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General Chat - anything Goes > Getting into the Fantasy Genre

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message 1: by Agnes (new)

Agnes (agneskrob) Hello, I have just joined goodreads today so am a newbie. I am interested in getting into the fantasy genre and my question is where is a good place to start? I am used to reading thrillers mysteries and general fiction but want to broaden my reading horizons. Is there an "easy" Fantasy series that would be good for me to start with before I move on to things like Game of Thrones. I'm a 39 year old woman, but would even be happy to start with a YA fantasy series. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Agnes


message 2: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments The Hobbit is probably a good place to start. Arguably the first ever modern (ish) fantasy novel.

Funnily enough, this exact same question came up on Absolute Write recently. One of the regulars suggested this list:

Loyd Alexander's The Black Cauldron and its sequels

Mary Norton's The Borrowers

Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea (and sequels).

Madeline L' Engle's A Wrinkle in Time

Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Coraline

Rowling's Harry Potter (of course)

The Lemony Snickett books.

Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.

O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Ende's The Neverending Story

William Goldman's The Princess Bride

Astrid Lindfren's Pippi Longstocking books

The Little Prince

Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising etc.

Kristin Cashore's Graceling.


message 3: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Agnes wrote: "Hello, I have just joined goodreads today so am a newbie. I am interested in getting into the fantasy genre and my question is where is a good place to start? I am used to reading thrillers mysteri..."

Hello Agnes, a good start would be, Terry Goodkind or David Eddings, Tad Williams, Terry Brooks or Trudy Caravan. They are all great authors, there are so many to choose from, also have a look at the many talented fantasy authors we have here in the group, enough to keep you busy for a very long time. Hope you find something that takes your fancy.


message 4: by Agnes (new)

Agnes (agneskrob) Thank you very much for the recommendations. A lot of books/authors for me to look into.


message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments You are right Agnes, so many great authors, let us know which one you try and what you think. Enjoy your new adventures!


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments Anne McCaffrey's Pern books are good. Start with Dragonflight.


message 7: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments After last Wednesday GL I have decided to read them all again, well not all at once of course. Evie has asked for a dragon birthday cake, I'm doing a good job of educating her don't you think ?


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments Excellent, Anita. Just don't let her watch Game of Thrones quite yet!


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22034 comments Another author is Jack Vance
I'd suggest The Complete Lyonesse which I think is one of the best fantasy stories out there :-)


message 10: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Gingerlily - Mistress Lantern wrote: "Excellent, Anita. Just don't let her watch Game of Thrones quite yet!"

Not for a while !


message 11: by David (last edited Oct 02, 2016 02:24PM) (new)

David Edwards | 446 comments Julian May's "Saga of Pliocene Exile" (aka The Saga of the Exiles) is amazing, has thriller elements, and I suspect that it is age-appropriate!

The Many Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Nonborn King and The Adversary.

I didn't enjoy the (published later) prequels. Much like H. Rider Haggard with 'She' and its sequels, the mythic elements seemed to have taken over the author's brain, so that they were in charge rather than the author.

Don't look it up on Wikipedia - the write-up there is completely garbled.


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments Oh I liked those as well.


message 13: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9478 comments And if you want to try Urban Fantasy (fantasy set in a modern context), I'd recommend Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files (was also a short-lived TV series, still available on DVD). He also has a new "olde worlde" fantasy series out, which starts with The Aeronaut's Windlass)

Also, Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London (aka Peter Grant) series. (Aaronovitch was the Dr Who writer responsible for finally getting daleks to go up stairs!)

Both series are also brilliantly narrated on Audible.


message 14: by Agnes (new)

Agnes (agneskrob) I've heard a lot about Robin Hobb, any of her stuff any good? Also in the YA genre are the Mortal Instruments any good? Thanks again to everyone who replied


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments I wasn't that impressed by the Mortal Instruments books. The first one was fine, but the 2nd not so good and I never finished the third.

