latter's first novel The Dying Earth being the main inspiration for Wolfe's Book of the New Sun and his science fiction five novel epic, The Demon Princes are favorites of mine.

All of these series are regarded as classics of fantasy or science fiction, all are rich, deep and detailed beyond description and there are no better stylists in either genres than these three writers. Such is my humble opinion.
posted by y2karl at 10:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Steven Brust's novels, the Dragaeran series (Vlad Taltos and the Khaavren Romances). There are about 20 of them so far, a fantasy mix of magic and sorcery and thugs and near immortals and the living dead and floating castles and gods and aliens and love and soul sucking weapons and smart assed familiars.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:39 PM on May 13, 2011

But don't take my word for it--here is what Owlcroft's mighty and authoritative Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works has to say about Vance, LeGuin and Wolfe.
posted by y2karl at 10:41 PM on May 13, 2011

Nthing Cook's Black Company books (first trilogy only), Wolfe's Book of the New Sun (and others of his, particularly the Latro books) and (especially) Kay's Fionavar Tapestry. For science fantasy, which is sort of on the borderline between the two, I recommend checking out the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The books from the 70s are shorter and better than her later collaborations. I'd start with either the Sharra storyline or the Free Amazons storyline, both of which I think have been gathered into omnibus volumes.

I'm also, as a long-time fantasy reader, a bit done with pseudo-medieval-European fantasies. Along those lines really enjoying N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy (third one out later this year) and David Anthony Durham's Acacia Trilogy (third one out in January 2012). I plowed through the first two of both trilogies and now am in impatient-waiting mode.
posted by immlass at 10:42 PM on May 13, 2011

Nthing The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss. The second book in the series just came out. Both are very think. I recommend these books often because my husband and I both like them. He's into fantasy and sci-fi, and I am not so much, except when they are really good. So when we both like something, I find it usually has broad appeal.

Another great series starts with The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. These get classes as YA, but it's not completely clear to me why.

(And I learned about both of these series right here on Metafilter.)

And, yeah, there's a reason the Harry Potter books are so ridiculously popular. I know so many folks who resisted reading them for ages (speaking of myself, ahem), and then loved them. Nothing twee there.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:50 PM on May 13, 2011

Skimming the comments here did not show up Raymond Feist's books. His Magician trilogy and the subsequent books are really good, although some of the side novels are not very interesting.

There are some pretty good philosophical, but fun discussions. Also, the books are usually in trilogies, with each trilogy completing a major evolution.
posted by theobserver at 10:54 PM on May 13, 2011

Avram Davidson is another writer I would recommend. But, sadly, near all of his novels are out of print, to be found only at a premium price at better used bookstores. Which truly is a crying shame.
posted by y2karl at 10:57 PM on May 13, 2011

Thirding The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

The books do have faeries (creatures from "the Fae"). BUT! Don't let what they are called deter you; they are probably not like what you are thinking of. These books are very engrossing; and, after LOTR, this series is what I think of when thinking of fantasy epics.
posted by Silly Ashles at 11:24 PM on May 13, 2011

The Kingkiller Chronicles (Name of the Wind, Wise Man's Fear) are indeed excellent thus far.

The Fourlands series, which starts with The Year of Our War is brilliant, and easily the most original thing I've read in fantasy in a long, long time.
posted by rodgerd at 11:27 PM on May 13, 2011

Oh yeah, Nthing the Fionavar books by Kay. Some of the best fantasy ever. I've read them all several times. Especially in the final book, he just writes so darn beautifully.
posted by zachawry at 11:29 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You definitely want GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire. If you want to try Pratchett, I recommend that people start with the Vimes/Men at Arms arc of the series, since it did take him a novel or three to find his feet. Echoing the recommendation for Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora, as well.

I really liked Amanda Downum's Drowning City for a very different, jungle/Asian based world, and she's a few months out from releasing the third in the fairly loosely connected series.

