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Author Topic: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter  (Read 8902 times)

Offline JMack

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Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« on: August 23, 2016, 11:49:01 AM »
Alright, Forum friends.
Nominations by Friday. Then I'll put the poll up. Or I might need help, since I have a wedding to attend all weekend.

Problem:
@The_Gem_Cutter is trapped in his garage working on his novel and needs a crash course in contemporary fantasy. (And yes, this is condescending and probably incorrect. But when did that ever stop us!)

Solution:
The usual suspects - and, well, everyone - need to create a five novel reading list for TGC.

Rules:
> This will be hard. No book published before the year 2000.
> Only first books in series, or stand alones.
> We won't put more than one book by any author on the list.
> Don't just think: "best book in last X years." Think "great example of modern fantasy."
> Must be kick-ass, can't put down stuff.
> @The_Gem_Cutter can look at the nominees and eliminate those he has already read (or watched at the movies or on TV).

Nominating:
> You are allowed TWO and only TWO nominations - and they must be new to this nominating list - but can second as many priors as you wish.
> Post to this thread with your nominations and seconds of prior nominations.
> Because I'm Captain Obvious
> Finally, you can make a negative second. That is, if you really think a prior nomination is a BAD IDEA for TGC, then you can cancel someone else's second. Heh heh.

My two nominations:
Scott Lynch: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Mark Lawrence: Prince of Thorns

Your turn!
 ;D
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 11:53:09 AM by Jmack »
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 12:21:29 PM »
You used one of mine (no guesses for which :P ) - but I second both of them!

I'll nominate
Jen Williams - The Copper Promise
Daniel Abraham - A shadow in summer (or Shadow in Betrayal, if you buy the volume I have that has got books 1+2)

Edit: thanks Jmack - note to self= "duh!"
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 04:26:14 PM by ScarletBea »
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Offline JMack

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 12:44:54 PM »
Jen Williams - The Copper Cat Promise

Fixed that for you :)
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You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 12:55:45 PM »
I'll nominate:

Malice, book 1 of The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne.

This fits "great example of modern fantasy" like a glove. It does exactly what you'd expect from an epic fantasy: sprawling story with dozens of characters, multiple viewpoints, coming-of-age elements, apocalyptic good-vs-evil plot, and so on. It's packed full of tropes. Most books like that end up feeling incredibly derivative; this series feels fresh and original at every turn. For example, Corban's coming-of-age storyline in the first book felt like a shining example of how good fantasy can be. The characterisation is top quality. The series isn't very well known, but it's absolutely brilliant.

The only flaw for me was that to begin with it's too wide in terms of scope. The cast is huge, and it took me a long time to get them straight in my head. Midway through the second book I was still completely drawing a blank for several viewpoint characters. Not because they didn't feel like different people, but because there were just too damn many of them! Once you get it all right in your head though, it really starts to come together. The second half of the second book and the entirety of the third book were utterly brilliant for me, and I'm certain that the earlier parts are just as good if you're a fan of sprawling multi-perspectives.


Retribution Falls, book 1 of Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding.

This is like a mix of the best parts of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean, plus a lot of people compare it to Firefly. It's often listed as steampunk, but it's a little different to what you might expect from that - a better term would be "dieselpunk". The airships central to the worldbuilding are great - the larger ones function like aerial submarines, while the smaller ones function like x-wing fighters. The world is awesome, really vivid and exciting and full of adventure, with some interesting magic and a load of great details.

The characters start off fairly shallow, but by the end of the fourth (and final) book they're really well fleshed out, and their interrelationships are particularly compelling. It's a typical awkward misfit crew learns to work together kind of thing. As such, the first book is great fun but flawed - so merely "above average" overall (3.5 stars imo) - whereas the later books just get better and better (all 5 stars imo), and everyone I've talked to who enjoyed it at all is desperate for more. A good number of people on this forum have read it, pretty sure there were only one or two who didn't love it.


