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message 1: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments I would like to read a fantasy book series, and there are so many and I have read only so few, that I don't know where to start.

I read Harry Potter and liked those a lot. I read 1.5 LOTR books, and although I liked them, I found it (but that was like 12 years ago when I was just 17, might be different now) sometimes confusing and could not keep track of all the difficult names. If I read the description of Game of Thrones, that sounds too complicated.

So I'm looking for an easy to read serie written for adults (or both children and adults, but not specifically intended for children), not too violent (no detailed descriptions of torture or other nasty things people do to each other), no zombies or vampires. Either a normal-world setting with fantasy elements or a fantasy world would be great!

Any suggestions? I hope I don't have too many requirements!


message 2: by Esther (new)

Esther (nyctale) | 4443 comments I read a lot of fantasy.
I looked at your shelves and we have no that many books in commun, so I find it difficult to recommend something. Feel free to browse my fantasy shelf and ask.

One thing is for sure, altough I rave about Mark Lawrence's series, stay away. This is totally on the violent side of things..

No vampire takes out most of the urban fantasy as most of them have one here and there. If you change you mind, there checkKim Harrison's Hollows series or Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thomson.

There is Robin Hobb's Farseer's trilogy maybe? Starting with
Assassin's Apprentice. Which is a favorite of mine. Another favorite of mine is Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, but you may put this in the complicated category. Maybe Jennifer Robertson's Karavan.

These are what popped to mind. I am sure other series will follow....


message 3: by Rusalka, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2013 06:47PM) (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17557 comments Terry Pratchett may be a good intro for what you are after. Not too complicated with storylines and names, not much violence, only vamps in one or two of his books. My favourite is the Death series in the Discworld novels, starting with Mort. Or you could read one of the stand alones to get a feel for it, before diving in. I enjoyed Small Gods.

Broken record here I know, but Stardust by Neil Gaiman fits as well. Fun and short.

As I read her for the Toppler, she's in my head more but Diana Wynne Jones writes kids and YA fantasy. But not in a condesending, kiddie way. Half the time you forget you are reading a kids book at all. I recommend the Howl series, starting with Howl's Moving Castle.

Umm more alternate history, fantasy kinda thing with a good literary twist is The Eyre Affair. One of my favourite books. Set in 1980s UK, where the Crimean war ended completely differently, people have pet Dodos, and the main char is a cop who investigates literary crime. There is one vamp in the series but I don't think he appears until the second book or so, and he's minor and his vampire-ness is completely incidental.

Lastly, in the urban fantasy vein that's really popular at the moment, I would recommend Grave Witch which I read earlier this year and actually really enjoyed. It's about witches and fae, no vamps I can remember. The main character is a Grave Witch (clever I know) who can talk to dead people and uses her magic to solve murders. This book is more violent than the others, but not overly, and has sex scenes.

Unfortunately the not too violent caveat does limit the genre a little bit. They commonly either include feudal societies where people solved problems by hitting each other over the head, or magic/superpowered people fighting to save things/people. But hopefully you can find something to float your boat out of all the suggestions that will probably come thick and fast.


message 4: by Esther (new)

Esther (nyctale) | 4443 comments Rusalka wrote: "Terry Pratchett may be a good intro for what you are after. Not too complicated with storylines and names, not much violence, only vamps in one or two of his books. My favourite is the Death series..."

Pratchett is fun.. So's Jasper FForde. I should have thought about them

Never heard of Grave witch,,, adding to TBR...


message 5: by Rusalka, Moderator (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17557 comments You had other awesome suggestions though. Really nice to hear "Kim Harrison's Hollows series or Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thomson" series being suggested. I stumbled upon these a few weeks ago, but hadn't heard from people who had read them. They can stay on my list now too.

I found out about it through the Vaginal Fantasy girls. They just said again and again how it was their favourite book they had read in the year for the group, so I thought I should give it a go. I've bought the other 2 in the series that are now out too.


message 6: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2013 09:47PM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 49960 comments Here are some fantasy series that I have read and enjoyed:

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series starting with The Shadow of the Torturer
Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles Series starting with The Skystone
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series starting with The Mists of Avalon
David Eddings's Belgariad series starting with Pawn of Prophecy


message 7: by Peggy, Moderator (last edited Aug 26, 2013 12:50AM) (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments Thanks for all your suggestions!! I'm sure many will be added to my TBR :D

I don't mind a vampire that just happens to be in the story by the way, but I'm not looking for books that are centered around vampires :)

As for violence, it's okay if someone gets killed or there are huge fights between groups of people (or two people). Just as long as they are not the main part of the books and it's not very descriptive. I tend to sleep bad after reading detailed or gruesome descriptions of how people are murdered or tortured, and I like to avoid that. I'm sorry, I find it a bit hard to explain what I mean exactly.


message 8: by Nancy from NJ (last edited Aug 26, 2013 05:56AM) (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Peggy wrote: "Thanks for all your suggestions!! I'm sure many will be added to my TBR :D

I don't mind a vampire that just happens to be in the story by the way, but I'm not looking for books that are centered a..."


