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Author Topic: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books  (Read 12524 times)

Offline iQue

The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« on: September 30, 2015, 09:16:26 PM »
Hi,

I have been looking on and off for weeks trying to find a book that catches my intereset, without success.

I want a coming of age book that centers around magic, a heroic epic of sorts.

Here is a short list of some of my favorite books:

  • Mistborn
  • The Stormlight Archive
  • Lightbringer
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle
  • Demon Cycle
  • Harry Potter

I am currently reading The Amulet of Samarkand and honestly I'm quite dissapointed, there are no likable characters, the main character is weak, suicidal, stupid, borderline racist and just all around intolerable. I found my self wishing he'd just fail.

Any advice is appriciated! Trilogies preferred :)

Offline Raptori

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2015, 09:21:10 PM »
Have you read the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb? That's a coming of age story with a lot of really interesting magic, and some of the deepest and most interesting characters in fantasy. The first book in particular is really good, the second and third slow down a little but are still enjoyable for most people. There are further trilogies (and a quadrilogy) set in the same world, some of which follow the same characters as the Farseer trilogy, which are also brilliant (Liveship Traders in particular is amazing), so if you enjoy the first trilogy there's a lot more to delve into as well.

Based on your favourite books, I'm also going to recommend Tales of the Ketty Jay even though they're not really what you asked for. They're absolutely brilliant adventure stories, I think you'd enjoy them.
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Offline ClintACK

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2015, 09:26:52 PM »
The Ethshar series by Lawrence Watt-Evans is spectacular in this.  His protagonists are usually young people trying to find their way in the world.  And they usually end up getting by simply by being decent and practical.

"With a Single Spell" is about an apprentice wizard whose master dies -- leaving him with only a single magic spell and no real way to support himself.

The other two starting books ("The Unwilling Warlord" and "The Misenchanted Sword") have older protagonists, but are also well worth the read.

Other coming-of-age standalones in the series:
  • Taking Flight (a young man from a small village goes out in the world in pursuit of a vague fortuneteller's prophecy)
  • Blood of a Dragon (a young man from the big city who is rejected for apprenticeship with every kind of magician imaginable decides to become a supplier of dragon's blood so that wizards will have to bow and scrape to him)
  • The Spell of the Black Dagger (a young woman, a thief in the big city, spies on the magic ritual that makes an apprentice into a real wizard, and tries to perform the ritual herself -- with unexpected consequences)
  • Ithanalin's Restoration (a young apprentice wizard has to deal with the aftermath of her master's disastrously miscast spell)

Can't recommend these enough.

Offline iQue

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2015, 10:39:23 PM »
Have you read the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb? That's a coming of age story with a lot of really interesting magic, and some of the deepest and most interesting characters in fantasy. The first book in particular is really good, the second and third slow down a little but are still enjoyable for most people. There are further trilogies (and a quadrilogy) set in the same world, some of which follow the same characters as the Farseer trilogy, which are also brilliant (Liveship Traders in particular is amazing), so if you enjoy the first trilogy there's a lot more to delve into as well.

Based on your favourite books, I'm also going to recommend Tales of the Ketty Jay even though they're not really what you asked for. They're absolutely brilliant adventure stories, I think you'd enjoy them.

I have read farseer, Loved it! Gonna check out Tales of Ketty Jay. Thank you :)

Offline iQue

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 10:40:05 PM »
The Ethshar series by Lawrence Watt-Evans is spectacular in this.  His protagonists are usually young people trying to find their way in the world.  And they usually end up getting by simply by being decent and practical.

"With a Single Spell" is about an apprentice wizard whose master dies -- leaving him with only a single magic spell and no real way to support himself.

The other two starting books ("The Unwilling Warlord" and "The Misenchanted Sword") have older protagonists, but are also well worth the read.

Other coming-of-age standalones in the series:
  • Taking Flight (a young man from a small village goes out in the world in pursuit of a vague fortuneteller's prophecy)
  • Blood of a Dragon (a young man from the big city who is rejected for apprenticeship with every kind of magician imaginable decides to become a supplier of dragon's blood so that wizards will have to bow and scrape to him)
  • The Spell of the Black Dagger (a young woman, a thief in the big city, spies on the magic ritual that makes an apprentice into a real wizard, and tries to perform the ritual herself -- with unexpected consequences)
  • Ithanalin's Restoration (a young apprentice wizard has to deal with the aftermath of her master's disastrously miscast spell)

Can't recommend these enough.

Thank you very much, will look up all of these :)

Offline Raptori

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 10:44:40 PM »
Have you read the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb? That's a coming of age story with a lot of really interesting magic, and some of the deepest and most interesting characters in fantasy. The first book in particular is really good, the second and third slow down a little but are still enjoyable for most people. There are further trilogies (and a quadrilogy) set in the same world, some of which follow the same characters as the Farseer trilogy, which are also brilliant (Liveship Traders in particular is amazing), so if you enjoy the first trilogy there's a lot more to delve into as well.

