Annette's Acre

Stitching, knitting, reading, life…whatever catches my eye
January 28th, 2008 by Annette

"First in a Series" Reading Challenge

If you didn’t already know, I read.

A lot.

I don’t think it’s been a lifelong pursuit, but I clearly remember devouring seemingly every fantasy novel in my high school library in the three years I was in school. My best friend and I would take turns buying new books (after high school) and we’d each be responsible for certain series with the only rule that whoever buys reads it first. I’ve done books on tape, but they just aren’t the same. I don’t want to hear someone else’s interpretation of character voice and style, I want to do it myself along with holding the book in my hands. I take reverent care of my books – avoid spine-cracking, never dog-ear pages (thus my collection of bookmarks) and never, ever lay a book on its “face” (open page side down).

Fiction all the way! I’ve read only a very few non-fiction that I enjoyed (Seabiscuit – but it read more like a fictional tale). I lean toward fantasy and mystery but any genre has the chance of catching my eye.

This week, in my poking around through the blogsphere, I ran across the “First in a Series” Reading Challenge. (She has a few other challenges for 2008. Interested? Click Here). A quick look at my stuffed bookshelves shows me I’ve got enough unread “Firsts” for half the challenge already and a handful more on my Amazon Wish List. But, I want options! So what do you recommend? I’ll list what I’ve got, the remaining contenders and then what I’ve read (which by no means will be comprehensive, but I’ll try)

What I’ve got:

What I’m considering:

What I’ve read (in no particular order and not already mentioned):

  • Everything by Anne Bishop
  • Everything by David Eddings
  • Everything by Dave Duncan
  • Everything by Laurell Hamilton
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
  • Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician Trilogy
  • Everything I care to by Piers Anthony
  • Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander & Lord John
  • Charlaine Harris’ Sookie & Harper series
  • Jasper Ffordes’ Thursday Next (and if you haven’t, you should)
  • Most of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time
  • Everything by Jim Butcher
  • JK Rowling’s Harry
  • Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden and Morganville Vampires
  • Melusine by Sarah Monette (I have The Virtu, just haven’t read it yet)
  • Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey
  • Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series
  • Lilith Saintcrow’s Dante Valentine series
  • Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
  • JD Robb (Nora Roberts) In Death Series
  • Nora Roberts Key Trilogy and Three Sisters Island
  • Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon
  • Garth Nix Keys to the Kingdom
  • Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance

Whew….as I said, not an absolutely comprehensive list, but you get the idea.  I’m kinda looking for new authors or even Young Adult fantasy as my kids are both avid readers, as well.  Hmmm…maybe I need to raid their bookshelves, too….

Suggestions?  Please!


18 Responses to “"First in a Series" Reading Challenge”
  1. I read tons of fantasy. Right now I’m reading Carol Berg, and her stuff’s excellent. My favorite is Mercedes Lackey, followed L.E. Modesitt, Robin Hobbs, and Sheri S. Tepper. I could probably recommend even more.

  2. I second Carol Berg. She doesn’t write easy stuff, but it is very good. I haven’t read a lot of hers yet myself, but have been blown away by what I have.

    Mercy Thompson (first is Moon Called) by Patricia Briggs.

    Definitely read Naomi Novik’s Temeraire.

    I highly recommend Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear, the first in her Promethean Age series. I’m reading the second one now.

    Melanie Rawn’s Ruins of Ambrai is very good, but the series isn’t finished yet and there’s no indication when it will be, so it might be better to wait.

    I love love love Catherine Asaro’s Skolian series and try to convince people to read it. While there are a few options on the place to start, I recommend Primary Inversion as the best place to start.

    Bloodring by Faith Hunter is very different. I’ve got the third on my TBR shelf at the moment.

    There’s a few more ideas anyway.

  3. I have kind of an anti-suggestion. I would avoid Sleeping With the Fishes. It’s no where near as good as the Undead series. I thought it read like a bad teen novel 🙂

  4. I love fantasy too! Have you read the Robert Jordan series? The first book is The Eye of the World.

    I also just finished Twilight by Stepenie Meyer, and it was amazing! It’s a young adult book 🙂

  5. I’m not a big fantasy reader but the mention of YA novels immediately brought one series to mind – have you read The Dark is Rising series of 5 books by Susan Cooper? I think Over Sea, Under Stone is the first.

  6. I don’t know much about fantasy fiction, but have you tried You can track what you have read, and make lists of what you want to read. You can also search for other books and reviews. It’s a great place!

  7. Since you mentioned YA…

    My daughter is absolutely raving over Cornelia Funke’s “Inkspell” series. She also loved Stephenie Meyer’s vampire books, “Twilight” is the first, I believe. Now she’s working on Madeline L’Engle.

