Book recommendations wanted

I’m in the mood for some fantasy. Doesn’t happen often, but sometimes that’s what I really want to read. But it’s hard to find something I like because a) there has to be some romance, and b) I’m not super-familiar with the genre. So I thought I’d tell you guys about some books I’ve loved that are still sitting on my favs shelf and maybe those of you who are more familiar could give me some ideas.

I don’t even know that I want to contemplate how long ago it was that I read “The Keltiad” series. In the books, a group of people from Earth (Ireland), were able to travel through space at an insanely early point in history (by magical religious science, I guess). On the planet of Keltia and it’s surrounding planetary bodies, they established a whole new Keltic civilization. Now, well into the future, a small group of Earth explorers happens upon this hidden civilization out in space. To make things interesting, they show up at the beginnings of what will become a big political drama and war.

While there was a bit of romance that pulled me through the books, the strength of these is the amazingly detailed world-building and the development of the main character, Aeron, who is the slightly reluctant though duty-bound Queen of Keltia.

Rhapsody, Prophecy, and Destiny also blew my mind. And the romance in this one was very important in the story. Well, at least to me it was. I could not stop reading these books until the relationship was resolved. And it was AMAZING!!! Basically, character from different times and places who never should have met–do, which changes both their lives. By the time they struggle back to being in the same time and place, they’re so completely altered that they don’t even recognize each other. And then you have to go on reading it, knowing it, and waiting for the moment when they figure it out and all is revealed. ARG! It was awesome reading.

Aside from that, the imagination in this thing! Incredible world-building and description, totally interesting characters, some of whom were incredibly alien and yet very, very real.

The Witches of Eileanan series could be a little uneven in that it didn’t always follow the same characters. It started with one girl, then broke from her to mainly follow another, and then at once point diverged from both of them and a whole book followed a more minor character. But that’s okay, because it was kind of awesome.

If I remember right, witchcraft was outlawed and being a witch was a crime, which was unfortunate because having magic wasn’t a choice. So there was a whole not so secret secret police running around hunting witches, a resistance, all that good stuff. Lots of remarkably heroic yet flawed characters facing all kind of adversity such that I was practically bouncing up and down rooting for them and couldn’t stop reading these, one after another.

One girl definitely had a better love life than the other, and those relationships didn’t drive the plot. But the characters were incredible. The world-building (see a theme in what I like?)! The surprises in the world were a constant source of delight for me. Maybe that’s partly because I don’t read a lot in this genre. Maybe I’m easily impressed. But I thought these books were brilliant.

Wizard’s First Rule is the first of the Sword of Truth series on which the television series Legend of the Seeker is, somewhat loosely IMO, based. Character development here was amazing (I know, I am repetitive and have a limited vocabulary). Richard Cypher will always be one of my favorite characters. In fact, I couldn’t finish the third book or go farther in the series because I just plain couldn’t stand all the torture of poor Richard! Terry Goodkind really knows how to torment a protag.

The romance in this is awesome if you’re totally drawn in by the seemingly impossible relationship. Which I am. And this being fantasy, of course I couldn’t tell how or even if it could possibly work out for these guys. Definitely part of what kept me turning pages. But it’s also that Richard, just a simple, good guy who was just minding his business with no idea he had a destiny, got on board with the world-saving and always chose the right thing even though it was pretty much always the really had thing.

AGAIN, featuring stupendous world-building in addition to the awesome characterization. Maybe it’s the fantastic worlds that make these books stand out in my memory when so many romantic suspense novels just run together in my head.

Okay, so those are some examples of things I’ve loved that I’m in the mood for more of. Anyone have any ideas for me?


Filed under books

13 responses to “Book recommendations wanted

  1. Claire

    Have you read any of Kristin Cashore’s books? They’re YA, but they’re EXCELLENT fantasy — fantastic world-building, complex characters, and lovely, complicated romances. The first two books, GRACELING and FIRE, are two of my favorites of all time. The third book, BITTERBLUE, comes out May 1st, and is my favorite of the three. They just keep getting better and better!

