Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top ten tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the most unique books.

1. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

The great Silmarillion remains one of a kind to this day, even after gazillions of fantasy books published since. Its format is like a holy scripture and it is not the kind of thing casual fantasy readers could get into, but the stories are captivating. It remains an all time favorite for the cult fans, and for good reason.

2. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

This book was a total shock and awe package for me as a fantasy fan who got the taste of grimdark with A Song of Ice and Fire. Even after reading a number of grimdark books, it still remains unique with the villainous, messed up protagonist who ended up being one of my all time favorites. See my review here.

3. Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher

This book is horribly underrated due to its terribly dull cover (it’s not just me, quite a few book blogger friends also found it a total turn off) and it is quite original and unique for fantasy and grimdark. All of the main characters are horrible people, yet still likeable, and the source of magic being delusions makes an original and fresh magic system. See my review here.

4. The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker

A criminally underrated grimdark masterpiece, The Darkness That Comes Before is the first book of an awesome epic fantasy series without any of the tired tropes and cliches of epic fantasy. In other words, this series has Tolkien-Tier worldbuilding without ripping off Tolkien’s races, tropes and quests. Folk think Asoiaf is the revolutionary fresh breath that changed the fantasy genre, but Bakker’s series does the realism without sacrificing the magic and fantasy elements, and without making it 100% human like Asoiaf. I am a huge fan of Asoiaf, don’t get me wrong, but The Second Apocalypse books are nine kinds of awesome and it’s a crime they aren’t selling hundreds of millions and getting a TV show. See my review.

5. Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

I discovered this book after SPFBO review and Mark Lawrence’s recommendation, and I must say it is quite a fresh new breath in the genre. I’ve read a lot of fantasy and literary fiction, never seen anything quite like Senlin Ascends. It’s kind of a genre bender blending Steampunk fantasy with magical realism with an amazing literary prose, memorable characters and entirely original and fascinating worldbuilding. See my review.

6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I don’t think there is anyone who reads my blog that hasn’t read this one since it was such a huge hit. It was perhaps one of the most unique I have read in any genre: It has no plot at all, no relatable characters and an unreliable narrator, but still makes you turn pages well into the wee hours cause of the interesting adventures, superb worldbuilding and beautiful poetic prose. See my review.

7. Fae – The Wild Hunt by Graham Austin-King

This was one of the few indie books I’ve read and turned out to be surprisingly unique and original. It overturns cliches and features a neat setting with different cultures and shades of grey. Fae appear to be the bad guys at first, but as you read the rest of the trilogy, things turn out to be far more complex than they initially seem. See my review.

Now that I ran out of unique fantasy books (there are sequels to pretty much all of the books I listed so far, but the first ones are always the unique ones you know!) the rest of the list is going to be the books I have read when I was much younger and before I got into fantasy genre.

8. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

This is not a fantasy book. It’s a rather thin, 112 page literary classic and remains as one of the most unique books I have read in my lifetime. Partly because the protagonist and all the characters were seagulls and it wasn’t a children’s book.

9. Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais

This one is not a fantasy book either, it is a superb tome of classic early Renaissance literature, first published in the 16th century and caused a huge scandal for brutally satirizing the church, state, law, education, pretty much all aspects of the civilization of its day and featuring vulgar scenes.
The most unique aspect is the unusual, no holds barred use of language, including but not limited to Rabeleis using made up words such as morecrocastebezasteverestegrigeligoscopapopondrillated, the prose is awesome even in translation (if you happen to pick one of the better translations, that is. People who speak French are lucky they can read this masterpiece in its original language. How I envy them!)

The word “gargantuan” originates from the giant protagonist in here, not to mention Aleister Crowley named his occult order after the Temple of Theleme depicted in this awesome book. Crowley also took Rabeleis’s motto “Do What You Will” as the motto of his Thelemic order. The book is in the public domain and can be downloaded free from Project Gutenberg or you can buy it super cheap from the second hand market.

