Whole New Worlds - SF and Fantasy

Welcome to our new contributor Heidi, an SF and fantasy aficionado. Look for her recommendations on great authors in these genres.  

I've been reading fantasy and science fiction for about twenty-five years (I rather suspect my dear mother still regrets buying me that first paperback all those years ago when I asked oh so very politely for it as a well earned treat...). I read roughly 1-3 novels a week depending on the week. If I have an entire glorious day to myself with no other responsibilities I will read 1 or 2 novels in a day. That doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like it to. At that rate I go through quite a few books in any given year. In my blog entries I intend to point out some of the best of what I've been reading. If I find any chuck it across the room stinkers I'll warn you.

I'd like to start out by mentioning a few of my favorite newer authors.
Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind is good.  It's really good, as in "Dear Reader,  The Name of the Wind is the most brilliant first fantasy novel I have read in over thirty years as an editor..." good. I've been reading fantasy for nearly that long and it's by far the best debut novel I've ever seen.  If I had to sit down and make a list I'd probably put it in my top 5 fantasy novels.  The language is rich, the character is interesting, the world is well developed, the plot engaging…  It's the story of Kvothe (pronounced "quothe"), a wizard in hiding in a high fantasy world. He's telling the story of his life over three nights to an archivist who hunted him down - while the inn he's running is under threat from demon like monsters. The only bad thing I have to say is that book two is still in the works. 

Brandon Sanderson is now writing the last books of the Wheel of Time after Robert Jordon's death. He had written several books before being picked to finish off the Wheel of Time. His debut novel was Elantris.  Sanderson's strength is in world building. Both this and his Mistborn trilogy take an interesting concept and run with it. In the Mistborn trilogy the evil overlord won a thousand or so years ago. InElantris the gods have lost all their powers and can't die no matter how horribly they suffer.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is probably the technically weakest of these three novels but it's really just great good fun and it stands alone well. Locke Lamora and his comrades are con artists and thieves, with some of the most entertaining and colorful language. Why use a dull and common obscenity to add color to the language of your roguish characters when you can come up with some of the phrases this author uses? It's a fun read, it reminds me of a light heist movie. Book two is also out and book three is in the works. Seven books are planned.