Looking for some long book series recommendations
I currently have a hankering for diving into a really long book series, so was hoping to get some recommendations from fellow Tildes users.
The genres I enjoy most are scifi and fantasy, especially darkly themed ones with deep lore, but I'm open to trying anything. The only caveat is that I have absolutely no interest in starting to read a series that hasn't actually finished yet, since at this point I am honestly quite sick of waiting for the next ASOIAF and Kingkiller.
I was considering listing all the longest series I have already read in order to avoid them getting recommended to me again, but I decided against doing that so other people can use this as a resource in case they're also looking for similar recommendations.
p.s. Malazan Book of the Fallen would be my biggest recommendation, BTW. It's by far my favorite dark fantasy series, is a whopping ~3M words, ~11k pages, with hundreds of unique/memorable characters, and an insanely deep lore spanning thousands of years.
It's more lighthearted and satirical fantasy, but you can't go wrong with Discworld, and at 40+ books it's a lot to dig your teeth into. They've been my comfort food books for years.
The Merchant Princes series from Charlie Stross is also an excellent read that crosses the two genres, about a clan of people from the low magic fantasy timeline next door that can hop into an (initially) slightly diverged early-2000's United States, and use the ability to become fantastically rich by trading rapid communications to their home timeline and risk free drug running for business in the United States. It's also (broad spoilers) an amazing and smooth transition from an almost cliche alternate-world fantasy to heavy hitting hard science fiction by the last 3 or 4 books, and the whole series has an interesting bent towards development economics, like investigating why the fantasy timeline hadn't industrialized even after generations of contact with ours, which really kicks into high gear when
spoilersthey discover a third timeline with an early atomic age exiled British Empire locked in a struggle with the still-extant Ancien Regime France, also in the local year 2003.
As originally written it's 9 books, but I'd recommend the recut versions Stross released a few years ago that trimmed the first six books to 3, and tightened them up.
Sorry, I am not good with darkly themed sci fi/fantasy with deep lore. Here are some light hearted recommendations for others?
The Count of Monte Cristo is an amazing book. It's a revenge fantasy set in historical times. I read the abridged version, which was only 500 pages long. I regret that. The book is so good I wish I read the actual book which is 1276 pages. It doesn't really meet any of your qualifications, but it is one of my favorite books.
In terms of sci-fi/ fantasy here are the classic series
I agree! After the core trilogy, the two sequels (Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth) are a disappointing change of tone and direction. However, the two prequels (Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation) are good; I consider 'Forward' to be one of Asimov's best novels.
Vorkosigan Saga from Lois McMaster Bujold. Sci-fi, has 25 books. That being said, the books are of "normal" novel length as opposed to the monstrous page numbers of a Song of Ice and Fire work or anything from Sanderson at this point, so it's not as long as you might think.
24 of them follow the one main character throughout his entire adult life, essentially, and sub-segments of novels span a multitude of genres, from space dramas, class politics, to romcoms.
There are actually not quite so many books as that:
Of the novels, 10 are from the POV of Miles Vorkosigan, 3 are from Cordelia's POV, and 3 others are from other characters in the universe.
Most people (including the author) would recommend reading in the order of internal chronology. You can either start with the slower-paced Shards of Honor and Barrayar (about Cordelia; I loved Barrayar) or the faster-paced Warrior's Apprentice (about Miles Vorkosigan, the series' main protagonist). Be warned that the first third of Shards of Honor is very rough, in my opinion; it took me three tries to get through, but I enjoyed the last two thirds of the book much more.
Most would also suggest skipping Falling Free and Ethan of Athos on a first read-through of the series (they are ancillary to the main series).
Because they were written out of order, the books vary significantly in quality. Barrayar (#3), Mirror Dance (#9), Memory (#10), Komarr (#11), and A Civil Campaign (#12) were my favourites, and most of these were written more recently. The Warrior's Apprentice (#4) and Cetaganda (#6) were earlier books and are my least favourites. (You could probably just skip Cetaganda entirely without missing much of anything (the plot is entirely self-contained)).
As stu2b50 says, the novels are all sci-fi but run through a variety of subgenres, which helps them stay fresh. Cetaganda is a murder mystery; Komarr is romance; A Civil Campaign is a comedy of manners; the Warrior's Apprentice is classic space opera; etc.