Despite its age of whopping 6 centuries, it remains incredibly entertaining, unique and timeless. Many parts of this book could have been written yesterday, for many issues it satirizes sadly still exist today. Also it is notorious for featuring tons of fart jokes and toilet humor, along with philosophical discourses, booze propaganda and unicorns.

You can read this vulgar, grotesque and hilarious book and look cool & intellectual cause it’s a 16th century classic 🙂

10. The Trial by Franz Kafka

This is a weird, dark, gloomy and disturbing book, it’s nothing like a normal novel. There is no regular plot and nothing much happens, but it is quite obvious that the layers of allegories and metaphors take a snipe at totalitarianism and brutal bureaucracy on the surface, and the society as a whole. It has an abrupt ending which seems to make no sense, but if you sit down and think about it, it does. I’ve read this book as a teenager (when everyone else was reading Dragonlance, Conan and Elric books, this was the sort of stuff I was reading back then!) and this is really not the kind of book teenage girls read, but it kept my ADHD riddled mind turning the pages, and my mother’s then extremely gloomy workplace with the mechanical calculator machines, endless typewriter clicks and shelves full of dusty folders and ancient tomes re-enacted the setting of the book so the effect was highly amplified – as I mostly read it after school at my mom’s office. I highly recommend this book to people who love grimdark, cause Kafka wrote grimdark before grimdark was cool.

What is your top ten? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Spring TBR and here goes mine (though I highly doubt I will manage all of them in spring, it’s more like spring+summer TBR!)

The White Luck Warrior

The Great Ordeal

Ghosts of Tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m planning to finish all of Aspect-Emperor before the next one (The Unholy Consult) comes out in summer. And there’s the grimdark new release from Michael R. Fletcher I will squeeze in, I normally don’t read western fantasy but Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions books were so damn awesome, I will read everything he publishes cause he writes some of the most messed up and complex grimdark characters out there.

 

The Shadow Rising

The Fires of Heaven

Lord of Chaos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m aching to get back to the Wheel of Time world after reading the first 3 books, but some exciting new releases came out and the news of Unholy Consult coming out got me to grab Aspect-Emperor books. I am really dying to read the rest of the WoT!

 

Danse Macabre

The Falcon Throne

Sword of Destiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course I’m ever the impatient one, which means sometimes I get way too hyped up about certain books and I will grab them before finishing the series I have at hand, no matter how awesome it is. I’m bad like that!

Best Served Cold

 

I have been meaning to read the standalone First Law world books by Abercrombie since The First Law trilogy felt too short and left me with a big book hangover. This is the first of the three standalone First Law world books.

What is in your TBR? Link to your post and let me know!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Charismatic Fantasy Characters

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Top ten tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish but they are on a winter break and this week is a freebie. I had a talk with a friend about how I love charismatis characters and how some books would be so much better with such. So I am going to list my top 10 charisma lords & ladies this week.

1. Fëanor from The Silmarillion

One of the earliest ‘grey’ characters with no moral compass whatsoever, he is perhaps one of the most badass characters Tolkien has created. LOTR characters have nothing on this guy, trust me on that one. He made the legendary silmarils that drove everyone into batshit insanity and stood up to Melkor aka Morgoth, the most powerful of the Valar at the time, with a zero fucks given attitude:

‘Get thee gone from my gate, thou jail-crow of Mandos!’ And he shut the doors of his house in the face of the mightiest of all the dwellers in Ea.

He took on an army of Balrogs without fear, not to mention he single-handedly changed the fate of the entire world along with the race of elves. He is the reason elves moved to the Middle Earth in the first place.

2. Jorg Ancrath from The Broken Empire

Not going to lie here, I hated his guts at first, but he became one of my all time favorites by the time I finished Prince of Thorns. Oh boy. That young man racks up serious charisma points where is lacking in the moral compass department. He is a legendary badass in every sense, broken and messed up as he is.

“Dear lady, I killed them from youngest child to oldest woman, and when I was done I blunted three axes dismembering their corpses. I am Jorg of Ancrath–I burned ten thousand in Gelleth and didn’t think it too many.”

This quote may not quite do it on its own, but when you read it in the context of the book, it makes your jaw drop. Seriously. He isn’t all that bad, though. You gotta read the books to see for yourself.

