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Topics - ScarletBea

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A J Dalton wrote this article for SFF World, it's quite interesting:


Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / My turn to ask for recommendations
« on: June 28, 2014, 05:09:14 PM »
Hi, I hope you don't mind, but I think I'm at a bit of a crossroads and need your help.
What should I read?

I could direct you to my website link under the profile, which is my LibraryThing list (and you can still do it), but it's complicated because it doesn't allow me to pre-filter by the 'fantasy' tag for you.
So, what do I like?
Epic fantasy; historic fantasy; books that can just drive me along breathlessly or those that make me think (either at the same time or not),... and much more.
I'm not that keen on urban or military fantasy, or YA - I've read a few, but I'd rather not more, those that take place in our current world only slightly changed. And no mainly detective/crime stories.

I think I do have to say what I've liked/have read, sorted by author (main ones) - I'll put it in a spoiler tag so that it can be compressed

Spoiler for Hiden:
5 stars
Bradley, Marion Zimmer - The Firebrand and The Mists of Avalon
Canavan, Trudi - The Black Magician trilogy
Dahlquist, G W - The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters trilogy
Dalton, A J - Chronicles of a Cosmic Warlord trilogy and the Necromancer trilogy
Feist, Raymond E. - Magician
Fforde, Jasper - Thursday Next (all)
Hodder, Mark - Burton and Swinburne trilogy (book 4 already in list)
Horwood, William - Hyddenworld (4) and The Duncton Chronicles (6)
Lawrence, Mark - The Broken Empire trilogy
Lloyd, Tom - The Twilight Reign (5) and Moon's Artifice
Lyle, Anne - Night's Masque trilogy
Martin, George R. R. - A Song of Ice and Fire
Monette, Sarah and Bear, Elizabeth - Iskryne collection
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus
Rothfuss, Patrick - The Kingkiller Chronicles
Sanderson, Brandon - Mistborn trilogy and Warbreaker
Tarr, Judith - Alamut series and The Hound and the Falcon
Tolkien, J. R. R. - The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Weeks, Brent - Night Angel trilogy

4 stars
Baggott, Julianna - Pure trilogy
Battersby, Lee - The Corpse-Rat King
Brett, Peter V. - The Demon Cycle
Cameron, Miles - The Red Knight (Fell Sword already in list)
Cooper, Elspeth - Songs of the Earth (currently reading book 2)
Cronin, Justin - The Passage and The Twelve
Eddings, David - The Belgariad (5)
Guin, Ursula Le - The Earthsea Quartet
Jemisin, N. K. - The Inheritance trilogy
Lackey, Mercedes - Knights Of Ghosts And Shadows
Lynch, Scott - The Lies of Locke Lamora
McCaffrey, Anne - Dragonflight
Pratchett, Terry - Misc. Discworld
Rawn, Melanie - Glass Thorns trilogy

3 stars
Banks, Iain - The Wasp Factory
Browne, N M - Basilisk
Connolly, John - The Book of Lost Things
Gaiman, Neil - Stardust
Garland, Rosie - The Palace of Curiosities
Lewis, C. S. - The Chronicles of Narnia
Schwarz, Liesel - Chronicles of Light and Shadow (read 2, won't read more)
Wecker, Helene - The Golem and the Djinni

Abandoned - didn't like
Clarke, Susanna - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Gaiman, Neil - American Gods
Hoffman, Paul - Left Hand of God trilogy

By the way, I've got K.J. Parker's Shadow at home that I got from the library last week, as I saw it mentioned here a few times - I still don't know in which category above it will fall, hehe
And I want to read Weeks' Lightbringer, but realised that book 3 comes out this summer, so I'll wait to have the 3 all available at once.

I feel I've got big gaps in my reading, but with huge lists/number of names being mentioned here in FF, I'm now lost in the direction I should go...

Help!, and thanks in advance :)

Hi, for those who are sad that they can't go down to London and be at all the conventions and meet authors, I just found out that Brandon Sanderson will be doing book signings at Waterstone's in Manchester (5 August) and Leeds (6 August).
And Joe Abercrombie will give a talk in the Manchester Central Library on 1 July (organised by Waterstone's too).

(there might be more places, those are just the 2 I normally check because I live inbetween them)

All details in the Waterstone's Events page.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Book reviews
« on: June 12, 2014, 07:54:23 PM »
I realise this may be a taboo thread, but what do you think of them?
After the book trailers thread, I thought we could go back to basis.
Do you like them?
Are they useful?

