So, looking for a good fantasy series to read...

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The Belgariad, Mallorean and Sparhawk series by David Eddings.

Also another shameless recommendation for the Discworld series - if you haven't read any of them, then I weep for you. Seriously some of the best works out there, even if they aren't the most serious ones.

Smeatza:
I'd recommend the Warhammer books, particularly Caledor. I've never played the table top game but the books are an excellent read.

I also recommend Warhammer books. I liked The Blackhearts book. Also Malus Darkblade omnibus. And also I think it was legion of the damned or riders of the damned. I forget the name exactly, but it wasn't a bout some demilancers.

Without question "The Ethos Effect" By (according to google) L. E. Modesitt, Jr. I found the book interesting, but can't quite remember why, so I am probably going to read it again this summer. Kinda more sci-fi, but it's good nonetheless. Also "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman is pretty good, with more Fantasy.

Let's see if there's anything on the ol' bookshelf that hasn't come up yet...

Huh, seems everyone's already mentioned most of my usual recomendations. All I've got left is Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. It's a high fantasy/intrigue hexalogy about...well...I guess I'll just rip the description from TV Tropes:

"Magical Roman Legionnaires straight out of Avatar The Last Airbender versus the Zerg, wolfmen with Blood Magic, telepathic yetis and white-haired elves. Riding ground sloths and terror birds. Sometimes, the Legionnaires fight each other, too."

It's not nearly as gritty as Ice and Fire, but it hits all your other requirements. The author's other series, The Dresden Files is also worth a look. It doesn't fit your requirements as well, but they're still very enjoyable. Plus theres, like, thirteen books in the series and the author's still pumping them out so it's not like you'll run out anytime soon. You can find sample chapters on Butcher's website if you want to check either series out.

From the ones people have already mentioned, I'll give thumbs up to:

The Acts of Caine, if you can find the damned things. I read the first book, Heroes Die, a year ago but still haven't managed to get my claws on a copy of the second. Pisses me off too because I adored the book.

Everything I've read from Robin Hobb has been wonderful.

The First Law is excellent stuff for anyone who made it through A Song of Ice and Fire without wanting to slit their wrists from depression. I swear, the damned things should have suicide risk warnings on the front covers.

Anything by Brandon Sanderson. Again, not especially gritty but otherwise excellent. Notable for posting chapter annotations on his website giving an interesting insight into the writing process. Also has an entire book available to read for free here . Just click "Get the Current Version" on that page to download the PDF. Sanderson's also the guy chosen to finish Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series after Jordan passed away. I can't give the Wheel of Time a proper recomendation because I'm only three books in, but I've enjoyed what I've read so far.

Terry Pratchett's books are excellent if you've anything resembling a sense of humour. My recomendation extends to his young adult fiction as well. They're just as enjoyable as his adult fiction. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents in particular is ostensibly for kids and teens, but I'd still place it somewhere on my list of favourite reads.

Edit: Oh yeah, and Neil Gaiman too. My personal favourites are Neverwhere, a fascinating urban fantasy, and The Graveyard Book, a gothic retelling of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. He's done loads of great short stories as well. A Study in Emerald (links straight to the pdf) is particularly enjoyable if you like Sherlock Holmes and/or The Cthulhu Mythos.

Paulo Coelho is one of the best writers I've ever read ever. Go read The Alchemist; it will only take a few hours, but its very worthwhile.

Try the Night Angel trilogy, by Brent Weeks, it's awesome.
Or The Banned and the Banished by James Clemens, I enjoyed both series very much.

I love these threads, it's always tricky to know which books I should aim for.

I'll echo Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards sequence - good, imaginative fantasy setting, and the protagonists are con-men. It's awesome.

I also see Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles haven't been mentioned yet, but it's darn good. Plays with some interesting concepts.

My good sirs, I just thought that I would drop by and deposit this repository of knowledge in your most esteemed vicinity.

http://bestfantasybooks.com/top25-fantasy-books.php

Yeah, we got lists, we got lists of similar stuff. We got it all right up in here.