I read most of the series over the past couple years and enjoyed it. Bujold's ability to develop a charming cast of characters brought me back again and again. With the exception of Mirror Dance and Memory, I wouldn't describe the books as dark, though. One weakness of the series is that the good guys almost always come out on top; even setbacks generally serve to take the protagonists towards unforeseen but still happy endings.
Overall, though, would highly recommend giving them a try! I stopped reading after A Civil Campaign (book#12) which felt like a natural ending point to the series. I tried reading Diplomatic Immunity (book#13) but decided halfway through I was happy to just have things end with ACC.
I just started reading the Vorkosigan Saga this morning after finally finishing Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles a few days ago. I actually decided to start with Falling Free though, since the plot sounded interesting, and so far I am really enjoying it. Afterwards I will probably keep going following the internal chronology though, so thanks for that goodreads link (and for this write-up).
Also, thanks for making the series recommendation, @stu2b50. I'll let you know what I think of it once I get a bit further into it. :)
It was one of the best reading experiences of my life! Hope you enjoy it even more than I did :)
And yes, thank you to @stu2b50 for spreading the good word!
I suspect I will definitely enjoy the series given how fast I got through Falling Free, and how much I enjoyed it. I actually just finished it a few minutes ago. And Shards of Honor is already purchased and loaded onto my Kindle now too, which I intend to start reading immediately after writing this comment. :)
The Vorkosigan Saga books are great, but in truth I prefer the World of the Five Gods that starts with The Curse of Chalion. Not to mention that she is actively adding to it with novellas.
The Vor books are rather action-hero stories -- nothing wrong with that -- but I like the cerebral nature of the Five Gods stories.
Either way, the OP couldn't go wrong.
I cant recommend The Expanse enough. Its a fairly hard sci fi series that takes place after humanity has colonized the solar system, but before we have gone interstellar. At its core, I believe, its a story about human imperialism and expansionism, and how we react to huge, fundamental, change.
This was one of the rare occasions when I was sure the TV series/movie would be better than the novels it was based on.
I was happy to be wrong. Both are very worth the time.
I absolutely loved the show, was aware of the book series, and have had it recommended to me before. However, I think that it's a series I might want to actually hold off on reading for a while, at least until I forget more of what happened in the show. Even though I know they changed some things for the show, I still feel like I would probably enjoy it a lot more if the show's events weren't so fresh in my mind.
I’m currently reading through the books after watching the show. I think this is a good call. The show plots barely deviate from the books (it’s honestly very impressive), which is making books 5 and 6 a bit of a slog (no aliens!). I am excited to finally get to read books 7-9, but it did feel like a bit of a chore working through parts of the books that I remembered very well from the show.
I have just the one: Dragon Prince
It's temperature is about halfway between ASOIAF and Dune. Six books and done.
Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere series? There are several multi-book series, a few standalone novels, and some short stories. They’re all quite good, and he releases new books at a truly astonishing pace. The series are only lightly interrelated; you can certainly read each one without having read any of the others, but there are some characters that cross over and the lore is deepened across the series. Some of them are finished, some are not, but, again, he’s remarkably dependable as an author in terms of release schedule.
Current series in the Cosmere:
Mistborn (3 novels, complete): The series expands in scope pretty dramatically over the course of the novels. The world building and magic systems are, in my opinion, excellent. The characters are a little less interesting than some of Sanderson’s later works, but it’s still a great read.
Wax & Wayne (4 books, last book comes out this year): In the same world as Mistborn, but several centuries later. Feels a lot tighter than Mistborn, and very fun. Has a Western genre feel to it, but still solidly a fantasy series, and the magic system is even cooler and more fun than Mistborn.
The Stormlight Archives (10 books, 5th book comes out next year): This is very much not complete, though my understanding is that the fifth book next year will sort of close one “chapter” the the Stormlight Archives. These books are huge (over 1000 pages, audiobooks 45 hours long), and awesome. Excellent character development, very fun and mysterious fantasy plot, and very fun magic system.
Standalone novels in the Cosmere:
Elantris: This is a pretty good book. It’s (I’m pretty sure?) the book that kicks off the Cosmere, and it definitely isn’t as strong as some of his more recent stuff, but personally I enjoyed the main characters and thought the magic system was cool and the plot was enjoyable.
Warbreaker: In my opinion, this book has some of Sanderson’s worst character writing (amusingly, the same characters show up in later series and are much more interesting), but the plot is interesting, and the magic system is very cool. There’s potentially an upcoming sequel for Warbreaker that I’m fairly excited about, though it won’t be released for quite a while.
