~post by Tommy
I love fantasy, especially fantasy of the epic variety. I started reading it when I was twelve and I have never really stopped, and as much as I enjoy picking up the newest hardcover, I also have my favorites that I love to read over and over again. So here are a few of my Fantasy Favorites.
The Belgariad by David Eddings
Though the Belgariad opens with the classic tale of the orphaned farm boy who doesn’t know his real parents yet is fated for heroism, it also shows incredible imagination from the beginning. At its core The Belgariad is the story of Garion and his quest to learn about his true parentage and reclaim the legacy that his family lost millenia ago. Along the way he gathers a group of some of the most wonderful characters I’ve ever seen in a fantasy. Eddings has a way of writing characters that slowly dig their way beneath your skin and become some of your best friends. In particular the character of Kheldar is an absolutely fascinating and complex person. A merchant, a thief, a spy, a very bad man, and the best friend that you’ll ever have, Kheldar may well be my favorite character ever written in fantasy. The Belgariad is five books that I will probably read once every couple of years for a very long time.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
There are few world builders who can equal the depth of history, geography, and language that was created by Tolkien, but Patrick Rothfuss comes very close. With The Name of the Wind begins the tale of Kvothe the Bloodless, the greatest hero that ever lived. He is known by many names and has done deeds that even the greatest of heroes fear to talk about. Rothfuss builds a wonderful world for his hero to adventure through and he takes us through a mystical university, the far off reaches of the lands of Faerie, and back and forth all over the world on a journey of self discovery and heroism. What’s best is that this three volume series, only two of which are out unfortunately, is told as an autobiographical flashback wherein Kvothe is telling his story as a way to put all of the rumors surrounding him to rest. Rothfuss’ fantasy opens up a world of wonder that I love to go back to again and again and The Name of the Wind is a book that I’ll always keep around.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson has one of the most insanely unique minds in fantasy. He made his name finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, but his own work is just as good and as I said earlier delightfully unique. In the first volume of his Mistborn trilogy Sanderson introuces a style of magic that relies upon ingesting different metals that are then burned off to create magical effects. In addition to this new style of magic, Sanderson also takes the idea of the classic destined hero trope and throws it on its ear. A thousand years in the past a prophesied hero rose up to save the world and wrapped in his righteous sense of purpose… he failed. Mistborn is the story of what came after that, the story a street girl turned magician who must attempt to succeed where the Hero of Ages failed. Sanderson’s unique ideas are what keeps me coming back to this series, and it will keep me coming back for years to come.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Now I only discovered this series a few months ago, but I’ve already read through it twice. In very simple terms The Lies of Locke Lamora is Ocean’s 11 the medieval fantasy. The main character, Locke Lamora, and his friends are a guild of thieves known as the Gentleman Bastards. On the surface the Bastards are a right and proper gang of thieves that pay their tithes to the city’s crime lord. But behind closed doors the Bastards break every rule of the city’s thieves and steal from the one untouchable target: the nobility. Lynch does such a good job of creating the feel of a heist film within the confines of a medieval fantasy, right down to the tight snappy dialogue that makes you feel like Soderbergh could direct the movie. As fun as it is, Lies of Lock Lamora also has a serious bent and three quarters of the way through it leaves behind the heist feel and becomes a Tarantino-esque revenge thriller. Needless to say with quick storytelling and wonderful dialogue The Lies of Locke Lamora has definitely earned its place on my keeper shelf.
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