Friday, August 26, 2011

Read Alike: Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan is a pen name of James Rigney, Jr., an author of fantasy as well as books in the Conan the Barbarian series. Mr. Jordan is best known as the author of the fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. The first book, The Eye of the World, came out over twenty years ago, and the last book, A Memory of Light, is scheduled for release sometime in late 2012. The series is set in a richly detailed world and peopled by a large cast of characters. The action of the novels primarily follows a small band of adventurers in their quest to save the world from great evil, but latter books tend to focus on other side characters. The books are, unsurprisingly, modeled loosely on the great classic by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Mr. Jordan unfortunately died in 2007 before he had a chance to finish his long-running series. After receiving a diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis, he resolved to finish the 12th book, but he also took steps to ensure that the series would be finished even without him. After his death, his widow worked with his long time editors to select Brian Sanderson to complete The Wheel of Time.

The Wheel of Time has been adapted as a series of graphic novels. The Eye of the World will be released next month. In October, a documentary on Robert Jordan is scheduled for release, "The Wit of the Staircase: The Life and Works of Robert Jordan." There is, however, no word of an upcoming film or television adaptation of The Wheel of Time at this point.

Fans of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, may also enjoy these authors:

Terry Brooks is another of the well-known names in fantasy. His books are fast-paced, action-filled and optimistic. His interconnected series gradually provide the details of his extensive world-building. Start with The Sword of Shannara, wherein the hero Shea is given a sword, traveling companions, and an epic quest to save the world.

Terry Goodkind is a darker fantasy author who includes more violence in his tales of good versus evil in a magical world. His novels are fast-paced, intricately plotted, and richly detailed. Start with Wizard's First Rule, wherein our heroes struggle to prevent the evil Darken Rahl from acquiring the powerful Sword of Truth.

David Eddings, along with his wife Leigh, was the author of several popular fantasy novels. The epic coming of age series, The Belgariad, is a teen-friendly introduction to the genre. His writing style is fast-paced, witty, and includes strong female characters. Start with Pawn of Prophecy (note: this is a downloadable audiobook), wherein young Garion learns that he is destined for far bigger things than life on the farm, assuming he survives today.

Guy Gavriel Kay assisted in the editing of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, but has gone on to create his own works of richly-detailed and character-driven fantasy. Start with Sailing to Sarantium, set in a world which echoes the Byzantine Empire the mosaicist Crispin arrives to create art, but finds intrigue and adventure.

Elizabeth Moon writes both upbeat military science-fiction and character-driven fantasy novels. Start with The Deed of Paksenarrion, a compilation of three novels about the heroine Paksenarrion, whose humble beginnings on a sheep farm help to drive her to defy expectations.

George RR Martin is another well-known fantasy author, though his novels tend to be darker and more violent. His Song of Ice and Fire series is a highly-detailed and complex example of world-building, taking elements of the historical War of the Roses to create something new. The series was recently adapted to television by HBO. Start with A Game of Thrones, political intrigue, mysterious danger, lost magic, and a cast of hundreds.

There are many other Fantasy authors that you might want to try, including:
Stephen R. Donaldson, Lord Foul's Bane
David Farland, The Runelords: the sum of all men
Raymond E. Feist, Magician
Melanie Rawn, Dragon Prince
Tad Williams, The Dragonbone Chair
Robin Hobb, Assassin's Apprentice
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!