What Are You Reading? |OT| One Thread to Rule Them All



The first three of Volker Kutscher's Gereon Rath series of historical detective novels (set in the waning days of the Weimar Republic) were translated from the original German and published in North America; this, the fourth, was only released in e-book, so I had to order in the UK edition through my local bookstore's UK supplier, because screw e-books. The format isn't quite the same, but better than nothing.

I've enjoyed all of these, but for a few of the early ones I found the background historical details more interesting than the foregrounded mysteries or the characters. That's definitely not the case here, with easily the best book so far. Both in terms of the main mystery (which I figured out ahead of time, though not all the details) and especially in the integration of the rise of the Nazis into the series. This was written in 2012, but the depiction of how factionalism undermines the fragile institutions of the justice system feels particularly timely again right now.
 

aLaxLuthor

Member
Oct 29, 2017
56


Exteremely readable and informative. Mary Beard is great.
Good to hear. I got her book on Rome (S.P.Q.R) for XMas, it'll be up next.

I finally finished Lonesome Dove. It was as good as everyone says. The start is still glacial, and it's a little co-incidental how everyone meets up again towards the end, but MY GOD does it pay off every little story so well.

Even minor characters get whole arcs that have weight. Elmira, Roscoe, Janey each are made real people, along with the main cast.

I'm now watching the TV series on Youtube, since I've heard that is a pretty good interpretation of the story.
 
Oct 28, 2017
327
I’ve never been a big reader but over the last year or so I’ve read all the available books in the Expanse series and now I’ve got a reading itch that I need to scratch.

I think I’m done with the space setting for a while so if anyone could recommend any books in a similar style but maybe with a Victorian or cyberpunk setting that would be smashing.
 

Jonnykong

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,964
I finally finished "The Reddening" which I enjoyed, although it felt like it went on for longer than it should have.

Next up, I've got a friend who is obsessed with Karin Slaughter and he's determined for me to like her as well, and he keeps sending me her books in the post to read, so tomorrow I'll be starting,

 

DassoBrother

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,132
Saskatchewan

I've been reading this while I wait on some holds from the library (The Memory Police which I saw mentioned in this thread). It's pretty interesting so far and seems really popular just going by the number of ratings on Goodreads.
 

Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,670
Blew through The Man Who Fell to Earth:



Pretty fab the entire way through, with a gut-punch of an ending. Tevis has an incredibly easygoing and engaging cadence to his writing that I really appreciate, and is able to spin a good scene out of almost anything (the eponymous alien walks into a building only to realise it's outfitted with an old crankshaft elevator. He's weak, has hollow, bird-like bones, and struggles to endure the constant up and down acceleration of cars. Taking the stairs is not an option. He chances the elevator - he has to get stronger - is pounded by the g-force and instantly snaps a leg).

It's not quite up to the standard of the first Tevis book I read (The Queen's Gambit, which is in my top 5), but I'll definitely get through the rest of his work pronto. Will also check out the film adaptation of this tonight, but kind of expect to hate it since I can't stand Nicolas Roeg (plus it sounds like it got almost everything wrong outside of casting David Bowie (features a bunch of sex scenes and shots set on the alien world (none of which you'll find in the novel), and a 138 minute runtime (for a slim 210 page book))...

BOWIE THO:

 

Gigglepoo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,952
I really, really enjoyed it until the second to last chapter where it completely imploded for me. 3/5 overall, but the ending left a really sour aftertaste >.<
I gave up The Bone Clocks 80% of the way through. I just could not care less about what was going on. Shame because the first half was really damn good.

I picked up The Topeka School last night. It's good! Hoping to cleanse the bad taste out of my mouth.
 

Speely

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
5,014
Hollow Kingdom


One of the best stories I've read in a while. Funny, creepy, charming, lovable, profane, and gross. It's about a domesticated crow named Shit Turd who loses his human to a zombie apocalypse and has to figure out where to go from there.

Bonus points for me that it's set in my city (Seattle) and the author is a local. This fucking book is one of a kind. I have never read anything quite like it. Fave new author.
 

