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I need help. With books.


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I know that there are some other threads like this floating around, so sorry about that. But I have some specific requests.

I have been trying to find good fantasy lately that is, well, good. I'm currently reading tWoT (book 6), and just need a good list I can refer back to when starting something new. 

I need some solid recommendations that are nothing beyond tWoT content wise (as Brandon says, mature themes without mature content (I think)), are well written, don't focus too much on the romance aspect of the story, and are just awesome. Preferably with dragons and swords and stuff. :)

It's super hard to find solid fantasy in the YA genere that doesn't have a huge focus on the romance, and most of them that I have read lately have had the same sort of feeling to them. (There are some exceptions. I love Six of Crows, and Fablehaven is amazing, even though Fablehaven could arguably be children's).

So YA, adult, even good children's fantasy. (Only if the children's fantasy is leaning a little to the dark side. Beyonders, Happenstance Found, Septimus Heap, etc).

Oh, and science fiction. I love Ray Bradbury's stuff, and have recently read some old Sci-Fi short stories and LOVED them. 

So... Thanks!

Edited by Tesh
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Have you read The Neverending Story by Michael Ende? That book is so storming childish but every time I read it I find it a bit darker. Really, the protagonist has a real rollercoaster of an arc for an 11-year old. Also there's no romance, at least concerning the main characters.

As for the plot, well, as I said it's pretty childish but I really love it. A kid finds a book which, the more he reads it, the more he's convinced it's real.

Not sure if it's what you're looking for but I wouldn't miss the chance to recommend that book to anyone.

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The Bone omnibus by Jeff Smith. It’s a graphic novel, but imagine a cross of LOTR with Calvin and Hobbes. 

Im currently reading the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It’s absolutely epic and the content is probably even with WoT maturity wise. The first is called a Empire of Black and Gold

Im also a big Ray Bradbury fan. I actually enjoy his short stories more than his novels though. Check out “The Stories of Ray Bradbury” published by Everyman’s library. It collects 100 of his best stories. Also check out “Bradbury Stories 100 of his most celebrated Tales” for another great collection. There is no overlap between the two so 200 stories with no duplicates

Edited by Ammanas
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If there's one thing I'm good for, it's book recommendations. What's frustrating is that I know that there are more that I should have mentioned! 

Books I have personally read and highly recommend:

Fantasy with Dragons:

  • The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery - Absolute classic! This is what got me personally into dragons. 
  • Temeraire series by Naomi Novik - What if the Neapolitan War had dragons?

Fantasy with Lots of Magic:

  • Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab - Won Goodreads fantasy book of the year a few years ago for good reason.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud - I agree with @Nameless on this one. Sarcastic jinn!
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (not to mention the movie!) - Absolute fantasy classic.
  • Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden - Russian folklore, slow to get into, then rushes you through the next two books before you've blinked.
  • Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima - This one has romance, but it's rather well written and I've reread this series multiple times.
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine - Steampunk. What if the printing press was never invented, and the Library of Alexandra became a world power?
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - A YA classic for good reason. My pick-me-up series when I'm in a foul mood.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Need I say more?
  • Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - Fantasy classic I've read more times than I can count. 

Fantasy with a Touch of Magic:

  • The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whaler Turner - Full of twists and turns, and a quick read. Very witty, I plowed through the entire series in a week. Last book is coming out this August.
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - In 1899 New York, a Golem and a Jinni must find their place in the world or risk discovery and destruction. 
  • Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke - Another YA classic, my go-to whenever I travel. My Inkheart book is falling apart.


  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - YA - Has romance, lots of it, but they are thoroughly enjoyable books. 
  • Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card - A sci-fi classic like Dune by Frank Herbert. 
  • The Martian by Andy Weir - Hilarious and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Has a faithful movie adaptation. 

Books I have personally read and thoroughly enjoyed:

Fantasy with Dragons:

  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - What if dragons could turn into people?
  • Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland - A young YA series that is massively popular right now. 

Fantasy with Lots of Magic:

  • Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto - Forget dragons, people ride phoenixes in this series.
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (I actually barely got through this book because it is grimdark fantasy. Not for me, but a good book for others)
  • Simon Snow series by Rainbow Rowell - Not much in the way of plot, but has some of the best written characters of any author I know.
  • Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer - Young YA classic
  • Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - Witty urban fantasy that pulls no punches on its poor protagonist. 
  • The Seeds of Dissolution by William C. Tracy - Aliens and magic! 
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - A circus that mysteriously arrives at night, and is gone by morning.

Fantasy with a Touch of Magic:

  • The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz - A YA book with religious overtones, about three children believed to be saints.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - A baby who escapes his family's murderer is raised by ghosts.
  • Girls of Fire by Natasha Ngan - Two girls struggle to find love in a caste system run by demons. 
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet - A bizarre mix of sci-fi and fantasy. 
  • The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus - Written after the movie, and has one of those ways with words where you keep hearing the book after you set it down.
  • Gentleman Bastard series (aka Locke Lamora series) by Scott Lynch 
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - Need I say more?
  • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan - A YA historical fiction about a magical harmonica
  • Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas


  • Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor - African sci-fi! 
  • Dune series by Frank Herbert - A sci-fi classic, but it is a thick read. 


