These are books that you should read! Click the book cover for relevant Amazon linkage.
And the recommendations are:
Brandon Sanderson has been one of the great new authors of the contemporary fantasy movement. While his previous novels have never broken through to the realm of mass public consumption, The Way of Kings seeks to be a true fantasy epic a la A Song of Ice and Fire. To put it simply — Sanderson succeeds. The Way of Kings is a brilliantly drawn novel that takes the best from his previous works (his ability to create truly innovative systems of magic and government) and expands them into a believable tapestry of the plausibly fantastic.
If you enjoy novels such as those from A Song of Ice and Fire, Lord of the Rings, or Wheel of Time (Sanderson has also taken up the mantle to finish that particular series), be sure to give The Way of Kings a read.
I discovered Nathan Lowell through my Kindle. Though I know that e-readers are still considered sacrilegious to some readers, the advent of the e-reader has been an incredible boon to independent authorship. Nathan Lowell is one such author who found incredible success through independent authorship on Amazon.
Quarter Share is the first novel in a series about a man on a ship (a man whose name just happens to be Ishmael). Does it take place in space? Yes. Is it science fiction? Not really. It is the best kind of story — the kind of story that is told for no reason but to have the story exist. There is no grand quest for greatness, nor is there any great enemy. The age-old story of a boy learning how to become a man is almost always successful when written well, and Lowell succeeds magnificently. I would recommend this book to anybody; it is wondrously accessible.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is probably the most well-known novel on this list. Although The Name of the Wind has been described as “Harry Potter for adults” by many, I feel that that statement is unfair to both Harry Potter and The Name of the Wind. Yes, The Name of the Wind does follow typical monomythic tropes. It does not, however, follow them in a usual manner. Rothfuss manages to find the spaces between the expected in order to create a fresh narrative out of a stale template.
Fans of any traditional fantasy will find much to enjoy here, while newcomers to the genre will also find an easy entry. Be warned, though, that the book seeks to break records for length. Even by my voracious standards — this is a long book.
Ah, The Lies of Locke Lamora. Does that title not just roll off of the tongue? It is beautiful. Drawn in because of the title and attractive cover art, I found myself additionally enthralled by the unique quality of the story. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a tale that is not necessarily a story of a good man against the bad world. Lynch’s novel lives in the grey. The protagonists are criminals, and their heists make the protagonists of Ocean’s 11 look like schoolyard pranksters.
Fans of mysteries and crime dramas will find much to enjoy here, while fans of classic novels from Dickens (in particular) will witness many similarities. Lynch deserves much more attention to his works — give this one a try.
Soon I Will Be Invincible is the first novel to reach success in a burgeoning genre — the superhero fiction novel. Perhaps inspired by the recent success of Marvel in the movie world, authors have begun to create their own entirely new worlds of superheroes and villains in the classic novel format. Who doesn’t love a good origin tale? Soon I Will Be Invincible provides excellent origin storytelling in spades.
Thankfully, Grossman’s novel has inspired many imitators, most of which are quite palatable. If you are interested in the world of superheroes and villains found outside of comic books and films, give Soon I Will Be Invincible the old college try.
Redshirts is a special sort of novel. Have you ever wondered what the men in the red shirts thought during Star Trek episodes? If you wore a red shirt, you died. Why did they not simply stop wearing red shirts? Did word not spread around that red was probably a bad life choice? Scalzi’s novel examines this cognitive dissonance in a refreshingly witty display of literary acumen.
Redshirts is unlike any novel you’ve read, though those who are staunch anti-Star Trekkian should look elsewhere. Those like me, however, who are only vaguely familiar with Star Trek will find much to enjoy in this lighthearted examination of a beloved and tacitly accepted science fiction trope.
Do yourself a favor and read this novel before it becomes a movie in the near future. Ready Player One is a love sonnet aimed at 80’s and video game culture. If you are not fans of either the 80’s or classic video games, you will not find much to love here.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy both of those features of this novel, you will probably find your new favorite book in Ready Player One. It is a truly brilliant examination of the way in which synthetic culture through games and media can become real through the power of the human mind (Junot Diaz has nothing on the referential nature of Ready Player One).