30 August 2006

Cold Feet

Word Nerd realized last night that all the fantasy series books sitting on her floor at home in the to-be-read stack had original publication dates in the 1980s. She has also read all the books in this stack once before.

Though Word Nerd has been reading much chick lit and many mysteries lately, her first love in reading in still sci-fi/fantasy (heavy on the fantasy). But she's finding herself drawn back to these older titles because, well, she's nervous about making a new commitment.

Why this trepidation for the genre she loves, you ask? Two words: Robert Jordan.

Now before you start hurling those 1,000 page tomes at Word Nerd, let her explain. When Word Nerd first started reading Jordan, only books 1-6 or so were available. At that time, Word Nerd and a good friend also reading the series would spend lunch time at high school dissecting and analyzing the plot. And somewhere in there, Word Nerd got frustrated because things stopped happening quickly enough for her in the plot. (And her arms got tired of lugging the 800+ page paperbacks around with her). Jordan, for those of you unfamiliar with this series is now on book 11 of the series and has written at least one prequel as well.

So when Word Nerd wanders through the stacks looking at fantasy series and sees six, seven, eleven some books in a series, she is cautious about picking up the first one and plunging in. Picking up the old standbys are safe, comfortable. She knows the characters, knows the worlds, and knows the series will end... something many Jordan readers are unsure of yet today.

She's not sure she could stand the disappointment of another Jordan series. If the first few pages of a series are a prophecy in the form of the prologue (anything involving wind sweeping over the world or somesuch) she's apt to put the book back on the shelf immediately.

But Word Nerd still wants to read in the fantasy genre.

She's asking for your help. What series are worth it? And why (without giving away too much plot...)

Since she's looking for series she's hasn't read already, here's a partial list of what series she has tackled:
J.R.R. Tolkein: Lord of the Rings
C.S. Lewis: Chronicles of Narnia; Space Trilogy
Robin Hobb: Assassin Trilogy; Liveship Trilogy; Tawny Man Trilogy
Sara Douglass: Wayfarer Redemption (bks 1-3)
Terry Pratchett: Discworld
Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman: Deathgate Cycle; Dragonlance Chronicles
Anne McCaffery: Dragonriders of Pern
George R.R. Martin: Song of Ice and Fire
Steven Brust: Vlad Taltos series
Stephen Donaldson: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Terry Brooks: Shannara books (some of the early ones); Landover; Word and Void series


Joshua Grover-David Patterson said...

Although it's not strictly "fantasy," (though I'm unsure what else you would call it...) I would highly, highly recommend Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Which, as a bonus, is actually complete. A warning, though - the first book is a little slow to get going. But the second I'd place as one of the best ever written by King.

A good friend of mine is a huge R.A. Salvatore fan, and I've read R.A.'s Icewind Dale trilogy. The first is actually the weakest, and suffers from being overwritten. But two and three are much improved.

Bethany K. Warner said...

Dark Tower? ... is that the same as the Gunslinger books? W.N. read the first one and couldn't get into bk. 2. Maybe it deserves another try.

Prime Looper said...

I'm tellin ya.... the Dune series by Frank Herbert. Sci-fi but without all the crazy futuristic weaponry. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.

Bethany K. Warner said...

Hmmm... W.N. forgot about Dune. Read the first one once; maybe should give the whole series a go.

Hawkeye said...

The Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. One of the best series' I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Ender's Game is very good -- haven't read any of the sequels.

You might try to find Nick O'Donohoe's "Crossroads" trilogy (The Magic and the Healing, Under the Healing Sign, The Healing of Crossroads), though it's out of print.

Also, Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels are very very good, especially if you're a fantasy fan. I'd recommend reading them in chronological order, especially because her writing style matures greatly (IMHO and IIRC) as she goes. Therefore, start with the first trilogy: Deryni Rising, Deryni Checkmate, and High Deryni. Then go on to the Camber novels, etc.

Roxann said...

I recently read Patricia A McKillip's Riddle-Master trilogy. Some things about the writing needed work, especially in the first book (such as an inability to distinguish which "he" is talking) but they were enjoyable. I liked that there were several plot twists throughout the series. Everything started off really confusing though, but got tied up by the end.

Mlle. Librarian said...

Hey, BKW!

This is Nikki Hershberger - it's been awhile!

I found your blog b/c my dad ran into your mom one day, yada yada yada, you know how parents are...anyway, really nice blog you've got here. I'm definitely bookmarking it, as I'm always looking for book rec's and needless to say, I trust your taste.

As for book rec's from me: have you tried Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series? Not strictly fantasy, but sort of an interesting mix of that and science fiction. Basically the initial premise is science fiction oriented (colonists crash-land on another planet), but the culture subsequently devolves to a feudal system and there are psi abilities involved, so it might work for you. Worth a look, anyway (the chronology of these is kind of weird, just be forewarned).

Hope you are well - all the best to you!