Am I the only one who is tired of dark fantasy...?

GabeZhul

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Okay, I freely admit that the title might seem a bit misleading, but hear me out! It is related to what I actually want to ask about, please give me the benefit of the doubt and let me explain.

Right now I have a relatively simple job. It's a bit hectic at times but generally it is monotonous (and more importantly, simple) enough so that I can listen to stuff while working. I usually go with podcasts or some educational stuff (the TTC lectures, while cost an arm and a leg, are pretty good), but from time to time I like to listen to audiobooks to mix things up a little.

And here is the crux of my problem and the inspiration for this thread: I have been listening to a bunch of "modern fantasy classics" (as one obscure blog described the list featuring most of them) lately, stuff that gets recommended everywhere, and I am getting sick and tired of gritty dark fantasy, yet whenever I try to look up any other lists on some audiobook sites or blogs, I see the very same recommendations everywhere. In other words, I am stuck.

As such this thread serves a dual purpose: On one hand I am genuinely curious if I am in the minority of this regard, being fed up with the grimdark that seems to pervade the top seller lists, but I would also like to see whether you guys could actually recommend me something more, for the lack of better word, ligthearted to listen to in order to make the work-hours seem even just a tad less grueling.

For the record, the series' that I either listened to or read are as follows:
-The Night Angel books
-The Way of Kings
-The Name of the Wind
-The Abhorsen books
-The Discworld books (all of them)
[Edit:]
-The Dresden Files (I forgot to mention these the first time around, sorry..)
-The Codex Alera books

The books that I will definitely not read:
-The Game of Thrones books (I tried reading the first book but it's not my cup of tea)
-The Mistborn books
-The Lightbringer series (got my fill of Brent Week's style with the Night Angel books already, thank you very much)

For reference, the last actually lighthearted and relaxing audiobook I listened to was David Weber's War God series (which I only found by total chance), which was pretty meh when it came to the prose and narration, but it was extremely witty with the dialog and just generally a lot of fun without all the grimdark I was getting tired anyways.

Please help me out and I thank you very much in advance. Now all I need is a miracle so that this thread wouldn't be swallowed up by the raging sea of GG and related threads... >_<
 

The Wykydtron

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Sep 23, 2010
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Oh cool, another guy who's read The Name of the Wind. It's probably the best book I have ever read, you read the sequel yet? It's good but I have a small issue that Kvothe goes through so many power spikes it might be that the author is slightly too in love with his own character. Maybe, it's a very small quibble.

OT: I'm a bit sick of dark stuff in general actually, game wise especially. I like dark things which turn out to have a happy ending still but good luck finding that shit in gaming nowadays. It's either broodingly dark or a stupid sequel hook. It's why I didn't find The Night Angel books very heavy myself, the ending was happy enough.

Unfortunately no lighthearted books spring to mind, I could give you some Visual Novels that are light enough but I assume that's a no go.
 

Cowabungaa

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The Wykydtron said:
Oh cool, another guy who's read The Name of the Wind. It's probably the best book I have ever read, you read the sequel yet? It's good but I have a small issue that Kvothe goes through so many power spikes it might be that the author is slightly too in love with his own character. Maybe, it's a very small quibble.
After reading through it a second time I really saw just how much of a Mary Sue Kvothe really is. However, we also do know that he's going to get brought down pretty hard so it'll work itself out. Hell that might be half the point.

Anywho, the Dresden Files might be a fun bash for you. Yeah there's plenty of shit going down in those books, but it's narrated by the delightfully dark humoured main character. A delicious mix of urban fantasy, film noir and B-level action. Great fun and the further you go down the books the more character development you start seeing which is really cool. I mean, at one point this happens:



Oh yeah, it's that awesome. And I swear it makes sorta sense in the narrative too.

Our own Yathzee's Mogworld is also a hoot.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I think the only dark fantasy book I've ever read was Kaz the Minotaur, which I believe is entry #4 in the Dragonlance: Heroes series or some bullshit like that. One of those disinterested gifts you get as a kid from classmates in your birthday. I was "the guy that reads", so his mom must've fished in a supermarket book bin and bought the first thing she pulled out. And that was Kaz the Minotaur.

To every other fantasy book I've since been introduced to, all I could think of was the following: "You think fantasy is your ally. But you merely ripped off Tolkien. I read Tolkien. I was molded by Tolkien. I didn't read Kaz the Minotaur until much later, and by then it was nothing to me but GARBAGE".
 

spartan231490

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GabeZhul said:
Okay, I freely admit that the title might seem a bit misleading, but hear me out! It is related to what I actually want to ask about, please give me the benefit of the doubt and let me explain.

Right now I have a relatively simple job. It's a bit hectic at times but generally it is monotonous (and more importantly, simple) enough so that I can listen to stuff while working. I usually go with podcasts or some educational stuff (the TTC lectures, while cost an arm and a leg, are pretty good), but from time to time I like to listen to audiobooks to mix things up a little.

