New Poll: What to read next???

The results from our last survey are in:

- In Conquest Born by C. S. Friedman (Canada, USA, Europe): 21%
- Prador Moon by Neal Asher (Canada, USA, Europe): 4%
- The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton (Canada, USA, Europe): 26%
- Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (Canada, USA, Europe): 17%
- Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (Canada, USA, Europe): 29%

Banks ended up victorious, but it was a very close race. So I guess I'll be reading Consider Phlebas in the near future. . .

Receiving hundreds of review copies every year means that there is no chance in hell I can read even a quarter of the books I get in my mailbox. I have a multitude of "books to read" piles, and some titles have been lying there for months, even years, awaiting my attention. Hence, this new poll will feature SFF books that have been lying around for quite some time, even though I've been meaning to read them at some point. Let's see which novel will take the cake!

The nominees are:



- King's Dragon by Kate Elliott, a Nebula Award nominee (Canada, USA, Europe)

Set in an alternate Europe, a world where bloody conflicts rage and sorcery holds sway, both human and other-than-human forces vie for supremacy. In this land, Alain, a young man seeking the destiny promised him by the Lady of Battles, and Liath, a young woman gifted with a power that can alter the course of history, are about the be swept up in a world-shaking conflict for the survival of humanity.



- Rules of Ascension by David B. Coe (Canada, USA, Europe)

For centuries the Forelands were disputed by several tribes. Then came the magically gifted Qirsi--physically no match for their foes, but capable of mindsight, creating and controlling mists and fire, and bending solid matter to their purpose. After a Qirsi traitor betrayed his race to save himself, the Qirsi were defeated and dispersed among the seven realms of the Forelands. Those specially endowed Qirsi capable of multiple powers, the Weavers, were all put to death.

For centuries the Forelands enjoyed relative peace. But when Tavis, the heir to the Kingdom of Curgh, is wrongfully blamed for the murder of a noble, the accusation sets in motion a series of events culminating in civil war. The ensuing chaos topples the throne in Eibithar and threatens to rain chaos on all the realms of the Forelands. Tavis, thrust into the center of deadly controversy and stripped of the protection of his family's nobility, turns to the Qirsi, his last remaining hope for redemption. But another Qirsi traitor, secretly fomenting fear and mistrust among the Dukedoms, seeks to destroy Tavis. Tavis must survive long enough to clear his name and save an entire kingdom. A powerful, compelling tale set in an unforgettable land, rules of Ascension will capture your heart and fire your imagination.



- The Briar King by Greg Keyes (Canada, USA, Europe)

In the kingdom of Crotheny, two young girls play in the tangled gardens of the sacred city of the dead. Fleeing an imaginary attacker, the girls-one of whom is the reckless young daughter of the king-discover the unknown crypt of the legendary, ancestral queen, Virgenya Dare.

In the wilds of the forest, while investigating the slaughter of an innocent family, king's holter Aspar White weaves his way through a maze of ancient willows-and comes face-to-face with a monstrous beast found only in folk tales and nightmares. Meanwhile, traveling the same road, a scholarly young priest begins an education in the nature of evil, found festering just beneath the surface of the seemingly peaceful land.

The royal family itself comes under siege, facing betrayal that only sorcery could accomplish. Now-for three beautiful sisters, for a young man made suddenly into a knight, and for a woman in love with a roguish adventurer-a rising darkness appears, shattering what was once certain, familiar, and good. These destinies and more will be linked when malevolent forces walk the land. For Crotheny, the most powerful nation in the world, is shaken at its core. And the Briar King, harbinger of death, has awakened from his slumber.

Imbuing his tale with richness, pathos, action, and passion, Greg Keyes begins an amazing new epic that takes fantasy fiction to a new level. At the heart of the story, Keyes has placed a remarkable young woman, Anne Dare, the youngest daughter of a royal family . . . and the one person upon whom the fate of this world may depend.



- Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock (Canada, USA, Europe)

When Michael Moorcock began chronicling the adventures of the albino sorcerer Elric, last king of decadent Melniboné, and his sentient vampiric sword, Stormbringer, he set out to create a new kind of fantasy adventure, one that broke with tradition and reflected a more up-to-date sophistication of theme and style. The result was a bold and unique hero'"weak in body, subtle in mind, dependent on drugs for the vitality to sustain himself'"with great crimes behind him and a greater destiny ahead: a rock-and-roll antihero who would channel all the violent excesses of the sixties into one enduring archetype.

