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Good Fantasy/Romance Suggestion?


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Initial post: Mar 27, 2012 1:17:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2012 1:19:38 PM PDT
Nunya Biz says:
Hello, I'm having a rather difficult time finding a good fantasy-romance book or series which does not end in bitter disappointment.

The last series I'd read was "Rose of the Prophet" by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. I'd previously read the "Dragonlance" series by the same authors (long ago) and figured this one would also be worthwhile. Well, the 'fantasy' part was good enough, but the 'romance' part was horrifyingly written from start to the very (bitter) end. Don't worry, no spoilers posted here.

Admittedly, one of the greatest sources of agitation in my life is the act of wasting my time. It really does grate on me when I've invested literally days in a story just to have the thing end with a lame thud on the floor.

What I'm hoping to find is simple, Paranormal, Fantasy, Sci-Fi / Romance. For major extra points, I'll take one with a healthy dash of humor sprinkled in. Not dark humor. Oddly, I don't find dark humor very laugh-inducing. I'm not concerned if the setting is on a planet with wizards & dragons, or out in space among alien worlds.

Such a request should be easy enough, but here is where I always seem to hit a brick wall; the following types of books are strictly forbidden from entering my home.. EVER.

1 - No teen romance (Twilight, Hunger Games, etc.) I'm as interested in a book of teen angst as I am in spending the afternoon slamming my head into a car door.

2 - No hackneyed twists. Specifically, no ridiculous out-of-character actions just for some narrow-minded plot twist, or merely to extend the romantic distress between lead characters.

3 - No waiting until the end for romantic interests to come together. Been there, seen that, a thousand times over. Give me an author who isn't bound by the worst of trite cliches.

4 - No books where the characters loathe each other through every single chapter, only to have them realize in the end that they actually do care for one another. Again, trite beyond belief.

5 - No arduous love triangles, trapezoids, octagons, etc. No protagonists bouncing around from bed to bed while "struggling" to decide who to stay with. I'm not looking for a sex book, and I'm not looking for a book about 'loveable whores'.

6 - No incomplete series. I'm not in any way interested in becoming engrossed in a good story, only to find I have to wait a few years down the road before I'm allowed to finish it.

7 - No seemingly irredeemable characters. No books with protagonists (or their love interests) who are so far "out there" that no person of sound mind would want anything to do with them. If I can't relate to the characters in some small way, I'm not going to be interested in their stories either.

Well, there it is, my desperate plea for help.
It has been difficult rying to find a good fantasy book with romantic leads who don't leave me wanting to kick myself in the crotch for wasting my time. If I get stuck in another "Rose of the Prophet" disaster, I'll swear off books for good and go back to watching reality television.

Greatest of thanks to any and all who may respond.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 1:28:49 PM PDT
Kribu says:
Have you read Lois Bujold's The Sharing Knife series? It's a complete series in four books, fantasy, heavy on romance without it being the entire plot; the central couple get together early on and are both likeable, decent people who like each other a lot. Plenty of sex is implied or mentioned but without getting graphic or explicit.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 6:50:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 6:54:11 AM PDT
Nunya Biz says:
Kribu, Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

I've gone ahead and picked up the first book in "The Sharing Knife" series you'd mentioned.
Easily the greatest relief so far is that the main woman in the story isn't a deranged "wildcat" who needs to be "tamed" by the strong new man in her life. As well, the main man isn't some astoundingly self-centered idiot. Nor is the guy a kitchen boy turned master warrior. Essentially, the characters are all relatable in some way. And so, my interest in the story is maintained.

I like the setting of the story as well, it's different than others I've read, but solidly in the fantasy genre.

Also, I REALLY enjoy the lack of exposition.
That last disaster of a series "Rose of the Prophet" was so bloated with exposition (every stinkin page) that I was relentlessly pulled out of the story for narrative. "The Sharing Knife" has just the right amount, which allows the story to flow smoothly with a more natural feel.

So far, "The Sharing Knife" seems to be what I've been looking for these past several weeks. Thank you again, Kribu. If yourself or anyone else has any other suggestions, I'd really love to keep this happy train ride rolling down the rails once this series has finished.

PS: I'm not intent on only reading a series of books. A good one-shot is always worth the time.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 7:15:58 AM PDT
KarenB says:
Have you tried Linnea Sinclair? Strong women, good stories in a SF setting. I especially liked Games of Command and Finders Keepers.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 8:42:18 AM PDT
Kribu says:
I'm glad you're enjoying The Sharing Knife! My friends who swear by Bujold say that pretty much everything she writes is worth reading; I think she has another fantasy series and possibly some stand-alone books plus one long ongoing sci-fi series, but I haven't read any of it yet, so I don't know how much romance there is.

