GENESIS: Bk1 of The Kingdom Come Series Reviews

GENESIS: Book One of The Kingdom Come Series (All Reviews)

 Ok, Now they're all in one place: Amazon, B&N and Goodreads :) Amazon Customer September 29, 2016 5/5 A great read wit...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Finally, my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This is going to be a stream of thought, rather than a planned out, book-report style review. I hope to cover several points, but, if I miss or neglect some, I'm sure you won't care—you've already read far too many reviews of this movie anyway. So, does it really matter that yet another unknown is throwing his Two Cents into the wind for whoever to read? I didn't think so. And, to further the point, the next time something like Star Wars gets placed in my lap, maybe then I'll have real room to critique. This is just for fun and because I'm a geek. For me, blogging about this stuff is the next best thing to sitting around with friends and going over and over all the little details for hours on end. I mean, I'd like to stay married. :)

Ok, first things first: I enjoyed this movie. To me, it was a solid B (reasons to follow)
I enjoyed the return to Old Movie Magic. I enjoyed the equal mix of CGI and FX and Costumes and Settings and all that jazz. It was good. Now, I'll try not to compare this movie to the prequels as best I can—sorry, I know that word alone makes people mad—And not because I hated them, which I didn't—yep, Fan Boy's ears are burning so bad right now—but because the actual style of this movie felt once again so in-line with Four, Five and Six, that One, Two and Three feel even more like totally different films. 


Ok, so here we go.
In no particular order and without talking much about Plot, because, well, GO SEE THE MOVIE!

Home of Rey, the female lead and pretty bad ass character. 
Now, I won't Monday Morning this...but, I hope someone asks J.J "Why another desert planet?"
Of course, the scenes are pretty, great textures and depth; the creatures are cool, the marketplace is detailed, and if you know me, you know I love a good desert planet, but comeeeeeee ooooooooon.

I have to know the reason for this. Was it nostalgia? Was it getting back to the comfort zone? Was it not wanting to rock the boat too much with this first movie? Was it because all Skywalkers have an affinity for deserts? If you're going to hide one, given the trend, feels like maybe a water or ice world might've been better? Also, given the list of other story ideas, I think they kicked the can around about an Ice World or Swamp Planet, I just want to know WHYYY? :)

Same with Jakku: Really, another Death Star? *Head on Desk* Just, someone, plz...tell me why.

REY SKYWALKER *Remember, I warned you, so stop crying. 

Ok, she made the movie for me. She was fantastic. I loved that she was a Junker, making her livelihood off scrapping the leftovers of the Empire. I loved that she lived in a fallen Walker. I loved when she put on the old Ty-Fighter pilot's helmet, looking innocently towards the stars, wondering about WHEN whoever left her behind would return......
And yet, while I feel, contextually, the answers to all the Haters questions are THERE within the context of her character, maybe too much is on the part of the viewer to make those assumptions—to be so keenly aware of the subtext to make the connections. Which, for me, not a big deal, but does play into the overwhelming Pass Given to ALL STAR WARS MOVIES when people, usually angrily, overlook what's infront of them: They'll say "It's just Star Wars, it's a Pop Corn Light Show with Lazar Swords and Space Magic" *These kinda things drive me nuts.

So, let me give you some examples which've bothered some viewers and maybe I can open minds:

Q) Rey knew how to fly the Millennium Falcon, fix it, as well as other machines?

A) Not a big deal, if you assume most people know how to fly one thing or another, so, not a stretch. Also, she's a Junker, so she likely knows what she's working with, what it's for, how to take it apart...and thus...put it back together. She's likely, like alot of characters in the Star Wars universe, a roving encyclopedia of parts and space gadgets. Feels like Haters Hating. It's not like Han had some secret trick to start the engine or anything. He's not The Fonz of Space.

Q) Her quick ability to Use The Force: Mind Trick, Summoning the Light Saber, her fight with Kylo

A) Ok, so she's a Prodigy. Or, she's had training, but forgotten it.
Both of these could be true, but we didn't get much to settle the issue. So, kinda maybe a real flaw.

I'll admit, I think her using the Jedi Mind Trick was completely for the fans/viewers. Which made it kinda gimmicky, but that's also ok. I bet you it made you smile too. However, the same result could've been achieved if they'd set up her Abilities: they come out under times of stress. So, she could've been just repeating that she wanted to be released and after enough times the Trooper finally either succumbed or her Force Powers finally "Awakened" :)

Similarly, her summoning the Light Saber, was, to me, also a gimmick for the fans, but, it was cool, so it doesn't bother me. Again, I bet it got a HUGE return in the theaters. No real way to set this up....unless...when she first found it, it could've stirred when her hand was near it or when she touched it, or something, because, as Obi Wan said, it was calling to her. :)

Finally, her fight with Kylo, which we will also cover when speaking about him. But I feel she showed competence when fighting off the two guys on Jakku and she'd likely had kinda a rough life growing up there, so she's obviously a Scrapper and a Junker :) See what I did there?