I shall second Lies of Locke Lamora, The Copper Promise, and A Shadow in Summer, all three of which are among the few I might have nominated otherwise! Haven't read Prince of Thorns, so can't comment there. I shall post again later to upvote or downvote other peoples' nominations.  8)
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Offline Peat

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 01:08:26 PM »
Stepping outside the rules here, but as I asked a very similar question not that long ago, I thought I might put the link here to that thread here - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-an-old-fashioned-guy-new-stuff/

I guess its like a whole thread of secondings :P

... I should really finish writing up that blog post one of these days.
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Offline Quill

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 01:09:35 PM »
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (I think it can be considered it a standalone, as I read it without knowing any other books in the same world) - I think it's a good example of how contemporary fantasy has moved beyond a traditional protagonist/hero into a more complicated narrative.

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan - Somewhat traditional in following a protagonist from childhood to adulthood, being trained into an order to fight and serve, but it has some decent political machinations, and the framed narrative with its hostile narrator works well (in fact, that was my favourite part of it). I think the expansion of showing realistic politics along with the choice of narrative makes it another good example of where contemporary fantasy is headed.
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Offline Hedin

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2016, 01:16:42 PM »
Just so I'm clear and we're clear, what are we defining as contemporary fantasy?


Offline JMack

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 01:17:55 PM »
Stepping outside the rules here, but as I asked a very similar question not that long ago, I thought I might put the link here to that thread here - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-an-old-fashioned-guy-new-stuff/

I guess its like a whole thread of secondings :P

... I should really finish writing up that blog post one of these days.
Excellent and useful, @Peat.
But, but - rules?
I'm very rules based.
(This is so stressful.) ;)
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You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 01:28:41 PM »
Only after 2000? That's just last week :P

Nominating two more unconventional for contrast-

Going Postal - Terry Pratchett Set in Discworld but stands alone. If TGC decides he likes Pratchett style then I think he would enjoy the Sam Vimes books but they were published earlier.

Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay

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Offline JMack

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Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 01:33:10 PM »
Just so I'm clear and we're clear, what are we defining as contemporary fantasy?

Anything book you think is great, published since 2000, and speaks to your personal definition of "modern fantasy".
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Peat

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 01:41:37 PM »
Nomination One - The Dresden Files

A very good example of how one can utterly twist fantasy's tropes and yet stay very clearly in them; of how borrowing the tropes of another genre can strengthen those of fantasy's. Also, very entertaining.

Stepping outside the rules here, but as I asked a very similar question not that long ago, I thought I might put the link here to that thread here - http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/recommend-an-old-fashioned-guy-new-stuff/

I guess its like a whole thread of secondings :P

... I should really finish writing up that blog post one of these days.
Excellent and useful, @Peat.
But, but - rules?
I'm very rules based.
(This is so stressful.) ;)


Offline Hedin

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 01:48:01 PM »
Just so I'm clear and we're clear, what are we defining as contemporary fantasy?

Anything book you think is great, published since 2000, and speaks to your personal definition of "modern fantasy".

A) In that regards I'm going with the published since 2000 and great and not try to figure out modern fantasy.
B) What do you mean I only get 2 nominations?

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks.  This feels a little odd in that we're only nominating the first book of the series since while I really like The Black Prism I think the other two books in the series are much stronger.  Still this might be my favorite currently active series with each book getting stronger.  Only about two more months until Book 4!

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.  Stormlight is right up there on my favorite active series ranks and of those series on my list it's probably the best overall series.  These books are massive but with Sanderson's style I never feel like they drag and I don't think anyone does climaxes as well as he does.

I'll save my seconds until we get some more nominations in the thread.

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016, 01:49:08 PM »

The Emperor’s Blades (Unhewn Throne #1) – Brian Staveley (There is a lot of training and military aspects to this book and series, which is right up Gem's alley)



The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) – Brandon Sanderson
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 01:57:16 PM by night_wrtr »

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016, 02:49:22 PM »
i'm gonna go out on a limb.

i was going to recommend some ninefingers (for the brutality drifting below calm waters) and some temeraire (for the clever military history twists), but decided to branch into the prose side of things instead.

my recommendations are the only two books i can remember reading where i've stopped the story and have gone back to re-read a passage again.  multiple times.  because they were THAT good.

name of the wind, by patrick rothfuss -- i can't believe nobody has recommended this one yet.

a darker shade of magic, by v. e. schwab -- holy cow!  i've just discovered her myself and she's amazing.

Offline Deads

Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2016, 03:36:58 PM »
I second The Dresden Files, and Mistborn!