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Group Reads Archive > October 2013: Epic Fantasy Suggestions

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message 1: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (last edited Aug 31, 2013 07:10PM) (new)

carol. | 2616 comments In light of last month's epic The Black Prism, and this month's epic The Crown Tower let's try a stand-alone fantasy.

-Remember, if you nominate and it wins, you need to lead the read! Your chance to share the love you have for the book.
-We'll take about ten suggestions, give or take the interest level.
-Check recent winners at the stickied post in the Epic Monthly Reads thread.
-Please provide LINKS! GR is not very friendly sometimes, so if you have a link, it is easier to identify.

Nominations:
Best Served Cold-Grant
Glory Road--Mike
Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was--Carol
Stardust--Arielle
Blackdog--Becky
The Dark Lord of Derkholm--Christine
Lud-in-the-Mist--Helen
The King of Elfland's Daughter--David
Deerward--Isis
Jack of Shadows-KrazyKiwi


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmm....a great stand-alone fantasy. How about Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie?


message 3: by Helen (new)

Helen On the book page it says that is no.4 in a series. Is it a serial or am I confused?


message 4: by Andreas (new)

Andreas It is set in Abercrombie's world where the first 3 books are set. Some characters (even a main protagonist) come from the first books. Some plot elements are based in the previous books.

But it isn't part of the trilogy and could be read as a standalone. Though I'd not recommend to do so.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

It was indeed written as a standalone and works very well in that capacity however I would agree with Andreas that it's beneficial to read the First Law trilogy first. It's not, however, a necessity.


message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen Thanks for clarifying.


message 7: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 39 comments So that crosses off Best Served Cold from the list.


message 8: by Deb (new)

Deb (soulhaven) | 18 comments ☠The Dread Pirate Grant☠ wrote: "Hmm....a great stand-alone fantasy. How about Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie?"

I agree. It is a great read.


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) Which would mean, at this point, that we have no list.

I'm down for reading BSC.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments I don't think we've done: Glory Road. As far as I know it's Heinlein's only epic fantasy.


message 11: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Consensus seems to be to allow Best Served Cold. If interest is low, it will just be voted out.

I'll nominateBridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was because someday, I'm actually going to read it.


message 12: by Arie (last edited Aug 27, 2013 09:34PM) (new)

Arie (notarie) Can I nominate Stardust - just to continue the Gaiman reading and also just in case there's still anyone who hasn't read it? It's not exactly epic, I know, but has all the good parts of epic fantasy at least!


message 13: by Anirudh (new)

Anirudh (tewathia) | 2 comments Elantris by Brandon Sanderson?


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

That's a great choice, Anirudh but it was a BoTM in 2011.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Speaking of that tho, will we ever recycle books that have been BoTMs in the past? I wouldn't mind reading a book again of it has been a significant length of time between reads.


message 16: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 39 comments Carol wrote: "Consensus seems to be to allow Best Served Cold. If interest is low, it will just be voted out..."

But, Best Served Cold is not a stand alone. It's part of a series. Says so in the book.


message 17: by Gene (new)

Gene I have not seen anybody seconded Glory Road, I will do it.


message 18: by Helen (new)

Helen I've only recently discovered Sanderson so I'd be up for Elantris.


message 19: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) JSWolf wrote: "Carol wrote: "Consensus seems to be to allow Best Served Cold. If interest is low, it will just be voted out..."

But, Best Served Cold is not a stand alone. It's part of a series. Says so in the b..."


So don't vote for it.


message 20: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (last edited Aug 28, 2013 08:13AM) (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Maybe we can do the "past read" recycle for October read.

I feel like the challenge is that the Books of the Month are all hugely popular/current classic books--you'll see them on the bookshelves of most fantasy groups. If you've been in the genre awhile, you likely read at least one Gaiman or Sanderson or Wurts or Sullivan or Mieville or Weeks or Lawrence. Admittedly, that's a problem for people new to fantasy. But for people that have been reading for awhile, it isn't always interesting. I'd rather push our reading boundaries a little bit--people nominate the same authors month after month on Goodreads. No offense meant, of course, as there is a reason they are popular. But I feel like their very popularity gives people an opportunity to participate already--why not re-open an Elantris thread?--so let's keep it fresh for those who have been participating a long time or have been reading fantasy a long time.


message 21: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 284 comments JSWolf wrote: "Carol wrote: "Consensus seems to be to allow Best Served Cold. If interest is low, it will just be voted out..."

But, Best Served Cold is not a stand alone. It's part of a series. Says so in the b..."


It is a stand alone. It was specifically written as one. As an alternate starting point for people who didn't feel like diving into a multi-volume series. Says so the author.


message 22: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Hmm, what about Blackdog by K.V. Johansen? I haven't read it, but it looks interesting.


message 23: by Christine PNW (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) Stand alones in fantasy are sort of hard to come by.

Would something like The Dark Lord of Derkholm qualify as epic fantasy? I'm new to the group, also. Where is the best place to find a list of all of the prior group reads? Is there a thread that lists them?


message 24: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Christine, in most groups, the group "Bookshelf" link will have the books. I think ours has "monthly reads epic" and "monthly reads urban" categories.

Also, if you look at the "*" /stickied post at the top of the Monthly Reads--Urban and Monthly Reads--Epic threads is a list of all the monthly reads.


message 25: by Christine PNW (new)

Christine PNW (moonlight_reader) Carol wrote: "Christine, in most groups, the group "Bookshelf" link will have the books. I think ours has "monthly reads epic" and "monthly reads urban" categories.

Also, if you look at the "*" /stickied post a..."


Oh, thank you! So helpful (and quick)!


message 26: by Andreas (new)

Andreas Carol wrote: "Maybe we can do the "past read" recycle for October read.