But people didn't like that Finn, a Storm Trooper, couldn't stand against Kylo, so how could Rey? Well, she has the FORCE!!! But, her ability to use it under pressure could've been better expressed to fans prior to this scene where she quiets/calms herself. For instance, when earlier looking for scraps in the downed Star Ship, there could've been a quick scene where she almost fell to her death...but....she focused, steadied her mind and emotions and did some bad-ass free-climbing to get out or w/e.

Now, fans upset that Kylo was pushing his Light Saber against Ray and failed to do something else while she was doing her Capcom move button sequence, well, that's an issue to take to J.J. Also, if you've ever seen a sword fight, in any movie, there's tons of times where in mid duel, the combatants are basically trying to push the other one away/down, their blades locked. CAUSE IT LOOKS COOL. Also, in fencing, there's lots of counter techniques that come into play once you've gotten into that position, kinda like in Judo or in Wrestling, where from a DRAW stance, someone has to turn it around and regain the upper hand. So, that's what this scene was about. :)

In the end, Deal With It. She's a Jedi. :)

Wow. Just a fun character. I really enjoyed him. To me, he was the FAN in the Star Wars universe. I loved his energy. I loved his humor, though some of his lines were kinda goofy :) Also, I feel he did a good job with his actions scenes. And, lets be honest, the youtube video of him seeing himself in the first big Trailer.....AMAZING. That's how any actor should be if/when you ever get to be in such a movie. I loved it. So happy for him. Think he's going to continue to do a great job.

Q) What kind Storm Trooper....?

A) He's the Worst Storm Trooper. 

Now, I know there was a line somewhere in the movie about these Troopers not being nearly as good as the Clones. However, I feel, anyone who was raised from birth, with such indoctrination, with all the training that would go into making you a Trooper, wouldn't just tuck-tail-and-run on his first day on the job. That's just me. So, I feel that was kinda the writer's fault for making him a Trooper. Really, he should've been a Smuggler or Spy, who somehow had to pass himself off as a Trooper in order to get away from the First Order. He's also just TOO NICE, the scenes where he's holding Rey's hands are too cute for someone who is supposed to have been a Trooper. And yes, I get it, he's turned on the First Order.....but I kinda feel the First Order, ya know, just blew-up Three Planets of innocent people, they murder everyone they come across—kinda the worst that remains of the Empire—would never have allowed such a kind, good person ever become a Trooper. That's just me. So, I want some details on his backstory. I want explanations. The Trooper who died, blood-stained his helmet afterwards....was that person important? If that's what sent him over, I need some reason to go there, otherwise, ya, I just can't.

Q) Was Phasam even important?
A) No. Though she could've been if SHE'D BEEN THE ONE WHO SQUARED OFF VS FINN and then somehow got away, forced to feel by Resistance....


While he was fun and cool, he wasn't a big deal for me. Honestly, I hope it comes out that his story is more than Just Being the Best Pilot in the Resistance: ex Bounty Hunter? That idea was kicked around the in the office, so I hope it stuck to some wall and will make it's way back. Otherwise, ummm he's just another cool guy in a world where we really mostly care about Jedi and Dark Side people. :)

How did THIS :)
Become THIS :(


It's been 30yrs. Their Son is a Monster. He's killing people by the Star Ship load. The First Order is destroying planets at a time. Any hope of the Return of the Jedi Order is GONE. And yet, there's no passion left enough to even briefly gloss over the likely horrors and pains inflicted upon them, their relationship(s), the Rebellion/Resistance and the Galaxy as a whole.

If you've guessed, for me, this was the biggest and worst issue with the whole movie. I felt Leia was almost a completely wasted character and their reunion was totally empty. So, what happened? Why did we go from the old couple, who bickered and argued and fought all the time, over silly things, yet very much loved each this?

Do you think the assumption that it's been 30yrs is good enough for the viewer to just assume they're tired of the old arguments, so why have yet another one? I don't. It should've been great to see them and I was originally excited for it. I wanted the love to come back. The playful, affection and romance to come back. The little digs to come back. And then, yes, I wanted a hard, emotional argument over their Son Ben Solo (Kylo Ren)

I wanted the old arguments to come out....
I wanted Leia to defend him, making more contrasts to Vader, how he could be saved, how it wasn't his fault. How maybe it was their fault. I wanted Han to be the realist: How their Son was a monster, how he ruined everything, how he wasn't his Son anymore....which would've later made the scene where Leia finally got Han to see that Ben was HIS SON, how Luke couldn't reach him and that he had to. He was HIS FATHER, as Luke saved Anakin, so Han could save Ben. And then later, Han's best scene in the whole movie, on the bridge, would've been carried equally by the actors, instead of Ben having to do most of the heavy lifting.

