Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stars of...Political Fantasy

The "Stars of..." series is a new feature I'm doing here at Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy to highlight the best books in different areas of the fantasy genre. Say you want a book about shapeshifters or wizards or mythology, or maybe you want to read some political or heroic fantasy. Stop by here every Thursday for the foreseeable future, and I'll have recommendations for you! Click on the book covers for links to the first book in the series and on the series name for a list of the books in it on Goodreads.

If you think there's something I missed in this category, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments! I haven't read everything out there, obviously, and I'd love some recommendations myself.

Series are alphabetical by author.

Stars of...Political Fantasy
*Click the book covers for links to the first book and the series title for links to the full series (Goodreads)*

Since the vast majority of what I read is either urban fantasy or traditional fantasy, I decided to alternate weeks for this series. So this week is traditional/epic fantasy. Political fantasy is a little different from the world-encompassing, good versus evil stories like The Lord of the Rings or The Sword of Truth. However, most epic fantasy is at least a little political, because it is world-encompassing. While it often involves open warfare, that's not a requirement, because political fantasy focuses on the maneuverings inside of a realm and their machinations involving their neighbors. Sounds a bit boring, but it's one of my favorite sub-genres. Politics are just so bloody!

Jim Butcher
Codex Alera
6 books, completed

I'm a huge fan of both this series and Butcher's urban fantasy Dresden Files. He does an amazing job with characters, humor, and brilliant, complex plots. Codex Alera features a creative world of both political and heroic fantasy. It's amazing.

Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Legacy
3 books (and two sequel trilogies), completed

Don't let the description of this series fool you. These books are far more about politics and manipulation than sex (though if kinky sex scenes bother you, fair warning. It's got 'em.) I absolutely love the complexity of the characters and plot. This series is most excellent.

Kate Elliot
Crown of Stars
7 books, completed

A sort of alternate-universe medieval story, Crown of Stars focuses on a prince with an unusual heritage and a peasant girl who has a way with fire. It can be a little slow at times, but I love the feel of these books. They could also fall into the good versus evil category.

Jennifer Fallon
Hythrun Chronicles
3 books, completed

This trilogy is the prequel to the Demon Child Trilogy (meaning you should read that one first), but focuses mainly on internal politics in one of the countries in the original books. It practically epitomizes that "politics is bloody" that I mentioned at the beginning. It's very exciting and I love the characters.

Second Sons Trilogy
3 books, completed

Second Sons has deposed royalty, an evil cult, human sacrifice, a labyrinth, rebellion, and an interesting scene with mushrooms. If you need any more incentive than that to read this series, I don't really know what to tell you. Read it. It's brilliant.

Tide Lords
4 books, completed

What happens to an immortal who wants to die? That's the basic question the Tide Lords series explores, a question that happens to encompass kingdoms and even an entire world. It particularly fascinating because I wasn't sure, even at the end, whose side I was on (though I was sure whose side I wasn't on, which would have helped if there were only two sides).

Guy Gavriel Kay
The Sarantine Mosaic
2 books, completed

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite writers. I just adore his writing. And The Sarantine Mosaic is one of my favorite stories. Based on a reflection of Byzantium, both books are filled with wonderfully lyrical political chess.

Under Heaven

Under Heaven takes place in an alternate-universe version of ancient China, which alone sort of makes it worth reading. It's about love and honor and power, filled with nuances and difficult choices. Kay never fails to impress.

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson creates amazing worlds. In Elantris, it's a fallen city and the mystery of why it happened. This books has some pretty great characters and interesting politics, though there's a lot more to it than that.

3 books + sequel

In this world where metals give certain people magical abilities, ordinary people are oppressed by a ruthless emperor. This is a story of rebellion from a most unlikely source. This world is particularly fascinating and also has excellent characters.

Some other books where politics play an important role but aren't necessarily the point of the story
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Firekeeper Saga by Jane Lindskold
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

1 comment:

  1. Wow, a very good list. Thank you for the great tips. I just recently fell in love with Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana was my poison) and I have lots of Brandon Sanderson and Jennifer Fallon books on my TBR. Can't wait to discover them all.


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