SmarterThanYou:
I've been a fan of fantasy literature since I was a kid, and of late I find that I really like political intrigue in my fantasy. I just finished Martin's excellent A Song of Ice and Fire books, and since I now have to wait for book six, I'm looking for a new good epic fantasy series to read.

I just picked up the first Witcher book (Blood of Elves), but I have to wait for the rest of those to be translated as well, so no go there. :-/ I'm looking for something akin to Ice and Fire- well-written, good prose, political intrigue, interesting characters, grittier setting, etc.

Go nuts if you've got a recommendation. Feel free to love all over a book you enjoy, I'll be sure to take any recommendations into account. :)

EDIT: Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I'm definetly going to check out these books, oughta keep me busy for a while. xD Thanks again!

I would definitely recommend "The Lost Years of Merlin" by T.A. Barron. It is actually a five book saga.

The Lost Years of Merlin
The Seven Songs of Merlin
The Fires of Merlin
The Mirror of Merlin
The Wings of Merlin

The first book actually gave me more interest in reading way back when I was in high school. It was the first book I actually fully read for a book report, and enjoyed. Technically it is geared to young adult, but I reread them again a year or so ago, and they still are great.

I feel it is a very refreshing and different look at Merlin, since it involves years of his life that aren't written about much, age 10 to 18. Each book is around 300 pages long, they are quick reads but awesome.

Interestingly enough, while I was looking up cover pictures of the books, I stumbled across some old articles from May 2011, that said that Warner Bros. at the time was set to make the first book into a movie. I'm surprised that this is the first I'm hearing about it. Though while at first I felt great excitement, after I started looking into it, I'm feeling very scared that it will be very bad.

Reasons:

Producer: Donald De Line (Green Lantern)UGH!

Script/adaption writer: Ed Whitworth, a script reader for Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods.

Well, looks like so far it is coming out of the starting gate with a gimp leg, let's see if it can finish well.

Though considering the last fantasy book movie adaption I watched in theaters, Eragon(what a travesty that was compared to the original material, they pretty much ruined it), I don't have high hopes.

Well, there's the Wheel of Time series. It's a bit long-winded, but the whole world is very fleshed out with some really great characters.
I'd recommend Eragon for being of the So Bad It's Good variety, but you might find it to be a genuinly good fantasy book. Your milage may vary on that series.
And this is of a different type of fantasy, but I´d recommend the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher to anyone with a moderate interest in fantasy. The first 2 books are kind of average urban fantasy, but after that the series just starts ramping up the writing and the awesome in equal measures.
Also, the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, which is pretty much the best mix of humour and well-written fantasy out there. Plus, there´s like 30 of the things out by now, so you´ll be busy for a while.

KingsGambit:

DugMachine:
The Inheritance (Eragon) series is really good in my opinion but it might be a bit too simple for experienced readers. Most hardcore fans of fantasy I know absolutely hate the Inheritance series

I wouldn't call myself "hardcore", though for all I know I may well be the dictionary definition of the term, but I detested it. I don't know what it was that drove me to read the whole thing...maybe because I'd started so figured I ought to finish.

Paolini isn't a bad writer per sé, but he's a terrible story teller. The characters were lifeless and bland, the "love story" was abysmally told and all I could think of was that Eragon was a stupid child who simply didn't learn anything at any point. The villains were so stupidly powerful, along the lines of Superman, that even the battle scenes were tedious to read.

The thing that really got the bit between my teeth (and this is a MAJOR SPOILER for anyone who plans to read it) is when whatshername leading the Varden is captured and imprisoned by Galbatorix. He decides to physically torture her, despite that by his own admission he could "rip" anything he wanted straight from her mind. This was the most ridiculous thing in the whole series, making no sense whatsoever. Nothing of the little we knew of the character would suggest he would have done that and all it served was to make him more evil to the reader. Why didn't he just cook babies for cyring out loud? Oh and of course he dressed entirely in black, because that's clearly what villains do. The most powerful man in the world and undisputed leader of the mankind, with the ability to simply pluck thoughts from peoples' minds would not resort to petty physical torture, especially not when an army is at his city's gates, especially not with his lofty plans and goals, especially not with his timetable, especially not when considering *any* of his previous motivations until that point.

