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Fantasy > The Best "Entry Level" Fantasy

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message 1: by Nyssa (new)

Nyssa | 2023 comments Inspired by the interest and disscussion occuring in the thread The Best "Entry Level" Science Fiction.

In lieu of an article I'll use GR's own Listopia as a conversation starter.


Popular Fantasy Books
and Best Fantasy Series, Trilogies, and Duologies


message 2: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments I would say The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend. This is what hooked hubby. He loved The Legend of Deathwalker but refused to read Legend.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul | 0 comments I actually found this tougher than I thought I would. I don't think I'd want to recommend something that is clearly a long series to a newbie, but unfortunately that covers a lot of fantasy :)

Definitely agree that David Gemmell is a good starter. I'd probably recommend Waylander out of his stuff.

The Lies of Locke Lamora would be a great entry level fantasy book. Although it's a ongoing story, the series isn't that long at the moment and the first book could probably be read as a stand-alone and you could still feel like you got a full story out of it. Also has great characters and not too much magic so it's probably a good "gateway drug".


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily (ohmagichour) | 510 comments I've recommended The Name of the Wind and Assassin's Apprentice to newbies before, as well as Lies of Locke Lamora.

I also think the Kushiel series is great and accessible if you don't mind the physicality. I also think it's particularly friendly to female readers.

Guy Gavriel Kay is accessible if you already like historical fiction, especially Song for Arbonne or Lions of Al-Rasaan.

Dresden is accessible if you already like police procedurals.

Harry Potter, Tamora Pierce, Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time, The Blue Sword if you already like YA.

So I guess what I'm saying is that it depends on what you already like to read!


message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul | 0 comments Emily wrote: "I've recommended The Name of the Wind and Assassin's Apprentice to newbies before, as well as Lies of Locke Lamora.

I also think the Kushiel series is great and accessible if you don't mind the ..."


How could I forget Dresden! Also might recommend Neverwhere for urban fantasy (keeping with my theme of "short series and stand-alones").

I was one of the people who was really disappointed with The Wise Man's Fear so I'm waiting for Doors of Stone before I recommend the Kingkiller books.

I wonder if urban fantasy is easier for newbies to get into than "classic fantasy" as it takes place in our world. Although as you say Emily, it depends on what the person likes to read :)


message 6: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments For God's sake, people.

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings


message 7: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments As far as Gemmell, I hated Legend but then loved Lord of the Silver Bow. Could hardly believe it was the same author.


message 8: by Darren (new)

Darren | 102 comments Emily wrote: "I've recommended The Name of the Wind and Assassin's Apprentice to newbies before, as well as Lies of Locke Lamora.

I also think the Kushiel series is great and accessible if you don't mind the ..."


I would agree with all of these, especially the GGK books. I would also add some older books likePawn of Prophecy, Magician, The Eye of the World and Guards! Guards!


message 9: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Guy Gavriel Kay

*sigh*

*fangirl swoon*


message 10: by Felina (new)

Felina | 821 comments Laurel wrote: "Guy Gavriel Kay

*sigh*

*fangirl swoon*"


I haven't read a lot f Kay but Lions rocked my face.


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily (ohmagichour) | 510 comments I live virtually everything GGK has written except the Fionavar stuff. Couldn't ever get into that for some reason.

And while I love The Hobbit and LOTR, I am not sure I consider them entry level. I think people now expect the action levels of the movie and the language can turn them off. Heresy, I know, but that's been my experience!


message 12: by Nyssa (last edited Feb 02, 2014 01:56PM) (new)

Nyssa | 2023 comments Chris wrote: "For God's sake, people.

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings"


Emily wrote: "I live virtually everything GGK has written except the Fionavar stuff. Couldn't ever get into that for some reason.

And while I love The Hobbit and LOTR, I am not sure I consider them entry level...."


I'm desperately trying to remember my first fantasy novel and I just can't do it. I have no idea what it was..all I can say, is that I have always loved magic...ALWAYS! Magic & magical beings...which lead to all manor of mythical, and alien beings. The more variety in a single world/universe setting, the better.

I was a very late to the Hobbit & LOTR bandwagon, and honestly only read it because I thought, as fan of fantasy, I had to. I'm very glad I did..I love the series, especially The Hobbit.

That being said, I think I agree with Emily that LOTR might not be the best intro to the genre, due to the language and the length, alone. However, The Hobbit by itself might be enough to ignite the spark.


message 13: by Luke (new)

Luke | 333 comments I think my first fantasy novel ever was The Hobbit, although the first series to really get me into fantasy was either the Eragon books (*shudder* I don't know how I ever considered those things to be decent reading) and the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher (the red-headed step child to the Dresden Files).