Fireblend

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,275
Costa Rica
Hollow Kingdom


One of the best stories I've read in a while. Funny, creepy, charming, lovable, profane, and gross. It's about a domesticated crow named Shit Turd who loses his human to a zombie apocalypse and has to figure out where to go from there.

Bonus points for me that it's set in my city (Seattle) and the author is a local. This fucking book is one of a kind. I have never read anything quite like it. Fave new author.
I really liked this one myself! Very charming, funny and surprisingly emotional. Loved the ending too.
I'd love to read the author's take on the "The Jungle Book" situation that the ending kinda seems to lead into.
 

Speely

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
5,014
I really liked this one myself! Very charming, funny and surprisingly emotional. Loved the ending too.
I'd love to read the author's take on the "The Jungle Book" situation that the ending kinda seems to lead into.
Absolutely!
Imagine the crazy view that girl would have about the world before lol. Raised on Cheetos and daytime TV wisdom.
 

Amroth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
108
I’m just about to finish the Witcher series – just got Season of Storms left – and I need a new fantasy or science fiction series to delve into. Anyone have any recommendations? Ideally I want good/great characters that I can root for and follow over multiple books. I tend to dislike when things get too bleak, so grimdark is probably out. YA is no problem.

I love Tolkien, Pratchett, Bujold (both Vorkosigan and Chalion), Roald Dahl and Jordan. I really enjoy Rowling, Butcher, Sanderson and Gaiman.

I’ve read too much to list (much more fantasy than science fiction, though), but if it’s been published in the last 15 years, I’ve probably not read it. I'm open for older series too. I’m debating continuing with The Expanse, since I really enjoy the TV series (I’ve read the first book).
 
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Jag

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,785
I’m just about to finish the Witcher series – just got Season of Storms left – and I need a new fantasy or science fiction series to delve into. Anyone have any recommendations? Ideally I want good/great characters that I can root for and follow over multiple books. I tend to dislike when things get too bleak, so grimdark is probably out. YA is no problem.

I love Tolkien, Pratchett, Bujold (both Vorkosigan and Chalion), Roald Dahl and Jordan. I really enjoy Rowling, Butcher, Sanderson and Gaiman.

I’ve read too much to list (much more fantasy than science fiction, though), but if it’s been published in the last 15 years, I’ve probably not read it. I'm open for older series too. I’m debating continuing with The Expanse, since I really enjoy the TV series (I’ve read the first book).
I've always been a huge fan of the Expanse, so definitely stay with it. You didn't mention Martin in your list, so maybe a Game of Thrones read. First Law by Abercrombie is great. So is Powder Mage series by McClellan.

A personal favorite of mine is the Dagger and Coin series by Daniel Abraham who is half the writing team to the Expanses'
fictional author James SA Corey. Brent Weeks Lightbringer series is fun as well as the Greatcoats series which is similar to Three Musketeers in tone and feel.

Edit: I'm building a list of my favorite fantasy series on Goodreads so feel free to have a look (work in progress):
 
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Amroth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
108
I've always been a huge fan of the Expanse, so definitely stay with it. You didn't mention Martin in your list, so maybe a Game of Thrones read. First Law by Abercrombie is great. So is Powder Mage series by McClellan.
Yeah, I'm definitely continuing The Expanse. I stopped reading Martin halfway into A Feast for Crows, and unless he finishes the series, I don't think I'll start it up again. Isn't Abercrombie quite grimdark? And I actually read the first Powder Mage book last month, but it didn't make me run out and buy the second – is the rest of the series better?

A personal favorite of mine is the Dagger and Coin series by Daniel Abraham who is half the writing team to the Expanses'
fictional author James SA Corey. Brent Weeks Lightbringer series is fun as well as the Greatcoats series which is similar to Three Musketeers in tone and feel.
Would it be better to start with Abraham's Long Price Quartet? And is Lightbringer better than Week's Night Angel series? I read the first book of that but didn't really like it much. Its been so long that I can't remember why, though. I've never heard of the Greatcoats series, but I enjoy The Three Musketeers, so that goes on my list.