Sorry, I went on a rant there. It could have been great high fantasy. The farmboy becomes dragon rider, chased out of village by nazgul...errr...insect people, whatever, is unoriginal but I can live with that. But the characters were all wooden and uninteresting, couldn't have cared less what happened to any of them. The end was pretty atrocious too and completely unsatisfying, though in fairness to Paolini he kinda painted himself into a corner with that. Tedious, infuriating, boring, unsatisfying. The nicest things I can say about Eragon.

And don't even get me started on the bloody Varden themselves. Giving away chest of gold for random dowries while they themselves are nearly bankrupt, not even trying to negotiate the ridiculous terms of potential allies of questionable importance who arrive in a scene ripped straight out of Lord of the Rings, only with all the epic sucked out.
And then there's whipping one of their most powerful warriors and up-and-coming officer nearly to death because he dared save the lives of an entire company by ignoring his officer's stupid orders.
And apparently their patrols also randomly carry enough grease to grease up an adult man and a 8-foot Urgal for an impromptu bout of wrestling to prove a point.

Shanicus:
The Belgariad, Mallorean and Sparhawk series by David Eddings.

I was waiting for someone to post this, David Eddings is a brilliant author when it comes to fantasy.

KingsGambit:
Wheel of Time

8-Bit_Jack:
wheel of time

Eric Morales:
Wheel of Time

Whenever these fantasy recommendation threads appear there's always a lot of praise and love for Jordan's saga. That being said, I always feel the need to ask how you fought through the middle books where he went so far off track. In trying to juggle so many different plots and characters they all felt a bit lost. I think I made it to around book seven. After that I just kinda gave up and moved on.

O.T: I recently read Joe Abercrombie's "The Heroes," and thought it was pretty interesting. The entire book focuses on one single battle and all the confusion and destruction that goes along with it. If nothing else the quickfire perspective changes during the fighting are a novel approach.

I generally read a lot in the fantasy genre, but I've drifted a bit more towards Sci-Fi recently, and am currently drawing a blank (apart from all the series recommended so far). One series you might like to check out could be the Erevis Cale trilogy by Paul S Kemp. Set in the Forgotten Realms, the story has a bit of a caper-like feel to it as it follows the titular character, a former assassin who's trying to make peace with himself and his duties as a priest to the dark god Mask. Not particularly what you're looking for, at least judging by the OP, but I highly recommend this entertaining, action packed story.

If you have an interest in urban fantasy with strong female leads I enjoy the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter, or the Walker Papers by C E Murphy, but I can't really think of any other notable series to recommend right now.

KingsGambit:
The whole thing with the sculpture in "Faith of the Fallen" also was really amazing storytelling.

Ugh.. Please don't mention that, the one part of the series I'm still trying to pretend didn't happen. That's the main book people will point to when they're trashing the series, and food good reason, everything having to do with that sculpture is utter nonsense consisting of little more than Goodkind cramming his personal ideology down your throat.

The Stormlight Archive sounds perfect for you. Great concepts, fantastic political and moral intrigue and a truly immersive tale.

I want to reread it myself actually!

The Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson are awesome, but you will need patience and a good memory to keep up with the characters. These are massive books packed with some of the most vibrant personalities I have ever read .. Hugely recomended.. You will laugh, cry and shout in anger..

Robin Hobbs 1st 2 series, the Assassins Trilogy and The Livehip traders are both very good too.

Steven Lynch - The Gentlemen Bastard series -- The lies of Locke Lamorra, and Red Seas under Red Skies, are captivating perhaps more so the 1st, book, again very heavily character driven, epic stories.

Patrick Rothfuss The Kingslayer books. So far again only 2 written,The Name of the Wind and The Wise Mans Fear. Both are simply put a pleasure to read. They tell the tale of Kvothe, a student of magic, but Harry Potter he is not ;0).

To end up Terry Pratchett is simply put peerless .. more comedy than pure fantasy, you owe it to yourselfto have read at least 3 of his books. If you haven't read Good Omens ( collaberation with Neil Gaiman) you simply must..

