All the standard conventions are there, but they are reshaped, twisted and painted with shadows.
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This is dark fantasy folks, strong on sex, violence, and gritty atmosphere. If you are expecting hero soldier finds magic sword and kills all the bad guys, you are NOT going to get that sort of book here. Morgan has a knack for taking something that's been done already many times, and spray painting a fresh coat on it -- you can see the shape but the color's different.
And in this case, he starts with the hero. The hero, you see, is gay. The villains are good This is complex, epic fantasy from a master storyteller. If you can get over the author playing around with gender gay hero , this atmospheric fantasy series is a great read. An epic fantasy with one of the more interesting magic systems, a hell of a lot of action, dark gods and powerful baddies to defeat, and an good old fashioned coming-of-age tale.
If you want to be entertained by your fantasy, well, this series will certainly do that. Nor is it a vast gritty chess board of brutal politics, unchecked treachery, and morally ambiguous heroes that A. But what it is some non stop action, adventure, and plain old fun. If you like your epic fantasy with powerful heroes, powerful villains, and over-the-top heroic action, then The Lightbringer Series delivers a bus load of it. Book one was so so, but book two brought it big time improving on what was a mediocre start with the first book to something really special.
Book three carries the torch, though dropping it lower a bit. Overall though, the force is strong with this series. Book four is one of my most anticipated fantasy reads.
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Not exactly epic high fantasy in the traditional sense, but there's enough fantasy elements to land it on the list. Amber is, for many new fantasy readers, almost an unknown series. But it's a fantasy series that should be read. There's complex political scheming, a cast of warring noble siblings, and parallel worlds. More than a few accolades name this as the greatest fantasy series ever written. And it's true that this is one of the most original and complex fantasy worlds you'll find outside of Tolkien.
The plot is pretty complex, but this is one series you should just pick it up and start reading without looking at the plot summary. One of the greatest joys I've ever had reading a book came from discovering how this book unfolds as I read it. The Long Price Quartet. Another epic fantasy that doesn't necessary fit the classical definition of an epic fantasy.
Anyone who's tired of the generic Tolkien-derived fantasy and paper-thin characters won't have anything to complain about with this series. This is a more "literary" fantasy series and the author is quite the wordsmith. Those of you who want a slower paced, more complexly plotted book with non-standard fantasy characters leading the story, The Long Price Quartet is a series you'll want to sink your teeth into.
Feist, this series won't be for you. For the rest of you who want to read character driven epic fantasy that doesn't fit the USUAL mold of epic fantasy, then this is an awesome series. Gentleman Bastards. The Fionavar Tapestry. An epic fantasy by a really talented writer. This is not your standard epic fantasy. Or rather, it's epic fantasy with a lot of emphasis on characterization.
Yes, there is the good guys versus dark lord plot in the series, but the series is not so much about slaying bad guys as it is the story of how normal people react in bad situations -- both the good and the bad.
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Don't take this to mean this series is boring -- it's not. But rather, this series is a far more intelligent epic fantasy than many of you may be used to. If dark fantasy married epic fantasy and had a child, The Coldfire Trilogy would be that child. This series is pretty damn dark with more than a few aspects from the horror genre tossed into the mix as well. Characters are well drawn and complex -- there are no paper deep characters here, no generic fantasy landscape borrowed from Tolkien. Cold Fire sets itself apart from any other fantasy series out there, both with the novel's unique setting and the cast of characters.
The protagonist is also an anti-hero character, which makes the story and plot even more interesting. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. A fantasy tale that people love to love or love to hate -- there is very rarely any middle ground when it comes to Thomas Covenant. My recommendation is that you should read the first series, if only to see what all the damn arguing going on in the comment section is. The series takes a unique view of the classic epic fantasy. Instead of a hero, there's an anti-hero -- one who's pretty damn selfish.
The series, if it was left to that, would be too depressing for most people to finish. But the series is also one about transformation and redemption. Through the Chronicles, you slowly start to see Thomas Covenant move from anti-hero to hero, from selfish bastard to altruistic hero. There are three trilogies about Thomas Covenant.
The first is the best, the second nearly as good, and the last The series follows the story of Sabriel and her children as they venture from the New Kingdom the modern world into the mysterious Old Kingdom, a magical world behind a wall bordering the two realities where strange things happen -- the dead haunt that land, magic exists, and evil lurks around every corner. The series is exciting and chilling at the same time. If you want to feel scared while reading epic fantasy, this series will do it!