Now, I've really debated with myself what to suggest to new readers. While I personally LOVE the Kingkiller Chronicles, I really don't consider them to be newbie fare, same with the LotR (the Hobbit is a decent starter). There aren't many decent stand-alone books that are gripping enough for a new reader, so at the moment, I'm very undecided as to what to suggest.


message 14: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments I wouldn't rec Pawn of Prophecy - much as I love it. I think that it's too slow for a new fantasy reader - unless they are generally a reader to begin with.

Hubby was bored silly with this one, too.


message 15: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Which makes me think: Who are we rec'ing to? A reader who wants to start reading Fantasy OR a person who isn't much of a reader to begin with?


message 16: by Darren (last edited Feb 03, 2014 08:51AM) (new)

Darren | 102 comments I guess it also depends on the reader's age. I think Pawn of Prophecy would be good for an early teen interested in the genre - it certainly worked for me way back then :-)


message 17: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I'm finding this topic hard, actually. Every book that I think of has a caveat along with it. LOL

For instance, I think Mistborn would be a great intro to fantasy... but then I remember that it took me a long time to really get past the prologue section and into the story, so someone looking for an exciting draw-you-in start might not give it a try.

But I'm finding that with most of the epic fantasy that I've read and loved, I don't think it's the type that I would recommend to new-to-fantasy readers. It requires a certain level of patience and perseverence. Dark Tower, Song of Ice and Fire, Way of Kings, Lord of the Rings, etc. Often they are a series, both containing long books and quite a few of them, and that's an investment that I don't know a new fantasy reader is really going to want to make right off the bat.

I think Kushiel's Dart would fit there, especially regarding the patience aspect, but I just disliked that book on so many levels that I would find it hard to recommend it to someone that I was trying to encourage to read fantasy, unless they are a romance/erotica & HF reader looking for fantasy that might appeal.

I think that I agree with Paul that the ones most easy to recommend are urban fantasy because they are usually faster paced and more exciting, and also more relateable to our world. And usually they are satisfying in single book format. You don't have to read 5 or 6 or 10 books to feel you've gotten a full story. Dresden definitely fits there, Gail Carriger's books, White Trash Zombie, Night Huntress, etc.


message 18: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Becky wrote: "I think that I agree with Paul that the ones most easy to recommend are urban fantasy because they are usually faster paced and more exciting, and also more relateable to our world. And usually they are satisfying in single book format. You don't have to read 5 or 6 or 10 books to feel you've gotten a full story. Dresden definitely fits there, Gail Carriger's books, White Trash Zombie, Night Huntress, etc. "

I really agree with this.

Even the book I got Hubby to read - The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend - has a super fast pace like UF.

ALl the books I recommended before fell flat. Required too much prior interest in Fantasy.

With that being said, I would recommend Monster Hunter International.


message 19: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Off topic but about Larry Correia...

Have yall heard about his recent rant? I have not read the rant in its entirety (because I like Corriea as an author so I lessen my knowledge) but the rant was basically a "fuck you" to women (readers and writers) who are interested in seeing more powerful female characters. POC might be a request, too.

Jim C Hines talked about it here (I also did not read it all): http://www.jimchines.com/2014/01/fisk...

So, how would you - as a reader - feel about a situation such as this?

As a female reader, I LOVE getting strong female characters and I actively look for them. As a reader of the Fantasy genre (and its sub-genres) I've accustomed myself to having a lack of diversity in my books (regarding both the color and the sex of characters).

Just a reminder, I have not read all of Corriea's rant nor Hines response. I am trying to decide if I want to read it at all.


message 20: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I don't know if I'd want to read it. Lately I'm finding that every time I see an author I like saying anything, I lose respect for them, so I definitely think distancing myself is the way to go.

That being said, I don't see that he's against powerful female characters, at least not in the Grimnoir books. That's a huge aspect of the series, in fact.

Maybe strong female/POC characters should be a new discussion thread?


message 21: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Becky wrote: "I don't know if I'd want to read it. Lately I'm finding that every time I see an author I like saying anything, I lose respect for them, so I definitely think distancing myself is the way to go.

..."


Yeah, I think I'm not going to read it.


message 22: by Laurel (last edited Feb 03, 2014 10:31AM) (new)

Laurel Coincidentally, a day or two ago I stopped following him for a twitter post he retweeted about politicians and rape. I'm getting a bit concerned. There are authors I won't read because of their views, and I love Correia's two series. I don't want to drop either, but he seems to be struggling with quite a bit of anger. I'm torn.


message 23: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Laurel wrote: "Coincidentally, a day or two ago I stopped following him for a twitter post he made about politicians and rape. I'm getting a bit concerned. There are authors I won't read because of their views,..."


