Fantasy Book Reviews

Hi. I have read a lot of science fantasy books in my time and this page is where I am going to tell you about the books you should be reading. If I'm feeling nice, I may even spare you some time and tell you about the science fantasy books you should be avoiding as well. I'll start by writing a little introduction to what I look for in a book (actually I lied, I started with what I don't look for in a book)

I guess over the years I have come to prefer books where I don't automatically know what the story line is. I prefer a book to be a bit of a challenge to read. I don't want to read the first chapter and already know that "Bob" (main character) is going to go off and find the "thing-a-ma-jig" (some kind of magic item) and kill "Joe" (okay, maybe he doesn't sound it, but he is the evil dude) whilst travelling to "Mount Scarey" (destination where something (scarey) is going to happen, needs saving, is the residence of thing-a-ma-jig or countless other variations that have been done to death) and at the end, Bob marries "Jane" (some hot chick who is probably a princess, which more than likely is a big surprise to Bob) and his tag along party all cheer and get merry... apart from maybe "Milton" (you don't want to be Milton, he is one of Bob's mates, the poor sod who nobody took that much notice of and gets knocked off at the end so we can feel like there was great loss in getting to Mount Scarey). Sound like a David Eddings book to you?

Don't get me wrong, I loved David Eddings (well his books) when I was starting out. I probably would enjoy them if I read them again. If you haven't read them, you will probably enjoy them too. I'm just saying that I look for something a little more in my books these days.

Luckily for me (and you) I have some good friends who get to read more science fantasy books than I do and they generally point me in the right directions. I'm going to try dredge up the memories every now and again and recall unto you my recollections of these books.

My taste in books seems to have moved towards books that can be confusing. This doesn't mean they are poorly written, it is more that the author allows you to think and doesn't hand feed you every plot. The plot can quite often change from what you originally thought it was going to be. This find this helps keep me awake whilst reading.

Anyway, enough of my ranting, let's see what I thought of some real writers.

Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson is an amazing author. If I could write with the style of any author, my current choice would be Erikson. He has an uncanny ability to be able to provide such rich feelings of history and depth in his writing. I think some people may find his writing style a little hard to grasp. In fact, you are pretty much left in the dark by Erikson. He just plows along telling the story as if you already know details, or just hides them from you. It is fantastic. No spoon fed storylines from Erikson.

Tales of the Malazan, Books of the Fallen

Gardens of the Moon, Steven Erikson

Erikson's first book, "Gardens of the Moon" totally blew me away. Book 1 (Gardens of the Moon has several "Books" within it) got me hooked pretty early on. For those who know Warhammer 40K, I felt it had a very similar dark feel. There are lots of powerful characters, each brought to life with great detail by Eriksons writing style.

Whilst the start of Book 2 kind of made me feel a little ripped off after the amazing world and feelings that were presented in Book 1, the new characters introduced soon make their presence felt. Erikson has a vast number of characters in his book. Just when you think that "this" one must be the most powerful guy in the universe, along comes another one. Note: I'm not saying that having powerful characters makes a good story, Erikson manages to weave the characters into the story in a really convincing way.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will probably read all the next books in a row.

Deadhouse Gates, Steven Erikson

I still half way through this book. It is rather strange as you don't see a lot of the people who are in the first one, although I am assured that the other characters do pop back into the action is subsequent books in the Malazan series.

It is also quite a hard book to read. I'm not saying it isn't good, it just doesn't compel me to read it as much as the first one. The writing, the story and the characters are all still very strong and presented in a similar manner to what I found so enjoyable in the first book. More to come when I finish it.