There’s also Arcanum Unbounded, a collection of short stories that take place in the Cosmere. Some are addendums to the above novels and series, and some take place in locations or with characters that are otherwise not discussed.
Lot of great suggestions in this thread and some I haven't read, Cosmere is still top of my list though (in case that was somehow unclear to anyone)
For anyone interested, Warbreaker is available for free from the author's website if you want to see if it's the kind of thing you like.
Yes, I've already read all of Sanderson's books (including his contribution to WoT) since he's one of my favorite authors. :)
I just wanted to pop in here and thank everyone for all their recommendations. Even though I didn't respond to any comments directly (I wanted to let the topic play out without me interfering, or shutting any discussion down due to me having already read stuff) I am still very appreciative of everyone taking the time to respond.
I have decided to read Count of Monte Cristo first (thanks, @HotPants), since it's a book I can get through relatively quickly. And (coincidentally enough) I actually watched the movie a few weeks ago so it's still fresh in my mind, and now I'm curious to see how the book differs from it.
After that I will probably go with Anno Dracula (thanks, @Algernon_Asimov), since Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and White Wolf's Vampires: The Masquerade novels were the two series that I was already seriously considering diving into before making this topic, and (other than reading Bram Stoker's back in high-school) I have never actually read a Vampire related novel before.
But for the record, many of the other recommendations (E.g. Merchant Princes (@spctrvl), Vorkosigan Saga (@stu2b50), Dragon Prince (@Amarok), Worm and Ward (@hungariantoast), League of Peoples (@autumn), Windrose Chronicles (@asteroid)) are all series I haven't read yet either but that have piqued my interest now, so I will probably get to them eventually too.
Thanks again, everyone!
In the Anno Dracula series, Kim Newman draws on just about all vampire fiction ever written - from 'The Vampyre' by John Polidori to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and everything in between. Newman is a afficionado of vampire lore, and it shows.
Obviously Dracula himself is a central character of the series, even though he's not always present in the stories. Newman also uses Mina Harker from 'Dracula'. Additionally, he uses a character that Bram Stoker created for 'Dracula' but who was omitted from the final version of the book: Kate Reed. And then he also uses a vampire he himself wrote for another series, and brings her into this universe: Genevieve. Mina, Kate, and Genevieve form a central trio around whom the whole series rotates.
But, beyond that, just about every vampire ever depicted in a book or shown in a movie makes an appearance in the Anno Dracula universe, whether as a major character, or a minor character, or even just as a cameo in the background. In-universe, Count Dracula's success in invading England brings vampires out of the shadowy underworld and into public knowledge. This means that every other vampire can come out and play in Newman's universe; they don't have to hide any more. These vampire characters often appear with their names changed, to avoid copyright infringement - such as the unnamed blond vampire rock star who is mentioned in the 1980s stories under the nickname "Lionheart", but who is instantly recognisable as Lestat de Lioncourt to anyone who's read Anne Rice's vampire books. Part of the enjoyment of reading the Anno Dracula books is recognising all these other vampires when they pop up. Sure, the plots and the main characters are interesting in their own right, but it's the fully populated vampire world they inhabit which adds depth and joy to the series.
This is why I said it's a must-read for anyone who's a fan of vampires.
However, if you haven't read many other vampire novels, you'll probably miss out on this aspect of the Anno Dracula books. :(
Ah, dang. I recognize Lestat's name from having seen the Interview with the Vampire movie, but only vaguely remember anything about him since it was so long ago. And, sadly, movies and videogames are about the only other experience I have with Vampire canon and lore, other than Stoker's. So, unfortunately, a lot of the references in Anno Dracula will definitely fly over my head, and I likely won't recognize many characters either, especially if their names have been changed to avoid copyright infringement.
If I was to start trying to understand some more Vampire canon and lore though, would you recommend I read Anne Rice's stuff first, or should I start somewhere else? White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade is the only other long, Vampire book series that I am aware of, which I was also considering reading too, since I recently played Princes of Darkness (an awesome CK3 mod based on the White Wolf TTRPGs and novels).
Lestat being a rock star happens in Rice's second vampire book: 'The Vampire Lestat'. That's when Rice decides that Lestat is much more interesting to write about, and dumps Louis as a central character. The rest of her Chronicles are either by, or about, or otherwise connected to, Lestat. Louis gets booted off to the sidelines, because he's too boring and mopey, and Lestat becomes the star of the series.