Now, with a major film in development, here is the first volume of a dazzling collection of stories containing the seminal appearances of Elric and lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist John Picacio'"plus essays, letters, maps, and other material. Adventures include 'The Dreaming City,' 'While the Gods Laugh,' 'Kings in Darkness,' 'Dead God's Homecoming,' 'Black Sword's Brothers,' and 'Sad Giant's Shield.'



- Rite: Short Work by Tad Williams (Canada, USA, Europe)

Though best known for his epic series, Tad Williams is also an accomplished practitioner of the short form. Rite: Short Work gives ample evidence of this, as it contains a knockout novella later expanded to novel length (”Child of an Ancient City”); riffs on the great fantasist Michael Moorcock (”The Author at the End of Time,” “Go Ask Elric”), along with excursions into some of his most popular creations and beyond. At over 140,000 words, Rite is essential for every Tad Williams fan and fantasy aficianado. Each tale features a full-page black-and-while illustration by Mark A. Nelson.

33 commentaires:

.e. Jim Shannon said...

The Kings Dragon is book 1 of 7 of the "Crown of Stars" series.

JamesY said...

My vote is for 'Rules of Ascension' by David B. Coe. Mainly because I've not heard of David B Coe and I'm always up or hearing about new authors.

James

Maurice said...

Greg Keyes. His first book in this series is very good and he deserves a lot more attention.

Blodeuedd said...

The Briar King, I am very curious about that series

IJ said...

It's been ages since I read anything by Michael Moorcock. I'd be interested to know what you make of this one. Elric, vote one.

Asara Dragoness said...

King's Dragon!
I read that and ended up having to get the whole series just so I could know what happened. It's in my "currently-reading" pile at the moment, as a matter of fact!

Sarah said...

The Briar King is Martinesque - think of it as George RR Martin light. That could either be exactly what you want, or something you have no interest in. I really liked the first 3 books in this series, but the 4th and concluding novel was a real letdown.

Break said...

I tried David B Coe's Winds of the Forlands book 1. But after reading Steven Erikson's works, I couldn't sustain enough interest to finish the Rules of Ascension. I dropped it after a few chapters. Still, I'm curious what you'll make of it and if you like them maybe I'll give it another go.

I deem Briar King by Grey Keyes to be too much of a safe choice. The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone reads like light A Song Ice and Fire novels. Only better because the series is already finished. So there's a lot to like about it.

Dave said...

Rules of Ascension, ive been wanting to read that book for a while

justkim said...

I loved the "Winds of the Forelands" series by David B. Coe. I couldn't read each volume fast enough; I just wanted to know what happened next. Interesting characters and a compelling story.

I enjoyed the first three books of Keyes "Kingdom of Thorn and Bone" books, but I need go back and read them before picking up the last. I've forgotten the various characters and plot threads.

PeterWilliam said...

Rules of Ascension, by David B. Coe. I've read recommendations in favor of this author on a forum board, but it wasn't what I'd consider reliable. I'd like to see what the Hotlist concludes.

Al the Killer said...

I would have preferred that you read The Reality Dysfunction, since, as you said, the last poll was quite close.

From the current group, the only one I really have any interest in is The Briar King.

Adam Whitehead said...

I am not immensely excited by this poll. The list is nowhere near as high-quality as your last one.

Still, KING'S DRAGON is a solid book and CROWN OF STARS is a decent series, if overlong (by the author's own admission). It could probably have stood having one volume shaved off its length. It has many strengths but a key weakness is that Liath, one of them major protagonists, is incredibly annoying. There is also a problem that the best scenes and most dramatic moments are superbly realised but the moments inbetween can be more mechanical. Still, a decent series.

THE BRIAR KING is better-written, but the series takes a huge nose-dive in quality over the course of its length. The first two books are very good, the third is weak and the fourth is a flaming plane crash into an oil refinery that then gets hit by an asteroid. Carrying zombies. The weakness of the final volume means that I can no longer recommend the first book in good faith: why set yourself up for a fall.

Elric: emo without a cause. Anomander Rake is basically a much better cover version of the original character, and I see no need to revisit the tepid inspiration.

Against the odds, I find myself recommending RITE. Tad Williams is best-known for his doorstopper fantasy series, but in his short fiction he displays a much greater range and diversity of style. I just finished his story in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH which was a highlight of the book, so I'll go for that, with Elliott as a second preference.

azruavatar said...

Rules of Ascension is exactly the kind of book that would get panned in a review here. Linear plot with a main character who manages to always have just enough magic to overcome seemingly endless odds. There's one storyline that develops in books 4 & 5 that was satisfying. The rest is very formulaic.

O Goncho said...

I vote for Greg Keyes. I read that book a fair few years back now and for the life of me I can't remember if it was any good or not, so I'd be interested in your take on it. Might inspire me to go back and read the rest of the series.

ediFanoB said...