Especially good is the first book which will just blow your socks off. Read it with the lights turned down when you are by yourself and expect to be scared. Not so much your classic epic fantasy but more of an epic tale of revenge. It's basically the story of a young boy who leads a brutal crusade to regain his throne -- a throne he abandoned when he fled from his home after watching his mother and brother being brutally murdered. This is one hot fantasy series, a dark, gripping fantasy that has some similarities to K. Parker's works, though set in a more typical fantasy landscape.
The Demon War Cycle. This doesn't do anything smart, new, or fancy. But what it does, it does pretty damn well: the story of one man's struggle against a world dominated by demons who terrorize humankind at night. This is a dark epic fantasy with a lot of zing to it. If you are looking for some GREAT heroic epic fantasy with a lot of action and character building with a pretty cool magic system , The Warded Man delivers this in full force.
It's also one of the more exciting and memorizing fantasy reads to come out the past decade or two. The two sequels with the last book the worst failed completely, pretty much destroying what was once one of the most promising fantasy series to come around in a long while.
Apparently, Brett saw the thread and it gave him some depression. This is unfortunate, but I hope it spurs the author to fix what he's doing so very wrong. Should you read this series? On the strength of the first book, yes. But don't keep your hopes up for good reading after the first one -- it's all downhill from there. The Dark is Rising. One of the best YA epic fantasy series. Well-developed characters that are stereotypical but still exhibit a surprising amount of depth. A standard save-the-world plot, but one that still evokes a good deal of pleasure as you watch the characters struggle to save the world.
This one is a lot of fun; I'd even go as far as to say it's one of the most entertaining standard fantasy tales in the genre. Duncan takes the standard fantasy cliche's and makes them his own with some deft plotting, a cast of well-developed characters with complex relationships, one of the more interesting magic systems out there, and a lovable underdog hero you just love rooting for when the odds are stacked against him. This series is written with such earnestness and passion that you can't help but love it. If you want some sort of existential tale that celebrates a good man's ability to do bad things rather than a feel good novel about heroes who actually make you feel good about yourself, than don'tread this.
But if you want a standard fantasy tale where heroes are actually, well, good and one that rises far above the standard fantasy derivatives out there, read. Highly recommended. A beautiful and deftly woven fantasy tale that rings strong with a lot of the elements that make Lord of the Rings so captivating. Why might you want to read this?
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Let's look at a little checklist: A mysterious landscape that's almost poetic. A strong mythos of the world underlying the conversations, references, and history. Magic is mysterious and rare. The world is under threat by some unknown force. Beautiful, lyrical prose. This three-book series proves you don't need to have ten-thousand page books to tell a proper high fantasy tale.
If you love reading epic fantasy with rich history and myth built into the story, complemented by beautiful language, pick this series up. You certainly won't go wrong reading it. Magic is very much a mystery in this series; part of the pleasure of reading this series is the sense of mystery and wonder. If you want to get lost in mysterious lands on a quest to save the land from an ancient evil, this should be your next series. It's epic fantasy that's got a lot of the familiar themes, but it's damn well written epic fantasy. Another classic fantasy tale that's just pure joy to read. Follow along with Morgan as he seeks to solve the mystery of his birth.
Maybe along the way he's save the world and find true love. Classic epic fantasy that's beautifully written. The Death Gate. However, this massive epic fantasy saga is wholly original. It's massive, ambitious, and well worth the read. I gleefully lost myself for a few weeks in this very addicting saga. If you like the hero-driven, magic-riddled worlds of Robert Jordan, and Raymond E.
Feist, then you will probably love the Deathgate Cycle saga. Epic fantasy has become so cheap it's now at the dime-a-dozen price range. Every author and wannabe-author is trying to pour out epics faster than beer at a Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day. It makes for some seriously substandard, watered-down reading. Tad Williams has his own style of epic fantasy; he doesn't copy Jordan, Martin, or even Tolkien. Some of the greater Tolkien elements are there, as are some of the fantasy archetypal characters.
But Williams is best when he's writing an epic. Everything is so finely detailed that it can take a while to get the story rolling -- this is something that some love or hate about a Williams novel. But if you give his works a fair shake and invest some time plowing through the slow pacing of the first few hundred pages, you're treated to something majestic. Shadow March combines some of the elements from A Game of Thrones with the mythos and world building of Tolkien.