I enjoyed the first Robin Hobb books, but I never got into the Liveship ones.


I'm sure many others would have different opinions though :)


message 16: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth White | 2067 comments The first true fantasy I ever read was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (C.S. Lewis.) Younger than YA, yes, but a really good place to start.

And then, oh joy, he carried on with a series so you have the pleasure of Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Magician's Nephew (which is first, chronologically, but was written later) and The Last Battle to come.

Avoid the films - the first was okay, but then the makers seemed to think they could 'improve' on the plots.


message 17: by David (new)

David Edwards | 446 comments If you like laughing, it's hard to beat Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' series, and whilst sadly there won't be any more of them, if you do take to them there's a rich seam to be mined. Only 'Eric' is total dross, IMO, but in the earliest ones he's still feeling his way, and starting from "Interesting Times" I feel the tone gets a bit darker. I'd suggest starting with 'Mort', 'Wyrd Sisters', 'Moving Pictures' and 'Guards, Guards'. If none of them grab you, I'd give up on him ...

Tom Holt's first, "Expecting Someone Taller", is almost perfect. Sadly, I feel that he has never quite achieved the same level of perfection since. His books can be marred by bouts of silliness, that are obviously supposed to be funny, but which fall flat for me. "Who's Afraid of Beowulf" is the same book as "Expecting Someone Taller" but with the sex of the main protagonist reversed. However, there are only a couple of complete duds, and the "Portable Door" trilogy, especially the second one, is very good indeed.


message 18: by David (new)

David Edwards | 446 comments Whilst she's categorised as a 'Chic-Lit' writer, Jenny Colgan's 'Working Wonders' is certainly fantasy, and funny. And it includes a description of Slough that deserves to be as well known as John Betjamin's "Friendly Bombs".

Slough; where old concrete goes to die.


message 19: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments I would certainly take a look at Dartmoor...The Saving and Myrddin's War by B J Burton.

Excellent stuff.


message 20: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Fantasy is a genre I specialize in, and with the notable of exception of Jim's comment, I'm very disappointed at what is being suggested! :)

I won't rant here, as it would be a good subject of another thread.


message 21: by Michael Cargill (new)

Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 3001 comments To be honest I'd consider Game of Thrones ideal for someone new to fantasy.

There's no elves, dwarves, goblins, etc. and virtually no magic until about the third book.


message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth White | 2067 comments Came back especially to say that I forgot to list The Horse and his Boy as part of the Narnia series. Seems to be a trait I'm developing!


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments R.M.F wrote: "Fantasy is a genre I specialize in, and with the notable of exception of Jim's comment, I'm very disappointed at what is being suggested! :)

I won't rant here, as it would be a good subject of ano..."


I suggest a duel at dawn with Toblerones!


message 24: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 3013 comments Will wrote: "The Hobbit is probably a good place to start. Arguably the first ever modern (ish) fantasy novel.

Funnily enough, this exact same question came up on Absolute Write recently. One of the regulars ..."


Most if not all are classified as children's books, though there's a lot of goodies in that list.

Robin Hobb's massive tomes are loved by a lot of people. I've found them rather mixed, and so far have preferred the second trilogy, the one about LiveShip Traders, though that's as far as I've got. But they are all linked and explain things that happen a lot later so you need to start with the Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest). I wasn't 100% with them but they get better it seems.


message 25: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 3013 comments For a YA series, I loved Garth Nix's Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen.

Diana Wynne Jones is another good author for children and young adults, esp. her Dalemark series.


message 26: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 3013 comments Older series include Andre Norton's Witchworld series, and a lot of her other books.

Katherine Kurtz's long running Deryni series has a world based on medieval Wales but with people who have psychic powers and are persecuted by the church.

Michael Moorcock's 'Eternal Champion' connected series are classics, especially the ones about Elric of Melnibone.