Edit: I'm building a list of my favorite fantasy series on Goodreads so feel free to have a look (work in progress):
Great! I've read 13 of the 20 books on your list, and I'm putting Abraham and de Castell on my list (at least). Thanks for all the recommendations!
 

arkon

Member
Nov 6, 2017
241
Yeah, I'm definitely continuing The Expanse. I stopped reading Martin halfway into A Feast for Crows, and unless he finishes the series, I don't think I'll start it up again. Isn't Abercrombie quite grimdark? And I actually read the first Powder Mage book last month, but it didn't make me run out and buy the second – is the rest of the series better?



Would it be better to start with Abraham's Long Price Quartet? And is Lightbringer better than Week's Night Angel series? I read the first book of that but didn't really like it much. Its been so long that I can't remember why, though. I've never heard of the Greatcoats series, but I enjoy The Three Musketeers, so that goes on my list.



Great! I've read 13 of the 20 books on your list, and I'm putting Abraham and de Castell on my list (at least). Thanks for all the recommendations!
Abercrombie is grimdark. Worth trying out though. There's some great black humour that can help to balance out the bleakness.

In regards to Abraham's series, I have disagreed with Jag before about which is the better series, to my mind it's hands down the Long Price quartet. They are not related though and are both complete series. The Dagger and the Coin is more purposefully traditional fantasy whereas the Long Price is him striving to move away from that and is also his debut series. Start with either one. You can't go wrong.
 
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Jag

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,785
Abercrombie is grimdark. Worth trying out though. There's some great black humour that can help to balance out the bleakness.

In regards to Abraham's series, I have disagreed with Jag before about which is the better series, to my mind it's hands down the Long Price quartet. They are not related though and are both complete series. The Dagger and the Coin is more purposefully traditional fantasy whereas the Long Price is him striving to move away from that and is also his debut series. Start with either one. You can't go wrong.
I will be the first one to admit that I'm a traditionalist!
 

Minishdriveby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,890
Finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.... what a waste of time.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an aimless journey about Toru Okada, a disaffected man approaching his 30’s with no motivation or assertion of agency in his life. He passes each day at the will of other’s who insert themselves into his life and the plot. The book is marketed as a detective story, first in search of a missing cat and then in search of a missing wife, but there’s not much sleuthing done, only slothing. The plot is moved along mostly by the auxiliary characters showing up to impart clairvoyance or tangential tales that parallel the emotional and spiritual turmoil in Okada’s life, most also feel without purpose after experiencing life trauma (if it’s a woman it usually involves a rape).

The prose is either a sterile procedural list of actions that a character takes, an expository observation followed by it’s negation, or a re-explanation of the previous sentence. Magical realist moments are sprinkled throughout to add symbolism of character’s emotional states or relations. Frame narratives of past events have descriptions that parallel with current events, making one question how the present influences recollection and how recollection may influence the present moment. The cat is a symbol for well being of a relationship. The well is a symbol for stagnation and a low point in life. I know this for certain because Murakami has the tendency and need to explain everything.

In the end, the plot meanders towards a conclusion but Toru remains static. Nothing changes in his affection. He starts the book letting life float by him and ends the book dedicated on waiting. He takes no blames for the way his life took shape, or for his wife’s disappearance. It’s the authority figure, Okada’s sexually deviant brother-in-law, and his wife’s depression and agency who are the culprits. Okada continues to be a walking contradiction of self-assuredness and cluelessness
 

Amroth

Member
Oct 27, 2017
108
Abercrombie is grimdark. Worth trying out though. There's some great black humour that can help to balance out the bleakness.

In regards to Abraham's series, I have disagreed with Jag before about which is the better series, to my mind it's hands down the Long Price quartet. They are not related though and are both complete series. The Dagger and the Coin is more purposefully traditional fantasy whereas the Long Price is him striving to move away from that and is also his debut series. Start with either one. You can't go wrong.
I like both traditional and non-traditional fantasy, so I'll probably check out both. Thanks!