I don't think anyone's mentioned the Foreigner series by C. J. Cherryh, which is many novels long at this point and has a beautifully detailed SF alien culture. There's also C. S. Friedman's In Conquest Born, which has an extended war between two alien cultures.
posted by tautological at 12:01 AM on May 14, 2011

In addition to the aforementioned Wolfe, Bujold, and Vance, allow me to add Zelazny. (His long series work starts with Nine Princes in Amber.)
posted by coffeefilter at 2:11 AM on May 14, 2011

I'd just chip in to add my vote for Tad William's Sorry, Thorn and Misery trilogy - was just thinking of re-reading it myself!. I would also heartily reccomend Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy, which is a pleasingly dark and gritty fantasy trilogy, with rather less sentiment than many similar.
posted by prentiz at 2:50 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a little boggled by the Fionavar Tapestry recs as I thought they were awful, and I say that as someone who was already a huge Guy Gavriel Kay fan -- if those had been my introduction to him I would never have picked up the Sarantine Mosaic duology, Tigana, or The Lions of Al-Rassan, which I count collectively as among my favorite fantasy novels ever.

Nthing Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, the Locke Lamora books, Otherland, Startide Rising, His Dark Materials, Discworld.

I'd add to the list Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, which is part fantasy part alternate fiction, all rollicking good fun.

Also, you've probably read it already, but in case you haven't, I actually enjoyed The Silmarillion more than I did Lord of the Rings. It's mythopoeia, so if you're not a fan of mythology you probably won't enjoy it very much. If you are, though, I heartily recommend it.

(This thread is going to cost me so much book money, I can tell already.)
posted by bettafish at 4:47 AM on May 14, 2011

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson, are brilliant fantasy, and you won't get through them in a day. The eponymous Covenant is a writer who contracts leprosy who finds himself transported to another world, where he is set up to fight Lord Foul, the great enemy of The Land. The catch is that Covenant is never quite sure if The Land exists or is just a figment of his imagination.

I am halfway through The Wounded Land at the moment and am loving it!
posted by nz_kyle at 4:48 AM on May 14, 2011

No love for Arthurian fantasy? The Once and Future King by T.H White might fit the bill, as would The Mists of Avalon (for an altogether different take on the stories). The former is not part of a series, but I think there were some follow-on books to the latter (which, I confess, I've not read). Both are plenty thick, though.
posted by jquinby at 5:25 AM on May 14, 2011

Almost everything by John Crowley. High high quality writing, and thick books. And though Engine Summer is slimmer than the others, please read it because it is one of the best novels ever. (It's collected with two other novels in this book.

Little, Big features fae, but not the typical swords and sorcery kind.

Some of his books aren't in a series (Little, Big), but are lengthy, and sometimes when I am in the mood you are, finding a new author with many books like these scratches that itch.
posted by bleary at 5:43 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart is a fantasy series with a sense of humor.

(dang, I have the paperback of the collection I linked to (I got it at Stars Our Destination which used to be the most wonderful sf&f bookstore in Chicago but had to close down the physical store. (In fact, I bought two because I went on a long road trip and wanted to give it to one of the persons we stayed with)), but it looks out of print. The single paper backs look out of print too. Maybe you can score them easily at used bookstores.)
posted by bleary at 5:53 AM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding "Anathem".
posted by robcorr at 6:02 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If these recommendations aren't enough, check out this Reddit thread.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:11 AM on May 14, 2011

Nthing Patrick Rothfuss

Also PC Hodgell's epic series is fantastic (as good as Rothfuss or better) and now she finally has retired from her university job, she is putting books out more regularly.

Also really like Patricia McKillip - if you like Od Magic, you'll like her stuff - just beautifully written.
posted by zia at 6:28 AM on May 14, 2011

If you don't mind some seriously dark tone, and unhappy endings (for some), Sara Douglass' Wayfarer Redemption will keep you busy for quite a while - 6 books, >600p. ea.

She has a second, slightly shorter series (4 books), which unfolds over several different chronological periods (Roman Empire, medieval, English Restoration, and WWII) - The Troy Game.

These qualify as epic not only in length but in tone - they are parts of a single, incredibly long story, not individual stories strung together.
posted by timepiece at 6:49 AM on May 14, 2011

I really adored The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson (it's a duology, concluded by A Man Rides Through.)

