Thursday, January 06, 2011

Upcoming: “Latecomer” Reviews on CR

As some readers may already know, I’ve not been reading fantasy or science fiction for very long. Because of this, most of my SF/F reviews have been of newly or recently released titles.

In 2011, this will change.

I’m not going to stop reading and reviewing new titles (far from it – there are just too many exciting novels published this year to forgo), but I am going to do something I’ve been meaning to do for some time now – that is, catch up on the ‘classic’, ‘great’, and established fantasy titles and series. The reviews will all be prefixed as “Latecomer”, so should be easy to find as and when they start arriving.

I haven’t got them all picked out, yet, but here is a first selection of titles I’ll be reading (please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments):


James Barclay, Dawnthief (Gollancz)

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (Voyager)

Tad Williams, Shadowmarch & The Dragonbone Chair (Orbit)


Neal Asher, Gridlinked (Tor)

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Empire in Black and Gold (Tor)

Joe Abercombie, The Blade Itself (Gollancz)

Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice (Voyager)


Brandon Sanderson, The Final Empire (Gollancz)

Tom Lloyd, Stormcaller (Gollancz)

Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World (Orbit)

Steven Brust, The Book of Jhereg (Ace)

Whether or not I get to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series will depend on how much I like the latter’s The Way of Kings, which I have already bought for my Kindle.

So, there’s the selection I’ve come up with for the moment. I’m sure there are others, and there’s no set order in which I’m going to read them, and there’s no guarantee that I will end up in the mood for them, but they’re all series I’ve been meaning to read for some time, and I just don’t want to keep putting them off for much longer. If I had to put money on it, I’d say James Barclay and Joe Abercrombie are the certainties, with Tom Lloyd and Adrian Tchaikovsky the two most likely after them.

Anyway, watch this space…


  1. I've read everything on that list (some not too long ago, even) but the Barclay, Williams and Brust novels, so I speak for those, but for the rest I can say one thing: you're in for a good time.

    If I were you though, I wouldn't judge whether or not to read THE WHEEL OF TIME and MISTBORN based on THE WAY OF KINGS. I'd do exactly the opposite, at least in the case of the exclusively Sanderson books - WOT is a must read anyways, whatever people may say of the later books. THE WAY OF KINGS is too much of a successor to WOT not to read the latter first and I think MISTBORN is a better showcase (since its 1 of 3 and not 1 of 10) of what Sanderson can do.

    Hobb, Abercrombie, Tchaikovsky and Martin are all safe bets, in my opinion, while I was a bit more iffy with STORMCALLER and haven't yet continued the series.

    If I'm not too bold, I'd recommend you also add to your list, if you haven't already read them: Ken Scholes' PSALMS OF ISAAK for its originality; Jasper Kent's DANILOV QUINTET for actually interesting vampire books, for once; Stephen Deas' THE ADAMANTINE PALACE for... dragons; Trudi Canavan's AGE OF THE FIVE for a good Deity Fantasy; and finally, an absolute favorite of mine, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (and its sequels) by Dan Wells for a unique horror/darkly comic experience - think DEXTER with SFF elements.

    Whoops, I just wrote a lot, didn't I?

  2. Hi LEC, thank you for posting those suggestions - Ken Scholes and Jasper Kent are both also very high on my wish-list, but I was going mainly by what I already own, which narrowed things a bit.

    Stephen Deas' "Adamantine Palace" is already on my shelf, actually - oops. Forgot to include that one!

    Thanks again.

  3. Martin's AGOT, Sanderson's MISTBORN, and JORDAN'S THE WHEEL OF TIME are all must reads (I myself only started the WoT books like six months ago). Hobb was one of my first experiences in excellence in the fantasy genre...the Farseer/assassin series is her finest hour though.

    If you want to read Tad Williams, then do the dragonbone chair, Memory of Thorn and Sorrow the Shadowmarch series is a poorer copy of that one that get very muddled by the second much so that I gave up before reading the third.

    Just my two cents.

  4. If you've just started I can tell you there is a wealth of great fantasy to discover. I've been reading fantasy for almost 20 years, so I dare to say I know some.

    It's rather funny to see that most classics mentioned here are less than 10 years old. If you really want to go into the classic's, try:
    - Amber by Roger Zelazny
    - Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
    - The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
    - Tales From The Flat Earth by Tanith Lee
    - The Dark Tower by Stephen King (started 30 years ago and took 25 years to complete)

    These are just some highlights from these authors. They have much more if you like them.

    And to add some recent authors:
    - The Prince Of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker
    - The Malazan Book Of The Fallen by Steven Erikson
    - The Drenai Chronicles by David Gemmell
    - The View From The Mirror by Ian Irvine

    And to add my opinion to the names mentioned:
    - Barclay is pretty average but decent. Nowhere close to classic
    - Martin is a great read
    - Williams great on Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, but his later works didn't impress me. I tried a chapter of Shadowmarch but put it on the maybe list
    - Hobb I think to be rather dull
    - Abercrombie is a good read
    - Sanderson hasn't disappointed yet. Good, but no classic (yet)
    - Lloyd is a good read too. No topper, but quite above average
    - Jordan shouldn't be compared with Sanderson, but he uses a lot of words for a great story

    The others I haven't read so I can't say much about it.
    My own bookblog has reviews of Abercrombie, Barclay and Sanderson, if you want a better idea or compare your thoughts afterwards.

    Have fun reading.

  5. Essord: thanks for the further recommendations - particularly the older books (exactly what I was hoping the post would do - as I said, I'm new to fantasy, so I only really know authors from the last decade or two).

    "The Malazan Book Of The Fallen" by Steven Erikson and "The Drenai Chronicles" by David Gemmell were already on the list. Just forgot to include them.

    As an aside, Steven Brust's first Vlad Taltos novel was released in 1983, which is when I was born, so I'll be reading and reviewing that in March.

    Thanks again LEC, Scott and Essord for taking the time to post recommendations and comments.