I admit to only reading full reviews after reading the books, I don't use them to decide/choose ( I use forum threads for that hehe). And sometimes I do wonder if the reviewers have read the same book as me... either due to the big themes they've discovered, or some plot points, or things they give extreme relevance to, it does sound like a whole different book from what I read... I still find therm interesting, though, and those differences may open my eyes to a different re-read point of view.

I guess it's linked to something I said the other day, about 'studying' a book ruining it for me - sometimes these reviews do read like huge literary criticisms...

(note: I'm definitely not criticising any member in particular, or even the main FF site and their reviews, perish the thought!)

It's not a convention, it's nothing formal, it's just a bunch of people who love fantasy books meeting to chat about said books. And everything/anything else. Expanding friendships to people who actually understand what I read, hehe
Over coffee or a drink or cake.

Anyone would like to meet, then?

This would be on a weekend afternoon, preferably a Saturday - end of April/early May timeframe, to give time to organise things.

I wonder if it's just me...
Do you link your personal feelings about authors to the fact that you do/will read or not read them?

I tend to be more predisposed towards an author if I've heard good (personal) things about them, if I've 'chatted' with them (for example here on FF), if they sound nice in their blogs...
And at the same time, I may have them quite low on the list, or simply refuse to read them, if they've done something nasty, or say things with which I don't agree.
(and I also realise that this is directly linked to the type of information I have - there might be much out there that I don't know about, especially since I don't do twitter or facebook, so my reactions may be distorted)

The last one in the Saviours trilogy!

The gods will see you brought down...

The spirits of your ancestors will have their revenge upon you...

The Saviours will drain you of your very soul.

In claiming a place in the world, mortals have won many enemies for themselves. The ancient gods are jealous and conspire against them. The King of the Dead looks to lead his armies into the land of the living. In their own realm, the mighty Declension watches and waits, as events begin to unfold precisely as they had always planned.

Jillan and his companions are beset on all sides, yet are plagued by self-doubt and internal division. When the final battle for survival begins, both they and their gods face extinction. They are easy prey for the warriors of the Declension, who are intent upon stripping Jillan of his magic and raising up their empire once more.

His friends and beloved Hella taken from him, Jillan is captured and tortured. He is ultimately broken and condemned to work in a mine, to see out his days labouring in misery for the enemy he has fought against his entire life.

He is a man without hope.

Non-Fantasy Books / Laughing about books
« on: March 22, 2014, 05:03:37 PM »
I found this link through another site - it made me cry with laughter  ;D

"40 Worst Book Covers and Titles Ever"

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: February 19, 2014, 07:15:53 PM »
For all those little things about Fantasy books that don't fit anywhere else but also don't really deserve a thread of their own...

1. Publishing the same book "for children" and "for adults", with different covers and different prices

I'd been wanting to read the Earthsea stories, and I saw all 4 published in a single book, Penguin, price £16.99. This was just before Christmas, and a friend had asked me for suggestions, so I told her about this book. What I got was exactly the same content, same publisher, but under their children's inprint Puffin. Price? £10.99.
Why? It's not a bigger font, it doesn't have more or less pages, so I really don't get the price difference.
The cover art was more expensive in the adult book? ::)

2. Usually worlds with 'nobles' and 'peasants' end up having the nobles ruling the peasants. Is there a book that turns this upside down, peasants ruling the nobles? Or are the words almost a prison, in that they imply the usual order?

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / A Song of Ice and Fire - books vs TV
« on: February 12, 2014, 12:14:14 PM »
(I'd posted this in another thread, but I got the suggestion to create a separate thread for this issue)

This is something I wrote on LT last year at the time of season 3, and I'd like your opinion because I'm afraid that when season 4 starts it will be the same 'outside' reaction all over again...

"I need fellow readers (and I stress *readers*) to sort me out here.
I don't know if what I'm feeling is ok...

I love the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books (at least books 1 to 4, I got mixed feelings regarding 5, but that could have been the timing, all that waiting). And now I'm really annoyed at people calling it 'Game of Thrones' (for everything!), thinking that the tv series is in any way close to the books (ok, season 1 wasn't *that* bad), people who always turned their nose down at fantasy talking about the whole world as if it's their own pet project, and how it's really just about politics and the drama, and how they're really not geeks (as if geeks or fantasy fans are inferior to them)...
... to the point where I don't actually want to say I like the series anymore  :(

Am I just being a snob, or should I just ignore the rest of the world?.......