Because here's the thing. How many people KNEW Vader was Luke and Leia's Father? Is that the kinda secret that would be allowed to get out? Is that why the Rebellion became the Resistance? Or, did that happen when yet another Skywalker fell to the Darkside? I mean, how would you feel if the Son of your two most favorite leaders, who's UNCLE WAS LUKE SKYWALKER, turned out to be yet another killer? Does the Resistance think Kylo killed Ben, the way Anakin was killed by Vader? Or, did word get out and so people lost faith, ya know, cause Luke just gave up and left....

All of this could've carried great emotional weight given how their was no BIG reveal moment.
And now, well, I doubt the next two movies will address these issues as well as could've been through the eyes of the two who spawned it.

What a shame. 

Given that I feel he's two characters in one, I'll refer to each as individuals going forward. 

It's been so long since we've had a cool looking enemy and Kylo is cool looking. His helmet is awesome. His Light Saber, which lots of people mocked, is pretty bad ass. His whole garb is pretty cool. I dig him. For me, there's nothing really wrong with this character, I'd just like to make a few notes.
1) When people complain about how Rey/Finn were able to fight toe-to-toe with Kylo, I'll simply say, Why does everyone think Kylo should be some great master of the Light Saber? This isn't the crazy Old Empire. These aren't the Star Wars Video game characters, who mix force and weapons into crazy, damn near DBZ moves. Really, with the exception of the three-way showdown at the end of The Phantom Menace, the duels in the series have never been amazing. Plenty of Kung-Fu movies have greater melee scenes. 
    A) Finn is a Storm Trooper, so, likely plenty of melee training.
    B) Rey obviously has skills herself....and....well...SHE'S A JEDI 

Ok, Luke trained Ben, sure, but how much training did Luke have with the Light Saber? Honestly, not much; least very little ON SCREEN and that's what I'm mostly speaking to. The great Jedi/Sith Light Saber skills of the past, from the prequels and the books before then, should be, for the most part, GONE. DEAD. 
Vader was too much of a machine to really use all the intricate fencing maneuvers he might've known prior to Obin Wan....ya know....Plus, he doesn't need them anymore. He hasn't needed them since the Jedi were destroyed. His mechanical body has made him so strong. His fear is basically a weapon. Who would dare fight with him? When he and Luke faced off, watch it again, not much there...remember him Throwing His Light Saber? Sure, later in video games we saw it used, coupled with the force, to make it a deadly boomerang, but that didn't happen on screen. He basically just threw it and then picked it up. Luke, also, didn't show any awesome fencing skills, he basically just beat on Vader till he got the opportunity to cut off his hand. Think about it.

Also, one of the most impressive things anyone Now A Days can do with a Light Saber is deflect, repel, ricochet, an energy bolt back at whoever is doing the shooting...because how many people have Light Sabers or similar weapons and who would risk trying to fight hand to hand against the likes of Kylo or Vader back in the day? Which is why it's a much more useful and intimidating skill for Kylo to know how to PAUSE A BOLT IN MID AIR!!!! 

2) I thought it was great how he beat on the wound(s) he got from Finn during their fight, or maybe it was when he was fighting Rey, either way, very cool character detail.

3) Everyone is totally fine with Kylo's Light Saber temper-tantrum the two times he got disappointing news, yet everyone mocked and hated when Anakin did basically the same thing in Clone Wars. And I'm pretty confident it's because Kylo is cool looking. I read everything online where people want to  insert all this nuance for why its ok, but looking back at all the Hate Hayden got, kinda silly. I will also add, just as with Anakin, this scene with Kylo didn't make me fear him, it made me pity him. And while I understand the reason why JJ went with this, I tend to agree with lots of viewers that perhaps this isn't what some were expecting in a villain. 

4) Oh, and this bugs me JJ- "Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain - and not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process." Ummm J.J, did you see the prequels? Again, the only reason it's now cool, is because Kylo looks cool and people like the actor more than Hayden, but there's no other difference. 

Also, after a 30yr jump, this isn't so much an evolutionary chain of Ben's turn to the darkside that we all can follow and understand, as it is, given the speed with which we must except it, a critical survival adaptation. 

5) So glad Ben killed Han. Loved that his struggle wasn't to stop himself, but to push himself because he knew it had to be done. :) He did a great job in this scene.

6) I think he'll look different in the next movie. I think he'll become more and more like Vader. 

7) I hope Ben can't and won't be Redeemed. I think that would be terrible for the series. Also, I hope Ben kills Leia. :) I think their family should be a tragic lesson. 


