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Title: The Recommendation Thread
Description: Highly recommended!

Lena - December 31, 2010 07:11 AM (GMT)
So, what media do you Wyntryllians like to consume? Share with us (hopefully with more explanation than "because it's awesome")! ;p

I'll admit, I do have selfish reasons for posting things: I'm on the lookout for new books and music, and I would appreciate some guidance.

Missa - December 31, 2010 07:39 AM (GMT)
I will admit I only read fantasy, and manga, but I'll list some books anyway. ;D

The Forgotten Realms - Various Authors. It's a shared world series based on D&D.

The Gift -- Allison Grogan (I think). Good book, if you read it, Cadvan is awesome! XD

Ranger's Apprentice -- John Flannagen. YA series that I absolutely adore.

The Sight -- David Clement Davies. Good book. Firebringer comes before it, but you don't need to read it.

The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett. First book of the Diskworld series.

The Witches of Eilennian -- Kate Elliott (Not sure the title is spelt right. First one is Dragonsclaw. I think)

The Belgariad -- David Eddings. (Silk is epic. 8D Side characters for the win)

The Diamond Throne -- Also David Eddings.

The Last Dragonlord - Joanne Bertin (Eza introduced me to this one.)

Anything by Mercedes Lackey

Dragonsbane -- Barbara Hambly

The Broken Well Trilogy -- Sam Browing (First one is Prophecy's Ruin)

The Final Dance Trilogy -- Christie Golden (I think, first one is On Fire's Wings)

The Black Jewels -- Anne Bishop (SO AWESOME, first one is... Heir to the Shadows? Queen of Darkness? One of them)

Snare -- Katherine Kerr (I don't reccomend much by her, since she's a bit of a waffler and a bit ... odd... But this one's good)

The Dragonlance Chronicles -- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (I will reccomend anything by Weis. She's awesome. First book is Dragons of Autumn Twilight)

Test of the Twins -- Same as above I think. Features two of the characters from the above series. Raistlin <3.

Obernewtyn -- Isobelle Carmody (Not a bad series)

AND that's all I remember off the top of my head. I may give you more at a later date, once all my books are unpacked xD

Milanthia - December 31, 2010 07:47 AM (GMT)
I will attest to the Black Jewels novels. They're fantastic!

Lena - December 31, 2010 08:07 AM (GMT)
The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett. First book of the Diskworld series.

Did you just recommend Discworld and will you marry me? ;D I'm actually not as fond of The Colour of Magic - it felt very disjointed (but was this the one with Liessa the Dragonrider? ;p). My heart belongs to the Vimes books, followed by the Death books and the witches. <3

The Gift -- Allison Grogan (I think). Good book, if you read it, Cadvan is awesome! XD

Oh! I remember this! Hmm, I don't recall very much of it, and I read this when I was not as picky and grouchy as I am now. I may reread it - I remember it being deliciously written, though some of the cliches might rub me the wrong way now.

Obernewtyn -- Isobelle Carmody (Not a bad series)

I actually picked this up once, but didn't read it because my friend laughed at me. ;p It seemed interesting, though.

Mine, for now (shamelessly cribbed from a conversation with a friend):

Fudoki, by Kij Johnson - I don't know how well the myth and and Heian Japan are portrayed, but it's written in beautiful, stark prose. The female protagonists are interesting and not just designated love interests, and I love the analysis of society. Also, I'm a journaling nerd and the chapter headings won my love. The cat is written as inhuman, with an entirely different perspective, which is always a plus in Lena's book.

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville is frustrating to explain, because it pokes fun at the quest fantasy and the Chosen One trope. I can't explain why, though, because that would be spoilery. Clever, witty, and amazing.

To continue with the alterna!London:

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. Witty and awesome, just like everything Neil Gaiman writes. Seriously. Also pick up A Study in Emerald (link is to the PDF of the story), a Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes pastiche story. Yes, really. Also grab American Gods, Anansi Boys, and the Sandman comics (caveat: there's nudity and some squick, especially in the first comic, which did not please Lena as much as the others).

The Once and Future King by T.H. White is a delight. I love its cavalier attitude toward anachronisms (drinking port!), its quotable-ness, and its portrayal of people as people with flaws and vulnerabilities. I did not, however, enjoy the first book of it - it felt a bit too twee for me.

