Hello dear reader (or listener), and welcome to my first post for FanFiAddict! I’m rather excited to be here but I also lack a book to review at the moment of writing this – which is no biggie, those will come soon enough – so I thought, why not talk about something I’ve been looking forward to doing for months. A while back I decided in fact to devote my summer to rereading some of my favorite series, which I’ve not properly reread from beginning to end in years! Also, I say summer, but what I really mean is probably starting mid-May once I’m done with my degree. So come along and let me share with you why I am drawn back to these four worlds over and over, hopefully you’ll be intrigued enough to want to visit them yourself for the first time. Or you might know them already and will enjoy reminiscing with me! These four series also have many things in common but the main one that counts the most towards my wanting to reread them is that they completely deliver on all that they promise and sometimes even more! Snarky/Sassy/Dry Humor, Feels, Found Family, Gray Characters, Reluctant Heroes, these four series have it all and more!
So in no particular order at all, here are four of my favorite series that I plan to reread!
The Belgariad by David Eddings
This is a story that I grew up with, quite literally. One day 12 years ago, I came home from school and my mom had taken all the books of this series from the library and set them waiting for me on my desk as a surprise for good behavior. Can you deduce who the book nerd mentor was? This classic fantasy tale was one of the first series I ever binge read and after enjoying it so much I went back to the library full of wonder about the fantasy world, eager to read more. A couple years later I bought my own copies in original language and, with the exception of last year, I’ve reread it almost every summer since! It is one of my comfort reads for many reasons, but I think the main one is that throughout the story you can find some of the oldest fantasy tropes that we still love to this day. It is also a fun measure of how much these same tropes have changed in more recent fantasy! The cast is varied and multifaceted, the stakes are high, but they don’t tire you out with plot twist after plot twist for the sake of shock value, and you get a fun coming of age story that, sometimes, is just what you need after a long day. Seasoned SFF readers might find parts of it a bit predictable perhaps, but that doesn’t necessarily detract from the whole experience because the way the story unfolds holds your interest all the same.
The Riyria Revelations & Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan
This series was the one that I first read when I started uni. Living alone in a new country certainly was exciting but for a not very social person like yours truly, it can get a smidge lonely. Royce and Hadrian however soon became my invaluable companions, and their top-notch antics became a safe retreat after long days of meeting lots of new people and having new experiences. Sullivan has said that he likes to write his series as a whole and then get to publishing all the individual installments because it makes for a more cohesive story and better way for him to plan out the reveals, twists, foreshadowing, or all those small details that make Riyria as great as it is. Truly there is so much to these books, and not only because of the main duo – who are perhaps one of my favorite fantasy duos of all time – you can tell there is so much behind each one of the characters. Not to mention the plot as a whole which is incredible in the ways that it is slowly revealed. I’m a particular fan of history/religion being revealed to be so much different than propagandized for wider agendas. Plus knowing how things turn out eventually, I think that a second read through would lend itself very well to catch all those seemingly throwaway details that I overlooked before.
As for the Chronicles, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, these individual stories are darn good for the soul. There is in each of them a contained plot that needs no prior knowledge to be understood, but if you have read the main series beforehand, it is so full of satisfying easter eggs that I very much appreciate. Also I am hoping to catch even more of them this time around because the first time I read Revelations and Chronicles, it was with enough time in between that I might have missed some neat connections here and there.
The Faithful And The Fallen by John Gwynne
This was the very first series I wrote a review for on my shared blog and that alone should be enough to give a gauge of how much I liked it! I was initially scared I’d get lost in the amount of povs or even the scope of the story. But know what? I only truly realized how big it all was once I was done reading and I tried telling someone else about it. *That’s* how good of a storyteller Gwynne is! I am always pushed to make the chess comparison when thinking of the ways he’s woven this saga, with every piece in the right place at the right time for maximum effect. Moreover the young protag is perhaps one of the characters whose growth and development is the greatest throughout recent series I’ve read. I simply *love* tracking character development and Corban is one of those who you can compare at the start and then the end of a series and you can hardly recognize, but also think “wow that is exactly what his potential was”!! Moreover, this reread serves as a refresher because I am yet to read the sequel series Of Blood and Bone set in the same world several years later, and as you have predicted by now, I am a callback hound. Give me all the references to past things, I will have the best time with it! Am I ready to feel all the same pain again? Probably not. Will I do so anyway because I deeply miss the Banished Lands and its characters? Yes. Absolutely.
The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler
This is the series I read for the first time, the most recently compared to the rest, however it was so good that I have been hailing it nonstop over Twitter and any other time someone asks for a solid fantasy series. I picked it by chance when let loose at a bookstore with the instructions ‘pick a b-day present’, and soon as I was barely halfway through the first book, I had already ordered the rest of the series to be delivered so I could binge it over that lovely August of two years ago. The books barely left my hands for the duration of those weeks and with good reason. Compelling and varied characters, really cool magic system, real life history inspiration, and a flintlock fantasy to boot!! It was just so intriguing and fun all the way through, with the added bonus that the ambience/dynamic and pace change throughout the series. Admittedly book four stumbles a bit at one point, but I think that had more to do with me not being very econ savvy (i.e. at all, I am completely clueless) so some aspects got lost on me for that, but that is hardly reason to weigh down the rest of the series, so I’m not really bothered. And hey, maybe this read through I might get more of that, not holding my breath on that one though… Wexler’s character work really shines too, because even during the times when maybe I was getting lost on the plot (which again happened only shortly), following the characters was still rewarding and entertaining. There’s just so much sass and dry humor throughout as well, which always tickles me the right way.
Thank you for coming along and hopefully I’ve contributed a bit to the never ending TBR! I am always happy to chat about these books so if you’re feeling like it, drop me a line/tweet, or do the same if you think there are other series similar to these that I should check out!
Until next time,
Eleni. A. E.