3. Jaqen H’ghar from A Song of Ice and Fire

My friends know he is my biggest book crush along with Fëanor. Now you know, too. He has a very small part in the saga but boy is that man dripping charisma and leaving a trail of it as he walks. Tom Wlaschiha playing him on the TV show naturally added +50 charisma points. He is one of the few characters I fangirl about with my BFF on a constant basis.

4. Nona Grey from Red Sister

If you love Arya Stark, I can say she has serious competition now. Nona is taken from the gallows by Abess Glass of the Sweet Mercy convent when they are about to hang her for the attempted murder and severe maiming of a 7 foot something giant of a pit fighter who happens to be the son of the richest and most powerful nobleman of the empire. And she is nine years old in the beginning of the book, go figure what a little badass she is. Nona gets bullied, beaten within an inch of her life and picked on all the time in her new life, but her inner strength and perseverence is mind-blowing. And her intellect too. She is one of the most charismatic young female characters ever. You think Hermione is great? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

5. Sand dan Glokta from The First War Trilogy

Once a dashing cavalry officer and star fencing champion, Sand dan Glokta is now a hideous, broken cripple working as an Inquisitor for the King’s Inquisition. He tortures criminals and traitors for a living and he has developed an exquisite torture-interrogation style after he has been tortured in the Gurkhul prison and got slowly mutilated into his current crippled form. His sharp intelligence, gallows humor, cynical and bitter attitude and extreme cunning combine into a huge vat of charisma and make him one of the most memorable characters of modern fantasy literature.

6. Alica Kendeth from Red Queen’s War

One of my favorite charismatic female characters, she is a side character in the series but when she makes an appearance, she steals the show. She is one tough cookie whom all the big rough dudes fear and for good reason. She isn’t a tyrannical bully, no. She was a ruthless warrior and kickass strategist in her youth, and she is a charismatic no-nonsense grandma in her old age.

7. Mara from The Empire Trilogy

Mara was my first all time favorite female fantasy character, and she is the epitome of charisma. Her political intrigue skills are second to none. In fact I am missing her so much I can’t wait to re-read these books. She is not a badass shieldmaiden or anything, but boy can she beat everyone with her incredible wits and glib tongue!

8. Drizzt Do’Urden from The Forgotten Realms

R.A. Salvatore’s iconic drow character is featured in a load of books but I linked the first trilogy in the reading order. You must have already noticed I have a thing for morally ambiguous, broken, stone-hearted male characters, but Drizzt as the ultimate good guy with a heart of gold is the exception to the rule here. I’m quite the fangirl always surfing Deviantart for Drizzt fan art and post it around to share with my friends. Drizzt with his dual scimitars and his magical black panther Guenhwyvar will always have a special place in my heart.

9. Arakasi from The Empire Trilogy

Mara’s spymaster is not exactly a grey character, but since I have a thing for well written spies and assassins, I’m a big fan of this dude. He is a creation of Janny Wurts (as she stated in numerous interviews and Reddit AMA’s) and the best spy character I have read in fantasy to date. He is not just a badass spymaster, but also a complex character with a traumatic past and emotional conflicts.

10. Anasûrimbor Kellhus from The Prince of Nothing

A lot of people hate this character, but I find him quite charismatic, even though he is a horrible person. Thing is, you don’t realize he is horrible until much later. He isn’t exactly the type I’d fangirl about, but the charisma is there. Most everyone loved the barbarian Cnaiür dude, but the barbarian killing machines are so not my thing. Kellhus is a heartless bastard but he has superhuman qualities, cold and supreme intellect, and mind-blowing manipulation skills. He is one of the grimdarkest of grimdark characters out there.

Who are your favorite charisma lords? Let me know in the comments!
I hope some of y’all have some common with mine, I want to know I am not alone!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Name Children or Pets After

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Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the characters we’d name childre/pets/plants after.

Here goes my top ten:

Five Characters I’d Name A Child After

1. Jorg: I’d name my son after Jorg from The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence. (Don’t judge!)

2. Tyrion: One of the best characters from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, he has quite a charismatic name. It sounds old school too.