There's a vast wall of mist in the very northernmost part of the lands that separates a race of mysterious fairies from humans. There's an emperor in the southern desert lands dreaming of conquering the entire world and mortality itself. There's a kingship dispute, treachery, and invasion. And there is a firm mythos woven into the story threads, giving insight into the world as it used to be eons ago, stories that do connect with the current plot.
I really enjoyed how Williams incorporates faeries into the story. The series are full of ancient mythology, lost realms, strange magic, and just a whole lot of adventure. And of course, as a Tad Williams novel, there's great characterization and beautiful writing present too. Well worth reading! This is an epic fantasy for those who like to read good fantasy. Williams doesn't always give everything to you right away and you are required to dig into the books a bit before things get moving.
Williams spends more time than you like detailing the daily routine of the settings around the characters, but on the whole, it's a great series and one that you should read. You might also call this one The Lord of the Rings of horror books -- a somewhat apt description that describes what this is. It's not a book that will appeal to everyone fans of easy-to-read epic fantasy where all the cards are laid out on the table by page 10 probably won't , but what I will guarantee is that Imajiica is a feast of the senses and the imagination. Not all 'epic fantasy' is derivative of Tolkien or Jordan.
Imajiica is an epic fantasy with a new face -- rather than an all-consuming struggle against an implacable and unstoppable outside force of evil, it's a struggle to save mankind from itself.
This is a monster of a book at almost pages, but it's a book that will have you captivated the whole way through; there is no useful filler, only laser-sharp plotting and even sharper prose. The 4th Dominion, our world, has been separated from the other 5 worlds. The last great attempt to reconcile our world with the other 5 backfired, and nearly all the metaphysically talented people died Shamans, Magicians, etc.
But now, things are again ripe for another attempt, and this time if the worlds are not reconciled, mankind will certainly destroy itself in the future. Barker is famous for writing his stories where there is another world underpinning the reality of our own, just a pin prick away, if one knows exactly where to prick. One of the more complex fantasy works on this list, The Folding Knife is another one of those epics that don't initially made the standard epic fantasy criteria until you start digging down deep to find the bones of it.
The Folding Knife is an example of an epic fantasy that lacks many of the epic fantasy qualities that you are familiar -- like magic while still maintaining the high stakes involved in an epic. The Folding Knife is an epic that focuses on the ethics of things -- specifically on the making of difficult ethical decisions. There's a lot going between the pages and while there is no standard evil dark lord to slay or a detailed magic system, but it's a story about a man's willingness to do anything and everything strengthen the kingdom he comes to lead.
This novel is probably the most eclectic of the books on this list especially added to an Epic Fantasy list , but don't just it and give it a read. You might find there's a real power The Folding Knife and become a life long fan of one of the best -- and most underrated -- authors in the genre. The Traitor Son Cycle. No more cutting off heads with butter knives, riding days in full plate armor without feeling a scratch of discomfort, fighting for hours and hours at a time without getting tired, etc. No, in The Traitor Son Cycle, you are going to feel the pain, weariness and complete discomfort the heroes of the story endure.
And trust me, here's a lot of that to go around here. This epic fantasy stands above many of its peers because of the sheer realistic detail built into the world. The author is actually an expert on medieval history and weaves realism -- from the armor weight, the way knights sit on the saddles, the structure of fortresses, to the cultures based on different European countries. There's also a lot of action, excitement and general mayhem stuffed into the pages. Brutal bloody battles with men and brutal bloody battles with monsters. There's a good deal of military strategy, tactics, and squad combat dynamics going on here in this series as well, so much in fact that I'd even label this series military fantasy.
A refreshing and promising addition to the epic fantasy genre. Try this series out -- you may just find yourself in love. A group egregore is the distinctive energy of a specific group of magicians who are working together, creating and building the same thought-form or energy-form. The gods and goddesses of every religion, past and present, are at the centers of vast egregore charged with specific kinds of power. This power is defined by, and contacted through, the traditional symbolism of the deity in question. Thus, Irim, the city of the Nephilim is again linked with the Book of Enoch, since the Nephilim, according to that Book, were the sons of the Irim the egregores.
