What books do I love? Well let’s set aside Lord of the Rings, which I read annually for two decades, and talk more recently.
Skin Game, and the whole of the Dresden Files. Exceptional action scenes, great characters, and crowning moments of awesome that are cinematic in quality. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863858784/ http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpdio7jqWQ1qfn5t3o1_500.jpg
The Malazan Book of the Fallen. I’m sorry fans of Martin and Wheel of Time, but Steven Erikson’s Malazan series is THE modern fantasy masterpiece. Epic deep history, characters by the score, and a unique magic system. Oh, and it was 10 books written in about 15 years. Martin’s going to take that long to write THREE Song of Ice & Fire books, and none of them have been *good* since Storm of Swords. Admit it. You know it’s true.
Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. This was what I read when I didn’t read LoTR as a kid. Hilarious buddy comedy as fantasy. The original for playing with tropes and laughing at the conventions. But never so much as to make you think it was laughing at you for liking them. Fritz Lieber was a master.
The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I could be cheesy and call this the true distaff to Harry Dresden. But that’s not fair. Post-apocalyptic Urban Fantasy in a near-desolated Atlanta (and come on, you know that’s a city you want to see a wasteland). Swords and magic one minute, then the tech comes back, and its guns to the fore. The only were society that I’ve actually wanted to read about in fantasy. And then there’s Kate herself, pure buttkicking that makes Buffy look like a wimp.
For a one-off, I’ll go with The Peshawar Lancers, by S.M. Stirling. The best steampunk I’ve read. Cannibals in the northern hemisphere, the British Empire rules from the Raj. And the game of nations continues apace. Action, intrigue, a dash of is-it-magic? And if the characters are not, on the whole, as deep as I’d prefer, they’re not cardboard cutouts either. And what they are is enough to carry the scenes with style. If you’ve never read Steampunk, that’s the book to start with. Until my own is published, that is. 😉
There you go. I might do another of these in a month or so. Because there’s a lot more I could share. But that’s a solid start.