3. Miriel:If I had a daughter I’d name her after the elf queen from the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. In fact there are people who have done it, I wouldn’t be alone 🙂

4. Arya:My fav character from A Song of Ice and Fire, I’d name a daughter after her.

5. Rand: I’d name a second son after Rand from The Wheel of Time, for sure.

Ten Characters I’d Name A Pet After

1. Nighteyes: What better name for a wolf-like dog than the beloved wolf character from Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb?

2. Sirius: If I had a huge black Lab, I’d name him after Sirius black from Harry Potter. How un-original of me, but that was my favorite character and the name is just fitting.

3. Justice: I think I’d name a Pitbull after Jorg and William’s dog from The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence.

4. Wichtig: If I had a spoiled horse, I’d name it after the self-worshipping swordsman from Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher.

5. Nakor: If I had another mischievous kitty, I’d name it after this unforgettable and awesome funny dude from the Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist.

What is your top ten? Share in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Historical Settings I’d Love to Read

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Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is favorite historical or futuristic settings. Since I don’t read scifi and not interested in futuristic settings, I will list my top 10 historical settings I’d love to read in fantasy books

Here goes my Top 10:

1. Ancient Greece

It would be awesome to read fantasy reflecting the daily life and culture of ancient Greece. There are fantasy books with Geek god themes, but it’s not the same. I want to go back to Socrates time, but with magic, supernatural races and fantasy themes.

2. Ancient Rome

Another all time favorite of mine. I need to dig out some fantasy books set in an ancient Roman environment.

3. Persian and Sassanid periods

If there are any epic fantasy books featuring a main setting based on Persian or Sassanid Empires, I don’t know about them. I’ll take

4. Byzantine Empire

The only book I have heard of that features a Byzantine setting is the Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay, it’s in my TBR for 2016. I hope it’s as good as the reddit denizens say it is!

5. Genghis Khan period

I’d love to read fantasy based on the Mongolian Empire of Genghis Khan.

6. Ancient Egypt

Give me the dynasty wars and and the semi-divine pharaohs of ancient Egypt any day!

7. Medieval Europe

Even though most epic fantasy is set in a pseudo Medieval Europe setting, I still can’t get enough of it.

8. Medieval Japan

I loved, loved, loved it in the Empire Trilogy and would love to read more of it.

9.Norse/Viking period

This is a popular theme in epic fantasy and a favorite I’ll never get tired of.

10. Medieval India

India has an incredibly rich culture and mythology, I think it would make an awesome fantasy setting. If you know of books featuring Indian mythology and culture, let me know!

What is your top ten? Share your link in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

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Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the top 10 new authors I read in 2015. Many of them are established, some are even international bestsellers but I picked up reading again in late 2014 and discovered those great names this year. I haven’t done that much reading in 2015, since I’m too busy finishing my own book, and I read multiple books by the same authors so my list is rather short. I am adding the authors I have discovered and added to TBR to make it 10.

Here is my Top 10:

Authors whose books I have read in 2015:

1. Mark Lawrence

Discovered via the blogosphere looking for gritty fantasy to read while waiting for the new ASOIAF and Second Apocalypse books – I can safely say that Mark is the author of the future classics and the new king of Grimdark.
I’ve read 5 books by Mark Lawrence in 2015 and looking forward to The Wheel of Osheim. Future classics, I’m telling you!

2. Joe Abercrombie

I discovered Abercrombie along with Mark Lawrence, when I was looking for books to read to cure my ASOIAF hangover. I’m now a big fan of The First Law series. Joe’s characters are something else. Sand dan Glokta is the Raskolnikov of fantasy literature.

3. Graham Austin-King

Discovered via Facebook. Graham’s Riven Wyrde Saga is an awesome fantasy read. It has the dose of great magic lacking in the realistic fantasy books, yet it’s not your typical heroic epic fantasy. I particularly liked the martial arts training in the first book, the Norse inspired elements and the alien Fae world. Book 3 is releasing this Thursday, I’m so looking forward to read it!

