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so ask already!!! > Fantasy for a language student.

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message 1: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (versusthesiren) | 16 comments I am trying to find THE PERFECT FANTASY NOVEL™ for my boyfriend, but he is picky. I'll try to make his specifications brief:

- Something with realistic names - of people, places, etc. As somebody who studies languages (he's had experience with studying linguistics and is currently enrolled in Indo-European Studies), few things annoy him more than: a) terrible names ("Vishous," etc); b) out-of-place names (see this - warning, TVTropes link); c) names that don't make any sense (just... everything about Eragon).

- He likes books that follow a single narrator. He doesn't want a series that's ridiculously "epic," like Malazan or ASoIaF.

- He's a non-native English speaker - he's fluent, but he picked up a China Miéville book, tried it, and found him to be waaaay too dense for his reading level. Which is kind of a shame, because he seems like a perfect match for him otherwise.

WHAT HE LIKES/WHAT HE'S INTERESTED IN: He's a huge fan of Patrick Rothfuss's style and prose - in fact, he says that although Rothfuss has some flaws (the aforementioned Aerith and Bob syndrome), he forgives him because he just fanboys him so much. He loves how he used some tropes (the magical school, the dragon) and really turned them into something special. Robin Hobb is the only author who's come close - Assassin's Apprentice was the first book I read after he made his initial request that I felt completely comfortable recommending to him. Other books that I and others have rec'd him that have interested him that he hasn't read yet: Kushiel's Dart (which might be too heavy for him), The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Magicians. I haven't read the latter two, but they're on my list. I also bought him a Discworld novel a while back, but he hasn't touched it yet.

I've been working at this for a while and figured it might not hurt to post this here. Thanks! :)


message 2: by Christy (new)

Christy (christymtidwell) | 149 comments I'm honestly not sure if this fits your precise requirements, but I love it, so I'm going to suggest it anyway. If you check it out, you might be able to tell from the synopsis if it will work for him or not: A Shadow in Summer (and the subsequent series, which gets better and better as it goes on) by Daniel Abraham.


message 3: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments Valerie wrote: "I am trying to find THE PERFECT FANTASY NOVEL™ for my boyfriend, but he is picky. I'll try to make his specifications brief:

- Something with realistic names - of people, places, etc. As somebod..."


you might take a look at mary doria russell's "the sparrow" where they send a jesuit up into space to talk with the newly arrived aliens because of his language skills etc etc great read

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell


message 4: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! | 51 comments I second Christy's recommendation of Daniel Abraham. Hah, I feel like I'm following Christy around and making the same recs everywhere, but I also liked Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy series that starts with The Curse of Chalion (but avoid her other fantasy series).


message 5: by Mir (new)

Mir | 189 comments He might like any of Martha Wells' Ile-Rien books.

Barbara Hambly is usually pretty good at historical accuracy and consistency (I believe she actually is an historian) and if he doesn't mind vampires her Those Who Hunt the Night has a linguist as the main character, so he might enjoy that.


message 6: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! | 51 comments I loved Dragonsbane by Hambly but he might get hung up on the names. Would Jenny Waynest and Zyrene be okay?


message 7: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments The Way of Shadows

I like these they are about assassins I can't remember the guy's name off the top of my head though


message 8: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments durzo... is that considered stupid?


message 9: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (versusthesiren) | 16 comments Wow, you're all awesome. :O I've never even heard of some of these!

A Shadow in Summer: Heard about this a while ago, thought it'd be right up his alley but he mostly went "meh" at the synopsis. I might have to track down a copy and give it a whirl and see if I can convince him, if it's good.
The Sparrow: This sounds really interesting, thanks!
The Curse of Chalion: Yeah, he's been interested in this one!
Martha Wells: I think her books sound AWESOME, but he said one of the synopses sounded like it suffered from "Aerith and Bob" syndrome.
Barbara Hambly: This might be his best bet - the fact that she's an actual historian gives her a HUGE plus, since he was just wondering the other day why more fantasy authors don't have studies in things relevant to their craft (anthropology, history, archaeology, etc). He's not a huge vampire fan, but he loved Let the Right One In, for example, and something about Those Who Hunt the Night piqued his interest.
The Way of Shadows: The names in this are pretty much the opposite of what he's actively looking for, sorry. :(


message 10: by Micha (new)

Micha (selective_narcoleptic) | 64 comments I know this isn’t exactly the place for this, but it really got to me, so please forgive me.

Valerie wrote: "Something with realistic names - of people, places, etc. As somebody who studies languages (he's had experience with studying linguistics and is currently enrolled in Indo-European Studies), few things annoy him more than: a) terrible names ("Vishous," etc); b) out-of-place names (see this - warning, TVTropes link); c) names that don't make any sense (just... everything about Eragon)."

Valerie, I am a little confused by your statement that “As somebody who studies languages… few things annoy him more than: a) terrible names ("Vishous," etc); b) out-of-place names (see this - warning, TVTropes link); c) names that don't make any sense (just... everything about Eragon)."

While it’s fine for him to have his own opinions about these things, what I don’t understand is why being a linguist means that one would be annoyed by any one of these things?

Could you please clarify?


message 11: by Valerie (last edited Nov 03, 2011 02:12PM) (new)

Valerie (versusthesiren) | 16 comments My apologies, but I'm not really sure what there is to clarify? I guess it would sort of be analogous to scientists watching natural disaster movies - popular things that Get Things Wrong. He really wants language consistency - like, to quote the Fantasy Novelist's Exam, "Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named 'Tim Umber' and 'Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok'?" On that note, apostrophes that serve no purpose. Etc.

Unless I implied that all linguist/language students are looking out for these things, which probably isn't true - again, he's really picky. But if the storyline and prose are really good (like The Name of the Wind), he can definitely overlook things.


message 12: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i am just posting here so i get updates, but i hope some of these worked out for him.


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