The Steerswoman's Road by Rosemary Kirstein - I do not know if I can recommend this wholeheartedly, but it passes the Bechdel test with flying colours and has awesome female protagonists*. It has logic and protagonists who think (as well as, if I recall correctly, dynamic protagonists who seek answers(! It has culture-building and mysteries and struggles to understand those mysteries!

Diana Wynne Jones is hit-or-miss with me, because her plots are so convoluted, but she writes unidealized characters and they are lovable for that. I particularly enjoy Dogsbody, Howl's Moving Castle (Lena = secret romantic), and the Chrestomanci books.

If I could marry a book, I would marry Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark. I love everything about it. The footnotes, the worldbuilding, the characters (all of them, and while its female characters are not the main focus and tend to spend some time being in distress, they are amazing and still very strong <3), the wry sense of humour, the academic-ness of it. The characters are flawed and adorable. Its pacing is excruciatingly slow for a modern book, yes - it takes a hundred pages or so before Strange is even introduced. All I can say is that it's not a quick action book - the worldbuilding and wry humour have to be slowly savoured!

Some quotes from JS&MN:
“Dear God!!” cried Fitzroy Somerset, “What language is that?”
“I believe it is one of the dialects of Hell,” said Strange.
“Is it indeed?” said Somerset. “Well, that is remarkable.”
“They have learnt it very quickly,” said Lord Wellington, “They have been dead only three days.” He approved of people doing things promptly and in a businesslike fashion.


After two hours it stopped raining and in the same moment the spell broke, which Peroquet and the Admiral and Captain Jumeau knew by a curious twist of their senses, as if they had tasted a string quartet, or been, for a moment, deafened by the sight of colour blue.


She was always very ready to smile and, since a smile is the most becoming ornament that any lady can wear, she had been known on occasion to outshine women who were acknowledged beauties in three counties.

* This is kind of a big thing with me. ;p

Ego - December 31, 2010 09:28 AM (GMT)
Okay, let's see.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.

A Song Of Ice And Fire series by George R.R. Martin. - Okay, I don't know what I would quote from this one. It's incredible. This is the grittiest, most realistic medieval fantasy you'll find in print. It's mature and takes itself seriously and deserves to. It's also stunningly rich and detailed and gorgeous in every way and please holy shit read it.
One of my favorite things about the series is that the chapters are divided between a number of POV characters - third person limited, not first person - per book. What this mostly means to the story is that there's no security in being a "protagonist." Absolutely anyone and everyone can die without the book breaking, and Martin takes advantage of that to make a lot of major series-changing decisions about who lives and who dies. Someone could be the sole survivor of a village massacre in the first chapter and you assume that means they're the main character and will drive the series, and then in the third chapter they fall off a cliff or get measles or something and unceremoniously croak. There's a lot of unceremonious croaking, because Martin understands that a very, very small percentage of people die honorably in battle, and your average sovereign king is more likely to die of the flu.
Of course it's still fantasy, in the most awesome of ways. There's direwolves and quiet hints of some kind of science-based "magic" with waterproof fire, etc, and also what seems to be a kind of blood magic / necromancy type thing with Mirri Maz Dur and Melisandre the Red Woman, but you see so little of it, always from the position of someone who doesn't understand it, that it feels awesome and horrifying instead of just cheap. There's also snow giants. Which are bitterly sad more than anything in the BEST WAY EVER HOLY SHIT JUST READ THE DAMN BOOKS
Most everyone's favorite thing about the series is the grey and grey morality thing. There's a single character who is clearly a noble, likeable hero, and Martin kills him for no good reason on like page 50 just to prove he can. From that point, you pick an ostensibly bad guy and root for him or her until they die, and then you pick another.
Also okay best characters ever.

The Pear-Shaped Man by George R.R. Martin.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

Overqualified by Joey Comeau.

We need virtual pet games where you clean and feed and love your furry little friend and that car still comes out of nowhere so smoothly, a god of aerodynamics and passenger safety. Where you hear your father's quiet joke that night, when he thinks you are asleep.