Not the person you asked, but in my opinion, it's miles better. I had to force myself through Night Angel, whereas Lightbringer kept me turning the pages
Good to hear – I'll put it on my list.
 

citrusred

Member
Oct 28, 2017
961


Finished reading The Night Watch. No idea why it took me so long to start reading a Sarah waters book because this was great. I might read another from her soon though I'm not sure which. I'll probably leave Fingersmith til last though since I already know the plot from watching the Handmaiden.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
Finally finished Hyperion. Great but maybe not incredible book. Not that long, but somehow took me a long time to read.

Some of the stories - the almost pulpy-feeling detective one the most - fell a bit flat for me. It also got occasionally bogged down in describing the world in much too detail, which is something I very rarely really enjoy. On the other hand, most of the stories were fucking nuts in the best ways possible. The priest's story was probably my favorite.

Here's a strange question, though: what's The Fall of Hyperion about? Cause I'm very intrigued about the Shrike and the Time Tombs, what's gonna happen to Rachel, what the whole cross parasite and labyrinth stuff was all about, and various other mysteries, but I really don't have the energy to read about sci-fi wars and huge battles and such right now and I don't really know where else the sequel could go. Hell, I even skimmed over much of the action during the detective story since reading about fighting is just never interesting to me.

Either way, my next book is going to be fantasy. Trying to decide between Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1), The Gutter Prayer, Perdido Street Station and The Shadow of What Was Lost.
 

silkysmooth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,372
I find the James Bond novels are an excellent change of pace from reading lengthy fantasy stuff.

Up next is Diamonds are Forever. Not too far into it but it gets right into the plot right away
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
Either way, my next book is going to be fantasy. Trying to decide between Blackwing (Raven's Mark #1), The Gutter Prayer, Perdido Street Station and The Shadow of What Was Lost.
Blackwing and The Shadow of What Was Lost seemed a tiny bit too vanilla for my current mood and Perdido Street Station a bit too outlandish, so I decided to go with The Gutter Prayer. About 60 pages in and it's a blast so far. Really enjoying the snappy but colorful prose.
 

RepairmanJack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,643


I think I'm done with trying mystery. I think I've just fallen out of favor with it. It's not so much that I don't like them, but I'm so tired of getting to the end of the book and basically being told 90% of the events had nothing to do with the mystery and it was all just happenstance that it came about at the same time.

So much of what I've read lately has basically come down to revealing the case, with a couple clues so they can say it was at least possible to solve it, then throw a bunch of mystery and intrigue in the way that later one gets revealed as just coincidence.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,342
I'm about 30% through Master and Margarita and it's been pretty interesting reading. Even today, I think the book feels fresh because it's so zany and unpredictable. Also the satire and deeper parts of the story give it some weight as well. My wife and I are watching a Russian TV series based on the book as well, and we watch the next episode after I've covered the same ground in the book first. It's interesting to see how it is materialized on the screen. I quite like the way Bulgakov describes certain aspects that can't really be translated to the screen, such as the characters' thought processes in certain scenes, as well as certain descriptions.
 

fakefaker

Member
Oct 28, 2017
189
Finished up Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seichō Matsumoto today and it was a mostly fun read as it meandered in parts, but eventually all that meandering points to the murderer. It was just cool to read something from Japan from the 60's.

Now I'm working on De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage.

 

AINTneauxACID

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,493
My plan was to read through the entire Harry Potter series (first time since middle school) and watch each movie as I go along. However, I randomly researched black sci-fi authors one day and came across The Lesson by Caldwell Turnbull.

I’m done with Sorcerer’s Stone and idk if I should read The Lesson or dive into Chamber of Secrets.
 
Oct 28, 2017
6,344
2001
Currently reading the tenth girl by Sara faring. I’m about 200 pages in and aside from a couple of creepy instances, it’s been an absolute bore. Trying desperately to finish it to get to my much more interesting sounding books.

I really thought it was gonna be this creepy, scary book, but it’s hardly been anymore than boring backstory on the school and family.
 