Slightly strange, overprotected, possibly-going-mad, housebound twentysomething daughter of a very wealthy man looks into a mirror one day -- which isn't easy for her to do; she has no high opinion of herself -- and sees someone else in it. Long story short: she falls into the mirror and is mistaken for the long-awaited hero and has to learn how to navigate court politics and fight battles and...well, get a spine. Except it's all quite wonderfully and freshly done, in my memory, perhaps because it's written by a man who more normally writes really gritty SF.
posted by artemisia at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

1. Song of Ice and Fire is (a) not anywhere near finished and (b) really, really obviously "not planned." Yes, it's the one everyone recommends, but if you like a story with, you know, a resolution (see point a), this is not for you (and at some 3,000 pages in the 4 books already published, it's quite an investment to not get any pay off...). More disturbing to me is point b: the fourth and upcoming-fifth are 2,500 unplanned pages of - mostly - filler. The first three sort of chug along - here's some sex! ooh, a swordfight! wait, a Wall 600 feet high?! - but the fourth lays the burden of carrying it's page weight squarely on some previously minor characters. At this point, I'm of the opinion that Martin has only the vaguest of ideas where he's going...

2. No one's mentioned the works of Sean Russell. "River Into Darkness" (2 vols.) and "Moontide and Magic Rise" (2 vols.) are terrific, and I recommend them highly. (Read them in that order to follow chronologically). "Initiate Brother" is also good, but I haven't read the others.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:54 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like C.J. Cherryh a lot both her 12 books Foreigner series and her Fortress series (4 books for the original set, but she started another set). She has a lot of other books loosely connected in her own Universe with Cyteen as a center pin. I liked the Chanur saga and the Faded Sun trilogy, but both are space opera.
posted by francesca too at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2011

Seriously? Has no one mentioned Steven Erikson's Crippled God series. He writes very well, it's huge (10 books, 1000ish pages, and IT IS FINISHED). Read it and immediately reread it-it's incredibly complicated, and the rereading was very satisfying.

Ugly link-on phone-

Nthing Bakker, Wolfe, Hobb's Assassin's series. I didn't love Rothkuss, but I'm apparently the only one.
posted by purenitrous at 8:01 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might consider Bernard Cornwell's "Arthur" series or Michael Moorcock's Elric/Eternal Champion. Also gonna throw another vote for Martin's SoIaF and Zelazny's Amber series.
posted by MikeMc at 8:03 AM on May 14, 2011

For someone just getting into epic fantasy, +1 for David Eddings' early series "the Belgariad." Haven't re-read it in years but it is a fun, epic story in the medieval/high fantasy style. But there are plenty of other great recommendations for more serious/hard fantasy here, enjoy!
posted by Fin Azvandi at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2011

If you haven't already read them, I'd suggest some of the classic epics as well. They stack up pretty well to the modern fare. There are plenty of battles, magic, monsters, and all the other stuff that defines fantasy, with the bonus that a lot of later works are influenced by them or refer to them directly.

There are a massive amount of works surrounding the Trojan War:
The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Oresteia, and The Aeneid being the most famous.

On the norse/anglo/saxon side:
Beowulf, The Mabinogion, Le Morte d'Arthur, and the Viking Sagas

Middle Eastern and Indian:
Gilgamesh, Mahabharata, Ramayana
posted by chrisulonic at 8:10 AM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's OOP but I've read Stephen Grundy's "Rhinegold" several times. He also has other books based on Gilgasmesh and Attila. Oh and I forgot Cornwell's "Saxon Chronicles". Stop me before I post again...
posted by MikeMc at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2011

For epic, I would suggest looking at Warhammer's Black Library, which consists mainly of 3 book omnibuses from a larger series. Warhammer originally caught my attention chiefly because it looked to consist of epics, something I also enjoy.

For instance, I recently read The Founding, a sci-fi book with some fantasy aspects and containing a number of other omibuses if I choose to continue read the series. Or right now, I'm reading Mathias Thulmann Witch Hunter. Not the greatest fantasy I've ever read, but it is rather darker than most which make it interesting.

The Black Library is full of both epic fantasy and sci-fi series you might check out.
posted by jmd82 at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2011

Coming back to nth Mists of Avalon (the sequels not so much) and Temeraire, if you think military fantasy might be your bag (the first couple are great but the series is running out of steam). Also to recommend the Zelazny Amber books with a caveat: the hero of the first series is a Mad Man, and if you can deal with him being a 60s guy with all that implies--specifically some really dismissive stuff about women--the first five books are great and the second five not so much. I can't recommend the posthumous "approved by the estate" prequel series at all. (I run a PBEM based on the Amber books that's hitting its 10th anniversary this month. F yeah Amber!)

Thomas Covenant was a big disappointment for me. I'd rate it as questionable at best for anyone with chronic health issues (the anti-hero's leprosy is a key point in character development) and the rape in the first 100 pages will be a turnoff for many.