I know how you feel. I was...so upset when I found out about the other rant.

Corriea - and I refuse to read his blog - does seem to be more than a little angry.


message 24: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments So is this about "entry level fantasy" or a place to blacklist authors for having opinions?


message 25: by Luke (new)

Luke | 333 comments I used my younger brother as my sounding board for books for fantasy newbies. I've tried to get him into many series, usually with the same end result. The one series that he was finally able to sink his teeth into enough to actually read it was "The Broken Empire" by Mark Lawrence.

I was surprised since the brutality of the series was a little shocking even for me, a veteran of fantasy, but for some reason he just ate it up and was asking for more.


message 26: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Chris wrote: "So is this about "entry level fantasy" or a place to blacklist authors for having opinions?"

I don't know how you can say that this was a place to blacklist - especially I made the point several times that I LIKE Corriea.


message 27: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments I wasn't saying...was wondering if that's where we're going, so I won't need to keep clicking the "new posts" link.


message 28: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Usually, I'm not bothered by that sort of thing in fiction, unless I feel like it's a reflection of the author's feelings. One of the reasons I prefer not to know about authors' opinions, because inevitably, it makes me view their work differently, which is something I don't like.

I don't always want to be annoyed every time I think of an author or their work, so I'll just stay in my little ignorance bubble as much as possible and read what I like. ;)


message 29: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Chris wrote: "I wasn't saying...was wondering if that's where we're going, so I won't need to keep clicking the "new posts" link."

Well, if someone wants to continue the discussion, it might annoy you.


message 30: by Dawn, Dawnerys, Mother of Modding (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 860 comments I think Chris was just subtlety (in his own SarChrisTic way*) suggesting that if people want to continue the conversation on Correia, it should probably continue outside of the entry level fantasy thread? I get why the convo started here (the mention of Correia), but if it's going to keep going I know I'd appreciate it being to it's own thread :)


*Love ya, Chris ;)


message 31: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Fo' shizzle.

---
In other news, I've been giving this more thought and I think that another way to intro to fantasy is through short stories. I LOVE short story collections. Neil Gaiman, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Ray Bradbury all are awesome, amazing short story authors. They all cross genres, but that's also maybe a good thing... kinda ease the reader in.


message 32: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments SarChrisTic?! I love it...lol

Yeah, that was it. Add in the Monday staff meeting dress code changes broncos losing no sleep this weekend, and you have a formula for an edgy tone.

#SubtleFail


message 33: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Ohhh.

sarcasm fonts needed...


message 34: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments That would be cool.


message 35: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments Becky wrote: "Fo' shizzle.

---
In other news, I've been giving this more thought and I think that another way to intro to fantasy is through short stories. I LOVE short story collections. Neil Gaiman, Richard ..."


Hmm...could be...

Though mayhap we'd need an idea of which sort of fantasy we wanted to introduce...

I'm "old school" I guess. When I see the word "fantasy", I immediately think of Tolkien, Jordan, Sanderson, etc.

I might not think of Bradbury or Matheson if I had someone that wanted to try reading about elves and stuff.

I love Butcher's short Dresden stories too.


message 36: by Laurel (new)

Laurel As a kid, my entry level fantasy was actually Lloyd Alexander.


message 37: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments Laurel wrote: "As a kid, my entry level fantasy was actually Lloyd Alexander."

That's true for me too. I think I read some of his stuff even before Tolkien.


message 38: by Dawn, Dawnerys, Mother of Modding (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 860 comments I got into fantasy by reading Terry Brooks, so that has to be on my list.

I got my fiance into it but recommending Name of the Wind (and Dresden prior to that, but I'm thinking more pure fantasy for this topic), so that's on my list as well.

Other than that... It's so hard to tell. I think it all depends on the person. I knew my fiance, so I knew what would get him hooked. NoTW wouldn't be a good choice for everyone.. It just was for him.


message 39: by Chris , cookie guilt (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 2450 comments I almost said Brooks. He's a good one.

Or Raymond Feist.


message 40: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments I used to love the Sword and Sorceress series. I think it's still being published, IIRC.

