Datan Nomlibash

Sell me the most underated fantasy novel you know

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Title says it. I am looking for more stuff to read and not having many reading friends around I now look to the shard for suggestions.

Also I'm a little prudish so content warnings for serious stuff would be appreciated.

Also I'm open to scifi if it sounds good enough.

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Star Wars Expanded Universe, all day. It gets a lot of flak, especially some of the earlier books that weren't necessarily of the highest quality, but there is a lot there and it's actually a pretty unique experience. I always tell people to read it through in publication order; while you could get away with reading some of the newer stuff first, I think it's emotionally much more meaningful when you experience some of the twists and turns of the galaxy as a whole (especially the way the New Jedi Order uses all the old Bantam era settings and characters). It's also has basically no graphic content.

If you're interested hard sci-fi, the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell is one I haven't heard anyone talk about, but I love. I got a couple of the early books for Christmas one year when it was first starting and I stuck through it until the end. (Well, I have one more I'm waiting to get in paperback.) The six-book main sequence has an extremely good sense of tension through an arc that covers all six books (as the titular Lost Fleet suffers deterioration and the various captains of the fleet respond to changing circumstances). It's also extremely tactile, with real-life naval tactic inspiration combining with speed-of-light considerations in a way that feels very much like Brandon's First Law, where everything is so well-defined that it's extremely satisfying to see the characters game the system to their advantage. I haven't managed to get too far into the two spinoff series yet, though; but the main sequence, starting with Dauntless, is phenomenal.

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I have some underrated fantasy to recommend :D

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron (here's my review)

Got Luck by Michael Darling (here's my review)

Not strictly a fantasy since there's not actually any magic, but The Hidden Sun by J Lloyd Morgan (my review)

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17 minutes ago, Sunbird said:

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Seconded!

Also, the Riyria Revelations series by Michael J Sullivan. They're absolutely amazing fantasy novels; maybe not on the level of Sanderson, but still one of the few I've enjoyed as much as one of Brandon's. They've got a more "medieval Europe" feeling than most, I think, and a wonderfully well-done conspiracy plot throughout the whole series. They're marvelous. :D  

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I'm not sure you could really call it "underrated" (since it's won about every award out there and got tons of critical acclaim), but Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun flies under the radar a lot. I wrote a review of the first volume, The Shadow of the Torturer, specifically targeted for Sanderson fans in a Facebook group, which you'll find below the spoiler fold, because it's reasonably long.

Spoiler

“We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard defining edges.”

          Severian, the protagonist of Gene Wolfe’s classic Book of the New Sun, knows the truth of this statement better than most, made in the opening pages of The Shadow of the Torturer. It is emblematic of the journey upon which he will soon embark, and applies similarly to the reader as we forge our way, fumbling and gradually finding the path through the self-guiding prose of Gene Wolfe.

          When I first sat down to read The Shadow of the Torturer, I had little idea of what I was getting into. I was eager to begin, but armed with only a glowing recommendation from a fellow writer, I was initially blindsided. You see, The Book of the New Sun is a very tall task—but one absolutely worth the time and effort.

          Following the first-person perspective of Severian, an apprentice and later journeyman in the Guild of Torturers in the very far future of Urth, Wolfe’s sci-fi/fantasy epic is neither traditional nor immediately exciting in the typical form of modern SFF books. As the first installment of the four-book series, The Shadow of the Torturer eschews the standard buildup and narrative arc, instead veering sharply sideways halfway through to make its meandering, episodic way to an abrupt conclusion.

          It is not the plot that draws one into the story, however. Rather, it is the richness with which Wolfe crafts his characters and world, the way he forces his readers to smarten up and follow Severian through the mind-bogglingly huge city of Nessus and the multilayered and metaphorical experiences he has. For the everyday reader, a dictionary at hand is mandatory; for the highly educated one, it is perhaps even more important, because Wolfe plays with the roots and origins of nearly every word on the page. In fact, it is an achievement that Wolfe used only real words in this epic: nothing is made up.

          Normally when I review a book that I enjoyed, I throw around terms like “fast-paced” and “gripping” and “action-packed,” but I really cannot say that about The Shadow of the Torturer. Oh, there is action, certainly. There are moments of violence, and there are scenes revolving around mortal peril, but the book is largely about the journey. It’s about Severian growing and learning from his mistakes, taking on a larger role, and accepting responsibility for himself. It’s about a young man who lived a very sheltered life being thrust into a new, huge world and overcoming his naïveté to get himself on the proper road to his destiny. It’s about the reader discovering, like Severian, that there is more than meets the eye, and that everyone can grow wiser through the experiences in The Book of the New Sun.

          For fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, who enjoy digging deep and finding foreshadowing, metaplots, and hidden gems, Wolfe represents the next step in your fantasy reading journey. Take the plunge from cinematic action sequences to profound characterization; move from surface-level conversations and basic plotlines to challenging vocabulary, foreshadowing, layered narratives, and insight that plumbs the depths of human experience.

          I have to recommend this series to any serious reader of epic fantasy, and to anyone who wants a rewarding challenge to dive into. Gene Wolfe is the best writer of prose I’ve ever read, perhaps the greatest living writer of the English language—and The Shadow of the Torturer is just the first, delicate step in a journey that will leave indelible marks on any reader

 

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Monarchies of God series by Paul Kearney. One of my all time favorites!

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It's not the fastest paced fantasy series around, but the Pellinor Saga by Alison Croggon is really beautifully written. The first book should be either The Naming or The Gift (AFAIK published under either name depending on area). The magic system is rather vaguely defined, but a lot of work went into world building and poems.

There even are (fake? I'm 90% sure that they're fake) annotations and citations of publications concerning the culture and the island on which the story takes place, introducing it as the origin of the Atlantis mythos with magic and also some science.

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Try the Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny, it's got ten books available in one volume, the first 5 books are linked to one character and the other 5 to another. Zelazny did an amazing job in Worldbuilding and insane reality changing fantasy. It starts off by the main character having amnesia, then being slowly introduced to the whole magic system and world. There is SOIAF style intrigue, there is amazing visual magic, there are very likable characters and there's a good plot. Sold yet?

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If you don't mind Young Adult fiction, I recommend Eon and Eona by Allison Goodman. It takes place in an asian fantasy setting, with dragons and magic, etc. There's only two books of the series and if I remember correctly there's a few romance scenes in the second book, but otherwise it's a fantastic series.

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