We need a new Mario game, where you rescue the princess in the first ten minutes, and for the rest of the game you try and push down that sick feeling in your stomach that she's "damaged goods", a concept detailed again and again in the profoundly sex negative instruction booklet, and when Luigi makes a crack about her and Bowser, you break his nose and immediately regret it. When Peach asks you, in the quiet of her mushroom castle bedroom, "Do you still love me?" you pretend to be asleep. You press the A button rhythmically, to control your breath, keep it even.

Watchmen by Moore and Gibbons.

Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran-Foer.

When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder. Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table. I spent my life learning to feel less. Every day I felt less. Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran-Foer.

And everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Grendel by John Gardner.

It's good at first to be out in the night, naked to the cold mechanics of the stars. Space hurls outwards, falconswift, mounting like an irreversible justice, a final disease.

Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut.

Mango - December 31, 2010 09:55 AM (GMT)
I adore JS&MN. Just... adoration. When pressed to pick my favorite single, stand alone BOOK, I pick that one. xD

--Jim Butcher is my favorite living author.

-- The Codex Alera-- The Furies of Calderon, Academ's Fury, Cursor's Fury, Captain's Fury, Princep's Fury, First Lord's Fury. They are made of pure WIN. Furies of Calderon has a touch of typical fantasy tropes, especially at the beginning, but give it a chance to warm up. It /will/ knock your socks off, and, if you're as big a softy as me, you will cry at the climax of every book. xD It was a little pathetic, actually, because I was in public a couple times. PS-- MAXIMUS. THAT IS ALL.

-- The Dresden Files-- Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Turn Coat, Changes. I'm really tired and I might be missing one between White Night and Changes. xD HOWEVER, these urban fantasy series is... well, amazing. They were this author's first series, so you can really see his writing improve and plots exponentially grow from book to book. This is a series that, to me, is the best of both worlds: each book is a complete story, a complete plot line, at least immediately. However, the series still mounts with tension and multiple layered plots very well built over several books. The "series" aspect really comes to the for from book three (Grave Peril) on. It's a little ironic, because they're only called "The Dresden Files Book One" and so forth for the first six books, after which they become "A Novel Of"s. If anything, books one and two are 'novels of'.

Anyway, at twelve books and counting, this series is very enjoyable. The author handles world building and character development really well; the "background" characters POP, the world seems vivid and somewhat plausible (I mean, it is urban fantasy, so we have to cut it a little slack), and the main character is amazing. Normally, I do not like first person stories nearly as much as third, but this series completely changes my mind on that. Another plus is that this author writes two books a year, every year, and now that the Codex Alera is finished, I hope to get two Dresden Files books this year. xD Who knows?

The author also does things that are occasionally unusual; just to chose a large example, the main character once, through an act of poor planning on his part, got his hand basically melted. Grossly. Anyway, this goes on to be a debilitating, embarrassing handicap that has very serious repercussions in his magic (he's a wizard, okay) and ability to protect himself and others. It's a problem. When he needs to get into better shape, he does it by running. Not magical running. Track suit and panting and sweating running. Over the course of several books.

Also, refreshing in urban fantasy, the books are not about him getting laid. Oh, boy, are they NOT about that. xD

Kestrel - December 31, 2010 10:31 AM (GMT)
First of all, I may well be repeating things people have already posted above but, hey, if they're that good, then they deserve to be recommended by more than one person! And I would like to second almost all of the above recommendations - and the ones that I don't second, I need to read! I should also warn you that I mostly read sci-fi and fantasy, so my recs are going to be heavily skewed in that direction. And I'm probably going to be very long winded, sorry XD.

The Winter King's War, by Susan Dexter. First book is The Ring of Allaire. This is the series I go to when I'm feeling depressed, or when the world gets too much, and if pressed, I'd probably have to say that they're my favourite book series. The premise is simple: Tristan, wizard's apprentice, discovers his master has been killed by the evil force Nimir, who wants to cover the land of Calandra in endless winter and generally do evil. He then sets off to save the world. Which is a problem because he's a fail!wizard a lot of the time.

