SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Member's Chat > Looking for gritty, fast-paced action fantasy

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message 1: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments I am trying to avoid the epic door-stoppers, and am looking for something a bit faster-paced and darker in style. Action, humor, vivid settings and interesting characters. Something I probably would not want my ten year old to read. I don't really want steam-punk or gothic, and I don't need deep philosophy or complex histories. One book I have coming today is Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, which I am hoping fits what I am looking for, but any other suggestions would be welcome!!


message 2: by Jon (last edited Mar 16, 2010 09:08AM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments The Blade Itself is excellent and I highly recommend it.

The Way of Shadows is also very good, perhaps not as gritty as The Blade Itself, but it still packs a powerful punch.

You might also like Heroes Die and perhaps The Lies of Locke Lamora.

That's the extent of my 'gritty' SF/Fantasy reading for the past few months.

Hope that helps,

Jon


message 3: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Yes, that is very helpful! I am glad I made a good first choice and I will definitely check out more about those suggestions. I have not read fantasy in a while, and I just don't have the time or patience anymore for the epic fantasy pacing.


message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 203 comments What Jon said!
Plus, I'd add:
the Vlad Taltos series beginning with Jhereg by Steven Brust,
the Chronicles of Elantra series by Michelle Sagara West, beginning with Cast in Shadow
The Thorn StCroix series beginning with Bloodring be Faith Hunter
the Noble Dead series by Barb Hendee beginning with Dhampir
the Merchant Princes series by Charles Stross, beginning with The Family Trade
the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan beginning with The Magicians' Guild

Various levels of 'grit' in these, but I think they fit the bill.


message 5: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Thanks, Carolyn, lots to check out, and I think I have Jhereg on a shelf somewhere, totally forgotten and never read! Time to track it down!


message 6: by Jamie (last edited Mar 16, 2010 11:02AM) (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) Hi Vance,

I loved The Blade Itself, and I think it will be exactly what you want. It's the first in a trilogy, so don't expect much of an ending.

I'd also highly recommend Charlie Huston, starting with Already Dead. His books are very violent, but the writing, in particular his dialogue, is fantastic.

I see you've read some George R. R. Martin - have you tried his standalone vampire novel, Fevre Dream? It's excellent.

I like Mike Carey's urban fantasy books, starting with The Devil You Know. They are darker than Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, which is also entertaining.


message 7: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Yes, I will expect The Blade Itself to just be the opener and if I like that, I will pick up the other two, as well as his stand-alone book. I had not known about that Martin book, thanks!


message 8: by Rick (new)

Rick Pasley (hikr3) | 12 comments I will second The Way of Shadows and The Lies of Locke Lamora. I would also recommend The Name of the Wind. All are newer authors with new energy to add to the fantasy genre. One other thing I would recommend is not fantasy but has a similar feel in a futuristic setting; Altered Carbon. Very good and just different enough to feel fresh to me.


message 9: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Wow, that Name of the Wind looks very good! I have a lot to work with now! I knew I came to the right place to ask!


message 10: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments The Name of the Wind topped my list of best reads for the past 5-10 years. I wouldn't consider it gritty fantasy, though; just incredible reading.


message 11: by Greyweather (last edited Mar 16, 2010 05:04PM) (new)

Greyweather | 234 comments Vlad Taltos is great stuff, no doubt about it.

Vance wrote: "looking for something a bit faster-paced and darker in style. Action, humor, vivid settings and interesting characters."

The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney is pretty much a non-stop bloodbath.

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan fits the bill also.

Any fantasy from Robert E. Howard would be good as well.

A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones isn't as fast-paced but it is plenty dark and gritty.

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington is another one I think you would get a kick out of.


message 12: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 195 comments I've got to agree that The Name of the Wind doesn't quite seem to fit the bill. . . mainly because it is a door-stopper with the downside of having the ending still far off in the future! (Rothfuss has been promising book two of the three for a couple years now.) It's a teensy bit gritty, but more traditional epic fantasy than most of the other titles mentioned. It is good though -- I just don't think it's exactly what was ordered. ;)

Second Altered Carbon if you're in the mood for SF instead of fantasy -- very visual, action-packed prose with a great noir feel (and a wonderful creation in the Hendrix).

You might also check out Elantris, Brandon Sanderson's first novel -- it's a stand-alone and the world he created, while not totally gritty, is certainly darker than it is light (it's also fast-paced reading, though not tremendously action-packed).

And to put out a female author (since not very many have been mentioned in this thread) you could also try Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner -- it moves readily between the gritty underworld of Riverside and the aristocratic uptown, but the central character is a hired assassin, and the darker motivations of every character are definitely at the fore. It's also brilliantly written, just as a bonus. ;)


message 13: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Oh, yes, I read Swordspoint years ago and really liked it! I had totally forgotten about that one, time to go add it to my list! And, I have two more added to my "to read" list, both look very good.


message 14: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 321 comments If you liked Swordspoint, you might want to check out its more recent sequel, Privilege of the Sword.


message 15: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments You know when I read your post, I went on to Amazon and saw that she had two books in that "world", the Privilege you mention and The Fall of the Kings. I think once I get past the dark/action phase I will check out one of these.


message 16: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 321 comments I couldn't get through The Fall of the Kings myself (written in collaboration with Delia Sherman -- though I've read and enjoyed a couple of Sherman's solo novels). I tried twice. But the panache is missing. However, YMMV.


message 17: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Ah, that is too bad about The Fall of Kings.

