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Sam says: I rarely read anything except fantasy. More specifically, I love dark, smoldering, sexy fantasy. I want my books to have everything in them: humor, a sense of urgency, gorgeous magic, fantastic creatures, rich characters, sex, and a violent kick in the FEELS. I grew up reading Robert Jordan and Tolkien and dream of one day writing fantasy on an epic scale. Other favorite authors include Anne Bishop, Brandon Sanderson, Sara Douglass, Elizabeth Haydon, Jacqueline Carey, and Patrick Rothfuss.

  • The Black Jewels Trilogy, Anne Bishop: Anne Bishop’s critically-acclaimed Black Jewels Trilogy is the saga of a young but still-innocent Queen more powerful than even the High Lord of Hell—and the three sworn enemies determined to win her and gain a prize that could be terriblebeyond imagining…
    • Why I recommend it: Saetan and Daemon are the good guys? *Intrigued* These books combine all of my favorite things–snarky banter between men and women, magic that’s strong and terrifying, politicky subterfuge, people who fuck up badly enough to need to be obliterated (I mean, literally ripped out of the fabric of existence and memory), sex, and cringeworthy moments. I like books that make me FEEL things, even if what I feel is rage or despair. I love most of all how both men and women think they’re in complete control. Also, the opening scene–after the descent-into-madness prologue–is a man’s balls being eaten by rats. I crave darkness. These books ARE Dark Fantasy, for me.
  • Kushiel’s Legacy, Jacqueline Carey: The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.
    • Why I recommend it: A lot of people who have read this will throw Kushiel’s Legacy casually into a category of ‘glorified BDSM.’ Personally, I think that Kushiel’s Legacy–and all of Jacqueline Carey’s books–carries a far more profound message. To me, they’re about being comfortable in your own skin, no matter who you are, what you want, and whom you love. Romance and sex become part of the land’s religion. The characters are deeply flawed, but beautifully so. Jacqueline Carey is one of the authors I resonate with. She plays by her own set of rules and manages to combine a sweeping, epic plot with complex, diverse characters.
  • The Magister Trilogy, C.S. Friedman: C.S. Friedman, acclaimed author of The Coldfire Trilogy, returns to the epic style which has made her one of the most popular fantasy writers in the genre. In this first book of the trilogy, Friedman introduces readers to a world of high fantasy, replete with vampire-like magical powers, erotic interludes, treachery, war, sorcery, and a draconic creature of horrific power and evil that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.

    • Why I recommend it: This was one of my magical used bookstore finds! Ah, dark fantasy… magic that costs life to utilize! THE MORAL CALAMITY!!! I loved the way that this story progressed. There’s a gender disparity in this world. Women who use magic burn themselves up and die quickly, but for some reason the men (magisters) do not, and live forever. The story follows a girl who does what the men do, and her training to become a magister. As it turns out, the reason for it is because magic burns up life force. So why, do you think, do men survive and women do not?!? Another story that firmly fits into the dark fantasy genre. I love a plot that manages to horrify me!
  • The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan; The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien; A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin: I consider these to be the staples of my genre. To me, these three represent epic fantasy.
  • The Symphony of Ages, Elizabeth Haydon; The Wayfarer Redemption, Sara Douglass: Honorable mentions! Great storytelling as above, but with a more women in them that win!

Find me on Goodreads for other recommendations!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/37361704

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