With the Holidays just around the corner, many fans have asked me to come up with another list of works to read much like my original "What to read next" post. Feel free to first click on this link to see if there are some novels/series you may have missed. Everything found on that list should get priority to what will appear in this new one. Moreover, you get Amazon links for each and everyone of the works listed, which means that by buying any of them, used and new, you support Breast Cancer Research! And with authors like Feist, Donaldson, Modesitt, Friedman, Bakker, Kay, Stephenson, Kurtz, Williams, and more, how can you possibly go wrong!?!
By the same token, my shameless plugs regarding Guy Gavriel Kay, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Tad Williams, Stephen R. Donaldson, Katherine Kurtz, and Raymond E. Feist should be perused. Strapped for cash, just browse through the Amazon links to find used copies of each novel for pennies!;-)
So what follows will be the first part of a series of "shameless plug" posts meant to provide suggestions concerning potential good reads to buy for the Holiday season. Each work listed is either a lesser-known or "older" book/series that deserves a little more exposure, or simply great works that you may or may not have missed since the Hotlist was created. Basically every entry is available in paperback, which makes these suggestions affordable to anyone's budget!
Terry Brooks' The Heritage of Shannara
As was the case with Raymond E. Feist, lackluster efforts from recent years have made me somewhat lose faith in Terry Brooks. But the fact remains that the man used to be one of my favorite fantasy authors out there. For my money, The Heritage of Shannara is Brooks writing at the top of his form. If you have always been daunted by the high number of Shannara installments on the market, check out this series. If you enjoy the books, chances are that you will like a number of novels that came our prior and after this series. The good thing is that you don't need to read past Shannara books to get into this one. You'll have more insight in characters and events, but it's not mandatory to have read what came before to appreciate what is probably Terry Brooks at his best.
Terry Brooks' The Word and the Void
Many detractors have always blamed Brooks for never taking a chance and go with something entirely different, something new. When this trilogy was originally published, it seemed that Brooks had finally done something that would silence his detractors. Of course, everything went down the crapper when the author tied up this series with his Shannara universe, yet the first three books of The Word and the Void remain some of Brooks' best and most interesting work to date.
Melanie Rawn's The Dragon Prince and The Dragon Star trilogies
In the late 80s and early 90s, Melanie Rawn was a bestselling fantasy writer. These two trilogies established her as as one of Daw Books' top draws with Tad Williams. If you like dragons, endearing character, and some romance (a bit too much at times, but what the heck!?!), these books are definitely for you!
L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s The Corean Chronicles
Many SFF fans appear to be concerned about the number of books in Modesitt's Recluce saga. If you are looking for a more accessible series that will permit you to get acquainted with the author's style, you should give the first three Corean books a shot!
C. S. Friedman's THIS ALIEN SHORE
Many people know Friedman through her celebrated Coldfire trilogy, but the author actually made a name for herself writing science fiction. This stand-alone novel is one of her best efforts!
Kim Stanley Robinson' THE YEARS OF RICE AND SALT
As far as alternate history novels go, this might be the best and most thought-provoking one I have ever read! The premise: What is the 14th-century plague that swept through Europe, the Black Death, and which killed between 30% and 40% of the population had killed 99% of the people. Christianity would have been a footnote in the history books, and Robinson extrapolates on the emergence of Islamic and Buddhist societies as the world's most dominant and influencial religious and political forces. A "must read!"
One or two additional "shameless plug" posts should follow this one in the coming weeks. . .:-)