What did you just read?

Ukerric

Bearded Ape
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But he's already on KU, that's where i read volume 1.
Yes, but now that he's publishing book 2, he'll have to take down all but 10% of it. That's why you find only the first 22 chapters of book 1, then it goes straight to book 2.
 

Randin

Molten Core Raider
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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, book 2 of the Gentleman Bastards series. After having to leave his home city, master conman Locke Lamora decides he's going to run a heist on the most secure casino in the world. Things of course get complicated, leaving him neck-deep in the machinations of the local political powers, and having to put in a stint as a pirate.

I continue to really like this series. Fantasy heists is a fun genre, and I feel like Lynch strikes a good balance at having Locke be a bit of a genius at pulling schemes, while not having him be above getting his shit pushed in at times, and being annoyingly flawless.
 
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Borzak

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Super exciting stuff. Just trying to get a handle on some terms not used the refineries I've serviced thru the years.

 

TJT

Adrenaline Junkie
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My usual recommendations for starting in the litrpg genre:

VRMMOs:
- EA Hopper's "World Tree Trilogy"
Isekai/Alt-reality:
- Neven Iliev's "Everybody Loves Large Chests" (the double entendre is intended... the main character is a Mimic, a monster disguised as a treasure chest). Note that the Amazon version is a lot less salacious than the original on Royal Road (who is absolutely NSFW. Like, at all. Include Hentai tentacles and the rest, but is absolutely hilarious)
Post-Apocalypse:
- Matthew Schmidt's "The City and the Dungeon" (single book)
- Cameron Milan's "The Towers of Heaven" (series, book 2 just came out)
- Tao Wong's "The System Apocalypse" (up to book 6... I'm slightly disappointed by the latest... but it's a classic)
I barely remembered reading this post other than the titles. I started Everybody Loves Large Chests. Within the first IDK, 100 pages (kindle version off of Amazon) I was all Jesus fuck Ukerric is a dirty fucker if he enjoys this.

I mean its funny and all and I find myself surprised when the salacious moments get cut short by brutal murder by a devious mimic. I am not sure I will be reading the Royal Road version because for everyone else out there. Within the first 30 pages some girl is twiddling her bits at the thought of taming a beast (like a wolf or something) to bone. And is sad because the last one she had died from her abuse of it. Concealing her skill as a beast tamer is more important to her than concealing that she is a black magic Necromancer. Which is fucking lol because this is a quite traditional DND setting where being a necromancer is frowned upon.
 
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Ukerric

Bearded Ape
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I barely remembered reading this post other than the titles. I started Everybody Loves Large Chests. Within the first IDK, 100 pages (kindle version off of Amazon) I was all Jesus fuck Ukerric is a dirty fucker if he enjoys this.
I was laughing half the time because of how over the top it goes. It's very obviously a challenge he set himself: "how deep (pun intended) can I go". That's what makes it a classic. You need to like the very raw humor.

It goes worse before it ends. After a while, he pretty much stopped the real hardcore, since he was running out of ideas. You just have the slaughter with his harem of monster girls, since it is easy to find new entertaining ways to genocide.
 

Randin

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Wildest Lives of the Frontier by John Richard Stephens. A history of the American frontier primarily told through excerpts from autobiographies, journals, and interviews of major figures of the frontier--Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull, etc--with explanations and interjections from the author/editor. A nice read, and not the usual time commitment you'd expect from a history book.
 

Zapatta

~ Skeets Tweets ~
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Any Gibson book is worth $2.

 

TJT

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, book 2 of the Gentleman Bastards series. After having to leave his home city, master conman Locke Lamora decides he's going to run a heist on the most secure casino in the world. Things of course get complicated, leaving him neck-deep in the machinations of the local political powers, and having to put in a stint as a pirate.

I continue to really like this series. Fantasy heists is a fun genre, and I feel like Lynch strikes a good balance at having Locke be a bit of a genius at pulling schemes, while not having him be above getting his shit pushed in at times, and being annoyingly flawless.
I read the first book of this and I liked a ton about it. But the Gray King is a fucking retarded character. He is utterly dependent on everything he does via his hired sorcerer McGuffin. I hate shit like that. Any problem he could conceivably have. Sorcerer solves no big deal.

But somehow despite the high cost of hiring a sorcerer from the mage guild. Not a single motherfucker ever comes up with the idea of hiring one for the weekend or something. I mean.

Fucking dumb.
 
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Oblio

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Based on the advice you guys gave me, instead of just jumping into the The Heroes by Abercrombie, I listened to the First Law Trilogy and then Best Served Cold. I am now half way through The Heroes and I had to stop listening just to come here and post something that made me laugh out loud (forgive the spelling of names since I do Audible) when Black Dow has Finnery as a hostage and he says "Stranger Comes Fucking!" I spit my drink out.

