January 18, 2021, 11:01:19 AM

Author Topic: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!  (Read 421 times)

Online Magnus Hedén

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Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« on: January 11, 2021, 01:44:44 PM »
Below is a list of some of my favourite SFF books. I would love some recommendations based on these, as I'm currently in a bit of a slump. There are plenty of books I want to read, but most are newly released and I can't afford to only be reading those (I now have the problem of reading so much it has become 'expensive') -- plus I prefer to wait until a series is complete, if at all possible.

Thanks in advice for any tips! :)

American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Perdido Street Station - China Mieville (and the two stand-alone sequels)
The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin (and the two sequels, also everything else she has written)
Children of Time (+sequel) & Dogs of War - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Johnathan Strange & Mr Norell & Piranesi - Susanna Clarke
The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers (also everything else by her)
Gideon the Ninth - Tamsyn Muir (and sequel)
Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey (and the rest of the Expanse)
The Quantum Thief - Hannu Rajaniemi (and the rest of the series)
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee (+series)
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor (and the series, and Who Fears Death & The Book of Phoenix)
Earthsea Quartet - Ursula K LeGuin (and almost everything else she has written)
Ancillary Justice -  Ann Leckie (+ the series)
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie (+whole First Law series in general)
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

Side note: I've read one Brandon Sanderson book and didn't like it.

Edit 1: Here's a list of books I've already read and enjoyed, but that didn't make the initial list.
Three-Body Problem by CiXin Liu (whole series)
Quantum Magician by Derek Kunsken (whole series)
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Edit 2: Here are some books  I've already read that didn't particularly ring my bell.
The Amberlough Dossier
The Poppy War
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 05:49:27 PM by Magnus Hedén »

Offline Bender

Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 03:45:50 PM »
Three Body Problem by CiXin Liu
Quantum Magician by Derek Kunsken

Have you read Lord of Light by Zelanzy?
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Online Magnus Hedén

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2021, 03:53:45 PM »
I've read both those series and enjoyed them, so good picks! ;D

Lord of Light I haven't even heard of, so going to look into that right away. Thanks!

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 04:15:23 PM »
Some names to the pot, not epic fantasy:

The long price quartet series, by Daniel Abraham.
It has some hints of the Fifth Season series.

Robert Jackson Bennet --> the first series is complete, Divine cities, the second only has the first book out I think (maybe the 2nd is out on hardcover, actually - and I'm not sure if there's 2 or 3 in the series)

Lady Trent's memoirs series, by Marie Brennan

Dominion of the fallen series, by Aliette de Bodard

Hyddenworld series, by William Horwood

Forbidden list series, by G.R. Matthews

Erin Morgenstern's standalone books
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Online Magnus Hedén

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2021, 05:52:55 PM »
Those are all unknown to me, thanks! :D

Offline Bender

Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 05:57:49 PM »
Long Price is like Thomas Covenant, beautiful prose but relentlessly depressing story.
"I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!" - M-Bot

"Who needs science when you have a dragon?" - Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Sharknado 6

Offline Bender

Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 09:07:26 PM »
Forbidden list series, by G.R. Matthews

I just came to know of this. Premise is very interesting. Looks like my next read is sorted out!
"I shall hunt your firstborn children and laugh with glee as I tell them of your death in terrible detail, with many unpleasant adjectives!" - M-Bot

"Who needs science when you have a dragon?" - Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Sharknado 6

Offline cupiscent

Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 11:23:40 PM »
Looking at that list, I'm seeing a lot of "more thoughtful spec-fic, with a side of doing-something-different". With that in mind, I'd second Bea's recs for Abraham's Long Price Quartet (setting-building to match Mieville, in a more traditionally fantasy way, big sweeps of character and theme) and Bennett's Divine Cities (a sort of post-colonial god-punk world, not afraid of digging into complexities).

I might also suggest you have a look at:
  • Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower though I appreciate that might fall under the "new and expensive" list. :D
  • How do you feel about spies / spycraft stories? Both Lara Elena Donnelly's Amberlough (and sequels) and SerialBox's The Witch Who Came In From The Cold do interesting things overlapping spec-fic and spycraft.
  • Murderbot! Murderbot! All Systems Red by Martha Wells. (These are expensive individually, but I found that they've got popular enough that my library has them so wheeeeee.)
  • Anything by Max Gladstone, basically, but I particularly enjoyed his very first Three Parts Dead. Though since you seem to be slightly more into scifi than I am, perhaps you might more enjoy his wuxia-cyberpunk-space-opera Empress of Forever.
  • Scott Hawkins' The Library at Mount Char which has that gritty-urban-high-concept feel like American Gods, but a bit more horror-sci-fi with it. A profoundly weird and challenging book that was also somehow a lot of fun.
  • The work of Kate Griffin. She now writes high-concept spec-thrillers as Claire North (which are also great), but as Kate Griffin, she wrote lyrical but gritty urban fantasy deeply set in London. (Some books just take place in London; these ones have London in every atom.) First book A Madness of Angels.

