The Pearl, Book 4--A Past Forgotten--An Epic Adventure

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Lord of the Rings is not just another fantasy books, it is THE fantasy book and represents the work of a man's lifetime. Tolkien didn't just churn this work out over a three month period on his typewriter, the book represented the man's lifetime work creating a mythology, history, and even languages Tolkien was a linguistic scholar.

With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans. In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it.

From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora.

These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments.

Do not be fooled or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. This is probably a fantasy novel most of you have not yet read. But it's a novel that everyone should read. For those of you who appreciate the art of good prose, Vance delivers. I've come to the conclusion that unlike most of the other fantasy authors out there, it's practically impossible for Vance to put together a bad sentence, paragraph, or page of writing.

This is a high fantasy series that's completely untainted by the modern epic fantasy churned out en mass by hack authors.

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So banish thoughts of evil dark lords, village boys, and awkward sentences. If I could recommend a modern version of Homer's Odyssey, then Lyonesse would be that novel.

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A simple tale about talking rabbits on an epic quest to save their warrant from destruction. But like most great works, so much deeper than it appears to be. One of the great classic works of literature and a sobering tale for all ages. If you have not yet read it, do so. The book tells a stylized story of the epic battle between the Lords of Demonland and the evil King Gorice of Witchland, set in an world ripped straight from the pages of a classic Norse saga. Like most of the authors mentioned on this recommendation list, Eddison's prose is beautiful -- a work of art in itself.

If you are one of those readers who's got a phobia about classic English read archaic English , I suspect this novel is not one that will appeal to your senses.

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If you do enjoy classic English read: English in the style of the King James Bible , then this book is going to make you might happy. This book harkens back to the Greek Classics and the Norse sagas in form and style. Eddison is a man obsessed with the concept of the Heroic, in much the same way of Homer's own fascination. The doomed hero, the passionate hero, the reckless hero, the hero that combines all of these.

This is what Eddison wants to detail in his epic style and write about heros he does! The Worm Ouroboros is Eddison's ode to heroism -- and what an ode it is. This is a book that features the All Star Team of some of the most courageous and honorable heros and the most villainous of villains. Keep in mind that Eddison's work predates Tolkien's works. So don't go into the novel expecting to read about the elves, demons, sorcerous, and fairies that you're used to in a Tolkien-derrived novel. It's a strange world created by Eddison, but also a wonderful, romantic world too.

So if you want a book that celebrates the reckless hero, dressed up in a stylized language and format that would have Homer himself proud, The Worm Ouroboros is that book. I'll describe this one as a post modern fairy tale. Like all fairy tales this one begins with "A once upon a time At first. The unicorn meets a bumbling magician and a talkative and somewhat annoying spinster, both characters more than they appear to be.

All three characters find themselves at the gates of a rather forbidding castle, where resides a gentle prince and evil king.

Inside the castle lies the truth of things. But, is the truth really worth learning? This question is the crux of this marvelous literary novel. Peter S. Beagle has created a fairy tale for the ages, a story about of the deepest love, of the darkest loss, and of the beauty of hope. The characters in the story are lovingly painted, reservoirs of humanity. This folks is a novel about the soul -- of it's brightest beauty and darkest horrors.

John Steinbeck

As you may surprise, The Last Unicorn is far more than just a simple meandering quest for unicorns. At it's heart it's a story about what people will do or won't do for love. What is the meaning of really being a hero. What is the cost of being a hero? These are all issues The Last Unicorn tackles -- successfully I might add. If there is one book that started started the fantasy ball rolling, it's not Lord of the rings, but rather the much less well known King Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany.

Tolkien, Lovecraft, and even Neil Gaiman were all profoundly influenced by this man. If you want to read a work of astounding value that people will still be talking about in a hundred years, this is one such work sorry, Wheel of Time fans, Jordan will likely be forgotten by than. Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

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