4. Michael R. Fletcher

Discovered via word of mouth and blogosphere -I’m 320 pages into Beyond Redemption and utterly impressed with the depth of the characters ands the gritty setting. This book is a grimdark masterpiece.

Authors I discovered and added to TBR in 2015:

5. Robin Hobb

Discovered via word of mouth, my bookish friends swear up and down by the Farseer Trilogy and I’m planning to read it as soon as I finish the immediate review stack.

6. Mazarkis Williams

Discovered via social media, later on I found out she beta read The Broken Empire books by Mark Lawrence. Added Tower and Knife Trilogy to my TBR, the books sound quite promising for a fantasy lover.

7. Michael Sullivan

Discovered via Reddit /r/fantasy and the denizens there convinced me to read his Riyria series. I bought the first few books, planning to read them soon.

8. Sarah J. Maas

Discovered via blogosphere -since the majority of the book bloggers out there are focused on YA and everyone has been hyping the Throne of Glass series, I am planning to read it soon.

9. Marissa Meyer

Discovered via blogosphere -Lunar Chronicles sounded quite promising (even though I am not interested in reading scifi) so I decided to give it a shot.

10. Victoria Schwab

Discovered via blogosphere -A Darker Shade of Magic sounded very intriguing so I added it to my 2016 TBR as well.

What is your top ten?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Movies I Can’t Wait For

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Top Ten Tuesdays meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week’s theme is the books we can’t wait to see on the big screen.

Here is my Top 10:

1. Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

They already optioned this, so I expect to see a movie soon enough. It will be interesting to see how they will adapt a story with no plot. It will be a difficult one for sure.

My reviews for the books:

The Name of The Wind

The Wise Man’s Fear


2. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

Gritty as gritty goes, I’m dying to see a movie adaptation of this magnificent trilogy. I think Jorg will have millions of fangirls if they ever make it a movie of these books.

My reviews for the books:

Prince of Thorns

King of Thorns

Emperor of Thorns


3. The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Who wouldn’t want to see Sand dan Glokta on the big screen? Though I’m looking forward to Ferro kicking arse and Bloody Nine going nine kinds of berserk.

My review for the first book here:

The Blade Itself

4. The Prince of Northing by R. Scott Bakker

This is one guaranteed to make the Game of Thrones look like a Disney princess movie. It’s the epitomy of grimdark allright! But I doubt I will see a movie adaptation of it in my lifetime.

My reviews for the series:

The Darkness That Comes Before
The Warrior Prophet
The Thousandfold Thought


5. The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Oldies but goodies -this is the second fantasy series I have read after Tolkien and it has a special place in my heart. It features superb political intrigue, a powerful and exceptionally intelligent female lead and a cast of awesome secondary characters. I think it would make a great series of movies. Which reminds, I need to re-read this series and write reviews that’s long overdue too, damnit!


6. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

This is the prequel to The Empire Trilogy (though The Empire Trilogy can be read as a standalone) and the first fantasy series I have read after the Tolkien books. I think it would make a fantastic movie series.

See my reviews for the books:

Magician (Apprentice and Master)
Silverthorn
A Darkness in Sethanon


7. Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see Drizzt and his magical pet panther Guenhwyvar on the big screen. If they could make an accurate Menzoberranzan it would be a total delight to watch.

8. Dragonlance Chronicles by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This series has millions of fans worldwide, yet they never bothered making movies or even a TV show of it save for that pathetic, 70’s style cartoon pilot. It’s a total shame, really. I hope some day we will get to see Raistlin on the big screen or at least on TV… Some day…

Read my reviews for the books:

Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragons of Winter Night
Dragons of Spring Dawning

9.The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

It’s such a shame they never made a movie of this cult classic of fantasy literature. It would make a terrific tv series if anything! But movies would be great. I think Benedict Cumberbatch would make a fantastic Corwin!

10. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

Another older cult classic, another way overdue movie adaptation fans have been waiting for decades. Sword and Sorcery is never out of fashion and I think it would be fairly successful if they made movies of the Elric books.

See my review here

Elric Saga: Part 1

What is your top ten?