And on Kay, his early fantasy novels are fantastic but the quality of the pseudo-historicals isn't so great IMO. If I'd read the Sarantine duology before I hit Fionavar, Tigana, Arbonne, or Al-Rassan, all of which are desert island books for me, I'd have missed the rest. I know I put off buying the China book until it came out in paperback last week because I wasn't ready to shell out for the hardback after the disappointment of Sarantium.
posted by immlass at 8:26 AM on May 14, 2011

Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. Viciously underrated.
posted by pink candy floss at 8:31 AM on May 14, 2011

Anything by David Gemmell.
posted by meepmeow at 8:31 AM on May 14, 2011

b: the fourth and upcoming-fifth are 2,500 unplanned pages of - mostly - filler.

I find it strange that you're judging a book that isn't even released yet.

OP: In MY opinion the 4th book has pacing problems and yes, not as much happens as I'd like especially for its length. A major issue is that many of the fan-favorite characters do not appear in the book which isn't the case for book 5. As there are a lot of other really good suggestions you can probably just read a few other series and see what the reactions to book 5 are when it comes out before making a final decision.
posted by Green With You at 8:48 AM on May 14, 2011

Thanks for all the suggestions. A tad overwhelming. I am looking for well written stuff and more of epic journey type of sagas in the fantasy. In the sci-fi less space opera and more "hardish" type if that makes sense. I really have not read any fantasy books as the covers with dragons and magic tend to put me off. So maybe more knights and political intrigue than that. It could be I'm just not meant to read fantasy. I'm not sure if this helps weed out any suggestions or not.
posted by kanata at 9:30 AM on May 14, 2011

"I really have not read any fantasy books as the covers with dragons and magic tend to put me off."

You would probably enjoy Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction then. No magic or dragons but fictional characters inserted into historical events. Robert Low also has a series of Viking based HistFic with a fairly epic story line.
posted by MikeMc at 9:42 AM on May 14, 2011

Based especially on your recent comment, I think you would really enjoy Jacqueline Carey. The "fantasy" is more magic (by "regular" people; no wizards, etc.) and direct intervention of the gods, no mystical animals at all, that I can remember. In short, the first trilogy is about a young woman trained as both courtesan and spy. She ends up going to extraordinary lengths to protect the rightful queen of her country, and going even farther to help a friend who makes a huge sacrifice in "Kushiel's Dart", which is book 1. There are epic journeys in each book, and the writing gets better and better as the main character becomes less of an insufferable snob because of her adventures. There's alternate history of Europe, there's an entire alternate religion based on a child of Jesus's blood, Mary Magdalen's tears, and Mother Earth--these books have both adventure and ideas, and I love them for it.
posted by epj at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2011

Kanata, I still think you should give The Name of the Wind (the first in a trilogy; two are already published) a try. There's some magic, sorta, but it reads more like historical adventure novel set in a very different world. It's Tolkein-esque in that the world is very richly imagined. The hero isn't perfect at all. He's very human. It even has a map! Plus, the writing is solid.

Here's a nice review I plucked from the author's website:

"I was reminded of Ursula LeGuin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkien, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone. Like the writers he clearly admires, he’s an old-fashioned storyteller working with traditional elements, but his voice is his own. I haven’t been so gripped by a new fantasy series in years. It’s certain to become a classic."
-The London Times

posted by bluedaisy at 11:38 AM on May 14, 2011

So maybe more knights and political intrigue.

Mary Gentle's Books of Ash, then? One of the better depictions of late-medieval combat combined with a peculiar scifi/fantasy twist.
posted by SPrintF at 11:45 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Martin himself called his 4th and 5th volumes filler; he acknowledges they were slipped into his original five book plan, first as a sixth book and eventually as a seventh as well when the whole thing spiraled to 3,000 pages and the publisher broke it into two pieces. You don't have to read the book to read what he's written on the Internet...)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 12:41 PM on May 14, 2011

It even has a map!

A fantasy novel with a map ? Zounds! What a novel concept.
posted by y2karl at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2011

A fantasy novel with a map ? Zounds! What a novel concept.

Crazy! Actually, I just was trying to clarify legitimacy as a fantasy.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:48 PM on May 14, 2011

In scifi, I'll put in another vote for Dan Simmons' Hyperion and Endymion series, David Brin's Uplift series and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars' Series.