Greyweather, that The Ten Thousand looks like it might be a "300" in book form! Sounds interesting.


message 18: by Erick (new)

Erick Burnham | 74 comments The Black CompanybyGlen Cook is pretty gritty although not as fast paced as I would like - a little too cerebral I guess.

I found the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman to be pretty gritty.

Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy, #1) by C.S. Friedmanand When True Night Falls (The Coldfire Trilogy, #2) by C.S. Friedman and Crown of Shadows (The Coldfire Trilogy, #3) by C.S. Friedman


message 19: by Vance (last edited Mar 17, 2010 10:36AM) (new)

Vance | 26 comments I have had that first Black Company book on my shelf for a long time, but have never jumped in! It seems like a short enough book that even if it moves slow, it will not take a lot of time.

I also have the Coldfire Trilogy on audio, awaiting listening (if I can finish Gene Wolf's stuff), so I am glad you recommend it!


message 20: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 45 comments I wonder if you might like Firebird by R. Garcia y Robertson. It's kind of wacky. I liked it.

The Blade Itself sounds interesting; I'm curious about it now.


message 21: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments I will check that out! My copy of The Blade Itself arrived today and it is thicker than I expected! Just perusing the first bits, it looks very good and I am excited to get into it tonight!


message 22: by MB (What she read) (last edited Mar 17, 2010 04:51PM) (new)

MB (What she read) This is not Fantasy or SciFi but you may like it, I did! Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. It certainly is action-packed and has tons of very dry humor.


message 23: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 883 comments Can't forget to mention the Malazan series by Steven Erikson. It begins with Gardens of the Moon. It's a ten book series, but 9 of them are available now.


message 24: by Chad (new)

Chad (doctorwinters) Also Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series are classic

Swords and Deviltry (Lankhmar #1)

You can get the whole series pretty cheap on www.baen.com in ebook format


message 25: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Chad, that is a good call, I read a couple of those books a long time ago, and you are right, they would be right along these lines!


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul | 131 comments If you want a first draft (critique welcome), consider my new novel 'Revival'.

If you'd like to read, PM me and I'll send you the PDF.


message 27: by Vance (new)

Vance | 26 comments Paul, I used belong to a writers group where we "graded" and critiqued each others' work all the time, and I love that sort of thing. When I get done with some of the books suggested here, I might just take you up on that!!


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul | 131 comments Vance, by mid-April, you can read the 'final' draft. As in, what I think is the best I can do, before agents get their claws into it.

But yes, anytime you want...


message 29: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca (ScribbleOrca) i just finished reading john sundman's acts of the apostles, check out my review here. it is definitely fast, dystopic, sci-fi with bio-nano-techno espionage thrown in.

also worth your while might be idoru.


message 30: by Steve (last edited Oct 27, 2010 03:13AM) (new)

Steve | 1 comments I'd recommend the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A.Salvatore. First book is a bit slow as he's developing his main character however its excellent in its own right and shouldn't be missed. Salvatore likes to bring people together to become friends then imperil them, split them up into say two or three groups and then constantly keep you on the edge of your seat as he swaps back and forth between their individual storyline's/chases. Its not some epic work of art its just like popcorn, once you eat some you know you'll want more. PS. They're very addictive.The Dark Elf Trilogy Collector's Edition


message 32: by Marcin (new)

Marcin (mggggggggg) | 4 comments I think you will like a The Last Wish by Sapkowski


message 33: by Stewart (new)

Stewart (stewbaby) | 35 comments Steve wrote: "I'd recommend the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A.Salvatore. First book is a bit slow as he's developing his main character however its excellent in its own right and shouldn't be missed. Salvatore likes t..."

I agree with Steve...Salvatore gets very intense and is great Hero Fiction, Good Choice!


message 34: by Michael (new)

Michael C. (MichaelCGreer) | 1 comments If I might chime in, the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is extremely fast paced. Not very dark, but you can zip through 'em fast.


message 35: by Bill (new)

Bill Michael wrote: "If I might chime in, the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is extremely fast paced. Not very dark, but you can zip through 'em fast."

I enjoyed them. nicely paced and good adventures


message 36: by Richard (new)

Richard Knaak (RichardKnaak) | 17 comments Bill wrote: "Michael wrote: "If I might chime in, the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is extremely fast paced. Not very dark, but you can zip through 'em fast."

I enjoyed them. nicely pac..."


Burroughs was one of my influences early on and the John Carter novels, especially the first four, are among my favorites.

I'm also a big fan of the Black Company and would recommend those.


message 37: by Heinrich (new)

Heinrich Xin (heinrich_xin) May I suggest my novel Dragon Youth ? I hope you will like it.


message 38: by Karey (new)

Karey (KareyShane) | 6 comments Am I missing the mark by not seeing The Hunger Games series on this thread? I just finished the series, which is saying a lot since I'm a classics nerd.

Verdict? I was blown away. Highly recommended, Vance.


message 39: by Robin (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 348 comments Jim Butcher books are good for dirty and gritty. Also ran across a young start-up author who wrote Gift of Fury (only available on Kindle) but great read.


message 40: by Bill (new)

Bill Robin wrote: "Jim Butcher books are good for dirty and gritty. Also ran across a young start-up author who wrote Gift of Fury (only available on Kindle) but great read."

The Dresden Files books are excellent.


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