Yes. I hope he's Darth Plageuis. :)

How did we go from THIS
To This

Sorry, I hate this. I hate the way he looks. Why did he become Obi Wan? What happened to the Black? It was so awesome in Return of the Jedi when he was in all black. Or why not Gray? Again, love to know the reason for this and will all Jedi hence forth become copied versions of Obi Wan? God, I hope not.

Anyway, I was excited that the story would focus on The Search for Luke. Great. An Adventure. And it didn't bother me, as I imagine it didn't bother many, that we called the plot shortly after realizing the story would take place 30yrs after Return of the Jedi. It only made sense that Luke would Fail and in-turn leave. 
So, yes, all excited to track Luke down.....wait?
What do you mean we get the rest of the map by the end of the movie?
No! Why?
Because of Light Speed we can get across the galaxy in...shit

On the plus side, instead of dodging the issue like, "Why didn't the Eagles just fly the Ring into Mordor," we at least went at it head first and got there as fast as we could using the available means to do so, so, there's that. Really, by the very end of the movie, I wish he'd simply not been in it. Could've found him at the very opening of Ep8, or maybe a cool flash scene at the end or maybe just an awesome voice over, oh well.

Finally, I'll say, I hope there are no more Skywalker or Solo kids. I hope they either no longer exist because the canon's been changed or, I hope Kylo killed them all when he rose up against Luke.

But, to form your own opinion, go see it yourself.

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Amazon Review

This was a great read from cover to cover,
December 15, 2015
  (Kindle Edition)
This was a great read from cover to cover. The depth of the world created by the Author left me feeling spellbound after the final chapter. In reading the story I found that I became caught up in the lives of the characters as well as in the imagery used to pull me into the world itself. I quite literally felt like I was inside their world, seeing everything as they saw it. I enjoyed the multiple characters POVs because it allowed me to see even deeper into the world created by Garrett. I will be looking forward to more installments in the series.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New Amazon Review.

4 Stars: Slow-Burning, Subtle and Unique!
by Author Dave de Burgh

Wade has written a considered and carefully crafted tale here, one that merges different genres not only well but in interesting and exciting ways.

He allows his characters to grow in the reader's mind, giving them to space and time to continuously define themselves, while also expanding and exploring the world they live in without dumping info on the reader or bogging down the narrative.

His tale also creates new cultures and magic while subtly twisting our own history, so don't be surprised if you read about something that sounds familiar.

My only issue is that the book is a slow read, but that may be because I'm used to reading fast paced tales - one thing is for sure: this is a novel that builds subtly and consistently, showing Wade to be a writer and storyteller who has great control and a vast imagination.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The NaNoWriMo Diet—Guest Post: Michael R. Fletcher Author of Beyond Redemption

                                                                The NaNoWriMo Diet

It's tempting to let this devolve into a humor piece and talk about my love affair with whiskey and how sometimes, when my brain won't shut-up and let me sleep, I bludgeon it into submission with liberal doses of Jameson. But no. I'm gonna keep this serious. Well, mostly serious.

My suspicion is that successful writers all have at least a little OCD. Who else would sit for hours on end mashing away at the keyboard with their face? What, you don't type like that? Weird.

Smarter writers (or at least those capable of obsessing over more than one thing at a time) will pay attention to their physical and health-related needs as well as their daily word count. Unfortunately I'm not one of those. I can either obsess about my health or work on a book. In the past I would write a book and then, in the time between writing and editing, exercise like mad in an attempt to shed some of the gained pudge. I used to joke that I gained ten pounds with every novel written Except it wasn't really a joke. The thing is, if you want to do this writing thing for realsies, there isn't much down time. When I finish writing a book I jump straight into either editing or planning another. The rest of the time my two functioning brain cells are focused on trying to figure out how to promote myself and my writing.

And then one day I truly began obsessing about diet. I spent months at it, trying different diets and generally experimenting willy nilly with my own health. At one point I even went strictly carnivorous for an entire month. That was my favorite experiment, though you have to eat lots of offal to stay healthy.

I'm going to share my findings here. Not because they're remarkable, but because so few people seem to be aware how ridiculously easy it is to lose weight. Don't get me wrong, this isn't going to give you washboard abs. It will however help you maintain a healthy weight through prolonged periods of minimal exercise. That said, you will be happier and healthier if you combine a good diet with some exercise. Even walking will do wonders for brain and body.

Here it is, the secret NaNoWriMo Diet! Take the money you save from not having to buy diet books or special pre-packaged Weight-Watchers meals and buy BEYOND REDEMPTION.

Eat no processed food. Drink only water.


If you pay attention to the diet world at all, you'll recognize this as Paleo.