Fuhgeddit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,590
What do you guys use for researching and finding books? Curious. There are so many books out there and curious how people find the time to find good movies.
 

Dec

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,384
What do you guys use for researching and finding books? Curious. There are so many books out there and curious how people find the time to find good movies.
I follow some authors on goodreads and get updates when they mark something as want to read. I sometimes look at the top of r/books and see if anything other people are reading catches my eye. People post things here that sometimes interest me. I google authors I like and find reddit posts of other people asking for similar recommendations, same with genres. I have a large backlog of well known books I know I want to read when the mood strikes. Sometimes I just check the library for books from an author I have either enjoyed or have an interest in reading and get something, then everything the library has from them is on my to-read list for whenever I'm in the mood for that thing. End of year awards, while a popularity contest generally, are sometimes useful.

After you have read a good variety of things from different authors, goodreads sends you a monthly report of all books releasing that month from authors you have read in the past.
 
Oct 27, 2017
323
I finished the Bob Iger book today. I enjoyed it and it was a fast read. I ripped through everything to do with Pixar, Marvel, Lucas, and Fox.
 

Tochtli79

Member
Jun 27, 2019
1,112
Mexico City
Finished Monsieur Pain. Started off ok, didn't get any better and by the end I was skimming through a lot of it. I thought maybe I'd outgrown Bolaño but last year I reread Amulet and The Savage Detectives and enjoyed them just as much as I remembered, if not more, so I suppose it's just that I left the "meh" stuff for last.

Has anyone read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler?

I saw it in the bookstore today and the chapter headings really peaked my interest. I'm a sucker for philosophy. I didn't buy it because it was $22 but I'm wondering if I should jump in.

Also saw The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. Is it worth it to read? I really liked the Earthsea series.
Late to reply but yes, absolutely Octavia Butler is worth reading. I read Parable of the Sower for a class in university and found it to be really good. Been meaning to read more by her.

The Left Hand of Darkness has been on my to read list for ages, I've only ever heard good things about it.



I absolutely loved this book. Some of the characters are cliched, there's a very clear "evil" threat with few shades of grey, the pacing goes to hell in the last third of the book.... but it's so much FUN. Literally the definition of more than the sum of its parts. I was also convinced to read it by the promise of a single-volume fantasy epic, knowing I can leave the world behind after just the one book and be satisfied from a fantasy story is a rare occurrence, and it definitely delivered on that front. It has a really interesting world and likable characters and for whatever it's worth it kept reminding me of Fire Emblem: Three Houses in terms of story and characters. Really a treat.
Not sure how I missed this! That cover caught my eye when I saw it and reading your praise and, ahem, considering my avatar, I think I'm going to have to put it on my "read soon" list.
 

Zabo

Member
Oct 30, 2017
941
Decided to take small break from Dunge saga and started to read Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase. It's been long time since I last read this one and I really had forgot how captivating it was. I was supposed to read few chapters but ended up reading half of the book. Good stuff, made me want to read Murakami's new books as well. I kinda started to avoid his books after 1Q84.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
I kinda started to avoid his books after 1Q84.
Because you didn't like it, or...? I read the first half of 1Q84 a year or so ago and while it had a certain comforting, cozy quality to its prose that I enjoyed, I ultimately ended up dropping it mostly due to its sheer length.

But like I said, I really liked the prose, so I'm interested in reading more Murakami. Just don't really know where to start.
 

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
9,937
Because you didn't like it, or...? I read the first half of 1Q84 a year or so ago and while it had a certain comforting, cozy quality to its prose that I enjoyed, I ultimately ended up dropping it mostly due to its sheer length.

But like I said, I really liked the prose, so I'm interested in reading more Murakami. Just don't really know where to start.
Kafka on the Shore is where I started with him- I think it's still great.

But The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is still where his style has peaked, to me.

Keep in mind I don't remember 90% of either book lol

1Q84 is weird because 1. the last third sucks, 2. it's Murakami's style stretched to its absolute limit, and to me can only be really enjoyed once you get hooked on his style through his regular-sized works

edit: I wrote this post after downing a bottle of sake, so I might've missed some stuff.

