Top Ten Tuesday (#68): Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week is “Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors”

[Worth noting that I’m not considering pseudonyms, just books written under the names below]

Constant reader

For these authors, I want to devour everything they’ve written whether connected or unconnected to the book that originally made me fall in love.

David Eddings

Stats: 22 read, 22 owned
Favourite Book/Series: The Belgariad & Mallorean
Love this author for: Epic worlds | Great casts of characters | Classic good v evil fantasy
You should start with: Pawn of Prophecy

Robin Hobb

Stats: 15 read, 15 owned
Favourite Book/Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles
Love this author for: Epic worlds | Great casts of characters | Writing to get sucked into
You should start with: Assassin’s Apprentice

Jodi Picoult

Stats: 16 read, 18 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Leaving Time
Love this author for: Making me think| Realistic imperfect characters | Mystery to keep you guessing
You should start with: Anything!

Maria V. Snyder

Stats: 12 read, 10 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Study series
Love this author for: Kick-ass women | Magic | Romance, friendship & family relationships
You should start with: Poison Study

J.K. Rowling

Stats: 10 read, 10 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Love this author for: A world I want to live in | Great casts of characters | Writing that feels like home
You should start with: Do I even need to dignify this with a response?

Kelley Armstrong

Stats: 8 read, 7 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Personal Demon
Love this author for: Sexy romance | Kick-ass heroines | Well-rounded female characters
You should start with: Bitten

One series was enough

For the authors below, I’ve only currently read (or they’ve only currently written) books from one series, but I loved that series enough to put the author on my auto-buy list and to count them as a favourite.

George R.R. Martin

Stats: 7 read, 7 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Either Storm of Swords or Dance with Dragons
Love this author for: Epic casts of characters | Drama and twists to keep you guessing | Grey characters – no black and white good or evil here!
You should start with: A Game of Thrones

Conn Iggulden

Stats: 4 read, 8 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Conqueror
Love this author for: Gripping drama | Historical fiction that has you hooked | Imperfect characters
You should start with: Wolf of the Plains

Kristin Cashore

Stats: 3 read, 1 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Graceling
Love this author for: Kick-ass heroines | Great friendships | Intriguing magic
You should start with: Graceling

Sarah J. Maas

Stats: 4 read, 4 owned
Favourite Book/Series: Heir of Fire
Love this author for: Really kick-ass heroines | An amazing world | Writing to get sucked into
You should start with: Throne of Glass

No real revelations amongst my favourite authors, and the same themes keep popping up you’ll notice.  Apparently the most important things for me are kick-ass characters, big casts of characters, great magic and world-building!

Who are your favourite authors? (And most importantly, which book of theirs should I start with?!)

Fool’s Assassin (Robin Hobb)

Fool’s Assassin (Robin Hobb)Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited on 12-08-2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General
Pages: 640
Format: eARC
Amazon
Goodreads

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FARSEER AND TAWNY MAN TRILOGIES STOP READING NOW! (and go read Assassin’s Apprentice instead)

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Readability: ★★★★

The storyFitz is happily ensconced in Withywoods, married to the woman of his dreams, far away from the deceit of Buckeep Court and his old life.  He and Molly are raising Molly’s children, dealing with the normal pleasures and trials of family life, running Withywoods and their marriage – a far cry from his old life.  So when a messenger shows up in the middle of Winterfest, Fitz doesn’t think too much of it – until the messenger disappears without a trace.  Fitz has no idea who sent the messenger or why, and has no idea of the problems racing to catch up with him.

The story is definitely character-driven rather than a fast paced plot, but it’s still engrossing.  There are enough hints to the overarching plot to keep you guessing about where the story is going, but the day to day problems are also beautifully handled and it’s fun to sink into Fitz’s new life as Tom Badgerlock.

Fool’s Assassin is a slower read – I would say it’s more similar in feel to Fool’s Errand than to the original Assassin’s Apprentice – but not in a bad way.  I think everything in the story is needed – it helps you remember all those things you love about Fitz, and also see how he lives now, in his happy but Fool- and Nighteyes-less future. I personally loved the pacing; a slow, gentle ease into Fitz’s world, with a mystery that picks up pace slowly and I love where the story seems to be heading.  Having said that, I’ve always loved character-driven stories, so I can see how this might be something others don’t love.  I also loved the faster paced final section of the book and would have liked a little more of this, because to me it feels like Fool’s Assassin runs the risk of doing a little too much setting up for the rest of the trilogy rather than starting the story.  I would personally have preferred a little more length and a little more action even if it meant we had a book closer in length to Fool’s Fate.