The Trilogy was great, better than I hoped. Best Serve Cold was really good too, it felt like it started slow but I think that was because it was mostly a new cast. I really do enjoy how well Abercrombie writes two opposing sides, I think he does it better than most, he really make you like people that you feel like you should hate and that is a talent.

Abercrombie's best skill though IMHO is writing Big Guys. I am a Big Guy myself and he has a way of writing Large Male Men that I have never seen before and it is excellent. I think is his best most interesting characters are the Big Guys starting with Practical Frost to the Feared to Friendly to Bremer, even Shivers though he is a bit smaller. I am torn between Bremer and Friendly as my favorite characters in the whole series. Don't get me wrong Gloktor is a pretty awesome character too, but Friendly is fucking Priceless and Bremer's thoughts vs what he says is great as well.
 
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wamphyr

Bronze Knight of the Realm
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And the fact that Bremer dan Gorst has a squeaky voice was fun as hell.

But I do resonate with broken characters best, so Sand dan Glokta is still my favorite character, he is the true hero of the series.

I just wish he wrote more lesbian characters in there, you can never have too many lesbians.
 

Arbitrary

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I finished up recently Unsouled (Cradle Book 1) and Soulsmith (Cradle Book 2) by Will Wight. They are what I am told are "Xiaxia" novels. Martial arts, Asian mysticism, magic, demons, elementals and our heroes reaching new heights of power in their quest to do something impossible. Our main character is Lindon, the weakest kid from a backwards village in a backwoods valley no one goes to who has to cheat, swindle and think his way through his life because teaching him any sacred arts is forbidden.

I thought they were both really good. I was interested in the cheating, the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon stuff and the broader narrative. The guy that does the audiobook was solid. There's even almost a science fiction element sprinkled in as well. If I had more experience in the genre I might have a different opinion but for someone just stumbling in they were both a good time.
 
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Ukerric

Bearded Ape
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They're considered the gold standard of Western version of Xianxia ("Immortal Heroes") style. If you like this type of narrative, Wight is the best western author (and probably the best, period).

Chinese fantasy goes into three different categories usually: Wuxia ("Martial Heroes") which is the HK movie-level stuff : people flying around trading sword blows in the middle, Shaolin monks shattering walls, etc. Xianxia ("Immortal Heroes") which is the same type, with non-mortal characters, deities, demons and the whole shtick. You get classics like Journey to the West (the Monkey King is the archetype of xianxia) and others (like Cradle). And then you get Xuanhuan ("Mysterious Fantasy") which is a catch-all category for the non-martial fantasy, and typically the one that resembles most western-style fantasy.
 
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Kharzette

Watcher of Overs
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Finished up what is out so far of the spiral wars. It is a sort of military scifi series mostly about the crew of a human warship, sort of navy stuff + marines stuff. I think I got the first one free with prime or something and then got hooked and read the rest.
 

Brahma

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My dirty little secret. I am now a fan of these litrpg series. Usually poorly written, but fun reads.

 
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Fyff

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Just finished Devil's Dream by Shayne Silvers. Main character is the first vampire but it's a unique take on the origin story. Anyways he misses about 500 years and comes back to be the new guy in a tech world. Everything was done well and reads super fast like his usual fare.
 

Arbitrary

Naxxramas 1.0 Raider
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They're considered the gold standard of Western version of Xianxia ("Immortal Heroes") style. If you like this type of narrative, Wight is the best western author (and probably the best, period).

Chinese fantasy goes into three different categories usually: Wuxia ("Martial Heroes") which is the HK movie-level stuff : people flying around trading sword blows in the middle, Shaolin monks shattering walls, etc. Xianxia ("Immortal Heroes") which is the same type, with non-mortal characters, deities, demons and the whole shtick. You get classics like Journey to the West (the Monkey King is the archetype of xianxia) and others (like Cradle). And then you get Xuanhuan ("Mysterious Fantasy") which is a catch-all category for the non-martial fantasy, and typically the one that resembles most western-style fantasy.
I'm halfway through book four, Skysworn, now and they keep getting better. I'm sorta sad you described Will Wight as the gold standard / maybe the best because that means I'm not going to have anywhere to go after but for now they're just great.
 
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TJT

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Just finished Devil's Dream by Shayne Silvers. Main character is the first vampire but it's a unique take on the origin story. Anyways he misses about 500 years and comes back to be the new guy in a tech world. Everything was done well and reads super fast like his usual fare.
Read this the other day. Can't say I was a fan. Won't be continuing.
 