The Manchuria segment in Wind-Up is an amazing piece of writing, and the book is worth it for that alone.

Killing Commendatore is the only Murakami I outright disliked.
 

Zabo

Member
Oct 30, 2017
941
Because you didn't like it, or...? I read the first half of 1Q84 a year or so ago and while it had a certain comforting, cozy quality to its prose that I enjoyed, I ultimately ended up dropping it mostly due to its sheer length.

But like I said, I really liked the prose, so I'm interested in reading more Murakami. Just don't really know where to start.
Yeah, I didn't like it. Felt like rehash of Murkami's earlier "surreal works". But biggest problem for me was how repetitive 1Q84 was. Seemed like Murakami wanted to write another long book but actually didn't have the material to write +900 pages.

I think best places to start with Murakami is Norweigian Wood. It is grounded to realism, so most work you will read after is going to be different. But Norweigian Wood is gateway to Murakami's themes and I think it's easier to progress from NW to his other works.

I always recommend going onward chronologically after Norweigian Wood and if you want the "canon" then go Norweigian Wood --> Wind Up Bird --> Kafka. But basically anything from late 80s to Kafka on the shore is good read.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,985
edit: I wrote this post after downing a bottle of sake, so I might've missed some stuff.
I'm imagining you doing this in response to my question and now I won't accept any other explanation. "Someone's asking about Murakami books? Fuck, here we go again" *chugs a bottle of sake*

But thanks for the replies, both of you. Norwegian Wood does sound like a good place to start, especially since it's apparently pretty short at less than 300 pages. Should be a nice change of pace after Hyperion and The Gutter Prayer, both of which are about 500 pages long, so I think I'll jump into NW next.
 
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Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,670
Worth mentioning that Murakami's short stories are fab and possibly the best place to start. Check out collections like The Elephant Vanishes and Men Without Women. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman has a couple of stinkers in it, but also my favourite thing he's ever written (The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day).

Where he has trouble ending his novels, he often finds the perfect place to conclude short stories.
 

sackboy97

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,697
Italy
The only Murakami novel I have read is "South of The Border, West of the Sun", which I quite enjoyed. I guess it's not as famous as his other works, as I never see it mentioned anywhere.
 

Famassu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,034
I’m just about to finish the Witcher series – just got Season of Storms left – and I need a new fantasy or science fiction series to delve into. Anyone have any recommendations? Ideally I want good/great characters that I can root for and follow over multiple books. I tend to dislike when things get too bleak, so grimdark is probably out. YA is no problem.

I love Tolkien, Pratchett, Bujold (both Vorkosigan and Chalion), Roald Dahl and Jordan. I really enjoy Rowling, Butcher, Sanderson and Gaiman.

I’ve read too much to list (much more fantasy than science fiction, though), but if it’s been published in the last 15 years, I’ve probably not read it. I'm open for older series too. I’m debating continuing with The Expanse, since I really enjoy the TV series (I’ve read the first book).
Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings saga. It's a 16 book (17 if counting a shorter set-in-the-distant-past standalone book) saga consisting of 4 trilogies and one 4 book series. Three of the trilogies follow Fitz Farseer, a royal bastard turned assassin, and the other two (set in between the first & the second and the second and the third Fitz-focused trilogies) series follow entirely new characters in entirely different parts of the world, albeit with some recurring characters. While the stories are mostly resolved within each series of books, chronologically it's all basically one continuous timeline where events from the previous story affect the political landscape & other stuff in the world in the next. A made up example would be that imagine if Fitz killed the king of another country in his own trilogy, then in the next series you follow characters from that country at a time when their king has been killed and there is a power struggle going on. That power struggle might not be the focus of the new story or for the new characters, but it's still in the background and might affect their journey in surprising ways at one point or the other.

Start with the Farseer trilogy, then Liveship traders trilogy -> Tawny Man Trilogy -> Rainwild Chronicles -> Fitz and the Fool trilogy.