And here is the crux of my problem and the inspiration for this thread: I have been listening to a bunch of "modern fantasy classics" (as one obscure blog described the list featuring most of them) lately, stuff that gets recommended everywhere, and I am getting sick and tired of gritty dark fantasy, yet whenever I try to look up any other lists on some audiobook sites or blogs, I see the very same recommendations everywhere. In other words, I am stuck.

As such this thread serves a dual purpose: On one hand I am genuinely curious if I am in the minority of this regard, being fed up with the grimdark that seems to pervade the top seller lists, but I would also like to see whether you guys could actually recommend me something more, for the lack of better word, ligthearted to listen to in order to make the work-hours seem even just a tad less grueling.

For the record, the series' that I either listened to or read are as follows:
-The Night Angel books
-The Way of Kings
-The Name of the Wind
-The Abhorsen books
-The Diskworld books (all of them)

The books that I will definitely not read:
-The Game of Thrones books (I tried reading the first book but it's not my cup of tea)
-The Mistborn books
-The Lightbringer series (got my fill of Brent Week's style with the Night Angel books already, thank you very much)

For reference, the last actually lighthearted and relaxing audiobook I listened to was David Weber's War God series (which I only found by total chance), which was pretty meh when it came to the prose and narration, but it was extremely witty with the dialog and just generally a lot of fun without all the grimdark I was getting tired anyways.

Please help me out and I thank you very much in advance. Now all I need is a miracle so that this thread wouldn't be swallowed up by the raging sea of GG and related threads... >_<
Wait, you consider Name of the Wind to be dark and gritty? Really? Are you sure?

Well, I was going to agree with you, but I actually like Weeks' style. I just hate Game of Thones, that shit is just depressing. Oh, you liked that character? That was a mistake. I had assumed this thread was about books that had popped up in the wake of GoT, now I'm not really sure what to think.

Um, I'm not sure what to suggest now. I can't think of a single fantasy series that doesn't have any main character die. Oh, try Percy Jackson or Ranger's Apprentice.

You could also try Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth. I didn't find them excessively dark or gritty, though they touch on some dark themes.

Maybe give Ion and Iona a shot? I'm really at a loss. Good luck.
 

Fox12

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Nope! I love Dark Fantasy! Berserk is probably my favorite series of all time, though I'll admit to being rather tired of GoT.

However, and this is very important, I do not love these series BECAUSE they are dark. I love them because they are well made and say something intelligent. I love the more idealistic Lord of the Rings as well, and Miyazaki's fairy tale worlds will always enchant.

Prepare yourself, though, because the Martin rip offs are coming. Everyone has been ripping off Tolkien for years, but I know which way the wind is blowing, and Martins work is about to bring forward a MASSIVE flood of imitators who probably think their rather clever for deconstructing light hearted fantasy tropes, even though their several decades late to the party. A lot of poorly written political intrigue lies in the future until another decent writer changes things and everyone follows him/her.
 

the December King

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Cowabungaa said:
After reading through it a second time I really saw just how much of a Mary Sue Kvothe really is. However, we also do know that he's going to get brought down pretty hard so it'll work itself out. Hell that might be half the point.
I really didn't enjoy A Wise Man's Fear, the second book, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. I loved The Name of The Wind, even if it was a bit draggy and yeah, Kvothe is unstoppable. S'like Harry Potter meets, I dunno, a less 'magicky' world, I guess.
 

Ryan Hughes

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No, you are not the only person who feels this way.

I actually created a thread much like this some time back, and discussed this at length, so I am somewhat loth to do so again, but feel free to check out the thread:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.844089-The-Failure-of-Dark-Fantasy?page=1
 

Michael Dunkerton

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Abhorsen books are fantastic, but other than that I've had my fill of dark fantasy for the most part. The thing is, so many fantasy writers and readers want to prove that we're not "childish" for liking fantasy, so they get away from its fairy tale roots. But fairy tales are awesome! Honestly, when I want a break from gritty and want some lighter fantasy books, I just read books aimed at 12- to 15-year-olds. Some of them are really good, even if you will knock them out in an afternoon. Howl's Moving Castle, Firebird by Mercedes Lackey, and Silverwing are three absolutely charming books that come to mind. Granted, I haven't read them since I *was* 14, but even if the writing is a little simplistic, the plotlines are tried and true, like the fairy tales that basically inspired modern fantasy. If you're looking less for charming and more for funny, well there's always Discworld.
 

CarlsonAndPeeters

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I've gone back to reading Terry Brooks's Shannara series (after the announcement of the TV show). People have mixed feelings about them, but to me they're very enjoyable books set in a fantasy world; not too dark or too full of themselves, just stories. The first book is basically just Lord of the Rings, but after that they get pretty unique and interesting. I like 'em, anyways.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Pick up David Eddings' Belgariad, Mallorean and Sparhawk series. Good times to be had taking the piss out of generic hero quests.
 

ninja51

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I'd maybe suggest trying to get into A Song of Ice and Fire once more, though I do suggest that as a mega fan 2/3s of the way through the fourth book. I honestly havn't ever been so drawn into a universe as I have been in the second and third books in the series. Honestly, I'd break it down to about halfway through the first book up to the 5th or so chapter in the fourth being the height of the series so far. Its a pretty expansive height sure, but throughout those books and chapters I was blowing through pages and often unable to put the book down. I even stayed up all night reading more than once through the second and third book, which I havn't ever done until A Song of Ice and Fire.

