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Author Topic: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books  (Read 27995 times)

Offline Arry

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Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« on: May 13, 2013, 11:16:47 PM »
OK, we all know the books that are quick to be recommended (and with good reason), but I am curious to hear about some lesser known books that you think are under hyped, books you just stumbled onto, an unexpected find, something you read and wondered why you never heard of it before, and why is no one else talking about it?

« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 11:19:44 PM by Arry »
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 12:00:50 AM »
I've got a few here. Last year I read a gothic thing called Chime by Franny Billingsley that was extraordinary. It was in the YA section, but it's one of those that kind of transcends an age classification. It did win an award, but very few people seem to have heard of it. Ken Grimwood's Replay was another one I'd never heard of, but affected me deeply. It did also win the World Fantasy Award, but that was in the '80's, so maybe why I'd never heard of it.
And one I mention everywhere because I totally loved it and it was an unexpected surprise was Dave Duncan's A Man of His Word series. I picked it up when the first three books were already out and I really only did so because I fell in love with Don Maitz's cover on the first book The Magic Casement. Duncan's had success since with other concepts, especially The King's Blades, but A Man of His Word was for me the absolute pinnacle of his work.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Wizard Police

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 01:14:19 AM »
Thunderer by Felix Gilman. It's not extravagant, but for a book I picked up on a whim because it was a dollar I'm pleased by what I got out of it.

Offline Idlewilder

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 08:45:42 AM »
Ken Grimwood's Replay was another one I'd never heard of, but affected me deeply. It did also win the World Fantasy Award, but that was in the '80's, so maybe why I'd never heard of it.

Funny you should mention it - I just ordered it this weekend!  :)

One I can think of myself which doesn't seem to have gotten the hype it deserves (though it's only been out a few weeks) is Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford. It's very similar in style to Abercrombie, but with a bit more magic and a far more focused setting. It won't do anything for those who dislike gritty fantasy (I wouldn't really call it grimdark...) but I enjoyed it and hope it finds a wider readership.

I'm just going by recs I've seen on this forum, but another book/series which doesn't get nearly enough love on here is Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks (Landover series). It is nothing like his Shannara books. The sequels aren't really as good, but the 1st book is fantastic. Its premise is very tongue-in-cheek and quirky, but it's actually quite a dark story. Possibly the best single book Brooks has written and well worth giving a go. It's quite well known, but certainly on here I don't see it recommended often. Still the most enjoyable portal fantasy I've read.  :)
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Offline Bahl

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 03:52:25 PM »
The Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd is damn good and well written and it seems I'm one of the few who actually likes this five books for some reason.

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Offline Sean Cunningham

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 07:51:24 PM »
The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Link) was my most recent unexpected find. I don't usually read first-person, but I enjoyed this one. It's about two teenage girls with superpowers of sorts and precisely opposing personalities.
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Offline Louise

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Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 10:20:37 PM »
The Third Bear (and other Short Stories) by Jeff Vandermeer. I saw it in my local bookshop with several others under a label called Magical Realism and thought it sounded quite interesting. I haven't read them all yet, but the titular story is probably my favorite.  It starts off as an ordinary problem for a group of villagers who live close to the home of a bear, but as the plot grows, so too does a more sinister air. It's the sort of story you can read in half an hour, but remains with you for a long time afterwards.

It's also uploaded here, if anyone fancies a read: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/vandermeer_04_07/

Offline Autumn2May

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Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 11:40:21 PM »

I'm just going by recs I've seen on this forum, but another book/series which doesn't get nearly enough love on here is Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks (Landover series). It is nothing like his Shannara books. The sequels aren't really as good, but the 1st book is fantastic. Its premise is very tongue-in-cheek and quirky, but it's actually quite a dark story. Possibly the best single book Brooks has written and well worth giving a go. It's quite well known, but certainly on here I don't see it recommended often. Still the most enjoyable portal fantasy I've read.  :)

I loved Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold. It was very dark and had a hopeless quality to it until almost the last page in the book, but in a good way. :) I remember reading the second book, but I don't remember much about it besides that it wasn't nearly as good. The first book really seemed like it should have been a stand alone. It wrapped everything up so well. Adding to it just lessened the story, in my opinion anyway. :)

Offline Elfy

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Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 12:03:54 AM »
Ken Grimwood's Replay was another one I'd never heard of, but affected me deeply. It did also win the World Fantasy Award, but that was in the '80's, so maybe why I'd never heard of it.

Funny you should mention it - I just ordered it this weekend!  :)


After giving it a wrap like that, I hope you enjoy it. I'm rather surprised that it was never made into a film. It seemed to have potential for that.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline pornokitsch

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 10:47:10 AM »
I loved Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold. It was very dark and had a hopeless quality to it until almost the last page in the book, but in a good way. :) I remember reading the second book, but I don't remember much about it besides that it wasn't nearly as good. The first book really seemed like it should have been a stand alone. It wrapped everything up so well. Adding to it just lessened the story, in my opinion anyway. :)

I re-read this pretty recently, and I think it was better off in my memory. I do like the dark feel to it - Brooks definitely has a (surprisingly) subversive voice at times (also see: Talismans of Shannara series). But the characters really annoyed me, and, like you, I remember the rest of the series being kind of downhill. Great premise though.

Offline Stars Cascade

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Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2013, 03:42:37 PM »

My new unexpected find/prized book - I found a 1st edition translation of 'The Neverending story' by Michael Ende (translated by Ralph Manheim) its gorgeous.

The text is divided into two colours, Bastian is in red and Atreyu's is Green, so you can't get mixed up between the reality & the story. Lovelovelove!!



Edit by mod to fix image link :)

« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 05:26:23 PM by Arry »
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Offline Dan D Jones

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 05:41:18 PM »
I don't at all understand why Patricia McKillip doesn't get more attention.  "The Riddlemaster of Hed" is her best work but I've never read a bad book by her and I've pretty much read them all.

Offline rooker

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2013, 06:16:46 PM »
Does a non-fantasy book count?
I found It's all About the Bike by Robert Penn, for less than a dollar ($0.91, to be precise) and loved it.
A fascinating book about bicycles, cycling, its history and the passion the author has for it. Its infectious. Small book, ~200 pages, but a great read.
Gets into too much of technical jargon sometimes, but I like it because of this.
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Offline rooker

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2013, 06:25:14 PM »
Whoops, just noticed that this was in the Fantasy Books section. Sorry about the previous post then.
One Fantasy book that comes to mind is The Clockwork Man by William Jablonsky. I found it un-putdownable. Not a long book again, just over 200 pages. Very gripping, and the narration is wonderful.

Another one, I am not sure if it qualifies as fantasy though, is Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Weird, even creepy sometimes, but very engaging.
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Offline tenlegdragon

Re: Unexpected finds and Under-hyped books
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 02:47:17 AM »
Not sure if it's still under-rated but Pat Rothfuss is one hell of a writer along with Abercrombie, but no one I know at least has read any of their stuff aside from the people in my house house who i force to read it.

A lot of people talk about "somewhere wicked this one comes" but no one's really read it.

A separate piece is mighty good.

The sword from red ice series from JV jones - not a lot of readers there though it's one of the most epically beautiful novel ever with perfect characterizations and gritty realism that GRRM only touches on

Heir Apparent is a lovey YA novel

Herbie Brenann has the Faerie wars.

A supermassive lot of people haven't read Queen of the damn which blows Interview clear out of the water. The best thing Ann Rice ever did if you ask me.

Abhorsen trilogy - very nice magic system, along with Runelords

Not sure if any of these count as underrated, but I had to hunt them down, mostly.
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