Anne Rice's 'The Vampire Lestat' and 'The Queen of the Damned' are essential reading for anyone who wants to dive into vampire lore. 'Interview with the Vampire' was an interesting story, but it's not where the core of Rice's vampires is: their backstory and history are divulged in 'The Vampire Lestat', as the eponymous Lestat learns this history for himself; 'The Queen of the Damned' then brings that history to its current-day climax, which of course has Lestat at the centre of the action. All the other vampire books Rice wrote are nice to read, but not essential. If I was being cynical, I'd say that 'Lestat' and 'Queen' were cashing in on the success of 'Interview', and all her books after that were cashing in on the further success of 'Lestat' and 'Queen', which is when she peaked. Those two books are enough to read to understand Rice's vampires ('Interview' has no real connection with them, so you can skip it if you want).
As for the rest... there aren't really a lot of long series about vampires, apart from Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Newman's Anno Dracula. I learned about vampires by reading a lot of stand-alone novels, novellas, and short stories.
In that vein (hehe), Sheridan LeFanu's novella 'Carmilla' (from 1872) is absolutely essential vampiric reading. There are some who say this partly inspired Stoker's 'Dracula' 25 years later. It's moody and gothic and tragic - a great traditional vampire story.
An excellent place to find 'Carmilla' is in the annotated anthology 'Vampires: Encounters With The Undead', by David J Skal. It's a journey through 200 years of vampire stories, from 1819 to 2001, complete with informative margin notes by Skal throughout the book. If you want to understand Vampire canon and lore, both fictional and non-fictional, I can highly recommend this volume.
And, one final literary recommendation: 'The Delicate Dependency' by Michael Talbot. I love this book, from its purple cover, to its Victorian-era prose, to its mind-blowing climax. It is an amazing journey, and I can't even hint at why it's so amazing without spoiling it. There's no blood, no gore, nothing traditionally vampiric, but it is fascinating all the same.
Then there are the movies, starting with 'Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror' (which, ironically, considering its title, is a silent movie!), which was the first attempt to put Dracula on screen - but without buying the rights to the book. Count Orlok, the central character (who is totally NOT Count Dracula), actually appears prominently in the 'Anno Dracula' series. And then there's the more modern 'Shadow of the Vampire', which is the fictional story of the making of 'Nosferatu', based on the idea that the character of Count Orlok was played not by a human actor, but by an actual vampire.
And 'The Lost Boys' of course.
Then, when you've got through all that... 'What We Do In The Shadows' is a great comedy about vampire life in modern times (there's a movie and a subsequent TV series).
Oh, and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'! Did I mention 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'? I have to mention 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'! 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is the one of the bestest television shows ever made in the history of the universe. The original movie is okaaay, but the series is where creator Joss Whedon really got to sink his teeth into the subject matter (pun intended). It's a modern classic which changed how television is made.
I hope this rambling essay helps a bit. :)
Even if they're not really essential I will probably still end up reading all of Rice's Vampire Chronicles novels anyways since I am a completionist at heart. ;) I have never heard of the other novels you mentioned but will check them out now too.
As for movies and TV shows, I have seen all that you mentioned, and a bunch more that I would also highly recommend if you haven't seen them either; Only Lovers Left Alive, Let the Right One In, and The Addiction being the best of the bunch, IMO. And even though I recently got rid of my DVD collection, I owned the entire Buffy and Angel collection, and have rewatched them countless times over the years... So I'm with you 100% on showing love for the series. :)
I really do enjoy Vampire stories, it's just that for some strange reason I have never actually read any books focused on them other than Stoker's. But that's a hole in my literary experience that I intend to correct though, so thanks for inspiring me to dive in, and for doing this write-up!
You'll find that Rice's books become a bit pointless. As I said, 'Lestat' and 'Queen' follow the entire history of Rice's vampires, from their first creation to their culmination 8,000 years later. There's not really anywhere to go after that.
Her next book involves someone using magic to swap bodies with Lestat. The book after that has Lestat being visited by the Devil himself. They're not very vampire-oriented; Rice just wants to write stories about Lestat, and there's nowhere forwards left to go after the climax of 'Queen of the Damned'.