Although the Irim, the egregores, are angels on both sides of the camp — fallen angels as well as faithful ones. It was the land whose name — Shumer — literally meant the Land of the Watchers. The region is always measured off from another posing a threat of some sort to it. This is the chief mountain of the ancient Israelites. It is natural, also, that Scripture should mention names peculiar to these tribes of Phoenicians, as Hermon appears to stand over Sidon, and the possessions of the Amorites extended to the skirts of the mountain itself.
As a proof of this, Josephus is often quoted, as affirming that still in his own day enormous bones of giants were daily discovered on it. A people who I write about often and I detail in my books, the History of the Gnostics and the Secrets of the Gnostics. Crete is the well-known birthplace of Western civilization. They are called the Elohim by the Hebrews and were nature divinities from ancient Sumerian times. Their descendants are the Phoenicians.
A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism. As a growing share of human interactions—social, political, and economic—are committed to the digital realm, privacy and security as values and as rights have risen in importance. Although Snowden highlighted government surveillance, it may not be the worst problem.
Corporations hold vast and growing troves of personal information that is often inadequately protected, its use largely unregulated. Since , hackers have stolen hundreds of millions of credit-card numbers from major retailers such as Target, Home Depot, TJX, and eBay. In , someone stole the keys to half a billion Yahoo accounts without being detected. And everyday threats to privacy are so commonplace that most people are numb to them. In exchange for free email, consumers allow companies such as Google to scan the content of their digital messages in order to deliver targeted ads.
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Users of social media, eager to keep in touch with a circle of friends, rarely read the standard agreement that governs the rights and use of what they post online. People accept such tradeoffs in exchange for convenience. Bemis professor of international law and of computer science Jonathan Zittrain, faculty chair of the Berkman Klein Center, worries that the ubiquity of privacy threats has led to apathy. Now everyone is vulnerable. The perception that the Information Age has put privacy and security at risk is widespread. Necessarily, the search for solutions is equally broad-based. In Washington, D.
Solutions to privacy and security problems thus involve computer scientists and legal scholars, as well as experts in healthcare, government, and business. Assuring the privacy of information means making it secure. Door locks, tall fences, and burglar alarms work well in the physical world. But anyone who finds a flaw in all digital locks could break into every home. Ordinary individuals, he points out, can do very little to mitigate this kind of systemic risk. In the past 15 years, entire corporations, even nations, have found their data and systems vulnerable to attack.
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Office of Personnel and Management, disclosed in April , was reportedly the most significant breach of federal networks to date: hackers, thought to be state-sponsored, took personal data for four million employees and political appointees, leading to the recall of American intelligence agents posted abroad. The stakes can become very high indeed. He described how an unidentified entity had been probing the defenses of companies that provide critical Internet infrastructure, slowly ramping up repeated, carefully metered attacks, as if seeking to quantify precise points of failure.
Although his best-selling book, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World , has led to his reputation as a consumer-privacy-rights advocate, Schneier is also chief technology officer for Resilient, an IBM company that handles online incident response. The project focuses on policy research into the U.
It also provides offensive cyber capabilities to commanders around the world in the event that hostilities break out analogous to the access they have to air and sea power capabilities. And it is responsible for defending the nation—including aviation, financial, and power-transmission systems—against a significant cyberattack. The structure of the Internet itself makes that defensive mission difficult.
But defending cyberspace is extremely difficult because it lacks both borders and distance. That implies that the defense mission is expansive. These are big growth areas for us. But as the mission grows, vulnerabilities are becoming more complex, not less. The Internet of Things—chip-equipped, network-connected household items such as living-room televisions that can respond to commands to change the channel—present huge security not to mention privacy concerns.
It may seem logical for a centralized military organization to provide national cybersecurity and defend against cyber war. Accordingly, Benkler advocates systems that allow personal data to remain in the hands of consumers—minimizing the privacy risks posed by governments, corporations, and hackers because personal information is not concentrated in a single place. But it may not be as practicable as he hopes.
Providing security to a range of companies has led him to discover how easy it is for small companies to err when implementing and defending the security of their systems, whether in cryptography, access control, network-level security, or in the internal audit processes used to ensure data is compartmentalized.
In the here and now, using encryption, firewalls, and passwords is one way to keep information secret. Rotenberg, an attorney and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, has won cases before the Supreme Court, filed numerous amicus briefs, testified before Congress, and given awards to leading privacy advocates across the political spectrum.
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