Capital "E" Epic Fantasy

Book cover of Name of the Wind

There is a certain tradition in Fantasy fiction of the noble hero going out on a quest, usually with a couple of elves or dwarves, and then finding the magic whatsit to save the world as we know it. While that tradition has certainly yielded some great stories, it's always a treat to come across something a little different. Here are three titles that I've recently read and enjoyed.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss This book is a story, a story about stories. A story about the many stories that make up a life. We meet Kvothe, an inkeeper with a past. When the Chronicler comes to the inn, he convinces Kvothe to tell his story, from his days with a traveling troupe of entertainers to the time where he goes to university to learn magic. Why would the Chronicler want to know about a washed up inkeeper? Because Kvothe is special -he has an uncanny knack for learning and mastering almost anything he puts his mind to. You will find out when you read it, it's a mesmerizing tale, one that will be hard to put down once you get started. The highly anticipated second installmentis due out in March of 2011. 

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch The con is on! Locke Lamora is a super thief, in a city that has more than its fair share of thieves. Orphaned at a young age, Locke is taken in by a gang leader who uses orphans for thieving throughout the city. Locke just can't content himself with mere pickpocketing. He pulls off BIG heists, which gets him kicked out of the gang, and into the arms of a priest. Let's just say that the priest is not there to reform Locke, he's there to put a polish on his skills. This books was the fantasy equivalent of The Sting, there are numerous swindles, cons, and counter swindles going on. It's another great read that will have you flipping pages to get to the bottom of the mystery. There are two more books in the series, if you have read them leave a comment and let me know if they are as good as the first.

Gardens of the moon by Steven Erikson I liked this book. I liked this book a lot, even though it was a little harder to get through than the other two. This is Erikson's first book in the Malazan book of the fallen series, and it's a vividly imagined alternate world. So vividly imagined that it does take a little getting used to all of the new names of the different types of creatures and races in it. There is a handy guide available in the book for people like me who are a little slow on the uptake. Gardens of the Moon follows the battles of the Malzan empire, focusing mostly on an elite unit of soldiers called the Bridgeburners. Gardens of the Moon is the first of what will be a ten book series by Erikson (there are a total of nine out so far) in addition there are also books by Ian C. Esslemont that take place within the same alternate world, so if you find yourself hooked after reading this one (or at least warily intrigued like me) there is a whole lot more available to you.

What have you been reading lately? I'm always looking for new suggestions.

Comments

"Name of the Wind" was good! I've thought of the Locke Lamora books and will have to give them a try. If you're in the mood for another Wisconsin author like Rothfuss, have you tried the Eddie LaCross series by Alex Bledsoe? "The Sword-Edged Blonde' and "Burn Me Deadly" are both fantasy and hard-boiled mystery. Lots of fun.

“The Name of the Wind” is a great book! I'm not a huge reader of fantasy outside the Harry Potter books, but Patrick Rothfuss' writing had me hooked. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel!

We had the Sword Edged Blonde here @ SEQ, will definitely check that out. Books that are in multiple genres are definitely something that I like to read, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series is another mystery/fantasy hybrid that comes to mind....I'll have to gather some others for a future blog post.

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