So, then she goes backwards by writing a few books which are the personal histories of a few secondary characters: Armand, Marius, Pandora, Vittorio. When she gets to Vittorio's story, we really know she's running out of ideas, because he's such a minor character that we know absolutely nothing about him before this book.
So, then she starts merging her other big series with the Vampire Chronicles, and we get a few books where her Mayfair Witches meet her vampires. (I didn't bother with those.)
And so on. The books after 'Lestat' and 'Queen' really aren't worth it, even as a completionist.
'The Addiction' looks interesting. I'll have to track it down!
If you want another vampire book, check out 'Lost Souls' by Poppy Z Brite. It's a very gothic, emo, nihilistic story about teenage vampires in the 1990s.
I just wanted to thank you again for the recommendations. I finished Interview a few days ago, and am a good portion of the way through Lestat already, since I haven't been able to put it down since I started it (unlike Interview, which I had to force myself to pick up and keep reading on more than one occasion).
I am loving the contrasting perspectives between the first two books, BTW. Lestat is clearly an unreliable narrator, but I suspect there is actually a lot of truth in the telling of his tale as well, which makes me wonder how much of the first book was Louis being an unreliable narrator too. In any case, it's really interesting so far, and definitely paints Lestat as a much more complicated and sympathetic character than the first book. In the first book I hated his guts, so I was genuinely confused about why so many people loved him as a character, but now I totally understand why!
I just got to the part where Marius came for him, and he was introduced to Akasha and her partner, so now I am really curious about their origins and backstories too! I assume that will be the focus of Queen of the Damned? If so, I will definitely be diving into that immediately after I'm done with this book. :)
I agree that 'Interview' is a bit of a drag. I recently re-read these books and, honestly, I only read 'The Vampire Lestat' and 'The Queen of the Damned'. I do want to read 'Blood and Gold' as well; it's Marius's story before he became a vampire. But I can take or leave the rest of the books in the series.
You're right: both Louis and Lestat are unreliable narrators. In 'Lestat', Lestat basically says Louis made up some of the material in his interview, and it's obvious that Lestat himself fudges the truth occasionally. In the real world, this is how Anne Rice manages to build on 'Interview' with her new backstory for Lestat in 'Lestat'. She reinvents the character of Lestat in the second book, which requires introducing some inconsistencies, which she glosses over by making both the protagonists liars.
I won't spoil too much, but Marius is Lestat's key to the origins and backstory of the vampires. You'll know his back story, and much of their history, by the end of 'Lestat'. Marius knows a lot.
But he doesn't know everything. The final (original?) piece of vampire history is revealed in 'Queen of the Damned', but it's not the focus of that book. The focus of that book is what happens when that history meets the current day.
Ah, cool. I look forward to Queen of the Damned even more in that case. And I will consider checking out Blood and Gold afterwards too, since Marius is an interesting character as well. Although, in the chapters I am currently reading in Lestat a lot of Marius' backstory (even before becoming a vampire) is being revealed, so I do wonder how much more there could possibly be left to tell about him after that.
I'm interested in how you enjoy the books.
I've never read a book after watching a movie.
So I finally finished the book, and I'm a bit conflicted, TBH. In a lot of ways I liked it more than the movie, but in a lot of ways I liked it a lot less too. I liked that in the book the characters and situations were far more complex, but at times it bordered on being convoluted. And I liked that when Dante eventually took his revenge too far (after the child died) he came to regret his actions, and question his beliefs. But I really disliked his God complex, how omnipotent and amazing at everything he was, and how much he toyed with the emotions of even the people he supposedly loved. E.g. Intentionally letting M. Morrel almost kill himself in despair before finally rescuing him, and not telling Maximilian that Valentine was still alive, only after he attempted suicide revealing the truth to him. And I also think that the movie having Albert be Dante's son, and Dante getting back together with Mercedes, made for a much more satisfying ending. But despite all that, I still really enjoyed the book, so thanks again for the recommendation.
p.s. The only parts I didn't enjoy were when Dumas repeatedly described, in excruciating detail, all the routes that everyone took as they traveled, the accessories on their mounts/carriages, decor in every building, plants in every garden, clothes everyone was wearing, and the food everyone was eating,... which got really tedious really fast. So I wound up skimming through every page where he did that, which actually wound up being a not insignificant portion of the book.
I apologize for recommending the full version, the abridged version cuts out a lot of the superfluous detail.