Here it is with a little more detail:
Eat nothing that has more than a single ingredient.
Eat only unprocessed meat, unprocessed fruit, and unprocessed vegetables. The actual proportions of each don't much matter.

It's sad how long it took me to figure that out. Imagine, the trick to maintaining a healthy body weight is eating real food. Whoda thunk it!

Am I perfect, do I follow this diet with psychotic diligence? Nope. I love my beer and whiskey. Sometimes I have a grilled cheese sandwich. Cheeeeeeeeese...don't even get me started on cheese. Even so I managed to drop fifteen pounds in a single month when taking the diet seriously.

So, next time you're planning on sitting on your ass for an entire month (NaNoWriMo anyone?) think about eating real food. Or, if you're really crazy, do it all the time.

What, still here?

What's the real NaNoWriMo Diet?

It's coffee and whiskey and whatever you can eat with one hand so as to leave the other free to type.

About Michael R. Fletcher
Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, was published by HARPER Voyager.

His début novel, 88, a cyberpunk tale about harvesting children for their brains, was released by Five Rivers Publishing in 2013. 88 is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere.

The next two Manifest Delusions novels, THE ALL CONSUMING, and WHEN FAR-GONE DEAD RETURN are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.

Michael is represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

About Beyond Redemption:
A darkly imaginative writer in the tradition of Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett, and Neil Gaiman conjures a gritty mind-bending fantasy, set in a world where delusion becomes reality . . . and the fulfillment of humanity's desires may well prove to be its undoing.

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn't an axiom, it's a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one's delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is:

Who will rule there?


Thursday, August 20, 2015

I hope to make this list one day :) *Congrats All*

Tanner Greenring / BuzzFeed

1. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

DAW Books
It’s not an understatement to say that this is the very best fantasy series currently underway. It’s only two books in at the moment (well, two and a half), so it’s a perfect time to jump in and get started. A rich and compelling story of a brilliant young man’s rise to become a legendary magician, framed by a present where he is middle-aged and seemingly powerless.

2. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

Tor Books
Another series that only has two books so far, so now’s the time to get involved. The one issue is that they’re BIG books, so the two Stormlight Archives feel more like four books. Luckily, they’re incredible, so you’ll tear through them. RIYL: really big swords, sorcery, and massive battle sequences.

3. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Bantam Books
A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that A Game of Thrones belongs to, is a modern classic. If you enjoy the HBO show, you owe it to yourself to read the books. (Just be prepared for this thing to start real tight and end up sprawling.)

4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Ballentine Books
If you’re reading a list of the best fantasy books, there’s like a 0% chance you haven’t read The Lord of the Rings books already, but just in case you somehow haven’t, you should. Required reading. Prerequisite for all fantasy.

5. The Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks

Orbit Books
Orbit Books
Solid fantasy books with an intricate and fascinating system of magic. A little bit like how the power rings work in the Green Lantern comic books, except set in a fantasy world.

6. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Adrian Hon, / Via
Classic storybook fantasy full of witches, magic animal companions, and badass polar bears covered in armor. These books skew a little younger, but are still fun to read for adults as well.

7. Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Harper Collins
Discworld isn’t a traditional fantasy cycle, but more of a fantasy-themed and generally humorous collection of books, short stories, encyclopedias, and maps. There are 40 books in eight different storylines, so it’s quite an undertaking. Sadly, Terry Pratchett died earlier this year, and the final Discworld book, The Shepherd’s Crown, is expected to hit shelves this fall.

8. The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
Orbit Books
As violent, gritty, and unpredictable as Game of Thrones, but with more heart, humor, and sense of play. This series will draw you in immediately and make you fall in love with its troubled, complicated lead characters.

9. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

Del Rey
Ranger714 / Via
Elves, Dark Lords, and quests to retrieve mythical swords in order to vanquish said Dark Lords. These are classic, epic fantasy books that feel an awful lot like the Lord of the Rings series at times, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Lord of the Rings books are, after all, very, very good indeed.

10. Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

Harper Colins Publisher
Luigi Novi / Via
A “hero’s journey” told through several protagonists and settings. As its name implies, the Demon Cycle exists in a complex and fascinating world where humans and demons are forced to live at constant odds with one another, and explores what happens when humans finally take a stand.

11. The Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip

Del Rey
Set in a world akin to northwestern Europe, and with royalty disguised as commoners, talkative ghosts, and star-crossed lovers, The Riddle Master Trilogy feels a bit like a contemporary fantasy equivalent to some of Shakespeare’s stories. (But with shape-shifting monsters, magic, and, yes, lots of riddles.)

12. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Tor Books
The heart of this series is in the intricate and cleverly deployed system of magic that powers it. Allomancers have different abilities tied to different metals, and there is a real thrill in watching the characters learn and master their craft and combine forces as they attempt to overthrow a corrupt and oppressive regime.

13. Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch
Bantam Spectra
Thieves, pirates, and a beautifully planned series of heists that are a delight to watch unfold. This series is not without its share of heartbreak and loss, but the tribulations of its protagonists are tempered with a joyful sense of mischief, cunning, and a fair amount of swashbuckling. Oceans 11 meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets Robin Hood.

14. The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

A vividly imagined world where gods are slaves and nothing is as it seems. Author N.K. Jemisin deftly subverts all the old fantasy tropes in the course of creating a beautiful, rich world full of intriguing characters and dazzling moments that will leave you wanting more.

15. Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Harmonia Amanda / Via
Epic tales of the sea and pirate stories…except all the ships are magical and sentient and sort of have minds of their own at times. The thinking “liveships” carry with them generations of collected wisdom and often have as much rich characterization as the human characters aboard them.

16. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

Daniel Ogren / Via
You’ve probably never heard of these little-known books from British author J.K. Rowling. But this well-kept secret is actually a wonderful series of books that deserves much more recognition than it gets. OK, let’s be real: If you are the one person who hasn’t read these yet, just do yourself a favor. Read them now. Right now. No more excuses.

17. The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
Tor Fantasy
Less a fantasy series and more a complex dedication to world-building. The Sword of Truth series is 14 books, all of which are designed to be stand-alone stories, totally independent from the others. (Except for the final three books, which are a traditional trilogy.) They follow several key protagonists all grappling with the same antagonists bent on world domination.

18. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Arthur Strong / Via
Like reading the Bible, if the Bible was set in a fantasy universe. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but the books are pretty heavy on the Christian allegory. The seven novels (the reading order of which is a little controversial) are shorter than standard fantasy books, and written for younger readers, so they’re incredibly fun, easy to get through, and definitely worth picking up if you had the extreme misfortune of not reading these as a child.

19. The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin

Puffin Books
Hajor / Via
A classic of the genre from one of its all-time masters, Ursula K. LeGuin. The Earthsea saga confronts the great themes of life and death with its wonderful cast of magicians, priestesses, and dragons. Elegiac in tone and epic in scope, the books in this series will make you think and grow as you delight in the adventures of its characters.

20. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
Penguin Putnam
From the great Guy Gavriel Kay (see also, the stunning Tigana), The Fionavar Tapestry is a high fantasy tale of princes and princesses, dragons and warriors, with an intriguing foothold in the contemporary world. Follow the adventures of five students from our world who find themselves in the middle of an epic battle in the magical Fionavar, in this riveting and deftly realized series that draws from Arthurian legend, Norse and Welsh mythology, and the very best of the fantasy traditions established by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

21. Raven’s Shadow by Anthony Ryan

Raven’s Shadow by Anthony Ryan
Anthony Ryan
In the vein of Name of the Wind, the first book of the Raven’s Shadow series more than does justice to a hero’s journey with a compelling bit of world-building and enough action and adventure to keep you completely hooked. Follow the adventures of Vaelin al Sorna as he weaves his way from his apprentice training in the harsh military “Sixth Order” to worldwide renown as the fearsome “Hope Killer.”

22. The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence

Penguin Group
A little more adult than many of the selections on this list, the Broken Empire series is aimed at the cynical fantasy fan. The world in which these books take place is violent and brutal, and their protagonist is not particularly sympathetic. This series feels a bit like a fantasy story told from the perspective of the vile and power-hungry evil king who would usually play the part of the villain.

23. A Land Fit For Heroes by Richard K. Morgan

Del Rey Books
Roberta F. / Via
An exuberant twist on some standard dark fantasy tropes, A Land Fit For Heroes is almost gleeful in its violence, sexual themes, and cynical outlook. Author Richard K. Morgan brings some of his science fiction chops (see in particular the brilliant Takeshi Kovacs novels) to add color to a fantasy world full of magic, destiny, and so, so, so much violence. Also, the hero is gay, which is a refreshing change.

24. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Delacorte Books
Captmondo / Via
Part romance novel, part historical fiction, part fantasy, the Outlander series takes the best parts of each genre and makes its own unique narrative, which begins with a 20th-century nurse who’s mysteriously time-warped to 18th-century Scotland. These books are full of intrigue and romance and are extremely readable, and also feature a female protagonist, which is rarer than it should be for fantasy novels.

25. The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan

The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan
Tor Fantasy
The first three books in this iconic series are a classic exploration of the themes of good versus evil and a template for almost all of the high fantasy that follows it. After Jordan’s death in 2007, the extremely talented Brandon Sanderson (see also The Stormlight Archive in this list) has finished off the series to great acclaim from fans. But there are 14 books (of, frankly, varying quality) to read before the grand finale, so you better get cracking now.