    What about Robin McKinley? THE HERO AND THE CROWN is absolutely sublime, and there’s even a love triangle that I don’t want to roll my eyes at! Gorgeous, gorgeous world-building, and the MC, Aerin, is wonderfully rich.

    I don’t know if there’s any romance in this book, but one of my dear friends has been trying to get me to read TIGANA by Guy Gavriel Kay for AGES. She says it’s the best fantasy book she’s ever read. I really need to get on that!

    I WOULD recommend George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (the series off of which the Game of Thrones TV series is based), but there’s not a lot of romance in it, so I’m not sure you’d enjoy it. Talk about awesome world-building and crazy-complex characters, though!

    • Thanks, Claire! I knew you’d have some ideas. I’ll look into those. I know I started Graceling but I put it down and didn’t pick it back up. Maybe I just didn’t get far enough. I started Game of Thrones but after feeling like I was pushing to keep going for a while, something happened I really didn’t like and I quit it. I’ve been thinking about going back, though.

      I’m completely intrigued by the notion of a readable love triangle. Usually they are of the not good.

  2. I think you would enjoy “The Griffin’s daughter” trilogy by Leslie Ann Moore

  3. Just read the most awesome first three books in a fantasy series–there’s a fourth one coming out this fall, which will be the last, I think. It’s called the Seven Realms series, by Cinda Williams Chima. The first book is called The Demon King. It takes…maybe two or three chapters to start to get cooking, but once it does…oh crap. I could not put the things down! And most fantasy moves kind of slow for me, but these were… awesome. The love triangles are simply riveting as well. Highly recommended.

  4. Try the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. It’s got a kick-ass heroine, magic, adventure, and of course, romance 😀

  5. asraidevin

    Oh, you have to go on in the Sword of Truth Series. I read the second book in one day because I had to see how Richard got out of the spot he was forced into. The sixth? book “Faith of the Fallen” remains my favourite. Goodkind is the master of the page turner, his writing keeps me on edge wondering exactly what is going to happen next.

    The series is VERY loosely based on the novels. I enjoyed the lead characters, but the actor playing Richard was too young. Every time I watched it I wanted to make a drinking game out of it.
    2 drinks every time Zedd says “powerful magic”.

  6. Er, besides Tolkien? [g]
    Sam Sykes is an amazing new author!

  7. I really hate to seem like I’m using your blog as a chance to promote my own book, but… Ravenmarked is good old-fashioned epic fantasy with a really strong romantic storyline or two. I recently edited the heck out of it with the help of an amazing content editor, so I feel confident that it’s as polished as it can be. And one reviewer who read it when I first published it compared it to the Sword of Truth series because of the romance.

    Sorry for the self-promotion! But when you mention fantasy and romance together, I guess I sort of think, “hey, that’s what I write.”

    *slinks back to her corner of the Interwebz*

  8. Thanks for the great recs, everyone!

    MissAmyRose- actually, I was kind of hoping some of my author friends would tell me this is what I write (if they do). Seems like it’s time for me to get off my butt and read Ravenmarked!

  9. shannon

    I really loved Love is Darkness and Love is Fear by Caroline Hanson. Patiently waiting for the 3rd installment. Anyone that I have turned onto this series has enjoyed the heck out of it and can’t wait for more.
    I also recommend Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks.

  10. The Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey is great, The Elfstones of Shanara is one of my favorite books of all time, “Manta” was an interesting sic-fi. Looking at nook books, Amanda Hocking’s “Hollowland” about America being taken over by Zombies is awesome (I usually don’t like zombies but the storyline and characters are very captivating and it’s really not gruesome at all), The Demon Trapper’s Daughter (loved this) has some romance and a fiery female main character…Hollow land too. Those are some of my recommendations 🙂

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