Randin

Molten Core Raider
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Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist. I recently picked up a set of the full Riftwar series from my mom, and found this one tucked away with it. I'd never bothered with this one while reading through Feist back in the day, so I decided to finally give it a read. It's a modern fantasy story, in which a family moves into a house in upstate New York, only to find that the nearby woods are inhabited by the fae, who increasingly torment the family. Story was okay, but not great; most of the book spends too much time on the mundanities of the characters' lives, rather than the actual fantasy, and the end goes full Illuminati with the fantasy elements, which felt somehow excessive. That said, the book was published in... I think '87, so the 'modern' part of the modern fantasy serves as an interesting time capsule. Having the book make a big deal out of the wealthy writer father getting his first actual computer was interesting to look back on. Then there's the part where he just uses it to play Zork all day.
 
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Void

We're America, bitch!
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Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist. I recently picked up a set of the full Riftwar series from my mom, and found this one tucked away with it. I'd never bothered with this one while reading through Feist back in the day, so I decided to finally give it a read. It's a modern fantasy story, in which a family moves into a house in upstate New York, only to find that the nearby woods are inhabited by the fae, who increasingly torment the family. Story was okay, but not great; most of the book spends too much time on the mundanities of the characters' lives, rather than the actual fantasy, and the end goes full Illuminati with the fantasy elements, which felt somehow excessive. That said, the book was published in... I think '87, so the 'modern' part of the modern fantasy serves as an interesting time capsule. Having the book make a big deal out of the wealthy writer father getting his first actual computer was interesting to look back on. Then there's the part where he just uses it to play Zork all day.
I loved that book back in the day. I can see that it probably doesn't hold up very well today, but I did greatly enjoy it when it came out, which would have put me around 17 or 18 if your date is accurate. I remember the scene with the kid thinking something was at the foot of his bed, and unlike most "scary" stories, there actually was! And it was moderately disturbing in the sense that it made you think about it happening to you. I really don't remember shit else, but my vague recollection of loving it would prompt me to recommend it to others.
 

velk

Molten Core Raider
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Ninth House - Leigh Bardugo
Junkie high-school dropout gets made an offer she can't refuse - a clean slate as a student at Yale, cover for her actual duties of monitoring the occult activity of the nine secret societies that are based there.

This was basically a nicely twisty murder mystery, with a very dark setting. The main character is kind of a mess and hopelessly ill-equipped to do even the basics of school and her job, let alone investigate inconvenient murders of people that don't really matter to the wealthy elite of the societies.

I found the start a bit disorienting with the frequent flashbacks, but once it got going was a great story. Will read any sequels.


Magic for Liars - Sarah Gailey
Private investigator gets hired to investigate a death at a high school for mages. This is unusual in that the magical authorities have already ruled it an accident, and in that she has no talent for magic at all - presumably the hire is on the basis that her highly talented sister works there.

This is roughly a mystery novel I guess, although it's a lot about family, jealousy and people being people, even when they have the power to change the world. I liked it quite a bit.


Reborn: Apocalypse - L M Kerr
Litrpg - some unknown alien presence abducting people and forcing them to level up and fight in some species vs species grand battle to the death. After humanity soundly loses and is wiped out, one of the mid rank humans has an unknown magic item activate, rewinding time back to just before he was abducted. This time, he vows, it will be different. The story continues with him using knowledge of what happened last time to get ahead.

I liked the story, but the writing was very clumsy and the characterization and prose were pretty flat. The author also repeated himself a *lot* ( side effect of starting as a web serial ? ). Felt kind of like it was translated ( maybe it was? not sure ). Wouldn't really recommend unless you were a fan of the genre.

The Twisted Ones - T Kingfisher
Woman cleaning out her grandmother's house after her death finds a disturbing journal from her step-grandfather and gets slowly drawn into a world of nightmare.

This was a good, tight, atmospheric read. I really liked it, although I felt bad for the monsters in this one. ( I felt bad for the monsters in 'The Descent' as well ;p ).

I was amused at the idea that her grandmother was such a giant cunt that even monsters instinctively avoided her ;p


Everybody Likes Large Chests- Neven Iliev
I had this one show up on Amazon recommendations a few times, but dismissed it because it looked like a cheesy harem story. As it turns out the title is a joke, the main character is a D&D mimic, and spends most of it's time looking like a chest. The story is actually more black comedy that over time turns into... a cheesy harem story ( tricked dammit ! ).

The humor in this one is twisted, dark and completely tasteless. If you find this funny, you are a bad person. That being said, I found the end of book 1 hilarious, make of that what you will ;p

Unfortunately the rest of the series doesn't live up to the humor of the first book, the second funniest part was probably one of the afterwords where the author revealed he was worried about people thinking he was a SJW, which shows a staggering lack of self-awareness on the level of Hugh Hefner being worried that people think he's a feminist 8).

Overall I enjoyed the series and will probably read new ones that come out.


Gideon the Ninth - Tamsyn Muir
Gideon, the orphan ward of the Ninth noble house of a galactic empire, gets blackmailed/bribed into pretending to be a member of the family and the official chevalier ( bodyguard ) of the house's heir Harrowhark when she is summoned to the First House in an unprecedented chance to become one of the Emperor's immortal Lictors.