26. Malazan Book Of The Fallen by Steven Erikson

Bantam Books
Fazal Majid / Via
“Epic” doesn’t even really begin to describe this 10-volume series, with its sweeping plot, its multiple storylines, and its intricate, ambitious world-building. This is the War and Peace of high fantasy literature, but obviously way better, because it has assassins, magic, and dragons – three things Tolstoy never thought to include in his magnum opus, to his great detriment and (presumably) lasting regret.

27. The Black Company by Glen Cook

Tor Fantasy
Harmonia Amanda / Via
You won’t read a review of The Black Company without seeing the word “gritty,” and that’s because Glen Cook basically singlehandedly brought the idea into the world of fantasy. Follow the adventures of this morally questionable group of mercenaries as they hack their way through a dark, war-torn world full of death, misery, and, occasionally, a chance at redemption.

28. Elemental Logic by Laurie J. Marks

Elemental Logic by Laurie J. Marks
Tor Fantasy
The Elemental Logic books are a fascinating look into what it’s like being on the wrong side of a hostile occupation, and all the politics and betrayal that comes along with it. Complicated characters play their stories out in a richly imagined world, and the lines between good and evil often become blurred throughout the three books.

29. The Chronicles Of Amber by Roger Zelazny

A man wakes up in a hospital with no idea of how he got there. His attempts to find out lead him through a series of other worlds and into a tumultuous confrontation with the members of his family who rule over the one true world.

30. The Avalon Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Random House
The Mists of Avalon and its decades-spanning series of sequels and prequels all tell the familiar tale of the Arthurian legend, but with characters such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table playing secondary roles. Instead, the series follows the lives of the women in Arthur’s court, and explores the Matter of Britain from a more feminist perspective.

31. The Merlin Quintet by Mary Stewart

The Merlin Quintet by Mary Stewart
William Morrow
Another set of fantasy novels retelling the Arthurian legend, but this time mostly through the perspective of a Welsh boy named Myrddin Emrys, who grows up to be the powerful wizard Merlin. The series follows Merlin as he grows up, raises Arthur, and eventually becomes the young king’s trusted ally during the part of the Arthurian legend that most readers will be familiar with. The series is a fascinating take on a familiar tale.

32. The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore

The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore
TSR, Inc. / Penguin Books / Wizards of the Coast
Although The Dark Elf Trilogy was originally written as a prequel trilogy to another series, the popularity of the protagonist, a dark elf named Drizzt Do’Urden, has made this the stand-out series among all the D&D books out there. If you’re a fan of the world of Dungeons & Dragons, or just need a fix between play sessions, look no further.

33. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

Ace Publishing
Catriona Sparks / Via
Elric VIII, the 428th Sorcerer Emperor of Melniboné, is a weak and frail introvert. But his sword, Stormbringer, is anything but. It brings Elric the strength he needs to survive, at a cost: It feeds on the souls of its prey. Michael Moorcock’s subversion of what he saw as the tired tropes of fantasy established by Tolkien and others make for a powerful read that is, to this day, a seminal influence on the genre.

34. Redwall by Brian Jacques

Puffin/Philomel Books
mind on fire / Via
Redwall is a fantasy series for older children set in a world full of talking animals. The 22 books span centuries within the world, with some familiar characters from earlier books returning only as legends in later books. Despite being a childrens’ series, the world of Redwall is rich and complex, and it manages to be engaging despite the expansive nature of the books.

35. Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Del Rey
Robert Snyder / Via
For anyone who ever felt that the Napoleonic wars were all well and good but didn’t have nearly enough dragons, this fun and compulsively readable series will permanently fix that problem. This is basically Hornblower meets Dragonriders of Pern, and it’s a perfect combination. Naomi Novik is a true delight to read, and you should also check out her excellent new novel, Uprooted.

36. Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Knopf Books
Eragon and its sequels are entry-level high fantasy. They’re thematically similar to fantasy classics such as the Earthsea novels or the Wheel of Time books, but written to be accessible to modern kids and young adults. The book has everything you’d expect: dragons, ultimate evil, and a farm boy thrust into the role of the hero. All in all, they’re a great introduction to the genre.

37. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
The Riyria Revelations follows two unlikely heroes across three novels written as one long ongoing tale, rather than as a series of sequels. The heroes are accused of regicide in the opening pages, and they spend the rest of the books in over their heads as they try to clear their names. Unfortunately, they have their hands full, because they’re going to need to solve the mystery of the king’s death and battle against evil wizards all at the same time.