There are a lot of Arthurian fantasies. The old classic is 'The Once and Future King' by T H White, but Mary Stewart's series mostly written in the 1970s and starting with 'The Crystal Cave' are well recommended too.


message 27: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Gingerlily - Mistress Lantern wrote: "R.M.F wrote: "Fantasy is a genre I specialize in, and with the notable of exception of Jim's comment, I'm very disappointed at what is being suggested! :)

I won't rant here, as it would be a good ..."


Don't mention that name. My poor ears! :)


message 28: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Michael Cargill wrote: "To be honest I'd consider Game of Thrones ideal for someone new to fantasy.

There's no elves, dwarves, goblins, etc. and virtually no magic until about the third book."


I found GOT to be very misogynistic IMO, so I gave it a wide berth.


message 29: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments I found GOT derivative and, frankly, badly written and only read book 1.

I am amazed that no one else has mentioned Alan Garner.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is a perfect entry to fantasy, whilst The owl Service is just a brilliant retelling of one of the stories in the Mabinogion


message 30: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments Ooh, I loved Garner as a teen.


message 31: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments Did you know that The Owl Service was ITV's first TV program in colour?


message 32: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Will wrote: "I found GOT derivative and, frankly, badly written and only read book 1.

I am amazed that no one else has mentioned Alan Garner.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is a perfect entry to ..."


Good post.


message 33: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments Will wrote: "Did you know that The Owl Service was ITV's first TV program in colour?"

No. Didn't get a telly till they were old hat.


message 34: by David (new)

David Hadley | 4873 comments The Name of the Wind The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss is an excellent fantasy book.

I also like Joe Abercrombie's stuff The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie The Blade Itself, which is a bit like GoT, but better written, and probably gorier.


message 35: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments Also, Joe Abercrombie is a seriously nice bloke. And GRRM isn't.


message 36: by David (new)

David Hadley | 4873 comments Will wrote: "Also, Joe Abercrombie is a seriously nice bloke. And GRRM isn't."

I think that does come across in their respective books, which is probably why I prefer JA.


Jay-me (Janet)  | 4324 comments Will wrote: "I am amazed that no one else has mentioned Alan Garner.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is a perfect entry to fantasy, whilst The owl Service is just a brilliant retelling of one of the stories in the Mabinogion .."


I still have nightmares about getting stuck in underground tunnels after reading one of Alan Garner's books.

Most of my fantasy favourites have already been mentioned.

I've never felt the urge to read (or watch) Game of Thrones though.


message 38: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22034 comments by the time I noticed Game of Thrones there was just too much of it to be bothered with :-)


message 39: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Yeah, GoT is a bloated mess these days.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Jim and Rumph, you're incorrigible.


message 41: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22034 comments Too right, we can be curmudgeonly without encouragement :-)


message 42: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22034 comments But on a serious note as far as I can see, if you've read much about the English Wars of the Roses, Scots 15th and 16th century history and the best bits of the Italian 14th and 15th centuries, GoT starts looking a bit derivative and even a little predicable ;-)

In fact his body count is a bit low


Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Jim and Rumph, you're incorrigible."

I bet you could corrige them, Patti.


message 44: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9478 comments I adore Game of Thrones. Can't get enough! :)


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Two cookies for Tim.

Cold day old cookie sludge from the bottom of a tea cup for Jim and Rumph.


Jay-me (Janet)  | 4324 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Two cookies for Tim.

Cold day old cookie sludge from the bottom of a tea cup for Jim and Rumph."


And a nice hot lemon drink for me ;)


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Yellow crayon dipped in hot water.


Jay-me (Janet)  | 4324 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Yellow crayon dipped in hot water."

Real lemon squeezed and sliced


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Stop torturing lemons, Janet. You meanie.


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments The Red Knight is a book I have very much enjoyed. Eagerly awaiting the fourth in the series. Would second Joe Abercrombie, and the Rivers of London series. Also Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay - Retribution Falls is the first. Also very much enjoyed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet fairly recently. Oh and Mark Lawrence, the Red Queen's War series and the Broken Empire...


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