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2021, 01:56:44 AM »
As you like China Mieville I recommend Embassytown

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9265453-embassytown

I am Mieville fan, but have not read many although so far this is one of my favourites. Not good for audio because it is based around a particular Language, but way beyond how we usually think of it.  This is demonstrated occasionally by different typefaces and other devices. You may need to go back and re-read some bits at first until the whole concept falls into place. It is most unusual, fascinating and a little sad too, a typical Mieville. This was his SF book, as he has always planned to write a book in every genre.
Magnus, there are several on your list that I love as well, so hope you try this one some time.
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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2021, 02:17:23 AM »
Seconding all of Gladstone's Craft, De Bodard's Dominions of the Fallen, and Divine Cities.

I would add GGK's Tigana, Kerr's Daggerspell and Alexander's Prydein.

Obvious ask - you looked at Gaiman's Anansi Boys?

Online Magnus Hedén

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2021, 08:18:58 AM »
As you like China Mieville I recommend Embassytown

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9265453-embassytown

I am Mieville fan, but have not read many although so far this is one of my favourites. Not good for audio because it is based around a particular Language, but way beyond how we usually think of it.  This is demonstrated occasionally by different typefaces and other devices. You may need to go back and re-read some bits at first until the whole concept falls into place. It is most unusual, fascinating and a little sad too, a typical Mieville. This was his SF book, as he has always planned to write a book in every genre.
Magnus, there are several on your list that I love as well, so hope you try this one some time.

Thanks, yes, I should definitely pick up some more Mieville! I think all of his books are on my TBR list, and I've already read Railsea (loved it), The City and the City (loved it), and Kraken (which I thought was okay, not great). But I'll have a look and see if any of his other books are on a deal, and Embassytown in particular.

Seconding all of Gladstone's Craft, De Bodard's Dominions of the Fallen, and Divine Cities.

I would add GGK's Tigana, Kerr's Daggerspell and Alexander's Prydein.

Obvious ask - you looked at Gaiman's Anansi Boys?

I've actually read pretty much everything Gaiman except his latest. I loved Anansi Boys and Neverwhere and Ocean At The End Of The Lane and Graveyard Boy and Coraline and and and... But I'll check out those seconded books for sure!

I had to pick something because I was starting something new before replies came into this topic, so I ended up picking a book from Amazon's recommendations purely by the title and the fact that it was $1. So now I'm reading A Wizard's Guide To Defensive Baking, which hasn't disappointed a few chapters in. Plucky, funny, but with a really good command of storytelling so far.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 11:10:44 AM by Magnus Hedén »

Offline xiagan

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2021, 09:12:49 PM »
I read and enjoyed many of the books on your list but can't pinpoint what they have in common.
I second Bea's Divine Citys and Bennett's other new series, starting with Foundryside.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2021, 04:51:12 AM »
You may like Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier and on the more epic side R. F Kuang’s Poppy War series.

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2021, 07:20:37 AM »
You may like Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier and on the more epic side R. F Kuang’s Poppy War series.

I've read the first book in both of those, but neither made me want to read on. Amberlough was really well-written, but for some reason it really irked me that it was set in a fictional place when there was really no significant difference between it and the real world. Setting it in Berlin would just have made so much more sense. I kept expecting something to be significantly different, but it never happened. I didn't want a repeat of that experience, so I didn't pick up the next book. You can read my review on Goodreads here, if you're so inclined.

The Poppy Wars I didn't find great. It wasn't bad, but when I was done I had no inclination whatsoever to go on. I can't pinpoint my exact displeasure with it, and I didn't end up writing a review for it so I've forgotten the specific things that bothered me. I do like epic stories, so that wasn't the issue though.

I read and enjoyed many of the books on your list but can't pinpoint what they have in common.
I second Bea's Divine Citys and Bennett's other new series, starting with Foundryside.

Yeah, I don't think there's a single common theme here. I read and enjoy quite varied types of books, both in and out of the SFF genre (though mostly in). Good execution of storytelling is vital for me. It's an occupational hazard from being a developmental editor. Any book that makes me put on my work glasses fails its basic job of entertaining me.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 07:28:45 AM by Magnus Hedén »

Offline Elfy

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Re: Here are some books I loved - please recommend me more!
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2021, 10:01:13 AM »
Your comments about Amberlough brought to mind another series, which is alt history by the marvellous Jo Walton that you might get something out of. Collectively it’s called the Small Change series, but the first book is Farthing, it is a trilogy, although you could easily read the first one without feeling forced to read the others. I found it interesting that it as so vastly different from the other two of hers that I’d read (Tooth & Claw and Among Others). I’ll also recommend absolutely anything by Catherynne L. Valente, but she’s not for everyone.