38. Prince Of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker

Overlook Press & Orbit
Roberta F. / Via
On the surface, the Prince Of Nothing novels are everything you’d expect from well-written fantasy novels: a good magic system, a full and complex world, and well-rounded characters. But anyone who took a Philosophy 101 class will recognize some key principles of academic philosophy and human psychology at play, which makes for a challenging yet interesting read.

39. Dragonlance by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragonlance by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Wizards of the Coast
Dragonlance was one of the first independently produced modules for Dungeons & Dragons, and it was so well-written and engaging for fans that it became the setting for the game’s first foray into the world of novels. At this point, there are over 200 published Dragonlance novels, but if you’re looking for the core experience, the original Chronicles Trilogy and the Legends trilogy are your best bet.

40. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
When the protagonist of the series – a writer named Thomas Covenant who is afflicted with leprosy – is struck by a police cruiser, he wakes up in a land of high fantasy and magic. Was he somehow transported to this new world, or is he lying in a coma in a hospital bed? He’s never quite sure, and he spends the entire series as “The Unbeliever,” trying to figure things out alongside the reader.

41. The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan

The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan
The Powder Mage books are a little different from the other books on this list because they’re set in a more modern “Bulletpunk” setting, where swords and sorcery are replaced with guns and epaulettes. Even the magic system in the books involves consuming gunpowder in order to access inert abilities. There’s a lot happening in this trilogy, from gun battles with gods to good, old-fashioned policework, so there should be a little something for everyone.

42. The Once And Future King by T.H. White

Burns Library, Boston College / Via
Published in the ‘50s by T.H. White, The Once And Future King has gone on to be an enduring classic, and it still stands out as the very best reimagining of the Arthurian legend for a modern audience. Psychologically complex and at times devastating, this five-book series is rightly considered one of the very best fantasies ever written.

43. The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud

The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud
A young adult series that sets itself apart with excellent writing and humor. This trilogy by Jonathan Stroud tells the story of a 12-year-old magician and the lovable but cantankerous 5,000-year-old spirit who becomes his familiar. Basically…RIYL Harry Potter.

44. The Gormenghast Series by Mervyn Peake

Overlook Press
A gothic fantasy that looms imposingly in its influence on some of the later masters of the genre, Mervyn Peake’s deeply weird but masterfully written Gormenghast series is often described more as a “fantasy of manners” than a heroic fantasy in the style of Tolkien. These are books of castle intrigue, romance, madness, and grotesque, brilliant imagination. You’d want Guillermo del Toro to direct the movies rather than Peter Jackson.

45. The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
A high fantasy series with a non-traditional subject: A family of necromancers. And a cat named Mogget. A deeply imaginative series that will keep you reading all the way to the gripping conclusion.

46. The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

Margaret K. McElderry Books
slowking / Via
Susan Cooper’s classic series is for a younger audience, but it stands up as one of the very best of its kind. Based on Arthurian legends and Norse mythology but set in the 20th century, these five books follow the story of 11-year-old Will Stanton, who discovers that he is the youngest of the Old Ones, and that the fate of the world rests on his shoulders.

47. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb, aka Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, published the first book of her Farseer Trilogy in 1997, netting her a British Fantasy Award nomination for Best Novel. The series follows FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard whose nascent magical abilities and training as an assassin may just be enough to protect him from the powerful forces that threaten his kingdom, not to mention the malicious intentions of his dangerous and conniving relatives.

48. The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron

The Red Knight and its sequels read like historical fiction, if medieval Europe had been full of monsters and magic. The series follows a band of mercenaries and their captain, known only as The Red Knight, as he and his merry men hack and slash their way across the kingdom of Alba. The books are prohibitively thick, but don’t let that turn you off, because they are immensely rewarding.

49. Dreamblood by N.K. Jemisin

Dreamblood by N.K. Jemisin
Another promising series by N.K. Jemisin, the Dreamblood series creates a vivid landscape of war, intrigue, and religion, set in the City of Dreams, where crime and violence are unknown, but nightmares lurk.

50. The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

HarperCollins Publishers
Georges Seguin (Okki) / Via
Based on a role-playing world originally created to compete with Dungeons & Dragons, this is classic epic fantasy. An orphan boy discovers magical abilities within himself and becomes a hero in the world of Midkemia. Rifts open up between worlds and a huge battle between order and chaos erupts, spanning 10 novels.

51. The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman

Viking Press
Larry D. Moore / Via
Lev Grossman’s brilliant trilogy is always referred to as “Harry Potter for grownups,” but a better description would be “Narnia for the permanently disillusioned.” The evil forces arrayed against Grossman’s hero, Quentin Coldwater, are not so much the wizards, monsters, and demons he has to face as he comes to terms with his considerable powers, but the even more terrifying horrors of finding a place in the world and learning how not to be an asshole while you’re at it. This series may break you a little bit emotionally, but there’s so much fun to be had along the way.