And on a total separate problem, I'm annoyed at myself that the series' images have superimposed my imagination, to the point where I can't remember how I saw the characters and the places in the first place.
I close my eyes and I see Sean Bean and Charles Dance and Peter Dinclage and Kit Harington, instead of *my* Ned, Tywin, Tyrion and Jon. I see the screen Winterfell and the Twins, instead of my images.
And I really resent the series for that " :-\

This is another great book from Tom!

I'll try not to include any spoilers - I wanted to include it in this section isntead of the "Book specific" because it's really a recommendation, hehe (I'm not that good at impartial, detailed reviews)
Slightly more contained in events and characters than the epic "Twilight Reign" series, I quite enjoyed the world in which is set, lots of great ideas.
The characters are very well drawn, and I love reading fantasy with key/important/not-merely-supporting-the-teen main older people - for me, both Enchei and Rhe stole the show, for different reasons, and I'd love to read more about them. Kesh also turned out to be a great surprise, and I loved the ending :)
Bring on the next*!

(* which apparently is called Old Man's Ghosts, as per his interview on AJ Dalton's site)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Battles - understanding, reading
« on: December 28, 2013, 10:16:57 AM »
Battles in fantasy books are a given - well, almost always - so I assume people like reading about them.
Is this true?
Do you notice if the battles aren't realistic? Do you learn new words (the 'technical' stuff) reading about them?
And do you prefer battles with or without magic?

This topic came about because yesterday I visited (again) the Royal Armouries museum (in Leeds), and I just love the 'Tournament' area. They've got amazing pieces there, including the original Field of Cloth of Gold armour made for Henry VIII that was never used (because they changed the rules at the last minute), and it was actually analysed by NASA when they were building space suits because it completely covers the entire body yet it lets the wearer move about easily and fight (and win!).
Anyway, looking at those pieces just brings all the fantasy books battles alive, and actually also explains many details that I couldn't understand before: the weight on the body, the visibility through the helmet, the strength you had to have, and so on.
I'm not a big fan of battles and mindless violence, but as I read more fantasy, and then see these objects live, I'm getting more and more into it.
It also makes me realise how some writers just use their words/art perfectly to describe battles/fights, and make everything seem alive, while others are much more 'bland' and 'boring'...

I wonder if this museum (or other similar ones) is part of some writers' research - maybe it should be, hehe

(They also have there the original swords made for/used in The Lord of the Rings movies, and they are amazing, especially when you compare them to real swords, and read the explanation for the differences.)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / "Fantasy" label - why?
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:16:59 AM »
Ok, I know I haven't been really immersed in fantasy for a long time, compared to my reading years, but lately I've been thinking a lot about what gets a books classed as "fantasy".

I know there are different types of fantasy, but for a long time, for me, fantasy was true magic all over the book, different worlds, different peoples, people who controlled magic, who had strange abilities, and so on.
Then recently I read The lies of Locke Lamora and I was annoyed because I didn't think that was fantasy, it was all (well, about 95%) too familiar. But a few days after finishing it I started enjoying it more, and understanding the specificities of 'historical fantasy'. Anne Lyle's books helped too, hehe

Now I'm on The golem and the djinni, and it's another (and this time I don't think I'll change my mind) that I can't describe as fantasy. Sure, the 2 main characters don't really exist in the real world, but apart from that, it's a fiction book set in early 20th century New York, describing emigrant stories, and struggles to survive. Something I would definitely never pick up to read by choice (I'm continuing because I've only abandoned 2 books in my reading life...).

Yet another example, this case shelved under steampunk, are Liesel Schwarz's books: they are basically Mills&Boon with flying zepelins. Honestly, a great premise of a story, great ideas, but the romance element was so encompassing, so much destroying the personality of the main character, that it disappointed me terribly.

So who decides what fits into fantasy or not?
Is fantasy an 'all encompassing' label, and no one can really say they like reading 'fantasy'? Is it time we start finding fantasy sub-types, and actively using them in descriptions to help unsuspecting readers?
I'd definitely could use some help (and will ask for it, once I've gone through my current 'to read' pile)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re-reading...
« on: November 20, 2013, 09:06:14 PM »
For those who re-read, how do you find the time and the motivation?

I so very much want to re-read books, but every time I get ready to do it ("once I finish this one, I'll *definitely* go re-read X") I discover new stuff that looks really interesting and I haven't read yet, and then it's "just these couple of new ones, and *then* I'll definitely re-read X" - and so on, ad-eternum ::)
I go return a book at the library and I'm like a child in a sweet shop, just can't get enough of new stuff... (not to mention the ones I've recently bought and still haven't read).


In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second.

After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers - guardians of the Emperor's laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn't possibly have come at a worse time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past.

On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste's rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all - Moon's Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.

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