Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Someone Who Doesn’t Read…FANTASY
Awesome top ten topic for this week! Naturally I chose the fantasy genre because it’s always been my first and foremost favourite genre in fiction. I love the genre because there’s just so many things you could explore with it, both in terms of character drama and scenarios. So yeah, if you’re don’t read this genre, maybe you’d be interested in checking out what I have to recommend? ^_~
01. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld — Yeah, I actually have no particular book in mind to recommend from him because you could start with any of his Discworld novels and it would serve as a great introduction to the zany and hilarious world of…Discworld =P (okay, that sentence was redundant) I personally have read almost all of the books featuring Death front and centre because he’s my favourite character so any of those books would work: Mort, Reaper Man, Hogfather, etc.
02. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (review) — No fantasy list is ever really complete without a bit of Tolkien in there somewhere. I opted to suggest The Hobbit as opposed to LOTR for those who don’t read fantasy because it serves as a good introduction to Middle Earth; it is also not as dense in lore, language and lineage as LOTR (I personally love that stuff, but I know it can be a turn-off for some people). The timing for this list is great seeing as the movie coming out in December =)
03. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn (review) — I personally think Sanderson’s one of the best novelists in the genre right now; he is consistently mindblowing in his worldbuilding, imagination and plot and he has quite a disciplined work ethic when it comes to producing books. He’s currently finishing up Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series but his own works have been just as fantastic. I recommend Mistborn over his standalones because it really shows his range as a writer; it’s the first in a trilogy but you could opt to just read the first if you’re not big on reading trilogies. Not to mention it’s pure entertaining, a mix of the fantasy tropes of defeating an evil ruler and engaging in an intriguing and dangerous heist.
04. Garth Nix’s Sabriel (review for the trilogy, SPOILERS) — I read this book many years ago and I quite enjoyed how unique and detailed the magic system is (Sabriel was trained to put the dead back to rest, as opposed to raising them) and the world that Nix created for the characters. The characters were also engaging, with their own flaws and secrets from the past. If you enjoy this book, you will certainly enjoy the rest of the trilogy, which expands on the world that Nix created in the first book.
05. George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (review) — If you’re not so big on magical systems and fantastical worlds, there’s GRRM’s A Game of Thrones, the first in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. The magic in his books is relatively low, focusing more on character conflicts and the the harsh, gritty reality (akin to the European medieval ages) that the characters reside it. It’s quite a complex and interesting world tackling a variety of different themes such as power and corruption, and of course his books are super famous after the television show aired last year.
06. Guy Gabriel Kay’s Tigana — It’s a rarity to find standalone novels in the fantasy genre; not to say they aren’t there, but it requires a bit of looking around. Guy Gabriel Kay (fellow Canadian!) is one of those authors in the genre who does write a lot of standalones as oppose to trilogies (though he has written one). I recommend Tigana because it’s self-contained but it explores a lot of issues such as national identity and survival (topics that happen to be my academic interests as well) within a fully-realised world. It’s been a while since I’ve read this book but I remember feeling astounded by the depth and beauty of this novel.
07. Carol Berg’s Lighthouse duology — I forgot how I came across this duology but it’s an interesting story because the main character is just so flawed, well beyond that of an anti-hero. I also found the story interesting because the author explores the issue of addiction–in this case, a magical form of addiction involving a particular type of seed–something you don’t see very often in the fantasy genre involving supernatural/fantastica/magical elements (though Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy does explore this). I also enjoyed the family and character dynamics, which made for an interesting read.
08. Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (review) — If you’re into nineteenth century literature or history/culture, this is an interesting novel for you. It’s a mix of that and magic that’s almost academic in a sense yet rooted in an old, faerie form of magic. It’s hard to explain but it’s very well-fleshed out, both the story, the characters and the world that the story takes place in. There’s a lot of twists and turns in the story and explores the consequences of awakening older forms of magic. It’s a tome of the novel, but it’s totally worth it.
09. Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora (review) — This book is actually the first in a series, but it works well as a standalone. Unlike a lot of the books I mentioned here on this list, the story is relatively self-contained, focusing on a group of thieves in the city of Camorr trying to pull off a complicated heist. Sounds simple enough, eh? Except there’s a lot of interesting things that happen along the way and the grittiness of it is akin to GRRM’s books. There’s also a lot of great one-liners in this book that had me cracking up as well as some memorable characters; the title character himself was very interesting with lots of secrets in his past.
10. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (review) — Gaiman’s another one of those big names in the genre; he’s a very unique writer who comes up with these strange and amazing tales and worlds. I thought about choosing Stardust for this list but in the end chose The Graveyard Book because it has both the dark fantastical elements while still being set in our world—the novel is just so Gaiman (yes, he is an adjective unto himself). I think it’s a good introduction to his works.