  8. Dan Simmons – Hyperion

  9. You should read Steven Erikson… The Malazan Book of the Fallen… the first in the series is “Gardens of the Moon”. I am currently reading the 6th book in that series and have the 7th waiting for me.

  10. Well, this is a first time author, and she’s got a lot of promise:

    Try “Wicked Lovely” by Melissa Marr. And I’ve heard from someone else’s teenage daughter that the Stephanie Meyer books are good, so add me as a secondhand source on that.

  11. Robin Hobb has some excellent fantasy series under her belt. Thre’s the Assasins’s Apprentice trilogy, Liveship Traders trilogy and Tawny Man trilogy as a series (in that order, story wise). Her latest series isn’t as good, IMHO, but still a worthwile read.

    For YA novels John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began would probably be enjoyed by both you and your daughter. It’s an Australian series, so you might be able to find them.

  12. Robert Asprin’s Myth Series

    Robin Hobb’s Farseer Series

    Hand of Thrawn Trilogy (They are Star Wars books, yes, but they’re by Timothy Zahn and are great)

    I’m assuming, though they’re not on your list, that you’ve read The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

    Brian Jacques’ Mossflower Series

    Laurie King’s Holmes books…start of series is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

    Erm…I’m sure I could come up with a LOT more if you need them. 😉

  13. My votes for Sheri S. Tepper (anything, but I loooove _Grass_) and Dan Simmon’s _Ilium_.

    I recently read Patrick Rothfuss’s _The Name of the Wind_ and that was excellent, too.

    I need to check out some of the authors on your list. I love adding new authors to my lists, too!

  14. Well, I second skipping Sleeping with the Fishes.

    Didn’t see it listed, so if you haven’t, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld series – starts with Bitten, Martha Grimes Richard Drury series, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl.

    BTW, I finally bought Daughter of the Blood. Just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

  15. This is the author that got me hooked on paranormal romance. She’s very very good!!!

    Author aliases: Katie MacAlister, Katie Maxwell, Kate Marsh

    Katie MacAlister – Adult Paranormal Romance (Dark Ones Series) LoveSpell Publications
    & Signet Eclipse Publications

    Date Book Title ISBN Order No.
    ======== ============================ ====================
    11/2003 A Girl’s Guide To Vampires 0-505-52530-5
    03/2004 Sex And The Single Vampire 0-505-52554-2
    02/2005 Sex, Lies And Vampires 0-505-52555-0
    05/2006 Even Vampires Get The Blues 0-451-21823-X
    10/2006 “Bring Out Your Dead” – 0-505-52659-X
    Just One Sip Anthology
    04/2007 Last Of The Red-Hot Vampires 0-451-22085-1
    12/2007 “Cat Got Your Tongue?” – 0-312-37504-2 (St. Martin’s Griffin)
    My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon

    Katie Maxwell – Teen Fiction (Dark Ones Series) Smooch Publications

    Date Book Title ISBN Order No.
    ======== ============================ ====================
    01/2005 Got Fangs? 0-8439-5399-3
    01/2006 Circus Of The Darned 0-8439-5400-0

    Katie MacAlister – Adult Paranormal Romance (Aisling Grey Series) Onyx Publications
    & Signet Eclipse Publications

    Date Book Title ISBN Order No.
    ======== ============================ ====================
    09/2004 You Slay Me 0-451-41152-8
    05/2005 Fire Me Up 0-451-21494-2
    11/2006 Light My Fire 0-451-21982-1
    11/2007 Holy Smokes 0-451-22254-1

  16. I totally forgot to add Jonathan Carroll to my suggested list. His themes are horror/fantasy/real life, etc. His writing is just so fantastic and amazing. The first one I read of his was _Bones of the Moon_. Most of his novels are intertwined somehow but you can read one without knowing much about the others.

    And he’s actually the one author I’ve emailed to say, Thank you for writing such wonderful books, and he responded very nicely.

  17. I don’t really get the rules of the challenge (I’m feeling stupid today apparently), but you MUST read Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. Or, if that one doesn’t appeal to you, try Curse of Chalion or The Sharing Knife (Cordelia is sci-fi, Curse of Chalion is standard medieval fantasy, Sharing Knife is romantic fantasy). Also try Guy Gavriel Kay Sarantine Mosaic or Kay Hoopers Bishop series.

  18. You have all three of these on your list already, so I thought I’d mention that Naomi Novik’s “His Majesty’s Dragon”, Scott Lynch’s “Lies of Locke Lamora”, and Joshua Palmatier’s “The Skewed Throne” were all finalists for the Compton Crook Award for 2007. The award is given to the best first novel by a new author for the preceeding year (so all of the books came out in 2006). Naomi Novik won for that year. I’d add them all to your list. But then again, I’m one of the authors, so I might be biased. (I did read them all though, and they were all good.)

    Joshua Palmatier