No worries. I have never read an abridged book before, so I likely would have still read the full version even even if you had recommended otherwise. I like to read books as they were originally written (translation aspects aside), even if that frustrates me and I end up skimming through some parts. ;)
I'm only about 20% of the way through it, but I'm loving it so far! There is a lot that is different from the movie (e.g. several characters were merged in the movie, and some major events play out quite differently), but that just makes it all the more enjoyable to read. :)
And I'm genuinely surprised how readable it is for such an old novel too, since a lot of other "literary classics" I have read in the past were a real slog to get through. The Pengiun Classics unabridged version I am reading also has some really excellent footnotes too, which makes things so much easier to understand (e.g. they explain all the historical events and figures that are mentioned by the characters).
Thanks again for the recommendation.
Let me just chime in here to say that, while they were worth reading, both of those are really grim reads. The month it took me to binge Worm was not a happy month, even as I couldn't put it down. Ward was better, but still dark.
OP did ask for dark themes, lol. But yeah Worm was rough. I read Ward as it was coming out and for the most part that was fine, he did a better job of interspersing the very dark sections of the story with some lighter breather chapters, but the ending arc especially was so heavy...
Pale does a good job of managing the dark themes pretty well although there have been times where I've had to take a break for a while.
I feel like there's more of a tolerance for unrelentingly grim when you're reading one chapter a week as compared to reading it all in one go. It's an interesting structural difference between web serials and standalone books. The emotional arcs need to be constructed a bit differently for the different audiences.
I'd second that recommendation for sure. Also Wildbow's current serial Pale is (imo) probably the best thing he's written so far. It's a little hard to describe and do justice, but it's pretty dark contemporary/urban(ish) fantasy in one of the best realized contemporary fantasy settings that I've ever encountered, but it also has a lot of slice-of-life and coming of age elements. The worldbuilding and the thought put into the metaphysics of the story are pretty astounding at times, but the characters are also really well realized and quite three-dimensional.
I've had to take a break recently from keeping up, for mental health reasons, but I'm hoping to get back on the train soon now that the story has gotten ahead of me a bit.
He's currently at about 2.5 million words and still going, and that includes about 230 chapters and a handful of "extra materials" which include art and in-universe writings. It's a very, very cool serial.
If you're interested, you can start here: https://palewebserial.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/blood-run-cold-0-0/
Be wary of places like the Parahumans subreddit or the wikis if you decide to read any of Wildbow's work, they aren't great about spoilers.
Edit: A lovely Tildes user provided me with a mobi copy with no major formatting issues, that they have read themselves. :)
Do you happen to know if there is an easy way to get them on Kindle? I don't mind reading on my iPad, but Kindle is way more convenient, especially because of its much longer battery life.
Unfortunately I don't think there's any particularly easy way to get them on Kindle. I have seen some people say that for some kindles you can save the blog page to Pocket and then open it on the Kindle via Pocket. Not sure whether that would work for you.
Even though Calibre can convert most anything to .mobi, in my experience it typically does a really bad job at formatting from HTML. So thanks for sharing that scraper/convertor, and z-library links. Hopefully one of those will allow me to find or create something as polished as I was hoping for.
There are scrapers that can grab them and make them into .epub or .mobi files. You can then set up email-to-kindle, where you can attach an epub and amazon will put that epub on your kindle. I don't recall exactly how to set that up, but you can likely google it. The only things to look out for that I can remember was that you need to whitelist where emails can come from, and there is a "free" email address that downloads over wifi and doesn't cost anything.
Sorry I don't have full instructions, but I set it up a long time ago and haven't needed to tweak it. I basically use Lightnovel Crawler to scrape and create epubs, then have an IFTTT automation that whenever I put a file into a specific dropbox folder, it will then use my gmail to send that file as an attachment to my free amazon kindle email. Its also nice for any other free epubs I pick up, like the monthly free book from the Tor newsletter (for example, I believe Brandon Sanderson's Alloy of Law is free through Aug 5th).
If you're looking into webnovels in addition to worm and ward, I'd also highly recommend looking at Mother of Learning (magic-based progression fantasy), The Perfect Run (dark post-apocalyptic superpowers), and Worth the Candle (meta DnD litrpg story about coping and redemption).
A little off topic, but I've seen a lot of recommendations for Mother of Learning and I've tried to start it a couple of times, but never gotten past the first chapter. Does the writing improve much?
