3 fantasy series reviews ...

This has been the year a lot of my reading misconceptions were shattered. I thought I didn't like reading about vampires, and you all know how that turned out. I thought I couldnt read YA (young adult) fiction, or shape shifter stories but have since found out that a talented writer can hook me onto anything. And so I've decided to never say Never.

And if anyone (all 6 of you who read this blog) was wondering what happened to all the series recommendations posts I promised to write and didnt follow through on, I realized how pointless compiling a list of favorites was. This was because just after I published that post, I started reading the aforementioned shape shifter series which has since muscled out every other to become my favorite romance series - ever! So, in order to prevent more goofs of the same sort I've decided to just do a round-up of current favorites whenever I have a few to discuss. This post lists fantasy series.

The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner

Series Order
The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings (to be published 2010)

The Thief is the book that convinced me into adding YA novels to my reading list. I used to think Harry Potter was a one-off, and that I would not be able to relate to YA fiction. I picked this one up because of the attractive covers and without knowing it was YA. It's turned out to be the best impulse buy I ever made.

It's very hard to review this series without giving away major spoilers so I wont try. All I'll say is that the series revolves around the title character of the thief, Eugenides. Eugenides is rash, arrogant, impulsive and cocky, but he's also fiercely loyal, cunning, extremely intelligent and just an awesome character.

The books take place in a fictional region in the Meditteranean with the three countries of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia and there is enough political intrigue to satisfy adult readers. And I loved the romance which develops over the course of the latter books.

Ms. Turner is also responsible for over-turning another of my cherished notions. It's no secret that I love big, fat, meaty books. Here book 3 is the fattest book with 400+ pages of largish font, but I thought that each book was very well told within it's word count

And we have new religions and plenty of divine intervention but I was able to read these just because the subject wasn't delved with in detail. In fact, Ms. Turner has come up with fascinating mythologies for her Gods. Highly recommended!

The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

Series Order
His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles.

Before I picked this one up, I was inclined to think of dragons in the stereotypical knight-slaying-dragon-and-rescuing-maiden way and didn't think I would ever want to read about them. I bit when I saw this series covered my favorite topic of a historical with fantasy.

This series with a projected 9 books, is set during the Napoleonic Wars. Ms. Novik has created an alternate history where the ground and naval troops are assisted by aerial troops in the form of dragons and their riders. We follow the dragon Temeraire a Chinese Celestial and his Captain, William Lawrence, on their adventures from the thick of war with the French, to China and Africa in the later books.

The writing is good, the relationship between Lawrence and Temeraire almost paternal and very endearing and Ms. Novik has included journal articles, pencil sketches of breeds of dragons, their treatment in society and a whole lot of other fun appendixes to the books.

And if you like to be on the ball wrt films, I just found out that Peter Jackson is going to be converting these to film. I've never been more excited!!!!

The Sharing Knife Series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series Order
Beguilement, Legacy, Passage and Horizon

Sharing knife combines my two of my favorite themes - fantasy and forbidden romance. This four book series is about the adventures of a young 'farmer' (in the sharing knife world, people without any ability to manipulate nature around them ie. no magic) girl Fawn and Dag a 'Lakewalker' or the magical sort. Neither of the groups understands or communicates with the other.

Lakewalkers protect the farmers from malices, creatures that drain nature around them and convert the world to a barren landscape. The story starts after a great war between malices and Lakewalkers and the survivors who have slowly started rebuilding their world.

This series has some fascinating character studies about the nature of prejudice intertwined with intricate and well thought out world building. The first two books cover Fawn and Dag's new relationship and discovery of each other. The last two books deal with them becoming a cohesive family unit and influencing the people around them in an effort to get Farmers and Lakewalkers to cohabitate and cooperate. Huh, I've made it sound dry, but it's a truly enjoyable series!!


avdi said...

1/6 who is lucky enough to read your blog. :D

Peter Jackson making movies.. wow ! One should read them before he gets started.

These do sound yummy. I should go back to that 50% off store and see if these are available there :D

samir said...

Seconding Ava, 2/6 of the lucky ones.
The rest of the blog-readers do not know what they are missing.

couchpapaya said...

Avdi, Samir - Thanks guys :) I just took the number off the top of my head, though i doubt I'm far off!

Avdi - I just read some more about it, apparently he's going to make a series (not a movie). But I think it will be super exciting. Yeah, stock up while you can, 50% is just awesome :D

Yword said...

I definitely like to be on the ball wrt films.......:)so thanks for that.
Have never read a series since school. Read only the 1st book of Harry Potter. But the thief one sounds lovely.

couchpapaya said...

Yword - I knew someone would be :) Anyways, let me know if you pick any of them up!

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