Along the way, he's joined by the mythical war-horse Valadan, the snarky talking cat Thomas, the canary Minstrel (all of whom, I would like to assuage Lena's fears, are neither telepathically bonded to anyone nor sycophantic additions to the hero - Thomas spends most of the books commenting about what idiots humans are), the fighter Polassar, the magical witch-person Allaire and the hedge-witch Elisena. Also involved are the grumpy (angstridden) swordsmith Jehan, the magic trickster-juggler-thief Crewzel and other equally awesome characters. And they're brilliant. Susan Dexter has this incredible way of writing really dramatic events in a really understated way, and her world and the way magic works in it is fascinating.

Essentially, they're a good fantasy romp through an interesting magical land, with interesting, strong characters, both male and female.

And I should shut up now, I think but, really, I adore this series.

The Blue Sword and The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley. This author is more known (I believe) for her retelling of fairytales, but I love her for these two books, and have never gotten inter her fairytale retellings. Anyway, the foremost reason for these books is: They have awesome female protagonists, who defy society and go around kicking butt and taking names, killing dragons and defeating demon armies. Also her world is really interesting (they have giant, intelligent felines! And the magic is...intriguing), and I wish she'd written more in Damar. I also really like her style of writing, as she manages to marry tragedy and joy extremely well.

Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novik. First book is His Majesty's Dragon (aka Temeraire in some places). This book can be summed up in five words: The Napoleonic Wars WITH DRAGONS. And it's just as awesome as that sounds. This series (of six, so far, though she's not showing any signs of stopping!) is among my favourite series ever.

Our protagonists are British sea-captain (for about half of the first chapter) William Laurence and Temeraire, the dragon he acquires by mistake. These are not Pern dragons, as they're not telepathic or anything, and there's about a thousand different species, but they are incredibly individual, all with very different personalities. And Temeraire (whom eventually ends up with chapters told from his perspective) is a brilliant character. Yes, he's intelligent, reads a lot and wants equality for dragons - but no, he's not a person. As I see them, the books start off with Laurence being the main character, and then turn into Laurence being an accessory to Temeraire as the dragon flies off in an attempt to get equality for dragons, end the war, gain treasure and get into parliament.

The Napoleonic Wars are made infinitely more awesome by adding dragons, and Novik has really thought about the way aerial combat would work - big dragons have lots of rifle men on them, for example, and all dragons carry bombs to drop on opposing warships. She's also not afraid to deviate from history, and by the end of the sixth book has taken the wars off on an entirely different course.

But it's not all about the war! A lot of them are also concerned with Temeraire (and Laurence (and friends)) attempting to get better deals for dragons, and it gets caught up with the slave trade and they travel across the world to China, Australia and Turkey, showcasing just how well Novik has developed her world, and providing interesting contrasts in the ways nations treat dragons (oh, and also causing great angst for our characters, so yay!). She also writes in a delightfully era-correct fashion, and I do love language where the jokes are subtle and the speech beautifully correct.

Also, there are some cracking female characters (perhaps a surprise given the time period) because one important species of dragons will only accept female handlers, and so we have some very kickass dragon captains, even if they have to keep fairly quiet for fear of distressing society (but one ends up essentially in control of all of Britain's airforce, so, uh, keeping quiet kinda failed).

And, wow, I am really rambly about books. *zips lips*

The Miles Vorkosigan Series, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Also called The Miles Naismith Series, I believe. This is a science fiction series, set in a future where earth has colonised many planets around the galaxy, and there is a form of FTL travel which happens at jump points, and requires special ships and implants to navigate through. Our hero in these stories is either Cordelia Naismith, initially of the Betan Astrological Service, or Miles Vorkosigan, her son, who... goes through about a million job descriptions.

Shards of Honour and Barrayar are concerned with Cordelia, and though - personally - I felt she spent a great deal of time moping about love, she is still incredibly awesome, and goes around stopping wars (both intergalactic and civil), protecting her kid (by blowing places up and chopping heads off) and refusing to listen to society (by running off to marry a Barrayaran, and then not being a good Barrayan wife).

