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Old 07-26-2007, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windwalker
It's not exactly what you're looking for, but I'll second George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire & Ice series as a good one if you're looking for compelling multi-faceted characters. The author does strive to create a fully-realized world, which means world lore will be thrust upon you from time to time, but I find Martin's prose much more readable (and less rambling) than Tolkein's. It's not a mystery filled with puzzles, but the political maneuverings satisfy my itch for cleverness and analysis, and characters do often find themselves in difficult situations that could be solved with a (often political) puzzle-like solution (they often don't hit upon the correct one, though!).
But there are major puzzles in the series. It's just that they're historical puzzles.

For instance, some 15-20 years before the story begins, a complex, gruesome series of events occured that began with a tournament and ended with a woman's death (not to mention thousands more who died along the way, including a king). Learning the exact nature of these events is crucial to understanding the various characters and their motivations. However, the book never explicitly tells us what happens - the reader has to piece the story together from snippets of conversation, throwaway remarks, random musings and in one case, a bedtime story, all tainted by the various characters' perspectives and preconceptions. Martin never gives an inch, never delivers any exposition he doesn't absolutely have to, but rather makes the reader work. It's exhilerating.

And there's more than one such mystery.

As to other writers: I strongly reccomend Guy Gavriel Kay, but you should start with Tigana or A Song for Arbonne. Do not - I repeat, do not - start with the Fionavar Tapestry series. It's very well written, but it's so insanely derivative that it reads like an explosion at the fantasy factory. Definitely not for those who "don't like" the genre.

Zelazny's Amber books are good - and short - but they're cursed with an overabundance of 70's slang. Non-groovy readers beware.