  • The Help by Katherin Stockett - Recognizing that everyone has a voice.
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - Now I'm addicted to old timey circuses, thanks. 
  • Anything by Sarah Dunant, who writes Renaissance historical fiction


Edited by Snakenaps
I knew there were books I forgot...
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Books recommended to me in past threads (some of which I have already read):





  • The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (It’s Kingkiller. Need I say more? A modern staple of fantasy with some gorgeous prose)
  • The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks (Eeeeeeeeeh! Brent Weeks is my favorite author second only to Brandon. The stories they both tell tend to be loved by the same kind of people, so if you like one, chances are you’ll like the other)
  • The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie (be warned it’s grim dark. But, it’s the best grimdark out there, even better than ASOIAF in my opinion)
  • The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brent Weeks (this guy was a student of Brandon’s at BYU)
  • The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin (Absolutely brilliant. Every single book in the series won the Hugo for best novel, making Jemisin the first to win the award 3 years consecutively. The things she can do with words and narrative...)
  • The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters (fantastic debut novel. Winters is one to watch out for in coming years)






  • The Wheel of Time - bonus in that the last few books were written by Brandon
  • Chronicles of Narnia - for more than just the young, and my own introduction to fantasy
  • The Lord of the Rings - you probably have, but it is a classic, and one of the best in the genre
  • The Elenium and the Belgariad by David Eddings - showing how you can take cliches and still make a great story
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov - one of the greatest classics of science fiction, and the future of his Empire and Robot's series also, tying them together
  • Dune by Frank Herbert - philosophy and ecology all wrapped up in a feudal future






  • The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay  (my all time favorite fantasy series, from the 80's)
  • Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Urban Fantasy at it's best)
  • Codex Alera by Jim Butcher (literally started as a bet that he couldnt combine Pokemon with The Lost Roman Legion)
  • Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher (Airships and crystal power and plot-relevant Tea time and talking cat mafia, what more could you ask for?)






  • The First Formic War by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
  • The Second Formic War by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston






  • Pit Dragon Series by Yolen
  • Uplift series by David Brin
  • Circle of Magic (one of the best soft magic systems ever) by Tamora Peirce
  • All of the more recent Thrawn novels by Timothy Zahn
  • Legends of the First Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Old Man's War by John Scalzi
  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • I Robot by Isaac Asimov




 I cannot recommend Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter enough as a new novel.



A not very commonly know book is Dawn of Wonder. But OMG is it good. It's one of the best fantasy books that I've ever read. Although you can tell that the author has a much simpler writing style, the plot is amazing.:)


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Books I Have Heard Good/Great Things About From Other Sources:

  • American Gods by Neal Gaiman
  • The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  • The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad 
  • His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers
  • The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff
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Looks like pretty much everything I'd mention has already been, but no harm in repeating things. Codex Alera sounds like it might be your sort of thing (TVTropes describes it as 'Cool versus Awesome: The Series' which is pretty apt) and while it's got some romance aspects they're not what dominates the writing and they're handled in a fairly similar manner to how Brandon writes them. It's got racially-linked magic and the humans' system is, if not quite at Brandon levels of analyzed magic, pretty consistent once you get to understanding how each of the six forms of furycrafting work. And then there's Butcher's story of how he got the idea, which is so good that if it hadn't really happened that way, it would have been necessary to invent that it did because of how perfect it is. He got into an argument about whether concept or craft was more important, came down on the side of the latter and asked the other person to give him not one but two ideas they felt were bad and he'd build a story around them. And he did. :D

Likewise his Dresden Files series (urban fantasy which may or may not be your thing) and Cinder Spires, which was my first exposure to Butcher specifically because Brandon mentioned reading The Aeronaut's Windlass at a signing. I figure anybody that he reads and especially anybody that he recommends is worth a look.

The Gentleman Bastard sequence is basically Ocean's Eleven in Fantasy Venice, or at least it starts out that way. It's quite a bit darker in tone but if that's not a turnoff for you and you liked the caper aspects of Mistborn: The Final Empire you might consider giving The Lies of Locke Lamora a look. The fact that Lynch named his protagonist after the thief treasure hunter from Final Fantasy VI should tell you something right there. My biggest issue with the series is simply how long we've been going between installments as of late. We're so spoiled by Brandon's pace...

I haven't finished Rothfuss' books yet (just Name of the Wind so far) but I'll echo that one as something you might really like. I got into it because a friend who I share book tips with told me I had to read it and in return I got her to pick up Warbreaker. I'd say we both won. xD

In the realm of science fiction, have you read anything by Neal Stephenson? He's one of my favorite authors all-around and he's written so many different works that I can almost guarantee you'll find something you like in there. He's done Post-Cyberpunk with Snow Crash (one of my favorite books of all time, I owe a lot to the teacher who loaned me a copy of it to read) and The Diamond Age, he's done historical fiction with Cryptonomicon (shading into near-future in the 'present day' part of the story) and the Baroque Cycle and straight sci-fi with Anathem and Seveneves to name all his works that I've finished. Oh, and Zodiac and The Big U which are a bit different, though if you are by any chance familiar with the BOFH stories, you'll find the protagonist of the former is pretty much the titular character as a radical environmental activist instead of a bitter network admin.