Oh and David Gemmel did some great work too.. Druss the Legend --- ;0)

A song of ice and fire, and I can't remember what this other series' name is, but I think the first book is called Well of Echoes...my GOD is it good. There's 3 books, then 4 set later, then 3 set later. So a fair bit of reading, although I actually skipped the first 3 because I didn't know about them and it turns out that they're set way before the other 7.

And anything by David Eddings.

The Empire trilogy (Daughter, Servant and Mistress of the Empire) by Raimond Feist and Janny Wurts is some really good political fantasy. It's set in fantasy-japan too, so it's a nice variation on the typical medieval fantasy.

Other books by Feist are okay too, but his earlier ones are rather LotR-ripoffy and his later ones suffer heavily from repetition ('And then ANOTHER type of elves appeared! And ANOTHER demon invasion!').

the Dresden Files is a really good one. Codex Alera is another that awesome, kinda like if people in the Roman era Avatars element bending powers

Glen Cook's Black Company series. Read them. Now. They're amazing.

Deathmageddon:

KingsGambit:

The thing that really got the bit between my teeth (and this is a MAJOR SPOILER for anyone who plans to read it) is when whatshername leading the Varden is captured and imprisoned by Galbatorix. He decides to physically torture her, despite that by his own admission he could "rip" anything he wanted straight from her mind. This was the most ridiculous thing in the whole series, making no sense whatsoever. Nothing of the little we knew of the character would suggest he would have done that and all it served was to make him more evil to the reader. Why didn't he just cook babies for cyring out loud? Oh and of course he dressed entirely in black, because that's clearly what villains do. The most powerful man in the world and undisputed leader of the mankind, with the ability to simply pluck thoughts from peoples' minds would not resort to petty physical torture, especially not when an army is at his city's gates, especially not with his lofty plans and goals, especially not with his timetable, especially not when considering *any* of his previous motivations until that point.

Sorry, I went on a rant there. It could have been great high fantasy. The farmboy becomes dragon rider, chased out of village by nazgul...errr...insect people, whatever, is unoriginal but I can live with that. But the characters were all wooden and uninteresting, couldn't have cared less what happened to any of them. The end was pretty atrocious too and completely unsatisfying, though in fairness to Paolini he kinda painted himself into a corner with that. Tedious, infuriating, boring, unsatisfying. The nicest things I can say about Eragon.

It's established in Eldest that the elves prefer to do things (especially tedious labor) by hand rather than with magic, because that would make it too easy and the task would lose all meaning. Galbatorix dressed in black and rode a black dragon because, yes, it's what villains do. Remember Darth Vader? Villains are just doomed to rock the darker hues. Who the hell would take an antagonist seriously if he wore bright pink and rode into battle on a sparkly Twilight vampire?

Also couldn't disagree more about the ending. Wrapped up as well, if not better than any series that comes to mind at the moment. I mean, what were you hoping for? Even if it was a little predictable, it's still better than Mass Effect 3.

Funny you should mention Darth Vader, because Star Wars is one of the things that Inheritance rips off so wholesale. I enjoyed Eragon when I was 13, I thought Eldest was pretty dull when that came out and I found it really hard to reread them because of the terrible prose and predictable story. I tried to read the 3rd one last summer an I found it impossible. I think it started with a massive recap which I found so annoying because presumably you'll be a fan already if you're buying the 3rd book, and even though I hadn't read the others in several years I still remembered what had happened. It just completely put me off.

I will say I am 20 now, so maybe younger readers wont notice the flaws in the plot etc. but the prose is still really hard to get through at points (I think Eldest was the worst offender here), so I think even younger readers might be put off. Also the characterisation is just appalling. Everyone's either a stereotype or a creepy stalker. The one interesting character (Murtagh, duh) was completely thrown out in favour of whiny, spoilt Eragon.

Kudos to him for getting published so young. By his parents. Who home schooled him. Which gave him time for all the writing and publicity. Still, I've been trying to write since I was a teenager and I'm only just making progress now so maybe he got the right idea.

