The fantasy genre is a very much sought type of literature. It’s easy to read, captivating and ‘different’ than our worldly experiences. Since Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings the scene has changed a lot, and a new style emerged, that left dungeons and dragons in the dark and focused on the more mundane aspects of life, however all taking place in a fantasy world.
1. The First Law, by Joe Abercrombie
This one takes the cherry. It’s a hard and brutal account of war and plotting set in a fantasy world where there’s no such thing as a good hero. Or a bad one, for that matter. If you’re into happy endings and knights in shining armors, this one ain’t for you. Abercrombie’s take on writing is very much alike life in the real world: unfair, brutal and unpredictable. Foul language, blood and gore extremely well depicted and a near perfect way of writing make this trilogy the best I have read so far. It’s definitely modern.
2. A Song Of Ice And Fire, by George R. R. Martin
You may be familiar with this one as HBO has made a TV series called Game Of Thrones based on it. Just like the one mentioned above, this one is pretty heavy. No good deed goes unpunished, one might say about it. Very elaborate, very complex and extremely long. You will get to live in it, really. Very few magic appears, which is good, most characters get to die, which is less good. Do not get attached to characters, you will lose them at some point.
3. Chronicles Of The Black Company, by Glen Cook
This one is milder. It depicts the adventures of the Black Company, a band of mercenaries that roam the world in various stages of employment. It is more like a chronicle than a movie, so there’s not much fighting depicted in an elaborate manner. The plot focuses mainly on intrigue, and various points of view grant a much wider appreciation of the storyline. It has nine books, but it’s nowhere near as long as the aforementioned saga. And obviously, it has nothing to do with dragons. It does feature some fine points of wizardry, though. The characters are very vivid and there’s no such thing as overly good or overly evil. It’s mainly a story about surviving and going back to the roots, where the main character is not just one person, but the Black Company itself.