Because I love books, and because I was the only one in this excellent compilation to recommend fantasy, I present you with this: The Really Cool, Not at All Dorky, Fantasy Summer Reading List. Seriously, try to contain your excitement.
I’m going to attempt to spare you Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings and aim toward slightly lesser known fantasy novels (meaning –they haven’t made a show or movie out of them… yet). When you get done with your far more important and distinguished readings (like 50 Shades of Gray or you know, whatever) give some of these a chance.
Prince of Thorns: Mark Lawrence
This dark book is ripe with elegant prose and quick, sharp humor that has your blood pumping one moment and you laughing the next. The main character, Jorg (I hesitate to call him a protagonist), is a prince turned thug on the war path to avenge his brutally murdered mother and brother. Rarely have I read a book with such a strong first person narrative. Jorg has no delusions of heroism or grandeur and his gritty, realistic view of leadership and what it takes to be a King is as refreshing as it is brutal. I seriously cannot praise this book, and the two that follow, enough.
The Black Company: Glen Cook
Few authors have been able to so seamlessly weave high fantasy with gritty military fiction as Cook. It’s a war story that spans countries, years and larger than life enemies which Cook effortlessly diminishes into bite-size portions. He gives a true, dark sense of realism in a disjointed, yet spectacularly iconic voice that leads us down the road with common soldiers while the heroes are elsewhere. This is a book you will either love or hate but it certainly deserves its rank among fantasy cult classics.