A recommendation that I didn't see was James Blish's Cities in Flight, which is an omnibus of four of his novels written in the late '50's and early '60's. Some elements of the stories are slightly anachronistic (vacuum tubes!) but all are still wonderful, engrossing reads.

I'd also suggest Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space novels. They're not contiguous, but are all set in the same universe.
posted by zarq at 2:12 PM on May 14, 2011

You want a good space opera? For the love of god, why has nobody mentioned the Honor Harrington series by David Weber starting with On Basilisk Station and continuing through about 13 sequels, five spinoffs, and I think five anthologies, which is also available in its entirety legally and for free?

If you want more Weber after that, you can always take a stab at In Fury Born.

Otherwise, yes on George RR Martin, people are SO very right about Robert Jordan's books, and the suggestions for the 40k sci-fi Black Library books are very very right. Less space-opera with the 40k, but quite a lot of them are put into omnibus editions these days to make for quite a lot of reading. I'm a fan of anything with the name 'Dan Abnett' on the cover, and Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain series is a not-quite-so-grimdark interpretation of the universe. The Horus Heresy series is also quite good; start off with Horus Rising and go nuts.

The Belgariad, Malloreon, and the Great Book of Amber will also keep you occupied for quite some time (these are available as omnibuses as well, yay!). There's also Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series starting with the one I linked.

I always love these threads, there's always something someone suggests that I haven't heard of, and then another that I can point to going 'SEE? SEEEEE?!?'
posted by Heretical at 2:37 PM on May 14, 2011

Correction: the Harrington series is both space opera and sort of hard sci-fi. Giant space battles, some in-depth tech talk, politics, bullshit, more space battles. Good times.
posted by Heretical at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2011

Let me clarify this list according to the criteria you have given us.

Okay, you are NOT going to like the Eragon series, because that's all dragons. Cross that right out. Harry Potter, same thing. Mythical creatures and magic abound. Also, both of those series are too young for your tastes.

You will probably not like the Dresden Files if you can't stomach mythical creatures like werewolves and vampires, either. The series does have humor, romance, intrigue, and well-written characters, though, and it is definitely a mature one, so if you can handle the bats and lycanthropes, go for it.

The Discworld series of books has the humor of the Hitchhiker Series, but you will have dwarves, trolls, etc. There, too. I love them but you will have to ask yourself if your love of humor outweighs your dislike of creaturish fantasy or vice versa.

So that's some that don't meet your criteria. Now on to the best recommenations, IMO, for you.

If you like good characterization, alternate timelines and political intrigue in your fantasies rather than creatures (how it sounds to me) and you do not mind mature sex scenes, the Kushiel series (Jacquelyn Carey) is a good recommenadation. I also think you will enjoy The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through (Stephen R Donaldson). Some magic there, but nothing cutesy or childish, and if you like those you can try tackling Donaldson's Covenant series, which is even more serious and sombre but can get depressing, as you will almost surely find the stubborness of the lead character frustrating. But, again, well-written.

For sci-fi, the Foundation series (Asimov) was a good recommendation as well. Snowcrash and the Cryptonomicon fit better, to me, than the Baroque Cycle, which bored me.
posted by misha at 4:51 PM on May 14, 2011

Oh, and I meant to add that I would second Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction as an alternate suggestion for your taste.
posted by misha at 4:54 PM on May 14, 2011

Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle might be a good fit, although I see that misha disagrees with me. NS's Cryptonomicon and Anathem are standalone epics.
posted by janell at 5:21 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Okay, you'll thank me for this: Roger Zelazny's The Amber Chronicles. Absolutely fantastic - and evidently, out of print. You can get the entire lot though in omnibus form on Amazon for hella cheap.

Seriously- you'll thank me.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:46 PM on May 14, 2011

What Lipstick Thespian said -- I know it as the Great Book of Amber. It's like, ten books, it's crazy. (I think I mentioned it in my first suggestion.)
posted by Heretical at 1:50 AM on May 15, 2011

I agree with the Amber series, too (but it can be hard to find these days. I have them in my own library; check used bookstores).
posted by misha at 6:16 AM on May 15, 2011

This might seem a little weird, but: Watership Down! Yes, it's a book about rabbits, but I think it's actually the perfect epic fantasy quest novel. It has a large cast of compelling characters, a fully-realized cultural universe complete with a language and folk tales, drama, privation, intrigue, yada yada. I actually found a lot of similarities between it and LOTR.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:06 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series may meet your requirement for epic journey type of saga. There are no faeries but lots of time travel, history, and sex. I wasn't impressed with the last installment, but the first six books were great (each 700 pages+).
posted by kbar1 at 5:38 PM on May 15, 2011

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time gets to be terrible sometime between page 6000 and page 11000 or so. It feels like he stole significant parts of LOTR and Dune, mashed them together, then stretched out what was left to just keep milking the profits. He died after book 11, and a second writer picked up the "last novel"... which they stretched into 12, 13, and (to be published, only one last book, we promise!) 14.