The rest of the books, beginning with The Warrior's Apprentice, are concerned with Miles, who is a physically crippled (initially) teenager, growing up on a world where the military is everything, people with physical defects are called mutants and often killed at birth, and has the added joy that both his father (Aral, a really interesting, conflicted character in his own right) and his grandfather (an interesting character we sadly do not meet for long) are both heroes (in two separate wars, a generation apart). After washing out of the military by breaking his legs jumping off a small wall (he has brittle bones) he goes of and proceeds to collect a small army of ships simply through the force of his personality (and some loyal retainers). Miles is an incredibly character, who is so incredibly insane and intelligent that he kind of... drags people along with him before they know what's going on.

Bujold couples these brilliant primary characters with a whole host of fascinating secondary ones, good rollicking plots (which vary from sheer space opera to political intrigue and everything in between) and a really good universe set-up. There are no aliens, but all the planets are inhabited by human cultures so different that they might as well be aliens. Her writing style is also very witty, and her characters are beautifully self-aware. And different, very different.

The Warlord Series, by Bernard Cornwell. First book is The Winter King. This is (yet another) retelling of the Arthurian mythos, but it does it in a very 'gritty', quite realistic way, with most of our protagonists going around swearing and fighting and sleeping in muddy ditches as they attempt to keep a kingdom patched together. Magic is, well, is there magic? Perhaps, or perhaps it is only the superstitious minds of the characters and clever tricks. The characters in this, despite being legendary, are incredibly human: deeply flawed, not always sympathetic, frequently stupid, and not particularly better than the people they're fighting against, really. I really like Cornwell's take on Guinevere - essentially an incredibly strong-willed woman who is frustrated by the position in society Dark Age Britain wants her to have, who wants power and tries to take it - and the romance between her and Arthur is so incredibly doomladen, and yet I found myself cheering it on all the same. These books are also responsible for me being unable to take Lancelot seriously, and adoring Galahad.

Though I'm not an expert on the historical period, I do believe that the author captures it quite well: it's not romantic, it is cold and wet a great deal of the time, and there's a lot of mouldering straw on the floors of feast-halls. I go back to my earlier description of it being 'gritty', because it is XD. The tone of it also rings very true - suspicious and not particularly educated, scared of those things that lurk in the dark and with a willingless to live by the sword.

The Crystal Cave and it's sequels, by Mary Stewart. Also a retelling of the Arthurian myths, this one does it in a totally different way: the writing style is elegant and lyrical, and I find that there are so many undercurrents in her words that they are well-worth a reread to pick up on the subtleties. The main character is Merlin, and Arthur isn't even in the first book. Originally a trilogy, there's now five books, but the final two are very different and are not told from Merlin's perspective (and one of them is horribly depressing because it's the 'rocks fall, everybody dies' Mordred and Arthur bit of the myths, though Mordred is incredibly sympathetic, so it's worth a read for that).

Why do I like this series so much? Probably because I simply find it beautiful. Mary Stewart can manage to say so many things without actually saying them, and I love her approach to magic. Her world is also very realistic and not particularly romanticised, and the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is delightful.

Hmm, think I shall stop here, though I'm sure to be back with more!

Rose - December 31, 2010 05:16 PM (GMT)
Most of Tamora Pierce's books are quite enjoyable...

Also, a series which I've reread repeatedly: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud. Excellent books.

the Dragonlance Chronicles are indeed fantastic, although I'm still trying to find the last book in the series. XD

Anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Seriously. Especially Galapagos and Breakfast of Champions.

Plague Year by Stephenie Tolan- somewhat disturbing, but a very good book nonetheless. Actually, for me, the disturbing part is part of what makes it a good read.

And I have hundreds of others, at least, but my mother just got home and she always needs the computer. *rolls eyes*

Lena - December 31, 2010 10:41 PM (GMT)
I would like to assuage Lena's fears, are neither telepathically bonded to anyone nor sycophantic additions to the hero

As I see them, the books start off with Laurence being the main character, and then turn into Laurence being an accessory to Temeraire as the dragon flies off in an attempt to get equality for dragons, end the war, gain treasure and get into parliament.

What? Th-that is awesome. O_o I never finished the first book; clearly I need to.
The Blue Sword and The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley. This author is more known (I believe) for her retelling of fairytales, but I love her for these two books, and have never gotten inter her fairytale retellings.

