Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fantasy Stand Alone Candidates Thrimidge 2014

A "Stand Alone" is a book that has a self contained story.  There is a beginning and an ending within its pages, and there are no other books that are needed to finish its particular narrative thread.  This does not mean that a Stand Alone book must take place in a world where other books do not.  There are several stand alones that happen to side characters or other parts of a world that an epic series takes place in.  A Stand Alone is a great place to start if you are curious about a particular author.  I used Elantris as my starting point on if I like Brandon Sanderson or not.  It is a horrible feeling to dislike someone's writing style, but be stuck reading it for 4-8 books because you want to know the outcome of a story.  They are also great for a change of pace.  I am technically reading through a few epic series in both science fiction and fantasy, and having a one shot in between books to allow me to think about the previous book or to change pace is really helpful.

Without further stalling, here are the ones I'm considering as of late:

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Several websites list Tigana as their #1 pick for a fantasy stand alone.  Sometimes this worries me because some of these sites favor Game of Thrones to Lord of the Rings, but apparently Tigana is widely accept by both camps as of late.  I am very hesitant to read Kay's stuff because he does a lot of "real world turned fantasy" stuff, of which I'm not a huge fan of.  I hear he is a great writer and not just  a great story teller, and I'm interested to see if I like him, which is why Tigana is on my list.  It is a story about a musician(lots of those around these days) and his friends struggling against a tyrannical sorcerer that has enslaved the free world.  This book is also in #1 lists for "most feels evah"

Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover

This book has gotten a few add on novels, but the original was meant to be a single story and can still be read as one.  This sounds like the kind of gritty "Game of Thrones" stuff that I can actually take.  This book gets put on the top of lists about Anti-heroes, and for people that like characters such as Wolverine, The Punisher, and Kratos.  These kind of adolescent "power trip" fantasies are my guilty pleasure.  Its no surprise then that he wrote the God of War novelization...  I love reading about some smug, snooty asshole that thinks he's untouchable get confronted by the true unstoppable monster in hero form.  Its the story of an assassin doing what assassins do.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I owe it to my childhood to read this book one day.  It exists in this world though, that if I never read it, the story never ends.  That's not meant as a pun, its just that I don't want it to be "over" in the same way that Star Trek Next Gen had to "end" one day, or that Tolkien's stories had to "end" for me.  One day...

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie has a popular set of books, a couple of trilogies, that are liked by those that like Game of Thrones, but are said to be made of sterner stuff.  I'd like to see how his writing is, and if he can do epic army clashing fantasy without resorting to "shock" factors like Game of Thrones.  That's what I'm reading in the previews of this book anyway, and epic battle to end all battles or some such.  Sounds good.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Yet another stand alone that later got a sequel.  This is urban fantasy, and I have an urban fantasy series already with Dresden Files.  I'm not a huge urban fantasy fan, but I'm reading reviews that compare this to a more "serious" Harry Potter.  This comparison doesn't intrigue me as much as almost all the reviews say this is a book about the struggle to attain something someone desires so much but likely will never have.

Bonus: Elantris
If you haven't read my non-spoilery review, here it is: Elantris
Well worth the read, a good book.

Also my fantasy series candidates are here: Fantasy Series

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