I had no problem with the writing, but then again the main reasons that MoL is good would be the (hard) worldbuilding and the fairly unique story. It also was one of the major drivers behind the recently-recognized "progression fantasy" sub-genre. If you either prefer soft worldbuilding or focus on the prose rather the worldbuilding, then it might not be as enjoyable for you as it is for other people. I've found that I definitely have to lower my standards when it comes to web serials - there are some fantastic stories if you can get past some of the rough writing, mediocre translations, and lack of editor.
I can't recall if this is the case for MoL, but most web serials like this do tend to have better writing over time as people provide feedback and they get a feel for things. I do know that I read the chapters when they were posted online, and there are now books. That may mean earlier chapters got rewritten/edited, but I don't really know.
Yeah I don't mind Progression Fantasy although I don't tend to care for it when it starts to verge into LitRPG (or at least, I haven't in the past). The closest thing I've gotten to a LitRPG series that I've enjoyed is The Daily Grind, but I'm not sure if that's a good example of the genre. I have really been enjoying Will Wight's Cradle series, which I think it probably right up there in the Progression Fantasy genre. I find that even if his prose isn't the best I've read that it mostly gets out of the way, and Wight is good at setting narrative hooks that make you want to keep reading. I also mildly enjoyed Andrew Rowe's Arcane Ascension books, although I got to the end of what he had written a few years ago and I haven't picked it back up since.
I don't really enjoy worldbuilding for the sake of worldbuilding, what I typically enjoy is an author exploring interesting worldbuilding in the service of an good plot, so if MoL does a good job of that I can probably make it through some clunky prose.
I may have to give MoL another shot, I don't think I got much further than the first chapter so I probably didn't give it a fair shake the first time around.
I'd definitely give it a shot then. I went back and looked and you definitely need more than the first chapter to give it a fair shake. I'd say if you get to ~10 or so and aren't feeling it, then it might just not be for you.
MoL was also a major influence on Rowe's Arcane Ascension series. I think Rowe also has at least one more main book in that series, as well as a series or two that follow a different character in that universe if you haven't found those yet. Rowe was also the one who coined "progression fantasy" and started the subreddit for it.
Cradle is great and one of the staples of the progression fantasy genre. Though it definitely is closer to the xianxia (chinese immortal hero and cultivation stuff) side of things than it is to Rowe's stuff or MoL.
A lovely Tildes user actually already provided me with a mobi copy with no major formatting issues, that they have read themselves, and so I shouldn't actually need to resort to scraping it myself. I probably should have updated my original comment to mention that (which I have done now), although this information is handy in case anyone else wants to do this later. Thanks for providing the info!
Stephen King's The Dark Tower series is very good.
You might like the Culture series by Iain M. Banks. It's space opera, so crosses the line between sci-fi and fantasy. It's not so much a series as a shared world, and so kind of hard to summarise what it's about. The quality and complexity of the writing and structure and narrative is a real step above most of the stuff in this genre. Keywords: rich world building, politics, philosophy, social commentary, queer, neologisms, post modernism, strong AI.
The author also has a number of non sci-fi works that are worth checking out, under the name Iain Banks
Maybe Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth books? There are a total of 7 (three stories set in the same canon) and they are very chonky. This is multi character science fiction by the way (a bit soft, hints of Fantasy). Expect scary aliens.
I enjoyed Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, which I think are the main books of Commonwealth. They're just over 2,000 pages and read as one long book. They're a good time if you have the patience for a long introduction.
They're sort of the opposite of Stephen King novels. The plot is interesting and adaptive, but the characters are mostly there to move it along. But that's okay because it's a great plot.
The story has lots of intrigue, unique aliens, and what I think I'll call "alternate future", wherein their technology evolution is on a path very different than our own. It's a lot of fun if you're into that sort of thing. The series has slow moments but it picks up like a steam train as it goes.
Continue onward to the Void trilogy if you want even more fantasy in your sci-fi (no space elves this time though)! It lacks as interesting an antagonist as the Prime/MLM but I really liked the ideas underpinning the worldbuilding.
Paula Myo is in every Commonwealth book by the way. Bless her emotionless little soul. I'd say she's the closest the Commonwealth has to a protagonist, though there's also a lot of cross cameos of Nigel, Gore, Justine and a few others.