I have been asking this question for some time around the Goodreads groups but no one ever seems to answer so I'll ask it here.

Why do you think in recent years there has been a great increase in books about vampires and dystopian societies?


message 9: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Janice wrote: "Here are some fantasy series that I have read and enjoyed:

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series starting with The Shadow of the Torturer
Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles Series starting with The..."


I have tried and tried to enjoy fantasy books and science fiction but just can't seem to either get into them or if I do, I either don't get them or like them. What is wrong with me and perhaps somebody here can suggest one which will spur me on to read more of them.

BTW - I just read Neil Gaiman's highly touted books
Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane and in the famous words from the Broadway show, A Chorus Line, I felt nothing!!!


message 10: by Peggy, Moderator (last edited Aug 26, 2013 01:04AM) (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments Should I read Terry Pratchett Discworld in a particular order? When looking into it I read somewhere that it's best read in order of publication, but books seem to focus on different characters, so it's not like you can't understand the 4th book if you didn't read 1-3?


And while browsing books I came across John Flanagan and his Ranger Apprentice series. Did anyone read these?


message 11: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments Nancy wrote: "Peggy wrote: "Thanks for all your suggestions!! I'm sure many will be added to my TBR :D

I don't mind a vampire that just happens to be in the story by the way, but I'm not looking for books that ..."


I think it's a matter of demand. Maybe book genres change in popularity, like with music. A certain genre can be very popular for some years, leading to an increase in the books written in this genre, and after some time it changes to another genre. Maybe we're in a vampires and dystopia period now.

Or maybe because Twilight and the Hunger Games became so popular and everyone wanted to read it, people also wanted to read other vampire/dystopia stories. I'm sure if there is demand for it, someone will write it :)

I don't know what came first though. Was there demand for vampire/dystopia, then Twilight and the Hunger Games were written, and they became the most popular in their genre? Or were Twilight and The Hunger Games written first, which made their genres so popular?

I have the feeling the vampire-hype is subsiding a bit again though.


message 12: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I agree with you Peggy that genres and their popularity do change over time. Please don't throw rotten tomatoes but I am one reader who didn't much enjoy the Twilight series although I did love the movies which I found strange. As for The Hunger Games again I didn't love the first two books and never did read the third one so that's not a sign that I really enjoyed them either. And this time I wasn't crazy about the movie either.

Do you think my resistance to these books could be that I am a senior citizen who never enjoyed either Frankenstein or Dr. Jelkyll and Mr. Hyde either. I did try to watch Game of Thrones and couldn't even get through the first season and have tried several more times to watch it but again never really got into this series. OK enough whining. I think sometimes you just have to know what genres are for you and what isn't.


message 13: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments I think there would be more people than you think who don't like Twilight or the Hunger Games, they're just overshadowed by the many people who do like it, and are much louder in letting the world know their opinions ;-)

I rated the first Hunger Games book 4 stars, the second 3 stars, and the last only 2 stars. When I told my colleague, she looked like I was crazy and started telling me very loudly that they were the most amazing books, all of them. Like my opinion could be wrong?

I wonder if in general (this doesn't apply for everyone or every book of course), the older you get, the less you can relate to fiction written for children or young adults. And likewise, young adults or people in their 20s might not be particularly interested in stories with people over the age of 40 or 50 as their main characters.

Well, I wouldn't worry about not liking a genre of books that everyone else seems to like. We have a Dutch saying which roughly translates to 'there are as many opinions as there are people', which applies here too I think :)


message 14: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18196 comments I second the Terry Pratchett books - I don't think you need to worry too much about what order you read the Discworld series in - I started with Mort (I was attracted to it because my surname is Mortimer) and I have read a number of the others now too and none of them in order of publication and I haven't had a problem with working out what is happening (and I'm the kind of person who likes to read series books in order). I particularly like the ones with Death as a character (which Mort is in) and also the ones with the Witches.