I don't read a lot of romance (actually I often try to avoid it, unless there's something else about the plot that sounds interesting), so I don't really have any other recommendations right now, I think...

The only other heavier-on-romance book I've read and *loved* recently is Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover (more science fiction than fantasy), but I'm a little hesitant to recommend it for a few reasons, including that the main character is 16 and there is definitely some angst (plus the writing style is something that may or may not be an issue - it's a bit different).

It's very much *not* the modern young adult sort of teenage angsty romance though and I found it very, very good - five star good, and that doesn't happen to me often. It might be worth a look if you can find it (there's no Kindle version available and I'm not sure how available the paperback currently is), but take this as a recommendation with reservations.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 10:05:45 AM PDT
kfquer says:
As I agree with all your criteria (though I don't mind good YA), I'd urge you to read Bujold's other books: the Chalion books are set in a wonderful world (Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt) all have very different people and romances. Of her sci-fi books, in the Miles Vorkosigan series, Komarr and A Civil Campaign have Miles major romance--but I would heartily recommend all the Vorkosigan books for humor, complex characters, and tightly woven plots where you can follow as one step leads inevitably to the next. So much fantasy/sci fi seems to have plots that are random series of events.
Although it has a young protagonist, Kage Baker's The Bird of the River is beuatifully written, has an unusual set of characters and a plot that only seems episodic at first. (I couldn't read her Company series, though.)
And all of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liadan universe books have good romances tied to exciting plots and an interesting setting. Scout's Progress remains my favorite.
Ursula LeGuin's Tombs of Atuan and its sequel Tehanu (part of the Earthsea series) are wonderful also, if you don't already know them. The heroine is young in the first one, but middle aged in the second (and nonetheless interesting) so it averages out, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 12:36:45 PM PDT
Zen Druid says:
I don't read a lot of books with romance as a major theme, but I really enjoyed The Sharing Knife also. Enjoyable characters, interesting world (without the inevitable giant armies or political machinations so common in many fantasies), interesting plot.

Even though the story ends at book 4 I would really really love it if Bujold would write one more in this series a few years down the road because I'm just so darn interested in how everyone's lives continued on. Oh well, until the it's The Vor Game for me....

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 12:57:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 1:06:00 PM PDT
Agnes says:
"What I'm hoping to find is simple, Paranormal, Fantasy, Sci-Fi / Romance."

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to think of a fantasy/romance that I've read that fits your criteria....BUT if you don't mind a sci-fi/romance, I have some recommendations.

Someone else already recommended Linnea Sinclair. Gabriel's Ghost (love the hero in this one) would have to be my absolute favorite book of hers. The characters are well-developed (and I also really enjoyed their banter), there are no love triangles, they don't hate one another, etc. etc. It does have a sequel called Shades of Dark, which finishes things off between these characters (though there is a companion novel which follows a different character). I'm a picky reader, and I loved the first book (and liked the second, but the first is still the best for me). It is heavy in the romance department, so I don't know if that is a deterrence or not.

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy - The relationship between the two main characters develops, you witness their chemistry and see as their respect and trust grows, and I thought both books had some excellent character growth. Their situation is dire, but the relationship is great, the world-building is detailed and interesting, and the dilemma surrounding the H and h is both angsty and makes the book compulsively readable (or, at least, it did for me). The story veers from the norm, which I loved. The first book is action-packed, and the second, Children of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus, Book 2), is as well.

I don't know. Am I way off the mark with these recs? Either way, hope you find a great read. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 4:06:07 PM PDT
B. Kaufman says:
@Nunya Biz,

Anne McCaffrey started out as a romance author, and was better in my opinion at romance than SF. So you might look at her EARLY romances. Also Lilith Saintcrow wrote a very nice series on demons, Satan hisownself, and a woman who gets sucked into that world. Look for the collected Series, Dante Valentine, as I recall. Nicely done on the romantic front too.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 5:00:49 PM PDT
Hazel says:
Do you know the Tears of Artamon trilogy by Sarah Ash? The first book is Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of The Tears of Artamon, and all three books are available.

I would also recommend The Sword, The Ring and The Chalice trilogy by Deborah Chester. The first book is The Sword (The Sword, the Ring, and the Chalice, Book 1). Unfortunately, they are probably only available through Marketplace, but perhaps your library has them, or can order them for you.

