So you'd like to...

read unique adult fantasy that isn't formulaic (Pt 1)

A guide by neoninfusion (Sydney, NSW Australia)

Products sampled from this guide:
So, like me, you are sick and tired of hearing how good David Eddings is, or when Ann McCaffery's next release is upon us, or that there is no one like Ray Feist. Take comfort my friends, for there are authors far greater than those that mimic Tolkien's worn-out formula. Remember, these books contain subject matter and language more suitable for adults.

You should've read Stephen Donaldson by now. If you haven't then his three fantasy series are a must. Until the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in 1977, fantasy was drowning in a sea of elves and dwarves. Donaldson then brought on the first revolution in fantasy by drawing adults into the genre as they followed the internal struggles of Thomas Covenant who is teleported into a world in which he resembles a former hero. Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1) being the first book of the superior first chronicles. The Wounded Land (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1) is the first novel in the second chronicles. He has also started his new series which returns to the Land. Look for the first book The Runes of the Earth (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant). Donaldson is very adept at writing flawed characters, and Terisa Morgan is no exception. The Mordent's Need story becomes more intriquing as you work your way through it. The two books are The Mirror of Her Dreams (Mordant's Need, Book 1) and A Man Rides Through (Mordant's Need, Book 2). Rape, internal struggles of characters and Donaldson's wide vocabulary excludes younger readers from reading his fantasy novels (unless they have a dictionary).

The second on the list has taken fantasy to a new level. If you haven't noticed George R R Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series by now, then go and buy it tomorrow. Martin will be the author that leads fantasy into the post-Donaldson era - the second revolution in fantasy literature - which alters the themes of fantasy; not just characters and setting. At the moment he has only written 4 instalments, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) being the first. This series follows a number of different factions vying for power on a continent that is torn apart by the genocide of the previous ruling family. The writing is excellent and the suprises numerous. Some incest and alot of misuse of power apparent.

In my search for unique authors, I found Guy Gavriel Kay to be one of the most beautiful writers in the genre. He has a few series available, but his stand-alone novel Tigana is a masterpiece. The emotions he elicits from the reader through the pain and sorrow of his characters is overwhelming. Adult themes.

Another author whose writing style is superior to most is Gene Wolfe. His New Sun series, beginning with Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' lacks a coherent plot at times, but his writing is very Dickensian. Wolfe is very different, his characters are believable because they are not stereotypical, they act with real purpose - death is a reality, not a fantasy. I find I occassionally re-read some of Wolfe's passages, so difficult language is really the only problem for younger readers.

For something a bit different, read Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. The first book Kushiel's Dart takes place in a familiar setting, with typical characters but if you can make it as far as half way, you will be rewarded. Some mild S & M!

In the 80's, Steven Brust started writing a series set completely within a city and its surrounds. Creating the new sub-genre Urban Fantasy, Brust's tales The Book of Jhereg follow the adventures of Vlad Taltos - part assassin, part racketeer and average sorceror. This is a very enjoyable read.

Products mentioned include:
1.  Lord Foul's Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1)  by Stephen R. Donaldson
$7.18 Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars   (480) | 2 customer discussions
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2.  The Wounded Land (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1)  by Stephen R. Donaldson
$6.89 Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (74)
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3.  The Runes of the Earth (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)  by Stephen R. Donaldson
Used & New from: $0.01
3.8 out of 5 stars   (210) | 3 customer discussions
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
4.  The Mirror of Her Dreams (Mordant's Need, Book 1)  by Stephen R. Donaldson
$16.20 Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars   (141) | 1 customer discussion
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5.  A Man Rides Through (Mordant's Need, Book 2)  by Stephen R. Donaldson
$15.26 Used & New from: $0.18
4.5 out of 5 stars   (63) | 1 customer discussion
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6.  A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)  by George R. R. Martin
$8.63 Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars   (5,860) | 2 customer discussions
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
7.  Tigana  by Guy Gavriel Kay
$17.63 Used & New from: $1.71
4.3 out of 5 stars   (287)
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8.  Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun'  by Gene Wolfe
$10.43 Used & New from: $2.57
4.0 out of 5 stars   (295) | 2 customer discussions
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9.  Kushiel's Dart  by Jacqueline Carey
$5.91 Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars   (524) | 3 customer discussions
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10.  The Book of Jhereg  by Steven Brust
$13.83 Used & New from: $2.05
4.4 out of 5 stars   (67) | 1 customer discussion
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Customer Discussions about products in this guide
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Something like this but less torture 4 Jun 18, 2014
Is the cover shown, the cover shipped? 0 Jun 4, 2014
Where's the Kindle Edition? 6 Oct 21, 2012
Does the mysogyny in Shadow & Claw relent? 8 Aug 30, 2012
Kindle-ize please! 3 Apr 18, 2012
Recommendations: Similar writing styles and epic plots? 7 Apr 16, 2012
Any suggestions on gritty fantasy novels? 2 May 24, 2011
Kindle Kushiel's Dart? 8 Dec 21, 2010
First and Second Chronicles 1 Sep 14, 2010
Anyone have this series in hardcover with Darryl Sweet's art? I'll buy! 0 Aug 9, 2010
Fantasy lover/author--what next? 1 Jul 29, 2010
Greedy publisher increased Kindle price 25%! 0 Jun 15, 2010
 
   

About this Guide

 

Author

neoninfusion (Sydney, NSW Australia)
Qualifications: someone who can't stomach Jordan, Eddings, Feist, et al.
Last updated: 5/5/08
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