You could try Susanna Kearsley books, while not a series, she does have a number of books which are a great mix of magical realism and historical fiction. I really enjoyed The Firebird.

I also agree with trying Robin Hobb's books. I've only read the first book of the Farseer Trilogy ( Assassin's Apprentice) which I really enjoyed - don't be put off by the title word "Assassin" - he doesn't do much of that at least in the first book anyway.

I also loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone which is the first book in a trilogy.

I also like the books by Graham Joyce, in particular Dark Sister and The Limits of Enchantment.

As for vampires/dystopia popularity, I think Vampires have always been pretty popular. I am one of those people who love Vampires, ever since I saw the film Interview with a Vampire as a teenager. I didn't read much when I was younger but watched a lot of films and had to watch all films with vampires in. And now that I read, I have been working my way through books with vampires in too. I agree with Peggy that their popularity is dying out recently and is being taken over by the Zombies. Dystopia has also gone in and out of fashion, it's not new (thinking 1984) but it has been re-popularized for sure since The Hunger Games. I also like dystopia books but find it annoying that most books in this genre are YA and have some element of Romance in them - need some decent adult dystopia too! Margaret Atwood is good for that suppose.

I hope you find some books which take your fancy out of the recommendations here. I know I'm about to add a couple of the ones suggested to my TBR!


message 15: by Rusalka, Moderator (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17557 comments I had to go and find Helen's wonderful Discworld graph from last year for you Peggy. http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-o...

I found Discworld very daunting for so many years I just avoided it. Once you realise there are a few different storylines, that made it a bit easier to digest. So look at the starter novels, and choose somewhere to ease in. Also, I agree, you can read them in any order really. But I'm a sucker for a story arc.


message 16: by Rusalka, Moderator (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17557 comments Peggy wrote: "Thanks for all your suggestions!! I'm sure many will be added to my TBR :D

I don't mind a vampire that just happens to be in the story by the way, but I'm not looking for books that are centered a..."


Thanks for taking the time to share that Peggy. That definitely gives us so more info to consider while suggesting wonderful reads for you.


message 17: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15356 comments Rusalka wrote: "I had to go and find Helen's wonderful Discworld graph from last year for you Peggy. http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-o...

I found Discworld ver..."


I bookmarked this! That really makes sense of the many books there are.

I have to admit that I wouldn't have picked Discworld novels to read based on their short description, but since people here are so enthusiastic about them, I'm definitely going to give them a chance.


message 18: by Rusalka, Moderator (last edited Aug 26, 2013 05:47AM) (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17557 comments Interesting questions Nancy.

Re vamps popularity, I agree. But they have been around for a very long time, flitting in an out of fashion. There have been vampire myths for hundreds, if not thousands of years in many different cultures.

Personally I think they have had just good press the last 20 years or so. Interview with a Vampire definitely. Buffy's kick arse-ness for my generation at least going through high school/college/uni with her (and Angel and Spike didn't hurt). Then with stupid, sparkly, abusive boy, and Sookie and co. down in the South... Not a bad continuous run! They haven't been out of the spotlight yet to let us get over them or move to something else.

They also tie in to the "ideals" of our society. Someone who can stay eternally hot and young for hundreds of years without botox?!? This makes me a little sad.

But with the eternal youth and looks, and super speed and strength, they are rather appealing. Compared to zombies. Ick. Complete opposite in my mind.

Re: Dystopias, again don't think it's a new thing. Scifi and Fantasy haven been exploring them for a long time. Then more mainstream lit picked it up, and in the last few years YA has had a red hot go, especially seeing The Hunger games was so successful.

I really enjoy dystopias, as a well written one can make me think through the philosophy of the dystopia and consider why it is wrong, and makes me think through the decisions and politics we have now and wonder how things could go so wrong they end up in this situation. Dystopias help me think through consequences, and personally I think a lot more people should be reading them, as some are not too far fetched anymore.


message 19: by Esther (last edited Aug 26, 2013 05:50AM) (new)

Esther (nyctale) | 4443 comments Rusalka wrote: "You had other awesome suggestions though. Really nice to hear "Kim Harrison's Hollows series or Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thomson" series being suggested. I stumbled upon these a few weeks ago, but ..."

