Saturday, December 17, 2011

Is Riyria Right for You?

With the new release of the books large numbers of people are hearing about the series, but don’t know if it’s something they would like. Recently I’ve seen several posts asking what people would compare it to. I normally prefer to have readers do the comparing as my opinion is bias, but I do know what others have compared it to in the past and in most cases they told me why.

So for those of you trying to determine if my books are right for you, here is a list of novels that readers most frequently used to describe my books, and my understanding as to why they did so. Following the list is my own personal summary description for those who might not be as fantasy-genre literate.

FritzLeiber/Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Most often compared by fantasy veterans I suspect because of the big fighter/little thief similarity, and sword and sorcery feel, but I haven’t read Leiber so I can’t say for certain.(purposely staying away from these due to the comparisons.)

Scott Lynch/The Lies of Locke Lamora: Mostly because of the thief motif, but these are  denser reads and more focused on the heist aspect, where mine are more adventure novels.

George Martin/Song of Ice and Fire: I think people compare me to this because it is what everyone has most recently read, but Martin’s work has a very different writing style, very different tone. If this is all you know, then imagine a light-hearted, version with more traditional elements (wizard/elves,) a much faster pace, humor, and easier to read, (some would say simplistic,) prose.

Brent Weeks/Night AngelTrilogy: Weeks has a similar light writing style, but his work is far darker and grittier in tone and topic—these are about assassins assassinating after all. Mine are about thieves who don’t get to do much stealing.

Jon Sprunk/ShadowsTrilogy: I would actually compare this to Week’s books more than mine, (both about assassins,) but the tone is a shade less gritty which makes it a step closer to mine.

David Eddings/Belgariad series: I think people compare me to Eddings because along with Feist, this is the last good traditional fantasy they can remember. But this falls in the “boy destined to defeat the dark lord” category that my series lacks.

Raymond Feist/RiftwarSaga: Like Eddings, this compares to mine in that it is from a time before fantasy turned cynical and gritty. Aside from that I don’t notice too many other similarities.

Robert V.S. Redick/TheRed Wolf Conspiracy: Don’t know, I haven’t read it yet.

Peter V. Brett/The Warded Man: Don’t know, I haven’t read it yet.

Patrick Rothfuss/KingkillerChronicles and Brandon Sanderson/MistbornTrilogy: I think mostly because they are both relatively new and their outlooks are less cynical.

J.R.R. Tolkien/Lord ofthe Rings: Because every fantasy is eventually compared to it.

Jim Butcher/Dresden Files: We share a similar light, casual writing style that employs humor and a quick pace. Of everyone here, I personally feel Mr. Butcher’s Dresden books read the most like mine even though our settings (his is contemporary Chicago) and stories are very different, and Butcher's books are far more episodic (he’s got like 13 or 14,) where mine, while generally complete stories, form a single series arc that is finite and therefore has a larger, single-story feel.

How I would describe the series for someone who might know very little about fantasy:
Take the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, mix it with the television series I Spy, set it in a post-Roman era mythological Europe, and then sprinkle in the long view political-mystery-building plot of say the Babylon 5 series, with the reading ease of Harry Potter and the standard traditional fantasy elements popularized by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and the pace of Star Wars. That ought to do it. 

Feel free to add any additional comparisons you think are applicable.



  1. I dunno, I have just put the three volumes on order today from the Book Club (Gotta get the exclusive Hardcovers!) and I plan to read the series starting in January.

    I'm really looking forward to it as I've gotten burned a bit over the last few years picking up books that turned out to be far more cynical and gritty as you put it than I wanted.

    I'm expecting to enjoy them!

  2. I haven't (yet) read any of your novels. From what I have picked up by osmosis and reviews and other things...what about Robin Hobb? (I am particularly thinking of the Farseer novels.

    For what its worth, on the amazon page for her Assassin's Apprentice (the first book in the series), your books are among the list of "people who bought this also bought..."

  3. I've tried Peter V. Brett/The Warded Man and it wasn't bad but I didn't read the second book. I couldn't finish the Lies of Locke Lamora. I definitely enjoyed the night angel trilogy and loved the mistborn trilogy and especially the King Killer Chronicles. And I am a big fan of A song of ice and fire (the writing is superb and the characterization simply terrific). And I really enjoy your books and am eagerly awaiting Percepliquis. I love how you write and your story is fresh and fun. You are the third author I've ever get a book signed for (I went out of my way to meet Mr. Martin and Mr. Rothfuss).
    Hope I get to read more stories from you and looking forward to a new epic!

  4. Eddings without the scullery boy destined to be king. More adult than Eddings but with the same sense of adventure.

    This is a complete series so....not some of the other authors mentioned. Gritty without the need to be gratuitous. Descriptive without getting bogged down in it.

    I really need that last book...


  5. I don't think Peter V. Brett is quite the same style. The prose is similarly clear, but the tone gets far darker at times. I think the comparisons with rothfuss are because you both use some traditional fantasy tropes in your work, but present them in a way that doesn't feel totally stale. The closest author in terms of overall feel I'd say is Sanderson, especially in his most recent Mistborn novel.

    I just started the Ryria Revelations recently, and I have to say it's been a really fun ride so far! I'm already about 2/3 of the way through Avempartha, actually. Thanks for giving me some great new fantasy escapism!


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