 

The characters

Despite the fact there are 11 years between the publication of Fool’s Fate and Fool’s Assassin, Fitz is perfect.  After such a quiet period of happiness, he’s obviously changed a little but he’s still very clearly the same character.  He hasn’t changed fundamentally, his voice remains the same, and I thought Linette’s review which says it’s like catching up with an old friend is an absolutely perfect description.

There are some new characters in the story, some of whom are hard to talk about without spoilers, but suffice to say that as always, Hobb’s characters draw you in.  The characters in this are so real, so beautifully three-dimensional, you could easily imagine sitting in Fitz’s study listening to them.  Expect to laugh with them, cry with them, feel proud of them and feel furious on their behalf.

Although we return to Fitz, unlike the Farseer trilogy we get to see more points of view than just Fitz’s in Fool’s Asssassin, which works perfectly for the story.  Both points of view are told in first-person, so you still feel immersed as you did in the Farseer trilogy, but having more than one point of view really helps with the world-building and the setting up of new characters.  I did find it a little difficult at first to keep track of whose point of view was whose, as there’s no chapter headings or anything to give this away, but I found that it became more clear as the novel went on.

 

final thoughtsAfter more than 10 years, a return to the world of Fitz has been a long-term dream for many Hobb fans, and for me at least, it did not disappoint at all.  It has beautiful descriptive writing that never feels slow, characters who feel so real you could reach out and touch them, and the hints of a plot related to some of the most intriguing questions ever asked throughout the Realm of the Elderlings’ series.

 

Buy it? This is absolutely one worth buying for me.  Like…right now. Go!
In a nutshell: An emotional, beautifully character-driven start to a new series – I’m already wishing for the next book

 

Other Reviews of Fool’s Assassin: BookishSwint | Super Fast Reader | Avid reviews

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Top Ten Tuesday (#57): Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s topic is “Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From”.

David Eddings
Number of books: 19
Favourite series: Belgariad/Mallorean

No surprise that David Eddings tops the list – his Belgariad series were the books that got me into reading as a kid!

 

 

Robin Hobb
Number of books: 15
Favourite series: Honestly, I love them all, but it makes sense to start with the Farseer trilogy, where everything begins.

Again, absolutely no surprise that Robin Hobb is so high on my list, I’ve absolutely loved all of the Realm of the Elderlings books, and I’m about 60% of the way through the first of her next series (out next month) and absolutely loving it.

 

Charlaine Harris
Number of books: 13

Honestly, I’m surprised Charlaine Harris was so high on my list.  I only own one series (The Southern Vampire Mysteries).  I picked up the first 8 or so for £10 on a deal in WHSmith because the box they were in was damaged, and then I kept reading because I had to know what happened in the end.  Honestly though, I thought the first few were the best by far, and towards the end I thought the series had gone downhill.

 

Jodi Picoult
Number of books: 12
Favourite books: The Pact & Nineteen minutes

Ah, a non fantasy author! I do love a standalone every now and then and Jodi Picoult’s are great because they have complex characters and every one is based on a question that really makes you think.

 

J. K. Rowling
Number of books: 9
Favourite book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

No explanation required for this one really is there?! I’ve got the seven Harry Potter books, Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch through the Ages.

 

 

Maria V. Snyder
Number of books: 9
Favourite series: the Study trilogy

I picked up Poison Study out of curiosity more than anything and ended up really enjoying it.  I’ve since gone on to read the rest of the series, the Glass series and the Healer series (and my mum and sister have picked up every book after me!)

 

George R.R. Martin
Number of books: 7

Favourite book: A Storm of Swords or A Dance with Dragons

My dad bought me A Game of Thrones for Christmas years ago but I couldn’t get into it.  I put it down, stepped away and came back to it later – once I did, I got hooked! I’ve since read all of the books that are out so far, and started watching the TV show mostly just to keep getting my Game of Thrones fix while I wait for Winds of Winter.