Read anything else first. Seriously.

If you're willing to read sci-fi, read the book Dune. It's political science fiction, involves the character going on a bit of a journey, and is one of the best books in the genre. The sequels get worse, and the second trilogy of books is almost unreadably bad, but the first book is really, really awesome.
posted by talldean at 5:33 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Very strongly seconding Barry Hughart.

Maybe Pamela Kennealy's Keltiad series, if you can put up with Magical Celts descended from Arthurian times in Space.
posted by a person of few words at 10:38 AM on May 16, 2011

With more than a 100+ answers, this thread is already too long. But just in case you come back to this thread (and for others like me going through it), the Belisarius series is very good.

It is a historical, military fantasy fiction spanning multiple empires/continents (with very less dragon/magic). It is co-written by David Drake and Eric Flint and published by Baen Books.
posted by theobserver at 7:28 PM on May 16, 2011

Thanks everyone. I will be returning to this thread over and over to gather more books but so far in these initial days I sampled a few books on the Kindle and settled on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin to start off with. Yes, it does have dragons but the tale sucked me in from the get go. Plus it had the most people agreeing to it.

After I finish that series (or what is available of it) I will come back and try something else recommended here. Thanks again for everyone's opinion.
posted by kanata at 8:18 PM on May 16, 2011

You might consider Bernard Cornwell's "Arthur" series

Yeah, well-written epic low fantasy with some solid historical roots.
posted by rodgerd at 12:23 AM on May 17, 2011

No one posted Name of the Wind? You must check it out.
posted by krieghund at 8:54 AM on May 17, 2011

No one posted Name of the Wind? You must check it out.

It was recommended by at least 7 people in this thread. Well, 9 now since you and I both also are recommending it.

So, yeah, OP after Martin, Rothfuss isn't a bad place to go next.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on May 17, 2011

Don't judge the Wheel of Time by its covers, or if you must, judge it by their ebook covers (image heavy), which (with the exception of the first book), are much much better. (more covers from various countries, for those who are interested).

Every time there's a question like this, at least one person has to say how much WoT sucks as it goes on, but I disagree. The pace does slow down around 9-10, but it picks up again by book 11. The pacing never bothered me though. It slows down in part because there are so many subplots/important "minor"* characters. I've never found it to be as repetitive as some people say either /shrug

The reason I Nth the recommendation here though is that the WoT draws on a lot of different mythologies, and if you liked that in LotR, you'll probably like it here.

WoT doesn't really have any dragons in the creature sense (I add the qualifier because the creature does show up as a symbol on a few things, but otherwise "dragon" refers to a person). Nor does it have elves, dwarves, faeries, etc. The mythological creatures aren't there, for the most part, but as I said, there are plenty of references to mythologies(e.g. one main character shares similarities with Odin). Jordan has said that as an American writer of fantasy, he feels licensed to draw from a melting pot of myths.

Here's a few things I like about WoT:

-Characters feel real to me. Some people on WoT message boards really hate a certain main character (well, ok, there's probably 2 they split between), but most of those who do hate her do so because of her personality. I don't share that dislike, but the fact that her personality bothers people that much, shows imho that she's actually a well-written character.

I actually like all the main characters. I can see how some would rub people the wrong way, but as I said, that makes them seem more real. Some even make me laugh out loud, which I almost never do when reading.

-Prophecies and the like are done well. I've read too many fantasy books where prophecy is just a map for inattentive readers. Local Scroll Repository X has hundreds of perfectly preserved scrolls just waiting for Hero Y to come and figure out the not-at-all-puzzling "riddle."

Prophecies in the WoT aren't a map and they're not easy - they're more like the scraps a classicist might study. There's a part of a song here, a reference to a line in a poem there, etc. Sure there are some more complete texts, but they're written in something akin to latin (dead language that nobles supposedly learn but most don't), except probably tricker to translate than latin, and they aren't always clear. Some are probably even inaccurate, as 3000 year old scraps are likely to be.