This was a fairly unique setting - it's a galactic empire where the emperor discovered the wonders of immortality via necromancy, and after making a few of his top nobles immortal, the empire has pretty much gone into a slow decline, as no-one in charge really gives a fuck about mortal concerns anymore. This effect is most pronounced in the Ninth house, which mostly consists of a bunch of geriatric religious fanatics living in a crumbling ruin, with Gideon and Harrowhark being the only surviving children of their generation. It's kind of gothic sci-fi.

Gideon is kind of a prickly asshole, and Harrowhark, although a genius necromancer, is also a bit of a cunt. They make for an entertaining team with their interactions with the other hopefuls from other houses in the great Lictor quest.

This book surprised me quite a bit, and I really enjoyed it. Will read any sequels.

Perilous Waif - E William Brown
Something that does a pretty convincing imitation of a human baby is found in a pirate space station and is duly placed into an orphanage. Over the years it grows into a considerably less convincing imitation of a young girl called Alice. The tree-worshiping radical feminists that run the orphanage strongly disapprove of minor behavioral problems ( like sneaking out to hunt animals barehanded and eat them raw ), leaving Alice with the obvious solution of fleeing into the jungle and making her way to a spaceport and then off-planet on an unsuspecting merchant ship.

This is a fast-paced space-opera adventure and I found it great fun. The area of space they are in is a bunch of backwater planets settled by Japan*, which leads to a kind of anime vision of galactic future - i.e. planets are ruled by a bunch of hedonistic perverts and run by their army of subservient catgirl androids.

Alice is a major Mary-Sue character, but I really liked the book overall regardless. Will read any sequels.

* This is probably the least believable thing in this story - once Japan invents anatomically correct android catgirls, they aren't going to have enough population to settle a coffee shop let alone multiple planets 8)

Daniel Black Series ( Fimbulwinter, Black Coven, Extermination, Thrall ) - E William Brown
I liked Perilous Waif enough to check out the author's other series. This one is completely different, the first book is pretty much an Isekai story where a programmer whose life has just fallen apart accepts a deal with the Goddess Hecate, where he will protect her last remaining follower in exchange for as much magical power as he can grab during his trip through primal chaos to get there. Things become complicated when he arrives and finds that Ragnarok has just started.

The later books become more base-building genre I guess, as Black carves out a mighty fortress to protect his followers, and finds himself increasingly stretched trying to safeguard the nearby city.

This series was good, with amusing inventive tricks with enchanting and battle magic, but on the downside IMO it could do with less of the author's kinky sex fantasies ( your mileage may vary depending on how much you like that kind of thing ). Will read any sequels.

The Ship - Jack L Knapp
Inventor finds Nikolai Tesla's lost notes, which include an experimental design for a reactionless drive. He develops the design, producing cheap, light-weight anti-gravity devices and after having trouble selling this to automotive manufacturers*, creates a VC backed endeavor to create a spaceship.

This one was interesting, although it was a lot more manufacturing project-management than I expected. It also claimed to be set in current times, but it was totally the 80s.

Overall was ok, but I don't think I'll read the rest.

Minor Mage - T Kingfisher
In the midst of a drought, village takes advantage of his mother's absence to send their twelve year old 'wizard' and his armadillo familiar on a quest to bring back rain.

This was a nice fairly-tale/fable style story that was pretty YA. I liked it, but it didn't make any great impression.


Version Control - Dexter Palmer
Story exploring what it would be like if time travel worked like a git repository, where changing things created a new branch, and when you returned to the present, any changes you made were retroactively merged seamlessly back into the existing history.

With a situation like this, it becomes awfully difficult to tell if your time travel device actually works or not.

This was an interesting idea, but it's more literature than sci-fi, in that it spends entirely too long on people's shitty lives and relationships for my tastes. Wouldn't really recommend.

Reborn: Evolving from Nothing - Wiz
Another web serial I am currently reading - this one is sort of like a cross between the reincarnated as a slime anime and the Cradle series. Some god on the quest to create the perfect monster reuses a bunch of souls to make 87 creatures based on the most legendary monsters, also giving them the power to absorb strength and abilities from other creatures and evolve into more powerful forms. The 88th, the main character, has no existing bloodline, starting out as a pile of goo, but gets what's effectively an AI assistant to help with merging different bloodlines together - he's the wildcard of the bunch, covering the chance that none of the existing monsters can become a perfect being, but some entirely new combination might.

It's pretty interesting, the MC quickly becomes strong compared to random humans etc, but is vastly outclassed by his siblings, who started out as things like ten-thousand headed hydras and kilometer long flying serpents. I am only partway through, but it's becoming more like a Godzilla story, from the point of view of one of the giant monsters.

I'll probably catch this one up and stick it on the regular reading list.
 
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