Edited by Weltall
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58 minutes ago, Weltall said:

Looks like pretty much everything I'd mention has already been, but no harm in repeating things. 

Snow Crash (one of my favorite books of all time, I owe a lot to the teacher who loaned me a copy of it to read)

I agree in repeating because if enough people praise a book, I tend to pick it up. I assume most people are the same way. 

I shall make my point by saying Snow Crash is EXCELLENT. I'll back you up on that book. Probably one of the weirdest books I've ever read and thoroughly enjoyed. I just never know how to describe that book to someone...

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8 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden - Russian folklore, slow to get into, then rushes you through the next two books before you've blinked.

Yes yes yes to this. I love the Winternight Trilogy! The fairytale atmosphere is so magical.

If you’re not opposed to reading middle grade, the Nevermoor series is amazing. Reading it is like being wrapped up in a comfy blanket of nostalgia (even though I’d never read it before) while sipping hot chocolate with some fluffy marshmallows on the side. I was gifted the first book by someone who didn’t know me very well or the reading world in general, thought “ugh, middle grade”, then read it and loved it. That said, it’s not really a dark series.

The Cassidy Blake series by V. E. Schwab is also middle grade, but it was such a fun book. The first book is City of Ghosts, and this one is darker. 

I don’t read that much ya fantasy, but I can recommend Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology. The first book is quite heavy on the romance, but I didn’t even care that much, and I usually get annoyed whenever a romantic subplot takes over the story. The second book, however, is just amazing and it definitely gets darker.

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28 minutes ago, Feruchemal Panda said:

I read the Wings of fire books and (sorry WoF fans) it's not very good.:mellow:

WoF is amazingly well-written, at least in my opinion. Tui isn’t perfect, no one is, but she does a lot of things right and definitely gets better over time as she writes more. (On that note, she and her sister Kari Sutherland also wrote a trilogy called Menagerie which is really fun and also has dragons.) 

Also, Tesh, I don’t think this has been mentioned yet because I only skimmed this thread, but The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron is fantastic epic fantasy with very little focus on the romance (I didn’t even realize there was going to be one until book four, and then it’s pretty low-key). 

Been a while since I reread this series but I remember really enjoying The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. 

The Jinx books by Sage Blackwood are great. 

Savvy and its sequels Scumble and Switch by Ingrid Law are fun. 

Eon and Eona are dragon fantasy that’s a little darker by Alison Goodman. (Edit: these ones do have a heavier focus on romance, sorry) 

Marissa Meyer wrote the Lunar Chronicles which have already been listed, but equally good is her Renegades trilogy. (Edit: these ones also have a heavier focus on romance, sorry) 

Sorry if I missed any of these being mentioned earlier in the thread. Most of them are around middle-school level, Goodman and Meyer are more teen, Aaron is adult. But they’re all varying degrees of great. 

I hope you find a lot of stuff you like, sule! 

Edited by AonEne
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40 minutes ago, Feruchemal Panda said:

I read the Wings of fire books and (sorry WoF fans) it's not very good.:mellow:

I can respect your opinion! I only read the first one because one of my students was so obsessed that she memorized the entire prophecy. I hold different expectations for younger grade books that the books that I typically pick up by choice. I enjoyed them for what they were, and if a person doesn't like them, that's totally fine by me! If I recommend them, some stranger reads them and loves them, then they are suddenly a part of a currently active community. Which is nice. 

19 minutes ago, AonEne said:

Eon and Eona are dragon fantasy that’s a little darker by Alison Goodman. (Edit: these ones do have a heavier focus on romance, sorry) 

I agree with this recommendation. I've read both Eon and Eona twice. 

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57 minutes ago, Feruchemal Panda said:

I read the Wings of fire books and (sorry WoF fans) it's not very good.:mellow:

I have only read bits and pieces of it, but from what i have read it sounds really good! 


35 minutes ago, AonEne said:

WoF is amazingly well-written

I hope you find a lot of stuff you like, sule! 

BIG diddo!


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40 minutes ago, Feruchemal Panda said:

OK, sure some of the character's are good but not the best ever.

I wasn’t just talking about the characters. But you’re entitled to your own opinion. 

35 minutes ago, Snakenaps said:

...one of my students was so obsessed that she memorized the entire prophecy. 

Lol, I did that when I was in elementary school... 

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Elementary school was when i was obsessed with Percy Jackson. I knew every little thing about that series and so did my friend. Harry Potter was a close second, then followed by Septimus Heap and The Alchemist series. And i need to re-read all of those...

My friend and i would always get together and make our own stories and stuff. She was always Annabeth and Hermione, and i was everyone else. :)

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