It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Advance warning: my reading challenge for 2010


Since starting this blog in late 2006, each year I’ve run a reading challenge – read one book per month to a theme, and blog the results. In 2007, it was my favourite sf novels. In 2008, it was twelve classic authors I’d not read before. This year, it’s a dozen sf novels I remember fondly from my teen years.

I’ve been thinking about what I should read next year.

And I had a jolly good idea. I’m going to read a fantasy novel each month. Specifically, I’m going to read the first novel in a fantasy series. And then I’m going to write about it, about what I thought to the book, about whether or not the book is good enough to make me want continue to read the series. However…

I don’t know which books to read. So I’m looking for suggestions. I’d like people to recommend the titles of epic fantasy novels, the first books in series. There are a few caveats – well, one caveat: there must be at least three books in the series currently available. I don’t want to read a book, only to discover I’ve got wait a few years until I can read the next one.

When I say “series”, I’m also including trilogies. Anything more than two, in other words. Er, that’s another caveat.

And before you start banging out suggestions, the following series are out because I’ve already read, or am reading, them: The Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Books of the Fallen, Paul Park’s A Princess of Roumania, Samuel R Delany’s Nevèrÿon, anything by Michael Moorcock, George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Ricardo Pinto’s Stone Dance of the Chameleon, Mike Cobley’s Shadowkings, Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles, Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea , Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant or Mordant’s Need, M John Harrison’s Viriconium

So, to summarise:

  • epic fantasy
  • three books or more in the series
  • three books or more of the series published
  • not one of the above-named series

All suggestions welcomed – just leave me a comment. You’ve got nearly three months to persuade me which titles to read.

14 thoughts on “Advance warning: my reading challenge for 2010

  1. I enjoyed Brian Ruckley's "Winterbirth", Ian. Very gritty, very 'northern'. Not read the other two books yet (because I'm like that as a reader), but I have bought them.

  2. Ta. I've heard that one's quite good.And there's another one – something to do with dragons? – that's supposed to be good as well.

  3. Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet (all four volumes out)Kate Elliott's Crossroads trilogy (all three volumes out)And David Anthony Durham's Acacia, even though only two volumes are out.

  4. More, cool. Keep 'em coming…

  5. I don't know if it is technically considered as series – but as a hard sf junkie, I've found that I quite enjoyed the fantasy of Mieville and the three New Crobuzon books."Perdido", "Iron Council" & "The Scar"

  6. Hmmm… Does Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy count?

  7. James Branch Cabell's series. He managed to tie together everything he wrote, but if you take 'Figures of Earth', 'The Silver Stallion' and 'Jurgen' in that order, you'll have an excellent trilogy.I've also been impressed by Juliet McKenna's 'Irons in the Fire' recently. It's the start of a new series, but she's completed two other series that I will certainly be tracking down.

  8. Joe Abercrombie's 1st Law trilogy, definitely a reader-pleaser! (from mike cobley)

  9. Good idea for a reading challenge…I would be interested in your views on: "The Anvil of Ice" by Michael Scott Rohan (first volume in the "Winter of the World" trilogy.There's also "Magician" by Raymond E. Feist's (first part of his Riftware saga, although there are numerous follow ups to this).I'm not sure you would like this attall but "Doom of the Darksword" by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (first part of the Darksword trilogy) I think is the best series that they came up with.

  10. I'm not sure whether Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris trilogy counts as "epic," but if so, I'm recommending it.I'd also recommend Barry Hughart's Master Li books (Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen).Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series (beginning with Jhereg) gets more interesting the more you read, and his Phoenix Guards series (beginning with the book of the same name) is good if you're in the mood for fantasy Dumas pastiche.

  11. KJ Parker's Fencer trilogy?Janny Wurts' Mistwraith series?The first prides itself on realistic research; the second is rather more a test of endurance.

  12. Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad series) by David Eddings. Clive Barker's Arbarat (but only 2 books so far)I'll mention Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels though there is a scifi element to them.If you want to consider YA crossover novels: Garth Nix's Sabriel, Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn, Alison Croggon's Pellinor series, Amanda Hemingway's Sangreal trilogy, DM Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo (bk 3 should come out in 2010)

  13. Pingback: The 2010 Reading Challenge « It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

  14. You’re reading Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant? I got all the way to the 9th book. I read half and just chucked it against the wall. Let me summarize the ENTIRE series. “Hi, I’m Joe Average. I fell through a portal to a fantastic world where my disease halts and I have power beyond recognition because I have a wedding ring. I wont use the power because of inner turmoil and some poorly contrived concept of plot balance.”

    There. I just saved you a thousand hours of miserable reading.

    I used to read a SF or fantasy book every day or two. Now I can’t touch the stuff. Its like eating candy until it all tastes like poison. This series was seriously amongst the worst.

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