Also, Terry Pratchett is AWESOME, and I'm planning on starting Game of Thrones today!

C J Cherryh's Foreigner series, don't be put off by the setup chapters at the start of the first book.

Anything by Robin Hobb or Brent Weeks as suggested by others.

DrWilhelm:
[..]The Acts of Caine, if you can find the damned things. I read the first book, Heroes Die, a year ago but still haven't managed to get my claws on a copy of the second. Pisses me off too because I adored the book.

[...]

Yeah, you don't even wanna know how much I paid for a copy of Blade of Tyshalle. Since 2008 Blade of Tyshalle (Act of War) is available as eBook over at Amazon.

Sandjube:
A song of ice and fire, and I can't remember what this other series' name is, but I think the first book is called Well of Echoes...my GOD is it good. There's 3 books, then 4 set later, then 3 set later. So a fair bit of reading, although I actually skipped the first 3 because I didn't know about them and it turns out that they're set way before the other 7.

[...]

That's Ian Irvine's Three Worlds Cycle which consists of The View from the Mirror quartet, The Well of Echoes quartet, and The Song of Tears trilogy. This is some kinda Darwinian fantasy, survival of the fittest and so. I like them too.

sidecord:
the Dresden Files is a really good one. Codex Alera is another that awesome, kinda like if people in the Roman era Avatars element bending powers

I found Codex Alera to be hugely entertaining. For some reason, I don't find the urban fantasy Dresden Files all that appealing to me but I loved Codex Alera.

SmarterThanYou:
I've been a fan of fantasy literature since I was a kid, and of late I find that I really like political intrigue in my fantasy. I just finished Martin's excellent A Song of Ice and Fire books, and since I now have to wait for book six, I'm looking for a new good epic fantasy series to read.

I just picked up the first Witcher book (Blood of Elves), but I have to wait for the rest of those to be translated as well, so no go there. :-/ I'm looking for something akin to Ice and Fire- well-written, good prose, political intrigue, interesting characters, grittier setting, etc.

Go nuts if you've got a recommendation. Feel free to love all over a book you enjoy, I'll be sure to take any recommendations into account. :)

EDIT: Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I'm definetly going to check out these books, oughta keep me busy for a while. xD Thanks again!

I would go for "The kingiller chronicle" it's not nearly as grimdark as ASOIAF but it is pure brilliance. currently there are two books, both extraordinary in their excellence.

Two people have already mentioned it, but the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks is a very good read, definitely worth a go :)

Dirty Apple:

Whenever these fantasy recommendation threads appear there's always a lot of praise and love for Jordan's saga. That being said, I always feel the need to ask how you fought through the middle books where he went so far off track. In trying to juggle so many different plots and characters they all felt a bit lost. I think I made it to around book seven. After that I just kinda gave up and moved on.

You mean when he lost the plot entirely in favor of self-indulgent fantasy where he by proxy got with three hot women who were totally okay with sharing and a couple might even be ok with double-teaming him?
You get through that with the power of lulz, and trying not to imagine his old, fat, wrinkly, gray-haired self plowing them. The middle's a little soggy, but it comes back around, and the towers of midnight made things cool again, despite the book being named for objects that do not appear in the book until mentioned offhand by a character that's only been mentioned, never written for, in the novel on the very last page. I mean this literally.
Lucky's wife is alluded to through all his chapters, but we dont get any from her perspective. Then the very last chapter brings it to her, and on the last page, she mentions the towers offhand, and reveals they are located in irish japan, where none of the book takes place.
Also a touch more Rover/eagle angst than i'd like. It seems like the new author forgot it had been mostly resolved, and threw it back it.

also, there needs to be a WoT movie, PURELY so the opening scene can be the Opening of the Bore. I envision it as a soft-mute scene where a circle of euphoric-looking mages use the Power to make an invisible drill chew into the earth.

The scene takes on a darker look and score, then finally snaps to the opening of the book, where the Whaler finds Louie in his hall. If i could, I would make the movie myself, and it would be AWESOME

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