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Clean Adult Fantasy Books

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Initial post: Jan 6, 2010 8:15:31 AM PST
Hi, I was wondering if anybody could recommend some clean fantasy novels for adults. I'm looking for books that don't have any sex scenes or really graphic violence in them. Anything epic fantasy like JRR Tolkien would be great. Also looking for other types of clean fantasy too. Thanks in advance.

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 9:31:25 AM PST
K. McNamara says:
You might consider browsing the young adult section, which tends to be a little cleaner, and avoid the paranormal romance section, but here are some to try:
Patricia McKillip - always clean.
Caroline Stevermer
Suzanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010 10:30:02 AM PST
EMAN NEP says:
I'll second the works of Patricia McKillip, especially her RIDDLE-MASTER OF HED series. No sex, PG violence.

To add to the list . . .

THE WHEEL OF TIME series by Robert Jordan is pretty clean. A few situations are implied. The fights/battles are probably a PG-13 level.

MISTBORN Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. No sex, PG-13 violence.

I can't vouch for the whole series, but Terry Brooks' first SHANNARA book is very similar to Tolkien. No sex, PG violence.
Same goes for the first two books (the only two I've read) in Tad William's MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN series.

There's also a handful of standalones that are free of sex scenes and low on graphic violence:

THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle
THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman
THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW by Walter Wangerin Jr.
ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson
Second vote for JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL by Suzanna Clark

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 10:37:53 AM PST
try piers anthonys xanth series. ther're a blast,

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 10:47:11 AM PST
Try Chosen by Marian Burke. Based on themes of sacrifice, salvation, sex scenes, no unnecessary violence. I would recommend it for YA and Adult alike.Chosen

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 11:13:25 AM PST
C. Sachs says:
the number of dirty (and lame) puns in Anthony's work may disqualify.

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 11:53:46 AM PST
Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" books have some violence but no explicit sex. Try "Small Gods", "Men At Arms" or "Hogfather." Barry Hughart's ancient China trilogy "The Chronicle of Master Li and Number Ten Ox" would also fit your requirements. Finally, allow me to second Susanne Clarke's "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell." These three authors are not just "clean" but good, and write for grown-ups.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010 12:54:32 PM PST
Kathleen says:
My new favorite book in fantasy is Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson. It is a romantic fantasy with fantastic characters and a very well developed world. There are three additional books that follow it in the series. My new addiction!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010 1:08:42 PM PST
Bruise Bane says:
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Posted on Jan 6, 2010 2:58:40 PM PST
Arolem says:
Have you read Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books? The series began in the 70s when romantic/sex passages were less explicit. I don't remember any sex scenes (kissing, and I think the odd walk together to the bedroom door) in the original 3 books or the Camber series. (Anyone?) There is a little more in the King Kelson books, which fall later on.

The violence, while emotionally intense, is not gratuitous. The books are written for an adult audience, and are rich in politics and medieval culture, and themes of religious and racial prejudice and tolerance.

Andre Norton's Witchworld series would also qualify.

From Anne McAffrey's Dragon series, the Harper Hall trilogy: Dragondrums is the first. They're among the YA books, but the style and story are very similar to the rest of the series, minus sex. There's not much violence in the rest of the series (more politics and maneuvering, and fighting a mindless menace from the sky) but there are sex scenes in I believe all the other books. Not extended or very graphic, but they're there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 10:11:58 AM PST
K. McNamara says:
Shadow: I don't think Song of Ice & Fire qualifies on either the "clean" or the lack of graphic violence.

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 1:32:52 PM PST
Rawrr says:
Wow. This really limits your selection; you're gonna miss out on a lot of good books... I second the vote for Brandon Sanderson's books. The Mistborn series in particular (perfect for what you're asking for), but all his books are "clean," so check those out, too. I also vote for the Wheel of Time books--that series starts with the "Eye of the World". There's also:

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" which is like a fantasy Ocean's Eleven. No sex or violence. Amazingly, it and it's sequel are pretty good, but i guess the author forgot to do the rest of the series...

"The Name of the Wind" which is about a poor little orphan named Kvothe and how he's growing up and becoming epic. Actually, last i read he was only mildly important and magical, (also boring as hell) but a lot of people really liked this one. Apparently this author forgot to do his sequel, too.

"Into the Dark Land" is the first book in Michelle Sagara's 4 bk "Sundered" series, and i remember it being very "clean". It's about this warrior girl who heals with magic and she falls in love with her evil enemy and vice-versa. It didn't suck. There's also her Cast series, which starts with "Cast in Shadow." That one's about a magically tattooed girl who fights crime and saves small children in a fantasy word.

Check out "The Naming" by Allison Croggon. Squeaky clean and YA, but it's doable, even if you're adult. It kicks off an epic fantasy series about another poor little orphan girl, but this time she's musically magical and it turns out she's even more special than we thought because she is so super powerful she might be the only hope to save the world. Or I guess it could be about something entirely different--i think i only got about 40 pages deep in this one--but i bet you anything that's what it's about.

Probably all those Mercades Lackey books (Valdemar?) are a safe bet--but, man, i tried reading one of those once and I just couldn't hang in there. Maybe you'll think it's awesome though. I think it starts with "Arrows of the Queen" but there are like, a billion books in this series, and i've never been a fan of this author so I could be wrong (it IS bk 1 of something). I also tried real hard to read one of the books in her new fairy tale series--so I can assure you, "The Fairy Godmother" is very clean, practically sterile.

Trudi Canavan's Black Magician series. It starts with "the Magician's Guild" and it's definitely clean. It's features yet another poor little orphan girl, and it's about her becoming super duper powerful and important and overcoming adversity and stuff. Unfortunately, I thought it too, was boring as hell, but that's just me; i think you should go for it. I bet her other series is clean as well.

