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Subject: any Game of Thrones-level fantasy novels out there? rss

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Rob Defense
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I just finished the third Game of Thrones book, "A Storm of Swords," and I was wondering if anyone on this site knows of another fantasy series I should read that is as good as this one.
First, though, a confession: I'm not a fantasy nut. Before this series, the only fantasy books I've ever read are the Lord of the Rings and the first Dune book. But the New York Times this summer had a small item on how good Martin's books were, so I gave the first one a shot and immediately was hooked.
Where do I go from here? Are there any comparable fantasy books/series that have the same level of literary skill? There are SO MANY to choose from, and I don't want to make a mistake.

Thanks in advance.

Rob
 
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david funch
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You could always read the next book in the series, A Feast for Crows.

The past half year or so I've slowly been going through a series called The Malazan Book of the Fallen. It's pretty Epic. Also, it might be a bit much too much for someone new to fantasy. This is high level stuff with Gods and magic every where. Not as well written as Game of Thrones but still very enjoyable.
http://tinyurl.com/yy3g2p
 
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John So-And-So
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Nope. AGOT is unmatched. :/
 
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Bill Galloway
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CapAp wrote:
Nope. AGOT is unmatched. :/


What about the Riftwar series?

Ie, Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Master, Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon by Robert E. Feist.

Or Dragonlance? I slogged through the Dragonlance Chronicles series, but always thought that the Dragonlance Legends series was very good.

And my favourite fantasy novel is Another Day, Another Dungeon by Greg Costikyan.
 
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Literate fantasy?

The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe.
 
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Rob Defense
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Doesn't Wolfe's stuff include future technology along with fantasy themes?
 
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Nasty McHaggis
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I, too, have been interested in discovering quality fantasy novels. AGoT was recommended to me, and I read the first 2 books. I grew tired of 1) the POV style of storytelling with too many things going on at once and 2) the story started out strong and just seemed to devolve into a soap opera that may have been called "As Westeros Turns".

Right now I'm reading T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" and I'm loving so far. It's whimsical and very funny, it's got a great beat and I can dance to it.

And so I continue my policy of assuming that all fantasy is crap until proven otherwise.

Scott, I will check out your recommendation.

Good luck with your search!
 
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Clay Blankenship
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My picks for rivals to Martin in writing skill would be Guy Gavriel Kay and Tad Williams. They can both write moving, well-plotted stories with interesting world-building. For Williams I would start with the stand-alone War of the Flowers to see if you like him. It is about a world of faerie undergoing some radical social change. Then go to the monster trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn or his new series Shadowmarch.

Guy Kay has written what I would call historical fantasy--it is usually based on real history with little to no magic. My favorite is Sailing to Sarantium/Lord of Emperors, based on the Byzantine Empire in the time of Justinian. Its got lots of political intrigue like Game of Thrones. (I would recommend less highly his more conventional fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry.)

And by all means, read the rest of the Game of Thrones books.
 
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Mike N.
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I think folks are simply suggesting their favorites instead of Game of Thrones style writing.

The only one who comes close is Erikson's Books of the Fallen. The first one, Gardens of the Moon, is pretty epic. It's dark and full of inscrutable powers and characters. It's well-written, but the characters aren't as endearing as Martin's, in my humble opinion, and his character-driven chapters are less connected, especially in the early going. (It was tedious to have to learn about a new character and situation every chapter - Martin avoids this by introducing them all at once in the first chapter of AGoT). Also, I've only read the first book, though the Deadhouse Gates is next on my list.

I really don't think anyone else comes close to Martin - and I read a ton of fantasy. Feist's first books (the Riftwar) are nowhere close to Martin's, and feel dated to me. Gene Wolfe's Wizard Knight, though a wonderfully excellent mix of epic and fairy tale that I'd recommend to any fantasy afficionado, is a different flavor.

I've tried Kay's Tigana. That had one excellent storyline, but the bulk of it was rather unbelievable and too goody-goody.

If it's the anguish of Martin's books that grips you, I recommend Robin Hobb, who has beautifully flawed characters and agonizing suspense, though she's more of a standard fantasy writer, without the dark realism of Martin.

EDIT: I also think Martin has gotten carried away. Book 3 was Martin going a bit over the top, and Book 4 introduced so many new character POVs that I started groaning when a new one cropped up. Plus, he started the Robert Jordan tactic of dropping out a major character to keep the book length manageable (in fact, he dumped several).
 
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Philip Thomas
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I haven't read the Game of Thrones series. My fantasy authors are Tolkein, Pratchett, and Robin Hobb. Pratchett is probably not like AGOT...What about Hobb? Anybody read both? If AGOT is like Hobb then maybe I should start reading it...
 
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Jesse Miller
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I am a big fan of the GoT books, and one of the few other fantasy series that I enjoy are the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny.
 
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robbydee wrote:
Doesn't Wolfe's stuff include future technology along with fantasy themes?


The Book of the New/Long/Short Sun...yes.

The Wizard Knight is a straightforward fantasy. Well...as straightforward as Wolfe ever is.
 
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POvidiusNaso wrote:
I think folks are simply suggesting their favorites instead of Game of Thrones style writing.

