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You can't always eat the same meal every day right? Why not try something different? Here's what to expect: It takes until the second half of the book for things to get going. Once the book gets going, it really gets going!

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If you are expecting the action of a Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks or the sly dark wit of an Abercrombie, then look elsewhere. If you are a lover of literary works, of slow pedantic writing full of minor details, of a plot and characters that slowly develop over hundreds of pages before events and conflicts roil over, give this masterpiece a read. Chronicles of The Black Company. And for a series that's pretty darn gritty in the way of "war is dirty and sucks and everything is going to hell in a hand basket", Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire should be read.

Glen Cook helped influence Martin's works. Before fantasy became gritty grim dark, it existed in the form of Glenn Cook's Black Company -- an influential work that can be felt in many "modern" fantasy books. The Black Company is arguably the progenitor of the dark and dirty grim dark militaristic fantasy of the 21st century and one of the most influential fantasy books in the genre and as such, belongs on this list of one of the best fantasy books to read. Fans of Malazan Book of the Fallen, particularly, may find themselves right at home with The Black Company, as both series follow companies of soldiers through battle quite closely.

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Canadian Gwen and her Irish cousin, Findabhair, have long planned a summer Does the book focus mainly on romance and love, or more o adventure?? Shelves: ya-kids-teen, just-the-worst, , all-kinds-of-fantasy, paranormal, point-of-view-girl.. Reading the 3rd and 4th books made me want to reread the 1st 2.

Both series feature epic battles with magic and mayhem thrown in aplenty.

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Both series have ambiguous characters who are neither black nor white. The Black Company is more tightly focused on a small band of characters than a huge cast, as in Malazan. If you've read anything in the fantasy genre, you can easily see some of the books that draw influence from The Black Company. What's particularly intriguing about The Black Company is that the characters are not afraid to make hard choices.

Too many fantasy books these days have goody goody two-shoes characters who can't step on an ant for fear that it's the wrong thing to do. Glen Cook throws all that out the window and creates a group of mercenaries who define their own moral codes, rather than bow to our own. Yet they have their own code of honor, despite the fact that their morality is often suspect at least according to our own social mores. That means characters often make uncomfortable choices, arguably evil choices.

The Black Company really does ask the question: And it's not a simple answer folks. The Black Company end up employed by The Lady, a character who might be able to show Tolkien's Sauron a new trick or two. So for an action-packed military fantasy series that was genre-busting way back before gritty fantasy was popular, The Black Company takes the cake. This came out in the early 90's, but despite its age, it still beats most of the other epic fantasy out there today, even in the era of fantasy, this classic is absolutely worth the read.

There is still no other work of fiction quite like it right now. A superstar on earth, Hari Michaelson is worshiped by billions. But in the world of Ankhana, Michaelson is feared by all. He is known only as Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle -- a relentless, unstoppable assassin who kills monarchs and commoners alike. Back home on earth, Michaelson's adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions, but he is forced to ignore the fact that he is killing men for the entertainment of his own planet.

Bound by the rigid caste society of his planet, forced to keep a growing rage in check, the boundaries between Hari Michaelson, the superstar, and Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle begin to slip.

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When his wife goes missing in Ankhana, Michaelson and Caine must become one to save his wife and survive the treacherous rulers of two worlds. Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings, Heroes Die is a heart-pounding thrill ride that never brakes and one novel you don't want to put down. A blend of sci-fi and fantasy, Heroes Die is as good as they come. It's a unique tale with interesting concepts and a whole lot of blood -- like a lot of fucking blood. A world is only as good as its characters, and Stover's Caine is very, very good.

He's an anti-hero through and through, a man twisted by his own violence, confused between his role as a good guy superstar back on earth and his occupation as the best assassin Ankhana has ever seen. Caine ponders the morality of his actions, all the while eviscerating his victims.

Who is the real man behind the character and which one is the mask?

Hari Michaelson the superstar or Caine the assassin? Ultra violent, visceral and just damn cool, Heroes Die is a shrine to violence and Caine is the high priest. Those wanting a superb story that rushes along faster than a supersonic jet, with more action then you can shake a stick at need wait no longer. This book has been on multiple versions of this best fantasy book list and it STILL remains on the list, even in It's such a standout book in even in crowded genre with many greats, it's still one of the greatest, if oft overlooked and underrated, book.

There are a number of Caine novels as of and every single one of them are fantastic, though the first couple books are the best. This one is full to the brim with gritty, amoral, cynical dark humor. A different sort of fantasy, but one that's extremely refreshing, disturbing, and entertaining -- one of the best fantasy reads to come out the past couple years.

Even as we near , The Prince of Thorns still stands tall among other strong fantasy books.

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For a dark, gritty, anti-hero driven fantasy, I felt strong Abercrombie vibes. There's a strong influence from A Game of Thrones -- and if you've ever read KJ Parker's The Engineer trilogy , you'll see some similarities in the tone and style of world. The setting of the world is interesting too, a sort of post-apocalypse world gone to hell that sparks similarities to Jack Vance's Dying Earth world. This is the brutal story of Prince Jorg, a teenage princeling who abandoned his father's castle after witnessing the murder of his mother and brother.

During this time away, he's been eking out a place for himself with band of marauders. These are brutal killers of the worst sort and Jorg has been living as a sort of apprentice murderer under their rules. At first, they seemed like an unlikely pair: Fafhrd, the white-robed princeling of the barbaric cold waste; and the Gray Mouser, a wizardling suspended between white and black magic.

Little did they realize that they were two long-sundered, matching halves of a greater hero—that they would become comrades through a thousand quests and a hundred lifetimes of adventures. Marks October 10, Small Beer Press The country of Shaftal has a new ruler but she is living in obscurity with her fractious found family. With war and disease spreading, she must act. And when she acts, the very stones of the earth sit up and take notice.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies.

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Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her. One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize.

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Ruby sets off to find it, with only a poem, serving as a treasure map, to guide her. Together, they must face their own demons and give their secrets to the island in order to find their treasure. But on an island that demands both truth and death, how far will they go to reach the end?

Here is a thing everyone wants: Here is a thing everyone fears: What it takes to get one. Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars. At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle.

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But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect. The Sea Peoples Change 17 —S.