-Lots of foreshadowing, hints, mini-mysteries that don't get solved for quite a while. This may not be as fun if you read the series when all the books are already out, but the hints and subtle clues here and there throughout the books have sparked hundreds of theories and thousands of internet debates. Jordan was famous for answering questions with "Read and Find Out" (RAFO).

-The author served in the military and went to the Citadel. This isn't a major point, but I think his military service shows in his campaigning/adventuring and particularly battle scenes.

-Everything comes at a cost. There isn't a lot of focus on balance, but it's often there in the background. The powerful spell casters are not trusted, and while they have influence, it's not often open. The main character, for all his power, has serious handicaps as well, etc.

-I've always liked what the author says in the audiobook interview when asked why he started writing the WoT. (And now that I look at it again, he hits on a lot of the points I already mentioned):

"I wondered what it was really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told 'You were born to be the savior of man kind.' I didn't think it would be very much the way it is in so many books where someone pops up and says 'Hi I was born to be the savior of mankind and here's the prophecy' and everybody says 'Oh! Well! Let's go then!' I thought self-interest would play a big part and I was also wondering about the source of legends, myths. They can't all be anthropomorphisms of natural events. Some of them have to be distortions of things that actually happened; distortions by being passed down over generations. And that led into the distortion of information over distance. Whether that's temporal distance of spatial distance. ... And then finally there was the thought about something that happens in Tolkien and in a lot of other places - the wise old wizard shows up in a country village and says 'You must follow me to save the world.' And the villagers then say 'Right then gov'! Off we go!' Well, I did a lot of growing up in the country and I've always thought that what those country folk would say is 'Oh? Is that so? Look here, have another beer. Have two on me. I'll be right back. I will. Really' and then slip out the back door."

There's also Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series starting with the one I linked.

After giving my usual defense against the typical WoT attacks, I feel sort of bad attacking a different series, but I wouldn't recommend Sword of Truth unless you love reading about Ayn Rand's Objectivism. The first few books aren't so bad, but as they go on, they get preachier and preachier. Even setting that aside, I just never loved his writing style. Too often it seemed like the resolution to the main conflict of each book was either: 1) Talking people down with the persuasive powers of Objectivism 2) Winning over the enemy with an impressive display of soccer (seriously) or 3) Main character casts a spell without knowing how or why because that's what War Wizards do (use intuition).

In general, a lot of the complaints people throw at Jordan, I think should properly be directed towards Goodkind:

People say that Jordan's later books were a money grab, but the last few have actually been some of the most action packed in the series. Yes the last book was split into three, but have you read them? Lots of action. Anyone who stuck with the books knew there were too many loose ends to tie up in just one book, even before the author passed away.

Goodkind, however, has no excuse for making the last book into 3. I read all 3 because I couldn't just stop in the middle, but each one really felt like 1 books' worth of material had been stretched thin. I haven't read it since, but how many pages were spent describing Ja'La matches? And it's not like the author of this series died and left massive stacks of notes for the new author.

The SoT books got really repetitive, far worse than the WoT.** Is there a single book in that series where one (or both) of the main characters is not captured?

Did I mention the pages and pages of objectivist preaching from book 5 on?

*this series really needs a category between major and minor for characters
**People who think Nyneave pulls her braid constantly through the whole series are guilty of confirmation bias :) check out Ideal Seek which lets you search within the books and gives a word count for your searches too. See if "braid" comes up nearly as often as you think ;)
posted by chndrcks at 2:50 PM on May 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

-The author served in the military and went to the Citadel. This isn't a major point, but I think his military service shows in his campaigning/adventuring and particularly battle scenes.

Also in his taste for spanking, I'd say.
posted by jamjam at 3:02 PM on May 19, 2011

I finished the four Song of Ice and Fire books already and anxiously awaiting the next one in July. Plan to also re-read them as well. Though it dragged in places I found each book captivating and unlike some reviews didn't mind it when it focused on minor characters as the writing made me care about or hate them so deeply too.

I've moved onto the recommendations for The Name of the Wind and am about 3/4's through it. Enjoying it immensely and it has the type of flawed hero that I enjoy a lot. I can't recommend it enough myself for the writing and the way it grasps you into the story. I see there is another in the series so that will be good.
posted by kanata at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

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