Five Fantasy Books you NEED to Read

Tomorrow is World Book Day and over here in Barcelona it is also Sant Jordi, and thus tomorrow I amongst many other will take to the streets in search of new books to read, new worlds to discover and new places in which to loose myself for a couple of hours or days. If you are reading this blog you might know that my favourite genre is without a doubt fantasy for a myriad of reasons that I explained in a previous post. As such, in honour of World Book Day, I have decided to write a post in which I recommend 5 fantasy books to pick up tomorrow or basically any day.

  1. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien

This is in my opinion the best book in the world of Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion is composed of many short stories that compromise the story of Middle-Earth from its creation to the start of the Fourth Age, although the events that happen in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are only briefly mentioned.  It is a beautiful book that grows the universe and provides us a more rich background to the world we fell in love with. If you have read Lord of the Rings you will have noticed that the characters mention many mythical figures, heroes from time past and in this book we learn about them.

This book is full of action, poems, beautiful prose, romance and the epicness we have come to associate with Middle Earth. This book gives us the story of the struggle of the elves against Morgoth (Sauron’s boss) and the tragedy that comes through their own folly, as well as the rise of Men. If you choose to pick this book you will be enthralled especially by chapter 19 which tells the story of Beren and Luthien.

Silmarillion-cover

  1. The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time is perhaps one of the most epic sagas, both in length and story wise, ever told. Compromising of 14 long books plus a prologue this saga told by Robert Jordan takes us to a magical place facing oblivion where unlikely heroes from a farming village raise to fight against the growing darkness. The Eye of the World is the first book of this saga, setting up almost all of the characters which you will grow to love during all of the saga. Robert Jordan gives us a great fantastic world that contains many of the tropes in fantasy and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It also adds a new flavour to fantasy as we see a world in which men using magic are pursued and female magic users are the real power behind the world.

If you have the chance pick up this book, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed and that you will soon find yourself buying all the books of this excellent saga, a saga that still to this day fascinates me.

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorld

  1. The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson

Recently I wrote a review on this excellent book by Brandon Sanderson. The Final Empire is a great point of entry into his Cosmere presenting a world with a fascinating magic system (that still ranks among my favourites) and great relatable characters full of depth. Sanderson is without a doubt one of the most famous authors in fantasy right now and is an incredibly prolific author. If someone is looking to read a book from him I always recommend to start with the Final Empire as it is a book with a captivating story and a very fast pace. Vin will always be one of my favourite characters and hopefully those of you who have not read the book take the plunge and get to know her.

Mistborn-cover

  1. The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie has quietly and quickly become one of the best fantasy authors and his first book shows you why he has gained that distinction. In The Blade Itself, the first of a trilogy called The First Law, we are presented a gritty, dark world that escapes all the tropes of fantasy. It is a very curious book as we get the typical setting for a fantasy book, the typical character archetypes, however as soon as you start reading the book you realize that nothing is what it seems and that all of the characters are darker and more complex.

A book in a somewhat similar fashion to those of George R.R. Martin but that also stand on its own it is an excellent book for those seeking something different to the traditional fantasy stories.

uk-orig-the-blade-itself

  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

This book was a complete but pleasant surprise when I discovered it. Scott Lynch is perhaps not as renowned as an author as those mentioned previously but in this book he is able to craft a delightful and fun story, with some great an unexpected stories. The first of a series called Gentleman Bastard, the series of rogue, especially the protagonist Locke Lamora, are fascinating. The wit of the book will have you laughing but also heavily invested in the story of this rogues who are trying their best to survive in a world that is bigger and stranger than they thought.

If you are looking for a book filled of wit and adventure this swashbuckling rogue story is definitely the one you need to read.

51tpIK8K+tL

If you have read or want to read any of this books do let me know! I hope you enjoy this 5 great books that I have personally enjoyed and hoped you too are entertained and fascinated by this fantastical worlds.

Advertisements

Review – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

mistborn-covers

As posted in a previous blog post fantasy books are my favourite genre to read about. I love reading those kinds of books and visiting new worlds where I can immerse myself and completely forget about everything for a couple of hours. In the past few years Brandon Sanderson has quickly become one of my favourite, if not my favourite, authors and I always eagerly await his new books. My introduction to Sanderson came through the Wheel of Time where he wrote the last 3 books and after reading that I decided to read some of his work and the first one I picked was “The Final Empire” the first of the Mistborn trilogy. Today I will give my impressions on that trilogy as it is a book I remember with great fondness.

Mistborn is set in the fictional world of Scandrial where. One thousand years before the story begins, the ruler of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler, gained access to a divine power at what is called the “Well of Ascension” where he is rumoured to have defeated the unknown danger called the “Deepness”. With this power, he remade the world and everything in it into its state at the beginning of the first book. In this world there are people who are able to consume metals or use them to gain powerful abilities. In the Mistborn series we follow the adventures of Vin, a street urchin with powerful magic potential as she joins a band of rebels seeking to the Empire that has been running the world for one thousand years.

mistborn__final_empire__by_brandon_sanderson_by_marcsimonetti-d6xbh4a

Mistborn is an incredible series that captures you basically from the first chapter of the first book. I loved the characters, the setting, the magic… it is a captivating book that is very easy to read. Sanderson is an author that writes books normally with a frenetic pace, and it is very much welcomed. Vin the titular character was for me at the time a refreshing character, I had rarely read such a strong relatable female protagonist on fantasy books and she forever will be one of my favourite characters. This book opened my eyes to the Cosmere and I have been ever since then enthralled by it and devouring all the books.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most about the book was that alongside the evolution of the characters Sanderson was providing us a political revolution in that world, democracy was being considered and the weak were rising against an oppressive state. As a political scientist reading that in fantasy was a breath of fresh air, whilst I do enjoy the old story about someone rising to become a king I have always yearned for a story where they do not follow this trope and where the power goes to the people, all of that in a fantasy setting with magic. This books gave me that (granted not fully but still…) and much more.

mistborn__vin_and_kelsier_by_shilesque-d8smmuc

The Mistborn series has quickly become one of my favourites fantasy books and it will always hold a special place in my heart since it let lead me to Brandon Sanderson and his Cosmere, a universe where magic makes sense and has limitations, a universe where heroes are true heroes that provide us with role models, a universe with rich worlds full of histories and traditions and most importantly a universe where I can travel alongside the characters and forget about my trouble for many hours.

The pace of the series is really good and the sequels it has spun have maintained a great level whilst at the same time expanding on the previous books. I hope those who read this post take the chance to read the Mistborn series, I guarantee that it will not disappoint you. Meanwhile I will be at my place dreaming of being an Allomancer, flying through buildings using my powers and hoping that one day I get to spend more time with Vin.