Gene Wolfe's Wizard Knight, though a wonderfully excellent mix of epic and fairy tale that I'd recommend to any fantasy afficionado, is a different flavor.


He specifically asked, "Are there any comparable fantasy books/series that have the same level of literary skill?"

That's not style or flavor, that's skill. So if anything, I've done a disservice by suggesting Martin's as skilled as Wolfe, which I don't believe is even remotely true.
 
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Thomas Eager
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ninja You want a GOOD fantasy series? Check out the Kane series by Karl Edward Wagner (Night Winds, Dark Crusade, Death Angel's Shadow, Bloodstone and Darkness Weaves) . Much more in the vein of the pulp-authors like Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (i.e. not a "family epic" like AGoT), but very dark, macabre and stylishly done. ninja
 
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Neil Carr
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Scott Firestone IV wrote:
Literate fantasy?

The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe.


Yes, check out Gene Wolfe. My wife and I just devoured his "Book of the New Sun" series. I was rather surprised at the level of writing, having been used to fantasy pulp my whole life, and when I went and read reviews afterwards I could understand how some reviewers would use the term "literary" in describing his work.

We read:
Shadown and Claw
Sword and Citadel
Urth of the New Sun
 
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echoota wrote:
Yes, check out Gene Wolfe. My wife and I just devoured his "Book of the New Sun" series. I was rather surprised at the level of writing, having been used to fantasy pulp my whole life, and when I went and read reviews afterwards I could understand how some reviewers would use the term "literary" in describing his work.

We read:
Shadown and Claw
Sword and Citadel
Urth of the New Sun


Be sure to check out--and it sounds like you likely will--The Book of the Long Sun. I liked it even better than The New Sun books, which surprised me.
 
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John So-And-So
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Amber is super-cool, but quite different from AGOT. It's the only other book/series listed yet that I've actually enjoyed, though (not much of a fantasy fan).
 
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Andy Parsons
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I asked a similar question a few months back and got lots of good advice.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1022039#1022039

Spookily, I just finished A Game of Thrones and liked it so much that I've gone straight on to A Clash of Kings. Can't remember when I last read two books in a row from the same genre, let alone by the same author.
 
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Peter Dahlstrom
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POvidiusNaso wrote:
... dropping out a major character to keep the book length manageable (in fact, he dumped several).


If you didn't know, the book Martin planned as part 4 was so big he split it into 2 books. Feast for Crows is the 1st - the next will be the same time period with the major characters that aren't in Feast.

If you did know that ... uh ... nevermind.
 
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Scott Russell
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If you like the shifting points of view to get the big picture, I recommend Turtledove. He has a few series out there, but the one that might be most similar in scope might be the Darkness series, but I've enjoyed all of his series.

Other series that develop characters while telling a good story arethe Belisarius series by Drake and Flint and the 1631 series by Flint.
 
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Carol Carpenter
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I second the recommendation of Tad Williams. I loved his Otherland series which I believe is of equal literary merit to A Game of Thrones. The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy is also very good.
 
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I haven't read AGoT (availability in airport newsagents is usually a bad sign), but I did find Martin's Nightflyers to be some enjoyable mindless guff. Worth picking up from a bargain bin or second hand.

Anyway, another vote for Gene Wolfe here, though his writing is more about identity crisis than magic and dragons... might be a bit too much literary skill for the task at hand. Also take a look at Guy Gavriel Kay for some fantasy with a historical flavour (Lions of Al-Rassan is the best one, I think). CJ Cherryh's Morgaine books are good too... more of a hard fantasy style (everyone has saddle sores and hates each other).
 
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Jeff Chunko
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Quote:
Where do I go from here? Are there any comparable fantasy books/series that have the same level of literary skill? There are SO MANY to choose from, and I don't want to make a mistake.


You're right, there is a lot to choose from. You'll get better recommendations if you can tell us what exactly you liked about AGoT. If you can't explain, list some non-genre books that you liked, especially if they gave sort of the same "feeling".
 
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Rob Defense
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What did I like about Game of Thrones? The writing. The fact that magic and monsters weren't all-encompassing. I also liked Martin's willingness to kill off main characters, BUT after I finished Storm of Swords I realized he'd killed off almost all of the bad guys. And that sucked.

I don't want too much sex or explosions. I like character-driven stories and believable plot lines. Martin's characters, especially Tyrion and Jaime, were complex. I love that.
 
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I just finished Game of Thrones myself and have ordered the rest of the series that's currently in print. It's the best fantasy series I've read in a long time but I have the worry that I'll be ultimately dissapointed since he seems to be following the trend of writing circuitous plots just to put another book on the shelves.

I started the Sword of Truth series by Goodkind with almost this much enthusiasm but by the time I got halfway through book 4 of that I realised I was just reading the very same story that was in the other books played out again with slightly different characters.

I'm going to suggest the Eden series by Harry Harrison "West of Eden", "Winter in Eden", and "Return to Eden" These books may be more on the Sci-Fi side of the genre but in my opinion they are of better quality than even Martin's work and they have something that seems to have been lost to todays authors, plot resolution.
 
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