I also loved the Thieves' World series for a long while...but then getting near the end everything got so dang convoluted that I gave up and didn't finish the series. I keep meaning to go back to it and start from the beginning.


message 41: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments I also loved MZBs Darkover Landfall series. I don't think I ever finished that one, either.


message 42: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Nicki wrote: "As for authors and their opinions, I don't shield myself from finding out about them because I feel that ignorance is no excuse on my part. (Though I do want to stress that this is a personal standard, not a judgement of anyone else.) If someone's opinion is reprehensible enough to me that it would affect my decision to buy their books, then it seems to me to be lacking the courage of my convictions to deliberately avoid finding out who holds that opinion."

You know, in principle I agree with you on this. But for me, it's a matter of priority. Knowing whether an author is concerned about being politically correct in their fiction isn't a priority for me. But knowing an author would happily strip actual real human people of their rights because of who they sleep with is absolutely an issue to me, and that's cause for me to never read or support that author again.

I read for pleasure and enjoyment, and I have no desire to go purposefully looking for all the things that authors can do or say or think to see who falls on which side of my priority line. If I learn about something in my internet or life travels, and if it bothers me, then I'll use that information accordingly, as happened with OSC.

So, really, the TL;DR version is that I don't want to go lifting up author rocks to see what kind of nasty shit lives in there. They are people too, and sometimes they are nasty ones. Looking for the things that may bother me will only succeed in doing so, and I feel like I'd just end up ruining the joy I have in reading that way.

Sorry to go back off topic again. Again.


message 43: by Nyssa (last edited Feb 03, 2014 07:40PM) (new)

Nyssa | 2023 comments Becky wrote: "So, really, the TL;DR version is that I don't want to go lifting up author rocks to see what kind of nasty shit lives in there. They are people too, and sometimes they are nasty ones. Looking for the things that may bother me will only succeed in doing so, and I feel like I'd just end up ruining the joy I have in reading that way.
"


*Applause*


message 44: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Bad Girls Deadlift (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 5312 comments Becky wrote: "So, really, the TL;DR version is that I don't want to go lifting up author rocks to see what kind of nasty shit lives in there. They are people too, and sometimes they are nasty ones. Looking for the things that may bother me will only succeed in doing so, and I feel like I'd just end up ruining the joy I have in reading that way."


Yeah, this is kinda how I feel, too.

For the most part, I avoid author blogs, commentary , etc. Except Ilona Andrews - I can't help it, I'm a horrible fangurl.

I...just don't want to know because I might be appalled. I've heard a lot of author drama from SPAs and I learned that even the knowledge hurts me sometimes (I got really...depressed and I think that's why my reading last year was so little.) I want my fun play time to stay that way.


message 45: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Nicki, I know you weren't trying to be judgey... I just felt that I should explain my ignorance bubble comment. LOL

----
Anna wrote: "This is how I got into Fantasy. After a while of tasting short stories, series that had felt too long to finish seemed terrific. "

Anna, this is awesome. So many authors write fantastic little samplers in their genres, and I think that they are a great intro both to the author's work (if they are new to you) and the genre, without a huge time commitment.


message 46: by Trae (new)

Trae Stratton So much falls under the "fantasy" banner these days I think it makes the topic too vague. For example, Song of Ice and Fire or Memory, Sorrow and Thorn barely seem akin to Drizzt or The Dragonlance Chronicles, let alone Neverwhere to LOTR. If you are suggesting a book to a newbie you have to ask pointed questions to determine how much fantasy (by this I mean magic, dragons, elves, etc) they are ready and willing to explore.


message 47: by Lee (new)

Lee | 939 comments Well. Recently I picked out two books for a new reader at Christmas. A boy. And I bought The Hobbit and Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. So I guess those are my answer.

For a teen I would probably suggest the Wheel of Time series or Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy.

For an older reader I would definitely hand over Game of Thrones.


message 48: by Nyssa (new)

Nyssa | 2023 comments Nienna wrote: "Well. Recently I picked out two books for a new reader at Christmas. A boy. And I bought The Hobbit and Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. So I guess those are my answer.

For a teen I would prob..."


Besides Dragons, what makes GoT Fantasy? I've not read any of the series and I've only seen the first 2 or 3 episodes of the TV show.


message 49: by Lee (new)

Lee | 939 comments Actually I sort of feel the same way. I think of it more of a historical - fantasy series than I do straight up fantasy. But that's also why I would recommend it to a reader who might not think they like fantasy. Like my mom. She reads a lot of historical novels and she's actually getting interested in the show. And she hates fantasy. Although, she did read Harry Potter too.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 1381 comments I like The Hobbit as entry level fantasy. Another I'd recommend (going old school) would be Nine Princes in Amber and the rest of the first Amber series. They're a little more spare than a lot of modern fantasy but well written and "hard to put-down-able".


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