There are some stinky chapters in that first half the of the first book, and I've noticed just a few more popping up in the fourth, but overall even chapters following 13 year old thick as hell girls manage to grab me with George R.R.'s unbelievably descriptive language, brilliantly written character thoughts, and its sense of deep history. I've only disliked maybe two chapters through the entire book, one following the character Sam in the land of Bravos doing horribly retarded things he is smart enough not to do, and the other being a prologue chapter following a stupid man having stupid thoughts written about as well as stupid people thoughts can be I guess. He does stumble into something pretty awesome sure, but an entire chapter following the only stupid character we follow resulted in such a weird tonal shift I couldn't get into it. The character Brienne drags a bit in her constant nobleness, but seriously, few characters have me connecting with them as much as I do to some of the characters with access to their thoughts.

The insight into their thoughts and just how similar some of their thoughts of constructed to mine is probably my favorite part of the series and is particularly interesting having watched though show. Honestly, that's what I'd recommend to maybe have you interested in the books, as they do get so so good, go ahead and watch the Game of Thrones HBO series. The first half of season one drags just like the first half of book one, and be extra forgiving to the "I can't believe we actually made this pilot" slow jumble of a pilot episode. Outside of that the series is just as spectacular as the books are, with a much more grounded sort of reality to them that might offer a more unique entry point to the imagery the books create. Give it a go mate, you shant be disappointed.
 

prowll

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Cowabungaa said:
The Wykydtron said:
Oh cool, another guy who's read The Name of the Wind. It's probably the best book I have ever read, you read the sequel yet? It's good but I have a small issue that Kvothe goes through so many power spikes it might be that the author is slightly too in love with his own character. Maybe, it's a very small quibble.
After reading through it a second time I really saw just how much of a Mary Sue Kvothe really is. However, we also do know that he's going to get brought down pretty hard so it'll work itself out. Hell that might be half the point.

Anywho, the Dresden Files might be a fun bash for you. Yeah there's plenty of shit going down in those books, but it's narrated by the delightfully dark humoured main character. A delicious mix of urban fantasy, film noir and B-level action. Great fun and the further you go down the books the more character development you start seeing which is really cool. I mean, at one point this happens:



Oh yeah, it's that awesome. And I swear it makes sorta sense in the narrative too.

Our own Yathzee's Mogworld is also a hoot.
Read Dresden. That is all.
 

Zhukov

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The Wykydtron said:
Oh cool, another guy who's read The Name of the Wind. It's probably the best book I have ever read, you read the sequel yet? It's good but I have a small issue that Kvothe goes through so many power spikes it might be that the author is slightly too in love with his own character. Maybe, it's a very small quibble.
I gave up on that book less than halfway in.

It feels like fan fiction. The main character is of exotic appearance, own a Very Special Sword and is naturally good at absolutely everything he ever tries his hand at. Yet he's also haunted by a dark past that began when his parents were killed by an ancient evil.

I mean, really?
 

Risingblade

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Try the Wheel of Time series, they're nice long audiobooks so they're weeks worth of material. The audiobooks have both a female and male narrator and they really give a nice relaxing read.
 

Little Woodsman

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As one of my friends and I often say "If I wanted to be depressed I'd read the news!"

So yeah, also prefer lighter fantasy.

For light-hearted fantasy you can't beat Robert Asprin's Myth series.

Don't know if they are available as audiobooks though.
 

The Wykydtron

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Sep 23, 2010
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Zhukov said:
The Wykydtron said:
Oh cool, another guy who's read The Name of the Wind. It's probably the best book I have ever read, you read the sequel yet? It's good but I have a small issue that Kvothe goes through so many power spikes it might be that the author is slightly too in love with his own character. Maybe, it's a very small quibble.
I gave up on that book less than halfway in.

It feels like fan fiction. The main character is of exotic appearance, own a Very Special Sword and is naturally good at absolutely everything he ever tries his hand at. Yet he's also haunted by a dark past that began when his parents were killed by an ancient evil.

I mean, really?
I dunno, he's got flaws I guess. After reading it like four times i'm not 100% sure why Kvothe is so bloodyminded to create a legend for himself the second he shows up to Uni and puts a lot of faith in something being true because he heard it once before in his broken childhood with nothing backing it up (Story of Lanre.) I would say your enjoyment of the series is based on how much you can stop your eyes from rolling whenever he does something crazy but succeeds because fuck you he's Kvothe, if you're patiently waiting for the apparent fall from grace that's been hyped up for two books and if you can figure out some character flaws for yourself to make him look less OP.

If you gave up on the first book I cannot imagine how you would react to the second. I think the best part to bring up is where he goes and gets himself abducted by a legendary fairy type pokemon woman and gets a prolonged course of sex training so he can be the best at that too.

Really.