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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Epicly Epic

Epics. Oh the Epics I have!

Historical Fiction Epics! Fantasy Epics! Sci-fi Epics! Classic Epics! I’ll read them all. Just let me get sucked into a huge, sprawling monster of a story for weeks on end. A whole WORLD that consumes me. Books that keep me up until all hours of the night reading because the world and the characters in it are so real. You get so invested, there isn’t really a good ‘pause point’.

I don’t even know how to choose my favorites for this category. Mainly because this is the majority of what covers my shelves.

Definitely The Dragon Prince series by Melanie Rawn. I remember, very clearly, the feeling of awe the first time I read the first three in this massive 6 parter. I’m not sure if this was the first book I ever read with a name directory in the back, or if it was the first time I’d ever USED the name directory in the back...either way. Holy Mother. The cast of characters in these books. But the surprising thing is that there is no real defining GOOD vs EVIL. Probably the first fantasy series I’d ever read like that. Incredible.

Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series is another one that I keep turning back to. I’m not sure how a writer can put out consistently interesting books, with the amount of research involved at over 600 pgs each. But she does. Yes there are weak bits. Flawed plot points. But the massive scope and the character development, the dialogue. That’s one thing she can write. I can always tell who is talking in her books. She is amazing at voice. And the settings just suck you in.

Then there are the self-contained epics. Margaret George is amazing at these. Or really the classics, Les Mis, The Count of Monte Cristo, Gone with the Wind. Margaret George’s Memoirs of Cleopatra is an absolutely incredible book. Somehow she makes you feel as though you are living her life. She makes you feel as though all these little tiny details, that you realize later could only have been made up, are real. Time stands still when you read this book.

I could go on and on and on in this category...but I think you get the point!  

What epics do you read? Self-Contained? Long-spanning 10 volume monsters?

Oddly, I’ve never found any horror epics. Probably because everyone gets bumped in the first book...


Unknown said...

The longest-spanning epic I've read to day is Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books. (11 or so in all ... I think.) I feel very similar to them as you do the Highlander series. They aren't perfect, by a long stretch at times, but I keep going back to them. There's just so much going on, over so many books, that I kind of just roll with it. :)

Unknown said...

That should be "to date" ... I haven't read 11 books this morning. ;)

mshatch said...

Loved The Dragon Prince books along with Pratchett's Discworld series, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, R. Fiest's Riftwar Saga, and so many more, including my current read (which I am almost - NO! - finished with), Abercrombie's The First Law Trilogy. I especially love discovering series AFTER they are all written :)

Anonymous said...

I read the Harry Potter series for the first time last fall in rapid fire succession. Even read them in church I was so caught up into the story,

And the Dragon Prince series has been on my TBR list for years. Decades. I really need to read them.

Huntress said...

love epics :)

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

Of those three, WoT is the most irritating, continuing into the realm of Stupefy.
Thanx for the tips. The Dragon Prince is a new one for me.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I read George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire".

I really enjoyed the Dune series by Frank Herbert. Sooo epic.

Aldrea Alien said...

Dragon Prince was a good one, and I like the end wasn't all neatly back to the status quo.
I think Jennifer Roberson's Cheysuli series is like that too. It spans several generations (six, I think), so it counts as epic to me. ^_^

There's the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, certainly epic. I've yet to read anything done entirely by her son.
Wheel of Time, as Huntress meantioned. Though I found Rand annoying, I enjoy the others.
Andre Norton's Witch World.
Certainly Discworld.
Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man Trilogies.
And most of the stuff by David Eddings ...

Come on, don't make me list them all.

Huntress said...

regarding the Pern series: After reading her son's book about McCaffrey's dragons, I gave one of the few bad reviews I've ever done on Amazon. Horrible writing. Worse (if possible) than Fifty Shades.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love epics. Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson,.....I could go on. I do love The Count of Monte Cristo.

Aldrea Alien said...

I've not read 50 Shades, not likely to either.
From what I've heard, I'm a bit hesitant to start one of Todd's books. But I didn't mind Dragon Kin, so I'll give him a go and keep in mind that he's not Anne.

Liz A. said...

Oooh, epics. I think I'm ready to dive into something right about now.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

This series gave me FITS! I LOVED the first two...three? Then his writing style got so...I don't know...lazy? I think it was the 5th one that all I remember about it was a lot of "She said "blahblahblahblah..." He said "blahblahBLAH!" And then, BLAH! She said! So frustrating. Cause I loved the story and characters and the unique magic in them.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Yeeeeessss! Bradley! And Martin...Oh Martin...How fast people must reproduce in your worlds to keep up with the murder rate... :P Love them though. SUCH a good series.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

WoT. Gah. Loved the first three. Then the marching. Did they ever stop marching? Seriously...good lord. :)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Dune. You know. I read Dune when I was in like 8th grade. LOVED it. Then I read it again later on in high school...didn't like it so much. Tried it again in college years. Seriously didn't like it. Honestly don't know why. Something about the style of writing more then the story. I know that.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

McCaffrey is why I started writing. Especially the Pern series. Love that lady. (Though she does have some weaker books...) I've never read anything by her son...and now...hmmm.

I'm just NOW making my way through Hobb's Farseer series. LOVE it. Thank you mshatch! Awesome stuff.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I was going to put Rothfuss up there. Wasn't sure if unfinished trilogies counted... :)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I always have something going in the background.

Huntress said...

It appears fantasy/sci-fi is quite the draw. But how about something different?

Susan Howatch's historical epic, The Rich Are Different and Sins of the Father.
These are probably out of print so look for them at the library or flea market.

Back in the 80s, this author was big, writing books like Cashelmara and Penmarric. No magic in these. Nary a wizard or dragon but darn captivating
despite this glaring omission. :)

DEZMOND said...

ANNO DRACULA saga is a horror epic methinks, from Kim Newman, I strongly recommend, eventhough I don't read nor watch horrors otherwise :)
Epics are my fave genre too, especially historical and sf ones.