Many authors who were published well before J. K. Rowling saw bumps in their sales because kids started picking up their books while waiting for the next Harry Potter to come out. Tamora Pierce, Pat Wrede, and all those other authors were then sold as the ‘next HP.’ We saw this again with Twilight–L. J. Smith’s backlist suddenly became hot property. Every publisher has a vampire series suddenly. And we’re seeing it with Hunger Games and dystopia. Every time a book series goes from being just bestselling to a cultural phenomena, other authors see a bump in sales.
So all these new George R. R. Martin (GRRM) fans are going to devour A Game of Thrones and/or A Dance with Dragons and then be bereft until Book 6 comes out.
What could we suggest for suggestions of high fantasy book series for people (adults) who are just joining the field, or know the field but want to know more?
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My favorite of the gritty Martin-esque “fantasy-with-minimal-magic” school are Joe Abercrombie and K.J. Parker, especially Best Served Cold by the former and the Engineer Trilogy by the latter. And since I’m always looking for more in that vein, I’d be interested to see what others recommend!
Getting in with the obvious ones:
Guy Gavriel Kay’s breath-taking historical fantasy work, particularly Tigana, The Sarantine Mosaic, and Lions of Al-Rassan.
N. K. Jemisin’s recently discussed Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Broken Kingdoms.
If they can count as epic fantasy, Kij Johnson’s Fudoki and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.
I also have a fondness for C. Dale Brittain’s Yurt series, although those may be too light in comparison to GRRM.
Books that I’ve been suggesting to people that want to keep reading big epic fantasy include:
Glen Cook’s The Black Company series
Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion
Elizabeth Moon’s Paksenarrion books
Katherine Kurtz’s Derynni series
Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time (although I must admit I’m waiting for Sanderson to finish up the series before I go reread the first six and then finish up my reading of it)
Haven’t read tremendously widely here, but I’d second K.J. Parker and Joe Abercrombie, particularly Parker, as the stuff most likely to appeal to GRRM fans. Maybe Lev Grossman and Patrick Rothfuss, although the tone is slightly different. Daniel Abraham’s fantasy work shows some clear GRRM influence, I think.
Would GRRM fans respond well to Guy Gavriel Kay, I wonder? It’s a very different tone, less gritty.
I would second or is it third the Parker and Abercrombie. R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series is excellent, and Steven Erikson’s Malazan books may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are gritty, rigorously thought out, and definitely not your standard high fantasy. Scott Lynch and Robert V.S. Reddick also spring to mind. These should all be of interest to anyone who is enjoying ASOIAF.
Watership Down. I realize it doesn’t meet the swear/sex criteria but it’s as well written as GRRM and the action sequences are unparalleled. It has the same immediate reality, you don’t feel you’re looking at today in costume.
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