Friday, August 14, 2015

Binge Reading: It's An Epic Thing

I've been on an epic reading binge lately, and when I say "epic", I mean that quite literally. I simply cannot seem to get enough of swordfights and monsters, silver-tongued thieves and charming rogues, magical quests and deadly vendettas! Epic fantasy/adventure has consumed a lot of my reading time this summer, and it's been awesome!

My epic fantasy binge began when I picked up PRINCE OF THORNS (Book #1 in the Broken Empire series) by Mark Lawrence. I devoured it, and promptly moved on to EMPEROR OF THORNS and KING OF THORNS. Lawrence's anti-hero for this trilogy, Jorg Ancrath, is one of the most fascinating characters I've ever encountered - imminently hateable yet impossibly appealing. He's a thieving, charming, murdering rogue, dear readers, lying and cheating his way through a very tricky backdrop of warfare and magic, with a backstory like no other, and a seemingly uncanny knack for survival. Is he good? Is he evil? Does he even know the difference anymore? Oh, I loved this series, and immediately starting looking for more along the same lines.

My search led me to Robin Hobb's "Farseer Trilogy": ASSASSIN'S APPRENTICE, ROYAL ASSASSIN, and ASSASSIN'S QUEST.  Here I found another unlikely hero, Fitzchivalry Farseer. Fitz is the bastard son of a prince who, denied his crown through an accident of birth, has inherited his father's psychic abilities, and is therefore put to use as a tool and assassin by the same royal family who otherwise disdains him. It's a twisted tale of danger and intrigue, exploring the true nature of loyalty and honor, with a wonderful first-person hero and some really good side characters.

Then, I was delighted to discover that one of the side characters, known simply as The Fool, had a trilogy of his own, which Robin Hobb dubbed "The Tawny Man" trilogy. Just like the first three books by Hobb, I loved FOOL'S ERRAND, GOLDEN FOOL, and FOOL'S FATE, in large part because they were a continuation of FitzChivalry's Farseer's story.

You'd think I'd have had enough epic fantasy by then, but no..... I went on to read more books by Robin Hobb, picking up her "Soldier's Son" series, FOREST MAGE, SHAMAN'S CROSSING and RENEGADE MAGIC.  Sadly, I didn't find this series nearly as good as the first two, but it was definitely different from anything I'd read before, so I read it through to the end.  Somewhere in the middle of this epic fantasy binge, I also read RISE OF EMPIRE and THEFT OF SWORDS by Michael J. Sullivan, PRINCE OF FOOLS by Mark Lawrence, and THE THIEF, THE KING OF ATTOLIA and THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA by Megan Whalen Turner, and enjoyed them all.
My next fantasy/adventure read will be LUCK IN THE SHADOWS by Lynn Flewelling. It's the first book in her "Nightrunner" series, and it looks like there are five more for me to read when I've finished! Woohoo!!!

Maybe by then I'll be off my epic fantasy binge, but I kind of doubt it. Bring on the swordfights and the dashing ne'er-do-wells who always save the day in the end! Bring on the magic and the questing and the monsters who lurk in the shadows! Show me buried treasures and hidden secrets, mountain aeries and deep, dark caves!

And hey, don't worry about me... I can stop reading epic fantasy adventures anytime I want to.

I just don't want to.

Any recommendations for other epic reads I may have missed?

Terri Garey is a Supernatural Underground author who writes award-winning and critically-acclaimed urban fantasy. Even though she's a big scaredy-cat who can't watch horror movies or visit haunted houses, she loves moonlit graveyards, moss-covered headstones and the idea that life goes on even after it's over. Her latest release is WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD, and you can visit her on the web at, or friend her on Facebook.


Beth Caudill said...

Among Thieves is the first A Tale of Kin series by Douglas Hulick

I love Janny Wurts. Her War of Light and Shadows is awesome. It starts with The Curse of the Mistwraithe and goes on and on. There are 8 books now I think. She is following an arc and is currently in arc 4 of 5.

Helen Lowe said...

Great reads, Terri--and as you know epic fantasy is dear to my heart.:) I love Guy Gavriel Kay, especially novels like 'Tigana' and 'A Song for Arbonne', but have also just finished reading Lois McMaster Bujold's 'Paladin of Souls', the sequel to 'Curse of Chalion.' Both these authors write historically infused Fantasy, which should appeal to your love of historical fiction as well.

Terri Garey said...

Ooo, some great suggestions already! Yes, Helen, I do love historicals, so any blending of historical fantasy is just icing on the cake!