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What is the most gripping novel you've ever read? Fantasy or otherwise?


^The two largest influences on my writing are Michael Moorcock and Roger Zelazny. I can't say I've read everything by both authors, but I've read a right good chunk of them.

I have been climbing the Moorcock mountain for more than 30 years.

I don't think I know anyone who has written everything he has written.


Taken series by Erin Bowman. Not everyone liked this writing stile but I did. The story starts with so much mystery and keeps you asking questions at each step, yet it's fast paced. One thing to note is that it got a lot darker as it went than it was in the first book which I didn't expect. I was pregnant when I started the series and through the last half of the series I'm balling my eyes out but I couldn't put it down. Then I wondered if my baby was going to be born depressed.


Recently The Sentinel Mage by Emily Gee but from my youth, Raymond Feist's Magician or anything by David Gemmell. He had a knack. He's missed :(


Myth Weaver
This looks like an old one.

I am really hard to please. Sometimes that is good, most times not. I can only think of one book so far where upon reading it, I had to get knees my knees and say "I am not worthy!". I have to hand it to Mr. Martin. His book hits on all cylinders. It was obvious from even the opening. I cant say its my favorite book, but the mastery of the art is beyond what I have seen in others. Somethings that come right to mind in the opening scene is describing the sweat-worn leather on a sword handle, and the taste of iron as a character climbs a tree with a knife in his mouth.

I think my favorite story ever, and if I was to ever read one twice, this might be it, was Watership Down. I had no expectation of liking this, but the world of he created was just brought to life on so many levels, and yet was not a complex tale at all. I don't think is was master of the craft on display, but I never read a simpler, yet very deep story.

Drifting off those two, I feel I must add the bible. Sure its a kind of a mess, but it resonates. What can you do?

I also remember liking very much the first Dune book. Been a long time since I read it, so I am not sure if I would still enjoy it as much today. I would have to read it again, but after four Dune books, I feel I am kind of done.

The author who I think most influenced my own writing, and I will say all of them have influenced it in some way, and Robert E. Howard. I don't write like him really, but I did look to his path in writing as a way to shape my own.

If I was to fault Mr. Martin any, it would be that he spends a lot of time describing fashion. There could be less of that I think.

Oh, and I have to add to add Shakespeare (Sorry, Mrs. Barnes). I cant say I like all his stuff, but the stuff I do like, I've not found anything else like it.

And I suppose I should add, that my favorite author is actually a woman named Leslie, who I met on another writing site. She has a gift. I am not sure if she has the desire to conquer the publishing world though.
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Myth Weaver
GRRM's strength is also his weakness... details. His best work, IMO, is the opening few chapters to Game of Thrones. Here he is tighter with his words, knowing he needs to get us into the story before he hammers us with world building and background info. He avoids the pitfalls of the young fantasy writer well. Writers have a tendency to want to describe what they reference, and worse, a whole lot of critiques will ask for this info when it's best not to be included until later. But that's another topic, LOL.


New Member
It would definitely be Red Rising by Pierce Brown for me. Its a Sci-Fi series set in the distant future. I read the first line of the Prologue and I was hooked. I bought the entire trilogy, then and there.


Jeffrey Archer, hands down. Not a Penny More, not a Penny Less, Prison Diaries, Kane and Abel and Shall We Tell the President.
J.R. Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood series. Although based in a world much like our own it was fabulous. Until her books I had never even entertained the thought of re-reading a book. I love how she has multiple series that she allows to overlap in subtle ways.
The City Between Series by W.R. Gingell. I've re-read them so many times and I always have to get them the minute it comes out and I don't stop for anything until I've finished. This extends to skipping school and I don't care what I'm missing when it's happening.
I've done the same thing for Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archives.


A Game of Thrones, book 1. Intricate world, thorough character development, good dialogue and the scenes formed easily in my minds eye, quite the masterpiece.

Insolent Lad

When it comes to fantasy, The Lord of the Rings probably kept me turning pages as much as anything I've read (and there were quite a few pages to turn). Way, way back, A Princess of Mars may have gripped me pretty hard.

Also way back, Cooper's Leatherstocking novels, despite all the flaws I can see in them now, were quite engrossing. Any and all of Raymond Chandler's detective novels were good at holding my attention. My tastes in mainstream (at least these days) don't really run to gripping adventure but more to the novels of Evelyn Waugh (who is, stylistically, pretty much my model).
The Woman Who Loved Reindeer by Meredith Ann Pierce. I checked out of the library when I was in middle school to have something to read in homeroom. Homeroom was boring, just roll call and announcements, and the teacher didn't care what you did as long as you answered when your name was called and didn't disrupt, so I would keep a library book for homeroom reading only, and usually take several weeks to finish it. But that one was such a page turner that the very day I checked it out, I was up well into the night finishing it (and not finishing my homework!). That was the one time, ever, that I literally could not stop reading a book once I started it.

Several years later, I ran across that book again and decided to reread it, more slowly this time. Same result.

I haven't had that same experience with any adult books, but a couple nights ago, I was casting about for something to read and decided to retry the Outlander series. I own the first six of the main novels, and over a decade ago, I read the first three all the way through, and part of the fourth. Then I was moving, got distracted with that, and never went back to it. They were good the first time around, and if anything, they're even more absorbing the second. I suppose some might quibble with defining those as fantasy, but if time traveling through standing stones isn't fantasy, I don't know what is, and there's certainly intricate world building involved.
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This is not fantasy, but the most gripping book I've read of late is Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge. I wish he'd publish just one more book, seeing as he is in his eighties now. I'm sure there's plenty of unpublished material he can whip up into a book after more than six decades of writing.