Some Beginners Fantasy Books
Hello fellow book nerds!
Another post for you. Today I thought I would suggest some books for those people who want to dive into the fantasy genre but don't know where to start.
I know most of you are pretty seasoned readers, but there may be those of you who want to dip your toe in but don't know where to start, and let's be honest, fantasy can be a bit confusing. I mean, not only is there a vast range of books available, it's split into a load of different sub genres to shake a stick at. There's Grimdark, epic, Sword and Sorcery, urban, portal and more that I can't even remember. I recall an article which listed fifty subgenres, and I don't think I had heard of more than a few of 'em.
Right, to start with I am going to be a bit controversial here (and this is my opinion, so if you disagree, you disagree!), if I was starting out reading fantasy, I wouldn't start out by reading Lord of the Rings. In fact, I didn't! I started reading fantasy when I was about 14 and I couldn't get my head round it. It took me a fair few times to get into it.
Now, I am not knocking the grand daddy of fantasy, but I don't think he's easy, so I thought I would suggest a few books that I think are good for them people wanting to read some fantasy that introduces them to the genre.
Right, first off....
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.
There's a reason why Brandon Sanderson is such a juggernaut in the fantasy world. He releases books like other people breathe. However, Mistborn is a really good starting point, easy to read, good magic system, good characters and a fantastic story.
Mistborn is basically a fantasy heist story about an urchin named Vin. Recruited into a gang of thieves to imitate a noblewoman it's described on Brandon Sanderson's own website as Oceans Eleven, with a dash of Lord of the Rings, one part Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a smattering of My Fair Lady.
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss
Name of the Wind is one of those books that people often cite as one of their favourite books, and also one of their most controversial books due to the fact that the third book in the series has supposed to have been coming for years (I think it was slated for release originally in 2013) but due to various reasons, one of these is Rothfusses battles with mental health difficulties it has never emerged. However, take no notice of the complaints because it's a pretty decent book.
The Name of the Wind tells the story of Kvothe, an innkeeper who tells his story to an interviewer as it turns out Kvothe is this legendary figure that everyone knows about. The story follows Kvothe's life as he grows from young boy to magic school.
The book catapulted Rothfuss into the limelight in 2007, and also started numerous people's journey into the realms of fantasy.
A Darker Shade of Magic - V. E. Schwabb
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E Shwabb tells the story of Kell, the last Antari magician who is able to travel between four different Londons, red, grey, white and black.
Kell is an ambassador for the royal family in Red London by day. However, he has a secret job as a smuggler selling magic items in the other London's.
After a smuggling job goes wrong, he escapes to grey London where he meets Delilah Bard.
A Darker Shade of Magic is a swashbuckling adventure that is really quite accessible.
Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer
Now don't be put off by the fact that Dragon Mage is a bit of a chonker. Originally a standalone, Dragon Mage tells the story of Aram, a young boy who is on the autism spectrum who after being reviled in the community he lives in, makes friends with a boy named Markus. The two quickly become inseperable and when a tragic incident leads to their village being torn asunder the two boys grow into their destiny.
This epic self published fantasy is a classic coming of age fantasy that has taken the fantasy world by storm. Don't be put off by the fact that it's over 800 pages long. The intricate world building and fantastic characters make this a breeze to read. As I said earlier, it was originally meant to be a standalone book, but everyone loved it so much that a sequel is now being written.
The Malificent Seven by Cameron Johnston
Now this book is a little darker and gorier than the other books on this list, however, The Maleficent Seven is just such good fun. It's silly, it's a bit dark, it's a lot gory, but ultimately, it's just bloody good fun.
The book tells the story of Black Herran, a demonologist who hires six of her beastly mates to rub out her past evils by helping a village against the crushing heel of a mad tyrant and his army.
With the odds against them, The Malificent Seven mount resistance against insurmountable odds. Imagine The Magnificent Seven mixed with The Suicide Squad and you will be along the right lines.
Rage of Dragons by Evan Williams
Set in an African inspired world, Rage of Dragons is a revenge tale that tells the tale of Tau.
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He's going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn't get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He'll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
This is a fantastic book, that has everything from dragons, demons to incredible fight scenes and exhilarating action.
We are still waiting for book number 3, but The Rage of Dragons is a fantastic book.
Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire
Shadow of a Dead God tells the story of Mennick Thorn. A wizard down on his luck, who after attempting to repay a debt to his friend Benny, finds himself framed for murder.
This is a really good book to start your fantasy journey. Filled with mystery and great characters, Patrick Samphire's writing is top notch. The plot barrels away at a hundred miles an hour, and the characters are just fantastic. In addition to this, Patrick Samphire's books feel really fresh, even to an old hack like me. The books have an urban fantasy feel, but are set in an epic fantasy world. And then there's Sereh, the most terrifying ten year old you're ever likely to meet.
Well, that's it from me. There are tons of books out there.
I think one of the main bits of advice that I can give you of you are starting your journey on the path of fantasy books, is enjoy yourself. Find what works for you and just sit back and enjoy the ride.