That's difficult.
I own the German edition of the "Crown of Stars" series (12 books!!!) and read two so far. That means just The Kings of Dragons.
The Kingdom of Born and Throne is also completely on my desk but unread.
I don't know "Rules of Ascension" by David B. Coe but I'm interested in.

So three choices and how to decide. I think I will vote for "Rules of Ascension" because I doesn't know it.

Shellie said...

This is totally shallow but I think you should read Rite by Williams. Why? because I like the cover. Very nice. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who liked "Briar King", but found the quality decreased later in the series. Even though I hate it when authors drag series on and on (won't mention any names), I think it would have been far better had Keyes concluded the series with two books, instead of one (the fourth). It seemed as though he were rushing to wrap it up (perhaps tired of the project, and wanting to move on?). But I really liked how he used ancient lore (and the discoveries that can be made burrowing in old scrolls) and music in his story. On balance, I'd still recommend the series overall.

Jebus said...

Would be interested to know your thoughts on the Keyes series though I've already read it. I found the 2nd and 3rd books to be the best int eh series.

Josh said...

I am currently reading The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone by Keyes and have been very impressed so far (I'm about halfway through the second book). No, I haven't finished the series, so I can't comment on it as a whole - but The Briar King alone ranks within my top 5 favorite fantasy books. Regardless of any imminent decline in series quality, I strongly recommend giving at least the first book a go.

GoodOldSatan said...

The Briar King.

Although I agree that the series ended up a disappointment, the first two books are fantastic.

RobB said...

Surprised you haven't read Greg Keyes yet, Pat. But my vote goes to David Coe - I've been tempted to pick up that first book in the FORELANDS series for a while and I'd like to get your take on it.

Anonymous said...

Rules of Ascension, the book has been on my shelves for years

scott said...

Elric! Since I bought it and am apprehensive to start, but your review may push it towards the front of my everincreasing pile

Elric of Melnibone said...

Even I have come to feel, with passage of time, that I'm a tad overrated. I'm still worth a read just for the pleasure of Mr. Moorcock's classical prose, but I'd give my recommendation to Greg Keyes.

"The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" are worthy of being read and digested on their own merit without being diminished by the tiresome and belittling GRRM Lite comparison. Keyes has a wonderful imagination and the story has a grand cast of memorable characters.

D.B. Cooper said...

I'm going with "The Briar King."

For those who, like our good friend Elric, are tired of the mini-GRRM dismissals, I'd say that the author whose storytelling is most comparable is actually Raymond E. Feist. The difference, in this case, is that Keyes's characters are far more textured and complex, and his plotting and worldbuilding are more ripened and matured.

Adam Whitehead said...

"I'd say that the author whose storytelling is most comparable is actually Raymond E. Feist. The difference, in this case, is that Keyes's characters are far more textured and complex, and his plotting and worldbuilding are more ripened and matured."

Also, like Feist, the series starts off superbly and then takes a catastrophic jump down the toilet to such an extent that you cannot believe the later books are written by the same guy who wrote the earlier ones.

Of course, it took Keyes three books to do this and Feist about a dozen, so the comparison is not entirely accurate.

I quite like Keyes and many of his other books are very good, so I am still left a bit nonplussed on what went wrong with this series.

Anonymous said...

keyes

tomas said...

THe Briar King is a pretty good series. Four books total. If you're interested you should just pick it up and read it. I wish there were more people writing such series.

The Lepus said...

How about some spoiler-ific specifics, Adam Whitehead? I enjoyed Keyes's "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" series immensely. I might characterize the fourth book as being a bit raggedy, but I'd hardly say it's an epic collapse/gigantic betrayal of the series.

Anonymous said...

Definitely the Tad Williams book. I've read and enjoyed him since Tailchaser's Song, but I think he is more talented with the short story than he is with the novel. I haven't read this collection, and now I want it!

pr said...

The briar king.

Adam Whitehead said...

I won't get into the spoilers here, but the book is written very poorly. In the first two volumes Keyes is enthusiastic for the story, the world and the characters and that carries you along. Characters have motivations for what they are doing and the plot makes sense.

Book 4 is mechanically-written. The author is taking absolutely no joy in his work and feels like he HAD to write this under the threat of deadlines. Characters do things for no reason other than the writer needs them to do them. Formerly likable characters are now two-dimensional caricatures (particularly Anne). The ending is very lazy and obvious.

I get the impression Keyes suddenly had an idea for another, more exciting project and rushed through he last book to get it out of the way ASAP to move onto something more interesting to him. I can't really explain the total collapse of the story any other way.