If you like metal, band Keldian has released two songs inspired by the Commonwealth (note, these contain spoilers for Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained):
Morning Light Mountain
The Silfen Paths
I really enjoyed the League of Peoples series. It's seven books long, with only one of them not connected to the main protagonist. That book—Commitment Hour—also happens to be my favorite book in the series.
Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle is sometimes fun and often obscure. It’s good if you’re into the history of science.
The Mongoliad is a group effort by Stephenson and others about a group of European fighters who go east during the time of the Mongolian empire. It goes deep into the history of that time period and attempts to be more accurate than most about fighting techniques back then. After the main series completes there were some additional books set in that time period. For example, one of them is about a fairly horrific medieval siege.
Both of these series are quite long and require some patience and/or genuine interest in the historical time periods they cover. They’re basically historical fiction with an interest in technology.
I think you and I have talked about Stephenson before, haven't we? Regardless, needless to say, I have read everything in the Baroque Cycle already, and most of his other books as well. :P
I actually didn't know about The Mongoliad for some reason though, but it sounds right up my alley, so I will have to check that out. Thanks for making me aware of it.
Ah, I think I forgot to look at the username when I wrote that response, so it’s somewhat generic. :)
The story behind the Mongoliad is that there was a group of people including Stephenson who were interested in martial arts, and in particular, Stephenson was dissatisfied with his fight scenes in the Baroque Cycle and wanted greater historical realism. There was a startup that was going to build a series of smartphone multimedia apps in that setting. Apparently they did release a few apps, but I’ve only read the novels and they’re pretty good, though there is rather a lot of fighting. :)
I don't like or read dark-themed books; that's not my style.
However, I have a few long series to offer for your consideration:
The Saga of the Pliocene Exiles by Julian May, which links up with her Galactic Milieu Trilogy, to form an 8-book series. In its internal chronology, the series covers two periods: the near future, and the past 6,000,000 years ago. It's science fiction, but the Pliocene books have a fantasy feel to them.
Kim Newman's Anno Dracula alternate history series, where Count Dracula succeeded in invading England in the 1880s, now stretches to 6 novels and a handful of novellas. It's a must-read for anyone who's a fan of vampires. However, the latest book only brings the series up to the year 1999, so there's plenty of potential for Newman to write another installment. (That said, each book is stand-alone, and doesn't end on a cliffhanger, so you won't be left hanging.)
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson include 10 books: a first trilogy, a second trilogy, and a third tetralogy. The protagonist is a flawed anti-hero, thrown into a classical fantasy series environment, where he's expected to save the world. The clash between the two is what lifts this series out of the ordinary, and makes it a true classic. The first trilogy is excellent. The second trilogy is a brilliant addition to the first trilogy (the climax had me in tears the first time I read it!). The third tetralogy felt like rehashed leftovers: like something a writer creates when he has no fresh ideas and wants to cash in on his biggest hit.
If you don't consider The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever to be dark then I don't want anywhere near whatever you do consider to be dark, lol.
After I wrote my recommendations, and clicked on 'post comment', that thought occurred to me: the Chronicles are darker than my normal reading material.
I decided to leave it be. (At least it gave you something to do! 😉)
You might consider Barbara Hambly's Windrose Chronicles, starting with The Silent Tower, which came out in the 80s. A modern-day (1980s) programmer is thrown into a world where magic works. (She's been adding Kindle novellas, for those of us who want to know what happened to the characters.) Her books are my "comfort food" reading, because I so easily fall into them when I need escapism.
I'd suggest A Practical Guide to Evil by ErraticErrata. It's a webserial that finished earlier this year, set in a fantasy world where capital "G" Good and capital "E" Evil are real tangible concepts employed by people who so embody archetypes that they bend creation to their will. We follow our
heroineprotagonist as she joins the ranks of the Dread Empire and tries to work for the betterment of her people. The story plays with a bunch of fantasy tropes and is an interesting spin on the classic psuedo-european medieval setting.
Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings is a wonderful set of fantasy novels/series.
I don't think it's as dark as the other series you mentioned, but I fell in love with the world and the characters, and the ending was deeply satisfying.
I've never heard of this series, but it looks like it might be right up my alley! Would you recommend reading them in order of publication?
That's what I did, though I did not read The Piebald Prince, which allegedly takes place before the events in the various series.
I'd say they're pretty dark, but more on a personal level than having a really grim setting. I had to drop them after the first trilogy, they were just too depressing for me, but I know a ton of people really love them.