IMO, Briggs is a fun easy read. Harisson's also, for the start of the series.

oh, and thanks for the Pratchett chart. I have to go back to these. I've read about half I guess. this will help me figure out what's left.


message 20: by Esther (new)

Esther (nyctale) | 4443 comments Rusalka wrote: "Interesting questions Nancy.

Re vamps popularity, I agree, they have been around for a very long time, flitting in an out of fashion. There have been vampire myths for hundreds, if not thousands o..."


I was about to write the same thing Rusalka. With one twist. I do not think it's vampire as much as Urban fantasy and paranormal romance that are "in" right now. So you new have countless series taking place in today's world with vampire, shapeshifters, witches, faery,etc thrown in.


message 21: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Sarah wrote, "I particularly like the ones with Death as a character (which Mort is in) and also the ones with the Witches."

Have you read
The Book Thief? The main character is Death which many found very disturbing. Then again this book is meant to be disturbing.


message 22: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Peggy wrote, "I wonder if in general (this doesn't apply for everyone or every book of course), the older you get, the less you can relate to fiction written for children or young adults. And likewise, young adults or people in their 20s might not be particularly interested in stories with people over the age of 40 or 50 as their main characters."

The funny thing is that when I was a child and an only one at that I was encouraged to read classic books and things way over my head. Maybe that's why I now read Young adult as well as children's books. I am currently listening to
The Witches by Roald Dahl and recently also read Matilda by Roald Dahl but then again who ever said Roald Dah's books were for children. huh?


message 23: by Nancy from NJ (last edited Aug 26, 2013 06:05AM) (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Rusalka said: "Compared to zombies. Ick. Complete opposite in my mind."

Funny thing is I went to see World War Z after reading that Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks wrote the book although he had little to do with the movie. And I couldn't believe it but I really enjoyed it. Like a good book, it took me far from my world and maybe that's the point of all books, movies etc/ except more so for fantasy and science fiction.


message 24: by Esther (new)

Esther (nyctale) | 4443 comments Fantasy is a genre that has many subgenre.9http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category...) From Kafka to Twilight, passing by The lord of the Rings and Frankenstein...

I am shooting myself in the foot here but, you know, the Towel challenge we did this spring? We could do the same for Fantasy.


message 25: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18196 comments Nancy wrote: "Sarah wrote, "I particularly like the ones with Death as a character (which Mort is in) and also the ones with the Witches."

Have you read
The Book Thief? The main character is Death which many ..."


Yes I have read The Book Thief - it's one of my favourite books.

Thanks Rusalka for the Pratchett chart!


message 26: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 49960 comments Peggy wrote: "Thanks for all your suggestions!! I'm sure many will be added to my TBR :D

I don't mind a vampire that just happens to be in the story by the way, but I'm not looking for books that are centered a..."


You may not want to read The Shadow of the Torturer then. Although it doesn't describe the deaths in detail, the main character is a journeyman in the guild of torturers. He ends up showing mercy to a woman and becomes an outcast from his guild and ends up on a quest - overall, he's on the side of good.

There is a real differentiation in my mind of the classic fantasy and the urban fantasy that is prevalent today. Classic fantasy is The Lord of the Rings and its ilk. Classic fantasy is the quest of overcoming evil.

Urban fantasy includes all the sparkly vampires and werewolves spawned by Twilight and its ilk. It's more based on Romeo and Juliet - forbidden love.

These are just my opinions and observations. I could be way out to lunch.

I also think there is a differentiation between Anne Rice's vampires and the urban fantasy that's out there now. Anne Rice's vampires were more in the horror genre than urban fantasy.


message 27: by Emily (new)

Emily (emilserv) | 453 comments Juliet Marillier has written some interesting fantasy books. Some of her books are classified as young adult, but her writing doesn't feel that way to me. My first read of hers was Daughter of the Forest, and it still remains one of my favorites.


message 28: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20272 comments Shanna wrote: "The original Pern books fit your description very well.

Dragonflight (Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Dragonquest (Pern, #2) by Anne McCaffrey The White Dragon (Pern, #3) by Anne McCaffrey Dragonsdawn (Pern, #9) by Anne McCaffrey
[bookc..."


I second the Pern books. I have always loved them. How about Zanth???


message 29: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20272 comments Shanna wrote: "I missed Zanth somehow. Maybe I need to fix that."

Actually, it is Xanth, my mistake. Just look up Piers Anthony. :0)


message 30: by Roz (new)

Roz | 3719 comments You could also try Stephen R. Lawhead. I read his Song of Albion series, starting with The Paradise War. Zombie and vampire free.


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