Good luck and happy reading!

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 7:47:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 7:52:32 PM PDT
fanofantasy says:
Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juilet Marillier
Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

These are both fantasy books & light on the romance (definitely not Paranormal or Teenie Bopper Romances) Here are the links to the 1st books in each so you can check out the summary & reviews:

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book No. 1)

Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1)

TAIREN SOUL is a fantasy romance with a small paranormal element. The main character is a fey who shapeshifts into a Tairen. Set in a true fantasy world with magic, fey and a romance that is well balanced throughout the book. One of my favorites. 5 books and complete.

Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 7:54:31 PM PDT
Lisa says:
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Posted on Mar 28, 2012 10:57:01 PM PDT
Sara says:
I love fantasy with a good heaping of romance but it's definitely getting hard to find. I second Daughter of the Forest, although the second in the triology is my favourite.

I know you said nothing that's unfinished, but Spiritwalker triology is very good is scheduled to be finished up this year. It also features hate turns to love relationship BUT the characters' feelings gradually change, instead of doing an abrupt 180.
Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy)

There's also the Iron Duke which is alternate history and steampunk with a huge helping of romance. It's part of a series, although each book is a stand alone.
The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)

Also, I recently read Crown Duel. It's a young adult book, but it's really well done (I'm not much of YA reader). It's got romance, war and intrigue. I was pleasantly surprised.
Crown Duel (Crown Duel / Court Duel)

I also have heard that the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is romance, but I haven't had time to read it yet, but it's a high priority on my reading list.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy)

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 6:29:16 AM PDT
kdddavswife says:
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Posted on Mar 29, 2012 4:34:50 PM PDT
Sara says:
kdddavswife, it's good manners to point out you're the author's wife...

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 6:28:04 PM PDT
S. Reading says:
Sara-

I love Crown Duel- It was amazing. Nunyza if you are going to get Crown Duel I would recommend the kindle edition as it has several chapters at the end dedicated to the hero's POV, which is really entertaining.

Other suggestions I would give
Have you read any of the 500 kingdom books? I heard they are great fantasy series but each book is a stand alone. The Fairy Godmother (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 1)

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 7:17:51 PM PDT
Spectator51 says:
Heart's Blood another Judith Marillier. Standalone. Beauty and the Beast theme.

I also like the Heartmates series by Robin D. Owens. Like Anne Mcaffrey's Pern stories there is a science fiction element, but I consider them more fantasy. Each book has its own romance.

Heartmate (Celta's HeartMates) is the first book.

If you havent' read the Pern books, the first three are available in an omnibus
The Dragonriders of Pern

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 7:55:04 PM PDT
Chriskander says:
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Posted on Mar 30, 2012 5:08:02 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 11:14:05 AM PDT
Channing says:
Try Anne Bishop's 'The Black Jewels Series'. dark fantasy, dry humor, strong heriones and heros. great romance, but you have to hang on with the characters until book 3 to see fullfilment.

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 12:03:50 PM PDT
Kim says:
The Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy meets your criteria. Start with Warprize (Chronicles of the Warlands, Book 1)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 3:57:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 30, 2012 4:52:44 PM PDT
try shadow of tiamat, sean poindexter

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 7:45:24 PM PDT
Richard Ray says:
You will love "Samson and Sunset" by new author Dorothy Annie Schritt. True romance and adventure. Makes you believe in true love, again......and a happy ending.

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 10:49:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 7:12:22 PM PDT
I love the chemistry between the main characters in McKinley's Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast -- it's a fairly quiet little story and may be too young adult, but it's always been good comfort reading for me. And no love triangles in it, thank goodness.

Another one with no love triangles and one of the eeriest fantasy romances I've ever read is Shinn's The Shape-Changer's Wife. To me, this book is a true fantasy romance--it takes the other-worldliness of the fantasy genre and infuses it with with a subtle romantic tension. And a touch of magic. Although I haven't found another Shinn book I like, The Shape-Changer's Wife reminds me of Alice Hoffman's writing, and I really like her books.

Actually, came back to edit: The Shape-Changer's Wife does have a triangle, but it's not one that made much of an impression on me, obviously, since I forgot about it when I posted initially. The story is more about the mystery of wife's true identity than about the triangle itself.

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 7:21:27 PM PDT
If you read any of Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books and like them(I do fantasy
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Discussion in:  Fantasy forum
Participants:  36
Total posts:  44
Initial post:  Mar 27, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 2, 2013

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