Based on your favourite books, I'm also going to recommend Tales of the Ketty Jay even though they're not really what you asked for. They're absolutely brilliant adventure stories, I think you'd enjoy them.

I have read farseer, Loved it! Gonna check out Tales of Ketty Jay. Thank you :)
No problem, hope you like it! Another one you would probably enjoy is Powder Mage by Brian McClellan. Very similar to Sanderson's books (unsurprisingly since the author was a student of Sanderson's), but slightly higher quality imo.  :)
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Offline JMack

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 11:46:10 PM »
I'll put in a shout out for Tad Williams's memory, Sorrow & Thorn series, starting with The Dragonbone Chair. Definitely a high/epic fantasy coming of age tale, and a favorite.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2015, 05:13:41 AM »
Jim Butcher's Codex Alera sounds like it would be a good bet.

Offline AlanBrenik

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2015, 09:29:42 AM »
I'd recommend Chris Wooding's The Braided Path series, which begins with The Weavers of Saramyr.

And I'll also give a shout to Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. The first one, Sabriel, works as a standalone but the following two are worth reading and verge deeper into 'epic' territory.
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Offline JMack

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2015, 10:36:59 AM »
it's YA, but The Chronicles of Prydain would actually be my vote for absolute best coming of age series. overall, a big fight against the lord of death, but the 4th book, Taran Wanderer, is a wonderful novel with the adventure pulled back into an intimate tale of a youngf man deprarately trying to understand his place in the world.
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Offline Brother of the Sixth Order

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 06:26:18 PM »
Bloodsong by Anthony Ryan is a wonderful coming of age story set in one of the darkest, most brutal fantasy worlds ever created.
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Offline Yora

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2015, 07:50:58 PM »
After having read the first three books, I have the feeling that one of the strands of The Witcher might actually be one of these. The third book, in which the plot thickens, really has two protagonists. Geralt, the super badass alchemical mutant monster hunter for hire, and Ciri, a girl who was promised to him as an apprentice for freeing her parents from a curse. But then the parents died and their kingdom was destroyed, and now wants nothing else but to become a Witcher and protect people from evil. This might be the first story of a child growing into a hero that I actually like. That her teachers and protectors actually teach and protect her instead of letting her do whatever fancy ideas she gets into her head, and that they are pretty great heroes in their own right probably helps a lot. Ciri is one of the protagonists, but she's not the hero at this point of the story. She really is an apprentice, who watches her masters and works hard to understand what they try to teach her.
Even stranger for a story that I like, she also is very obviously a Chosen One. Fate is constantly doubling over backwards to make sure that Geralt teaches her as a witcher despite all kinds of disasters and tragedies. And she also has very strong powers as a sorceress. Everyone knows she's destined and accepts it. But nobody knows what she could possibly be chosen for and by what powers?
Usually it would be super cliched: Child born under auspicious signs to unusual parents, losing her family and her rightful throne, being selected by a very exclusive order of mystic warrior and being supernaturally gifted, right as the continent enters a time of great turmoil. And she has prophetic dreams and is recognized as unique by elves and forest spirits. But it still works! Because she's still just a kid who can't really do anything and nobody really has a clue what role she is meant to play, and she doesn't miraculously solve problems with her mere presence. Really very fascinating to read.
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Offline Nora

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 12:23:11 AM »
I would certainly not consider Mistborn as a coming of age book at all..  :-\

The only proper bildungsroman (coming of age story) I've read in the fantasy genre is Ariah by B.R. Sanders, and I truly loved it.

For once it isn't about a hero overthrowing an evil empire, but about an elf like many others, living in the Qin empire like a demi-slave to the developing industrial power. Elves have magic and long life, and are sent to a master when they exist childhood, to learn how to use and harness their powers. And the empire doesn't falter one bit because of our hero, but our hero does find purpose, maturity and a life experience.

Incredibly well written with characters vibrantly alive and a story spanning years of the hero's life with no hassle.
It's about love and desire and social pressure.
I cried 2 or 3 times reading it.  ;D
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Offline magisensei

Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2015, 10:53:35 PM »
You might consider Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar world - starting with "Queen's Own" a trilogy and her latest series in the Valdemar world  "Collegium Chronicles" (5 books in this series) and perhaps "Last Herald mage" trilogy.  Each of the series follows a young teen growing up in the Valdemar world. 

If you don't mind  YA you might consider Tamora Pierce's novels/series.  All of her books are fantasy and have young protagonist growing up during the course of their adventures.  Some examples: Song of the Lioness (4 books), Immortal series, and Circle of Magic series. 

And there is David Eddings' Belgarid series - which has a young boy growing up as well. 

Offline Mr.J

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Re: The best coming of age fantasy heroic books
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 10:59:34 PM »
The Shattered Sea trilogy by Joe Abercrombie can definitely be classified as coming-of-age in my eyes. Half a King, Half the World, Half a War.

Haven't read the last one yet but it's on my shelf taunting me, don't want it to end! :O