Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fantasy Worth Reading, Part Two

Last week, I started a new part post on 10 of my favorite authors in fantasy. At the time, I mentioned how important this was in light of how difficult it can be to separate the genuinely good works from all of the mediocre ones in the genre. But perhaps even more importantly, being familiar with the major works in the genre, and in particular with what has sold well in the past few years, is very important for any aspiring fantasy author.

So here is the second part of my post, again in no particular order:

6. Patrick Rothfuss

Rothfuss is probably one of the greatest success stories of the past few years in the fantasy genre. Having won the prestigious Writers of the Future contest, his debut novel The Name of the Wind went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller. His work is unique in that it tells two separate tales - one the frame story and the other the retelling of the protagonist's life. Although Rothfuss makes use of several classic fantasy archetypes (coming of age, pupil in 'wizarding' school), he manages to breath fresh life into these elements. Highly recommended!

My Favorite Rothfuss Book: The Name of the Wind

7. Raymond Feist

In my experience, authors generally improve over time, with their latter works being stronger than their first. Sadly, this has not been the case with Feist, who I might otherwise list as one of my favorite fantasy authors. His original Riftwar Saga remains one of the best works of fantasy of that time, and that success spawned over two dozen works in that universe, spanning several generations of characters. But his later works have not been as strong, and it came as some relief to me that he will finally close off writing in that world with the forthcoming Magician's End. Despite these caveats, Feist is still an excellent author and definitely worth checking out.

My Favorite Feist Book: Daughter of the Empire

8. Tad Williams

I discovered Tad Williams after a friend in college bought me his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn for my birthday. Williams' work includes adult science fiction and fantasy, young adult fantasy, graphic novels, and even DC comic books. His adult works are typically rich with detail and quite lengthy, to the point where often the third book in his trilogies has to be split into two volumes. While perhaps slower paced than other works, his unique take on the genre is well worth reading. He definitely deserves a place in your fantasy collection.

My Favorite Williams Book: To Green Angel Tower

9. David B. Coe

While typically I am disappointed with books I find by scanning the shelves at my local library, one of the rare exceptions to this is David B. Coe's Winds of the Forelands series. In many ways Coe's work is reminiscent of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice, but without the extremely graphic violence and sexuality that is such a hallmark of that series. Coe is also known for maintaining a blog at, where he and others authors give publishing advice for aspiring authors. His writing is quite good, and comes recommended.

My Favorite Coe Book: Rules of Ascension

10. C.S. Friedman

Last but not least is C. S. Friedman, whose unique blend of fantasy and science fiction makes her stand out among so many other works. Her Coldfire Trilogy is perhaps the most well-known, which utilizes a science-fiction shell to create a fantasy- esque world with an intriguing exploration of religion, morality, and sacrifice. While I am not as familiar with her other works, this is a deficiency I hope to soon correct. Highly recommended.

My Favorite Friedman Book: Black Sun Rising.


Now, I know what you might be thinking. I just completed a list of ten of my favorite fantasy authors, without even the slightest mention of names that appear on just about every list of this sort. Names like Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Weis, Terry Brooks, George R. R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, or numerous others. Let me be clear: these are all fantastic authors, and if you've read much in fantasy at all, I'm certain you are familiar with these works. And that's exactly why I didn't mention them. By intentionally excluding them, I hope that I've introduced you to at least one or two names you've never heard of before. Now it's time to get off the computer and go pick up one of these books! Seriously, you won't regret it.

So, who did I miss? What authors do you enjoy reading? As always, I'd love if you would share your thoughts and comments. See you next time.

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