Considering that she won a Newbery for The Hero and the Crown, I suspect the Damar books are more popular by far. ;p

It's been a long time since I've read the Damar books, so clearly I need to reread The Hero and the Crown.

As for the fairy tale books: I didn't enjoy Rose Daughter or Beauty that much (but that may just because I hate "Beauty and the Beast"), though one of the books had an interesting twist. Spindle's End was better (and had an interesting twist, though I really wish she would stop with the May-December romances).

Deerskin, her retelling of "Donkeyskin", was lovely and painful and heartbreaking, as a story about healing and recovery should be. It has a lovely flow to it, and the prince is refreshingly not creepy. Also, Kess, I think Deerskin made a small reference to Damar, implying that it was set in the same world. Though it didn't feel like the same world at all.

McKinley's work seems to focus on work and hobbies more than most fantasies, I think. Sunshine(Sunshine) is a baker, and it's clear that she loves baking. Aerin(The Hero and the Crown) hunts dragons (which is presented as unglamorous and dangerous). Chalice (Chalice) keeps bees, and Lissar (Deerskin) raises dogs.

Oh, and obligatory rec for Chalice, which has the usual McKinley strengths and unique worldbuilding. Also, it does clever things with the Evil Chancellor trope.
I also really like her style of writing, as she manages to marry tragedy and joy extremely well.

In my opinion, those are the reasons to read Robin McKinley. One of my favorite scenes in The Hero and the Crown is when Aerin leaves Luthe -just, awww, and so much is conveyed through Luthe's actions and not his words.

I think she's starting to move toward a different style in her recent works, though. Sunshine and Dragonshaven seemed first person and rambly to me (though I read them when I was in middle school, so take that statement with a grain of salt).

McKinley's magic systems confuse me, though.
The Warlord Series, by Bernard Cornwell.

This has been recced to me before, but your rec is far more persuasive. Will pick it up first!

There are no aliens, but all the planets are inhabited by human cultures so different that they might as well be aliens. [Bujold's] writing style is also very witty, and her characters are beautifully self-aware.

Yessssss. Two of my favorite things! ;D

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Ego is censured for not providing a quote for The Book Thief, when there are roughly five million good ones to choose from.

To add to what Mango said about Jim Butcher:

Codex Alera is basically "lost Roman legion + Pokemon". Really. Surely you are tempted by that? Its main character is also the only human in the world not to have any magic, and this is something of a problem for him. He quickly becomes Badass Normal and a Guile Hero, and he does so epically. ALSO, MAXIMUS THAT IS ALL.

The culture-building is extensive. Butcher is aware of how the new environment affected Roman culture and the legion subculture, and the result is a culture where "might makes right" and "really powerful magic is important because otherwise we're all screwed". Canim culture also gets love from me for its inhumanity - and the gestures it uses in lieu of human ones are cleverly thought-of.

Caveats: I really don't care for Kitai, the love interest, and Amara's sections bore me. The writing itself didn't seem exceptional, but maybe that's just because I'm used to first-person snark from Butcher.
[Jim Butcher] handles world building and character development really well

This. One thing I like about the Dresden Files is the mix of technology (including napalm!) and magic. Some of the supernatural communities are frighteningly progressive, and that makes them especially dangerous enemies.

Mango explains the Dresden Files quite well, but I'll add that the books favour creative problem solving over pure magical strength. There is a lot of character development, too, as well as Machiavellian plans by...apparently everyone but Harry.

There are two things that bother me about the books. First, Harry's constant, abnormally large increases in power, though it's balanced well by throwing more powerful enemies at him. Of course, it is rather fun to read about him beating up vampires and the like, so I don't complain that much. ;p I dislike how every single female villain (except the walking corpse) is a femme fatale. It's fanservicey and overdone. Yeah, I'm sure it helps them with manipulating folks, but... if Lena were a superpowered villain, she would focus more on blowing things up (and Machiavellian plans, of course) than on looking sexy. And while I'm not irritated by it (yet), I know some readers who have a negative reaction to Harry's attitude toward women.

Milanthia - January 2, 2011 07:05 AM (GMT)
I also vouch for the Witches of Eilannan, by Kate Elliot. Also, the sequels, Rhiannon's Ride.

They're great books.

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