 

Kelley Armstrong
Number of books: 8
Favourite book: Bitten

I really enjoyed the first few of the Women of The Otherworld series, but so far I’ve not got around to picking up the rest of the series.  I’ve got the first 6 on the shelf, plus Sea of Shadows (which I really enjoyed) and The Summoning which I’ve not yet read.

 

Conn Iggulden
Number of books: 8
Favourite series: Conqueror

Wolf of the Plains, the first in Conn Iggulden’s Conqueror series, follows a young Temujin, the future Genghis Khan.  I didn’t particularly expect to enjoy it but I ended up loving it! The first two books in the series were definitely the best, and I’ve still got book five to read.  I’ve also got the first three of his Emperor series which I picked up second hand for 50p each and haven’t started yet.

 

Scott Westerfeld
Number of books: 6
Favurite series: Uglies

Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series was probably the first dystopian I read and I loved it! I’ve got all four of that series and two of his steampunk series too, and I’ll definitely be ordering myself a copy of Afterworlds when that comes out.

 

Which authors take up the most space on your shelves?

Top Ten Tuesday (#49): Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers.  This week the theme is Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre.

I guess it’s no surprise that I chose fantasy for my genre this week! For most of these, I love the series as the whole and it was tough to choose an individual favourite, but I’ve done my best.

Magician’s Gambit
Belgariad #3

If you’ve seen a few of my Top Ten Tuesdays before, it#s absolutely no surprise that David Eddings would feature on this list. I loved both the Belgariad and Mallorean series, and they remain my favourites. Eddings’ characters in particular, are fantastic.

A Storm of Swords (part 2)
A Song of Ice and Fire #3

I struggled to decide which book to include from the series, but I eventually decided on A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold, because this is one that I remember racing through, and then desperately waiting for my partner to finish so I could talk about it.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter #6

I’m not quite sure why, but Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has always been my favourite of the series.

Assassin’s Apprentice
Assassin’s Apprentice #1

I’m still not quite sure whether this was the right Robin Hobb book to include! I started with this series and loved it, but then I also absolutely loved her Liveship Traders series and the Rain Wild Chronicles. I eventually (just about!) decided on this, but I’d really strongly recommend any of her series.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Dragonlance

This was another one of the books that I read when I first started reading, probably fairly soon after David Eddings’ series. I don’t re-read this as much as the other features on the list, but I love the characters and the humour.

Poison Study
Study #1

Maria V. Snyder has great female leads, supporting characters you’ll want to take home, and solid fantasy world-building.  Like Robin Hobb, I’ve loved all of her series, and went with this more because it was my first venture than because I had a definite clear winner.

Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass #1

Throne of Glass was one of my top ten reads for last year, and I also really enjoyed Crown of Midnight. A seriously kick-ass (yet also feminine) heroine, romance, drama, magic and intrigue – what more could you want? Heir of Fire is one of my most-anticipated reads this year and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

The series I have high hopes for:

For all three of these books, I’ve only read the first book so far, but I loved them. I’m hoping the sequels live up to the first book – if so, these will definitely join the ranks of my top fantasy series!

Graceling
Graceling Realm #1

Crewel
Crewel World #1

Ink
Paper Gods #1

Do you have any fantasy recommendations for me?

Top Ten Tuesday (#42): Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers.  This week the theme is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013

I’ve discovered some really great new authors this year.  For some of these I’ve already read more than one book, for others I’ve just read one book – but it really wowed me!  You can be sure that most of these books will be vying for a position on top ten books of the year! These authors may not all go on to become favourites, but for all of these authors I’d like to pick up another book and find out!

In no particular order, here are the top ten new-to-me authors of 2013, and the books I read that convinced me they should be on this list!

Mira Grant

Parasite | Feed

Matt Haig

The Humans (Review)

Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Review) | Crown of Midnight

Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game | Speaker for the Dead | Xenocide

Amanda Sun

Ink (Review) | Shadow

A.G. Howard

Splintered (Review)

Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Erin Jade Lange

Butter (Review)

Rick Yancey


The 5th Wave

Kat Zhang
What’s Left of Me

Who were your favourite new authors in 2013?