"Green Rider" by Kristen Britain. It's a fantasy series about a girl who finds a magic pin and becomes a magical messenger for the King--whom she develops a crush on. It's just as stupid as it sounds but you might be able to get into it (it's not completely bad...). It's not YA so look for it in the adult section.

Try Sharon Shinn. Sometimes there's sex in some in her books, but it's not gratuitous or graphic. I haven't read all her books but i'd say she's a safe bet. Her YA fantasy "Summers at Castle Auburn" is doable, and she's got that angel series, it starts with "Angelica" and it's kinda SF. Also she's got this "Fortune and Fate" series. I'm pretty sure it's fantasy, but i've never tried it so you're on your own with that one.

Maybe if you're feeling a little naughty you could do "Rhapsody" by Elizabeth Haydon? It kicks off an epic series and it isn't "clean"--there's some sex, but it's not too dirty or violent and since the series is really entertaining you should go for it anyways.
I'm currently reading a YA fantasy book called "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld. It features weird mechanical machines and it's about a peasant girl and an heir-to-the-throne-boy, on the run and incognito. It's pretty awesome...esp. considering some of the stuff on this the you might want to check it out.

Also there's the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It's a little violent, but it's YA, (mom would approve). It's also totally awesome. I guess it might be considered SF but you should ignore that and check it out anyways--believe me you wont care once you get into it. It's got a great--but squeaky clean--love triangle and it's about a dystopian girl who gets picked to play the ultimate survival game against a dozen other teens on live TV (last one standing wins). It isn't as stupid as it sounds.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 4:16:05 PM PST
Bruise Bane says:
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Posted on Jan 7, 2010 4:19:38 PM PST
The Belgariad, Vol. 1 (Books 1-3): Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit
The Belgariad, Vol. 2 (Books 4 & 5): Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters' End Game
The Sword of Shannara Trilogy

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 4:31:05 PM PST
A Reader says:
Though they are in some ways pitched as "young adult", Ursual LeGuin's _Earthsea_ books would fit. I've read and re-read them several times and enjoy them more each time so adults can certainly enjoy them. I'd say the same about Justin Allen's new (officially YA) book, _Year of the Horse_. It does have some violence and dark parts, but it's not too graphic. It's quite a clever and well-done book, and in some ways adults are likely to enjoy it more than many younger readers as adults are morel likely to "get" the allusions to other stories and myths.

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 4:51:14 PM PST
Diane says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 5:25:31 PM PST
Dmitry F. says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 5:26:45 PM PST
Bruise Bane says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 6:28:44 PM PST
EMAN NEP says:
Soccer Player said:

"Very simple - most types of church and religion want us to be ashamed of our bodies and to view sex as disgusting, and most people practice one form of religion or another."


A more accurate statement would be that sex outside of MARRIAGE is viewed as disgusting in some religions of the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 6:40:27 PM PST
Dmitry F. says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 6:45:05 PM PST
Kathleen says:
What is this discussion about again. No offense, but I think it is getting a little off track.

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 6:50:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2010 6:53:09 PM PST
Amberle says:
I personally like to read "clean" books once in awhile because I prefer to read books that have some plot and aren't all about sex.

Also, just a note of the suggestion of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books--they are mostly clean, with the sex only implied, but some of them are also about gay characters. Although I don't object to that, some people may not like reading those type of books.

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 7:00:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2010 7:01:57 PM PST
sunmoon says:
Since we are now getting off topic here is my beliefs-Sex is NOT disgusting- it is a "gift" from God to be used in the bond of marriage. God does not desire for people to be hurt and heartbroken- which sex outside of a committed marriage relationship can lead to-period. God is no killjoy, he only seeks the very best for us. Nice to see someone asking for "clean" books - kudos to Ruby Tuesday and for everyone who helped her without condemnation.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 9:26:39 PM PST
Boric says:
Hi Ruby Tuesday,

I agree with K McNamara (and some others') suggestion of maybe looking under YA (& definiely support the reccs for The Riddlemaster of Hed) and can add the following authors for you to consider there:

Robin McKinley, particularly stories such as Beauty, The Blue Sword, The Hero The Crown etc
Diana Wynne Jones, just about anything really but I have really enjoyed Cart & Cwidder, The Merlin Conspiracy & Howl's Moving Castle
Helen Lowe's Thornspell
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book & Neverwhere
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's Godmother books

In terms of more adult Fantasy, which is slight on sex and graphic violence (I use your Tolkien reference as my yardstick here for the violence levels) you could look at:
Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar trilogy (Tolkien-esque) and his standalones such as Tigana and A Song for Arbonne. There is sex but it is pretty much "off camera" as I recall.

CJ Cherryh's Chronicles of Morgaine, very epic and am pretty sure there's no sex (but it's been a while).

I also agree with the Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind recommendation in this respect.

Russell Kirkpatrick's Across the Face of the World is fits your criteria, although I should note that I personally did not enjoy it as a read, but that's not to say you won't.

By the way, in terms of some of the other posts, although I personally read more widely than what Ruby Tuesday has asked for, I feel that it should be ok for people to ask for recommendations within their personal criteria--for example, lots of people ask for "dark fantasy" recommendations, or "military scifi' etc--and we don't have to make recommendations if the criteria don't sit well with us.

And--just my personal view here--saying that as a reader you don't want sex scenes or graphic violence doesn't seem so unreasonable to me. I know plenty of what I would call regular people, many of them perhaps a little older generation, but hey ..., who still feel this way about both their reading and movie/tv viewing.

All just "imho"-apologies to all if I'm out of line.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2010 9:46:33 PM PST
Bruise Bane says:
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Discussion in:  Fantasy forum
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Initial post:  Jan 6, 2010
Latest post:  Jun 21, 2016

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