I feel like the challenge is that the Books of the Month are all hugely popular/current classic books--you'll see them on the bookshelves..."


Would it help to introduce a "Classic" vs "Contemporary" monthly book (and alternate between those two)?
But I see already a good mix of not-so-current/prominent authors: You've read Conan, Cthulu and things from Crowley, Kay, Bujold, Beagle.

So, in which direction are the boundaries to be found that you have in mind, Carol?


message 27: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments No boundaries, Andreas. More of a balancing act--the reads from Conan and Cthulu were part of a recent "theme" series we did, and that's one of reasons you won't see those on other bookshelves.

I'm just recognizing the Monthly Read dilemma of long time fantasy readers and newer fantasy readers-- people can certainly open old threads related to a book and add to them/revitalize them. Making a comment should bring it to the top of the activity feed, and None of them should be closed to comments--if they are, please let me know and I'll open them up again.

I'm not necessarily opposed to re-reading a book we've done before. But it is fun to push each other's boundaries at times and get us outside the common suggestions--I haven't heard of either of the books Mike suggested, but they sound very interesting.


message 28: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 183 comments Bridge of Birds is a wonderful book - however, it too is the first of a series of three books. Each stands on its own, but, once you read it, you'll want to track down the other two: "The Story of the Stone" and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen".


message 29: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Hmm, it's a confusing set-up, Lucinda. From what I can tell, the Bridge of Birds was first published as a novella perhaps, and then combined with two other novellas into a book? The library copy I had was the one that contained all three and was a fat book. So I'd argue about it being not a series in the normal sense. It's kind of hard to tell which ones the Omnibus includes, if it is the other two listed.

But whatever the majority decides.


message 30: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 39 comments I know this doesn't help for this month, but maybe next month we can do books published in 2012/2013 and that way, we'll be sure to only have newish books for reading for next month.


message 31: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Sounds like I need to start a book o' month ideas thread. Off to do so...


message 32: by Helen (new)

Helen I love how efficient you are!


message 33: by Helen (new)

Helen Found a stand-a-lone fantasy, although not sure if it's epic, oh and we haven't read it Lud-in-the-Mist


message 34: by David (new)

David Merrill | 17 comments Lud-in-the-Mist is a classic and an awesome book. I'm not sure if I'd label it epic, as I'm not certain what fits under that heading to begin with.

Bridge of Birds and the other two novels are available as an omnibus e-book from Subterranean Press.


message 35: by David (new)

David Merrill | 17 comments Does the term epic fantasy require a quest be present in the story? I was looking at the book shelf and since I haven't read a lot of the books, I'm not sure. I'm guessing it needs to take place in a world not our own as well.

In any case, I'll suggest the very trippy, The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany. The King of Elfland's Daughter


message 36: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments David--we tend to be a little flexible. The group decided to do two monthly reads a couple years back, and epic/urban are usually the biggest/least contentious genre divisions. Usually when I set up a read, I just go for a basic "other world" definition.


message 37: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 39 comments I have a suggestion for at least one month. No epic and no urban. That would mean any fantasy book that doesn't fit can be eligible.


message 38: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Aug 29, 2013 09:33AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments A lot will be subjective. I personally wouldn't call Lud-in-the-Mist or The King of Elfland's Daughter epic. I might call them simply fantasy or classic fantasy, but that's me. Others might not agree.

I (like I suppose most of us I'd guess) will be glad to go with whatever Carol says and let the vote decide.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I suggest Deerward by Marilena Mexi :) Very nice adventure/fantasy read!


message 40: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 11 comments I'd like to suggest Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny


message 41: by Gene (new)

Gene Krazykiwi wrote: "I'd like to suggest Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny"

If you can convince me this book is epic fantasy, you have my second vote for it (it is a good book, but it might be stretching it a little thin to call it epic fantasy).


message 42: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 11 comments Bit hard to pull that off without spoiling it! But I'll try, Carol did say up the thread she'd like to push the boundaries a bit. So:

It's got a(n) (anti-)hero on a major quest for an item which will decide both his fate and the fate of his entire world (makes it pretty epic in scale, for me.)

And that world includes a pretty fully developed magic system, which puts it squarely in the fantasy camp. It just happens to be in conflict with, and in, an equally well developed sci-fi setting :)

I agree it might be a bit much sci-fi for hard core fantasy fans, but I think that's what makes it interesting. And I won't have my feelings hurt if y'all don't buy it, I knew it was an off the wall suggestion when I made it :)


message 43: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Well, to be honest, having the nominator lead the discussion takes pressure off, because presumably the nominator likes the book or is interested in discussing and reading... at any rate, I personally would be inclined to put it in a poll and let votes sort it all out, but again, if a bunch of people chime in and say 'no way,' that's fine too.

One of the interesting things that I see happening in more modern lit (I suppose some would say classics as well, but I'm less versed in those) is the genre-bending. Maybe Vonnegut was one of the biggest to do it. Mieville does it a lot. I just startedThe Intuitionist which is another bender. Which is to say, I'm not feeling the mood for strict definitions lately. I'd rather just have a really good read with interesting people.


message 44: by David (new)

David Merrill | 17 comments I think since genre, as we know it, is a relatively new concept, the classics likely would have ignored genre bending. I think the concept would be totally alien going back that far. There are likely many books we would call "genre benders" among classic lit, but they would not have been written with that in mind. Their writers would simply have been writing a story.

I'm even more confused by the "epic" category now because I thought, if anything would fit, it would be .The King of Elfland's Daughter


message 45: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments David, we will certainly throw King of Elfland into the poll.


message 46: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)


message 47: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Run-off poll, up for 6 days.
http://www.goodreads.com/poll/list/35...


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